Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S03E13 – The Zeppo

In the thirteenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander copes with being left out of the Scoobies’ current adventure by…well, it’s sort of hard to describe. If you’re intrigued by that, then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

What a strange episode of Buffy.

Ultimately, I think I like it a whole lot, certainly far more than I expected to. It addresses something I’d honestly never thought about: Xander is the only member of the Scoobies who possesses no powers or special skill sets. (At this point, I’m not really counting Cordelia as part of the bunch, since she only has tangentially gotten involved in the main plot after breaking up with Xander.) I think it’s a very valid thing to explore for his character, too, and it fits in really well with the general theme of identity and morality that we’ve seen in season three. We’ve witnessed Willow’s progression as a witch and how that’s come to develop who she is. Buffy and Angel both have had to deal with their evolving roles in Sunnydale, questioning whether they even have the capacity to do real good in the city anymore. Joyce took an active role in shaping her own identity in “Gingerbread,” and Oz had to examine his life as a possibly murderous werewolf in “Beauty and the Beasts.” I imagine that in the coming episodes, Giles himself is going to have to deal with the post-Watcher life.

For now, though, Xander’s identity as a part of the Scoobies is examined, and it’s contrasted in a way that pokes fun at some of the more serious moments that the other characters are in. I think it’s natural for this show to tackle this by having Xander wonder why it is he’s even around at all, and why he’s obsessed with being “cool.” In a way, I think this episode is sort of a companion to “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” and not just because it’s Xander-centric. Xander wants to experience life as the center of attention, to be viewed as cool. He wants to be the guy who miraculously saves the day. This episode grants him that, and in the process, he realizes that maybe his own self-worth is not contingent on any of those things happening as he desires.

Does anyone else feel like there’s some unspoken rule that you’re not supposed to have a meta conversation about the word “cool” and what constitutes it? I think Oz certainly feels this way. I guess I’d never really put any thought into it, but how does that happen in a school setting? Someone I went to high school with got in touch with me last year and told me that they always knew I’d be doing great things because “you were so cool in high school.”

WHAT FUCKING SCHOOL DID YOU GO TO? IT WASN’T MINE. People knew who I was because I was basically Hermione, involved in every club I could get my hands on, but I wasn’t social royalty! I was made fun of constantly, right up past my own graduation when I got outed the summer before college. But the thing is, whose to say I wasn’t cool to that person? What if their idea of what made me cool was nothing like mine? To me, I thought all the hardcore kids were cool. The popular guys on the basketball team were cool. The metalheads who wore Megadeth tees to school every day were my idols! And I would be lying to you if I did not admit that I cared every bit about how I was perceived by others. I mean, that’s part of the reason some people stay in the closet, much like I did. I wanted others to perceive me as a straight man, though that didn’t work out too well when I was given the lead in the spring musical my senior year. WHOOPS, I’VE FAILED THE MISSION.

I jest, though. I think that was a point where I started to realize that I’d been spending nearly a decade allowing others to dictate my actions, and all of that was in pursuit of anyone seeing me as a cool person. So I finally did something I wanted to do, and perhaps that’s also what people saw as cool in me.

I’m okay with that.

Xander’s mission to find that “essence” of coolness is understandable to me, and I think a lot of his character is about navigating masculinity and popularity as a straight dude in that sort of microcosm. He believes that if he has just a single thing to make him stand out to others, that’s what’ll work in his favor. Of course, that sort of turns out to be a bit of a disaster, doesn’t it? I get that Cordelia acts to pick apart Xander partially because of what he did to her, so her comments didn’t necessarily bother me. I think I agree with what Willow said in an earlier episode: they all need to cut her a bit of slack. What she does to Xander once he pursues this singular identity is point out the flaws in it. Yes, she’s harsh, and I’d even be willing to admit that she possibly goes a bit too far. But there is an absurdity to thinking that getting a nice car is the answer to your problems. Even when things appear to work for him, the girl who expresses interest in him can clearly see through the fact that he doesn’t really know anything about cars at all. (Which is not to say that she’s shallow or terrible for this. Some people really like cars a lot! That’s okay! I would act exactly the same as this unnamed young woman if you had, like, a Camus book in your hands and then I found out you’d only read one chapter. I would keep talking and talking and you could never get me to stop. WHOOPS.)

I thought I knew where this episode was heading until Xander didn’t rat out Jack to the cops. Okay, so now he’s cool by not turning in a bully. So…what? That’s what this episode is trying to tell me? Why is Xander hanging out with this guy? I really don’t understand why this is happeni – HOLY SHIT THAT GUY IS DEAD. THAT GUY JUST CAME OUT OF A GRAVE. Did that just happen? IS THIS REAL LIFE? What the fuck is going on? OH MY GOD, IT’S A GROUP OF ZOMBIE FRAT BOYS. WHY IS THIS SO FUNNY TO ME? YOU’RE DEAD, HOW CAN BEER EVEN HAVE AN EFFECT ON YOU? WHY DO YOU WANT A CAKE SO BADLY? I MEAN, DON’T GET ME WRONG, CAKE IS DELICIOUS AND I WOULD NEVER TRULY JUDGE YOU FOR WANTING ONE AFTER BEING DEAD FOR SO LONG. THAT’S A GOOD FIRST CHOICE OF FOOD. BUT YOU’RE DEAD. CAN YOU EVEN TASTE CAKE???

And then this episode just gets strange. Like, it was already pretty weird, but what the hell, y’all? That is the most bizarre gang initiation I’ve ever seen. What has Xander done to truly deserve a place in your gang anyway? Why didn’t Xander drive off and leave the dead guys behind as soon as they left his car to go in the hardware store? Wait, why on earth would you bake a cake with supplies from a hardware store? Wait a second, how did getting hit by a car not kill that demon? That Sisterhood of Jhe is pretty tough. WHOA, WHY IS FAITH HITTING ON XANDER? WHOA, THIS IS REALLY WEIRD. WHOA. THIS IS AWKWARD. I mean, I think I get this? Did Xander become “cool” by saving Faith from the demon? Or WAIT WHAT THE FUCK DID THEY JUST HAVE SEX? Well…okay! Cool! If Faith wants it, then I’m all for it! And I mean that! She wanted sex, Xander was cool with it, everyone wins! I don’t imagine that was how Xander fantasized losing his virginity, but WHOSE FANTASY FOR THAT EVER TURNS OUT EXACTLY AS THEY PLANNED? Pretty much no one, so there. Plus, I’m glad that the episode never tells us that either person is gross for having sex. It happened, they liked it, the end. I SUPPORT THIS, AS AWKWARD AS IT IS.

What the last third of “The Zeppo” turns out to be is this kind-of-brilliant contrast between the ridiculous absurdity of the end of the world by way of the Hellmouth, and the fact that Xander, being exactly the kind of person he is, can save all of his friends in the process. There’s obviously a subtext here that the Scoobies (Xander included, of course) can be quite melodramatic about things that happen to them. That’s understandable, though! Look at their experiences. It has to seem like the world is constantly ending for them every week. But this story in particular is about Xander coming to realize that he does have the power to affect things in Sunnydale. He can save lives. He can make a difference.

I think the best part of it is that he keeps it to himself. This episode wouldn’t work if he gloated about getting Jack to defuse the bomb. The character growth wouldn’t be believable. As to whether we’ll actually see that growth in Xander in the future, of course I have no idea what’s in store for him. But for a character who has such extreme issues with identity as him, it was nice to see him figure something out on his own. Self-worth is an important thing, and I hope Xander does good things with this newfound confidence.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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355 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S03E13 – The Zeppo

  1. Xander: I know what you're thinkin'. Can I get by him? Get up the stairs, out of the building, seconds ticking away…I don't love your chances.

    Jack: Then you'll die, too.

    Xander: Yeah, looks like. So I guess the question really is…who has less fear?

    Jack: I'm not afraid to die. I'm already dead.

    Xander: Yeah, but this is different. Being blowed up isn't "walking around and drinking with your buddies" dead. It's "little bits being swept up by a janitor" dead, and I don't think you're ready for that.

    Jack: Are you?

    Xander: I like the quiet.


    • James says:

      Favourite Xander moment. Hands down.

      • I'm also fond of gur lryybj penlba fcrrpu, nf tbqqnza purrfl nf vg vf gb FNIR GUR JBEYQ JVGU YBIR. But Xander has a lot of great moments (and lines) to choose from.

        • Rob M says:

          I think mine has to be gur pbairefngvba jvgu Qnja nobhg orvat gur zrzore bs gur tebhc jvgubhg fhcre cbjref from Season 7. But yes, however much gur lryybj penlba ovg sebz F6 naablf zr, vg'f fgvyy n tbbq Knaqre zbzrag. His face-off with Angel in "Killed By Death" and this episode's "I like the quiet" are also high up there.

      • I think my favorite has to be his showdown with Angelus in "Killed by Death", back in Season 2. That's what Xander is to me: somebody who, despite his joking demeanor, will stick up for his friends or die trying. Somebody who is loyal and brave and doesn't care about the consequences.

        To me, that's who Xander is. And while this moment also shows his courage and bravery, it doesn't have that aspect of friend-y-ness that I think is also important to his character.

        • Chede says:

          Since I'm rereading MRHP, this totally made me realize that Xander = Hufflepuff, Willow = Ravenclaw, Buffy = Gryffindor.

          • Rob M says:

            Nah, Xander's a Slytherin:
            Alexander Harris And The Shadow Council

            (note, spoilery… although not that spoilery for Buffy as the author hasn't actually reached the point where Buffy arrives in Sunnydale, incomplete, and completely awesome).

          • hungriestgame says:

            Giles = Dumbledore, Joyce = McGonagall, Angel = Hagrid

          • MichelleZB says:

            That's also why Sokka is not the Xander of ATLA. You think he'll be the Xander, but it turns out he's a Ravenclaw.

            Is that enough fandom mixing for everyone?

          • James says:

            I'd have to disagree! I think Willow's a Slytherin – that girl has fucktons of ambition; give her an inch, she takes a mile. Xander's a Gryffindor – he's like Ron Weasley without the support of a loving family. Giles is Ravenclaw, but yeah, Buffy's a total Gryffindor (GO LIONS!).

    • dasmondschaf says:

      YES. This was the moment where Xander as a character really clicked for me–and I think it was also the moment when Xander finally had a moment of self-insight. BULLETIN: SELF-ACCEPTANCE AND SELF-KNOWLEDGE ARE, IN FACT, WHAT MAKE YOU COOL. I mean, the entire episode is basically a run-through of all the things people think of as cool–having a cool car, hanging with a "bad crowd," having sex, etc, but really Xander gains that moment of self-assurance by realizing what he himself has to offer: which is a willingness to put his own life at risk in order to save the day. Which makes sense, given his general willingness to help. Every time he runs into another Scoobie, he asks if he can do something, and respects the answer (which mostly means… he got donuts. Food runs are important too!).

      But yeah, Xander can be a jerk, but I feel like this is an episode in which I really like him.

      • Xander can definitely be a jerk, and the discussions here have made me aware of some of his less likeable characteristics, but I forgive him his flaws because, for me, they are outweighed by his strengths, many of which are seen in this episode.

        • dasmondschaf says:

          Yeah, I admit to not seeing a lot of his flaws on previous watches of Buffy. After reading through past Xander discussions around here, I definitely feel obligated to add "BUT HE IS STILL A JERK SOMETIMES" whenever I say something nice about him, lol.

        • cait0716 says:

          I forgive him his flaws because, for me, they are outweighed by his strengths


          • Xander was also the character I related to the most, so even when I first discovered years ago, to my surprise and dismay, that there were people who hated Xander, I was like, but wait, do you hate me??? See also: Jaye Tyler.

            I share some of his strengths and some of his flaws, so I like to hope that in my case, my strengths outweigh my flaws as well.

            • cait0716 says:

              I feel exactly the same way when I find out people don't like Willow. Though she seems to at least have more fans than Xander But I definitely think the good outweighs the bad for both of them. They're the White Hats for a reason (er, they weren't in that episode, but my point still stands)

            • WhiteEyedCat says:

              Un un, V qrsvavgryl trg guvf. V eryngr gur zbfg gb Qnja, gur punenpgre jub vf nyzbfg hanavzbhfyl ungrq! Be, vs abg ungrq, whfg pbafvqrerq naablvat.

            • g_aurelia says:

              People hate Jaye Tyler?!

      • Comments like these, that are so insightful and awesome, are the reason I rarely actually end up saying anything. Everyone else says it so much better!

    • etherealclarity says:

      The twitch of his mouth, the half smile when he says "I like the quiet"? Is what gets me every time. OMG XANDER YOU FOUND YOUR INNER COOL RIGHT THERE.

      • It's such a beautiful moment. I really feel like in that moment, he is actually ready to die. That if this is what it takes to save his friends, all by himself, away from his friends, he is at peace.

      • UnstrungZero says:

        YES, Nicholas Brendon is so good at all the comedy and goofy stuff, but his sincere delivery of those types of moments is just perfect to me.

    • UnstrungZero says:

      YAY ILHIM TOO. That really is one of my absolute favorite Xander moments. The one bit of dialogue I've always remembered from this ep.

    • @farwell3d says:

      Xander Harris Crowning Moment of Awesome #2. (After facing down Angelus in Killed By Death.)

    • SosaLola says:

      I have hundrads of favorite Xander moments. Every time Xander sacrifices himself for his friends is a favorite moment of mine, like sacrificing his life to save Willow in the Mummy episode.

  2. arctic_hare says:


    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Yeah. I've never liked this episode. The concept I can get behind, but the fact that it's about this particular character guarantees my disinterest. Aside from a few moments here and there, I found it deeply boring and unappealing. Xander is insecure, news at 11. Also water is wet and the Pope is Catholic.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    I forget where I picked up this marvelous gif of Cordelia's expression in the donut shop scene, but I've been waiting to be able to use it. <3

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    ILU, Cordy. Your face truly says it all, everything I feel about this episode and Xander.

    Faith sleeping with Xander? And not Buffy? WHY DOES THIS SHOW HURT ME SO.

    Not fond of the ending, either, surprise surprise. I can't get behind this "moment of triumph" for Xander, because… hello, you cheated on her and broke her heart. You don't get to "rise above" her insults. I enjoyed every minute of her words to him in this episode.

    Also, why the fuck would Jack have continued to attend school after dying and getting brought back to life? This makes no sense to me.

    In closing, yes, I was clearly messing with you, enigmaticagentscully, and you missed nothing of importance. THE END.

    • darkwater says:

      Regardless of what Xander did to hurt Cordy.. he has the right to walk away from her and not engage.

      • arctic_hare says:

        It wasn't the walking away that bugged me, it was the smug attitude.

        • darkwater says:

          You read that as smug? I see it as.. since he basically just stared down a bomb and no one knows about it.. her jabs are less bothersome to him and more just of an accepted behaviour for Cordy.

