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 Into every generation a Slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a Chosen One. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer.

 "Don't you ever think about anything besides boys and clothes?"

"Saving the world from vampires?"

In 1992, Joss Whedon wrote an interesting film with an original concept and a postmodern take on the horror genre. However, due to Whedon's lack of control over his work, he (and several others) saw the film as disappointing, while it did acquire a modest Cult following. Not wanting to let the character and overall concept that he was attached to go to waste, Whedon jumped at the chance to re-visit it on television.

In 1997, with an abbreviated first season, Buffy The Vampire Slayer was raised from the dead on the fledgling WB network. At its core was a subversion of the horror movie trope of the fragile and doomed Southern Californian cheerleader attacked by a monster in a dark alley. Buffy was snappy, petite, blonde and instead monsters would be afraid of meeting with her in dark alleys. She was part of a long line of "Slayers," one girl every generation given mystical strength and other powers to confront not only vampires but all other sorts of monsters that stalk the night.

The TV show took the first movie as originally scripted as Canon, not the film that resulted. After a chaotic and disastrous initial training to hone her abilities, Buffy moved to an isolated city in Southern California called Sunnydale. Initially wanting to escape the responsibilities of being The Slayer, she forms a tight-knit group of friends. An Ancient Conspiracy called "The Watchers Council" has been responsible for training Slayers for millennia, and they sent her a mentor named Giles to prepare her for some nasty things that are going down in Sunnydale, which happens to be the location of a Hellmouth.

Joss and his team of merry writers at Mutant Enemy took many standard teenaged issues ("high school is hell", "why is my boyfriend acting weird now that I've slept with him?", "now we're at college, and all my best friend wants to do is hang out with her boy/girlfriend"...) and explored them with a supernatural, self-knowing, but emotional eye.

While the show was not a smash hit at first, critical acclaim was rampant and by the second season a devoted fanbase developed. Part of its success may be attributable to the very clever writing that involved what is now famously named Buffy-Speak (which has its own website). The characters were prone to subvert a wide variety of tropes (being at least partially Genre Savvy), secondary characters were well fleshed out (and sometimes killed) and there was very clear, deliberate Character Development for everyone. The storyline was also notable for how well-planned out the stories were; most every season had a hint toward the events planned for the next season and sometimes major plot points were Fore Shadowed several years in advance.

In 1999, Buffy's Love Interest Angel was spun off into his own series set in nearby LA. Crossovers and cross-references between the two shows persisted until Buffy ended in 2003. In many ways Angel provides a contrast to the themes of its parent series, as it was about dealing with adult life and past mistakes in comparison to the "growing up is hard" notes hit by Buffy over its seven season span.

In 2007, "Season Eight" began, a series of comics produced by Joss Whedon and declared as official series Canon. The first issues of a "Season Nine" began in the fall of 2011, split between two series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and Faith.

The influence of this show on later TV, within its genre and elsewhere, is plain to see. Modern Myth Arc and Story Arc based television owe at least some inspiration to this series, especially the Half Arc Season, as well as the "superhero with high school problems" theme. As several commentators have observed, Russell T. Davies had at least one eye on this show when he revived Doctor Who.

This series is one of the single most Trope Overdosed and Lampshade Hanging shows in existence with over a thousand references strewn across this wiki. This is partially because TV Tropes originally began with a focus on Buffy (based on a 2004 thread on the fan site before branching out to all of TV and eventually all of everything.

There are plans to revive the franchise as a film without the involvement of Joss Whedon, the reason being the makers of the original movie had retained the rights all throughout the show's run, even though they had no creative involvement since. This has been remarked upon by cast members as generally a bad idea.

We may be trying to break this website with the length of this page.

This work is no longer overdosed. It is now officially kiloWick. In fact, it's over 4000 more than the minimum for kiloWick. Since the total broadcast length was only 6048 minutes (144 episodes of 42 minutes each), it's literally a trope a minute (roughly).

Some episode-specific tropes can be found on the recap page.

Tropey stuff

General Tropes A-G

  • Abandoned Warehouse
  • Abusive Parents: This is Sunnydale, and good parent-child relationships will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
    • Almost every character on the show has at least one parent who is abusive or neglectful. For instance, Tara's father, who convinced her that she was a demon.
    • Also Buffy's father, who does not show up when Buffy's mom dies, forcing Buffy to take care of her underage sister; Xander's father, who is an alcoholic; Spike's mother, who tried to come onto him after being turned into a vampire; and Principal Wood's mother, who prioritized her Slayer duties over him. The latter is witnessed from six-year-old Wood's point of view, which is somewhat biased.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Though Sunnydale's were deliberately built to be demon accessible by the Mayor.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Old Ones.
  • Academy of Adventure: Sunnydale High School. Not for nothing does Buffy eventually blow it up. (It gets better.)
  • Accidental Murder: The launching event for both Faith's & Willow's face heel turn.
  • Action Series
  • Adopt the Dog: Cordelia mounting a Gunship Rescue in the Season One finale. With her BMW.
    • Spike endures hours of torture to spare Dawn, solely to spare Buffy pain.
  • Adults Are Useless: Xander's parents are drunks, Buffy's father is rarely around, Willow's mother shows up once, getting in her way, and Willow's father is mentioned in reference, with Willow worrying what "Ira Rosenberg will think of his only daughter nailing a crucifix to her wall." The only parent who isn't completely useless is Joyce, and that's because she's too busy being Team Mom.
    • The Watcher's Council plays into this as well, as does Wesley. Averted big-time by Giles, though.
    • Played up in Season 3's "Band Candy," where a certain brand of chocolate makes adults who eat it revert to teenage maturity levels.
  • Affably Evil: Mayor Wilkins, Harmony, Clem, Spike (after his encounter with The Initiative) pretty much all the demons who showed up to Anya and Xander's wedding, Holden Webster from "Conversations With Dead People," and occasional random vamps. And Ethan Rayne.
  • Age Without Youth: At some point, vampires lose the ability to assume human form, and are stuck in their Game Face, which grows increasingly aged and inhuman over time. Exactly what they'll look like (or become) in the end is unknown, but one particularly old vamp named Kakistos eventually developed cloven hooves.
  • Aliens and Monsters: Sorta. A grand total of one (supremely scary) alien appears in the entire run of the series, and it's origin is supernatural anyway.
  • All Abusers Are Male: Under the helm of Marti Noxon, the show tended to drift in this direction.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: initially.
  • All Myths Are True: Except leprechauns.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Tara suggests she and Willow get a cat. Willow thinks she means a Familiar but no, she just wants a pet. And so Miss Kitty Fantastico guest-stars for a few episodes before its unfortunate demise in an off-screen accidental crossbow discharge.
  • All Women Love Shoes: At least Buffy and Cordelia have one thing in common.
  • Alternate Universe: Plenty of em, 3 mentioned or seen: The Wishverse, the One with No Shrimp and the One That Is All Shrimp.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Vampires and, initially, demons.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Watcher's Council.
  • Ancient Grome: Justified, seeing as all the various gods seem to exist.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: One aspiring heir to the Master chatters on that when he kills Buffy, it'll be the greatest event since the Crucifixion. "And I should know. I was there." Behind him, Spike's famous voice cuts in:

 Spike: Oh please! If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion was actually there, it would've been like Woodstock.

    • Which Spike actually attended. Never try feeding off a hippie.
    • In his first scene, Willy demurs that he's staying away from that whole vampire scene and "living right." ("What's My Line, Pt.1")

 Angel: Sure you are, Willy. And I'm taking up sunbathing.

  • Ankle Drag: One of the Hellmouth's tentacles slithers up Willow's ankle. ("Prophecy Girl")
    • Buffy, wracked with guilt over her role in the death of Deputy Mayor Finch, has a nightmare of Finch's corpse dragging her underwater. ("Consequences")
  • Anti-Hero: Willow, after Glory does her sanity-sucking thing to Tara. YMMV on killing Warren. Spike's also an anti-hero, as is Giles by the end of the show
  • Anyone Can Die: Ms. Calendar, Joyce, Tara, Anya and Spike. After they make the switch to Angel, Cordelia and Wesley, though Spike gets better. You have to expect this.
  • Apocalypse How: Several times, at varying levels. See the trope page for details.
  • Arc Villain: Trope Codifier for live action television.
  • Ask a Stupid Question: In the pilot, Joyce asks if Buffy's going out to a nightclub.

 Joyce: Oh. Will there be boys there?

Buffy: No, Mom. It's a nun club.

    • In "The Harvest", Harmony asks Cordelia if they're going to the Bronze tonight. "No," Cordy snorts, "we're going to the other cool place in Sunnydale." Harmony seems to struggle with that conundrum.
    • In "When She Was Bad", Xander's announcing that Cibo Matto will be gracing their presence at the Bronze. Willow asks if they're playing.

 Xander: No, Will, they're going to be clog dancing.

Willow: (amazed) Cibo Matto can clog dance?! (Beat) ...oh, sarcasm, right.

    • Buffy disfusing a school shooting in "Earshot":

 Jonathan: You think I just want attention?

Buffy: No, I think you're up in the clock tower with a high-powered rifle because you wanna blend in.

    • In "The Wish", Cordelia, oblivious to the fact that Xander's a vampire in this reality, tells him that they need to find Buffy pronto.

 Wishverse Xander: (warily) ...Buffy. The Slayer?

Cordelia: No! Buffy the dog-faced girl!

    • Wishverse Buffy and Angel are present at the factory's unveiling, observing from the back. "What's the plan?", Angel asks. Without looking at him, Buffy holds up a stake: "Don't fall on this."
  • The Atoner: They're everywhere. Giles, Faith, Angel, Spike, Willow and Andrew. Amazingly, only one of them has suffered Redemption Equals Death. It was Giles.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Subverted.
  • Ax Crazy: Drusilla, Faith, Caleb, Warren Mears.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Willy's.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: Willy's Bar.
    • The billard table at The Bronze is usually an indicator that someone's up to no good. Xander is angrily playing a game by himself when Faith approaches him with a plan to dust Angel. ("Revelations")
    • Percy, the basketball jock who exploits Willow to pass his tests, is cockily shooting pool when Vampire Willow (from the Wishverse) strolls in. ("Doppelgangland")
    • In "Fool for Love", Spike shoots pool while relating his past to Buffy.
  • Baddie Flattery: In her nightmare encounter with the Master, he comments that Buffy is prettier than the last Slayer. He compliments her aim in "Prophecy Girl", after casually catching her crossbow bolt.
    • The Mayor concurs with that assessment. ("Choices") "She's pretty, Angel! A little skinny."
    • Friend-turned-enemy Billy Fordham sadly tells Buffy he's missed her, which is tantamount to admitting that her analysis of him (that he's a scared kid hiding behind elusions of villainy) is spot-on. ("Lie to Me")
  • Basement Dweller: Xander, The Trio, Spike.
  • Battle Trophy: Spike's duster.
  • Batman Cold Open: Occasionally doubles as a Couch Gag; for instance, "Halloween" starts with Buffy fighting a vampire in a pumpkin patch.
  • Batter Up: A popular weapon amongst the Scoobies. Anya doesn't know how to hold one properly.
    • The demon in "Nightmares" is a lumbering figure with a club for a hand. The club is representative of a baseball bat, and the monster itself is a manifestation of an abusive baseball coach.
    • As punishment for murdering Ms. Calender, Giles pays a visit to Angelus and greets him with a kerosene-soaked flaming bat to the head.

 Angelus: Jeez, whatever happened to wooden stakes?

    • For attempting to strangle Xander in her bed, Faith is treated to a baseball bat to the teeth (courtesy of Johnny-on-the-spot Angel)
  • Battle Couple: Each of Buffy's boyfriends (Angel, Riley, Spike) are combat-ready.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Happens frequently, as you might expect from living on a Hellmouth. Here are just a few examples.
    • Xander stepping up to the plate and taking his best shot with Buffy. "I want to dance with you". He gets his wish in the very next episode, when a shell-shocked Buffy bumps and grinds against him to enrage Willow and Angel.
    • The M.O. of vengeance demons.
    • Quoted by Halloween costume fashionista Ethan Rayne. "Don't wish to blow my own trumpet, but it's genius. The very embodiment of 'be careful what you wish for'."
    • Buffy has a love-hate relationship with her job. She complains about being a Slayer, but is reluctant to give up her duties when Kendra and Faith threaten to edge her out of the gang.
    • "Helpless" depicts what would happen if Buffy were truly a normal girl] stuck in a house with vampires.
    • Conversely, "The Wish" shows what would happen if Buffy never came to Sunnydale at all.
    • A scorned Xander performing a love spell on Cordelia. Needless to say, it backfires.

 Giles: I cannot believe that you are fool enough to do something like this!

Xander: Oh, no, I'm twice the fool it takes to do something like this.

    • Ken's Hannibal Lecture in "Anne". He ridiculing her for running away from Sunnydale and her old identity -- trying to disappear. "Congratulations. You got your wish."
    • The Trio wanted to be taken seriously as super villains. Willow skinned Warren and Jonathan & Andrew fled the country.
  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Faith and Gwendolyn Post, Faith and the Mayor and Faith and Angel.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Caligula and Jack the Ripper were the same vampire, and Anya was partially responsible for the Russian Revolution.
    • Billy Idol stole his look from Spike
    • Martha Stewart is a witch.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Willow breaks the supernatural "One Slayer" rule set down by the Council. This was solid internal logic for the bulk of the series until then..
  • Big Brother Instinct: Spike to Dawn.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Spells are almost always done in another language, often a dead one like Latin.
  • Bit Character: Deputy Mayor Finch's death marks the third murder investigation involving Buffy in less than two years: she is previously suspected in the deaths of fellow Slayer Kendra and her would-be stepfather, Ted. Each investigation is headed by the same Detective (played by James MacDonald).
  • Bit Part Badguys: Vampires starting around Season 3 or so.
    • Team Rocket Wins: Run of the mill, common vampires, under no leadership but their own -- have bested Buffy on a couple of occasions and are among the most common sources of Slayer overall deaths in the series.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
  • Bittersweet Ending: Very common. Seasons 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 all have them. Episodes also have them often, including the musical episode.

  Everyone: "The battle's done and we kinda won, so we sound our victory cheer, but where do we go from here?"

  • Black Eyes of Evil: Tend to accompany spellcasting.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Buffy (blonde) Willow (redhead) but it's a toss up amongst Cordelia, Anya or Dawn when it comes to the brunette.
    • Even though he's a guy Xander could probably be considered the brunette since Buffy, Willow and Xander are practically a trio of their own.
    • These hair colour stereotypes are heavily inverted. Buffy is hardly a Dumb Blonde, Willow is easily the quietest of the trio and not fiery normally. And if there's one thing Xander isn't, it's brainy.
  • Blood Magic: In the Master's first attempt at an early parole, his Dragon Luke volunteers to become the Master's "Vessel", supplying him with power by feeding on human blood.
    • It's Buffy's blood which ultimately allows the Master to break free. ("Prophecy Girl")
    • In the Season Two premiere, the Master's acolytes attempt a ritual to bring him back to life. This involves slitting the necks of his adversaries (ie the Scoobies) and wetting his skeleton with their blood.
    • Angelus' blood is the key to de-petrifying the demon Acathla and opening a portal that would suck the world into hell. Unluckily for him, it's a two-way street; Buffy runs Angelus through with a sword whilst standing in front of Acathla, sending Angelus to hell and sealing the portal shut.
    • Likewise, the blood of "The Key" is necessary to open and close the wall separating Glory's universe from ours. Her zealots succeed in using Dawn as the Key by spilling her blood; however, Buffy takes advantage of a loophole by using her own blood (which is identical to Dawn's) to close the vortex.
    • In Season Seven, the Seal of Danzalthar opens only when a large quantity of blood is spilled on it.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Lots of death, lots of vampires sucking blood out of people, a few plain old slit throats, very little red.
  • Bond One-Liner: Subverted more than once.
    • "That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!"
    • "Hey Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?" (SPLAT)

 Lily: Gandhi?

Buffy: [beat] Well, you know, if he was really pissed off.

  • Book Ends: At the end of the pilot, Giles signs off with, "The world is doomed." He amends this in the series finale. ("definitely doomed.")
    • Season 2 began with Buffy arriving from LA and ended with Buffy leaving for LA.
    • At the start of Season 2, Joyce says she hopes Buffy can make it through the school year without getting kicked out. At the end of the season Buffy does get kicked out.
    • In the "Graduation Day" two-parter, the teacher prodding his students to play "Hangman" is the same guy from the season premiere urging everyone to "be somber" now they've returned to school.
    • In "Lie to Me", Ford arranging a "surprise" date with Buffy is eerily reminiscent of the scene between Angel and Drusilla at the beginning of the episode, and conveys the same sense of battle lines being drawn.
    • In the same episode, Buffy says she's done with being lied to by her friends, but Angel tells her that some lies are necessary -- which is a nice setup for the Title Drop at the end of the episode.
    • When Buffy reawakens in the hospital in the Season Three finale, she approaches Faith's bed and returns the forehead kiss that Faith had given her in "Enemies."
    • Principal Snyder is killed by being eaten. This after Snyder made such a big deal back in his first appearance ("The Puppet Show") about how former Principal Flutie got devoured by hyenas because he was too soft on kids.
    • Willow suggested to Buffy in "The Harvest" that one way she could get out of school would be to "blow something up." Can do!
    • Buffy began and ended Season 6 at the cemetery (though it should be noted that every season except the first begins in a cemetery).
      • The real Book End of Season 6 is the fact that both the premiere and the finale feature Buffy climbing out of the ground and showing the stark differences in the circumstances. In the premiere she's clawing her way out of a coffin, terrified and desperate and she emerges to darkness and what she thinks is Hell. In the finale she climbs out with her sister and emerges into the sun, looking hopeful and peaceful.
    • Season 7 premiere. "It's about power"
  • Brainless Beauty: Harmony, some minor characters, arguably Glory. Cordelia seemed to be one, but had Hidden Depths.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In "Once More With Feeling":

 Xander: It's a nightmare. It's a plague. It's like a nightmare about a plague.

