Today, Buffy the Vampire Slayer celebrates its 20th anniversary since it first aired on TV! I know viewers all remember the iconic moments of the show, but here are some underrated moments – some funny, some heartwarming – that I think we should revisit on the show’s anniversary (warning: some spoilers ahead!):
1.) Drusilla’s Bird
We see Spike deal with a lot of Drusilla’s craziness, but seeing him just have enough takes the cake. After Drusilla laments over her dead pet not singing for her, Spike bursts, “The bird’s dead, Dru! You left it in a cage, and you didn’t feed it, and now it’s all dead just like the last one!”
2.) Buffy, Willow and Xander Performing Oedipus Rex
The end-credits scene for “The Puppet Show” isn’t often remembered, but it always makes me laugh. From Xander stumbling through his lines, to Buffy clearly not caring at all, to Willow running off stage, the Scooby Gang trying to perform Oedipus is just hilarious. It’s even better when you notice Giles’ and Snyder’s uncomfortable expressions in the audience.
3.) Xander, Anya and Willow’s Dramatic Bike Dash
This moment is quick, but is nevertheless hilarious. Though the entirety of “Pangs” is chaotic (in a good way), it’s such a funny sight to see Xander, Anya and Willow ride towards the fight on stolen bicycles with dramatic music playing in the background.
4.) Everyone Thinking Angel is Evil
Another gem from “Pangs,” Angel returns to Sunnydale to warn Buffy of an evil coming for her. But when he runs into the Scoobies, they all assume he’s only back because he turned evil again. This leads to Angel’s exasperated and mopey, “I’m not evil again, why does everyone think that? I haven’t been evil for a long time!” – a rare burst of humor we don’t often get from him on the show.
5.) The RV Chase
Buffy’s plan to keep the Key from Glory involved the group piling into an RV and trying to escape Glory’s reach. This sequence had great moments, especially from Spike and Tara, and showcased how far each Scoobie would go to protect Dawn.
6.) A Bitca?
When Buffy starts acting mean upon her return to Sunnydale in Season 2, Willow wonders why she’s acting like such a “B-I-T-C-H.” Giles replies, “I think we’re all a little too old to be spelling things out,” only for Xander to immediately ask, “A bitca?” Giles’ deadpan “yes” really makes this scene.
7.) Spike Waking Up in the Sun
Nothing goes right for Spike in this episode, but this sequence is the best part of his misfortune. Spike is unconscious on top of a fountain when the rising sun sets his hand on fire. He wakes up, and tries to put the fire out in the fountain only to realize it’s filled with holy water and burns his hand even more before making a dash to his car. You feel bad for Spike, but can’t help but laugh at him anyway.
8.) Buffy Telling off the Watcher’s Council
Words can’t describe how satisfying it is to watch Buffy put the Watcher’s Council in their place after years of them putting her and Giles through Hell.
This is one of the earliest moments we see of Willow standing up for herself. After she insulted Willow for defending Buffy, Cordelia asks for help with submitting her tedious computer science project. Willow tells her to hit the Deliver key, knowing Cordelia would hit “Del” and erase her entire project. Cordelia’s face when she realized what happened is priceless.
10.) Willow threatening Riley
It might just be my disdain for Riley talking, but Willow’s, “And remember, if you hurt her, I’ll beat you to death with a shovel. A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend,” is a great moment that isn’t brought up nearly as much as it should be.
11.) Home Sweet Home
Spike’s first entrance to the series is great, but it’s even better when he drunkenly mirrors this in his Season 3 reappearance, passing out before he can even finish his signature, “home sweet home.”
12.) Giles Stabbing the Mayor with a Sword
Giles is a man who values having a plan. That’s why seeing him throw the plan out the window and run the Season 3 villain through with a sword just for threatening Buffy was such an amazing and heartwarming moment.
13.) “I love you guys!”
I’ve never related to Dawn as much as I did when she freaked out upon realizing Willow and Tara were back together. Her squealing and jumping spoke for all of us.
14.) “I’d Like to Test That Theory”
The later seasons suffered a serious lack of Giles – as one of my favorite characters, I felt his absence very strongly. His badass reappearance was absolutely perfect.
15.) Giles Hands Buffy her High School Diploma
The final battle of Season 3 was one of the best battles in the show. Watching the entire graduating class of Sunnydale High band together to take on the Mayor was incredible. But one of my favorite parts happened after, when Giles tells Buffy he saved her Diploma from the wreckage, and gives it to her, telling her how proud he is. It is an incredibly sweet moment that I love seeing.
16.) Tara Defending Willow from Anya
I love Tara, and anytime we get to see her stand up for herself is a great moment to watch. Seeing her defend Willow from Anya’s harassments makes you proud of how far she’s come.
17.) Spike Mocking Xander and Anya
Though Season 4 had a few drawbacks, Spike being forced to live in Xander’s basement was definitely not one of them. Their unlikely pairing led to many humorous moments, but one of the best was when Spike picked on Xander after he and Anya were bickering, complete with an imitation of Anya’s high-pitched, “Xaaaandeeeeer!”
18.) Buffy Finding Out the Events of “Band Candy”
In “Earshot,” when Buffy temporarily gets the ability to read minds, she is horrified to find out that her mom and Giles had sex under the effects of a spell from a previous episode. Her shocked, “You had sex with Giles!? On the hood of a Police car!? Twice!?” is made better by this exchange at the end of the episode:
Giles: Feel up to some training?
Buffy: Sure, we could work-out after school, you know, if you’re not too busy having sex with my mother!
Giles: Walks headfirst into a tree
This is probably my favorite singular moment in the show. It isn’t really underrated, but I couldn’t list best moments without including this one. Season 2, in my opinion, was the best one. Especially because of its villains. The season was filled with the question of whether or not to kill Angelus, as he tortured the group in the most intimate ways he could. After watching the heartbreak Buffy went through, we are finally treated to the best exchange in the show:
Angelus: No weapons… No friends…No hope. Take all that away… and what’s left?
20.) The Entirety of “The Witch”
This is one of my favorite episodes of the series. From, “you don’t like the colors?” to Willow decreeing her, Xander and Giles as the “Slayerettes.” From showcasing Giles and Buffy’s father/daughter relationship to plot twists and a cliffhanger ending, this episode embodies what I love about the show. It was also the episode that made me realize just how much I love Buffy the first time I watched it.
Even with the ‘90s clothes and lingo, BTVS is still relevant and impactful to today’s audience. So to viewers old and new, enjoy Buffy’s 20th Anniversary!