          WIllow and Oz are over that issue by now. Eventually Xander and Cordy need to be over it and get on with their lives and that doesn't include Xander being perpetually stepped on by Cordy. Eventually it just becomes her being nasty and nothing to do with how their relationship ended. He kissed Willow, bad Xander. He didn't sleep with her, or kill someone Cordy loves.. come on.

          • problemSleuth says:

            I'm thinking arctic hare's bias against Xander is what caused them to read it as smug, honestly.

          • 00guera00 says:

            This…I mean, how long did they date? In HIGH SCHOOL…it was heartbreaking, yes, but come on, s'not like they were married.

          • Nattlinnen says:

            I have to agree here. It's all ok to hate/dislike Xander but, do it for the right thing. At the moment I'm on Xander's side here. Cordy's remarks may be funny and quick but still, it's the same bully attitude we witnessed in season one, and frankly I don't laugh with bullies (no matter how they are/were hurt), they are only tiresome.

      • etherealclarity says:

        I agree with this. Him simply walking away was probably the first time that he'd had any kind of mature reaction to Cordelia's insults.

        • darkwater says:

          Yup. It's called growth.

        • Hanna_the_Glam says:

          I agree; Xander had a mature moment there. Let's hope it sticks!

          That said, I don't have a huge problem with Cordy needling him. It's not really a case where one of them has to be in the right and one in the wrong.

      • Sadie says:

        Absolutely. Cordelia has been hurt, but that doesn't excuse rude, immature, or bullying behavior. Xander absolutely has the right to walk away from her and refuse to allow her insults to take him down. It's certainly a far more more mature reaction than if he had allowed her to make him angry and chose to retaliate in kind.

      • Sadie_TARDIS says:

        Not to silence or attack anyone in particular who doesn't like Xander, but I think it IS a bit sad that Cordelia has carte blanche to throw out nasty, inappropriate, and damaging insults and still be seen as an awesome person, while Xander, for once, chooses the mature path and is blamed for it. It really smacks of a gender-related double-standard that I see in quite a few different fandoms (nasty or snarky female characters are adored, accoladed, and viewed as empowering, while quys who exhibit similar behavior are treated as evil, misogynistic jerks), and poor Xander simply can't do anything right. I get that there's a breakup in their past, but Cordelia isn't handling it any more admirably than Xander, and I think that their behavior should really be judged on equal grounds. Just my opinion, of course. I'm not trying to suggest that those who dislike Xander and enjoy Cordelia are wrong, but sometimes I feel that it gets taken to unfair levels.

        • numfar says:

          Misandry, is the word I was searching for.

          • Karen says:

            Nope. Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

            Misandry, much like reverse racism or heterophobia, is not a thing that exists.

            • Enigmatic Mr Wu says:

              Wow. that is so incredibly wrong. Hate between any two things is possible. Man or woman, white or black, straight or gay, and no matter which way its going, it's wrong.

              • Karen says:

                Not the point OR what I was saying.

                Misogyny isn't about a specific woman hating a specific man. It's about power structures and a history of oppression that we still see echoes of today. The reverse of that does not exist because men have not been systemically oppressed by women.

                A woman can hate a man, of course. But misandry implies a system of oppression which just does not exist.

                • lawrence_s says:

                  Thank you for clarifying. I had pretty much assumed that's what you were saying but I admit your initial response confused me for a second, too.

                  I think the confusion is because a lot of people (myself included) have previously understood more basic definitions of misogyny and misandry (and racism and sexism, etc, etc.) without the connotations of systemic oppression, but simply individual judgement and bias. (I still have a habit of using specific modifiers like 'systemic' and 'institutional' because of that understanding I grew up with.)

                  So I can see how a statement like "Misandry … is not a thing that exists" can be misconstrued by someone who doesn't know the additional context.

                  But on the flip side, doesn't it mean we've lost a way to describe certain attitudes or behaviour of individuals? For the person who hates all men categorically or does have a double standard for judgement of men as opposed to women, how can that best be described? Anti-male bias?

                • Enigmatic Mr Wu says:

                  I don't really know what the semantics or the appropriate term for this should be, and I don't know that this is the place to debate it, but what I was trying to say, is that while we may live in society, we deal with each other as individuals. I do not believe there is anything about social power structures or our place within them that excuses us from looking each other in the eye, person to person and treating each other justly. If one hates me because I am a white man, and what he thinks that implies about me, then he is a racist, regardless of his inability to oppress all white men. The same can be said for a woman who hates me for the "maleness" she sees in me. Whatever expression we use to describe that, in the end it still means sexist. That's just how I feel about it, I'm not be argumentative here. If anyone feels the need to crush me with a stinging rebuttal , feel free to email me so we don't flame up Marks forum.

      • Yorkshiregal says:

        I totally agree.

        I don't see Xander as being smug. I see confident. She is particularly brutal to him this episode and he realizes, with some joy (and what exactly is wrong with that), that it is HIS opinion and not HERS that matters.

        It's a great empowerment moment for Xander and one he deserved after getting shuffled to the side by the rest of the Scoobies.

    • Ginsue says:

      Popping in to say I have that same Xellos gif.

      Also, Xander is the type of character my mother likes. Even if we like the same shows, we usually like different characters. I am constantly reminded of Joxer from Xena now. For some, they have that one appeal, that is generally-funny to casual viewers. However, if you are into the story, or are analyzing the show episode by episode, you just want them to fall off a cliff with all the other overused spiels (that is kind of cruel, isn't it?). However, by the end, I was pleasantly surprised by the humble ending for Xander.

      This was not the best kind of episode, but I have to admit it. When Xander walked in the middle of an Angel/Buffy dramatic scene, I busted up laughing. Just perfect.

    • problemSleuth says:

      Faith sleeping with Xander? And not Buffy? WHY DOES THIS SHOW HURT ME SO.

      I (probably unsurprisingly) still like Xander and I really like this episode, but YES THIS RIGHT HERE I AGREE SO HARD.


      • Laneswitch says:

        Seconded. Fuffy is my absolute FAVORITE Buffy ship.

      • Hanna_the_Glam says:

        "Faith sleeping with Xander? And not Buffy? "

        Hey, for all we know, Faith/Buffy could've been getting up to all sorts of things back in the stacks during a quiet moment of the apocalypse.

    • _Bailey_ says:

      "Not fond of the ending, either, surprise surprise. I can't get behind this "moment of triumph" for Xander, because… hello, you cheated on her and broke her heart. You don't get to "rise above" her insults. I enjoyed every minute of her words to him in this episode. "

      This is exactly why I dislike this episode. Also because it's about Xander, but I really feel that his "rising above" and making Cordy look like S1!Cordy was the wrong way to end this. It's . . . . weird.

      Also, Buffy, why were you worried when Angel got knocked out? He's a vampire. As long as he's not dust, he'll be fine! He came back from hell, a little bump on the head is nothing to moan over. Please direct your worry elsewhere, like to say, oh, THE WORLD ENDING. Okay? Okay.

      • darkwater says:

        It actually makes some kind of sense.

        What happened as soon as she got back on her feet? She went right back to classic Cordy, or at least attempting to be classic Cordy. It's what she knows and it is what there was before Xander so that is what she latched onto rather than being all blubbery (which she saved for private).

        Eventually she'll have to find a new version of herself but right now I'm pretty sure this is still partially coping with the fallout of her social life.

        • _Bailey_ says:

          I realize that she's trying to get her life back on track and I admit that she's not doing it in the best way. However, I feel that Xander is . . . . not helping? I'm not sure how to explain it. It just appears to me that he's feeling superior (kind of how he tried to appear to her in S1), and I don't like it in context with the past few episodes.

    • Appachu says:

      Unrelated, but the moment I saw that there were pictures I jumped to cover them up before I realized which site I was on. All the spider pictures over on Mark Reads have wrecked me, y'all.

    • Karen says:

      I like the concept of the episode too, but I think I'd have actually enjoyed it a billion times more if it centered on Cordy instead of Xander. I think it would have fit in better with the show too because Cordy is in this awkward place where she knows about all the stuff that happens in Sunnydale, but she's not part of the Scoobies anymore.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Agreed 100%.

      • BornIn1142 says:

        I'm not sure a "The Zeppo" not centered on Xander is possible.

        • Karen says:

          Well it wouldn't necessarily be called "The Zeppo" or an episode about inferiority, but the idea of episode centering on someone with non-heroic powers with an apocalypse going on in the bg works without being Xander-centric. And it would especially work with Cordelia as the focus because Cordelia has become an outsider post-Xander break-up. So if it were about Cordelia, I think it could work as an episode more about being on the outside and unable to fully be a part of things and Cordy learning that she is capable of things on her own.

          Guvf jbhyq nyfb unir freirq nf terng frg hc sbe Pbeqryvn tbvat bss gb Ybf Natryrf naq orpbzvat n cneg bs Natry Vairfgvtngvbaf.

          • t09yavosaur says:

            I feel like Cordy's personality would make it so that she wouldn't put up with being pushed to the side. Xander let himself be left out of the action but he kept offering to help, whereas I feel that Cordy either would be content to let the experts handle it and go off to do her own thing, or she would insert herself into the action. That is how she became part of the gang in the first place.

            It could still work probably but I think it would be so different that it would not feel like a reworking of this episode.

      • Danny_SAP says:

        Cordelia is even often seen as the "wheel girl".

    • Ellie says:

      “Not fond of the ending, either, surprise surprise. I can’t get behind this “moment of triumph” for Xander, because… hello, you cheated on her and broke her heart. You don’t get to “rise above” her insults. I enjoyed every minute of her words to him in this episode. ”

      I am with you on this. On the whole I like this episode a lot and while I’m ambivalent about Xander in general, I quite like him here. That ending, though…yeah. The dynamic between them felt very S1/early S2, and it’s like that’s the Cordelia he’s triumphantly walking away from–which doesn’t sit well with me at all after what he did to her.

    • misterbernie says:

      Flawlessest of comment intros.

      Flawless gif-ing. Also 'surprise, surprise'

    • yorkshiregal says:

      I adore Cordy but the insults here were way OTT.

      And I think Xander gets to rise above her insults. Cordy has gone from righteous anger to vengeance.

      1. He cheated on her and it hurt her alot.
      2. He's apologized and left her alone.
      3. Continuing to engage in mutual bitter banter is hurtful. It's good he's moving on.
      4. I think it make Cordelia look bad to continue to be so mean-spirited. I wish they would drop this.

      I also disagree with the notion that Xander must forever accept her insults. It was a high school romance, not a marriage. He kissed Willow, he didn't have sex with her. He never had sex with Cordy. Cordy had made it clear that she was out of Sunnydale as soon as she could be. Xander was obviously NOT going to college. The whole SAT discussion showed they were not a long-term couple. Doesn't mean Xander got to cheat with Willow but has it become more about her pride and place in the school than Xander's hurt to her?

      Isn't there some point where Cordelia should just move on herself?

      It would be one thing if Xander was an official "villain" in the story. But he's not, he's one of the protagonists. I think it's completely reasonable to have a "yay Xander" episode.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Nobody said it wasn't reasonable to have a Xander episode. It's just not something I'm engaged by.

        • yorkshiregal says:

          I should have been more clear. I think it's completely reasonable for Xander to have a "Yay! Rise above Cordelia's insults" moments.

          She's taken her pound of flesh, I think it's reasonable for him to have a moment when he realizes insults (even by Cordelia) should not define him.

      • Sadie says:

        THIS. All of it.

      • _Bailey_ says:

        Um . . . . when did Xander apologize to Cordelia? I must have missed it.

        • yorkshiregal says:

          Immediately and at the hospital as well. Also his 80+ phone calls in an attempt to talk.

          • _Bailey_ says:

            Here are the scenes you referenced:

            *Lovers Walk, Immediately After the Discovery

            WILLOW: We're not supposed to…
            XANDER: Exemption for Impending Death Situations.
            CORDELIA: Oh, God.
            XANDER: Oh, God.
            WILLOW: Oh, God… Oz…
            OZ: We have to get out of here.
            XANDER: Cordy, I…Cordelia!….Cordelia!
            CORDELIA: I fell…


            WILLOW: Be careful.
            XANDER: Yeah.
            WILLOW: Don't move, Cordy! Oz went to get help.


            XANDER: Cordy. Please hold on…
            CORDELIA: Xander…I can't see you…
            XANDER: Cordy…

            *Lovers Walk, At the Hospital

            XANDER: Can I come in? They wouldn't let me see you until now. Those are flowers. Look, Cordy, I want you to know that I ….
            CORDELIA: Xander?
            XANDER: Yeah?
            CORDELIA: Stay away from me.

            *The Wish, Xander’s Messages

            XANDER (0.C.): Hey. It's Xander. If you get this, call me.
            XANDER (O.C.): Hi. Xander… I, uh, well, I'm in if you feel like talking. Bye.
            XANDER (O.C.): Hi, Cordelia…. Uh….If you get the chance… if we can talk… I'm here…
            XANDER (O.C.): Hey. Again. It’s me. I’m here. Again.

            I didn’t just pull these scenes off the internet; I went back and verified these quotes against the dialogue in the episode. There is no apology here. He may be starting to apologise at the hospital, but he doesn’t actually say it. He also never mentions that he apologised to her when the opportunity comes up at the beginning of The Wish when he is talking to Buffy and Willow, instead choosing to blame Oz and Cordy for walking in.

            As far as we know, Xander did not apologize to Cordelia.

            Gur pybfrfg ur pnzr jnf ohlvat ure cebz qerff, juvpu jnf nqzvggrqyl n avpr trfgher, boivbhfyl jnf zrnag nf na ncbybtl, naq Pbeqryvn frrzf gb gnxr vg nf bar. Ohg ur arire fnlf gur jbeqf.

    • t09yavosaur says:

      I was listening to Ballroom Blitz when I read this comment. The words "it was like lightning" played right as I got to the shocking gif.

    • Skyweir says:

      I, on the other hand, cannot muster up any sympathy for Cordelia here. Cordelia is a bully. She was a bully before she got to know the Scoobies, and she is a bully afterwards. What Xander and Willow did was terrible, but the mature thing to do is not to start on the old "mean girl" attitude again. Why is she given a free pass on this? She was given that free pass in season 1 and 2 too, even when she had not shown anything but contempt for the Scoobies. Why isn't Xander given the same chance? Maybe this kind of thing just push my buttons, me and my friends had a few "mean girl" bullies to contend with in high school, and for some of us it was pretty damaging.

      Willow and I have about the same attitude to Cordelia and other "former" bullies : disdain, that may mature into acceptance. In about 10 years.

      This episode is a brilliant deconstruction of the world of Buffy and the "ridiculous" plots of each episode. It is one of my top 10 ones.

    • erinmarie says:

      I would just like to say that Cordelia looks flawless in that gif. Like absurdly beautiful. Charisma Carpenter, how do you do face? Please, teach me.