  • Break the Cutie: Willow, Dawn, Buffy herself, Anya from "Hell's Bells" on, arguably Riley and even Faith. Blame Joss Whedon.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall / Leaning on the Fourth Wall
  • Brick Joke: "Passions" has a throwaway line about the Orb of Thesulah being sold to dumb New Agers as paperweights. In the Season Finale, Giles mentions he has been using one as a paperweight.
    • Buffy remarks that she could use a snack after killing The Master. In her debut episode, Faith, another Slayer, says that slaying always makes her "hungry and horny."
    • The origin of Chanterelle's name.
    • Xander looks forward to leaving school so he can finally tell Snyder what he thinks of him ("What's My Line, Pt. 1"). This never happens, but in "Restless" Xander does have a cathartic exchange in his Dream Sequence. ("You know, I never got the chance to tell you how glad I was you were eaten by a snake.")
    • "You HAD SEX WITH GILES?!"
    • In "Lover's Walk", Spike wails that Dru left him for a Chaos Demon. ("All slime and antlers!") The spat between Spike, Dru and Antler Guy is shown in "Fool for Love".
    • In "Choices", Xander is reading Jack Kerouac, inspiring to him to go on a road trip after graduation. However, as Buffy learns in Season Four, he only makes it as far as Oxnard when his car breaks down.
    • In Season 5, Spike tries to hide his Stalker with a Crush obsession with Buffy with a Lame Comeback; "I never liked you anyway, and you have stupid hair." In Season 6, after finally making out with Buffy, Spike gushes over how good her long hair looks (Buffy responds by getting a bobcut).
  • Broad Strokes: Between this series and the original movie.
  • Bully Hunter: Our hero, in the first few seasons. Buffy jumps to the aid of those being picked on at least half a dozen times.
  • Bury Your Gays: Surprisingly enough, this trope is played straight more often than not.
    • We have Larry, the only confirmed gay man ever on the show, who was killed in the battle against The Mayor in "Graduation Day"
    • And Tara, Willow's long time girlfriend, was shot and killed by Warren Mears.
    • And then there's Kennedy, Willow's second girlfriend, who was killed between the end of Season 7, and the beginning of Season 8. She was subsequently revived by Willow.
  • But Not Too Gay: Willow and Tara were a couple for about eighteen episodes before they so much as kissed on-screen, probably partly for this and partly to avoid claims of sensationalism.
    • Although, this is most likely also done so Joss could do it without the Executives advertising it, by placing their first on-screen kiss in The Body.
  • Calling Your Orgasms
  • Can't You Read the Sign?
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Glory, The Trio, Caleb, vampires in general.
  • Casual Danger Dialog
  • Casual Kink: Several times, most notable in "The I in Team."
  • Character Development: Plenty for all, but it's worth noting that ones who get the most of it are the ones who end up on Angel: Cordelia, Wesley, and Spike, all of whom end their time in the Buffyverse very different from when they first appeared.
  • Character-Magnetic Team
  • Character Overlap: See "Character Development."
  • Characterization Marches On: Wow. In the first episode of Buffy, Buffy herself was a perky cheerleader, Darla was somewhat whiny, and Angel was aloof, mysterious, and kind of chipper. Fast forward to the episode Angel, and they've developed more into the personalities that they're known for.
    • With Darla, it's somewhat hard to tell, considering that she gets dusted so soon, but she does come back on Angel, and it's a lot more apparent.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Willow's magic in Season 3, Xander's construction job in Season 5. Giles' skill with black magic in Season 8.
  • Chop Sockey
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Happens a few times. In the episode "Spiral" Spike tries it. Problem is, his hands are screwed up from the fight they were just in, so Xander ends up lighting it for him. Reversed in the episode, Get It Done. Spike, who has been various flavors of The Woobie throughout the first half of the season, and who has just gotten curb stomped by a demon that he needs to kill to help Buffy, goes back to an old hideout of his to retrieve his duster, before going out to fight the demon again. After he dispatches the demon, he lights up a smoke to show that He's Back to his old Badass self.
    • When Faith returns to help save the world with people who hate her she sneaks down into the basement when she gets sick of the potentials to smoke. In the comics she returns to being very cynical and uses smoking to cope, and when tricked to kill a slayer who is targeting Buffy she needs a lot of cigarettes to cope, then seemingly quits after getting with Giles then Angel.
  • City of Weirdos: Sunnydale.
  • Clock Tower: Sunnydale High's steeple, showcased in "Earshot."
  • Collectible Card Game
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Buffy vs. Angel in his eponymous episode.
    • Buffy and the Master in "Prophecy Girl."
    • Spike hollering at the drop ceiling panels in "School Hard."
    • In "Ted", Buffy goes hunting for something to take out her frustrations on, but she's too depressed to make an effort; we see her sitting on a playground swing saying "Vampires? Heeeere vampires..."
  • Coming Out Story: Willow.
  • Conflict Killer: Spike then Angelus in Season 2, Adam in Season 4, and Willow in Season 6.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Frequently applies to vampires, and more egregiously to the Turok-Han.
  • Continuity Lock Out: Happens at least three times in-universe. First Joyce has to learn what it means that her daughter's a slayer, then Riley does the same and later learns about Faith, then in season seven, Principal Wood is out in the cold apropos all the things that have happened to Spike. The first time it's a Tear Jerker, the second just a Lampshade Hanging, the last one a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Cool Car: Played straight with Cordelia's (Chrysler Cirrus) convertible (QUEEN C), Xander's (uncle's) 57 Chevy Bel Air, Spike's DeSoto Fireflite and Giles' BMW convertible. Subverted with Giles' earlier Citroën, but still cool enough to have fanpages devoted to it.
    • Mainly because if it were restored it would actually be pretty cool.
  • Coolest Club Ever: The Bronze, literally the only club in town.
  • Crapsack World: The high school paper has an obituary section. 'Nuff said.
    • It's really just Sunnydale, though. And Cleveland. But this trope DEFINITELY applies to Sunnydale in "The Wish"; if you thought regular Sunnydale was bad...
  • Creator Cameo: "Parking Ticket Lady" (Marti Noxon) and "Mustard Guy" (David Fury) in the musical episode, "Once More With Feeling."
    • In "Lie to Me", the fake vampire lying in a coffin who greets Willow enters a club ("Hi" Vampire in the credits) is played by Todd Mc Intosh, the show's makeup supervisor.
  • Credits Gag: "Grr. Argh."
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Both Buffy death scenes.
    • Subverted with the first one. Buffy doesn't even get the dignity of falling on her back when she dies: she is dumped face-first into a shallow pool of water while unconscious and drowns.
  • Cryptic Background Reference
  • Cutesy Name Town: Welcome to "Sunnydale," the most evil and horrible place on the planet, next to Cleveland.
  • Damned By Faint Praise: Willow's excited to hear that since Angel came to our fair shores about eighty years ago, there are no reports of him hunting ("Angel"). She reads this as proof that he is a good vampire. "I mean, on a scale of one to ten, 10 being someone who's killing and maiming every night, and 1 being someone who's... not."
    • In "Prophecy Girl", Xander takes the plunge and asks out Buffy. She's at a loss for words."Well, you're not laughing, so that's a good start."
    • In "School Hard", Joyce wonders what Buffy's teachers will have to say about her scholastic performance. "Well," Buffy declares, "I think they'll all agree that I always bring a pen to class, ready to absorb the knowledge."
    • Willow congratulates Buffy from moving on from Angel ...then makes the mistake asking the Scoobies if they approve of the new guy, Scott. "He didn't try to slit our throats or anything," quips Cordelia. "It's progress." ("Faith, Hope, and Trick")
    • Buffy concedes that she's not popular. But she's not exactly unpopular! ("Homecoming")

 Buffy: A lot of people came to my Welcome Home party.

Willow: But they were eaten by zombies.

    • In "Earshot", Hogan feigns excitement at Percy's improved verbal skills. "I actually heard him complete a sentence," he tells Willow. "It had a clause and everything."
    • At a pep rally in the same episode, Oz muses that the cheerleaders' spelling has improved.
    • In "Graduation Day pt. 2", Snyder congratulates the Class of '99, saying that they were "more or less adequate."
  • Dangerous Workplace: The Magic Box's storekeeper keeps getting killed over the seasons. In "Real Me", Giles decides to buy the shop and run it with the Scooby Gang there to hangout and protect him.
    • On a creepy note, none of the magic store's owners have lived. This includes Anya (killed by a Bringer) and Giles (killed in Season Eight).
  • The Danza: Larry Bagby III as Larry Blaisdell.
  • Dark Is Evil: Vampires, Bringers and a few other things.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Numerous times.
  • Defiant to the End: In Angelus's torture chamber, Giles is barely conscious and bound to his chair. Angelus circles him like a buzzard, telling him he can make the pain stop. Giles finally cracks; he'll tell Angelus what he wants to know. He speaks in a hoarse whisper so Angelus has to put his face very near Giles's and listen very carefully:

 Giles: In be worthy... you must perform the ritual... in a tutu!

    • As Faith holds Willow at knife point, Willow tries to reason with her. Faith senses another speech coming on, and invites Willow to tell her it's all right, there's still good in Faith, it's not too late to change, et cetera. Willow furrows her brows and says it's way too late.

 "You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life; I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a Slayer, and now you're nothing."

  • Dawson Casting: Some actors were a full decade older than their characters.
    • Averted by Dawn, whose actress is the same age as her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oz, Spike, Buffy, Xander.
    • Giles also has his moments.
  • Decoy Damsel: In the Pilot, Xander's best friend Jesse is nabbed by the Master's goons. By the time they free him in the sewers, he's already been vamped.
    • The Annointed One tries this on Buffy in "Prophecy Girl", standing on the school lawn and wahing for help. Buffy sees right through him.
    • A whimpering brunette vampire who impersonates Cordelia in "When She Was bad."
    • Inverted with Faith's introductory scene, when the Scoobies rush in to 'rescue' her from a disco vampire.
  • Devil's Advocate: The Devil's Advocate ball gets passed around the cast of characters, but tends to land in Xander's lap as often as not. The opposing viewpoint is commonly prefaced with "Not to be the bad guy here, but..." or some form of "I don't want to be that guy, but..."
  • Did Mom Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Angelus and Joyce. Spike and Joyce, for laughs.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Whenever the military or large scale combat appears.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Spike, Mr. Trick, The Initiative, Dracula, The Trio -- this happens a lot.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Often, but never more so than Sid the dummy.
    • The first time Xander sees Buffy (while skateboarding), he careens into a guardrail.
    • In "Prophecy Girl", Willow sits enraptured while Xander tries his pick-up lines on her. When he asks for Buffy, Willow points out she's gone, and pathetically offers to let him practice on her some more.
    • Xander losing his train of thought as Willow's leg creeps up his shin. ("Band Candy")

 Xander: The band. Yeah. They're great. They march.

Willow: Like an army. ...Except with music instead of bullets, and...usually no one dies.

  • Distressed Damsel: Cordelia in seasons one and two, Willow fairly often, and, in a frequent subversion, Xander. Also, Dawn in seasons five and six and the potentials in season seven. Actually, most every character was a Distressed Damsel sooner or later.

 Buffy: Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday.

  • Distressed Domina: Buffy is a Trope Codifier for the Action Girl version of this trope, she's not only a badass fighter but one of the most badass, male or female, of Live-Action TV for any show in the 1990's or 2000's. She's tough, brave, resourceful, skilled in the martial arts and intelligent. But often even she winds up in over her head, maybe not surprising given that she's up against demons and other assorted nasty beaties, many of whom pose a matchup problem for her. At a number of points she winds up being rescued by Angel, Giles, Xander, Spike and, oddly enough, above all by Riley, who saves her from the enemies who give her the most trouble despite his lack of anything supernatural-ish to fight with himself.
  • Distressed Dude: Pretty much all the guys on this show at one point or another. It's been lampshaded that Xander frequently gets involved with demonic women who try and kill him, Angel gets tied up and tortured a few times, Spike spend a good deal of season 7 in custody of the First Evil tied up and bled as a sacrifice. Even the stoic Oz ends up captured by the US military at one point.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Xander, when he sees the fear demon. It's not Tempting Fate, it's just tacky.
    • And in "Something Blue", Buffy taunts Spike:

 Buffy: Oh, look at my poor neck. All bare and tender and exposed. All that blood just pumping away.

Spike: Giles, make her stop.

  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: LOTS AND LOTS.
    • Magic = Drugs and sex, lesbian sex in particular, hence some Unfortunate Implications. Lampshaded in "Same Time, Same Place" when Anya initially is reluctant to do a spell with Willow because "it might get sexy", and it did.
    • Vampire attacks = sex
      • And when Spike has his chip, inability to commit vampire attack = impotence
    • Dawn believing she's a Potential = pregnancy
    • Buffy revealing she's as a slayer to her mother = coming out of the closet. The initial incident aside, Joyce later refers to a figurative "Slayer Pride Parade"...
    • Witchcraft = also homosexuality
    • Dawn finding out she's The Key = adoption
    • Riley letting vampires feed on him = prostitution
    • A big one is Buffy releasing Angelus when they make love = your boyfriend will turn into a jerk/monster after you sleep with him
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Buffy tends to do this; for example, it's how she first meets Oz.
  • Doppelganger: The three core scoobies have had at least one each: the Buffybot, Vamp Willow, and, arguably, the time Xander's personality was split into two physical bodies.

 Xander: Hey wait 'til you have an evil twin. See how you handle it. (leaves)

Willow: (muttering) I handled it fine.

  • Double Entendre: Used plenty of times.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Slayers occasionally have prophetic dreams.
    • One dream at the end of Season 3 prophesies Dawn, who shows up in Season 5. It even gives the number of days until Buffy's death at the end of Season 5... at the end of Season 3.
  • Dresses the Same: In the episode "Angel", Cordelia spots a girl wearing a dress identical to her own, and accuses her of wearing a cheap knockoff of her designer original. The girl scurries off with Cordelia in hot pursuit, haranguing her. "This is exactly what happens when you sign these free trade agreements!"
    • At the Sunset Club, Angel rails on about how these kids don't know anything about vampires. "What they are, how they live, how they dress..." At that moment, a dude dressed in exactly the same outfit as Angel appears next to him, checks him out, and walks away. "...Ahem."
  • The Dragon: The Master has Co-Dragons in Luke and Darla.
    • The Annointed One becomes a Dragon Ascendant following the Master's death. The vampire preacher Absalom could be considered the A.O.'s Dragon.
    • Spike is Demoted to Dragon after making the mistake of letting Angelus crash at his place.
    • Mr. Trick begrudgingly serves as a Dragon-in-Chief to Kakistos before getting fed up and leaving him to the Slayers. He later finds himself employed by Mayor Wilkins, but meets his end during a scuffle with Faith, who goes on to take his job.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Steroids will turn you into fish monsters.
    • The villain's Psycho Serum in "Beauty and the Beasts" was also a pretty obvious steroids analogue.
    • Magic=drugs, complete with dealers.
      • And don't lets forget Riley's blood-addiction thing (which is also played with in Angel, to an even further degree)
  • Dynamic Entry: In "The Harvest", Luke is about to chow down on Cordelia when Buffy kicks one of his mooks over a railing and onto the stage below. Luke watches him land with a thud.
    • In the episode "Angel", Things aren't going so well between Buffy and her fan club. As the leader of the Three is going for the kill, Angel suddenly yanks his hair from behind and punches him in the face.

 Angel: Good dogs don't... [socks vampire] bite!

    • In the Season Two premere, Xander grapples with a vampire in a losing effort until a hand yanks the vamp away. We then see the vamp get pummeled by someone in a shiny micro-mini.

 Buffy: Miss me?

    • While Angelus is busy with her Watcher, Buffy swoops out of nowhere and judo kicks him in the back. ("Passion")

 Angelus: (to Giles) All right, you've had your fun, but you know what it's time for now?

Buffy: My fun.

    • Perhaps the most famous example in the Season 2 finale. A Sunnydale cop, so nonexistent in previous weeks and so very prevalent in this one, jumps out and tells Buffy to hold it right there. Suddenly, the gun gets kicked out his hands. Spike pops out of nowhere, slaps around the cop and kicks him into the hood of his car, knocking him out.
    • In the same episode, Angelus readies himself to free Acathla as his acolytes look on. Buffy enters quietly behind one of the henchvamps and cleanly decapitates him. O hai!
    • In "Consequences", Faith is straddling Xander in her bed and about to strangle him. She hears a sound and looks over to see Angel swinging a baseball bat before the screen goes black. Ow.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up
  • Emergency Impersonation: Willow impersonates the captured alternate universe Willow to get her mooks to go outside.
  • End of an Age
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse".
  • Enemy Mine: Spike frequently found himself calling on Buffy for help, even as far back as Season Two.
    • In "Prophecy Girl", Xander enlists his hated enemy's (Angel) help to storm the Master's lair, and save Buffy. Angel scoffs at that, so Xander shoves a cross in his face for extra convincing.
  • Enter Stage Window: Buffy typically uses her bedroom window to enter and leave the house after curfew, before her mother finds out she is The Slayer.
    • At one point, she climbs in through the window, despite knowing that her mother is out of town for the weekend. When asked why she didn't just use the door, she is at a loss.
  • Erotic Dream: Has had its fair share.
  • Establishing Series Moment: In another series, the schoolgirl in the first episode would have been a Dead Blonde Walking. Here, she's a vampire.
  • Estranged Soap Family: Hank Summers, who was gradually retconned into being a deadbeat dad. He made one reappearance in later seasons, but as part of the Cuckoo Nest.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Spike explains that while vampires may love to talk about destroying the world amongst themselves ("It's just tough-guy talk."), he prefers the world as it is. Where he draws the line, however, is sucking the world into Hell.

 "The truth is I like this world. You've got... [beat] dog racing. Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square, y'know what I'm saying?"

    • Mayor Wilkins says that he married his wife in '03 and that he was with her to the end, which was "not a pretty picture." He suggests that the immortal Angel and the mortal Buffy will have the same problem. Wilkins gets in Angel's face, saying that he's selfish for keeping Buffy from the life she should have. "Is that what you came back from hell for? Is that your greater purpose?" Receiving a blank stare for an answer, Wilkins disgustedly turns his back on him.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex : Averted. In the seven-year series, Buffy only has four sexual partners (Angel, Parker, Riley and Spike), Willow has three (Oz, Tara and Kennedy) and Xander has two (Faith and Anya, not counting demonic seductions with intentions on his life). With the exception of Parker and Faith, two one-night-stands who promptly abandoned the cast regulars after the event, all these relationships evolved into sexual contact after prolonged friendship and/or dating.
  • Evil Counterpart: Giles in particular racked up a high count, if only because anyone with a vaguely mentor-like personality or British accent will qualify. Giles had an evil counterpart on Angel, too, despite never even appearing on that show!
    • Faith to Buffy, of course. Later subverted when Faith is reformed in prison.
    • Oz has an evil counterpart in Veruca.
    • Willow's archenemy (still at large by the time of Season Eight) is Amy Madison.
    • Riley = Forrest
    • Dawn = Glory
    • Anya = Halfrek
  • Evil Gloating: A few of the villains do this. Ethan Rayne acknowledges that it's generally a bad idea, but he can't seem to help himself.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: The stakes to losing to any of the Big Bad's.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Ethan, The Mayor and, in his past, Giles. It's been hinted that Giles was much, much worse than Ethan.
  • Expecting Someone Taller
  • Expy: Der Kindestod, of Freddy.
    • Ted, and The Stepfather.
    • For another example, look at Gnarl from "Same Time, Same Place" and tell us he doesn't remind you of Gollum. They even have the same habit of referring to themselves in the third person.
  • Exposition of Immortality: It's a TV show with vampires and demons and werewolves, oh my! There was going to have to be some of this going on at some point. Being television means a lot of it comes through flashbacks; mainly provided for Angel as Angellus, Angel being cursed by the gypsies, Angellus being evil with Spike and Dru etc.
  • Failed Attempt At Drama: The Trio do this a few times.
    • And Willow in "Doppelgangland", when she meekly explains that she's storming off now. "It doesn't really work if you come with me."
    • When the earthquake stops, and the Master, in mid-rant, asides, "Whaddaya think? 5.1?"
    • "Prophecy Girl:" When he wakes up, tell him...I dunno. Think of something cool. Tell him I said it.
    • Oz insists on a moment of silence after the school blows up. Everyone gets annoyed and leaves. "..And we're done."
    • Ethan Rayne in "A New Man" tried to do an "I'm back to raise Hell" monologue when he thought he was alone but Giles heard him.
    • Spike falls into an open grave in "Out Of My Mind"
  • Fallen Princess: Buffy, later Cordelia and Anya.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: Willow nailing crosses to her bedroom as well as more general cosmology.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink
  • Fantasy Pantheon: All gods seem to be real besides for "the" God and there are a group of god-like beings called The Powers That Be. There are also beings known as Hellgods, which can be killed. Oh, and the Old Ones are there, too. There's an unnamed goddess mentioned a few times by Willow (probably The Goddess of Wicca). Basically, there's a fuckton of gods.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride seems to be a popular one.
  • Feminist Fantasy
  • Flashback Nightmare: Part of the Slayer package is flashbacks to battles of other Slayers in the form of nightmares. Angel Season 5 shows what happens when a crazy person gets them.
  • For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: For vaguely defined reasons, apparently because they think it is just corny, Vampires and demons do not cause problems on Halloween, and instead stay in their respective lairs and wait for the night to end. Spike is disgusted when a couple of teenaged Vampires try to cause trouble and explains that there are rules for this sort of thing, and explains that he is a rebel, whereas they are just idiots.
  • Expressive Hair: When Buffy's hair is all curly she is normally not herself or crazy. This goes all the way back to Xander's daydream in the fourth episode of the series.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Darla, Glory, and (arguably) Buffy herself.
  • Freudian Slip: Xander helping to gather Buffy's books in the pilot. "Can I have you --Uh, can I help you?"
    • Later outshined by, "We're your bosom friends! The friends of your bosom!"
    • Buffy's reaction to Angel's Face Revealing Turn in episode 7. Joyce, hearing Buffy's terrified shriek, races to her daughter's room, but Angel's flown the coop. "Nothing," Buffy composes herself. "I saw a shadow."
    • Wesley's introduction to comely Cordelia ("Consequences"). "In fact, I am... here to watch... girls."
    • Buffy getting the results of her SATs back ("Lover's Walk"). When Buffy shares her scores, Cordy smiles hugely because they enable Buffy to "leave and never come back!"
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: but not very many.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: According to Buffy, this is the dead giveaway. Another one is hilariously outdated dance moves.
  • Gayngst: Despite having four (possibly five) homosexual characters, there is very little gayngst on the show. Larry suffers a little before coming out of the closet but by the time it's mentioned again, he's out and quite happy about it. Spike manages to bring out a little gayngst in Willow during "The Yoko Factor" but that too fades rather quickly.
  • Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Xander certainly thinks so.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Buffy sports pigtails while working incognito at a Greasy Spoon.
    • Buffy during Giles's dream sequence in the episode "Restless." Buffy's attitude in the scene is that of a much younger child, and Giles is essentially her father.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: The leader of the Three has a scar over his eye ("Angel"), as does Kakistos ("Faith, Hope, and Trick"). The latter's scar is a memento from Faith, whose Watcher was slain b Kakistos.
    • Wishverse Buffy from the alternate universe ("The Wish") wears green camo and has a prominent scar across her mouth.
  • Graying Morality: Gradually, over the course of all seasons, the gaps between the clear white and black of the first season fade. Never hits Grey and Gray Morality, though.
  • Green Eyes: You'd think the casting call explicitly asked for them. Willow, Giles, Riley, Joyce, and Buffy all have 'em.
    • Yet the girl who's natural form is a big, green ball of energy doesn't.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid
  • The Good, the Bad, and The Evil
  • Go Through Me: The whole gang does this to protect Tara from her abusive family. Except Spike.

