Beer Bad

Written by Tracey Forbes
Directed by David Solomon

Dawn's Review | SunSpeak

Dawn's Review

The show opens with Buffy (in a really cool leather outfit) fighting multiple vamps while a dazed and confused Parker looks on. He then abjectly apologizes and begs forgiveness. Unfortunately (for Buffy), the scene then cuts to...

Buffy sitting in her Psych class watching Parker romeo some other unsuspecting freshman and listening to her Psych prof talk about the ID wanting the basic pleasures despite whatever the superego tells it it shouldn't have.

The second daydream is even better -- after all, Parker apologizes while offering flowers and ice cream. What more could a girl want?


Buffy and Willow are working away when Xander appears and starts flicking his lighter at them. It turns out that he's got a job working as a bartender at the local university pub (despite his underage status and a really bad fake ID). He's practicing his empathy face but they're not buying.

They walk off, and Buffy's still in a fugue state about Parker. She even semi-confesses to daydreaming about him. Willow tells her to forget about stinky-Parker, and we switch to...

Xander -- first night on the job and overwhelmed with a crowd, his inexperience and a multitude of requests. We see Buffy (despite *her* underage status) come in. When she sees Parker making the moves on another girl she blanks, and... bumps into Riley. Riley's friendly enough and comments about Parker's bedhopping ways but then splits when he notices that Buffy's barely hearing what he's saying.

Later on, the crowd has thinned and Xander appears more comfortable doing his job. He even flirts with a girl but is interrupted by a multiple-syllabalistic spouting jerk who (after promptly putting Xander in his place) takes his jug of beer back to his friends.

Buffy has been sitting at the bar, waiting for Xander to be free. When he stops by, they start to talk. Buffy's finally ready to admit that she knows Parker is a bed-hopping, manipulative jerk -- but then she feels like a slut for actually going to bed with him. When Xander tries to comfort her, he gets interrupted by his boss and Buffy starts to leave.

Unfortunately (for Buffy) but fortunately (for the plot), she's bumps into another guy on her way out and he invites her to join him and his friends for mass quantities of (free) beer. Buffy, seeing Parking walking out with another girl, accepts.


Oz and Willow are at the Bronze together. They're watching another band perform, and Willow notices that Oz seems strangely fascinated with the lead singer, Veruca. Despite Oz still acting considerate and attention, he can't keep his eyes off Veruca.


Back at the pub. Buffy is chugging beer with the best of them. The four guys are acting very intellectual and spouting lots of good sounding nonsense. They're all completely and thoroughly drunk.

The next morning we catch Willow coming back from her shower, still teed off about Oz' preoccupation with Veruca and being treated like a "groupie" by Veruca and her band instead of Oz' girlfriend.

While she's complaining, Buffy is staring, fascinated, at the TV and the "little people" trapped in there. A delightful and amusing confidence follows where Buffy admits to being bad with four men and Willow's mind immediately jumps to group sex. When that's cleared up and Buffy admits to just getting very, very drunk, they agree to go to their classes and throw spit balls at Parker's neck... after Buffy dresses.

In the Psych class, Buffy continues to act just a little out of it, drawing the Psych prof's attention to Willow and stealing another girl's sandwich just because she wants to.

Scene change -- a mysterious character follows a lot of chemical equipment bubbling and frothing (I wonder how much food coloring they used) to it's end -- where the result is slowing dripping into a vat of Black Frost beer -- the same beer Buffy and her cohorts were drinking the previous evening.

It's that evening, and Buffy's found her four-man crew of admiring intellectuals and they're all trying to drink themselves senseless with jug after jug of Black Frost. Xander looks on from behind the bar with a worried expression on his face. When an attractive girl approaches and asks for a light, he ignores her almost completely and merely points out a no-smoking sign.

Back at the dorm, Oz shows up to invite Willow to the bronze for another practice with Veruca. He seems totally unconcerned about skipping classes for the second day in the row. Willow, still annoyed that he doesn't seem to realize how he's acting about Veruca, turns him down.