    • Ellie says:

      Funny, I've never liked Xander that much (part of it probably comes from dealing with obssessive guys with nice guy complexes in rl) but I think this episode might just be my favorite, it's just so random and makes the heartbreaking and exciting stuff look so silly XD

    • notemily says:

      That Cordelia gif is TRULY A THING OF BEAUTY. God, Charisma Carpenter's face, I can't even.

  3. settlingforhistory says:

    I’ve watched this episode only one or two times, so the only things I remember are zombies, the Hellmouth monster and a bomb.

    I never liked it that they just ask Xander to step aside from the fight. If he wants to risk his life, he should be allowed to do so and after all he is not the one who gets knocked out all the time.
    I felt like the Zeppo a lot of times, maybe that’s why I like Xander in spite of his many flaws.

    Xander is such a mess, he just can’t stop talking and he doesn’t even think for a second what he says. He could use someone who steps on his foot when ever his mouth runs away with him.

    Vg’f cebonoyl gur bayl gvzr gur ncbpnylcfr vf gur O-cybg naq vg fubjf ubj bireqenzngvp gur raq bs gur jbeyq hfhnyyl vf.

    “Don't you feel pathetic?” “Mostly I feel Katie.“ Oh god, I love this.

    (Gur fcvevg thvqrf ner gur fnzr gung Tvyrf yngre pbagnpgf va frnfba frira nobhg gur Fynlre yvar, evtug? Gur barf jvgu nyy gur rlrf? *fuhqqre*)

    “The stench of death.” “I think that's Bob.” Hi hi, so silly, but hilarious.

    (Bu ab, gung frk fprar. Nyy V pna guvax nobhg juvyr jngpuvat vg, vf gung Snvgu yngre nyzbfg xvyyf Knaqre jura gurl raq hc va onq ntnva. Vg’f nyfb fhecevfvatyl hafrkl, orpnhfr Snvgu vf fb sbeprshy. Whfg, Lhpx!)

    I love when Xander interrupts the tragic scene between Buffy and Angel. Their faces when they see him and that the score starts again the second he’s gone, it’s so wonderful.

    (Gur jevgref zhfg unir yvxrq gur vqrn bs n obzo va gur fpubby, nsgre nyy Tenqhngvba vf bayl n srj rcvfbqrf njnl.)

    That dramatic ending is awesome, especially as we have no idea what really happened.
    “I'm oddly full today.” Oh god, Oz ate a zombie. Ew!

    After watching it again, I think it’s not as bad as I remembered.
    It’s surprisingly funny and a beautiful parody of the last Hellmouth opening.
    So nice that they gave Nicholas Brendon something to do and let him save the day for once. I actually felt bad for the actor as much as for the character, because he is mostly there for comic relive.

    • "I love when Xander interrupts the tragic scene between Buffy and Angel. Their faces when they see him and that the score starts again the second he’s gone, it’s so wonderful."

      That part kills me every time – I start laughing when I know its coming up

      • Skyweir says:

        This is so weird:)
        Everyone I have ever talked to about Buffy has this episode among their top 10 for it's deconstruction of tropes and the characters, and the way it build Xander up. I love it.

        Strange that so many here dislike it.

  4. Laneswitch says:

      In this episode, the APOCOLYPSE HAPPENS!! (gasp) But we’re ignoring that, since XANDER’S SELF ESTEEM IS ON THE LINE!!! The horrors!
      Just kidding. I love this episode.
      But before that, I had a thought. In Gingerbread, Cordelia says Giles is going to wake up in a coma. Sounds dumb, right? But vs lbh’ir frra Natry, Pbeqryvn urefrys jnxrf hc va n pbzn, frcrengr sebz ure obql. Guvf vf va frnfba guerr, jura fur orpbzrf cneg qrzba.

     Thoughts on the actual episode at hand:

    * hey, Faith DOES exsist. I was beggining to think i made her up and she wasn’t real at all.
    * Willow: “I brought marshmellows!”
      (everyone stares)
      Willow: “occationally I’m callus and strange.”
      Me: “oh Willow, please don’t ever change!” (Pevrf         fvyragyl)
    * ….Cordy….whhhhyyy?
    * i think Car Girl’s boredom at Xander’s life or death situation is the writers mocking all of Sunnydale’s apathy. I mean, she just straight up doesn’t care that he’s about to get murdered THREE FEET from where she’s standing!
    * when I first saw this i actually thought they were going to bake a cake. In my defense, I was 11.
    * Did anyone else flinch when Faith popped her shoulder back into place? I had to pause and get all my cringes out.
    * I have no idea how I feel about Faith just kicking Xander out. It’s true to her character, and not doing it would have me what the helling, but still…also, I flip flop over if it’s funny or not
    * overly angsty Buffy scene. (dies laughing). This is what I love, stories that mock themselves. Like, I irrationally love this kind of stuff.
    * Willow goes through the apocolypse in her pjs
    * Football Zombie: (picking up an ax) “Good for chopping!”
      Me: “cleveeeeerr”
    * how did the giant snake thing give Giles those shallow but awesome looking scratches?
    * Xander, your response to Cordy at the end is all kinds of epic. Mad props dude. Mad props.
    * the music for this episode is wonderfully over the top, especially when Giles tells Buffy about the apocolypse, Faith’s fight scene, and the Bangel scene.

  5. Seventh_Star says:

    -so, i watched the movie animal crackers for the first time yesterday, after a friend recommended it to me, not even realizing that today's episode would be "the zeppo". life is funny that way.

    -xander is a divisive character, and sometimes he pisses me off so much that i just wanna box his ears, but in "the zeppo" he is on fine form. this is how i like my xander: funny, self-effacing, charming, and bumbling in equal measure. nick brendon's comic timing is a thing of beauty.

    -"it must be really hard when all your friends have, like, superpowers- slayer, werewolf, witches, vampires- and you're, like, this little nothing."

    cordelia sums up xander's character nicely (if not cruelly). how does someone with obvious self-esteem issues (and lacking any sort of family support) cope with being the "normal" member of the scoobies? with humor, of course (and the occasional bout of misplaced anger). while it's not true that they don't need xander, it's easy to see why xander would feel this way, deep down. he doesn't like to admit it to himself, but when it's thrown in his face by the likes of cordy, he can't help but get to thinking: what is his place? is he really good for anything? xander reminds me a lot of mickey smith in this way. when the chips are down, and all you've got to depend on is yourself, you inevitably rise to the challenge (or you don't). that's what this episode is about, xander finding his identity and self-worth.

    -"occasionally, i'm callous and strange."

    i resemble that remark.

    -put the crimping iron down, buffy, and back away slowly. (v'z univat ivfvbaf bs frnfba 4 ohssl unve, naq v qb abg nccebir.)

    -this is the kind of important issue that needs to be discussed during an apocalypse.

    giles: did you eat all the jellies?
    buffy: did you want a jelly?
    giles: i always have a jelly. i'm always the one that says 'let's have a jelly in the mix.'
    willow: we're sorry. buffy had three.

    -i like that chris beck is using violins again to represent xander's character. it's some nice continuity from "bewitched, bothered, and bewildered".

    -a shirtless xander is a good xander. i'm allowed.

    -perhaps my favorite thing about the style of this particular episode is the juxtaposition between xander's story and the apocalypse that all the other characters are completely caught up in. as a viewer, it makes me laugh at myself as i realize how ridiculous the scoobies might seem to outsiders. each time the story cuts back to buffy et al. things are just a little more melodramatic and hilarious. "faith, go for the heart!"

    -"i like the quiet."

    i have never loved alexander harris more than at this moment.

    -oz ate dead people…that's gross.

    -WE FINALLY GET SOME MUCH-NEEDED XANDER CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. the rest of the scoobies will never know what he went through, will never know that he saved all of their lives (i rather like this cos there are some things that you just need to keep for yourself). and for the first time in his life, xander is able to walk away from cordelia, and her below-the-belt-insults, with a knowing smile on his face. (tenagrq, gur jevgref gnxr guvf njnl sebz uvz VZZRQVNGRYL va gur arkg rcvfbqr jura ur hggref gur jbeqf "ubbxre jrne." ohg sbe gung, v oynzr gur fubj naq abg knaqre.)

    • stephanie says:

      v'z univat ivfvbaf bs frnfba 4 ohssl unve, naq v qb abg nccebir.)

      fur nyjnlf unq gung unve sbe gur "penmvrf" fbzrguvat oyhr pbzrf gb zvaq

    • etherealclarity says:

      "oz ate dead people…that's gross."


      • tornflames says:


        I always thought that bumped it up from gross to disturbing and distressing. I mean, can you imagine?!

        …also, does it count toward the death total when zombies are, uh, digested? They're dead already, but so are the vamps. Hmm.

    • @sesinkhorn says:

      Aw, I kinda like Buffy's crimpy/wavey hair in this ep. But I've been known to wear my own hair that way *shifty eyes*

      • Seventh_Star says:

        l like waves! but, to me, the execution of that look in this episode was…sub par. ha. vg VF qbar zhpu orggre va frnfba sbhe, ohg vg fgvyy frrzf n yvggyr bss fbzrgvzrf.

  6. Kickpuncher says:

    Thoughts on The Zeppo:

    -oh my gee, this is all so dramatic I am prepared for a very serious episode.

    -Yup I am ready for an emotionally crushing character study of Xander and his inferiority complex. Be gentle Mr. Whedon.

    -oh my golly, this guy is menacing.

    -Jack O’Toole. That name is really on the nose, isn’t it?

    -what is cool? Cordy, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. No more.

    -Oz, you’re a loose cannon werewolf who doesn’t play by the rules!

    -Also a really crummy-looking werewolf I mean god damn.

    -Xander, this car thing is working for you. Keep it up.

    -“Something’s happening. I’ve seen portents.” lmao Angel are you for real?

    -It’s Jacko Tool! :O

    -poor Giles and his lack of jellies.

    -That’s a pretty big knife.

    -Xander you are making poor life decisions. Moreso than usual, that is.

    -Zombies. Yep.

    -Xander didn’t even get anything broken this time, the conceit that all of a sudden everyone’s concerned about how ~fragile~ he is feels a little forced.

    -no Xander you are the demons. And then Xander was a zombie.

    -Hahaha, that thing with Faith certainly was a thing.

    -This scene will be very important a few episodes from now, in “Teacher’s Pet II: Pet Harder”

    -Those aren’t cake ingredients! Those aren’t cake ingredients AT ALL.

    -lmao this is how I see every Buffy/Angel scene in existence lmao forever

    -These happenings seem incredibly serious

    -I love that scene with the mailbox and junk.

    -“Good for chopping.” Now THAT was a necessary line.

    -“I like the quiet.” wow, Xander, you’re super cool.

    -Here lies Jackoff Tool. He made a bomb and is dead by warwelf.

    -Moral of the story: If you want to be cool, keep your dumbass mouth quiet.

    Also bad news for those cool Megadeth loving kids. Dave Mustaine endorsed Rick fucking Santorum.

  7. knut_knut says:

    I don’t really know what to think of this episode. Since the main story was played for laughs, I had a hard time figuring out if I was supposed to take the apocalypse seriously, especially since it was off-screen. All we got were these super melodramatic scenes, like the one between Buffy and Angel, that I couldn’t stop laughing at, and those giant tentacle-like plant things? Plant-like tentacle things? I think it was supposed to be over the top and funny, but I had a hard time getting into it for some reason.

    I did like the main story and I thought it was funny, but even in his own episode, Xander gets the dregs. I don’t feel like I know Xander any better having seen this, although I do like his newfound confidence at the end. I can’t tell if the writers were going for this, but so far I think Zeppo is the zeppo of season 3.

    But I did love how upset Giles gets about the jelly donuts! Except, jelly donuts are the worst. Judging you, Giles.

  8. Jenny_M says:

    The Xander plot in this I can take or leave, since he's never been a character I cared much about. It's well-written character growth, and I don't have much more to say about it than that.

    However, the meta-hilarity that the writers do with the 'apocalypse' cracks my shit up every time.

    "This is the worst thing we've EVER faced!" "I've watched you die once, I won't do it again!" That is comedy GOLD! (And I know I screwed up those quotes, but I'm not going to go and look them up.)

  9. hpfish13 says:

    This is #6 on Joss’s list of top 12 episodes he didn’t write, and here’s why:

    “Deconstruction can be constructive! And wicked funny.”

    I don’t have much to say about this episode. It’s interesting from a storytelling perspective, but overall I’m kind of ambivalent about this episode.

    Things I did like
    •The Jimmy Olsen joke, coupled with the Kryptonite discussion in the last episode, makes me start to buy Xander as a geek with geeky knowledge. I can’t think of any particularly geek conversations he’s had in the past…
    •Xander’s ridiculously blue car
    •Xander’s reaction to when Angel show’s up at the Bronze
    Xander: Angel! Buddy! Friend-buddy. (gestures at the table) You wanna sit and talk?
    Angel: (comes over) I'm looking for Buffy.
    Xander: Library, last I saw.
    Angel: Something's happening. I've seen portents.
    Xander: (grins) The Apocalypse. They're on top of it.
    Angel: I don't think they know what they're dealing with.
    Xander: Let's go there… and tell them that.
    •The whole “Again, Katie’s springing to mind” conversation.
    •“Hey, they’re not baking any cake!
    •Xander interrupting Buffy and Angel’s angsting
    •“Yeah, but this is different. Being blowed up isn't walking around and drinking with your buddies dead. It's little bits being swept up by a janitor dead, and I don't think you're ready for that.”

    And official things!
    Episode 13: The Zeppo
    Written by Dan Vebber, Directed by James Whitmore Jr.
    Original Airdate: 1/26/99
    “Is Xander losing his cool? When a series of incidents lead Cordelia to remark that he is useless compared to his friends, who are Slayers and werewolves, Xander sets out to prove her wrong. But joining a gang and fooling around with Faith might get him into more trouble than ever.”

    • Laneswitch says:

      Loosing his cool? Did i miss something in the past two seasons?

      • Kickpuncher says:

        Uh, did you SEE him pose for the yearbook in Homecoming? Number one cool dude forever based on that tbh.

    • cait0716 says:

      I like how long it takes Xander to realize that they are not baking a cake with supplies from the hardware store.

    • I love that this is one of the only interactions between Xander and Angel where Xander isn't consumed by hatred of Angel. In fact, he doesn't seem to bear any grudge at all really. He does seem to have grown as a person since "kick his ass."

      • hpfish13 says:

        I think you see the inklings of this when he volunteers to help research to help Angel in Amends. It's amazing how much has changed in a few short months.

    • g_aurelia says:

      This is #6 on Joss’s list of top 12 episodes he didn’t write

      Where is this list? I vaguely remember it, but it's been a while.

      • hpfish13 says:

        It's from the episode guide that comes with the Chosen collection (which is also where I get the episode summaries)

  10. darkwater says:

    Truly one of my fav episodes, if only for two bits… the face off between Xander and Jack.. and Xander just walking past Cordy at the end with a knowing smirk.