 Buffy: "If you want Tara, you'll have to go through all of us."

Spike: "Except me."

Xander: "Except Spike."

Spike: "I don't care what happens."

    • Though, he does purposely hurt himself just to help her. There is nothing for him to gain from this, making it help cement his Heel Face Turn.
    • Xander tried this several times, and gets his ass handed to him every time.
      • Notably, not that time he kept watch over Buffy in the hospital.
      • Or the time with Jack O'Toole in the school basement with the bomb.
  • Godwin's Law: Nazis have been referenced a few times in Buffy. In "The Witch", Buffy says Amy's mother is, "Nazi-like".
    • In "Becoming Pt. 1", Cordelia says of Principal Snyder, "How about because you’re a tiny impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu?"
    • In "Gingerbread", Xander is dismayed at all the parents rallying against the occult. "Aw, man it’s Nazi Germany and I’ve got Playboys in my locker!"
  • Groin Attack: Buffy does this to Angelus in "Innocence". She also kills Caleb by vertically bisecting him, from the groin upwards.
    • The scythe version was also attempted by Buffy on Twilight in Season 8 during their first fight. Twilight's reaction is kinda foreshadow-y.
  • Guarding the Portal: A major part of the series premise.
  • Guilty Pleasures: In-universe example. Spike, Giles and Joyce all watch Passions. Spike also watches Dawson's Creek.
  • Guns Are Useless: "These things? Never helpful." They really aren't.
    • Except that one time, when they were. To kill a smurf.

General Tropes H-N

 Buffy: I thought it was gonna be like in the movies. You know, inspirational music ... a montage, me sharpening my pencils, me reading, writing, falling asleep on a big pile of books with my glasses all crooked ('cause in my montage I have glasses)...

    • Then in "Once More With Feeling"

 Buffy: I'm worried our training's gonna turn into a montage from an '80s movie.

Giles: If we start to hear inspirational power chords, we'll just lie down until it goes away.

  • He Knows Too Much: Angelus is very thoughrough is dispoising of everyone who knows how to restore his soul.
    • Faith murders a Volanologist in his office, seemingly at random. We later learn that the doctor excavated the fossilized remains of an Old One, which puts Buffy on the trail of the Mayor's weakness.
    • Xander walks in on the lunch lady pouring what appears to be rat poison into the jell-o.
  • Headbutt of Love: Willow and Tara do this a few times.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Spike, Faith, and especially Vampire Willow.
  • Hell Gate: The Hellmouth.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The external (and some internal) shots of Sunnydale High School are of Torrance High, the same school used for the Beverly Hills, 90210
    • The exterior of Angel's mansion is of Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House, a popular shooting location.
    • Buffy's old school, Hemery High, is the clock tower made famous in Back to The Future.
    • The battle between the Slayers and Kakistos *("Faith, Hope, and Trick") takes place inside L.A. Firestation 23, also used as HQ for the Ghostbusters.
  • Hidden Supplies: Giles stashes his weapons in the library's book cage. He has a another cache hidden in his apartment ("These are his good weapons).
    • Buffy keeps her gear hidden in a false-bottom chest under her bed.
  • Hollywood Dateless: Everybody. Not least of which Miss Maybelline herself.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Except of course when Dawn is in trouble. Other than that Halloween (despite being boycotted by any self-respecting demon), Buffy's birthday party, and any school event is a guaranteed demon magnet.
  • Hypocrite: Buffy, dear god, Buffy.
    • Willow as well.
    • Xander is a massive example. Continuously blows down on Spike at any chance he gets for his past crimes. Yet it's never mentioned that Anya, who is far older than Spike, spent 1000 torturing and killing men, not to mention being a misanthropic man hater. And to make matters worse, Anya has never been sorry for doing what Vengeance Demons do, and caught nowhere near the amount of criticism Xander gave to Spike, or even Angel.
  • Hypothetical Casting: The tabletop RPG made a lot of hay out of the televised nature of its inspiration; the GM position is called 'The Director', and individual adventures are called 'Episodes' and meant to be part of a larger 'Season'. To top it all off, the rulebook encouraged players to identify the actor who would play their character if the game they were in was actually a TV show.
  • I Call It Mr. Pointy
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Sunnydale's original name, before the Mayor renamed it.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Xander and Dawn.
    • Bites her in the ass in Season 8. She gets turned into a giant (which is problematic for her, though she does fight a giant Mecha-Dawn), a Centuarette and a Doll (which gets her captured by an insane doll collector). Xander at this point had gotten over this, basically running the Slayer Organization and Dawn is quite happy to be normal again and is actually comforted by Xander throughout the whole ordeal while everyone else basically ignores her. They get together.
    • Xander gets a big one in "The Zeppo" as well.
  • I Know You Are in There Somewhere Fight
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Many characters, since this is a Joss Whedon show after all; Tara may be the most notable.
  • I'm Thinking It Over!
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Buffy makes them quite regularly, but probably the worst one is Xander's:

 Giles: I've never actually heard of anyone attacked by a lone baseball bat before.

Xander: Maybe it's a vampire bat.

    • That one Buffy made about her Valentine's Day staking being "heart-felt" was even more cringe-worthy.
  • Informed Attribute: Vampires are quite often described as being very pale. The make-up artists apparently gave up on this early on, because with the exception of the first couple seasons most vampires sport a rather healthy complexion.
    • Possibly allowed given that many if not most of the vampires on the show are "new recruits".
  • Innocent Innuendo: In "Lie to Me", Giles is unsure about a "surprise" date, but finally stammers, "Alright, I put myself in your hands."

 Jenny: That sounds like fun.

    • Buffy moped over Ford for months, and would sit in her room listening to "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls. She quickly shifts gears by saying she had no idea what the song was about.
    • Buffy glancing up from her career aptitude test to inquire, "Do I like shrubs?"

 Xander: That's between you and your God.

    • In "Killed by Death", Willow mentions that she and Xander used to play doctor (With medical textbooks and things).
    • In "Earshot", Buffy, discussing her "Touch of the Demon", is obliged to mention that it was "A good touch. Not a bad touch."
    • Cordelia in her cheerleader uniform. "I still have knee marks on my back."
  • Insult to Rocks: While Buffy is hunting Angel inside the empty Bronze, she calls out that she knows he's in there, and she knows what he is ("Angel"). From the balcony, Angel, in game face, sneers, "I'm just an animal, right?"

 Buffy: You're not an animal. Animals I like.

    • In "Lover's Walk", Spike sobs that he's "nothing" without Dru, a sentiment which Buffy is inclined to agree with. "You're not even a loser anymore. You're a shell of a loser."
    • In "Consequences", Angel's sermon to Faith doesn't appear to be sinking in. In the privacy of his garden, he grumbles to Buffy that it's like talking to a wall. "Only you get more from a wall."
  • Internal Affairs: The Watcher's Council keeps its Slayers on a tight leash. In fact, they have an entire wetworks team dedicated to taking down rogue Slayers. The Watchers themselves (poor Giles) are also under close scrutiny.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: As far as vamps are concerned, there is no separating wall.
  • Interspecies Romance: A whole lot, though Dawn, in between Seasons 7 and 8 takes the cake by dating a demon thing with tentacles.
  • Inverse Dialogue Death Rule
  • Inverted Trope: Y'know all those classic horror movies where some blonde bimbo cheerleader is the victim of the film's monster? Well here that idea is gleefully turned upside down, where vampires and demons check the wardrobe for Buffy before going to bed.
  • Ironic Name: You'd think that characters with names like Angel, Faith, Harmony, and Glory would be heroic characters, but they're all villains. While Angel does pull a Heel Face Turn eventually, he's still a vampire and becomes more of an Anti-Hero than a shining example of heroism. Faith similarly pulls a Heel Face Turn, although she's even more of an Anti-Hero after it. Harmony is really only Affably Evil and a Card-Carrying Villain, but unlike the other two she stays a villain. Of the four, Glory is the only really purely evil one (and she's at least Faux Affably Evil)
    • It should be noted that Angel specifically picked his name to be ironic (his real name is Liam): he is the "vampire with the angelic face." His evil side, when it resurfaces, is referred to with the much more intimidating name of "Angelus."
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Tried with Riley. Sadly, it fails.
  • It's Probably Nothing
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: In the season 2 premiere, Buffy tortures a vamp by making her swallow her silver necklace.
    • If Band Candy is anything to go by, Ripper, even years before he was at his worst, was a huge fan of this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Larry for Xander, and Percy for Willow.
  • Karma Houdini: Andrew, Drusilla, Willow, Anya, Harmony.
    • In the season 2 finale, Willow asks Xander to tell Buffy to buy some time while fighting Angelus, so that Willow can do the spell to return Angel's soul. Instead, when Xander catches up to Buffy, he says Willow's message is: "Kick his [Angelus's] ass." Buffy ends up having to kill a re-ensouled Angel to save the world, which leads to a major Heroic BSOD. Xander's actions are only brought up once, years later, and even then he never suffers any consequences.
      • Subverted in that it may have been the right thing to do at the time. Giles was missing, the world was in danger of ending and Willow had just come out of a coma. Buffy, although her reluctance was understandable, had allowed Angelus to go unchecked for months before she had gathered the nerve to stake him (or found any hope of a re-ensouling spell). By the time Willow did the spell, she had only a few spells under her belt and had just woken up from a coma. Considering that Willow would be performing the spell in her hospital bed, it's no wonder that Xander might not want to give Buffy false hope.
      • Also, even though Xander couldn't have known it at the time, Angel doesn't get resouled until after he releases the demon...killing him was the only thing she could do. Not saying it's a justification for what Xander said, but it is a pretty solid reason why no one would have brought it up since.
    • "Once More With Feeling" has Xander (more through foolishness than malice) summon a demon that danced several people to death and caused several unwanted confessions.
    • Willow tried to end the world and all she got was a summer getaway to England.
      • Not really true; Willow underwent what was essentially a combination of intense therapy and magical training. In fact, it is specifically noted that she returned home before her time in England was scheduled to be complete. Although she is welcomed back by her friends, the events of S6 aren't forgotten; when flayed bodies start showing up she is one of the first suspects. Furthermore, she doesn't reintegrate into her old role in the group for a long time. As there are definite and long-lasting consequences for her actions, both for the character and those around her, I'd be hesitant to call Willow a Karma Houdini. She pays for what she did, a bit at least.
    • Anya even lampshades this when complaining about Buffy's treatment of her in a season 7 episode, pointing out that Buffy's entire team was evil at one time.
  • Kick the Dog: Dru and Angelus even take it to Squick levels.
  • Killed Off for Real: Miss Calender, Tara, and several Potencial Slayers over the course of Season Seven. The Series Finale also saw the abrupt death of Anya.
  • Kind Restraints:
    • Oz is confined on full moons. At first in a cage locked with a key, later however in a cage locked with a combination keypad which he can supposedly only operate when he is human.
    • When Buffy starts rooming with a new girl her own age, then starts to get annoyed about those kinds of little things that roomies do to annoy each other... then she starts to get delusional and claiming that the girl is 'evil', and that she's going to have to 'slay' her, which prompts the rest of the Scoobies to tie her up to stop her while trying to find out why she's suddenly gone crazy. Turns out the girl actually IS a demon in disguise, and she's been performing nightly rituals to drain Buffy's soul, which is why she's acting erratic. Also, the restraints are less than effective at holding her.
    • Buffy chains Angel up to keep him from hurting himself or attacking others after his return from hell, when he's still feral and wild.
  • Kiss Me I Am Virtual: April, the Buffybot.
    • Don't forget the demon that turned the Internet and any computer connected to it into his plaything, trying to romance Willow.
  • Knight Templar: The Knights of Byzantium.
    • The Watcher's Council.
  • Lame Comeback:

 Buffy: Let's be realistic Willow, your basic spells are usually only about 50/50.

Willow: Oh yeah? Well... so's your face!

    • A deleted scene (though still viewable in the first pilot) had Xander shouting after Cordelia, "Check back tomorrow! I'll have that devestating comeback ready!"
    • Also, when Cordelia is campaigning to be May Queen:

 Cordelia: Here's a chocolate... (snatches chocolate away from Buffy) Oh. I don't think I need the loony-fringe vote. (walks off)

Buffy: Well, I-I don't even like chocolates! (beat) Okay, that was the lamest comeback of our time.

  • Lampshade Hanging: Whedon appears to have bought up an entire IKEA worth of lampshades, here and in his other work.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: The fact that Angel is a vampire was originally a huge, shocking revelation mid-way through season one. Nowadays, it's common knowledge.
  • The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort
  • Legacy Character: The Slayer, seeing as there have been millions of them.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In "Angel", Darla concocts a plan to entice Angel "back to the fold" by arranging to have him kill Buffy.
    • Kendra first sees Buffy when she's tonguing with Angel, who's still in game face, and naturally assumes she's his vampire honey.

 Kendra: Did I not see you kissing a vampire?

Willow: (stands up in her defense) Buffy would never do that! --Oh. Except for that... sometimes you do that. (sits)

    • In "Revelations", rogue Watcher Gwendoyln Post exploits the rift between Faith & Buffy to conceal her own hunt for a mystical glove. When Angel gets in her way, Gwen sic Faith onto him, also.
  • Life Drinker: Not the vampires, actually, but rather Ampata from "Inca Mummy Girl". She was an Andean mummy who sucked living humans' life forces dry to stay alive herself.
  • Love Floats: Tara and Willow do this a few times.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, Drama Points can be used to increase the chance of success for Heroic Feats.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Walsh, Warren Mears, Ted.
  • Magic Floppy Disk: Ms. Calendar's spell, Maggie Walsh's data.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: The only reason the Hellmouth existed was as a perpetual handwave to explain the large numbers of supernatural beings that come to Sunnydale, only a few villains are directly connected to it.
  • Malaproper: Buffy does this all the time.
  • Make-Out Point: Oz goes when he's a werewolf; Dawn goes with two vampires.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Done at least twice, first with the episode that leaves us unsure if Buffy is actually in a mental institution and the whole show has been dreamed up by her, and also with the blizzard that prevents Angel from killing himself.
    • A blizzard in Southern California on Christmas day? Word of God is that it's a miracle.
  • Meaningful Name: Xander's name references the original Buffy movie, in which Buffy had a friend named Pike - zander and pike are closely related species of fish.
    • Xander is also short for Alexander, which means "defender of mankind".
    • Wesley is likely named after the original Creator's Pet from Star Trek: The Next Generation considering that he was intended to be hated by the audience and killed off. Ironically, he became a well-liked, long-running character. In-Universe
  • Meet Cute: Buffy and Angel didn't hit it off at first. Though there was hitting involved.
    • Season Two has a running gag of Oz admiring Willow from afar, but the pair keep missing each other. They finally meet at the school's career fair, after their genius IQs land them in a VIP room with waiters and classical music.


    • Buffy accidentally dumping a pile of textbooks over Riley's head.
    • Willow being shushed by her Wicca group for perpetuating "stereotypes". A shy girl in the back raises her hand to support Willow's opinion. Oh hi, Tara.
  • Mercy Lead: Angelus toys with Ms. Calender for a bit, letting her scramble out of her classroom. "Oh, good. I need to work up an appetite first." ("Passion")
    • A video recording of Mr. Trick welcoming Buffy and Cordelia to Slayerfest '98. He explains that they have "exactly 30 seconds—'(checks his watch) no, that's 17 now—to run for [their] lives." ("Homecoming")
    • In "The Wish", Vamp Xander and Vamp Willow snuggle a bit, prompting Cordy to screech that she can't win, since Xander and Willow are an item even in the Wishverse. Xander agrees with the "can't win" sentiment, and vamps out. "But I'll give you a head start."
  • Minored in Asskicking: Giles and Dawn.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Larry mistakes Xander for gay in "Phases". Over a season later in "Earshot", he still hasn't been corrected.
    • A social worker thought Buffy was gay when she found out she lives with Willow.
  • The Mole: Shows up a few times.
    • After Buffy joins the Initiative, she considers herself still to be investigating them and not really a member.
    • Spike is a mole inside the Scoobies, for Adam.
  • Moment Killer
  • Monster of the Week: Most of the first season is this.
  • Mooks: Most commonly vampires. Also, Glory's demon lackeys.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: There's a reason Slayers are always women. Dudes have traditionally stayed on the sidelines, from the Shadow Men all the way down to their descendants, the Watcher's council.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Buffy blowing up the Judge with an RPG, and later the ascended Mayor with some TNT.
  • Mundanger: "So, we meet at last, Mister Drippy."
  • Murder by Mistake: The Mayor's Assistant and Tara both die this way.
  • My God, What Have I Done?
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: "The cow should touch me from Thursday."
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast : The First Evil.
    • Um...the Slayer?
    • As a young rebel Giles was known as Ripper.
    • Vampires really love this. Angelus is Ominous Latin Chanting in name form, The Master has a name that screams evil and Spike, well, if a name makes you think of sharp things, it's not likely to be a nice person. Kakistos also just sounds evil (it means worst of the worst in Greek, so yeah, evil). Averted with Darla
      • Spike's original nickname is a subversion: William The Bloody. Before he was a vampire, he earned that nickname for his bloody awful poetry. His current nickname, however, comes from his habit of sticking railroad spikes into his (still-living) victims.
    • The Initiative. Nondescript name that starts with "The" and is an organization? The logical analytical circuits find that highly unlikely and the bullshit meter agrees.
    • The name "Glory" doesn't strike fear into the hearts of the common person, but the name she's known by among the Monks? The Beast.
  • National Stereotypes: Englishmen hate showing their emotions, drink gallons of tea, and love tweed.
    • Once Wesley crossed over to Angel, it surfaced on that show as well.

 Robert Wyndam-Pryce: Oh that's right, this is Los Angeles. We're supposed to talk about our feelings. Then maybe we'll hug.

