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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Beer Bad
November 02, 1999
4ABB05

 
Credits

Writer:
Tracey Forbes


Director:
David Solomon


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Marc Blucas as Riley
Adam Kaufman as Parker
Paige Moss as Veruca
Lindsay Crouse as Professor Maggie Walsh
Eric Matheny as Main Cave Guy
Stephen M. Porter as Jack, the Pub manager
Cast:
Kal Penn as Hunt, one of the cave guys
Jake Phillips as Kip, one of the cave guys
Bryan Cuprill as Roy, one of the cave guys
Lisa Johnson as Paula, the sorority girl
Joshua Wheeler as Driver
Patrick Belton as College Kid #1
Kaycee Shank as College Kid #2
Steven Jang as College Kid #3
Cameron Bender as Stoner
Kate Luhr as Young Woman

 
Synopsis

Xander gets a job bartending at the college pub; Buffy drowns her sorrows over Parker by drinking with some upperclassmen at said pub. Turns out that the bar manager is spiking the beer with some supernatural mojo, causing the targets (Buffy's new buds) to revert to caveman mentality. Of course, Buffy is affected, too, although not quite as drastically, since Xander finally cut her off. When the cavemen start a fire, Cave Buffy's Slayer instincts kick in and she saves the day — and knocks Parker over the head to boot.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

Cave Guy There are traces of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in which Jekyll drank a potion which unleashed his monstrous dark side. The cave guys, which remind us of the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, are a pretty stereotypical depiction of the common-man's concept of cave men and Neanderthals.


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Body Count

Anonymous Vampire
Buffy staked him in her Psych. class daydream.
Anonymous Vampire
Buffy staked him in her Psych. class daydream.
Anonymous Vampire
Buffy staked him in her Psych. class daydream.
Total: Three — Since they were each killed in two separate daydreams, you might call it six. Or more likely, since they weren't killed in reality, you might call it zero.
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Dialogue to Die For

Xander: "Pfffft. Nothing can defeat the penis!" (notices how loud that was) "Too loud. Very unseemly."

Willow: "That's right. I got your number, id boy. Only thing you're thinking about is how long before you can jump on my bones."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Any sentence consisting of less than three words, especially if not spoken by Buffy or if accompanied by grunting or monkey-noises.

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References

  • Professor Walsh: "It has the ego telling it what it can't have, and it has the superego telling it what it shouldn't want, but the id works solely out of the pleasure principle. It wants."
  • She pretty much sums it up for ya right there.

  • Xander (disagreeing with Willow): "Au contraire, mon frère"
  • This is French for, "On the contrary, my brother."

  • Xander (on knowing how to mix drinks): "Oh, I've seen Cocktail. I can do the hippy-hippy shake."
  • CocktailCocktail is a 1988 film starring Tom Cruise as a flamboyant bartender. "Hippy Hippy Shake" is one of the songs featured in the movie.

  • Xander's whole obsession with listening to people while bartending is a general reference to all the TV shows and movies featuring scenes like that (we've yet to meet such a bartender in real life).

  • Willow (pretending to be drunk and lonely for Xander): "...no food, except for this bottle of Wild Turkey which I drunk all up."
  • Wild Turkey is a brand of whiskey.

  • Xander (on Willow's aforementioned performance): "Gets my Oscar nod."
  • The Oscars (a.k.a. the Academy Awards) are the annual presentation of awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An Oscar is considered the highest honor one can receive in show business (and drive's one's asking price up as well).

  • Xander (on Buffy's obsessive rambling about Parker): "How's the fugue state coming along?"
  • According to Dictionary.com, "fugue" means "a dreamlike state of altered consciousness that may last for hours or days.

  • Riley (regarding Parker's treatment of women): "Sets 'em up and knocks 'em down."
  • A little reference to the "sport" (if you want to call it that) of bowling (and other similar games), in which one sets up a set of pins, rolls a ball toward them, and tries to knock them all down.

  • Lead Cave Guy: "Evil, good. These are moral absolutes that predate the fermentation of malt and fine hops."
  • Malt and hops are two of the main ingredients of beer (along with water and yeast). Malt is basically germinated grain, usually barley. Hops are the dried ripe cones of any female flower of the genus Humulus.

  • Other Cave Guy: "Well, Thomas Aquinas..."
  • He was about to talk about Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-74), an Italian philosopher and theologian of the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Xander (to Giles): "Well excuse me, Mr. 'I spent the sixties in an electric-kool-aid-funky-satan-groove.' "
  • We've found a few different "definitions" of electric kool-aid. Most likely, it's a reference to the "electric kool-aid acid tests" of the sixties, in which Ken Kesey (author of the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), members of the Grateful Dead, and others reportedly staged events in which hundreds of volunteers were given Kool-Aid spiked with LSD (i.e. Electric Kool-Aid) to see how it affected them. (Tom Wolfe wrote a book about the tests, Kesey, etc., called The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Electric Kool-Aid is also a cocktail consisting of Amaretto, Midori, Cherry Brandy, Southern Comfort, Triple Sec, sour mix, cranberry juice, and grenadine (recipes may vary by region and/or bartender).

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Continuity

  • Faith, Hope and Trick

    Willow compares Veruca's style of dress to Faith's. Faith is another Slayer, first introduced in "Faith, Hope and Trick," who dresses to attract attention (i.e. tight clothing). Actually, we don't think Veruca did really dress like Faith; Willow's perception must be tainted by her jealousy. (For more info about Faith, go to her cast page.)