    • cait0716 says:

      I love that he finally realizes that he doesn't have to engage with her. He's gotten to a point that her snark doesn't affect his self-image and it's a beautiful thing

  11. I like this episode, and the whole idea behind it – focusing on the B-story, while the A-story is just barely alluded to every now and then. It's so ridiculous … I mean, the rest of the Scoobies are trying to stop (another) apocalypse, and yet here we are, getting all wrapped up in Zander's zombie problems and sex romp with Faith. Dr. Who has done a "Zeppo"like episode once a year since 2006 where they do the same thing – they call it the "Doctor-lite" episode.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      And there's that one X-Files episode in season 7, I think.

    • Seventh_Star says:

      i just read today that rtd was inspired by this episode to write "love and monsters". i thought that was neat.

    • 1979semifinalist says:

      I also love the idea of this episode – with the B-story becoming the focus and the huge important A-story on the sideline. But I still find myself unimpressed by most of it…I don't know why, maybe because Xander centric episodes never quite work for me? I'm not sure. I did really like Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered…so maybe that's not it?

      Anyway, just wanted to say "agreed" on the A/B reversal. Very clever. If the B story was focused on a character I liked more…maybe I would have felt differently.

      • whedonzombie says:

        Completely agreed– great idea, but left me unimpressed. For me, though, I don't think Xander was the problem. The monsters were the problem. I was sooo bored by the zom-boys. I LOVE me some zombies… but I hated these guys for some reason. I found them 100% uninteresting. If he had gone up against a villain that was just a little more threatening, or perhaps something a bit more mystical… IDK. They just left me with a severe case of "Meh".

  12. lurknomore says:

    I like the episode, but honestly, I just can't believe that Xander would be so supremely confident that he wouldn't tell the Scoobies what he had done. There's character growth, and then there is forcing a conclusion. I love the scene where Xander faces down Jack, but I can't imagine he wouldn't have at least tried to tell his friends about his surreal night.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I don't think it was forced.
      Xander had just heard how his friends stopped the world from ending, they talk about how scared they were and Oz and Angel were seriously hurt. He might have made a stupid joke, but he wouldn't brag about stopping a zombie from blowing up the school. Xander has many flaws, but he is not arrogant.
      I think he was proud of his actions and that was all he needed at the moment.

  13. etherealclarity says:

    For the most part, the plot of this episode is cheesy and annoying. I am not a big fan of the dead people gang thing. Just, meh.

    But what I love about this episode is two fold:

    1) It gives Xander some much needed confidence and opportunities to shine, and
    2) It gently pokes fun at the melodrama

    Number 2 is particularly poignant for me when Xander interrupts Buffy and Angel together, because at this point in the series, I am MORE THAN FULLY SICK of Buffy/Angel. I just don't care anymore. Too much boring will they/won't they drama. I don't think they were a particularly interesting couple to begin with, but by Amends I was definitely looking at my watch and saying "Okay, can we get this over with already?" So to have the show acknowledge the melodrama with such gentle humor was like a breath of fresh air for me.

    So overall, I do really like this episode, even if I'm not the biggest fan of the plot per-se.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Nsgre "Ynfg Tyrnzvat", V ubcr Ohssl/Natry vf qrnq. Ubarfgyl, vg fubhyq unir orra qrnq orsber gung, ohg gung qnearq fragvrag qvzrafvba unq gb znxr gurz qb vg. V zhpu cersre Ohssl jvgu Fcvxr naq Natry jvgu Pbeqryvn naq yngre Snvgu, gubfr eryngvbafuvcf ner zber zngher.

      Re, abg gung V'z fnlvat Natry naq Snvgu jvyy or ebznagvpnyyl vaibyirq, ohg V fgvyy cersre gurz gbtrgure.

      • etherealclarity says:

        Definitely agreed with all of this.

        Note to others – there are some specifically Buffy season 8 comic spoilers in the comment above.

      • darkwater says:

        V oneryl ernq nal bs gur Ohssl Frnfba 8 fghss gubhtu V xrcg gnof ba gur fgbel. Arire ernq Nsgre Gur Snyy rvgure. Ohg V jnf guvaxvat nobhg trggvat gur Natry/Snvgu vffhrf… pnhfr V yvxr gurz. 🙂

    • Hanna_the_Glam says:

      "I am MORE THAN FULLY SICK of Buffy/Angel"

      Gur fvatyr terngrfg Onatry zbzrag sbe zr vf jura Jrfyrl naq Pbeql ner cnebqlvat Natry naq Ohssl va "Serqyrff".

      • Karen says:



      • Plactus says:

        "Bu, V ybir lbh fb zhpu V nyzbfg sbetbg gb oebbq!"

        Hayvxr gur fprar va guvf rcvfbqr, juvpu qvqa'g fgevxr zr nf shaal orpnhfr… abg gung qvssrerag sebz gurve abezny fprarf gbtrgure nf sne nf V pbhyq gryy, gung jnf uvynevbhf.

  14. monkeybutter says:

    Excuse you, Cordelia defeated Lyle Gorch using only her attitude. If that's not a special skill, I don't know what is.

  15. holypotatoes says:

    I have never liked this episode. People can praise Xanders 'save the day' actions all they want but had he not gotten involved with the dead guys in the first place, there wouldn't have been a bomb to diffuse. I'd much rather have watched the actual apocalypse that was going on tbh.

    • canyonoflight says:

      Because he could've predicted that? C'mon. Give me a break.

    • Tina says:

      Huh..; they could have walk to the shop you know. Or use Jack's car. So yes, they would have made the bomb with or without Xander in the story.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      Who knows, the zombies could have still made a bomb even without Xander, all they had to do was steal a car.
      It's not as if Xander gave them the idea to blow up the school or helped raise them from their graves.

  16. Noybusiness says:

    "Dead Guys With Bombs"

    [youtube cMDSegfmgdY youtube]

    • mreeb says:

      This is one of my very favourite pieces of score. It's so perfectly melodramatic and whimsical all at once!

  17. NB2000 says:

    Yay Faith is back, Giles is out of his tweed, WIllow's doing magic and BUFFY WHAT ON EARTH HAVE YOU DONE TO YOUR HAIR? This is so much worse than the random short fringe she suddenly had in Amends.


    It's hilarious to me too. It's such a Sunnydale thing, they're fratboys who are ALSO ZOMBIES. They have priorities like making sure someone taped their favourite show while they were, you know, dead. The cut from Willy talking about how you'd spend your last night on Earth to "LET'S GET SOME BEERS!" is just perfect at setting them up.

    Willow patting the unconscious Werewolf!Oz is adorable. also "I'm oddly full today", hee and eww.

    • 1979semifinalist says:

      Co-signed. This was by far the worst year for Buffy's hair with the hideous short bangs in Amends and now this.

      Gurl gel guvf "vg'f nyzbfg anghenyyl pheyl" guvat jvgu FZT'f unve n pbhcyr gvzrf naq vg'f whfg ubeevoyr.

      Npghnyyl V'z abg fher vs gurl qb vg ntnva nsgre frnfba 4, ohg vg'f greevoyr (sbe gur fnzr ernfba nf guvf rcvfbqr) va Fbzrguvat Oyhr bar bs zl snibevgr rcvfbqrf RIRE naq ure unve obguref zr va rirel fprar.

      • _Bailey_ says:

        Zber guna gur pevzcrq fglyr V qvfyvxr gur fubeg phg fur fcbegf va F6. V trg jul gur punenpgre phg vg/jul gur jevgref qrpvqrq gb unir ure phg vg, ohg V nyjnlf unir naq nyjnlf jvyy cersre Ohssl jvgu ybatre unve.

        V nyfb yvxr vg orggre jura vg'f oevtug oybaqr nf bccbfrq gb gur zber angheny ubarl oybaqr fur fcbegf va F1, F5 naq F6.

        • 1979semifinalist says:

          Uhu. Gung'f shaal – V cersre gur zber angheny ybbx sbe ure – qrsvavgryl cersreevat ure unve va F5 (gur orfg unve rire!) naq F6 naq F7 gb cerivbhf frnfbaf. Gubhtu V guvax F1 vf gbb qnex. Va F3 rfcrpvnyyl vg'f ybbxvat ernyyl qnzntrq – rfcrpvnyyl va gur Cebz rcvfbqr. 🙁 Nygubhtu gurer ner gvzrf va guvf frnfba jura vg'f whfg TBETRBHF – yvxr va Onq Tveyf naq Pbafrdhraprf.

          Gubhtu V nterr ybatre vf orggre obgu sbe Ohssl naq sbe FZT

          V'z cerggl fher V urneq ba n qverpgbe'f pbzzragnel gung FZT jnagrq gb phg ure unve qhevat F6, fb gurl jebgr vg va gb gur fubj.

          • _Bailey_ says:

            Vg'f vagrerfgvat gung FZT jnagrq gb phg vg, pbafvqrevat gung fur terj vg evtug onpx bhg ntnva.

            F7 vf zl snibhevgr unve. V qb yvxr gur jnl vg'f fglyrq va F5, naq V qba'g zvaq gur pbybhe nf zhpu nf V qb va F1 naq F6. V guvax cneg bs vg vf gung V sbhaq gur punatr xvaq bs wneevat — tbvat sebz oevtug naq fgenvtug gb zber angheny naq jnil. V nyfb jngpurq F4 ynfg, fb V nyfb tbg uvg jvgu FZT'f engure qenzngvp jrvtug ybff gung unccrarq bire gur pbhefr bs F4. Rira abj V fgvyy zragnyyl qvivqr gur fubj F1-3/F4/F5-7, naq V guvax nyy gur punatrf va Ohssl'f nccrnenapr unir fbzrguvat gb qb jvgu gung.

    • Karen says:

      LOL YES BUFFY'S HAIR IS SO BAD. Ugh. There are a lot of Buffy Hair Disasters on this show. Yhpxvyl gur fubj zbirf cnfg vg nsgre gur unve pevzcvat qvfnfgre bs frnfba 4. Ure unve va frnfbaf 5-7 vf cerggl synjyrff. NYFB V PNAABG ORYVRIR V WHFG EBG13'Q SBE UNVE FCBVYREF.

      • Kari18212 says:

        Yby, FZT'f unve vf jbegul bs n ybg bs qvfphffvba. Bar jrofvgr V'ir frra gung unf erpnccrq n srj rcvfbqrf bs Evatre qbrf vg ol frcnengvat jung unccraf va gur rcvfbqr qhevat rnpu unveqb bs uref (juvpu fnlf n ybg nobhg gur dhnyvgl bs gung fubj abg tbaan yvr..) yby. Gbgnyyl nterr nobhg ure unve va 5-7 gubhtu, ure frnfba 5 unve rfcrpvnyyl vf ORNHGVSHY va rirel rcvfbqr. V unir ybgf bs wrnybhfl nobhg vg yby.

        • Karen says:

          WHATEVER WHATEVER. I LEGIT LOVE RINGER IN A NON-IRONIC WAY. It's just so full of soapy goodness.

          • hpfish13 says:

            Me too!!! This weeks episode was particularly good!

            I love Revenge for similar reasons!

            • Kari18212 says:

              I WANT to love Ringer so badly, because it's Buffy, but I actually think that watching Revenge has made me less interested in it. IMO, Revenge does all of the soapy goodness kind of… better. I FEEL SO BAD SAYING THAT lol I was so sure I would love anything SMG was in, but it's just… not working for me. Also, I legit watch 13 shows each week (WOW THAT'S A LOT) so if I'm not really interested, I guess I should be doing homework instead…. Real life getting in the way of my TV viewing. My life is so tough lol.

              • hpfish13 says:

                I know what you mean, I watch about 15 shows a week and sometimes something isn't grabbing you enough to keep it in a schedule as daunting as that (Jane By Design is becoming this for me). Revenge is so much fun, and just a little bit more removed from reality (I think due to it's Hamptons setting), which isn't a bad thing! I loved this latest episode in particular!

          • Dru says:

            It's on the bubble and in danger of getting cancelled!

            SAVE RINGER, US VIEWERS. PLEASE!!! (I love it too. Buffy+Hornblower – what's not to like about that?)

            • Riel says:

              In danger of getting canceled?? No, no, no, how can they cancel it when something like One Tree Hill still exist!! Come on!

      • nanceoir says:

        In fairness, I think we've all had our share of our own Hair Disasters in high school… and beyond.

        (Actually, I don't think high school was too bad for me; I mostly just let it grow really, really long, and I had an on-again, off-again relationship with bangs that last for years. But seventh grade was pretty bad, what with the crappy home perm….)

        • misterbernie says:

          Oh, hair disasters… I remember having shoulder-length hair. Then I remember getting really drunk on somebody's roof one night. Then my then-BFF gave me a hair cut. Oh dear.

        • hpfish13 says:

          For me the worst was when my mom said she wouldn't cut my bangs anymore. I tried to get my dad to do it, but he's a perfectionist. So, he cut them, and said "oh wait, they're a little bit crooked, let me fix them." Then he repeated this about 10 times. Before I knew it, I had bangs like Buffy's in Amends.

          That was the moment I decided to grow out my bangs….

        • Karen says:

          My biggest hair disaster occurred when I was 2 years old. It was a Saturday and my mom was working, so my dad was left in charge of us. He did a ~great~ job. My four year old sister got her hands on some scissors and we decided to play hair dresser. She cut my hair super short, but then for SOME REASON when it was MY turn to be the stylist, she didn't want to play anymore.

          Anyway, after that my mom just decided to keep our hair short since it was easier that way until I was 6 years old and told my mom I wanted long hair. AND SINCE I CAN, HERE IS A PICTURE OF MY SISTER AND I:

          <img src=""&gt;
          I'm the one on the right.I blame that short haircut for the fact that I never again cut my hair above my shoulders until I was in my 20s.

          • misterbernie says:

            Your hair looks adorable on that pic, though 😀

            I remember vaguely that my mom had my hair cut supershort in kindergarten and I felt so awful that for one day, I absolutely refused to go.

            Which, given my hair length progression over the past 8 years, is all kinds of hilarious in retrospective:
            <img src=""&gt;
            (The one on the left is pre-drunk haircut, but not really much better)

          • hpfish13 says:

            My sister did this to me too, when I was about 4! But while I was asleep. My hair was maybe an inch long at the longest parts. Everyone thought I was a little boy for a while.

      • 1979semifinalist says:


        /abg 🙂

  18. James says:

    I actually really like this episode. The apocalypse is a B-plot! That's just… fantastic. As is the bit where Angel and Buffy are having one of their ~dramatic angst~ moments and Xander interrupts and they just stare at him til he leaves. LOVE. I just like Xander's realisation that he doesn't need recognition to matter and that "the essence of cool" is… not caring about whether or not anyone thinks you're cool. (He still has a way to go, but yay for growth!)

  19. lawrence_s says:

    So this may seem relatively minor, but does anyone else completely not buy the idea that Cordelia would even be familiar with the Marx Brothers?

