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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
The Zeppo
January 26, 1999
3ABB13

 
Credits

Writer:
Dan Vebber


Director:
James Whitmore, Jr.


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Eliza Dushku as Faith
Saverio Guerra as Willy
Cast:
Channon Roe as Jack
Michael Cudlitz as Bob
Darin Heames as Parker
Scott Torrence as Dickie
Whitney Dylan as Lysette
Vaughn Armstrong as Cop

 
Synopsis

After being told by Cordelia that he's the Zeppo of the gang, Xander decides that he needs to find his "thing." His thing turns out to be his Uncle Rory's car, which gets him a date with a cute girl, who's unfortunately only interested in his car. He then ends up driving the school bully (Jack) around in his car, helping to raise Jack's friends from the dead. When it turns out that Jack, too, is dead — and that they want Xander to join their little dead-gang — Xander takes off. He runs into a horny Faith, who seduces him and then kicks him out. Afterwards, he realizes that Jack and co. were planning a bomb, figures out that they're going to blow up the school, and heads there, managing to save the day in the nick of time. All this time, Buffy and the gang have been preventing the world from ending, while trying to keep Xander out of trouble. The next day, Xander keeps mum about his own adventures, and his newfound confidence allows him to ignore Cordelia's jabs.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

A Jhe demon

  • The Sisterhood of Jhe is a fictional cult of female demons that "exist solely to bring about the world's destruction." They celebrate victory by eating their foes.

  • The zombies Xander hangs out with aren't like the ones in "Dead Man's Party," but more like what Giles describes in "Some Assembly Required" (among other things, he said that they don't eat the flesh of the living). Actually, they remind us of the 1993 movie My Boyfriend's Back. They think that the fact that they're zombies means nothing: they even want to pick up chicks!

  • The Spirit Guides are some sort of mystic/seer/oracle type beings. This is a fairly common thing to see in science fiction type plots. The guides Giles consults seem similar in nature to the Greek Oracle at Delphi, where a person could have one question per lifetime answered (albeit in a very cryptic manner).

  • The big ugly demon that comes out of the Hellmouth is the same one that came out the last time it opened (see"Prophecy Girl" for more info).

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Body Count

A Sister of Jhe
Stabbed with a sword by Faith in the demon nest.
Parker
Decapitated with a mailbox by Xander, driving down a residential street.
Bob
Crushed with a vending machine by Xander at SHS.
Dickie
Eaten by the Sisters of Jhe at SHS.
Jack
Eaten by Oz-wolf in the boiler room at SHS.
Total: Five
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Dialogue to Die For

Jack: "What are you, retarded?"
Xander: "No. No, I had to take that test when I was seven. A little slow in some stuff, mostly math and spatial relations, but certainly not challenged or anything."

Jack: "You wanna be startin' something?"
Xander: "What? Starting something? Like that Michael Jackson song, right? That was a lot of fun, huh? 'Too high to get over, yeah, yeah.' Remember that fun song?"

Xander: "Is it hard to play guitar?"
Oz: "Not the way I play it."

Xander: "It's my thing."
Willow: "Your thing?"
Xander: "My thing!"
Buffy: "Is this a penis metaphor?"

Giles: "All we know is that the fate of the entire world rests on the — did you eat all the jellies?"
Buffy: "Did you want a jelly?"
Giles: "I always have a jelly. I'm always the one that says 'Let's have a jelly in the mix.'"
Willow: "We're sorry. Buffy had three!"

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Bob (Picking up an axe): "Good for chopping."

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References

  • "You're the Zeppo." — Cordelia is referring to Herbert "Zeppo" Marx, the youngest of the five Marx brothers (a comedy troupe in the 1920s through 1940s). He always seemed to be in the background, acting as a foil for Chico or Groucho. It always seemed to Zeppo that he stood in everyone else's shadow.

  • "But gee, Mr. White, if Clark and Lois get all the good stories, I'll never be a good reporter," and "You must feel like Jimmy Olsen." — The Superman references just keep on coming. Mr. Perry White was the editor-in-chief of The Daily Planet, where Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane worked, along with Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy was a photographer who wanted to be a reporter; he was always on the sidelines trying to be in on everything.

  • The Michael Jackson song that Xander mentioned was "Wanna Be Startin' Something," from the 1982 album Thriller. Listen

    flugel.jpg

  • "I'm taking the Flügelhorn and getting zero trim." — A Flügelhorn is a strange trumpet-like instrument, that sounds more like a French Horn. Xander was wondering why this instrument didn't get him any girls?

  • "They couldn't just pour Gatorade on each other?" — Gatorade is a popular sports drink; pouring jugs of it on people has become a sports tradition after a win.

  • "Walker, Texas Ranger...you been taping 'em?" — Walker, Texas Ranger was a CBS TV show (1993 - 2001) starring Chuck Norris.

  • "We'll hang out at Taco Bell." — Taco Bell is a popular fast food restaurant serving "Mexican" food.

  • "It's just...um...I've never been Up With People before." — Up With People is a non-profit organization in which a group of students travel around the world for a year spreading friendship and understanding through educational musical performances.

  • "...After that mickey I gave him." — A mickey is "a drink, usually alcoholic, to which a drug, purgative, or the like, has been secretly added, that renders the unsuspecting drinker helpless." We are thinking, though, that Willow is possibly just referring to the tranquilizers she shot into him.

  • "Note to self: less talk." — During Norm MacDonald's tenure as the anchor of the "Weekend Update" segment of Saturday Night Live, he would often take out a tape recorder and leave a "note to self" as part of the jokes. An example, albeit not the best one: "Note to Self: Sex with blow-up doll is not as good as advertised."