  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: The Trio tried really hard, but never quite got the "evil" part down.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Okay, you have the hots for this guy you know is a vampire. So you do the deed, which ends up causing him to lose his soul and become the mind raping Big Bad. Yeah, nice job bringing in Angelus Buffy.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: When characters consult a Sunnydale map, there are really examining Santa Babara.
  • No Body Left Behind: Vampires immediately turn to dust and dissolve when staked, along with their clothes. And guess what? Dusting a vamp using computer graphics still cost $5,000 per vampire.
  • No Dress Code: Had a lot of this during the high school years. The skirts were way too short and the tops didn't cover enough.
  • No Periods, Period: Flat-out averted in the movie, as Buffy gets menstrual cramps whenever a vampire is around. This is explained as her body's reaction to something perceived as unnatural (it also underscores the connection between slayer-ness and femininity).
    • Xander going through Buffy's purse in search of a stake and being horrified to discover a tampon.
    • Willow telling Oz, in response to discovering he's a werewolf, that "for a few days a month, I'm not so fun to be around, either."
    • When Harmony (under the effects of a love spell) seethes that Cordy never loved Xander, Cordy deadpans, "... Okay, Harmony, if you need to borrow my Midol, just ask."
    • Lampshaded in Season 7:

 Andrew: [Being the Slayer] is like... well, it's almost like this metaphor for womanhood, isn't it? The sort of flowering that happens when a girl realizes that she's part of a fertile heritage stretching back to Eve, and--

Xander: I will pay you to talk about Star Wars again.

  • No Smoking: The show has a clear bias against smoking, as every character in the show who has smoked has been either evil (Spike and the evil Angel) or doomed (Laura in Nightmares; the prostitute who was Angel’s first kill after re-losing his soul; and Sheila in School Hard). Subverted with Faith, she starts smoking after her Heel Face Turn.
  • No Bisexuals: Willow, from Season 4 onwards. In some episodes suggest she still has feelings for Oz (and a continuing attraction to Xander and Giles, among other male characters), whereas in some she'll chirp "gay now!" at the very idea that she could be attracted to a boy, or react to a Love Potion-induced crush by trying to turn her target into a girl (though she only did so when someone else claimed that she couldn't be attracted to him if she's gay). This could be the character's own assumption that she's gay rather than bisexual, as one of Willow's defining traits is jumping headlong into her current role (of which magic and lesbianism are both big parts) in an effort to overcome her original Shrinking Violet background.
    • Also, a lot of those instances were when she was with her first girlfriend, who for a lot of that time was very insecure. This may have started as having to constantly reassuring Tara about her sexuality (as well as feelings) and become a habit.
  • Noodle Incident: Buffy burning down the gym at her previous school. This is a reference to Joss' original script for the movie, before Executive Meddling kicked in.
    • In "Angel", Darla reminiscences with Angel about their fling in Budapest.
    • "Zeppo" is one big lampooning of this trope. The Scoobies face the deadliest threat ever, and we never see it.
    • In their debut episode, Dru complains to Spike that she's hungry, and that she misses Prague. Spike points out that she nearly died in Prague; "Idiot mob." This was expanded on in the comics, where a flashback shows Drusilla being captured by an "Inquisitor" and thrown into a Prague jail. Spike didn't fare much better, as he got tossed into a lake by an angry mob.
  • Not So Dire: Very common gag.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The Watcher's Council. By the time of Angel, even Wesley shrugs off their violent demise without much grief.
    • In Fray, whatever remnants of the Council that survived to the 23rd century have reduced into a few insane zealots.

General Tropes O-Z

  • Off to See the Wizard: Buffy refers to the hyena-possessed bullies in "The Pack" as the "winged monkeys".
    • In "Flooded", Andrew boasts that he trained flying demon monkeys to disrupt a school play.
    • In "Nightmares", Billy Palmer awakens from his coma and, seeing the Scoobies around his bed, says, “I had the strangest dream. And you were in it, and you."
    • In "The Yoko Factor", Willow says, "If ever a whiz there was."
    • In "Empty Places", Rona says, "Ding, dong, the witch is dead" when Buffy is ousted from the house.
    • In "Grave", Willow gleefully says, "Fly my pretty, fly!" when she sends her ball of fire to seek Andrew and Jonathan.
    • The episode "No Place Like Home" takes it's name from the movie, obviously. A similar reference is made in the Angel episodes "Over the Rainbow" and "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb." In that former, Cordelia clicks her heels three times (as Dorothy does in the film) and grumbles, "Worth a shot."
  • Offscreen Afterlife: Twice -- Buffy in Heaven and Angel in Hell.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Most of the spoken magic in the series. Gaelic is a rare variation
  • Only I Can Kill Him: Followed in the first few seasons, averted in Seasons 5, 6 and 7.
  • The Only One: The Slayer is supposed to be this.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The characters whose accents were different from their actors tended to maintain them quite well. There are a few exceptions.
    • David Boreanaz had a great deal of difficulty with Liam's Irish accent in flashbacks and in an episode of Angel asked that he not have to use it during an episode where he otherwise should have. It was lampshaded as part of the weirdness of the episode.
    • James Marsters was very good with his accent (as far as most Americans could tell), with only slight wobbles. Later in the series, according to some, he's finally mastered a lower-class overlay on top of an upper-class accent, allowing Marsters to play with his presentation of Spike, using his history to drive his voice to motivate certain scenes.
    • In-universe: Once Spike had to try and fake an American accent and it was hilariously awful.
      • This gets brain bending when you realize that this is an american man (James Marsters) pretending to be an upper-class englishman (Spike's actual origin) pretending to be a lower-class englishman (Spike trying to sound tougher) pretending to be an american (to fool Riley).
    • Alexis Denisof's accent for Wesley was normally impeccable, to such a degree that his natural accent sounds disturbingly false on other shows, but even he slipped once or twice.
    • The she-mantis in season one. The actress is from South Africa and her American accent is far from perfect. However, since she's a giant, man-eating bug, this could be acceptable or justified.
  • Opening Narration: Only there for the first season and occasionally the second, thankfully. First spoken by Giles then a generic narrator.

 In every generation there is a Chosen One, one girl in all the world. She alone will stand against the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. She is The Slayer.

  • The Ophelia: Drusilla and, to some extent, Tara after Glory wrecks her mind.
  • Opposites Attract Revenge
  • Orcus on His Throne: Glory and the First Evil, both of whom spend long stretches of time not doing very much of anything.
  • The Other Darrin: Nikki Wood, the second slayer Spike, is played by a stuntwoman in "Fool For Love." When The First assumes her shape in Season 7, she was recast as a more vulnerable-looking actress.
    • Buffy's old mentor Merrick looks different in a season 2 flashback.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: One comes out of the Key Portal during The Gift.
  • Our Gods Are Very Various and Very Numerous
  • Our Monsters Are Weird
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires in the series are stated to be demons taking over a human body after they've been sired. Since the souls of the victims are gone, the demon takes over the victim's memory and builds on their personality, with a sense of unlocking new potential or getting rid of the humanity that was in their way.
    • A partial aversion, though, as the vampires here have pretty much the classic vampire traits: blood sucking, sunlight bad, crosses and holy water are harmful, stake to the heart is lethal, etc.
    • One point that causes a small degree of confusion in-series is the rule about vampires needing an invitation to enter a home: once they're invited the first time, they're always "welcome". And welcome signs count.
    • It plays with this trope in the Dracula episode. Dracula fits all the tropes you would expect him to in contrast to the usual vampires on the show. He can shape-shift, turn people into obedient minions, and he's more focused on romance than just finding food.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different
    • Wait, they change into wolves under the full moon. How are they different?
      • They don't look the least bit wolflike (after their initial appearance)? And they don't change under the full moon, they change the night of the full moon, the night before, and the night after.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Season 3 gives us Type V zombies, Season 8 gives us Type O, popped into existence by an angry witch.
  • Outlaw Couple: Most notably Spike and Drusilla, but also Angel & Darla, Evil Willow & Xander and Spike & Harmony
  • Parrot Expowhat: Both Buffy and Willow do this a fair amount.

 Anya: Buffy's got some kind of job there helping junior deviants, Spike's insane in the basement, Xander's there doing construction on the new gym —

Willow: Wait, Spike's what in the what-ment?

Anya: Insane, base.

  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Buffy gets this a lot, from both male and female villains.
  • Planet of Steves: The writers of Buffy seem to love the name William and all its derivatives. Here’s a list of all the William variants used on the show: William the Bloody (Spike’s human name and original title), Liam (Angel’s human name), Billy Fordham ("Lie to Me"), Billy Palmer ("Nightmares"), Billy Crandal ("I Only Have Eyes For You"), Billy Blim (the eponymous Angel episode), Willy the Snitch, and Willow's name being shortened to Wil (yeah, this one is a bit of a stretch).
  • Platonic Life Partners: Willow & Xander.
  • Plot Armor
  • Polyglot: As part of her Character Development to The Smart Guy, Dawn has learned at least Turkish and Sumerian between Seasons 6 and 7. Giles can read five languages, including German and Sumerian.
  • Present Company Excluded: Xander says this to Buffy, when lamenting his poor taste in women.
  • "Previously On...": Season 6
    • The season 5 finale had one that included clips from nearly all of the previous 99 episodes.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: David Boreanaz (as Angel), Seth Green (as Oz), Mark Blucas (as Riley), James Marsters (as Spike), Emma Caulfield (as Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (as Dawn)
    • Played with for Amber Benson as Tara. After she and Willow get back together, she's finally in the opening credits for the first time in the next episode...the episode where she dies.
  • Product Placement: Buffy's iBook almost becomes a tertiary character in later years.
  • Prophecy Twist: More than once.
  • The Public Domain Channel: Faith watches it a lot in her hotel room.
  • Punctuated Pounding
  • Put on a Bus: Oz, Faith, Angel, and Cordy; of course, we know where the latter two went (Faith too, actually.)
    • Don't forget about Amy, who spent three years as a rat.
      • Everyone who survived in the final episode actually escaped town in a school bus.
    • The Bus Came Back: Oz and Riley both get episodes like this.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Oz and Riley.
  • Rebuilt Set: Sunnydale High 2.0.
    • The Bronze underwent a major renovation following the rampage of Olaf the Troll, including a new sign.
    • Giles renovates The Magic Box to accomodate the gang's exploits, including a gym in the back room.
  • Ready for Lovemaking
  • Reality Ensues: Season 5 final -- Buffy approaches The Dragon atop a tower. He gears up for a fight, and she just knocks him off the tower.
    • In the season 3 premiere, the Monster of the Week knocks The Chick down and does a speech about how his realm is inescapable. Then the girl gets up and pushes him off the edge.
  • Recycled: the Series: Although not so much recycled as "remade properly" according to Joss Whedon's vision.
  • The Renfield: Xander in "Buffy Vs. Dracula", Glory's minions.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Angel, and later Buffy.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Dracula, apparently, who comes back after being staked.

 Buffy: I've seen your movies. You always come back.

  • Retired Badass: Giles in his youth was a rebellious demon-summoning warlock known as "Ripper".
  • Retired Monster: Spike, after he got the Chip in Series 4.
    • And then when he got his Soul back in Series 7.
  • Ritual Magic: Very popular in the Buffyverse, whether it be the gypsies who cursed Angel, or Willow doing incantations.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: In "The Harvest", Angel tries to talk Buffy out of going into the sewers.

 Buffy: I've got a friend down there. Or at least a potential friend. You do you know what it's like to have a friend? (Angel bows his head) ...That wasn't supposed to be a stumper.

    • Mr Whitmore lecturing his Teen Health class. ("Bad Eggs")

 "The sex drive in the human animal is intense. How many of us have lost countless productive hours plagued by unwanted sexual thoughts and feelings? (Xander puts his hand up) That was a rhetorical question, Mr. Harris. Not a poll."

    • Cordy bitching at Xander for dragging her out of bed for a ride. "What am I, mass transportation?" ("What's My Line, Pt.1")

 Xander: "That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker-room talk."

    • After Wesley is fired, Cordelia barges into the library and demands to know what happened to him. Xander responds, "Inbreeding?"
  • Rubber Forehead Demons: A lot of demons are pretty much indistinguishable from humans apart from skin tone and horns or some other head feature. There are also a fair number of non-humanoid ones.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Jesse.
  • Saving the World: The Watcher's Council seems way too uncaring about the amount of apocalypses in Sunnydale.
  • Schrodinger's Butterfly
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Master, Acathla, the Seal of Danzalthar, among others..
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: Several.
  • Secret Relationship: Xander and Cordelia in the second season, Willow and Tara in the fourth, and Buffy and Spike in the sixth.
  • Series Fauxnale: "Prophecy Girl", "Graduation Day" and "The Gift". Also "Chosen", if you want to count the season 8 comics. This happened a lot.
  • Seventh-Episode Twist: the revelation that Angel is a) a vampire and b) a vampire with a soul. Hits on exactly episode 7
    • Season 2: Angel reveals his connection to Drusilla.
    • Season 3: Faith loses her trust in people.
    • Season 4: Riley works for the Initiative. Spike becomes a series regular.
    • Season 5: "Every Slayer has a death wish".
    • Season 6: Buffy and Spike kiss.
    • Season 7: The Big Bad confronts the Scoobies. Spike has been feeding again.
  • Sex Is Violence
  • Shadow Archetype: Faith, Ethan, Adam, etc.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Buffy writers love this trope.
    • In the pilot, Buffy tells Giles that she's taken an early retirement, and suggests that if he's so keen on slaying, why doesn't he go slay vampires instead? Giles protests that he's a Watcher and his duty is to... "Watch?" Buffy pipes up.
    • After being inducted into the Scooby Gang ("The Harvest"), Xander and Willow are left sweating over their new knowledge while the rest of the school parades around innocently. "It's like we got this big secret!"

 Willow: [beat] We do. That's what a secret is, when you know something other guys don't.

    • Jenny Calender had a similar reaction to Giles demanding to know details of their "secret" date. ("Lie to Me") Unluckily for him, it was a monster truck rally.
    • To Willow's question about when the Reconstruction began, Buffy tries to focus and replies, " Um, Reconstruction...uh, Reconstruction began after, which was shoddy so they had to reconstruct." ("Angel")
    • In the same episode, Giles sits at Joyce's sickbed and chats about Buffy. Giles confesses that Buffy is having trouble in history class because she "lives very much in the now. And, um... history, of course, is very much about the, uh... the then."
    • In "School Hard", Buffy and Willow scurry around trying to keep Joyce and Snyder from exchanging words. Buffy, seeing Snyder coming, babbles that Joyce hasn't seen the boiler room yet.

 "The boiler room is really interesting! What with the boiler being in the room and all."

    • Oz complimenting Cordy's Halloween costume, which consists of a black unitard with cat ears and drawn-on whiskers. "You're like a big cat."
    • Ms. Calender apoligizing to Giles for spying on him for over a year. ("Passion")

 Jenny: I know you feel betrayed.

Giles: Yes, well, that's one of the unpleasant side effects of betrayal.

    • In "Anne", Cordelia seems to have a feeble grasp on what being "The Bait" entails.

 Cordelia: What's the plan?

Xander: The vampire attacks you.

Cordelia: And then what?

Xander: The vampire kills you. We watch. We rejoice.

    • In "Earshot", One of the headlines in Freddy's school newspaper reads, "APATHY ON THE RISE -- NO-ONE CARES."
  • Shipper on Deck: A bunch of them. Dawn is a Willow/Tara shipper, as is most of the cast, Buffy is a Anya/Xander shipper, Xander's a Riley/Buffy shipper, Willow is a Buffy/Angel shipper, Buffy was an Oz/Willow shipper and more. And the First, who is, on some level, the people he turns into (he has their memories and stuff), was a Buffy/Faith shipper which means the Mayor likely was as well and the Mayor knew Faith better than anyone...
  • Shirtless Scene
  • Shoot the Dog
  • Shout-Out: The Master’s sunken lair is reminiscent of the 1987 vampire classic The Lost Boys, one of Whedon’s inspirations for Buffy.
    • Buffy gives a shout out to Charmed: in the series finale, Willow, after performing the spell that awakens all the Slayers on earth, exclaims, "Oh my goddess!" This is the title of the fifth season finale of Charmed. Apparently Joss Whedon saw the title of the episode, thought it was awesome, and threw it into the finale.
    • Buffy's last name might be a shout out to Montague Summers. Quotith The Other Wiki: "He was responsible for the first English translation, published in 1928, of the notorious 15th-century witch hunter's manual, the Malleus Maleficarum." He also believed in vampires, witches and other things.
      • Joss has stated that Buffy's last name is a Shout-Out to Cyclops (IE Scott Summers).
    • Dawn wolfing down two bowls of "Sugar Bombs."
    • On the eve of the final battle, when Xander, Giles, Amanda, and Andrew are playing Dungeons and Dragons, they encounter Trogdor the Burninator.
    • During "No Future For You", Giles mentions the great bearded wizard of Northampton.
  • Shrinking Violet: Willow and Tara. Also, Marcie Ross from the first season is this trope taken Up to Eleven: She was so shy that she eventually began to feel invisible, a feeling that was made worse by the fact that no one in school really noticed her. The power of the Hellmouth made that feeling into reality and Marcie could no longer be seen by anyone.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Some demons, and to some vamps, Buffy or Slayers in general.
  • Signs of the End Times: Mrs. Calender knows the Hellmouth is about to open based on locally occurring portents; a family's swimming pool begins to boil (with them in it), a cat gives birth to a litter of snakes and a baby is born with his eyes facing inward.
  • Simple Score of Sadness: Buffy and Angel's love theme.
  • Sinister Minister: Caleb: Taking, mass and kicking ass.
    • The Annointed One's guardian, Abasalom. ("When She Was Bad")
    • A Catholic Priest, Josephus du Lac, wrote a number of books containing dark rituals, resulting in du Lac being excommunicated. ("What's My Line?")
  • Six-Student Clique - The high school years: Buffy = The Head and The Wild One, Willow = The Smart one, Xander = The Quirk, Cordelia = The Pretty one, Oz = The Muscle. During college, Riley became the muscle and Tara became the pretty one.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: The whole show could be considered a subversion of this trope.
    • Darla is a villanous subversion. First introduced to us as a simpering 'victim,' she ends up luring two hapless males into her web.
  • Slave Mooks: Strangely common. The mooks of the various Big Bads are this, some only because of the Big Bad being a very Bad Boss and some due to brainwashing. Also shows up with some weekly villains like the giant worm demon thing in Bad Eggs' baby-controlled people and Spike becomes one for a bit in Season 7.
  • Smash to Black
  • Smoking Is Cool: Spike, Faith. Parodied with Harmony, who tries to smoke and well, looks like an idiot.
    • But not as much of an idiot as Andrew does, in his opening "Storyteller" fantasy, when he has his big Meerschaum pipe. (Which he still hasn't got the hang of, when he pops up in Angel...No, not like that!)
    • Subverted in "Nightmares". Smoking gets you beat up by a boogeyman
  • So Happy Together
  • Soft Glass: Averted, Subverted, and played straight.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: Many demons are surprisingly this like D'Hoffryn and the Beljoxa's Eye.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Subverted sometimes, but when in use it's Exponential. Big Bads in order
    • Season 1: Vampire (The Master)
    • Season 2: Vampire(s) (they also used demons to try and end the world)
    • Season 3: The Mayor and his desire to become a "True Demon"
    • Season 4: Cyber-Demonoid and a Government agency.
    • Season 5: A dethroned God.
    • Season 6: The Trio (a bunch of nerds who spend most of the season as Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain), or simply themselves and their own failings (and also Willow).
    • Season 7: The First Evil, the embodiment of that concept in that universe.
    • Season 8: The Universe itself!
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Three
    • The Judge.
    • The First Evil.
  • Spider Sense: Slayers are said to be very attuned to vampires in the area; trying to sneak up on one is a bad idea. However, we've seen normals like Giles use this ability, too, so it could just be a matter of training.
    • Similarly, Angel is able to detect Darla lurking in his apartment ("Angel"). The spin-off series established (late in its run, waaaaay at the end of Season Five) that vamps can sense each others' presence.
  • Staking the Loved One: Xander's stakes his best bud in the two-parter series premiere, albeit comedically.
    • Season Two is a protracted inner struggle for Buffy, who can't bring herself to stake Angelus in their first encounter.
  • Stock Phrases
    • From "The Harvest"

 Luke: Ladies and gentlemen, there is no cause for alarm. Actually, there is cause for just won't do any good.

