Beer Bad: Wikis


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"Beer Bad"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 5
Written by Tracey Forbes
Directed by David Solomon
Production no. 4ABB05
Original airdate November 2, 1999
Episode chronology
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"Fear, Itself" "Wild at Heart"
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Beer Bad" is episode 5 of the fourth season of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This episode, written by Tracey Forbes and directed by David Solomon, packs a double moral. It was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Hairstyling in a Series.[1]


Plot synopsis


Buffy is still hurting because Parker dumped her after a night together. In a daydream during one of Professor Walsh's classes (pointedly, about the role of the id in Freudian psychology) she saves Parker's life and he swears to do anything to get her back. A dialogue with Willow later shows how much Buffy is not over him yet.

In the real world, Xander gets a job as a bartender with a fake ID, and has to endure the insults from students. He gets to test his empathy skills with none other than Buffy who then proceeds to get drunk on "Black Frost" beer with four college boys. Oz and Willow are in The Bronze together, but he feels a strange connection to the pretty singer Veruca when she gets on the stage with her band Shy.

The next morning, Willow not only has to cope with Veruca having called her a "groupie", but also with Buffy, who seems to be suffering from "Black Frost." That evening when Buffy drinks herself further and further into idiocy we get a glimpse why: somebody has a chemical lab set up and is putting more into the beer than just malt. Xander finally sends Buffy home. When her four drinking buddies turn into violent Neanderthals, he finds out that the owner of the pub has been brewing the beer as revenge for 20 years of college kids taunting him. While the boys escape to the streets of Sunnydale, Xander gets Giles to help. They find Buffy drawing cave paintings on her dorm wall saying "Parker bad." Giles and Xander are unable to keep Buffy in her room when she gets a craving for more beer.

Meanwhile, Willow confronts Parker with what she says he has done to Buffy. When he turns his charm on her, she reveals she has been playing along with a rant about how primitive men are, just when the four Neanderthal students burst into the room. They knock Willow and Parker unconscious and start a fire that rapidly burns out of control. Xander catches up with Buffy and when they see smoke from the Neanderthals' fire, they rush to help. Though afraid of the flames and unable to figure out how to use an extinguisher, Buffy saves Willow and Parker. In the end, Parker thanks Buffy for saving his life, and apologizes just the way she had dreamt — just to get knocked unconscious by Buffy's club. The neanderthal students become subsequently locked in a van.

Writing and acting

Willow proves again that she can't be sweet-talked, something we first learned in "The Pack".

"Beer Bad" is written with a classic frame structure — Buffy's dream — that emphasizes her development; hitting Parker with a stick qualifies as poetic justice. Producer Doug Petrie says, despite the intensely negative reaction of the fans to seeing Buffy being "battered about by the forces of college" and being treated so callously by Parker, they had to "ride that out" until this episode because "we didn't want her to find her strength immediately in this new setting".[2]

However, the most striking feature of "Beer Bad" is the twin moral: Beer and casual sex are bad for you. In a BBC interview, Petrie states: "Well, very young people get unlimited access to alcohol and become horrible! We all do it — or most of us do it — and live to regret it, and we wanted to explore that."[2]



Guest starring


  • Kal Penn as Hunt
  • Jake Phillips as Kip
  • Bryan Cupprill as Roy
  • Lisa Johnson as Paula
  • Joshua Wheeler as Driver
  • Patrick Belton as College Guy #1
  • Kaycee Shank as College Guy #2
  • Steven Jang as College Guy #3
  • Cameron Bender as Stoner
  • Kate Luhr as Young Woman

Production details


  • Ash - "I'm Gonna Fall" (played in the bar in Buffy's first trip there)
  • Collapsis - "Wonderland"
  • Gale Music - "Some people say"
  • Kim Ferron - "Nothing But You" - This played on the jukebox, one of the songs on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album.
  • Luscious Jackson - "Ladyfingers" (Remix)
  • Luscious Jackson - "Ladyfingers"
  • Paul Trudeau - "I Can't Wait"
  • Paul Trudeau - "It Feels Like I'm Dyin' Inside"
  • Smile - "The Best Years"
  • T.H.C. - "Overfire" - played by Veruca's band in the Bronze


  • Italian title: "Birra stregata" ("Bewitched beer")
  • German title "Das Bier der bösen Denkungsart" ("The beer of evil mentality")
  • French title: "Breuvage du diable"("The Devil's Brew")
  • Spanish title: "Mala cerveza" ("Bad beer")


  • "Beer Bad" is the episode where Buffy gets over Parker: At the beginning, she is pining for him, at the end, she is hitting him over the head with a branch, thus clearing the way for Riley.
  • Oz's attraction to Veruca is built up further, setting the stage for the following episode "Wild at Heart".
  • Buffy's statement of "fire bad" is reminiscent of her statements at the end of third season, "fire bad, tree pretty".

Reception and reviews

This episode is considered by some fans to be the worst Buffy episode.[3] A BBC reviewer complained about its "American puritanism"[4] and Slayage criticized writer Tracey Forbes for delivering a trite and obvious message in a series containing "such an abundant feminist subtext".[5] However, Todd Hertz of Christianity Today used this episode of an example of the show's honest portrayal of consequences.[6][7]


This plot was written with the plan to take advantage of funds from the Office of National Drug Control Policy available to shows that promoted an anti-drug message.[8] Funding was rejected for the episode because "[d]rugs were an issue, but ... [it] was otherworldly nonsense, very abstract and not like real-life kids taking drugs. Viewers wouldn't make the link to [the ONDCP's] message."[9]


  1. ^ "Past Winners Database: 1999-2000 52nd Emmy Awards". The Envelope: The Ultimate Awards Site (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  2. ^ a b Petrie, Doug (undated). ""Beer Bad"". Buffy Producer's Inside Guide. BBC. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  3. ^ Miller, Matthew. "Swing the Sickle Television Reviews: Beer Bad". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ "Stephen" (undated). ""Buffy Episode Guide: Beer Bad: Review"". 
  5. ^ Erenberg, Daniel (March 1, 2003). "The Top 10 Worst Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Slayage. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  6. ^ Dalfonzo, Gina R. (2003). ""Buffy Fades to Black"". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  7. ^ Hertz, Todd (1 September 2002). "Don't Let Your Kids Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer (But You Can Tape It and Watch After They Go to Bed)". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  8. ^ Edwards, Jim (April 6, 2000). ""ESPN Using News for Anti-Drug Propaganda"". Archived from the original on 2002-02-07. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  9. ^ Forbes, Daniel (January 13, 2000). "Prime-time Propaganda: How the White House Secretly Hooked Network TV on Its Anti-drug Message". Salon. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 

External links

Episode guides



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