  • The Dark Age and Band Candy

    Xander accuses Giles of having spent his youth in an "electric-kool-aid-funky-Satan-groove." We've only gotten small peeks into Giles' past in these two episodes, but we do know that he was something of a demon-conjuring rebel.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • As Xander tries to practice his "bartending" skills on Willow and Buffy, the two coffee cups on the table move back and forth between two slightly different positions, though no one touches them.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • When Xander holds up his fake ID, the shots from behind him show that he's holding the license with his thumb and middle finger, but in the shots facing him, he's holding it on the right with his thumb and index finger.

  • As Willow drinks from the cup that Oz brought her, she holds it at the top, but as the camera changes angles, her hand is lower. Then she sets is down, fingering the rim with one hand, but from another angle, that hand is nowhere near the rim.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • The second time Buffy is drinking with the guys (the scene with all the "You stupid" lines), the pitcher of beer becomes more full and then lowers again.

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Notes

  • This episode received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series in the 52nd Annual Emmy Awards.

  • Buffy seems to have a thing for open-shirted guys, pink roses, and ice cream.

  • In California, you have to be 21 to work behind a bar (in other words, to be a bartender), which is why Xander needed a fake ID. You only have to be 18 to serve alcohol as a waiter/waitress, and you have to be 21 to legally drink alcohol.

  • Xander's fake ID was not a California license. Maybe he thought it would be less obvious that it was fake if it wasn't a California license.

  • There is a pub on campus, which Xander has just begun bartending at.

  • Poker's Light and Black Frost are not real beers.

  • One of the sororities at UC Sunnydale is Beta Delta Gamma.

  • Oz missed two classes of Psychology (and perhaps one more when he went to LA in the Angel episode "In the Dark."). This is interesting, since Professor Walsh told Buffy that if she missed a second class, she'd be kicked out. Perhaps she hasn't noticed Oz's absences (Buffy did, after all, point herself out to Walsh by asking for the assignments she'd missed.)

  • The music video Buffy was watching was Luscious Jackson's video for "Lady Fingers." (See Music below.) Jill Cunniff, one of the vocalists for the band, knew Joss Whedon as a child (as reported in an interview with Cunniff in issue #5 of the official BtVS magazine.

  • The name of Veruca's band is Shy, but the music is actually done by the real band THC. (See Music below.)

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Music

  • THC - "Overfire" (From Adagio, Brain Surgery Music, 1999)
      This is the song Shy is performing at the Bronze. THC plays the actual music which Shy performs.

  • Luscious Jackson - "Lady Fingers" (From Electric Honey, Capitol, 1999)
      This is the song in the music video Buffy is watching in her dorm.

  • Kim Ferron - "Nothing But You" (From the BtVS Soundtrack, TVT Records, 1999)
      This song plays when Xander turns on the jukebox in the pub.
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Comments

Jeremy:
Well, this is officially our first bad episode of the season. When you hold the show up on such a high pedestal, it can sometimes really disappoint. The dialogue from Xander and Willow is about the only saving grace, along with the first five minutes of the episode during her day-dream. However, it seems the writers this time felt like they should take the line, "Fire bad, tree pretty" from "Graduation Day, Part 2" and write an episode around it. I would have needed as much beer as they had to make this episode good. This episode just didn't seem up to the high standards Joss and Co. have set for themselves. Sure, it had the nice "nothing can defeat the penis" principle underlying it, but the words "you stupid" over and over again seemed to be mocking me, making me feel stupid for watching this episode. I'm giving this episode a point more than it deserves merely because it has me waiting in anticipation of actually belting out the "nothing can defeat the penis" line on campus to see how many people turn around and look at me. (5.5/10)
Jamie Marie:
I am quite sure that we're going to get some emails in defense of this episode. While cruising through message boards and newsgroups, it seems to me that most people dislike it, but some people love it. But hey, we're all entitled to our own opinions, and mine is that this episode disappoints. It's campy, and campy can sometimes be fun — I'm not denying that I laughed at the episode (but I also laughed at the BtVS movie, which I also do not like). But campy, in my opinion, doesn't equal quality. If I could somehow ignore the whole cave people thing, I could give this episode a higher score, but I can't, because that's the main plot. And it doesn't help that it borrows from "The Pack," especially coming off of last week's "Nightmares" influenced episode — recycling is bad. The Willow-Parker thing was excellent (for a minute there, I thought Willow was falling for his malarkey!), as was Buffy whacking Parker over the head with a big stick, and there was the requisite funny dialogue. I also enjoy the development of Xander as a bartender. However, if we never see him bartending again, or if he quits, I will be even more disappointed, as that will mean that it was a device solely to give Xander a role in this episode. This episode strikes me as one that might have worked better on a half-hour show. Often, an episode is written and then needs to be trimmed down to fit it into the allotted time. This one, though, felt as though they wrote it and realized they needed to make it longer. So, not knowing what else to do, they just crammed as much jumping and hooting and two word sentences as they needed to fill up an hour. I have high standards for this show (if it were, say, Charmed, then I wouldn't be so disappointed), and this one doesn't meet them. (6/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
November 02, 1999 3.5 96 of 142
December 28, 1999 2.6 88 of 128

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