    • From "Real Me"

 Harmony: So, Slayer. At last we meet.

Buffy: We're met, Harmony -- you half-wit!

    • From "Once More With Feeling"

 Giles: Spike, if I want your opinion... (looks at him in contempt) I'll never want your opinion.

    • In "As You Were" Riley insists on searching a shirtless Spike's crypt.

 Spike: Over my dead body.

Riley: I've seen enough of your dead body for one night, thanks.

  • Stock Sound Effects: The occasional scream and a few others.
    • Does Joss Whedon have only one chanting sound effect that shows up roughly every other episode?
  • Stronger with Age: Vampires.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Buffy would be a big help in Los Angeles since, as Angel admits, she's stronger then even he. After appearing twice on Angel to read him the riot act (and wring Faith's neck), Angel tells her to take her cowboy antics someplace else.
    • Fortunately for Angel, he has a spare Slayer stewing in jail.
    • The opposite is in effect, too. Angel turns up again in the Series Finale, ready to help fight the Big Bad, but Buffy immediately sends him away so he can prepare "a second front" in Los Angeles in case she dies.
  • Supernatural Angst
  • Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Slayer blood is tastier than that of normal humans, to the point of possessing healing properties.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands
  • Supervillain Lair:
    • Season One: The collapsed church beneath the Hellmouth. Doubles as a Tailor-Made Prison, since the Master's really anxious to get out of there.
    • Season Two: The factory for The Anointed One/Spike, and Crawford Street mansion for Angelus.
    • Season Three: City Hall.
    • Season Four: The Initiative.
    • Season Five: Glory's apartment. Tough act to follow, those clandestine underground government labs.
    • Season Six: Warren's basement. Erm...
    • Season Seven: The vineyard. And eventually the Hellmouth itself.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Nobody in Sunnydale ever locks any doors.
  • Sword Over Head; In "Angel", the eponymous hero attempts Suicide by Cop by provoking Buffy into killing him. Eventually Buffy gets Angel in her crossbow sights; to Angel's surprise, the Slayer intentionally shoots wide and her bolt thunks into the wall beside his head.

 Angel: Little wide...

    • Buffy nearly overpowers Angelus in their first encounter ("Innocence"), but can't bring herself to finish him. ..So she settles for a kick to the groin instead.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Angelus, which he gets out of via perfect happiness brought on by screwing Buffy (she must be VERY good in the sack). The Ubervamps are in one (the Hellmouth) as well.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Buffy and Angel in "Amends", though there's no actual talking involved. The First Slayer also communicates with Buffy and the gang this way in "Restless".
  • Tangled Family Tree: Angel has one, which gets even worse on his own show and in Buffy Season 7. The Master sired Darla, who sired Angel, who sired Drusilla who sired Spike. Angel killed Darla, who was later brought back from the dead on Angel, as a human. Dru then sired Darla, making her Darla's mother grandchild and Darla her own Great Grandchild. This makes Spike her brother and Great Grandchild and Angel her son and Grandfather. Angel and Darla then break the laws of reality, having a child. This child is Angel's brother, child and Great Grandchild. His Grandchild/Brother/Child then has Jasmine with Cordelia, making Jasmine his Grandchild, Great Great Grandchild and Niece. Meanwhile, Spike went on a siring rampage against his will. Some of those vamps can be assumed to have sired others, making them all clean, if numerous, branches on a very fucked up tree. I would imagine Spike and The Master would be looking on with horror as to what's going on behind/in front of them on the family tree.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Xander bouncing a tennis ball at a chalkboard after Buffy rejects him. ("Prophecy Girl")
    • The Master throws a few candelabra around his prison after Darla bites it. ("Angel")
    • After Angelus' ritual goes awry, he grabs the nearest stone pot and smashes it.

 Spike: Someone wasn't worthy ♪

    • When Willow is held random for an artifact, Wesley plays devil's advocate, saying the artifact must be destroyed. A shouting match ensues, which Oz wordlessly puts an end to by getting out of his chair and shoving an urn across the room, smashing it. ("Choices")
  • Tap on the Head: Dear god, this happens alot. Giles should be brain damaged by now.
    • Lampshaded numerous times, by Giles himself and other characters.
  • Tattooed Crook: Faith and Angelus both have tattoos (Faith has one on her arm, Angelus on his back (It's also there when he's Angel)).
    • Note: Faith's was caused by being possessed by a dead Greek Slayer. It's the Mark of Kakistos, the mutated vamp who killed her Watcher. This is explained in one of the Expanded Universe books.
    • Also Giles in his Ripper phase. Ethan counts until he removes his.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Several instances.
  • There Can Only Be One: Mostly averted with the Slayers. In theory, there is only supposed to be one slayer in each generation. (At least, as indicated by the page quote.) However, due to Buffy's first death, a girl named Kendra became a Slayer. After Buffy was resurrected, they both acted as Slayers. Then, a year later, Kendra was killed by Drusilla and Faith became a Slayer, resulting in a similar situation.
    • Of course, it's averted hard at the end of Season 7, when Willow casts a spell to make all of the Potential Slayers into full fledged Slayers.
    • Oddly absent in Seasons 5 and 6, when Buffy dies a far more permanent (supposedly, anyway) death, but no new slayer appears, or is even mentioned.
      • Because as far as the rules were concerned, Buffy died already. Instead of calling a third Slayer, Buffy's death in season 5 caused a disruption in the Slayer line that led to the events of season 7. (To elaborate on that, the Slayer line runs through the most recently called Slayer. In other words, Faith was the rightful Slayer at the time. In order for a third Slayer to be called, she, not Buffy, would have to die. Buffy's continued existence after her second death represents a weak point in the line, because Buffy herself doesn't belong.)
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: Out. For. A. Walk. ... Bitch.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil
  • Title Drop: "I'm Buffy. The vampire slayer. And you are?"
    • Many episodes have a title drop on the episode title as well.
  • To Create a Playground For Evil: Quite a few villains have this as their goal.
  • Too Happy to Live: This trope is Joss's best friend in life. Seriously, it happens to alot of people.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Xander, Willow, Giles, Dawn, Warren, Amy, Harmony, Oz, the entire 1999 Class of Sunnydale High, ALL of the Potentials and more. Giles' levels are more "Regained Levels In Badass" though.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: There's an entrance into Hell under the high school, the Mayor wants to be a demon, vampires rise from the cemetery every night and there are buried (sometimes magical) treasures hidden in the right mausoleum. The secret government lab under the college is the least exciting secret there was.
  • Tracking Device: Willow's oft-used "locator spells."
  • Trash the Set: Many times.
    • Spike's factory is set aflame thanks to Angelus' recklessness. However, Spike did revisit the charred ruins.
    • Giles lighting up Sunnydale High with a Plunger Detonator would be the Ur-example.
    • The Bronze seems to have an unlimited refurbishment and furniture-replacement budget and, throughout all seven seasons of Buffy, seems to have self-repairing capabilities (like the school) since major damage is completely fixed by the next episode. An exception is when Xander rebuilt the window jamb after a Sex Bot tossed Spike through the window.
    • The Magic Box is destroyed after Dark Willow, crazed by magic, sucks its contents dry. Her battle royale with Giles doesn't help.
    • There's also a dining-room chair in the battle-weary Summers household that's conspicuously ductaped through most of the end of the series.
    • Lampshaded in Season 7:

 Buffy: Every piece of furniture has been destroyed and replaced since you left, so actually, new house.

Season One

  Principal Snyder: There are things I will not tolerate. Students loitering on campus after school. Horrible murders with hearts being removed. And also smoking.

  • Big No: The Master does one of these at the end of "The Harvest," when Buffy kills Luke, ruining the Harvest.
  • Blank Book: Moloch's prison-book after he escapes.
  • Blood Bath: The Pilot episode shows The Master hanging out in a pool of blood while fully dressed.
  • Car Fu: Cordelia plows through a horde of vampires with her car in "Prophecy Girl."
  • Chekhov's Classroom: "Teacher's Pet" features a lecture from the science teacher's substitute about the cannibalism seen in female praying mantises. Guess what the Monster of the Week is?
  • The Chosen Zero: Giles's initial reaction to Buffy.
  • Cliff Hanger: "Teacher's Pet". The she-mantis has left some eggs and they're starting to hatch.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: “I Robot, You Jane”
  • Date My Avatar: Willow once dated her nice charming chat-buddy Malcolm... who was actually a incorporeal murderous demon possessing the computer system.
  • Dead Star Walking: Joss Whedon hoped to include actor Eric Balfour (Jesse) in the title credits to shock viewers when his character dies. Unfortunately, the show literally could not afford an extra set of title credits at the time.
  • Demonic Dummy: Subversion. It seemed like the dummy was killing students, but it turned out he was actually hunting the thing that was killing the students.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Buffy was originally very chaste in manner and dress, with "earthy" hair coloring and makeup. In Season Two, the producers decided they wanted a more vibrant look for the character. This coincided with Sarah Michelle Gellar having her hair cut shorter, and dyed blonder, for her role in Scream 2, which she filmed in-between seasons one and two.
    • This pilot episode is the only time when we see Xander riding a skateboard, since the scene required a lot of space and was difficult to shoot. In later episodes we can see Xander holding a skateboard a couple of times, but never again does he ride one.
    • The pilot and "Harvest" are two of the few episodes that feature the upper level of the Bronze. Joss Whedon wrote the script to feature the two levels, but didn't realize how difficult it would be to shoot these scenes. Not only was it impractical in terms of filming and lighting, but it stretched their already non-existent budget.
    • When a pack of vamps chase Buffy and Angel into the Summers house, one of the pursuers gets his hand through the door before Buffy slams the door on his wrist. It is later established that, barring an invitation, an invisible force field encases the doorway to keep vampires out. The henchvamp shouldn't have been able to get his arm through like that. ("Angel")
    • In "Witch" (season 1, episode 3), Giles seems unfamiliar with magiks, saying "Pretty good for my first [spell-]casting, eh?" and such--which is totally at odds with his, y'know, rebellious Hellblazer youth period.
    • Well, Giles had been trying to keep his past a secret. Besides, it might have been the first time he had done a spell while pretending to be alot less badass then he really was (remember, the uptight tweed-wearer thing was implied to be an act).
  • Elite Mooks: The Three. Luke. Darla.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Angel’s statue of Kwan Yin – like a true Bodhisattva, Angel will delay his own enlightenment to ease the suffering of others.
  • Eye Scream: The Master, after making a mook apologize to him for failing, admonishes him about (SQUISH) something in his eye.
  • Face Your Fears: Xander gets to punch a clown in "Nightmares".
  • Failed Audition Plot: In "Witch", Buffy tries out for the cheerleading team but initially doesn't make the cut. Later in the episode she does get a spot on the team... which ends up making her a target for the witch who is magically injuring other cheerleaders to earn herself a spot.
  • Faking Amnesia: Xander pulls this in "The Pack", after being possessed by the spirit of a hyena. After Buffy and Willow save him, he tells them that he can't remember a thing and hopes he didn't do anything "too embarrassing". Giles, however, sees right through it.

 Giles: "I've been reading up on my animal possession and I cannot find anything anywhere about memory loss afterward."

Xander: "Did you tell them that?"

Giles: "Your secret dies with me."

Xander: "Shoot me, stuff me, mount me."

  Marcie: Your smile... I think it should be wider.

  • Glory Days: A witch switches places with her cheerleader daughter because she misses being a cheerleader.
  • Grand Theft Me: See Glory Days
  • Grave Clouds: In a first-season episode, it is always night in a graveyard that had been magically relocated next to Sunnydale High.
  • Haunted Technology: "I Robot, You Jane".
  • Hollywood Nerd: An Enforced Trope with Willow. The pilot had Willow played by a plus-sized actress but Whedon was ordered to replace her with a thinner, more conventionally attractive actress.
  • Hook Hand: One of the Master's vampires has blades where one of his hands used to be.
  • I Comma Noun: "I Robot, You Jane".
  • If You Can Read This...: At the end of "Out of Mind, Out of Sight", a textbook on infiltrating a cult compound to assassinate its leader is readable in DVD format, and consists of the lyrics to "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles.
  • The Lonely Piano: The Buffy theme plays slowly on a piano over the final scene of Prophecy Girl.
  • Mailer Daemon: Moloch the Corruptor.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: "Teacher's Pet" seems to exist to highlight and subvert the trope.
  • Murder by Cremation: "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date".
  • Once Killed a Man with A Noodle Implement: In the first episode, Buffy mentions having once killed a vampire using only an exacto knife.
  • Remote Body: In "I Robot, You Jane", the demon Moloch creates a mechanical robot self he operates via the internet. Eventually he gets stuck in that body.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: In one of the earliest episodes, Giles initially attributes this as the cause for a cheerleader bursting into flames; it's later revealed to have been caused by a witch's spell.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Variation between the Master and a mook in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" where the Master (who could certainly kill the mook with his index finger) plucks a bug outo f the air next to the mook's head.
  • Stock Scream: Shows up in "The Harvest".
  • Take Five: In "Prophecy Girl", Xander wants to get Buffy alone so he can ask her out:

 Xander: Willow, don't you have a thing?

Willow: A thing? The thing! That I have! Which is... a thing I have to go to. See ya later.

Season Two

  • Abandoned Warehouse: Spike and Drusilla use one as their lair.
  • Above the Influence: Willow and Buffy practically strip down and jump Xander's bones in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", but Xander refuses to let them. After the Love Potion wears off, Buffy is proud of him for it.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: In the episode "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered", after a spell gone awry has caused every girl in the school aside from Cordelia to fall madly in love with Xander, he attempts to take refuge in the school library by moving the the card catalogue in front of the double doors that serve as the entrance. Since he apparently didn't realize that the doors open outwards, a coat (and not much else) wearing Buffy calmly opens the doors and walks around the catalogue while Xander's back is turned.
  • Alien Catnip: Slayer blood and high people for vampires.

  Spike: If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion was actually there it would've been like Woodstock. I was actually at Woodstock... that was a weird gig. I fed off a flower person and I spent six hours watching my hand move.

 "This is for the bra! This is for the wig! This is for the makeup! And this is for the last 16 and a half years!"

 Snyder: Halloween must be a big night for you. Tossing eggs, keying cars, bobbing for pathetic cry for help after another.

  • Becoming the Costume: "Halloween".
  • BFG: Buffy Does Not Like Guns. She thinks guns are never helpful. Apparently she doesn't think a AT-4 rocket launcher is a gun, as she uses one to kill The Judge.
  • Bigger Bad: Acathla.
  • Black and White Morality: Sort of with the Judge, who kills based on whether a target has humanity or not. Any vampire with sufficiently human traits--like interest in books, or involvement in romance--is a fair target to him, even if they're otherwise serving evil purposes.
  • Blatant Lies: “Lie to Me”
  • Brainwash Residue: Xander retains some of his soldier knowledge after "Halloween".
  • Break-In Threat: Angelus sneaks into Buffy's bedroom while she's sleeping and draws a picture of her, which he leaves for her to find in the morning.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: The child-killing demon Der Kindestod from "Killed by Death" can only be seen by young people with fevers.
  • Call Back: Plenty of em. When Ethan "leaves" in Halloween Giles finds a card with "Be seeing you," on it. Be Seeing You is what Eyghon later says while leaving Giles' apartment in Jenny.
  • Carnival of Killers - the Order of Teraka sent a superstrong cyclops, a Worm That Walks and a Badass Normal posing as a uniformed cop to kill Buffy.
  • Censorship by Spelling: Famously in "When She Was Bad".

 Willow: But why is she acting like such a B-I-T-C-H?

Giles: Come on Willow, we're a bit old to be spelling things out.

Xander: ...a bitca?

  • Computer Equals Monitor: Angelus is satisfied that Jenny's electronic translation of the incantation that would restore Angel's soul is gone when he shoves her computer off her desk. The problem is, while the monitor was wrecked, the actual PC received minimal damage... Justified--not like a 200 year-old vampire would really know how a computer works. His monologue before destroying the computer even makes it explicit. Later episodes also imply that her hard drive was indeed undamaged.
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Spike mentions doing this for six hours at Woodstock, after feeding off a "flower person".
  • Continuity Nod: When he asks out Ampata in "Inca Mummy Girl", Xander takes care to make sure she's not a praying mantis.
  • Deadly Hug: Buffy does this to Angel in the season 2 finale, although she has to let go of him first since she does it with a sword.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In "Inca Mummy Girl" the mummy hid the body of the real Ampata in one of his trunks.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: One episode is named "Killed by Death". Although by "Death", we mean "Death".
  • Die Hard on an X: School Hard, AKA Die Hard with vampires. The Bronze is also a popular location for hostage-takings ("The Harvest", "Doppelgangland").
  • Doomed Appointment: Ms. Calendar.
  • Egg Sitting
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: The Mark of Eyghon, which Giles never gets removed (as we see it in Season 8, which leads to a conversation with Faith about how he and her are not as different as she thinks). Said conversation is even more meaningful if you know the origins of her tattoo. Both of them are the mark of a demon, in her case Kakistos (the really mutated vamp that killed her Watcher). She got it from being possessed by a dead Greek Slayer.
  • Empathic Environment: In Angelus' first episode, the lights suddenly go out on Xander and Willow inside the school. Angelus appears in a darkened hallway, his shape blocking a lit EXIT sign.
  • Fish People: The mutated swim team in "Go Fish".
  • Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Billy Fordham, "Lie To Me."
  • Groin Attack: Buffy can't bring herself to kill Angelus in "Innocence", but settles for this.
  • Groupie Brigade: "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: In the season 2 premiere, Buffy tortures a vamp by making her swallow her silver necklace.
    • If Band Candy is anything to go by, Ripper, even years before he was at his worst, was a huge fan of this.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: One of the trope namers. With Buffy coming out to her mother as a Slayer.
  • Hemo-Erotic / Marshmallow Hell: A flashback of Angel being sired by Darla.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Spike says wackiness ensues in "The Becoming, part 1".
  • If I Can't Have You: An alarmingly common conclusion among the enchanted female populace in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Ampata, a former Incan mummy from "Inca Mummy Girl" chosen as a sacrifice to protect her people, raises herself from the dead and is determined to lead a happy 16 year-old girl's life--even if she has to kill at least one person a day to keep up the facade.
  • Impossibly Mundane Explanation: the gang is attempting to contact Buffy.

 Xander: Well, she didn't go home. I let the phone ring a few hundred times before I remembered her mom is out of town.

Giles: Well, maybe Buffy unplugged the phone.

Xander: No, it's a statistical impossibility for a 16-year-old girl to unplug her phone.

Willow: *nods*.

 Giles: Let's not jump to any conclusions.

Buffy: I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.

  • Obfuscating Disability: In the last four episodes of season 2, Spike is only pretending to still need his wheelchair.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations:
    • When Willow starts discussing Buffy's secret affair with Angel, Xander immediately deflects the discussion to their sordid tryst. This proves to be consistent behavior between Willow and Xander throughout the season; the stress of being caught cheating is so overwhelming, they keep blurting out psuedo-confessions to anyone in sight.
    • In "Phases", Xander confronts Larry the bully about his secret, which Xander can understand because he's been there before. Xander's talking about being a werewolf. Larry's talking about being a closeted homosexual. Later on in the episode, Buffy and Xander chat about the day's events, and Xander says he'll have trouble ever looking at him the same way again. Buffy's talking about the werewolf, Oz, but Xander's talking about Larry.
  • A Party - Also Known as an Orgy: The college party in "Reptile Boy".
  • Pure Is Not Good: From "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered":

 Amy: I don't know, Xander. Intent has to be pure with love spells.

Xander: Right! I intend revenge. Pure as the driven snow.