    Otherwise, I have very little to say about this skippable episode. I think pretty much everyone behaves WAY too out of character for me to even want to accept that it happened at all.

    • Nattlinnen says:

      Yea sure… but still it is the perfect name, so, why not?

    • monkeybutter says:

      What? She can't have layers?

      • cait0716 says:

        Not to mention a ridiculous amount of free time since losing her boyfriend and all her friends in one fell swoop a few months ago. Every time she's gotten involved in the action in the past few episodes it's because her parents are acting weird. I could see her learning all sorts of random pop culture stuff in that situation

    • settlingforhistory says:

      For me it is simply what TV tropes calls "popcultural osmosis", facts of shows or books that everybody knows, without having a clue about the actual plot.
      So she could know the reference without ever having watched anything by the Marx Brothers, just like people who know almost nothing about Harry Potter will understand what you mean when you say you want a Hogwarts letter.

  20. Nattlinnen says:

    1) I love that Xander is "the Zeppo" of all unimportant characters. Good taste.
    2) I dislike the parody element. Too extreme for my taste. or maybe not. Clearly I'm editing myself to unsure…
    3) Frankly I like Xander. I hate him much, quite often, but I like him. (Much because I never loved Cordy, mainly due to her bullying of willow in episode 1, season 1)
    4) Ron in Harry Potter – Xander in BtVS is a given comparison.

    • Binx says:

      I like that you hold Cordy accountable for her bullying. Now, I do quite often enjoy Cordy's character just for the entertainment factor, but I've always had a hard time honestly liking her as a person. In fact, I'm quite sure that I'd hate her in real life.

      She's not only been horrible to Willow, but what hits me the hardest is her incessant poor treatment of Buffy. Buffy's saved her and the rest of the world how many times? And she knows this. Yet still she constantly rags on her outfits, hair, complexion, calls her a freak, etc. Buffy's strong and her and the rest of her group always dismiss that behavior as simply "Cordelia being Cordelia", but I would never allow someone to talk to my friend that way, or to anyone. I would shun Ms. Chase so fast it isn't even funny. I don't care that she's brave or has a heart buried underneath it all because the negative qualities overwhelm that for me.

    • Binx says:

      Oh, and if Xander is Ron, then Cordelia is Malfoy lol. Of course, I always got a bit of a kick out of him and his pompousness too, and we also got to see glimpses of his vulnerabilities and feelings, but just as with Cordy – it's not enough for me to actually wholeheartedly *like* you.

  21. 00guera00 says:

    I like this episode. I like that Xander actually gets depth and growth beyond crude, jealous, inappropriate joke teller. This is the Xander I like.

    I think 'cool' is relative. Kinda like 'pretty' or 'attractive.'

    V gbgnyyl sbetbg Snvgu qbrfa'g gel gb fgenatyr Knaqre gur svefg gvzr gurl unir frk fb V jnf ernyyl pbashfrq Znex qvqa'g pbzzrag ba vg…lol, it's been awhile since I've seen Season Three.

  22. Inseriousity says:

    I'm not really fond of this episode. I mean yeah it does show that perhaps the 'macho'/I need to be a man stereotype that Xander craves to be isn't who you have to be. You can be whoever you want to be rather than a one size fits all 'you are a man, this is what you should be, how you should look, how you should behave etc'. Despite that positive message, I just find the whole thing really boring.

  23. t09yavosaur says:

    Finally I am here and free when the post goes up this week. Between being out late and having to post from class my week of Buffy was almost as all over the place as the end of this episode.

    Mark, being the lead in a musical is the coolest thing ever in my opinion. I was too shy to want to ever be the lead but in Middle school I had about 20 different background roles (and I suppose one lead), until I didn't make it into the eighth grade musical. Theater is still one of my favorite things.

    -What the devil is going on here?
    -Oh, some awesome teamwork. Go team. Nice sword.
    -I don't know if I would trust marshmallows cooked over demon. Could be toxic.
    -Two Superman references in a row!
    -I like your necklace Hostile Lunch Quad Guy.
    -I also like Xander's banter when he is trying to cool someone down.
    -Nooo, don't goad him Cordy. That doesn't usually lead to good shenanigans.
    -Return of the Hydra Worm?
    -Is Oz a mutating werewolf or something? This is getting ridiculous!
    -Spirit Guides. Sound interesting. Can we meet them?
    -What do you even need a knife that big for?
    -Xander. You have fought vampires. People rising from the dead isn't setting off any alarm bells?
    -Huh, seems like the Spirit Guides are snobs.
    -Uncle Bob's Magic Cabinet. 🙂
    -This is so strange*. The end of the world is a background story.
    -Fire axes again! Seriously, schools are smarter than that at least.
    -This is Xander in a zombie apocalypse movie.
    -This is like the Chuck version of an episode of Buffy. Does Xander have any apple juice?
    -I was waiting for Oz to show up. How did Willow lock him up down there without seeing the bomb?
    -Now Joss is just being obnoxious.

    I take back my earlier statement. Cordelia goading him led to some very entertaining, if completely fantastic, shenanigans.

    *The original word I was going to use here was bonkers. I saw “nuts” called out by the mods the other day and I wanted to know is bonkers ableist as well?

    • pica_scribit says:

      What do you even need a knife that big for?

      Compensating for…something?

    • hpfish13 says:

      Maybe he needs the knife for hunting crocodiles?

    • Noybusiness says:

      I thought Ozwolf was the same as in "Beauty and the Beasts".

      "and I wanted to know is bonkers ableist as well? "

      If it's a synonym for "crazy" and used as a bad thing/insult or even a descriptor of outrageous extremity, then yes.

      • t09yavosaur says:

        They didnt really focus on him for long but he looked grayer, shaggier and his face looked darker/different too. I admit it could have been the bad quality of my video.

        When I use crazy I never mean crazy as a bad thing (I call myself crazy all the time) so that still leaves me uncertain. Do you mean if it has ever been used that way?

        • Noybusiness says:

          I think I read they only changed Ozwolf after his first appearance.

          Yes, any synonym of "crazy" (or "dumb" or "lame"). Even if the meaning is "crazy good". And if you want to talk about someone who has an actual mental illness, also avoid slangy words like "crazy" or "bonkers", just talk about "mental illness" in factual terms.

          • t09yavosaur says:

            Tangent: What do you mean by synonym's of dumb? Did you have any in mind or did you pick it at random? I can't think of any that have ableist meanings of their own and the ones I can think of are only synonyms because of the past ableist usage that has led to its common modern "definition".

    • Mart says:

      I think 'bonkers' wouldn't have done it either.

      Strictly speaking, you are not using a synonym for mental disorders to give something a negative slant. In your context it would mean "this is how I imagine someone with delusions to view the world". That does not, however, make this usage OK, because in the end it is still you as a (presumably) mentally healthy person imposing your idea of what mental disorders are.

      And as long as there are perfectly serviceable synonyms like 'weird' or 'strange' around, why bother taking the risk of offending someone?

      Of course, in some English dialects, 'queer' would have been perfectly acceptable.

      • t09yavosaur says:

        Thanks for the explaination. That is why I put it in a note and not in my actual list. The problem I have with synonyms sometimes is that I can't always find one that fits my feelings in the same way. By societal standards I am a mentally healthy individual and I would never call anyone with a mental illness "crazy" etc. in relation to their illness. However, I also know my definition is not the same as some peoples and I am determined not to offend anyone if possible; I have successfully avoided using such words on this site in particular. I just wanted to be sure of other words that apply as well, to add to my mental list.

  24. Frankincense says:

    I really liked this episode, but one thing about it kinda irked me.

    It's the fact that Buffy is basically telling Xander to stay away from the fighting because he is too weak without any kind of super powers … one week after she herself was forced to fight with no super powers, and prove that the power isn't what makes her a hero, it's the will to fight evil regardless.

    Also, we've seen in the past that Xander is fairly competent fighter given that he has no powers or training, so it seemed kind of contrived to suddenly have everyone think he can't be useful, especially if they think this is gonna be the end of the world. I mean, he's gonna die if you fail, so why turn down his help?

    • DonSample says:

      Buffy nearly got herself killed, twice, fighting without superpowers, and only escaped by the skin of her teeth, both times. This might make her hypersensitive to the risks to other people doing so.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      It bothered me a lot that they were all "You little weak mortal, you should stay out of this for your own good."
      Sure, he almost died fighting the demons, but they are all in danger most of the time.
      I think it may be part of the deconstruction though, letting Xander play the role of Jimmy Olsen who gets in rediculous situations and has to be saved by superman again and again. And here finally he saves himself and everybody else.

    • LadyPeyton says:

      The way I see it, we have no way of knowing if that's exactly what she said, or what he heard. The episode is so strongly skewed to his perspective that I think what *we're* seeing and hearing is affected by what he sees and hears.

    • robin_comments says:

      It's the fact that Buffy is basically telling Xander to stay away from the fighting because he is too weak without any kind of super powers … one week after she herself was forced to fight with no super powers, and prove that the power isn't what makes her a hero, it's the will to fight evil regardless.
      yeah… I think that part was basically contrivance, because that really isn't behavior we see much outside of this episode. One of those things where they're writing to push the plot forward instead of thinking about characterization continuity.

  25. Anninyn says:

    Xander gets character development! Though not much! I'll take it, as on rewatches, I'm not sure why I like him. I just do, alright? I just do.

  26. Karen says:

    RTD cited this episode as one of the inspirations for “Love and Monsters” which is an episode of Doctor Who that a lot of people hate and which I actually quite like for the first 35 minutes (the last 10 minutes are no bueno though). These episodes both take something that would normally be relegated into the background and pushes them to the foreground while what would normally be the main plot gets pushed to the back. So in this episode, there is an entire apocalypse going on in the background while Xander is dealing with his own side plot that becomes the central focus of the episode. And, you know, I think it’s an interesting way to deconstruct the way an episode normally plays out. It’s definitely interesting to think about what could be going on in the background while Buffy is dealing with another apocalypse. But at the same time, as much as I enjoy this episode on a theoretical level, I don’t find myself wanting to rewatch it. Maybe it’s because I don’t care about Xander much as a character. If the same concept had been applied to Cordelia maybe I would have liked it more?

    Speaking of Cordelia, she knows exactly how to hurt Xander. She knows just what to say and which buttons to push. But by the end of the episode, Cordy can’t hurt him anymore because Xander knows that he isn’t useless, that he can accomplish things on his own etc etc.

    I’m not sure how I feel about Xander and Faith having sex and the implication that this is part of his journey into being as man/becoming confident in this episode. Idk. Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me.

    Things about this episode that I enjoy:
    – Buffy asking if Xander’s new ride is a penis metaphor.
    – The throwaway line about taping Walker Texas Ranger for the undead meathead.
    – Giles being sad about the lack of jelly donuts.
    – The over the top Buffy/Angel scene that I think is supposed to mock the ~drama of their relationship.

    • pica_scribit says:

      I’m not sure how I feel about Xander and Faith having sex and the implication that this is part of his journey into being as man/becoming confident in this episode. Idk. Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me.

      I sort of saw it the opposite way. It seemed to me like the writers were showing us that, while sexual initiation is supposed to be a major right of passage into adulthood, it's actually sort of incidental and doesn't really change who you are. Any boost Xander got out of it is almost negated by Faith immediately kicking him out.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Who hates Love & Monsters? It's one of the favorite episodes at my house.

      • Karen says:

        haha. A lot of people. That blowjob joke at the end is pretty gross and yeah the entire last 10 minutes are not great. But I do like it on the level of an examination of the people the Doctor leaves behind as well as an affectionate take on fandom with all the LINDA stuff.

        • Noybusiness says:

          Weird. That episode is pure awesome.

        • sporkaganza93 says:

          I honestly can deal with everything except the gross tile-person thing. What the fuck is your problem, RTD. Everything else is awesome though. And I love the little speech Elton makes at the end of that episode too.

      • Kickpuncher says:

        The thing with Ursula (I think that’s her name) being turned into a slab of concrete is kind of the most horrifying thing I can imagine, and for many people, including myself, it ruins the whole episode.

        But it’s treated like a happy ending because lol Elton gets blowjobs. Ugh.

        • Noybusiness says:

          And she'd be better off melted? It's *supposed* to be bittersweet.

          • alwaysAmy says:

            Death is not the worst fate.
            How long is she going to be a slab of concrete? How long is she dependant on Elton's willingness to support her? She knows she's stuck. What happens if she wants out of that relationship? What happens if he does?
            What does she do when she's alone?

            Bittersweet does not cover it, It's an awful ending, no sugar coating it.

            • Karen says:

              Yep. But I do genuinely like the first two-thirds of the episodes so when I rewtch, I tend to just watch the first 35 minutes and then pretend the rest doesn't exist. The ending is a bunch of poorly thought out writing.

            • ScarecrowCeno says:

              Take out the SF "concrete slab"ness and put in severely disable person and then try the same argument. I think certainly, especially in Doctor Who, the message is about life and embracing it whatever the circumstances.

              • alwaysAmy says:

                The SciFi-ness is not the issue,
                Being that severely disabled, total paralysis, totally dependant on one person for everything, and being clearly aware of it all is my personal nightmare.

                It's basically Ursula is in a horrible accident and a doctor performs a miracle saving her life and leaving her total care up to someone she just started dating. So He hides her in his room, Her only human contact is Elton. How long does this last? Can she die now at all? What happens if something happens to Elton? How long is she stuck?

                I repeat, death is not the worst fate.

  27. @sesinkhorn says:

    Most. Uncomfortable. Sex scene. Ever. Well, okay, not ever, I'm sure people could list off approximately 34926 more awkward sex scenes. It just makes me feel weird. Not because it was bad or wrong, just… IDK. As a teen, I very much romanticized sex (because I wasn't having any and we know how that works out), and my reaction was very, "Wait. Wait. You mean they just DID IT and it was like… no big deal? No long Dawson's Creek monologues and angsting? WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" It was very eye opening for me at 16.

    I don't really know how to feel about this episode. I like that they explored Xander's everyman-ness and gave him a moment to shine. I like that he shows some growth by not making a big deal and immediately rushing to his friends to tell them about how HE'S A MAN NOW or anything else equally gross and eyeroll-worthy. I like that he's finding his place in the group. But there were things that just felt weird and off to me here, too. Which might have been the point? I don't know.

    I do love the disjointed and off-kilter framing of the episode. There's another apocalypse and all this drama and heavy angsting and potentially deeply-moving character displays of bravery and passion and… we don't see ANY of it. It's only implied by the brief glimpses Xander gets through the episode. It's really fun meta-commentary on how things like this happen to these characters ALL. THE. TIME. This is a day at the office for them! SAVING THE WORLD IS COMMON PRACTICE. It's just cool.


  28. znachki says:

    On being cool and high school. It's only when you've been out of it that you find out that you were noticed by people you never thought paid any attention to you, that you were admired by people that you admired, that you may have influenced people in ways you never knew. Truely. It happened to me, much like it happened to you Mark. Not that my situation was anything like yours. I'm a straight white women, and am probably old enought to be the mother of most of the est of you. But at my 10-year reunion, I had more than one conversation that left me with my mouth figuratively hanging open.