  • "Hello, Nasty." Hello Nasty is the name of the 1998 Beastie Boys album.
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Continuity

  • Prophecy Girl — "The Hellmouth. The one that opened...," "about twenty feet from where you're standing." and "Do you remember the demon that almost got out the night I died?" The big ugly monster that bursts through the floor of the library when The Hellmouth opens is the same demon that came out of The Hellmouth in "Prophecy Girl," although Giles states that it has gotten bigger.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Xander was about two years old when "Wanna Be Startin' Something" was released. While it is conceivable that he could know this song, it is unlikely that he would "remember that fun song." Of course, this can be interpreted in different ways.

  • The scene where Xander and Oz are discussing "coolness" starts out with an audio of Xander talking, paired with a shot of cafeteria food being scooped up. In the background of this shot, you can see Xander, Buffy, and Willow at a table. But the next shot (and the rest of the scene) shows just Xander and Oz sitting together. This is because that first shot was footage from "I Only Have Eyes For You."

  • Jack says that he couldn't raise his dead friends earlier because he "had to wait 8 months for the stars to align," but he died three weeks ago and his "grandpappy" raised him the same night.

  • As Parker is being decapitated by the mailbox there is a lot of mail sticking almost a foot out of it; after Xander drops the body we see that the mail is sticking out only a couple of inches.

  • When Jack and Xander are facing off while the bomb timer ticks away, the timing is not correct. At one point, the timer says :11, but two seconds later (and the beeps are audible, so you can count the seconds easily), it says :12. Then, exactly when it should explode, we see that it is at 4 seconds.

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Notes

  • In addition to having frog fear, Willow also has nightmares about public nudity, academic failure, and the demon that came out of The Hellmouth.

  • Xander has an Uncle Rory who seems to have a drinking problem. He owns a 57 Chevy Bel Air, which he loaned Xander since he stacked up so many DUI's (for those of you outside the USA a DUI is a ticket for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol).

  • More of Giles' books are mentioned: The Books of Pherion and Hebron's Almanac.

  • Giles likes jelly donuts, and apparently Buffy does, too.

  • Sunnydale apparently does have gangs (not just made-up "gangs on PCP," which is a popular excuse for the tragedies in Sunnydale). One of them is the Jackals.

  • More Sunnydale locations: the downtown magic shop that Willow visited in "Lovers Walk" is "Uncle Bob's Magic Cabinet;" nearby is Decker Hardware.

  • Here is the translation of Willow's spell in the beginning of the episode:

    Obscurate nos non diutius. Cloud us no longer.

  • Here is the translation of Giles' binding spell in the library:

    Terra, vente, ignis et pluvia.
    Cuncta quattuor numina, vos obsecro.
    Defindite nos a recente malo resoluto-
    Earth, wind, fire and rain.
    All four powers I beseech you.
    Protect us from fresh evil unleashed-

  • Giles shouts the following while fighting the Hellmouth monster:

    et omnia vasa veritatis! and all the vessels of truth!

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Music

  • Supergrass - "G-Song" (From In it for the Money, EMD/Capitol, 1998)
      This song plays when Xander and Lysette are at The Bronze.

  • Tricky Woo - "Easy" (From Enemy is Real, Sonic Unyon, 1998)
      This song plays as Xander drives Jack & Co. around town.
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Comments

Jeremy:
"The Zeppo" is now one of my favorite "filler" episodes. However, I still can't believe that Xander had sex with Faith after Willow said "I love you!" Boo hiss! Another issue is whether or not this episode was a parody. I do not think so, because if Joss and Co. wanted to do parody, they could have done a much better job. The plot of the Hellmouth opening was just to keep Xander feeling like "The Zeppo." I did not like the epilogue at the end of the gang talking about what happened during the fight. We finally got to see the world through the eyes of Xander and gain more insight into his character. Charisma also put on a great show in this episode. However, it seemed like this was the Cordelia from the first season, and not the Cordelia who dated Xander. The way she said the things she said did not seem to be directed at him because of bitter feelings from Xander kissing Willow, but just the general bitterness that her character showed in the first season. Again, overall I think the episode was quite good and I hope Dan Vebber keeps up the good work, as I thoroughly enjoyed "Lovers Walk," as well. (9/10)
Jamie Marie:
I'm sure I'm going to catch a lot of slack for this, but I didn't really like this episode. There is much debate over whether it was a parody or not, and based on my personal definition of a parody, I say no. However, even if it was, I still did not like it. I liked some of its parts, yes, but I did not like the sum of its parts. I quite enjoyed Xander's storyline. Dan Vebber gave Nicholas Brendon some of his best lines ever. However, I think he wrote the character of Jack just to get all the bad lines he had ever thought of out of his system. I hope it worked. I am still reeling over Xander and Faith having had sex. In fact, my judgments may be cloudy because of this (I am way more shocked than when Chandler and Monica had sex on Friends). Even though I HATE this development, I have to admit it is good writing. Except for one thing: no condom? Surely a girl like Faith has a box of them ready and waiting? I hope some mention of this is made in the future. But I digress. The whole Hellmouth opening thing I cannot forgive. I understand that there had to be something for Xander to be left out of in order for it to work, but I do not believe it had to be something that big and important (again, even if it was a parody, I still don't like it — I might like it even less in that case, because I wasn't as amused as I should have been). I felt like I was watching two episodes at the same time, but one of them had some scenes accidentally deleted. Especially at the end, when we got the secondhand rundown of what we missed (what the heck did Giles do that was so brave?). The very end, though, I loved. Cordelia's agony over being left out of some inside joke (even if it was only inside Xander's head) was hilarious. The Xander storyline: (9/10); the whole shebang: (6/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
January 26, 1999 4.1 94 of 133 (tie)
April 20, 1999 2.4 104 of 129 (tie)
July 27, 1999 1.9 103 of 132 (tie)

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