  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: Buffy's dreams about Drusilla's return are mingled with dreams of opening an office-supply warehouse in Las Vegas.
  • The Remnant: The Annointed One's army
  • Romance-Inducing Smudge: A rare romantic moment passes between Willow and Xander in the season two episode "When She Was Bad", when Willow gets ice cream on her nose as the pair are walking past a cemetery. As Xander leans in to clean it for her, the two look like they are about to kiss... until a vampire pops up behind Willow, forcing Xander to attempt to hold it off and killing a Squee-inducing moment for Willow x Xander shippers.
    • Willow later attempted to invoke this trope by putting ice cream on her own nose, but Xander, now once again distracted by Buffy, simply says "You got something on your nose."
  • Serial Escalation: "Hmm, Angelus certainly did a good job inflicting torture and trauma. How can we top it?" They continue this trend throughout the series.
  • Shaking Her Hair Loose: In "Go Fish", Buffy pulls a stake out of her hair and shakes it loose as she prepares to fight a vampire.
  • Shock Party: In the aptly named episode "Surprise". In something of a variation, it's actually Oz who gets the shock; seeing Buffy staking a vamp for the first time.
    • Later in season 5 we have the organizing variation with Tara.
  • Sick Episode: "Killed by Death".
  • Stab the Salad: Happened in "School Hard". The gang is preparing an imminent attack from Spike. Willow is fidgeting with a crossbow, Xander & Cordelia are carving stakes and Buffy holds up a machete, which she uses to slice zuccini.
  • Staking the Loved One: Several times, most notably with Angelus.
  • Standard Fifties Father: Ted seems like one of these at first, but is actually a killer robot.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Spike is rather miffed about Angelus deciding to toy with Buffy instead of just killing her outright.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: In "Passion", Angelus not only kills Jenny Calendar, but after he kills her, he takes her body and puts it in Giles' bed and leaves a trail of romantic symbols (such as rose petals) that lead Giles to Jenny's body.
  • Sword Fight: Becoming, Part 2. Hell yes.
  • Teacher-Student Romance
  • Tempting Fate: "Passion":

 Angelus: Don't worry, rollerboy, I've got it under control.

(Giles tosses a Molotov cocktail.)

 Xander: Yes, vampires are real, there are a lot of them in Sunnydale.

Willow: I know this must come as a shock...

Oz: Actually, it explains a lot.

  Cordelia: "There you go, off to save the great Buffy again... I bet you'd never do that for me..."

Season Three

  • Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing?: Buffy drives to the Bronze even thought she failed her driving test, with Willow in the passenger's seat. Willow gets increasingly anxious, despite Buffy's relaxed-ness. They make it to the Bronze which they discover is full of middle-aged people acting like teenagers due to cursed candy; then Buffy attempts to drive to Giles' house, which results in a crash.
  • Baleful Polymorph
  • Brand X: Trick orders a "medium diet soda" at a drive-thru window without actually specifying what soda in "Faith, Hope & Trick".
  • Brought Down to Normal: Buffy in "Helpless", as part of a test by the Watcher's Council.
  • Bury Your Gays: Larry in "Graduation Day, part two. Was confirmed later.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Faith. After the aaccidental murder of the deputy mayor she throws herself so far into villainy that she becomes about as scary as Angelus. Justified in that she first wanted to corrupt Buffy by forcing her to kill her, then it turns out Faith genuinely did have a death wish.
  • Children Are Innocent: The demon from "Gingerbread" uses this to get the parents of Sunnydale to kill witches and anyone who protects them, including their own children.
  • Collapsed Mid-Speech: The Mayor starts his Ascension in the middle of his speech to the graduating students, which causes him strong pains. However, he knew that it would happen and his collapse last few moments before he turns into a demonic snake. He only complains that he doesn't have time left to talk about civic pride.
  • Continuity Nod: "Lily" and her boyfriend attempting to buy lunch at a diner by dumping a bunch of change onto the table. David Arquette and Luke Perry did the exact same thing in the Buffy feature film.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Faith takes on this role with gusto.
  • Destructo-Nookie: the overtly sexualized scene in the season finale when Buffy makes Angel vamp out and drink her blood. While he's lying on top of her, she grabs a metal object for support, and it just crumples. She also kicks a table through a wall. Angel leaves her with the most insane hickey in history through all of season 4.
  • Dissimile: It seems Buffy has Gandhi confused with Teddy Roosevelt.

 Xander: The band. Yeah. They're great. They march.

Willow: Like an army. [beat] Except with music instead of bullets, and...usually no one dies.

    • Wilkins explains that to Faith that her errand in question involves something crucial to his ascension. He brightly says that without it, "well, what would Tollhouse cookies be without the chocolate chips?" Faith regards her cookie as if she's actually pondering that zen question. He continues, "A pretty darn big disappointment, I can tell you!"
  • Dominatrix: Picture this scene: You're tied up in a cage with burn marks over your body and a cute little girl in leather bondage gear enters. From the baby talk calling you puppy it's clear she is crazy, and she reacts to the silent treatment you give her with the promise that she is going to make you bark.
  • Double Standard Rape (Female on Male): Averted in Faith's attempted rape and murder of Xander. Angel first hits her on the head with a baseball bat to stop her, and when she wakes up he dubiously asks her about it.

 "He forgot the safety word?"

 Willow: It's really nice that you guys missed me. Say, you all didn't happen to do a bunch of drugs, did ya?

    • Despite being accepted into Oxford, Willow announces to Buffy that she "will be matriculating with Class of 2003" at UC Sunnydale. The mischievous smile. "...Say, isn't that where you're going?" Buffy squees and tackles her to the grass.
    • And GILES gets one from Xander, Willow, and Anya when they think he was The First.

 Giles: "So you think I'm evil because I took a bunch of fifteen-year-old girls out on a camping trip... and didn't touch any of them?"

  • Good Is Not Soft: When Angel is poisoned and Buffy learns that Slayer blood is the cure, her rather scary initial plan is to force the psychotic Faith to him to feed on, dead or alive. When that doesn't work Buffy offers herself to feed on, which Angel absolutely refuses. So Buffy punches him in the face until the blows anger him enough to vamp out, then she makes him feed on her.
  • Gratuitous German: In the episode "Gingerbread", the newspaper article the gang looks up and the chant Giles is doing at the end of the episode qualifies for this.
  • Hands-On Approach: Willow and Xander have this problem. Unbeknownst to them, Buffy and Angel are also struggling to keep their hand off of...things.
  • Hannibal Has a Point: Spike's legendary "Love's Bitch" speech.

 ""You're not 'friends.' You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."

    • This is echoed by Mayor Wilkin, who doesn't foresee anything good for Angel and Buffy's relationship. He's reminded of his own wife in her last days, senile and cursing Wilkins for his eternal youth.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: "Gingerbread" begins with Buffy's mom finding two young children after what looks like a magical rite. She responds by organizing the other parents in Sunnydale into an organization to go after witches (and Slayers.) The episode ends with them all trying to burn their own children at the stake.
  • Hidden Depths: Cordelia, Oz. They score surprisingly well on standardized tests.
  • Hostage for Macguffin: Subverted: No betrayal happens.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game
  • I Think You Broke Him: "Beauty and the Beasts" has a rare version that's not played for comedy.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Cordelia, although she survives. Also most vampires and a few other monsters.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Why Angel breaks up with Buffy.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: In "The Wish", Cordelia unwittingly makes the demon Anyanka create a world wherein Buffy never moved to Sunnydale, which has turned into a truly hellish place where the Master and his army of vampires rules practically unopposed. The whole thing later gets a twist as Cordelia gets killed about halfway through the episode, leaving Giles to find a way to undo the wish.
  • It's Personal: Season 3 premiere.

 Oz: If I may suggest: "This time it's personal." I mean, there's a reason why it's a classic.

  Mr. Trick: (indignant and mildly shocked) Oh. No. No, this is no good at all...

 Willow: We were so guilty about "the fluke" that we overcompensated helping Cordelia and spun the group dynamic out of orbit. Now we're just this meteor shower headed for Earth...

  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: In the episode "Earshot."
  • No-Tell Motel: Faith crashes here upon coming to Sunnydale, further emphasizing the differences between her and Buffy. The Mayor upgrades her to a condo, but advises to maintain her old place as a cover.
  • The Not-Secret: Revealed in "The Prom" that everyone knows in school that Buffy protects them from bad stuff.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Vampire Willow to Willow, and vice versa.
  • Prisoner of Zenda Exit: A darker variation in the lead up to the season 3 finale where a brutal fight between Buffy and Faith ends with Faith stabbed in the stomach and on the edge of a rooftop. Faith knows Buffy needs her blood to heal Angel, so she falls backwards off of the roof onto the back of a truck, which carries her now comatose body away before Buffy can catch up to it.
  • Prophetic Name: Scott Hope. Now, if only his first name were Dash...
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Angel, whose Super-Powered Evil Side Complete Monster delights in Mind Rape, was particularly disgusted with...
  • Recurring Extra: Should you be watching reruns of season 3 episodes, look for a shortish Asian guy carrying a skateboard. He's in many episodes and is referred to as "Asian Dan" by the cast. In the season 4 DVD, Seth Green, Joss Whedon, and Marti Noxon joke about his frequent appearances in the "Wild at Heart" audio commentary.
  • Revolving Bookcase: Mayor Wilkins' shrine.
  • Room Full of Crazy: From "Helpless". Buffy runs into a room full of pictures of her mother taken by a really crazy vampire.
  • Rule of Three: In season three, when Angel has been poisoned by Faith and needs the blood of a Slayer to cure him, Buffy punches him to get him to vamp out. Of course, she hits him once, twice, aaand the third time does it.
  • Sequel Episode: "Dopplegangland" is this to "The Wish".
  • Shadowland: Buffyless Sunnydale to Normal Sunnydale.
  • Spear Carrier: A harried teacher exhorting his students to "be somber" about the new year. He pops up again on Graduation Day, grimly making the kids play Hangman.

 "Heh heh. They always go for the 'E.'"

  • Spoiler Opening: The 3rd season opening shows Faith before she even makes her first appearance. Averted in season 1, it doesn't hint that Angel is a vampire.
  • Stealth Pun: Faith's a bitch
  • Tempting Fate: In "Dead Man's Party":

 Willow: No, let them go, Oz! Talking about it isn't helping, we might as well try some violence!

(A zombie breaks in through the front window.)

Willow: I was being sarcastic!

  • That Was the Last Entry: The first info the Scoobies have about the prophesied "ascension" is a journal entry saying "Tomorrow is the ascension, may God help us." It was the last time the town was ever heard of.
  • Throwing Your Stake Always Works: Subverted with gusto in "Anne".

 Oz: That really never works.

  • Title Drop: For the episode title in "Dead Man's Party".
  • A Truce While We Gawk: In "Anne", Buffy's fight with the demons is interrupted by the head demon holding a knife to Lilly. He announces that their fight is lost and he'll kill Lilly to make an example. Lilly kills him instead. A beat later, the main fight resumes.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Invoked by the Mayor, who was him, his son, his grandson and his great grandson (he's immortal).
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: "Graduation Day, Part Two".
  • Very Special Episode: "I Only Have Eyes For You" and "Earshot" ended with a PSA about calling the suicide hotline, which would have been useful for some fans.
  • Walk On the Wild Side Episode: In "Doppelgangland", Willow gets a little fed up with her reputation as Old Reliable and flirts with danger a bit by doing a dark incantation with Anya. It doesn't end very well.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: After the Mayor has just completed a dark ritual on his way to becoming a true immortal demon.

 Mayor: "This officially commences the Hundred Days. Nothing can harm me until the Ascension."

[beat. Breaks into a fit of gleeful giggles]

"Gosh, I'm feeling chipper! Who's for a root beer?!"

 Buffy: "Why don't I just put a stake through her heart?"

Giles: "She's not a vampire."

Buffy: "You'd be surprised how many things that'll kill."

 Ken: "You've got guts. I'd like to slice you open and play with them."

  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • A Nigerian mask causes a minor one in "Dead Man's Party".
    • The alternate timeline created in "The Wish" is a vampire variant.

Season Four

 Can't even shout

Can't even cry

The gentlemen are coming by

Lookin' in windows

Knockin' on doors

They need to take seven

And they might take yours

Can't call to mom

Can't say a word

You're gonna die screaming

But you won't be heard

  • Arc Number: 314, otherwise known as Adam.
  • Armies Are Evil: The Initiative.
  • Attack Backfire: Season four's Big Bad got a rush off of the Initiative's electricity guns.
  • Batman Gambit: Spike's plan in "The Yoko Factor".
  • Batman in My Basement: Inverted, Xander keeps Spike in his basement in Season 4 for a bit and later in his closet (which is fucking huge) in Season 7.
  • Big Little Man: "Fear, Itself" has Gachnar the Fear Demon... who is 4 inches tall. Buffy stomps him like a bug.
  • Black Hole Sue: Used for humorous effect in Superstar, when Jonathan uses a wish spell to fold reality around himself and turns himself into an invincible, charismatic hero, admired by everyone. Unfortunately he forgot to read the fine print. In-Universe
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: The Cheese Man in "Restless".
  • California University: UC-Sunnydale
  • Coincidental Broadcast: In "The Harsh Light Of Day", Giles tells them that watching TV isn't going to help them with their problem. Sure enough the news showed a clue to Spike's whereabouts.
  • Collective Groan: In "Doomed", when the gang realized they have to prevent the end of the world again.
  • Combined Energy Attack: In the 4th season's penultimate episode.
  • Coming Out Story: "New Moon Rising", Although there's a Fantastic Aesop twist in that many of the standard plot points are applied to Oz (as a werewolf) rather than Willow (as a "coming out" lesbian).
  • Conflict Ball: Spike deliberately passes it around in The Yoko Factor, making insinuating and subversive comments to make the Scoobies turn on each other and vent repressed feelings of anger and resentment that had been bottled up. He even lampshades the trope, pointing out that people latch onto one specific event or situation as a cause of strife, but that what really happens is that the event or situation is just an excuse to bring to the forefront issues that were there all along.
  • Conspiracy Redemption: Riley and the Initiative. Riley was a loyal soldier for the organisation and attempted to recruit Buffy as well, but eventually learned that the Initiative was using Mad Scientists (particularly Walsh), boosting its soldiers' performances with drugs and cybernetic implants, and creating a cyborg Super Soldier using demon body tissue. After Walsh tries to kill Buffy, and the Initiative captures and experiments on Oz, Riley deserts and joins the Scoobies, and the following season is headhunted by a military demon-killing unit that's less morally ambiguous.
  • Creepy Children Singing: The Gentleman rhyme in "Hush".
  • Crossover: With its spinoff Angel, which has crossed over with a few things.
  • Cut Apart: In "Hush", we see Tara knocking on one of the dorm room's doors, and Willow waking up from the noise. The door opens, and one of The Gentlemen surprises Tara. This was actually hinted, since Tara had previously found Willow's room number (which isn't the number on the door).
  • A Day At the Bizarro: "Restless" certainly qualifies.
  • Driven to Suicide: At one point, Spike tries to stake himself after getting the chip, only saved by Willow and Xander. Luckily, he finds that he can hurt demons, regaining his will to live.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Are we supposed to be surprised that Professor Walsh's human-demon-cyborg stabs her in the back and tries to conquer the world?
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The result of Willow's "my will be done" spell is that her metaphorical words become literally true.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Xander tries to invoke this with Buffy while undercover at the Initiative, but Buffy rebuffs him by pointing out that "This is the Initiative. Military guys and scientists do not make out with each other."
  • Fantastic Aesop: The reason why "Beer Bad" was denied additional funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
  • Fiction as Cover Up: Dracula got Stoker to write his book to pump up his street cred. Other vampires thought it was a really dick move, because it let the normal humans in on a lot of their secrets.
  • For Great Justice: Parodied by Spike. "For the safety of... puppies, and... Christmas, right?"
  • Freaky Friday Flip: Buffy and Faith in "Who Are You?"
  • Funny Background Event: In "The Harsh Light of Day" the Greek letters on the Frat house Buffy are Gamma Alpha Pi (ΓΑΠ) which, from the angle the shot is taken, look a bit like FAIL. The house in the background across the street bears the letters ΤΩA. Perhaps it's a sorority house?
  • Good Feels Good: Faith, when she was in Buffy's body masquerading as her.
  • Grand Theft Me: The spell Willow uses to help Buffy works like this, not only is she imbued with the power of all the Scoobies, she acts possessed.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: According to the Initiative, vampires and other monsters have no rights that are worth respecting. At first, Riley Finn shared this view, until one of the werewolves the Initiative captured turned out to be Oz and he realized that some of the "monsters" he had been capturing actually had normal lives.
  • Intoxication Ensues
  • Jerkass: Forrest.
  • Join the Army They Said
  • Lecture as Exposition: Lampshaded and subverted in "Hush", when Giles is forced to this without his ability to speak.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Giles's Temporary Love Interest Olivia. At the end of the episode "Hush," after Olivia learns of the existence of demons, she says, "Scary." Giles asks, "Too scary?" and Olivia responds, "I'm not sure." Since we never see her again after that, we can presume that it was indeed too scary for her.
  • Magic Versus Science
  • Magical Native American: Hus in "Pangs".
  • A Man Is Always Eager: That Oz is reluctant to engage in the physical act of love strikes fear into Willow's heart as a sign of infidelity. Xander lampshades it, saying she may have encountered "the seven annual minutes he's legitimately too preoccupied" to want sex.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Gachnar in "Fear, Itself".
  • Mildly Military: The Initiative.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Gem of Amarra.
  • The Minnesota Fats: Subverted in "Superstar".
  • No Sympathy: "Xander, try not to bleed on my couch / I just had it steam-cleaned" ♪
  • Not Right in the Bed: When Faith takes over Buffy's body, she comes on to Spike, and is a lot more sexually aggressive with Riley than Buffy is.
  • Perplexing Plurals: Riley comments that, after falling in with the main characters, he suddenly finds himself needing to know the plural of "apocalypse".
  • Screaming Woman: Subverted in "Hush".
  • Self-Deprecation: Done in a unique way, with Faith insulting herself while in Buffy's body.
  • Salt and Pepper: Riley and Forrest.
  • Showing Off the New Body: Practically the first thing Faith does after swapping bodies with Buffy is take a long bath.
  • Slasher Smile: The Gentlemen.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Buffy actually says the tropes name when Angel and Riley fight in "The Yoko Factor".
  • Take That: When Giles asks Buffy\Faith who's president she replies they're testing to see if it's really her, not a concussion. Could easily be either of them.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: does an interesting take on this in one episode. Giles explains the ancient lore of this week's demon, while the Initiative is briefed on the nature of the same "HST" (Hostile Subterranean) in military jargon.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: A particularly egregious example in "Doomed", where Buffy jumps into the Hellmouth after a demon and catches up to it while falling, even though she took the time to run over to Riley, grab a rope from him, and run back before jumping in.
  • Verb This: When Buffy first fought The Initiative, she fired a flare gun while saying "Contain this!"
  • Video Wills: Mayor Wilkins.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Jonathan crooning a forties pop song in "Superstar". Pro athlete, military genius, star of The Matrix, and now he's Sinatra.
  • Voice of the Legion: Buffy speaks with the voices of the whole Scooby Gang after the enjoining spell combines them all in her body.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Xander vs. Harmony. Slow motion hair pulling set to dramatic action music.
    • Done to explicitly mock the show's often unrealistic fight scenes.
  • William Telling: In "Superstar" Jonathan alters reality to change himself from a geek into a demon-fighting James Bond-expy. One scene has him putting on a blindfold in preparation to shooting apples from the heads of several Initiative soldiers.
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: In "Pangs", Xander is in a panic because he has been cursed with a host of diseases. He's most stressed about the syphilis. Anya says comfortingly:

  It'll make you blind and insane, but it won't kill you. The smallpox will.

  • You Keep Using That Word: When the Scoobie Gang and the Initiative become hostile towards the end of the fourth season the colonel in charge of the Initiative describes the Scoobies as "anarchists," and when Riley later defects he again uses the term, this time including himself with the group. However, the Scoobies have never advocated any sort of anarchist philosophy or mindset, and several episodes (Both before and after this event) have stressed their wholehearted belief in the need for people, even themselves, to submit to proper established authority when the situation calls for it.

