Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 5 Episodes That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud (& 5 That’ll Make You Ugly Cry)
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer dealt with real-life issues consistently in their episodes, handling the transition from teen to a young adult with humor and honesty. The show may have been about a quirky vamp-hunting teen on the surface, but there was so much heart behind it.
Whether it was Buffy searching for her purpose through failed attempts at school and working, or Xander and Giles figuring out where they fit in the gang after high school ended, this show managed to find laughs at the awkwardness of simply growing up. At the same time, No serious life issue was off the table – such as how addiction can destroy a loved one and tear people apart, using magic as Willow’s drug of choice, or the loss of loved ones.
10 LOL – The Initiative (Season 4, Episode 7)
When introduced, Riley was the straight-laced teacher’s assistant/secret operative. However, around Buffy, he was a ball of awkwardness, a guy who has no game. Watching him try to figure out how to approach Buffy was consistently funny, especially after learning she is the Slayer.
At the same time, Xander and Harmony meet during a patrol and automatically resort to their high school distaste. In this meet-up, they showed the awkwardness that so many people feel when they are stuck during a time in their life and encountering someone from that period. Most people manage to avoid slap fights and hair pulling, however.
9 CRY – Grave (Season 6, Episode 22)
To see Buffy fans cry, say two words- yellow crayon. In what is probably the finest example of Xander’s character, he was the one who refused to back down from Dark Willow, determined to bring back his best friend or die trying.
Xander demanding that if she was going to destroy the world, she starts with him, is heartbreaking. Lacking magic or powers, it took Xander’s ability for unconditional love to defeat Dark Willow and bring everyone on screen and in audiences to tears. This moment truly set up Xander to be the guy who sees it all, the heart of the Scoobies in the upcoming final season, setting up his ending on the series perfectly.
8 LOL – Life Serial (Season 6, Episode 5)
In this season 6 episode, the trio tests Buffy. Each member plays to their strength, and Buffy is put in time manipulation, demon summoning, and a time loop spell. Every one of these situations tested a different Buffy ability.
Showing the resilience and intelligence of her character again, Buffy figures out each situation relatively quickly. Her ability to work outside of the gang and figure out what is wrong and how to fix it, as she often would in the upcoming finale season. Here it is played for laughs, and anyone who has ever worked retail can relate to the want to pull a bell off a door on a particularly repetitive day.
7 CRY – Seeing Red (Season 6, Episode 19)
One of the most famously heartbreaking episodes of the series sees Tara die in a shocking shootout. Jonathan redeems himself helping Buffy, but Andrew’s obvious hero-worship of Warren even after everything is a chilling preview of what exactly is to come in season seven, with Andrew’s desire to be liked overriding his better judgment.
Tara was a fan-favorite character, and fans were invested in one of the only depictions of the LGBTQ+ community in early ‘aughts television. Tara dying felt like a slap in the face to many, invoking rage and sadness and affecting the rest of the series as Willow struggles to deal with the death.
6 LOL – Tabula Rasa (Season 6, Episode 8)
After a rushed spell done by Willow in secret goes horribly wrong, the entire gang completely loses their memories. When they wake up, they have no clue that the supernatural is real and are heavily involved in it.
Spike and Giles decide they are related – father and son, to be exact. They jump to the (accurate) conclusion that they have a horrible relationship. Buffy gets to live out her secret desire somewhat to be nothing more than a normal young woman – and decides to name herself Joan. However, true to form, she takes on the responsibility without a second thought when discovering her powers. Quickly cementing itself a favorite, fans can watch the episode over and over, finding new laughs every time.
5 CRY – The Gift (Season 5, Episode 22)
As it becomes clear that the portal to Glory’s hell dimension has been opened, Buffy shows herself to truly be the hero who makes the big play every time. Whether facing the master, killing her true love, fighting a giant snake demon, or a building full of mutated demons, Buffy has always been and will always be the one to make the big play. It’s not just because she is the slayer – it is because she is a true hero, powers or no, and her dive into that portal, thinking it would drag her to a hell dimension, was proof.
This is why when Buffy fans hear the phrase “Be brave. Live.” it will set them off into tears – they felt that true goodness in her and related to it completely.
4 LOL – Band Candy (Season 3, Episode 6)
Band Candy introduced the partnership of the Mayor and Mr. Trick, late additions to the show. Ethan Rayne returns with a spell that reverts the town’s adults to teens, plunging the teens into the adult part of the relationship. As the Scoobies realize the town is defenseless, they rally together to do whatever has to be done, as they always do.
Snyder really shows his true spineless and chameleon self here, bouncing between groups, just trying to be with the power – a nice depiction of his personality. The best part of this episode was the interaction between Giles and Joyce. There had always been a will they or won’t they aspect to their relationship, so getting to see them together was huge wish fulfillment for many fans, and Buffy’s horror was hilarious.
3 CRY – The Body (Season 5, Episode 16)
The death of Joyce was just one serious issue the show tackled head-on. Viewers were led to feel the horror of losing a loved one but thrust Buffy into the role she would live in for the rest of her life – no longer just an older sister, she became a guardian to Dawn. It helped set her up for sacrificing herself in the finale.
One of the most heartbreaking scenes comes courtesy of Anya, portrayed beautifully by Emma Caulfield. Newly human after living thousands of years as a demon, her monologue in Willow and Tara’s dorm room speaks to everyone who has lost someone close to them for the first time. Watching an adult express the confusion and grief we all feel about death punches fans in the gut every time.
2 LOL – Something Blue (Season 4, Episode 9)
As Willow struggled over her breakup with Oz, she casts a spell for her will to be done – but it doesn’t go as planned. Willow’s power is still growing; the spell goes awry, making everything she says happen. When her friends come at her about her attitude, she lashes out, unaware that her words will take effect.
Giles stumbling about incapacitated as the group’s brain and Xander fending off demons is good for some deep belly laughs. Spike and Buffy being disgustingly lovey while still bickering at every turn are what truly push this show to comedy success. The addition of Willow having to turn down D’Hoffryn, who offers to make her a vengeance demon, is just the icing on the comedy cake.
1 CRY – Becoming Parts 1 & 2 (Season 2, Episodes 21 & 22)
In the season two finale, Angelus tricks Buffy into leaving her friends, allowing Druscilla to attack, taking Giles, and killing Kendra. As the two ex-lovers fight to the death, Willow finally managed to restore Angel’s soul just as Buffy is about to kill him.
As he returns to himself, the emotions of disbelief from joy to realization are apparent on Buffy’s face. Here, Buffy sets up one of the most important parts of her personality. Not only will she sacrifice herself for the greater good, but she will also go a step further. She is willing to sacrifice her happiness, her everything, simply for the good of others.