    Pesrpective, and being out of your own head space. That's what it takes.

  29. poppetawoppet says:

    I sort of love this episode? Like I like Xander, despite/because of all his flaws, and I love that his character growth is outside the Scoobies, and also Michael Cudlitz(I hope I spelled that right) and he’s awesome, and I kind of was all ewewwwwww about Faith/Xander, but I like that it was sort of treated as a one-tine deal? Um. I’d have clearer thoughts but I’m on my iPod and yeah.

  30. I definitely have my own sense of "cool." The people in High School I admired from afar were probably other nerds like me, but I thought they were the most interesting people, way too cool for me.

    I always try to live up to my own standards of "cool," and I found out the hard way that my standards didn't quite line up with the rest of my friends when a very close friend called me out for being "annoying" and "immature" in 10th grade. Cue my social anxieties, decrease in self-worth, and introversion during my remaining high school years (and my subsequent college years).

    I still think I'm cool. I just know other people don't.

  31. haguenite says:

    I just really love the way the show pokes fun at itself in this episode. I'm not really too bothered about Xander either way (as in, I'm not WOOOO XANDER and I'm not UGH I HATE YOUR GUTS), but I like that he's finally given a little more depth (even if that depth is partly more of the same) and that "I like the quiet" line is just PERFECTLY DELIVERED and it makes me want to drop my…
    Well… Let's just say there's a gif for that. <img src=""&gt;

  32. L_Storm says:

    "Ur jnagf gb or gur thl jub zvenphybhfyl fnirf gur qnl"

    (warning a brief dr who spoiler) …hzzz, jryy ur qbrf fnir gur jbeyq sebz Jvyybj ol gnyxvat nobhg penlbaf. Ertneqyrff, vg znxrf zr guvax bs ubj Zvpxrl fnirf gur jbeyq jvgu n ovt lryybj gehpx.

  33. cait0716 says:

    I love this episode. The structure is just so great. We have this whole apocalypse that happens offscreen. Meanwhile, Xander is more or less experiencing Ferris Bueller's Day Off. With zombies!

    One of my favorite cuts of the entire series is this one:
    "I'd be thinking bout how I wanna spend my last night on Earth"

    The fight between Buffy and Angel is incredibly melodramatic. I mean, the two of them can get pretty melodramatic (see Amends). But I almost wonder if we're not seeing them from Xander's POV in that scene

  34. theoopsgirl says:

    I LOVE this episode. We see a different side of Xander, and the rest of the cast is at their best (and by best, I mean hammiest). Also, I have to say, I find Xander's repeated line of "Can I help?" very endearing, though nothing can stand up to "I like the quiet." Harris, when did you become a BAMF? Oh, and of course, Willow's nightmare. Never change, Willow. NEVER.

  35. Ginsue says:

    [mod edit: Theories Abound]
    Hmm… What is there to say about this episode:

    Stuff happens.

    Stuff happens that will never affect future plot lines. Okay, I lied. I can guess that one further plotline will be addressed again, Xander’s lost virginity. I think that will be the ONLY thing to carry over from the episode.

    • Kickpuncher says:

      Yeah, Xander’s totally praying mantis-proof now.

    • echinodermata says:

      Edited your comment to add a disclaimer. Please remember to give such a header when you're speculating on future events.

      • Ginsue says:

        Actually, that was my roundabout way of saying the episode looked like filler, but I understand where you're coming from. Small details like that could actually be spoilers unintentionally.

  36. DonSample says:

    BuffyBodyCount totals for this episode:
    3 Sisterhood of Jhe demons
    4 zombies
    1 Hellmouth demon

  37. Plactus says:

    "The Zeppo"

    • "I brought marshmallows… occasionally, I'm callous and strange."
    • "Friends… vampires…" Assuming she's talking about Angel, that's stretching the definition of "friend" a little far. And that's really a best-case scenario.
    • Willow's nightmares: No more Madame Butterfly?
    • Watching someone try to be cool, and failing, is guaranteeed to make me pause a DVD repeatedly and find something else to do. So I made reallly slow progress through the first half of the episode. We can get to the apocalypse any time.
    • For eight months dead, Bob looks pretty good.
    • Did he start the car there? Sounded like it. So much for keeping the motor running.
    • "They're not baking any cake." Episodes this season that have brought Portal to mind: 2.
    • Oookay, this episode is… I don't like it much. Xander's isolation from the group is a one-episode thing that comes out of nowhere. They raise the question of, "In a group with an Slayer, (ex-)Watcher, and witch, what does Xander really have to offer?" but don't really answer it. (Sure, staring down Jack helped Xander discover his cool, but it doesn't really address the Jimmy Olsen/Zeppo Marx comparision.)
    • Naq gura, whfg nf varkcyvpnoyl, vg'f nyy tbar. Vs lbh fxvc guvf rcvfbqr, nf sne nf V pna gryy, gur bayl guvat lbh'q jbaqre nobhg zvffvat vf Knaqre naq Snvgu univat frk. (Gung'f abg gb fnl guvf vf gur ynfg gvzr Knaqre jbaqref nobhg uvf cynpr va gur tebhc, ohg jura vg pbzrf onpx ntnva vg qbrfa'g ernyyl gvr onpx gb guvf rcvfbqr.)
    • And it seemed to me that they were trying for funny with the apocalypse in the background thing, but… meh…
    • On the plus side… once Xander joined up with Jack, I liked his story. Staring down Jack was great, as was rising above Cordelia's insults and walking away.

    Body count, since Mark didn't:

    • Demon, killed by Faith.
    • (Offscreen) Demon, killed by someone in the team.
    • (Offscreen) Demon, killed by someone in the team.
    • Undead Parker, killed by Xander.
    • Undead Bob, killed by Xander.
    • (Sound/offscreen) Undead Dickie, killed by demons.
    • (Sound/offscreen) Undead Jack, killed by Oz.

    • Plactus says:

      "An Slayer." I'm trying to figure out what other word I might have put in there that would make that correct.

    • theDMG says:

      Watching someone try to be cool, and failing, is guaranteeed to make me pause a DVD repeatedly and find something else to do. So I made reallly slow progress through the first half of the episode. We can get to the apocalypse any time.

      I do this too! Especially with humor born of awkwardness. I love "Chuck" to death, but there are some episodes that take forever for me to watch because of this.

    • theDMG says:

      "They're not baking any cake." Episodes this season that have brought Portal to mind: 2.

      Don't tell me that the cake is a lie…

  38. etherealclarity says:

    For the record, Mark, all the people who got leads in our school play were quite popular. I don't know which way the cause and effect relationship went, but that's how it was.

    Meanwhile, I KNOW I was unpopular because well, people didn't know me or talk to me for the most part. I just didn't exist to most of them. And when occasionally I did exist, it was usually to get made fun of. I wasn't asked for favors OR invited to parties. There was only one person at my school who I had to hang out with outside of school, and she abandoned me for a large portion of that time.

    That's not meant as a "woe-is-me" bit. Things got significantly better for me in college. But I am fairly certain that in my eyes, at that time, you would have been part of the cool crowd. Because you were on speaking terms with those people. And that was so, so far from my own reality. A lot of how we judged the 'coolness' of people in high school was by comparing them to ourselves.

    • Everyone who was anyone at my high school was in the school musical; it was THE event of the year, and everyone looked forward to it for months!

    • darkwater says:

      I was in drama club (woo!) in high school which is where I met the majority of friends I've kept since then. It was full of weird and wonderful people as these things go.

      We generally considered that drama club heavily contributed to our warped sense of humour coming out of high school.

      • etherealclarity says:

        I tried to be a part of the drama crowd. Or well, I loved drama and theater, and I took drama class all four years of high school. But I was on the outside of even that. It's too bad too, because many of those people seemed really funny and nice and I would have loved to be friends with them instead of invisible.

  39. SecretGirl127 says:

    I was so confusd at a certain point because I thought I missed something when it flashed over to Buffy and gang. I had to rewind (do we still call it rewind when it's online?) and rewatch the second half again. Then I really enjoyed it. It was interesting to see things from Sander's point of view since most of what we see is snide comments. I think the Faith fun will come back to bite him somehow…like he and Cordy will be close to back together and it will come out.

  40. I've always loved this episode, hee. <3 It's definitely one of the first where my perspective on Xander started to shift: I really, *really* didn't like him in the majority of episodes before this, but I think that 'The Zeppo' shows some really important character development for him and starts to show him growing up a bit, which I like.

    Plus, AKSDJHKASJDHKSAHD I LOVE THE FACT THAT THE A-PLOT IS RELEGATED TO THE SIDELINES. 😀 😀 😀 😀 It's just so perfect and hilarious and excellent!

    • Kickpuncher says:

      Is it still the A-plot, though? I mean, in-universe, saving the world from a demon cult is more important than Xander’s journey of self-discovery, but given the way the episode is written and all, I’d say Xander’s story is the A-plot.

      • It definitely is the A plot, and that's why I find it humourous: the story that logically and conventionally SHOULD be the A-plot isn't, and the story that logically and conventionally SHOULD be the B plot isn't either. At least, this is the way that Joss has described it in the past, I believe. :3

  41. misterbernie says:

    This episode… exists.

    Besides existing, this episode is also possessing a German title!
    It's Die Nacht der lebenden Leichen – The Night of the Living Corpses.
    Now let me draw your attention to the fact that DMP earlier this season had the German title Die Nacht der lebenden Toten – The Night of the Living Dead.
    …yeah, not the smartest move, dubbers.
    German Leiche is cognate with English 'lich', although in much broader use.

  42. Dru says:

    Mark, sometimes I am amazed that you made it all the way to adulthood at all, what with the shit you've been through (I've just been through your entire Twilight archive and parts of the Potter entries) . And I mean that in the best possible way, hats taken off to you and everything.

    <img src="; width="471" height="378" />

  43. Momzter says:

    The Zeppo!

    I realize that tons of the cool people commenting on the Buffy posts really dislike Xander.

    But I don't care.

    If liking Xander is wrong, I don't want to be right. Or cool.

  44. dasmondschaf says:

    Regarding coolness in high school: the people I thought were coolest were probably the upperclassmen on the Robotics and Math teams. They were much more extroverted than I was, and basically willing to be themselves. I was a quiet geeky kid, and I wanted that confidence SO BAD. But I'm pretty certain that some of them, at least, thought of themselves as uncool, and I know that certain of them were bullied a bit by their classmates. Heck, I also really admired all the kids who were out of the closet in high school, since I didn't have the courage to be, and I KNOW that many of them were given a hard time (even in my school's pretty LGBT-positive environment).

    Really, the whole thing just makes me think of this song by The Mountain Goats, because most things make me think of a song by The Mountain Goats:

    [youtube JMIHSuKmGKA youtube]

  45. bearshorty says:

    This episode amuses me to no end. When I first watched it, I just loved how the episode made fun of the 'drama' of Buffy and Angel, complete with dramatic score starting back up. And the silliness of running around the school with Apocalypse in the background. This time around I was catching more fun dialogue like the jelly exchange and taping all episodes to Walker Texas Ranger while the zombie guy was dead. This episode just makes me smile and I think it is my favorite Xander centered episode.

  46. canyonoflight says:

    Mark, your high school story kind of reminds me of the way I viewed by now bff back in high school when we just had mutual friends. She scared me because she was so "cool." She was a skateboarder, had perfect hair, and was super confident. She was like the only person in high school who knew who she was and that scared me. Plus, I was super shy, so most people scared me back then.

    Anyway, I like this episode mainly because I like the idea of bringing what should be the B story to the forefront. The melodramatic Buffy/Angel scene always makes me laugh.

  47. This is one of those episodes where I go "well, that was interesting." There's some really good stuff here and I really wasn't expecting Xander to sleep with Faith. I'm not entirely sure where to put place in on the scale on how much I like it. It's somewhere between a 6-7.5

    Oh and I wanted to share this:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  48. numfar says:

    One of my top 10 episodes. Just terrific.

  49. DonSample says:

    Cordy was wrong about Zeppo being the useless Marx Brother.

    All of the funniest Marx Brother movies have Zeppo in them. The movies without him aren't as good.

    • Ellie says:

      OT: But was that because of Zeppo or because the best ones were done at Paramount where they seemed to have more creative whereas the Zeppo-less movies were made at MGM, who really did their best to sanitize and homogenize everyone and everything?

      • DonSample says:

        A good comic needs a good straight man to play off, and that's what Zeppo was. He made the other Marx Brothers funnier. In interviews, Groucho repeatedly stated that Zeppo was really the funniest of them (and in their vaudeville days, Zeppo often traded off with Groucho in playing the lead in their sketches.)

        Which means that the episode title is especially apt.

  50. Jeff W says:

    I just don’t get the ambivalence to this episode. This is my #2 favorite Buffy episode and I think it’s the funniest episode of the entire run. This is one big hilarious thrill ride, not unlike seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time.

    The entire plot pushes the boundaries of how television show are put together. The “B Story” (Xander) is the “A Story” and the “A Story” (the hellmouth) is the “B Story”. Even when I saw this originally, I was blown away by it, but my friends at work were like “Why didn’t we find out more about the hellmouth story?” and I was like “Because it wasnt’ the point”.

    Everything that happens is funny: Xander’s car (“Is this a penis metaphor?”); the zombies (“Dude, did you tape Walker Texas Ranger for me?” “Every ep!”); Baking a cake; Faith taking Xander’s virginity ilke it was dessert (Don’t forget, she told Buffy earlier that slaying made her horny; Faith pushing Xander out the door (“Thanks. Gotta have a shower now”); All the big dramatic Hellmouth scenes in the background (Especially when Xander interrupts Buffy and Angel in mid-drama); Xander forcing information from the Zombie kid, until his head gets cut off by the mailbox; and of course, Oz having zombie dinner. (“I feel strangely full this morning”).I love how they all sit around at the end with broken bones, talking about how this was the worst fight yet, but we have been left out. It’s all funny and one of the most brilliant pieces of television ever.

    I laugh at this episode every time I think about it. Individual scenes pop into my head. I LOVE THIS EPISODE. I’ve seen it at least 10 times and I love it every time.

    Other than Xander’s growth which is great to see, it’s not to be analyzed. It’s just plain fun.

    • echinodermata says:

      This got stuck in spam; sorry about that. Deleted your parenthetical in the first paragraph as it was expectation spoilery.

    • hpfish13 says:

      It's funny, because looking at all of the elements, I should like this episode. I like all of the things you listed. In fact, I often find myself wishing I liked the episode more. But I just don't….and it's not because I don't like Xander, because I do (I just get irritated with him sometimes), but for some undiscernable reason this episode just doesn't grab me. That being said, I don't dislike it, but I don't love it either.