Season Five

  • Adopt the Dog: "Intervention" is pretty much the definitive moment in Spike's change from evil to good. Despite brutal torture, Spike refuses to give Dawn up to Glory. Later Spike's confesses to his adoring robotic replica of Buffy (or so Spike thinks) that if Buffy lost Dawn, it would destroy her, and he could not live with her being in that much pain. And this was before he got a soul.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Knights of Byzantium are an ancient order of Knight Templars who use medieval arms and armour for no apparent reason than to have a cool scene involving Buffy fighting knights on top of a moving Winnebago.
  • Another Dimension: Glory's world, an H. R. Giger-ish dimension which we see bits of in the finale.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Played with in the premiere with Dracula. Though he demonstrates powers no other vampire in the series has, he's still treated like a bad joke by Spike, and easily defeated. Subverted on his return in season eight.
  • Arc Words: "Death is your gift."
  • Band of Brothers: After falling apart the previous season, the Scoobies eventually band together into an extremely powerful group of True Companions -- even Spike by the end of the season. One of the times this is best seen is when Tara's family comes to take her home against her will. The ending of that episode sums it up.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: We never see how Glory kills the knights trying to kill Dawn.
  • Break the Badass: Buffy's reaction to the revelation that Glory isn't a demon like everyone thought. On the contrary, Glory is a god.
  • Butt Monkey: Xander becomes the Trope Namer, yet over the next few episodes Takes A Level in Character Development by getting a promotion at work, moving out of his parent's basement and stabilizing his relationship with Anya.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: About every piece of Phlebotinum that shows up during the fifth season is eventually used to fight Glory.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Doc, the old man who gave Dawn the spell to bring Joyce back to life. Turns out he's a Glory worshipper and he is the one who opens the portal.
  • Completely Missing the Point: The PTC decried The Gift on account of Buffy committing suicide. No!!! Don't save the world!!! Giving your life for the sake of the human race is EVIL!!!
  • Courtly Love: Spike's Character Arc this season, with Buffy as the unobtainable princess.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The creepy old guy with the tail to Spike. Then Buffy to the creepy old guy with the tail.
  • Cosmic Retcon: Only child Buffy suddenly has an annoying little sister to butt heads with. Dawn appears out of nowhere yet everyone thinks she's always been a member of the Summers family. It takes several episodes before this mystery is answered.
  • Daydream Surprise: Used brutally in "The Body", and as a Love Epiphany for Spike.
  • Determined Defeatist: Spike in "The Gift", as shown by his "we band of buggered" line.
  • Drop the Hammer: The hammer wielded by Olaf the Troll, which becomes a Chekhov's Gun for the season finale.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: In-universe example -- Harmony refuses to have a threesome with Spike unless it's boy-girl-boy. Exceptions are made for Charlize Theron.
  • Everything Is Better With Monkeys: In "Into the Woods", Anya wants to watch a movie about monkeys playing hockey because "The ice is so slippery and monkeys are all irrational".
  • Geographic Flexibility: Spoofed in "Buffy vs. Dracula"

 Riley: "I've lived in Sunnydale a couple of years now. You know what I've never noticed before? This big honkin' castle."

  • Ghost Story: Dawn listens to scary stories told by the monster himself -- Spike in his crypt. Buffy is not amused.
  • Heroic BSOD: When Glory snatches Dawn, Buffy lapses into catatonia. Willow has to both take command of the Scoobies and make a Journey to the Center of the Mind to snap Buffy out of it.
  • Heroic Suicide: Dawn attempts one in the season finale. Buffy performs it in her place.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: Tara's family is like this. They abuse her emotionally and lie to her to make her hate herself, fooling her into believing that she's less than human. When she breaks free and makes a life of her own, they start threatening to move on to physical abuse, and would most likely have made good on their threats if it wasn't for almost the entire cast closing ranks around her and telling them that they would have to go through them to get to her.
    • Which also allows Spike to cement his Heel Face Turn by hitting her, purposely causing an electric shock to his brain via his chip to prove she's human.
  • Hugh Mann: The Scooby Gang initially get totally taken in by the Buffybot and chalk her weird behaviour up to the recent death of Buffy's mom. Since she's still all but holding up a sign reading "I Am A Robot Impersonator" the whole time, Buffy is still not very happy that her friends were completely unable to tell the difference.
  • I Miss Mom: Buffy and Dawn
  • Instant Emergency Response: Averted in "The Body", where it takes a reasonable length of time for the ambulance to arrive.
  • I Say What I Say: The two Xanders in "The Replacement."
  • I Wished You Were Dead: The reason for Buffy's Heroic BSOD in "The Weight of the World".
  • Literal Split Personality: Cool Xander and Loser Xander in "The Replacement."
  • Love Epiphany: Spike has a Catapult Nightmare in which he realises his Foe Yay obsession with Buffy is something far, far worse! Inverted with Riley Finn who realises that Buffy doesn't love him, fueling his eventual decision to leave.
  • Love Hurts: Spike is tormented by his unrequited Foe Yay for the Slayer.

 Spike: "What the bleeding hell is WRONG with you bloody women?! What the hell does it take?! Why do you bitches torture me?!

Buffy: Which question do you want me to answer first?

  • Mind Rape: The people Glory drains to stop herself going crazy including Tara.
  • Mook Horror Show: The Dracula episode, where we see a vampire running madly through a graveyard... and then we realize he's running for his (un)life. From Buffy.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In every episode where Buffy fights Glory until The Gift, she literally gets her ass handed to her and is typically forced to flee.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Glory can be slowed by magical artifacts.
  • Only Sane Man: Spike has a major case of this in "The Weight of the World", when he is the only one immune to the glamour that prevents mortals from remembering that Ben is Glory. See also Glamour Failure.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "The Body" feels very different from a normal episode of the show, using Mood Dissonance and a complete absence of background music to recreate the sense of dislocation we feel when someone close to us dies.
  • Poisonous Friend: Giles smothering Ben to death in "The Gift".
  • Prodigal Family: Tara's family are an example of the possessive, malevolent variety.
  • Promotion to Parent: Buffy has to take over this role for Dawn, despite her desperate attempt to foist the task off onto Giles.
  • Put on a Bus: Harmony and Riley.
  • Retroactive Wish: In "Triangle".

 Willow: I wish Buffy was here!

Buffy: I'm here!

Willow: I wish I had a million dollars!

Season Six

  • Action Dress Rip: In the The Trio's first appearance, a monster attacks a bank and Buffy initially couldn't fight because of her "stupid skirt". She does it again when fighting a demon at Xander's wedding.
  • Actually a Doombot: The Scoobies use the Buffybot to make the underworld think that the Slayer is still protecting Sunnydale. When a vampire accidentally discovers this, it provokes immediate Rape, Pillage and Burn by demon bikers.
    • The first time Willow gets her mitts on Warren. Fizz crackle pop.
  • All Bikers Are Hellmouth Angels
  • All Just a Dream: "Normal Again" Or Was It a Dream?
  • Ambiguous Situation: "Normal Again", in which Buffy is injected with a poison that make her hallucinate... Or is it the other way around? According to a psychiatrist, who may or may not be a real person, she is in fact getting better: She has been sick all along, and now she's finally waking up from years of catatonic schizophrenia. So, the whole series is either This Is Reality or a mad All Just a Dream with a dash of The Schizophrenia Conspiracy. In the end, Buffy choses her life in Sunnydale over her life in the mental institution, but the ending leaves it ambiguous whether or not the world she settled for is the real one.
  • Amnesia Danger
  • Anachronism Stew: The Trio combine magic with high technology to carry out their capers.
  • Attempted Rape: After Buffy breaks off their relationship, Spike tries to force himself upon an injured Buffy, who is barely able to fight him off. His My God, What Have I Done? reaction causes Spike to go on a quest to regain his soul.
    • Regaining his soul was not his quest. His quest was to be made into the badass, evil son of a bitch he used to be, as opposed to the whiny, caring Stalker with a Crush he had turned into. His getting his soul back was just because he didn't choose his words carefully enough.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Larry.
    • Scott Hope, Buffy's only normal high school boyfriend. He accused every girl who broke up with him that they're gay. He came out in season 6 apparently.
  • Bambification: The first sign this season will be Darker and Edgier is when Willow cuts a fawn's throat for its Blood Magic.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Buffy's first fight against the Trio, as they're all invisible.
  • Bitter Wedding Speech: Xander's father gives one at Xander's wedding.
  • Book Ends / Rule of Symbolism: Buffy starts Season 6 by clawing her way out of her grave into the night, beginning a year-long Heroic BSOD. She ends the season climbing out of another grave into the light, having rediscovered the value of living.
  • The Cast Showoff: The musical episode allowed for several actors to show off either musical or dancing talent (Anthony Steward Head, James Marsters, Amber Benson, Michelle Trachtenberg). Others sidelined for the episode. (Alyson Hannigan asked to be given a smaller singing role and no dancing role.)
  • Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate: The Trio debated who was the best James Bond in "Life Serial". It got so bad that Warren and Andrew actually got into blows.
  • Cuckoo Nest: "Normal Again", very scarily played.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Willow does this after Tara breaks up with her.
  • Darker and Edgier: Tends to be true of the sixth season compared to the others, though there are darker episodes in the other seasons and Lighter and Softer ones in season 6 as well.
    • The whole series is darker compared to the campy flick it was based on.
      • The film was supposed to be darker and edgier than it was. Executive Meddling occured...
  • The Dark Side: Spoofed when Spike encourages Buffy to walk with him on the Dark Side -- which consists of Spike playing poker for kittens while Buffy gets drunk and makes snarky comments. Things become more serious later on in the season when Spike wrongly assumes (or convinces himself) that Buffy's depression and desire for rough sex means she wants to abandon her life and join him on the Dark Side. His failure to understand the complexity of her emotions has serious consequences for both of them.
  • Date Rape Averted: Violently.
  • Death Is Cheap: People killed by magical means can potentially (though not easily) be resurrected.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The blond girl doesn't die, even after having sex -- she instead turns out to be Genre Savvy and an Action Girl and proceeds to kick vampire butt.
    • Season 6 deconstructs what the show is about. The focus is on the Scoobies foray into the real world and not the whole saving the world plot and being heroes. Only the bad guys care about that.
    • It also deconstructs the Foe Yay trope by showing just how disfunctional such a relationship would be if ever consumated.
  • Destructive Romance: Buffy starts a secret relationship with Spike to combat her depression. Unfortunately this only ends up making things worse -- Spike is convinced Buffy wants to come over to The Dark Side and is frustrated by her unwillingness to either return his love or abandon her friends, while their Interplay of Sex and Violence, her lust for a soulless monster who's supposed to be her enemy and her guilt over using Spike without respecting his own feelings only increases Buffy's self-loathing. At one point she savagely beats an unresisting Spike, describing him in terms that are clearly referring to herself ("There is nothing good or clean in you! You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real!"). The In-Universe Values Dissonance between the two reaches a point where after she ends the relationship, Spike tries to inflict the Victim Falls For Rapist trope on an injured Buffy; fortunately Buffy is able to fend him off and Spike realises that, even for him, this act is crossing the Moral Event Horizon, and motivates him to go on a quest to regain his soul.
  • Did You Die?: In "As You Were," Buffy and Riley promise to swap stories if they get a chance and see whose were more exiting/dangerous/crazy ext.. She asks if he died, and when he says he didn't, she says, "I'm going to win."
  • Disappointed in You: Discussed and subverted in "All The Way":

 Giles: We need to have a conversation.

Dawn: This the part where you tell me you're "not angry, just disappointed"?

Giles: Pretty much. Except for the bit about not being angry.

  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Rack, who gets Willow high on dark magic, looks more like a drug dealer than any Very Special Episode, Public Service Announcement and every single person in the gangland wars, combined.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Buffy reacts this way after telling Tara about her relationship with Spike -- it's not out of anger, but a belief that she doesn't deserve any sympathy.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After failing college, Xander bing forced to fire her from construction after a demon attack and not being able to stand working at The Magic Shop, Spike pours Buffy a scotch. They then go out to a demon bar where Buffy wants to get information, takes a bottle of Khalua handed from Spike and drinks through it and snarks when Spike plays cards to get the demons talking. Hilarity Ensues when Buffy becomes roaringly drunk off her ass.
  • Easy Amnesia: In the episode "Tabula Rasa".
  • Failed a Spot Check: Xander doesn't even notice Willow's bloody shirt after Tara is killed.
  • Fantastic Drug: Magic in Season 6.
  • Fainting: The characters all faint in Tabula Rasa when they lose their memories. This seems to be an effect of magical memory loss, as it happens in the Angel episode "Spin The Bottle" where the characters are all reverted to their younger selves' memories.
  • Freeze Ray: Warren's got one.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Not played for comedy in "Normal Again" when Buffy hits Xander with one then drags him to the basement to be killed by the Monster of the Week, or "Hells Bells" where Future!Xander attacks his estranged wife Anya.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the 3nd Halloween episode, Dawn's friend Janice didn't want her and her friends to go into the creepy old man's house. Sure enough...
  • G-Rated Drug: Magic during season 6, especially during the episode "Wrecked".
  • Going Commando: Parking Ticket Lady, attempting to bribe a meter maid, sings about her lack of underwear.
  • Groundhog Day Loop: In "Life Serial."
  • Has Two Mommies: Dawn with Willow and Tara. Considering that they were really one of the only good relationships in the show (and by extension, in her life) and that they took care of her for a good year or so, it's no shock.
  • Heh Heh You Said Magic Bone
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Even after they start having sex, calling Buffy "luv" or "my girl" is a guaranteed way for Spike to get a sock in the jaw.
  • I Ate What??: Done twice by Xander in "Doublemeat Palace".
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Magic = Drugs.
  • I Have Many Names: The demon from "Once More With Feeling".
  • "I Want" Song: "Going Through the Motions."
  • Important Haircut: Buffy deliberately applies this trope...but ends up at the hair salon because she made a mess of things. Also subverted in that it marks no actual change in her life or behaviour -- Buffy cuts her hair after Spike compliments it (they recently resolved their UST and Buffy is regretting it) but quickly ends up in his bed for round two.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Dear god, the wedding dresses at Anya's wedding. Buffy even describes their awful green as "radioactive".
  • Incredibly Long Note: They got the mustard ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut!
  • Invisible Backup Band: Played with in "Once More With Feeling".
  • Invisible Jerkass: Buffy in "Gone."
  • Irony: Season 6 Buffy learns the value of life at a cemetery.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Willow's flaying of Warran is pretty much thought of as a concern not because of what she did to him, but what sort of person she was turning into.
  • Knock-Knock Joke: "If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone who?"
  • Lotus Eater Machine
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Buffy and Spike spend much of season 6 doing this. Also, in the season 3 episode "Band Candy", Joyce and Giles have sex on the hood of a police car.
  • Master Apprentice Chain: The Master > Darla > Angelus > Drusilla > Spike
  • "Mission Impossible" Cable Drop: when Andrew drops down to steal a diamond, only to have Warren and Jonathan stroll into the museum without issue.
    • Also when Buffy stole the Mayor's box containing those bugs he had to eat.
  • Musical Episode: "Once More With Feeling". For tropes specific to that episode see the recap page.
  • No Mere Windmill: Buffy stopped trying to explain the very real threat of vampires after her mother had her put in a mental hospital for believing such silly delusions.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Willow brings Buffy back from the dead, thinking she's in Hell. It turns out Buffy was in Heaven and being brought back to the real world gives her a Heroic BSOD, as well as opening the way for the First One.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Warren and the Trio.
  • Power High: When Willow starts to OD on witchcraft it's explicitly analogized to being high on drugs.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Sporadically used, notably with Spike and Warren. Verges into Sci-fi with Warren as it involved Mind Control. Faith body-switched with Buffy technically raped Riley (sex under false pretense), but everyone on that one ended with everyone worse for it.
  • Sex Bot: April and the Buffybot.
  • She's Back: Subverted; it takes most of the season for Buffy to recover from her depression over having been wrenched back into the real world.
  • Slice of Life: Season 6 dealt with the Scoobies day-to-day foray into grown up life.
  • Teleportation Sickness: Buffy and Dawn after Willow teleporting them from a cemetery to the Magic Box.
  • Terrible Trio: The Trio.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World:

 Jonathan: It's true, my friends. The way I see it, life is like an interstellar journey. Some people go into hypersleep and travel at sub-light speeds, only to get where they're going after years of struggle, toil and hard, hard work. We, on the other hand ...

Andrew: Blast through the space-time continuum in a wormhole?

Jonathan: Gentlemen... {{[[[Money to Burn]] lights cigar with flaming bill}}] CRIME is our wormhole!

 It isn't right, it isn't fair / There was no parking anywhere / I think that hydrant wasn't there

  • Unflinching Faith in the Brakes: Willow does this in the sixth season, when using magic to stop an oncoming bus.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Buffy uses Spike as a confidant because he's a "dead man", so her confessions don't count. When they start having sex, she refuses to admit there's love involved or even acknowledge (to herself or others) that he's her boyfriend; Spike calling her "my girl" or "love" often drives her to fury. Spike's soulless nature is often used by her as an excuse for this behaviour. Eventually Buffy faces up to how she is using him and breaks off the relationship.
    • Buffy's killing of the guy who was cursed by Anya to be tortured in a hell dimension. He had a very legitimate grievance with Anya, and he's unconscious and helpless, and he's killed like it's nothing. Also the bank-robber demon, who hasn't really done anything worthy of summary execution, yet is executed after first being knocked unconscious. Killing humans under any circumstances is apparantly an atrocity, but demons can be killed for crimes that would only warrant jail-time for a human and it's nothing.
  • Windmill Crusader: While Buffy has The Cuckoolander Was Right as an inherent trait, the episode “Normal Again” subverts this when Buffy is drugged and hallucinates that she’s been insane all along and that Sunnydale is only in her mind. In this, Buffy was a insane Windmill Crusader before the series started, and she has been locked in a mental institution throughout the whole series.
  • Volleying Insults: Xander and Anya's duet in "Once More With Feeling."

 Xander: She clings / She's needy / She's also really greedy / She never --

Anya [interrupting] His eyes are beady!

Xander: This is my verse, hello!

  • Xanatos Gambit: "Grave" Giles arrives with the powers of a coven in order to defeat Willow after she does a Face Heel Turn. If he defeats her threat neutralized, if he loses Willow will take his power giving Willow a window to her emotions, so Xander could stop her.
  • Zero-G Spot: At the end of Tara's love song "Under Your Spell" in "Once More With Feeling", she levitates into the air over her bed, and it's strongly implied she's doing it so an off-camera Willow can do cunnilingus on her.

Season Seven

  • Achilles in His Tent: Buffy getting deposed by her own pupils, who install Faith as their new leader. One episode and bomb explosion later, and everyone goes crawling back to blondie.
  • And Then What?: The final question asked to Buffy once everything's said and done.
  • Anticlimax Cut: "Lessons":

 Buffy: Vampires, demons... they're nothing compared to what's coming.

Dawn: I know. I just can't believe it's back.

Buffy: Believe me, I thought I was long past it. I guess you never are. Just a few more days til it starts, and then we'll never know what's coming next.

(Cut to the opening ceremony at the new Sunnydale High School.)

  • Arc Words: "From beneath you it devours" in Season 7
  • Back for the Finale: Some of the former regulars are in season 7 in spirit. Oz got a casual mention from Xander and Cordelia appeared in a piece of footage from "Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered".
  • Best Served Cold: Robin Wood fights vampires in the hope of encountering the one that killed his mother (which turns out to be Spike).
  • The Big Board
  • Big OMG: "Oh my God! Oh, well, you know, not my God, because I defy him and all of his works."
  • Can You Hear Me Now: In the season 7 premiere.
  • Catch the Conscience: The episode Storyteller, in order to make Andrew feel remorse for killing Jonathan.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Amanda, the first student Buffy talked to in her job as councilor was a potential slayer.
    • Andrew answers a call (for willow) from a guy with a girly voice called Fred. In the next episode Willow comes back with Faith.
  • The Chosen Many: Buffy has Willow release the powers of all potential slayers to help fight The First.
  • Celebrity Star: Aimee Mann. "I hate playing vampire towns."
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Faith, despite smoking being a universal sign of evil. Well, the potentials acting like five year olds was a bit much for her. And Buffy still wanting her dead. And trying to reconcile with a recently evil Willow.
  • Cool Aunt: Faith acts as cool aunt to the Potentials, playing against Buffy as the mom.
  • Deus Ex Machina: The amulet and scythe that appear at the end of season 7 definitely qualify.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: Caleb, right-hand man to the First Evil, refers to Satan as a "little man" (at least, compared to his boss).
  • Discontinuity Nod: Giles' declaration that magic is not an addiction.
  • Elite Mooks: The First Evil's Turok-Han army.
  • Eye Scream:

 "So you're the one who sees everything. Well, let's just see what we can do about that."

