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BEER BAD (ep #4.05)

(a.k.a. Public Service Announcement)

Written by: Tracey Forbes
Directed by: David Solomon
Starring: 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 Starring: Marc Blucas as Riley
Adam Kaufman as Parker Abrams
Paige Moss as Veruca
Eric Matheny as Colm
Stephen M. Porter as Jack
Lindsay Crouse as Maggie Walsh
Co-Starring: Kal Penn as Hunt
Jake Phillips as Kip
Bryan Cuprill as Roy
Lisa Johnson as Paula
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

Plot Summary

Doctored alcohol caused Buffy to regress into cave slayer.

Plot Details

The episode appeared to open like many before. Buffy was busy battling a vampire in a cemetery. Only this time, a cowering Parker was begging for help as two more vampires tried to abduct him. With action music blaring, She took the two of them out with one kick. Eventually she staked all three. Parker gave her a heartfelt apology and vowed to take her back.

Of course, she then woke up, in psychology class. Parker and his latest conquest-to-be were a few rows ahead. Professor Walsh was lecturing on the id and the pleasure principle. Buffy decided that she would rather go back to her fantasy, except this time, Parker had flowers and ice cream.

Buffy and Willow were studying outside when Xander interrupted. Equipped with a fake ID, he was able to get a job as a bartender and wanted to practice. However, to him, bartending meant flicking a cigarette lighter at women and asking them about their problems. Buffy was not in the mood to play along, but Willow got into the spirit. The three walked away with Buffy still in denial about Parker having moved on. Willow tried to bring her to reality without much success.

Xander found himself overwhelmed on his first day bartending. Buffy wandered in and saw Parker with his next victim. She was so distracted that she accidentally ran into Riley. They had a quick conversation about Parker, with Riley disapproving of Parker's girl-chasing ways and Buffy paying very little attention to anything other than Parker.

Xander tried to strike up a conversation with a couple of coeds, but one of their boyfriends quickly arrived. When Xander tried to stay in the conversation, the boyfriend decided to act snobbish. Xander slunk away and noticed Buffy, who actually had a problem to talk about. Xander tried to be understanding, but his boss wanted him to work.

Buffy walked away and ran into another person. This one, along with his three friends, decided that they would like to drink with Buffy. Meanwhile, Willow and Oz were at the Bronze, where Oz was captivated by Veruca, the lead singer of the band that was performing.

The next morning, Willow came back to her dorm very jealous over Veruca. Buffy, however, was very hung over and was mesmerized by the television. Buffy was so hung over that she did not realize that her description of the night sounded like she had group sex. She was not that much better in class, especially when she swiped another student's sandwich.

We then saw a Hollywood interpretation of chemistry: a bunch of glassware containing brightly colored liquids, many of which were bubbling. Eventually, we saw some green liquid dripping into a keg of the same brand of beer that Buffy was drinking.

That night, Buffy drank with the same four men. She got very excited when Xander played a song on the jukebox, which Xander took as a sign that she had enough beer. After a minute or two, the four men she was with figured out that she was gone. They were upset.

Oz said that Veruca asked him to sit in with her band that night and wanted Willow to come along. Willow was not interested in seeing Veruca again and said that she had to study. Instead, she went to a coffee shop, where she ran into Parker. She took the opportunity to give him a big piece of her mind.

Xander decided that it was time for Buffy's men to go. They paid by placing a wad of bills on the table. Xander happily accepted it as his tip. Then, one of the men came out of the bathroom looking a little primitive and knocked Xander unconscious. The other three men started to look primitive as well. Xander came to and remembered his cavemen movies. He flashed his cigarette lighter at them and scared them away with flame.

The bartender proudly bragged about how his warlock brother-in-law gave him a formula that would turn the snobby students into cavepeople. Despite receiving some abuse himself, Xander was morally outraged and was worried about the damage that would result.

For example, one of the men decided to stand in the street. One car managed to swerve around him, but the next one hit him. The other three decided to beat up on the car, until two women distracted them. Meanwhile, Xander and Giles went to Buffy's dorm room, where they found her making cave drawings on the wall.

Parker and Willow continued their conversation to the point where he talked about how the conversation meant a lot to him. She started to agree and then told him that she knew quite well that he did not care about her or what she was saying. He was only saying what he thought would get Willow to drop her clothes. Willow's rant was interrupted when the four cavepeople dragged two coeds in. They quickly knocked both Willow and Parker unconscious and started hooting.

Xander and Giles were fascinated by the caveslayer. At first, Giles wanted Xander to stay with Buffy until Buffy decided that Xander smelled nice. They then decided to go find the other cavepeople. Buffy wanted beer and ran off.