      • g_aurelia says:

        Yeah, I like how the episode is constructed. It's fun and clever and interesting to see things from a different point of view, but it doesn't have the emotional pull of the episodes that I would rate the highest. It's kind of like the Cops episode of X-Files.

  51. misterbernie says:

    Oh, I do have another comment on this ep: for years, I didn't know what the English title referred to until I learned by accident, and I'm still not quite sure what its significance is, but I assume these Marx Brothers are a thing in those United States of yours and you all probably ~get~ it.

    • pica_scribit says:

      It's a little obscure. I'm not sure how much Kids These Days know about the Marx Brothers. But they were pretty hot property back in the day.

      • misterbernie says:

        I'd assume so, since pretty much every American TV series ever references them in some way; the non-visual varieties are usually eliminated upon dub because awareness of them, as my comment may indicate, is much less than over there (semi-relatedly, upon comparing original vs dubbed versions of late 80s series, a lot of the pop cultural references got translated to German popular culture, while more recent ones either keep them in, drop them or chose some more broadly known American concept /coolstorybro).

    • Hanna_the_Glam says:

      So, you're not a Marxist, then?

    • hassibah says:

      I had seriously no idea what that was untill you'd brought it up in the spoiler blog either. A lot of cartoons and tv shows would have some guy doing a Groucho impression at some point and I had some idea that that was a guy from old movies, but Buffy is weird about references.
      Also why would you mention Willy Loman in band candy? They're not going to be selling candy till they die to pay off their house and their car having 10000 nervous breakdowns along the way, but whatevs.

  52. kelseyofcake says:

    I actually didn't enjoy this episode that much the first time I watched it, but now I really love it. I think the first time around I was too focused on "But I wanna see what everyone else is doing" to appreciate the character development here.

    -So nice to see you again, Faith!
    -Oh, poor Xander. He's having a Sokka sort of day.
    -”I brought marshmallows!…..Occasionally I'm callous and strange.”
    -That was pretty cute when he tried to joke with Giles and he didn't get it.
    -”Are you retarded?” Well that just made it easy for me to dislike you.
    -Xander if you want to know the essence of cool, it might be good for you to know that you're speaking to him.
    -I feel like we just walked into the middle of a season finale.
    -”Is this a penis metaphor?”
    -Okay listen Xander. You want to be cool and have something about you stand out? Be the best guy on the planet and never slut-shame, or get creepy about attractions to slayers, or do any of the bad behavior you've been known for in the past.
    -Aaww, now I want to buy Giles all the jelly donuts he wants.
    -Is anyone keeping a tally on the gay subtext for Xander? This is at least number four.
    -Okay if a creepy bully with a big knife brings you to a cemetery and starts chanting over a grave, you should probably get the hell out of there.
    -There is NO WAY Bob has been dead for 8 months. He looks more like a couple days. The second kid on the other hand has probably actually been dead for a while. Unless I read that scene wrong, which is likely.
    -Why doesn't Xander just say “HELP I'm being held hostage by these dead guys please take me with you.”?
    -How did hitting that demon that hard not fuck up the front of the car? That surprises me even more than the fact the demon is still alive.
    -”I'm suddenly very up.” Who actually thought this would be a thing? Also, am I bad person for feeling a little jealous of Xander? I can't help it! Faith just so damn attractive, I just watch this scene and think “I want to be Xander right now”. Please tell me I'm not the only one having this problem here, because if not I feel kinda creepy.
    -Now I REALLY feel like we just walked in on a season finale, complete with the soap opera that is Buffy and Angel. Every time the show makes fun of itself like this I want to high five someone.
    -Smart move, Xander! Until the part where you accidentally decapitated that guy.
    -Has anyone actually ever seen an axe in a glass case in a high school? In plain sight in the hallway I mean? I sure haven't.
    -”I wasn't finished!”
    -Xander is actually pretty fantastic in this scene. Everyone will probably have already quoted him saying “I like the quiet” by the time I post this comment, but I just love this part. 500 points for Xander, my respect for you has grown considerably.
    -”No I'm oddly full today.” Ew, Oz, please brush your teeth for an hour. You ate a zombie!
    -V whfg ybbxrq ng zl QIQ naq ernyvmrq gung arkg jrrx unf Onq Tveyf naq Qbccyrtnatynaq! V pna'g jnvg!

    • arctic_hare says:

      Also, am I bad person for feeling a little jealous of Xander? I can't help it! Faith just so damn attractive, I just watch this scene and think “I want to be Xander right now”. Please tell me I'm not the only one having this problem here, because if not I feel kinda creepy.

      You're really, really not alone in this. I had this issue while watching too.

    • yorkshiregal says:

      I thought the Xander/Faith scene was pretty hot.

  53. threerings13 says:

    I know my WTF moments regarding how people saw my in high school actually came while I was still in high school. On a couple of occasions I had "cool" people, jocks and such say things to me like, "But you're So Smart! I'd love to be like that." Or I think once, "You're so creative!" So that was a totally weird thing, but probably helped my self-esteem at the time. It helps that I went to a small school with only 42 people in my graduating class. You were forced to know people better and interact with them more.

    • t09yavosaur says:

      I had a kid who had been in my 8th grade English class (and no classes since then) 3 yrs later say hi to me in the hall once and it was a pretty surreal experience. He was a "popular" guy and I had thought I had been all but invisible in middle school. It was so weird for me that I didn't realize what was happening at first and almost forgot to say hi back.

  54. Mandy says:

    I like to treat people the way that I would like them to treat me, and this goes to fictional characters as well.
    Xander has his flaws, but too his strengths, and I think we should give him chances, not judge him like he can never change or become a better person.

  55. Nathaniel Clapton says:


  56. What this episode does the best is to play with the seriousness of the end of the world with a delectable second degree, and at the same time, to show us an unusual day from Xander's POV.

    In an awkward, exaggerated kind of way, Xander started to understand his role in the Scoobies and maybe his role in general.

    Spoilers Season 7 : Vg erpnyyf n ornhgvshy fprar va frnfba 7 "Cbgragvny" orgjrra Knaqre naq Qnja.

    "QNJA: Gurl pna unaqyr vg.

    KNAQRE: Lrnu. Gurl'er fcrpvny, ab qbhog. Gur nznmvat guvat vf, abg bar bs gurz jvyy rire xabj, abg rira Ohssl.

    QNJA: Xabj jung?

    KNAQRE: Ubj zhpu uneqre vg vf sbe gur erfg bs hf.

    QNJA: Ab jnl. Gurl'ir tbg?

    KNAQRE: Frira lrnef, Qnja. Jbexvat jvgu gur fynlre. Frrvat zl sevraqf trg zber naq zber cbjreshy. N jvgpu. N qrzba. Uryy, V pbhyq svg Bm va zl funivat xvg, ohg pbzr n shyy zbba, ur unq n jbysl zbwb abg gb or zrffrq jvgu. Cbjreshy. Nyy bs gurz. Naq V'z gur thl jub svkrf gur jvaqbjf.

    QNJA: Jryy, lbh unq gung frkl nezl genvavat sbe n juvyr, naq?naq gur jvaqbjf ernyyl qvq arrq svkvat.

    KNAQRE: V fnj jung lbh qvq ynfg avtug.

    QNJA: Lrnu, V? V thrff V xvaqn ybfg zl urnq jura V gubhtug V jnf gur fynlre.

    KNAQRE: Lbh gubhtug lbh jrer nyy fcrpvny. Zvff Fhaalqnyr 2003. Naq gur zvahgr lbh sbhaq bhg lbh jrera'g, lbh unaqrq gur pebja gb Nznaqn jvgubhg n zbzrag'f cnhfr. Lbh tnir ure lbhe cbjre.

    QNJA: Gur cbjre jnfa'g zvar.

    KNAQRE: Gurl'yy arire xabj ubj gbhtu vg vf, Qnjavr, gb or gur bar jub vfa'g pubfra. Gb yvir fb arne gb gur fcbgyvtug naq arire fgrc va vg. Ohg V xabj. V frr zber guna nalobql ernyvmrf orpnhfr abobql'f jngpuvat zr. V fnj lbh ynfg avtug. V frr lbh jbexvat urer gbqnl. Lbh'er abg fcrpvny. Lbh'er rkgenbeqvanel.

    QNJA: Znlor gung'f lbhe cbjre.

    KNAQRE: Jung?

    QNJA: Frrvat. Xabjvat."

    Knaqre fgnegrq ernyvmvat gung va "Gur Mrccb".

    • V ybir guvf pbairefngvba. Ohg V thrff gung'f orpnhfr V ernyyl ybir Qnja.

      V zrna, fbzr crbcyr qba'g yvxr ure orpnhfr fur vf juvarl, ohg fur unf n uryy bs n ernfba gb or fb. Fur trgf nyy gur ceboyrzf bs orrvat jvgu gur fynlre, ohg abguvat ernyyl tbbq bhg bs vg. Fur vf nyjnlf whfg gur yvggyr fvfgre, jvgubhg nal cbffvovyvgl gb fgrc bhg bs ohsslf funqbj ohg nyfb va pbafgnag qnatre.
      ZNlor vg'f orpnhfr V'z gur yvggyr fvfgre ng ubzr gbb, univat guerr nznmvat fvoyvatf gung ner cbchyne naq whfg terng crbcyr gung v guvax v haqrefgnaq ubj uneq vg zhfg or va n fvghngvba yvxr gung gb svaq lbhe bja cngu.

      Fb, gunaxf sbe gung dhbgr!

  57. TrampyMcBitca says:

    I'm not a fan of Xander, so the Xandercentric episodes are usually not my favourites, but I don't like how they made him seem useless and helpless (naq gurl'yy qb ntnva va Gur Ercynprzrag) when we've seen plenty of times how he's been able to help the group even without any special powers.

  58. Kari18212 says:

    I'm pretty grateful for this episode reminding me why I did like Xander back in the day when I was first watching it. I still find a lot of the things he says to be pretty upsetting, but the defining aspect of his character is really that he's the 'normal' guy who is still thrown in with the supernatural and struggles constantly with the fact that he thinks he's useless. And I love that he doesn't tell them what happened, but he'll still always be able to remember that moment when he was just as responsible for saving the world as all the superpowered heros. It's actually a lot like Cordelia's moment in Homecoming. When all else fails, no matter how technically weak you are, you can always talk your way out of trouble 🙂

  59. Yorkshiregal says:

    This is such a classic episode. It's cited as being the source for Star Trek: The Next Generations's episode "Lower Decks". It really was a trend setter for exploring action as viewed from someone not directly "in the action".

    The lampshading of the Buffy/Angel angst is my favorite.

    Things that made me sad:
    – I don't think Xander is a Zeppo and I think they played that angle too hard for the purposes of the plot.
    – Xander really is ready to die at any moment isn't he? He didn't want to die but he wasn't wavering at all with Jack. So even though Xander had alot of self-esteem, it seems like he's always throwing himself into the fray with little thought to his own safety.
    – Faith really took something from Xander and he's not really sure what happened. For someone who had built up sex as a big deal, I think the reality was great but not life-altering. Standing up to Jack was life-altering — or not, because I think Xander is brave all the time.

    I thought it was a really great episode for Xander and it's about time they had one.

    I love the comment up thread BTW: I don't care if the cool kids don't like Xander, I do. So There.

  60. Danny_SAP says:

    <img src="; />

    XANDER I gotta learn an&nbsp;instrument. Is it hard to play guitar?OZ Not the way I play it.

    Xander, you OWN A GUITAR.
    <img src="; />

    BUFFY What is this? XANDER What do you mean, what is it? It's my thing. WILLOW Your thing? XANDER My thing! BUFFY Is this a penis metaphor?

    <img src="; />

    GILES Did you eat all the jellies? BUFFY Did you want a jelly? GILES I always have a jelly. I'm always the one that says 'let's have a jelly in the mix.' WILLOW We're sorry. Buffy had three.

    One of my favorite lines of the series.
    <img src="; />

    POLICE OFFICER O'Toole. What a surprise. He attack you? XANDER No. Just blowing off steam. Two guys rasslin'. But not in a gay way.

    <img src="; />

    FAITH A fight like that and no kill. I'm about ready to pop. XANDER Really? Pop? FAITH You up for it? XANDER Oh, I'm up. XANDER I'm suddenly very up. It's just, um… I've never been up with people before. FAITH Just relax… And take your pants off. XANDER Those two concepts are antithetical.

    I actually really like this scene. There's probably room for an analysis of masculinity, virginity, and sexuality, but I'm too tired to do it now.
    <img src="; />

    FAITH Don't worry. I'll steer you around the curves.

    This is a gratuitous picture of Eliza Dushku's face.
    <img src="; />

    XANDER Other way.

    I like that they budgeted a lot for the monster puppets. It demonstrates a real commitment to the apocalypse gag.
    <img src="; />

    XANDER I know what you're thinkin'. Can I get by him? Get up the stairs, out of the building, seconds ticking away… I don't love your chances. JACK Then you'll die, too. XANDER Yeah, looks like. So I guess the question really is… who has less fear? JACK I'm not afraid to die. I'm already dead. XANDER Yeah, but this is different. Being blowed up isn't walking around and drinking with your buddies dead. It's little bits being swept up by a janitor dead, and I don't think you're ready for that. JACK Are you? XANDER I like the quiet.

    I'll give Xander his moment.
    As you could probably guess, this episode is pretty far down in my rankings, but it does have its moments. Transcripts by BvA.

  61. mgauck says:

    I love how everything that we would normally be watching in an episode (i.e. end of the world) is all happening off screen and we only get little hints of what's really going on. This episode is pretty fun and I've always liked it.

  62. LadyPeyton says:

    The Zeppo is one of my top 5 favorite episodes for many reasons. first and foremost, it was the episode that made my husband fall in love with BtVS which had the side benefit that he stopped teasing me for liking the show. He identified greatly with Xander who was his favorite character until the show ended. Also, I adore that obviously there is a whole MOTW episode going on in the background and what we're seeing is very "day in the life" of a character that up to this point we really didn't have much back story about, aside from a few telling insults from Cordelia. I also love that it put into focus for me exactly what always bothered me about the Buffy/Angel relationship. I don't know if the overblown melodrama was what Xander really saw, or if we were getting some form of unreliable narrator (is that the term) interpretation of what he saw when he peeked through the mansion's window, but from Zeppo on I couldn't see Buffy and Angel together without feeling palpable cheesy melodrama, something of which I am not that fond.

    Plus, "I like the quiet." Best. Line. Ever.

  63. buyn says:

    Hey Mark. I really feel like the writers have a time machine, and everytime they finish writing an episode they come forward to see your reaction, and then nip back a bit. So you demanding a Xander episode? Then this one showing up? Well. It just made me giggle a bit.