    • And the Bringers, the First's assassins and priests
  • Foreshadowing: In "Sleeper", Aimee Mann sings a song called "Pavlov's Bell." During the next episode "Never Leave Me" the Scooby Gang discusses the possibility that Spike is being controlled by means of Pavlovian conditioning.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: In the seventh season, the First falsely claims to have captured a potential Slayer, and nobody thinks to use the spell they used just a few weeks ago which can detect potentials.
  • Ghost City: Sunnydale in the second half of the season.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Inverted with Faith, who didn't smoke when evil but does now that she's reformed.
  • Grand Finale
  • Groin Attack: You can tell Buffy likes this as she delivers the ultimate one to Caleb. Buffy has super strength of course. She finds a scythe that is meant to be the ultimate weapon. What does she do with it? Why slice the evil priest in half starting with his balls. If a job's worth doing...
  • Hammerspace: At least once, Buffy pulls out a cell phone when this was the only place it could have been.
  • Heel Face Return: Faith's appearance looks like this to anyone who wasn't watching Angel.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Willow is this. As the most powerful Witch in the Western Hemisphere, she was so strong that the writers felt the need to knock her out before major fights most of the season.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Holden pronounces this of Buffy in "Conversations With Dead People."
  • Juggling Loaded Crossbows: "End of Days", it is implied that Willow and Tara's cat, Miss Kitty Fantastico, met her demise in a tragic crossbow accident.

 Dawn: Xander, my crossbow is not out here. I told you, I don't leave crossbows around all willy-nilly. Not since that time with Miss Kitty Fantastico.

  • The Legions of Hell
  • Let Them Die Happy: Attempted by Buffy, shot down by Spike.
  • Mobile Maze: Sunnydale High's basement. Xander notes that blueprints are no good here (and he built the place!) because the walls seem to move about.
  • Motionless Makeover: Dawn is paralyzed by a demon. Anya has fun posing her. When they have to run off to save the day, leaving Dawn sitting on the couch with her arm extended, Buffy comes back momentarily to stick a remote in Dawn's hand.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Ultimately, it's the First's attempts at taunting Buffy that give her the idea that ends the fight once and for all.
  • Once More, with Clarity: "Everyone's talking to me! {{[[[Eureka Moment]] lightbulb moment}}] Nobody's talking to each other."
  • One-Hour Work Week: Buffy's job as a school counsellor. Justified Trope in that she only has the job because Principal Wood wants to keep her around in case of Hellmouth-related problems, and it's explicitly stated to be part time.
  • Playing Against Type: Nathan Fillion as the sadistic, satanic serial killer working for the Big Bad (If you take the First Evil to be Satan and that Caleb had killed people For the Evulz before meeting it)
  • Remember the New Guy?: Deconstructed. When a Vampire recognizes Buffy in Conversations With Dead People he explains that they went to High School together and shared a few classes. Buffy, however, does not recognize him at all, not even when names himself, and it is only after ten minutes of explaining when they met and things they had done together that she remembers who he is. To the end of the episode he never becomes a close and dear friend from her past, instead remaining a minor acquaintance that she met on rare occasions and had forgotten in the time since then because they had never been very close in the first place.
    • Done with Dawn in "Real Me".
    • A season 2 flashback showed Angel was there when Buffy was called meaning he was in the movie only we never saw him.
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: The First Evil turns into every Big Bad from the show in Season 7, all in a row one time.
    • Angelus is sorely missed right about now; his spot is taken by Drusilla.
  • Rule of Cool: Joss has specifically cited this as the reason why, in the final episode, all of the Ubervamps suddenly start dying easier than regular vampires seem to, even when being fought by normal humans.
  • Sick and Wrong: Xander lasciviously eyes a gyrating nymphet on the dance floor ("Daddy like!"), only for her to turn around and reveal herself as Dawn. Cue Face Palm.

 Willow: Right there with ya.

  • Smash Cut: Joss Whedon loves this trope, but particular mention goes to Selfless which cuts from Anya singing a happy song to her being skewed with a sword by Buffy
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Played with; Spike confronts Giles with words along these lines, saying that one of the reasons that Giles turned on Buffy was that Giles was jealous that Buffy had surpassed him in her abilities.
  • Technicolor Death: Halfrek's fiery death in the episode "Selfless" is like this.
  • Took a Level In Kindness: That woman you might have seen chilling in prison on another show before breaking out to save a Complete Monster? Who's treated by some of the characters as so cool and nice now? Faith. Yeah, that Faith.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers
  • Trash the Set: Hell trash the whole town. Sunnydale is reduced to nothing but a crater at the end of the series.
  • Ultimate Evil
  • Ultimate Job Security: Buffy had this at the Doublemeat Palace and Sunnydale High and Giles had it at the old Sunnydale high. The first time for her was due to having blackmail material and the second because the principal was the son of a Slayer (the one Spike killed and got his coat from) and kept her there because of easily guessed reasons. Giles? Here's an FYI, don't fuck with someone who's nickname is Ripper.
  • Where It All Began: The final epic battle ends where the series began, Sunnydale High.
  • Who You Gonna Call?

 Spike: Who you gonna call? ...That phrase is never gonna be usable again, is it?

 Anchovies! Anchovies!

You're so delicious.

I like you better than

all the other fishes!" ♪

Season Eight

The following examples may contain major spoilers for anyone who hasn't finished watching the television series, or who hasn't read the comics yet. Consider yourself forewarned. VERY forewarned.

  • All of Them: After Xander kills the vampire that killed Renee Buffy goes to comfort him, ordering the other slayers to kill the members of the Japanese cult. Every last one of them.
  • Almost-Dead Guy: Combining this with Heroic Sacrifice and Redemption Equals Death, Ethan Rayne gives his life to help Buffy.
  • Arc Welding: The end of the season sets up the the background of Fray, written 10 years earlier.
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: At one point, Dawn gets turned into a giant...and a doll...and a centaur... Comics Dawnie is all over the place.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Occurs between Faith and Genevieve Savidge.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The group manages to win the day and avert the apocolypse once more. But Giles is dead due to Buffy's hesitation. All magic is gone with the destruction of the seed, meaning Willow is de-powered. All slayers are viewed as terrorists thanks to much idiocy of a few rogue slayers, who squarely put the blame on Buffy. While vampires are accepted by society. On the upside, Faith takes Angel in to rehabilitate him and Buffy, despite everything thats happened, continues to fight the good fight.
  • Bland-Name Product: Happy Cat, obviously intended to be Hello Kitty.
  • Boom! Headshot!: Happens to Ethan Rayne and The General.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Aiko; a Slayer who squees when Buffy personally calls her after she is impressed the Japanese girl had killed a bunch of demons, is used as a test subject by vampires who want to depower the Slayers. They easily beat her to death and string her up as a warning\threat to Buffy.
  • The Bus Came Back: Actress Elisabeth Röhm (Kate Lockley) left to be on Law and Order and was Brother Chucked from Angel in season 2, but makes a comeback in the comics because of course, comics aren't hindered by pesky things like acting contracts. Similarly Oz (Seth Green), who was Put on a Bus in season 4, returns in issue 26.
  • Can't Believe I Said That: In the same story where Buffy sleeps with Satsu, one of the lead vampires is about to kill her, threatening how he bets she tastes sweet. Satsu kills him, retorts "You have no idea", then gets all guilty and ashamed over her words.
  • Comic Book Time: While the television show had one in-series year pass for every real year because each season took a year with an episode roughly every week, Buffy Season 8 has, of course, taken longer to unfold because of the monthly comic schedule. All the characters have been stuck at the same age for the last three real-world years. Season 8 takes place a year and a half after Season 7/half a year after Angel Season 5 (with the Angel and Spike comics in the half-year between).
  • Detail-Hogging Cover: The covers are near-photorealistic renditions of the actors, and the actual comics are much less detailed and much more stylized. The resemblance of the comic art to the actors can also vary greatly depending on the panel. An example of this would be here. Compare the art on the left to the art on the right, for instance.
  • Double Entendre: One possible trope this quote could be, the other being Innocent Innuendo. In Season 8, after Xander is forced to ride Centaurette Dawn (causing her to get soaking wet), this exchange happens:

 Xander: How're you feeling?

Centaurette!Dawn: Like I was ridden hard and put away wet.

Xander: AGH! Dawn, that's dis -- oh. No. It's just true.

  • Dramatic Unmask: Subverted by Twilight in the Season Eight comics. His neck just itches.
    • He later pulls this on Buffy.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Them F#©%ing. It's Buffy and work it out.
  • Flying Brick: That one person(s). You know the one(s). They become this after getting a power-up in Season Eight, although it's Powered by a Forsaken Child: the power originates from ritually slain slayers.
    • Not really, Willow got it wrong, Buffy was powered by Twilight itself.
  • Genre Savvy: Xander is absolutely Genre Savvy. In Season 2's "Passion," Buffy is considering reveal her secret life as the Slayer to Joyce in order to protect her from Angelus, Xander protests that "the more people who know your secret, the more it cheapens it for the rest of us!"
  • Grand Theft Me: While being tortured by Amy Willow goes on a tirade about her best friend, Buffy. She then posesses The Slayer so she can guide her to where she is imprisoned.
  • Groin Attack: Buffy just can't stay away from Angel's privates can she?
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ethan.
  • Horror Hunger: Dawn, when changed into a centaurette, mentions a craving for hay. Remember, she still looks human from her body up.
  • Humongous Mecha: Dawn fights a Mecha-Dawn--complete with a tail-- in Tokyo while still a giant.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The next universe is started by Buffy and Angel having sex all over the planet and in space. Brings a new meaning to Big Bang, doesn't it?
  • Insistent Terminology: Centaurette, not centaur.
  • It Always Rains At Funerals: Giles' funeral.
  • Karma Houdini: Spike points out that almost everyone has been evil at one point, and that most of them get away with it after he Becomes The Costume in a season six Angel comic.
  • The Magic Goes Away
  • Mildly Military: Buffy treats the Slayer army as a real one, however as she was a shockingly bad instructor and Xander is the only one with any military knowledge they make do as amateurs.
  • The Mole: Riley.
  • No Bisexuals: Similar to Willow in the TV series, but reversed: after Buffy and Satsu hook up, several good reasons are given why they can't stay together, but apparently the main reason is that the former is "not a dyke." But could she be bi? The possibility isn't so much as alluded to. Later, we get Kennedy saying "You're not the only fool to ever wrinkle the sheets with a straight girl," which is arguably fair, but the possibility that she's bisexual still isn't mentioned. Her straightness is treated as just obvious.
    • An offhand comment by Faith indicates she isn't bisexual. Really into a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship perhaps, but as she says if you want her to go down on a woman you have the wrong chosen one.
  • No Except Yes. Buffy works out that she was woken by a True Love Kiss from Satsu, a fellow slayer. She tells her that they can't be with each other. Then Buffy sleeps with her. Then reverting to the way she was with Spike Buffy again tries to break off the romance, then sleeps with Satsu again.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Andrew complains that he's bored while the Slayers are playing strip poker, and is completely nonchalant when he sees Buffy and Satsu naked in bed together.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Given the world-shaking events of the Season 7 finale, this is to be expected. Sunnydale is destroyed, so the series can no longer take place where it was for the past seven seasons. All the potential slayers have been activated and there are now armies of slayers as well as newly-activated ones in every corner of the globe. The Masquerade is finally broken and the world at large is made aware of the supernatural, not to mention the many deaths in the final battle against The First. Oh yeah, and it's a comic.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different
  • Our Giants Are Bigger
  • Pet the Dog: Out of all the villains who could get this, the rapist misogynist who murdered Tara, Warren Meers, gets one by jumping in and saving Andrew from a bunch of demons (using a repulsor gauntlet shield). Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds (note: he's still evil though, in fact, it's Amy who starts to want to help, Warren just likes Andrew).
  • Post Script Season
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Oh so averted. Buffy and Angel really don't give a damn if the universe has been planning its death since its creation, they aren't doing it (well, they're doing it, that's what got them into this problem, but they aren't ending the universe).
  • Psychotic Smirk: Buffy gives a particularly frightening one to a vampire as it's doused in fuel, threatening to Kill It with Fire.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Ethan, arguably Giles.
  • Red Herring: The "Black Hope"'s other alias, "The Madwoman," and her manner of dressing seem to openly imply that the Black Hope is Drusilla; its actually Willow.
  • Redshirt Army: the new generation Slayers. After the first few issues, if a Slayer you haven't met turns up, or a large number of them are gathered together? They're going to be horribly killed.
  • Retcon: The notion that vampires are Always Chaotic Evil was starting to be done away with possibly as early as season 5, but it doesn't really take off until the comics. The bonus/supplementary issue following 25, Tales of the Vampire, involves the aftermath of a teenage boy being transformed into a vampire, and neither he nor his vampire friends even come close to acting like any of the soulless monsters in seasons 1-3 of the television series. He briefly considers killing his mom, but quickly decides against it when she reveals that she still loves him no matter what. The idea of vampires killing people for food is even thrown out the window with Harmony's in-universe television show demonstrating that they can survive on non-lethal amount of blood from people. It goes hand in hand with the increasingly Black and Grey Morality of the series.
  • Retired Monster: Dracula. Yes, Dracula. Because he's most likely madly in love... with Xander. Dracula.
  • Snake People: Aluwyn
  • So Last Season: See Willow, probably the most powerful witch in the world, singlehandedly responsible for activating all the potential Slayers, a feat more impressive than the creation of the original Slayer to begin with. Then other magic users and Cosmic Horrors show up that can throw around equally impressive and powerful magic right back at her, including the formerly much-less talented witch, rat Amy. Even Buffy's Slayer abilities become pretty obsolete in the face of a giant army of full Slayers and Willow's magic.
  • Speech Bubbles: Warren speaks with irregular and somewhat-squiggly bubbles and Twilight talks in a different font.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Powerless Slayers vs. US Military? Summon 3 Tibetan Goddesses.
  • Surprisingly-Sudden Death: Good lord, by this point someone should have slapped Sunnydale with the label "Death Trap" with all the times this trope is invoked.
  • Symbol Swearing
    • Taken to the next level when one issue ends with "I think they're F#@%ing" and the next issue being called "Them F#©%ing (Plus the True History of the Universe)".
  • Take That: The Season 8 comic series started over a year before the success of another franchise that featured a human girl in love with a vampire, so no-one thought much about the Big Bad of the season being named Twilight, with Buffy's only interaction with the villain coming before the other series became well known. But when they come face to face for the first time since then, Buffy points out the she did the whole Human-Girl-In-Love-With-a-Vampire thing first, and her vampire was so much better than the other one.
  • Time Travel: To Fray.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Future Dark Willow exploits the time travel confusion for all it's worth to manipulate people to her advantage.
  • True Love's Kiss: With Buffy down for the count it's determined that one of these is the order of the day. At the time it was hinted that Xander gives it, but Buffy later figures out that it was fellow Slayer Satsu. Her reaction is that it was sweet, but they can't be together. Then they sleep together. Twice.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: The Chain. Also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • The Unmasqued World: The main focus of the comics, really.
  • You Can't Go Home Again Because You Turned It Into A Huge-Ass Crater
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Harmony Kendall becomes a reality star and raises the public's opinion of vampires considerably. Likewise, she turns the Slayer Organization into a Hero with Bad Publicity
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: With the protagonist as stranger variation.
  • Zero-G Spot: Buffy and Angel during the "Twilight" arc in the comics.
    • This is, of course, in the issue "Them F#©%ing (Plus the True History of the Universe)"

Season Nine (Including "Angel and Faith")

  • Actually a Buffybot: A recent comic reveals that for some time now (possibly foreshadowed from the beginning of the season) that the Buffy we see is a robot. It has her traits enough, remembering Buffy's reaction to a robot version of her, to completely flip.

 Spike...I'm a f*&^ing robot!

    • The latest issue reveals that it was an advanced Buffybot made by Andrew and loaded with Buffy's mind to act as a decoy for a new Big Bad, and the season starts with it waking up after the upload.
  • Aunt Pennybags: Giles' latest What the Hell, Hero? moment was to leave Faith everything in his will. If you know Faith you know she's usually fun to be around, but she's also putting that new found wealth to good use, from helping Angel and his research to paying off the Arsenal football team when a Slayer picks a fight with them.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Buffy, in particular, but it can be jarring to see everybody else being normal. Simone by proxy attempts to have her depowered and slain.
  • Closet Geek: Not only does Faith have Batman pajamas she makes enough Star Wars references to make one think she had been hanging out with Andrew.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Plagiarus demon.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The half-demon twins Nash and Pearl vs a Slayer squad in a flashback. The Slayers don't win.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life: Buffy looks like she's slowly turning bonkers after everything she lost.
    • Andrew reveals to Buffy at the party that he's set up a disaster relief fund with some other slayers, much to her dismay as he has made something of his life and she, as yet, has not without being The Slayer.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Faith looks like she is going to pull this when a slayer picks a fight with the Arsenal football team, and she later muses how she would have done it before. It turns out Faith used beer as a viable solution to the conflict.
  • Gorn: The first issue of "Angel and Faith" is very bloody.
  • It Got Worse: If you thought Buffy's life was bad before...vampires are beloved, Slayers are seen as the enemy, Buffy herself has a dead end job in a cafe, she just wants to be normal despite slaying being the only thing she feels she can do, and her friends have largely shunned her.
  • Jossed: In season seven it looks like Faith slept with Spike. When Harmony introduces herself in the comics however Faith offers these words.

 "I love that I'm supposed to be the slutty one when everyone but me has nailed Spike."

  • Manipulative Bastard: Arguably Whistler.
  • Must Make Amends: Angel wants to make up for killing Giles by finding a way to bring him back from the dead.
  • Older and Wiser: Believe it or not Faith. She's a Cool Big Sis to other Slayers, uses her mistakes as a basis of what to do, and Angel personally picked her for her held because she would guide him or stop him if he becomes obsessed, crazy or dangerous.
  • Our Vampires Are Different / Our Zombies Are Different: Without the Magic Seed allowing demons to posses a sired body. Vampires are now much more mindless and feral. The Scoobies call them Zompires (Zombie/Vampires) So as not to confuse them.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Buffy's roommates are seen playing Mass Effect, specifically Liara fighting Collectors, which doesn't occur in game. Doubles as a Shout-Out since Dark Horse comics are behind both adaptations.
  • Platonic Life Partners: What Angel and Faith have become.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Pagiarus demon again.
  • Shout-Out: The latest (Jan\Feb 2012) Buffy comic has the cover in the style of Batman. For those who saw Faith wearing Batman pajamas in her series they should have seen it coming.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Willow engenders this reaction in Buffy's roommate Anaheed.
  • The Bus Came Back: Simone; last seen executing the general at war with the Slayers, is driving around San Francisco, armed to her back teeth, promising that she won't let the world forget about the Slayers. This...this can't be good.
  • We Need a Distraction: One of Faither's Slayers picks a fight with a soccer team. Faith looks like she is going to flash them, only to draw attention to the drinks she bought so they'd lay off.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1 opens with Buffy waking up in a trashed room thinking:

 "God... What have I done? Also, why did I do whatever it was I've done? Also, where am I?"

  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The basic view of the world, with Slayers being seen as terrorists persecuting vampires who are now beloved. Simone does not help, her appearance in the first issue even invoking that she is a domestic terrorist.
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