Meanwhile, the cavepeople set the coffee shop on fire. Buffy noticed the smoke just as Xander caught up to her, and they both investigated. Buffy seemed to remember that she could use a fire extinguisher in this situation but did not know how. She just threw it into the fire. She then noticed Willow in the room and jumped in. She knocked a window open, which allowed the cave people, the coeds, and Willow to escape. Parker was starting to panic, so Buffy just knocked him on the head and carried him out.

In the aftermath, it was determined that Buffy learned that beer was foamy. Xander managed to get the cavepeople into an unlocked van, and Parker apologized for real. She knocked him unconscious again.

The Good

This episode is not as horrible as some fans believe. That is, it is not the worst episode of the show. "Gingerbread" was much worse. The caveslayer was amusing, and it was nice to see Willow tell Parker off.

The Bad

Occasionally, like in "Fear, Itself," simple metaphors work. Other times, like here, they do not. This episode was a bit too much like a public service announcement. As with "Go Fish," this episode seemed to be too concerned with preaching.

Overall Rank: 117

Action: 3

Buffy fantasized about slaying vampires during the teaser.

Buffy had to rescue people, including Willow and Parker, from the burning coffee shop.

Comedy: 3

This episode tried to be funnier than it actually was. There were a couple of good caveslayer scenes and it was fun to see Willow tell off Parker.

Drama: 2

Buffy's pain from Parker dumping her was in the background of this episode.

Romance: 3

Buffy fantasized about Parker coming back to her.

Parker tried to seduce Willow and failed miserably.

Character Development: 1

Willow is feeling jealous over Veruca.

Buffy still wants Parker to come back to her and is in denial of the chances that it will happen.

Importance: 2

Willow's jealousy concerning Veruca is still unresolved.

Most Valuable Player: Buffy

There are no strong candidates. The bartender gets a fair amount of credit for successfully turning some of his customers into cavepeople. Willow managed to resist Parker's charms and told him off. Finally, Buffy managed to rescue Willow and seven others from the burning coffee shop. She deserves several demerits for drinking too much of what she knew was beer, even if she did not know it was evil beer. However, she still gets the MVP.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Willow

Nobody did much figuring out in this episode, so Willow gets the award for figuring out that Parker was trying to seduce her.

Goat of the Week: Parker

Parker gets this award for failing to seduce Willow.

Random Commentary

Prof. Walsh's lecture on the id rang false to me. It was established in "The Freshman" that she studied operant conditioning. This suggests that she comes from the behavioral perspective, which believes that subconscious forces like the id either (a) do not exist, (b) are irrelevant, or (c) cannot be researched because they cannot be directly observed. It is possible that Walsh is lecturing on this because it is part of the curriculum. Many students expect to study Freudian theory in psychology class. However, there is little to suggest that she would ever give an unbiased lecture on a topic she would disagree with. Instead, I would expect her to talk about how this is nonsense.

The id, along with the superego and the ego, are the three psychic forces that control our behavior in Freudian psychology. In Buffy terms, the id is Faith, as in "Want, take have." The superego is Kendra, who always follows the rules and suppresses unacceptable urges. The ego is Buffy who tries to find balance between the two.

Memorable Dialogue

"Well, even if I had a pretend cigarette, I couldn't tell you my pretend problems. Real ones have clogged up my head space." Buffy

"I'm pregnant by my stepbrother, who'd rather be with my best friend who's left me with no place to live, no food, except for this bottle of Wild Turkey, which I drank all up." Willow

"Buffy, that is my best friend, you need to think about not Parker. He's no good. There are men, better men, wherein the mind is stronger than the penis." Willow
"Nothing can defeat the penis! Too loud, very unseemly." Xander

"Parker's problem with intimacy turns out to be that he can't get enough of it, and I knew it. I knew what he was. If he were tied and gagged and left in a cave that vampires happened to frequent, it wouldn't really be like I killed him, really." Buffy

"You shouldn't be sad and alone right now. I mean, you're a very beautiful girl who should be covered with men, and can we be those men?" Green-Shirted Man

"The thing that the modern day pundits fail to realize is that all the socioeconomic and psychological problems inherent in modern society can be solved by the judicious application of way too much beer." Green-Shirted Man

"You know, I'm wondering something about you." Willow
"What?" Parker
"Just how gullible do you think I am? I mean, with your gentle eyes and your shy smile and your ability to talk openly only to me. You're unbelievable." Willow
"What?" Parker
"This isn't sharing. This isn't connecting. It's the pleasure principle. 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." Willow

"Well, she doesn't appear to be in any immediate danger. Maybe you should stay with her." Giles
"Boy smell nice." Buffy
"Or perhaps she should be left alone." Giles

"Was there a lesson in all this, huh? What did we learn about beer?" Xander
"Foamy." Buffy
"Good, just as long as that's clear. Anyways, I think the boys in the car are contained for the time being. This will give them some time to ponder the geopolitical ramifications of being mean to me." Xander

Characters in Peril


I am sure that Buffy wants credit for six stakings during her fantasy, but I will not give her any.

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 19, 2012