  64. fantasylover120 says:

    Yeah this episode is…wacky I think is the best word to describe it. An hilarious wacky but wacky nonetheless. But hey, it gives Xander some character growth (or tries) so I'm all for it. By far the best part in the whole thing is the whole sequence at the end in the high school. That was some hilarious stuff.
    Daily Buffy Quotable
    "I'm fine. The shaking is a side effect of the fear."-Willow
    "Occasionally I'm callous and strange."-Willow
    "There was no part of that that wasn't fun."-Cordelia
    "Is this a penis metaphor?"-Buffy
    "I've done some quality violence for those people."-Xander
    "I'm really sorry my life and death situation isn't exciting enough for you."-Xander
    "Hey! They're not baking any cake."-Xander
    "Where's a slayer when you need one?"-Xander
    "Hey, I wasn't finished yet! Note to self: less talk."-Xander

  65. Hanna_the_Glam says:

    So, if Xander's the Zeppo, can we equate any other Scoobies to the remaining Marx brothers? Is Buffy the Groucho because of her battle quips? Can Oz be the Harpo? V thrff Evyrl jbhyq or gur Thzzb, jbhyqa'g ur?

  66. tanbarkie says:

    Ahh, "The Zeppo" (aka "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead a la Buffy")! I love it when Joss and Co. make with the self-deconstruction. Add in wacky fratzombies, an offscreen apocalypse, Oz feeling "oddly full," and the way the music cuts off and swells up again during the BIG DRAMATIC BANGEL scene that Xander interrupts, and you have one of the funniest episodes of the show's entire run.

  67. robin_comments says:

    I was on the phone with my brother last night and told him I was about to watch The Zeppo and he immediately responded with,"I like the quiet."

    This is one of those really memorable Buffy episodes for a lot of people.

  68. DonSample says:

    The episode title is especially apt. Xander is the Zeppo of the group.

    Like Zeppo, he makes the others better. Without Zeppo, the other Marx Brothers weren't as funny.

  69. SosaLola says:

    I find it so interesting that Xander knows that Giles likes jellies. He makes it clear to the clerk to put four jellies instead of just one. Buffy and Willow aren't aware of Giles' love for jellies, which shocks Giles who makes the point that he always has a jelly. Damn, Xander's desire for Giles' approval kills me. He wants a father figure so bad, but Giles is so oblivious.

    About the episode, Xander is such an unreliable narrator: the way his friends view him here looks more like how Xander thinks his friends view him, the way Bangel is shown is how Xander sees it, and Cordelia is extra harsh on him. If this episode told from Xander's POV, then the whole show is told from Buffy's, is she an unreliable narrator as well? I notice how she usually appears in a more sympathetic light than the other characters. Bayl va F6 jura fur ungrq urefrys gung fur jnf fubja va na haflzcngurgvp yvtug naq Fcvxr – gur crefba fur'f njner fur nohfrf – vf fubja gb or n ivpgvz. Gur ynfg rcvfbqrf va F7 pbhyq or nobhg Ohssl'f vanovyvgl gb haqrefgnaq jung ure sevraqf' srry naq guvax –orpnhfr V fher nf uryy qba'g.

  70. LisaChimes says:

    I kind of love this episode. I've listed it in my top ten before but recently it's been pushed lower on the list because I've grown fonder of other eps and possibly less fond of Xander since the first run. However, it is still great.

    The whole twist of showing the B plot and having everything else happen in the background is genius to me. Who knew only seeing bits and pieces of an apocalypse would make the drama so comical? Jelly donuts, yes! Faith sexing, yes! Xander growth, thank you! Also, every time I watch it, "Wanna Be Starting Something" gets stuck in my head for days. Too high to get over, yeah yeah.

    Major Spoilers for S5 on: Rirel gvzr V erjngpu Gur Mrccb V jbaqre jul Wnpx znqr vg frrz fb rnfl gb envfr crbcyr sebz gur qrnq, naq lrg jura jr trg gb Sberire naq Qnja vf gelvat gb envfr Wblpr rirelguvat frrzf jnl zber pbzcyvpngrq. V zrna, gurfr seng thlf unir fgvyy ergnvarq gurve cevbe crefbanyvgvrf naq nera'g va ubeevoyr oenva-rngvat mbzovr pbaqvgvba. Arirezvaq envfvat Ohssl, V'z fher gur ernfbavat gurer vf gung gurl qvqa'g jnag gb oevat ure onpx nf n qrpbzcbfrq mbzovr, ohg Qnja qvqa'g frrz gb pner ubj fur tbg Wblpr onpx, nf ybat nf fur unq ure onpx va fbzr jnl. Znlor gur Qbp whfg jnfa'g njner bs guvf cnegvphyne zrgubq?

  71. I love this episode primarily because it's funny as hell – Joss took an apocalypse storyline and made the focal point of it being Xander chasing zombie frat boys trying to blow the school up – what's not to love!?!

    As for the subject of "cool" I think many of us have some form of obsession with that in our teen years – trying to figure out what makes you cool and how to make it happen. What I've come to realize is that the coolest people are really the people who don't care if they're cool or not. As a kid and teenager I was the singlemost bullied person in my school – nothing cool about me – and I learned in those years that it didn't matter what I did, those people would never accept me anyway, so instead I learned to embrace who I was, do things that I wanted to do and not care what people thought about it.

    I won't say that I'm "cool" now, but I honestly don't care if people perceive me that way or not. I do, however, find it amusing that my own nieces have somewhat an elevated status among their peers for having me as their aunt (what can I say, I love neon colors in my hair and it does tend to catch the kids' attention, lol)

  72. PS: The bird bites says:

    Xander gains more of my respect in the cold open because JIMMY OLSEN JOKE YAY! (My respect is won in strange ways)

  73. jne says:

    One of my favorite things about this episode is that several characters say "It's not the end of the world", which I take as a total in-joke that this ep is not about the melodramatic apocalypse that Buffy and the rest of the gang are averting (with a lot of archness and camp thrown into the acting).

  74. SteveP says:

    One of the things I love about the story telling in this episode, is how detached you feel towards the crisis that the rest of the gang are dealing with. What is it about how they film these issues normally, that gets one so invested in it, that they didn't do this time? Clever, clever film making. And risky too. What I love about this show is how the creators are always taking risks … telling new stories, daring to deconstruct their own universe for the sake of a good story. Totally beyond brilliant. I've said it before … BtVS = Best. Show. Ever. Full. Stop.

  75. GamgeeFest says:

    Xander trying to be cool is something I can't really relate to. I was way introverted in school and really quite happy to be. I knew I was never going to be popular, so why bother trying? So long as I wasn't picked on, why worry? On the few occasions someone did try to pick on me, I discovered no reaction was the best reaction. They really don't know what to do with that. I was a band geek and stuck with my fellow band mates and life was good. So trying to be cool – not an issue for us.

    I understand why someone would want to be cool though, to feel accepted and all that stuff. I don't know why he thought a classic car would do it. Maybe with the auto shop guys? Still, it's interesting to watch him struggle with this issue and realize at the end that it's all about accepting yourself. I like that he never tells anyone about what happened.

    Cordy – Sorry, but I laughed at the end when he just walked away from her. I'd support her position as the slighted ex-girlfriend if she just ignored him. But if she's going to continue to approach them and put herself in their circle, then she needs to start getting over it. Anything else is just a step backward for her character development.

    Faith – Fighting makes her hungry and horny. At least she didn't try to eat Xander. Ur jba'g or fb yhpxl gurve arkg rapbhagre.

    Melodrama set against hijinks – hilarious!

    "I like the quiet."

    "I'm oddly full this morning."

    "Is it hard to play?"
    "Not the way I do it."

  76. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Well I’m back from the panto, and ready to post my really-late-so-probably-no-one-will-read-it-anyway comment! But first, allow me to say…


    Oh my god that was the single funniest ‘Previously on Insert Show Name Here’ I’ve ever seen. Just…You’re fired. That’s the only scene they had. Just that two second clip. It was like watching a really cut-down version of The Apprentice.
    I just…I can’t even…I need a moment.

    Ok, the actual episode, otherwise known as: Xander Has The Weirdest Night Ever.

    I’m not gonna lie, this is one of my favourite episodes so far. It’s made it into the top ten.

    There is something undeniably hilarious about Xander getting dragged into the strangest situations and having no idea how to get out of it. Especially as the apocalypse sort of unfolds dramatically around him with him not having the slightest clue what’s going on.
    In fact this episode was basically highlighting how inherently ridiculous these people’s lives are, wasn’t it? They have these incredible, dramatic confrontations with evil on a daily basis and then they just have to…get on with life afterwards.
    It also brings up something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently – how very contradictory this show can be in it’s themes and overall…feel. What I mean is that it has quite a silly premise, and it’s often very light-hearted. It’s set in a high school. It has tons of witty one-liners. But at the same time it can be incredibly dark and depressing. Usually we see that at different times, as each individual episode goes one way or the other, but in this one those two sides of the show – the silly situational comedy and the end of the world doom – are intentionally brought together in the most jarring way possible to poke fun at the show itself. I think it’s entirely deliberate, in order to get us to really think about how odd it is that we so readily accept these things as normal.

    It’s very clever, and very meta, and very self aware and I love it.

    But of course, this was Xander’s episode and I have to say, I love how the ending played out. We know Xander has issues with feeling inadequate, but by the time he’s been through all this stuff he realises that he doesn’t need to have superpowers to be a worthwhile person, or to make a difference. He has his flaws, and he doesn’t always do the right thing. Sometimes he just has to accept that others are better suited to saving the world than him – he can’t always be the hero. But it’s enough that he’s there, willing and able to help his friends, and in the end they do need him, even if they don’t know it. Though I don’t think it will have an immediate huge change on how he acts, it’s a lovely bit of character development, and makes me feel far more warmly towards him than I have in the past. This is the Xander I want to see more often – the guy who does his best under difficult circumstances, and comes through in the end for his friends.

    • I’m not gonna lie, this is one of my favourite episodes so far. It’s made it into the top ten.

      What was the two-second Previously?

      Also, how was the panto?

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Oh it just struck me as hilarious that they had the whole 'PREVIOUSLY ON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER' thing, and then just a two second clip of that Quentin dude from the last episode going 'You're fired' to Giles and then it was just…over. Like, yeah, that's all that happened.

        And the panto was awesome! Lots of men in sparkly dresses and wigs, people forgetting their lines, local in-jokes, terrible hammy acting, everything going wrong…just as it should be. ^^
        My personal favourite scene was when everyone was singing a song in maid dresses and frilly aprons, which is something I've never seen my uncle wear before. But it was very very funny.

        A jolly good time was had by all!

        • MrsGillianO says:

          Oddly enough, I went to a panto in Bicester yesterday, with a two-year-old. A bit late in the season really, but she didn't care. British children are acculturated to our weirder practices young!

          • enigmaticagentscully says:

            It would have been fantastic if we had gone to the same one and not realised, but mine was in Kingston in Herefordshire. 😛

        • pica_scribit says:

          I was under the impression that panto was largely a Christmas tradition. Am I wrong? What was the occasion?

          Also, I've been waiting for your post because I love watching the newbies flail.

          • enigmaticagentscully says:

            They are usually, but this was an amateur production, so they did it a little later because a lot of people are too busy around Christmas time to rehearse etc. Whereas not a whole lot goes on in February!

    • jne says:

      It also brings up something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently – how very contradictory this show can be in it’s themes and overall…feel. –

      Yeah. That. In the middle of the desolation, he makes us laugh. In the middle of the comedy, he scares the bejesus out of us, and in the middle of the horror, we find the pathos. It's a good thing Joss uses his powers for the good of mankind!

    • sirintegra42 says:

      That's pretty much what I always get from this episode too. I mean Xander can really annoy me sometimes but i do like his good qualities. He's kind of the every man really, like how Willow was set up to be the person that people can empathise with while Buffy's almost too heroic for you to always feel that connected to. He provides vital support for everyone and although he whines about it I guess that makes him more human. I'm sure the show wouldn't have been the same without him.

  77. DktrAgonizer says:

    It's seriously a good thing Jack met the Ozwolf at the end, because… Like, Xander, what the fuck are you doing letting this guy who ALMOST BLEW UP THE ENTIRE SCHOOL walk away??? You realize he could have just set up the bomb again later, right?

    Apart from that, this was a good episode. I like zombies. Like a lot.

  78. Charlie Parkenson says:

    Mark stops posting "Buffy" updates to the "Buffy" category page? :/

    • Abygail says:

      It's since Mark's update to the site. My guess is he added a (pretty effective) caching to the site, but forgot to set it so it does update category and last posts on a new post 🙂

      (Aside from category pages not updating, previous posts don't have links to the new posts, just linking to the previous post before them 🙂 Too bad I only have experience with custom sites, not WordPress or the WP-Super-Cache caching system, otherwise I might have been able to give some tips 🙂

  79. amyrouse says:

    I love this episode. Xander is one of my favorite characters, and this episode shows much of what I love about him.

    * He's seriously flawed, and he knows that. He gets self-deprecating about it, like we all do, but he doesn't let it weigh him down. He's down on himself so much in this episode, yet he still manages to get past it and save the world.

    * He feels like his friends don't need him at times, yet he doesn't let himself get so down about it as though they don't still love him. I'm as insecure as any other person, and there are times when I feel like I'm out of place or not wanted…and I let this get to me to the point that I withdraw into myself and will not go back around those people until I'm outright invited. Xander doesn't do this, and I wish I had that confidence. In fact, the rest of the Scoobies kind of irritate me because of how dismissing they are of Xander in this episode.

    * He's normal. He doesn't have any supernatural powers nor supernatural intelligence, and he's fine with that. He sees his value, even if he doesn't see it as value.

    * He is incredibly immature, yet mature at the same time. He says the wrong thing nearly all the time (which is partially due to the fact that he can be a total misogynistic jerk and, I'm guessing from what we saw in Amends, partially due to his upbringing (not excusing it, but trying to understand where he's coming from)), yet he can still do the right thing. IMO, walking away from Cordelia at the end of the episode was an act of maturity. She has been throwing low blows at him throughout the entire series, minus the small bit of time when they were having smoochies. True, he deserved some low blows since he cheated on Cordy, but she takes it too far. She was knocking him down as a person instead of showing that what he did was unacceptable. It is never acceptable to treat someone as though they have no worth as a human, and I feel that is what Cordy has been doing. Xander wasn't being smug or acting superior to her by walking away. He was being a person who was tired of the insults and showing that he knows they are coming from a place of hurt instead of being truth.

    * "I like the quiet." Oh, Xander. You had me there, you great, flawed character. Had we gone to the same school, I could have been your Willow.

  80. notemily says:

    Somehow between my computer breaking and being behind on my reviews, I completely missed this one! Huh. Mark, you are right, this is a strange episode. I never quite know how to feel about it. I don't like the "funny apocalypse" plot very much, but I do like that Xander gets his own episode and we get to see him battling evil with his own resources. It's a little contrived–would he REALLY have not asked anyone for help because they kept telling him they were too busy? He was dealing with zombies! But it's not a BAD episode.


    Best part of this episode is definitely Oz at the end. "I'm oddly full today." HEE HEE HEE.

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