At the pub, Buffy and her friends are not only very drunk, but their language and thinking level seems to be degenerating fast. Xander finally steps in and sends Buffy on her way back to the dorm. Although the four men eventually notice that the "girl" is missing, there's more beer to comfort them.

Willow, probably looking for a midnight snack to take her mind off Oz, goes to a small coffee/snack eatery and finds Parker there. She starts to give him a harangue about how he's treated Buffy, but does slow down (and then sit) when Parker offers to explain *his* point of view. According to him, sex is an "enriching" experience that both parties should be able to enjoy without any long term (i.e. night #2) expectations. He's "sorry" that Buffy's hurting but "impressed" that Willow cares so much.

The four guys, drunk on the spiked Black Frost are totally out of it and overtip Xander dreadfully. Meanwhile, one of them (who probably had that one extra beer) is changing in the back room and going through his second puberty: he's growing hair in all sorts of places and degenerating about a million years. When he comes out and knocks Xander out, his three cohorts initially freak, but then they go through the same change themselves and they bond again in a whole new way. When Xander comes to, he manages to scare them off by flicking his trusty lighter at them, "Fire angry!".

When Xander goes into the back room to tell his boss their customers are turning into Neanderthals, Jack cheerfully confesses to causing it to happen. Apparently, his brother-in-law's a warlock. Xander, deep in guilt because he served that same beer to Buffy, leaves.

The four, now, cavemen are out in the night and are very, very confused by modern day things such as... cars. When one of them gets run down, they chase off the driver and wreck the car but then are distracted at two girls walk by. They're distracted enough to chase after them and leave their fallen and hurt compadre moaning on the pavement.

Meanwhile, Parker continues to be charming, sincere, nice, etc. and explain his point of view to Willow. She seems to be taking it in and falling under his spell, until he starts talking about really "enjoying" talking with her and feeling that she... etc. Willow stands up and blows him off. Unfortunately for both of them, the cavemen then enter and knock them both out.

Xander and Giles go to the dorm and find Buffy drawing pictographs all over her wall. She might not have grown any extra hair or regressed as far back as her male cohorts but she's clearly thinking on a different plane -- one where the id rules and the superego hasn't even made an appearance.

When Xander mentions "beer", Buffy perks up and after knocking Giles into a corner, goes after it. Xander and Giles run into the hall after her but she's nowhere in sight.

Back at the coffee pub, Willow and company are unconscious and the cavemen have piled some chairs into a corner and started a fire -- which unfortunately spreads. Xander catches up with Buffy and they both notice the smoke from the fire at the same time.

The next thing we see, Buffy's running into the coffee shop, trying to figure out how to stop the fire. After trying to understand how to work the fire extinguisher for a minute, she just throws the whole thing at the raging fire. When she notices Willow on the other side of the room, past the fire barrier, she uses a couch as a vault to jump over the fire. Xander, finally catching up to them, enters the room but can't see past the smoke and leaves again.

Buffy, whose brain is working slowly but *is* working, sees a window and recognizes it for what it is. She jumps up and swings off some pipes over to the window and then forces it open before dropping back to where Willow is. The other cavemen see the open window and climb out, with the two women they had captured following. Buffy gets Willow out but then drops back inside to find a thoroughly *un*calm (i.e. freaked out) Parker panicking about how to get out of the fire. After looking at him for a minute, she bops him on the head with a tree branch one of the other cavemen had dropped.

After the commercial break, the firemen are quickly mopping up the remnants of the fire, and Buffy is hovering protectively by Willow.

Parker, in a strange parody of the teaser's daydreams, approaches Buffy and after thanking her for saving his life, apologizes for how he's treated her and begs for another chance. It's what Buffy's id was dreaming about earlier.

Meanwhile, the regressed cave-Buffy looks at him, considers him carefully, remembers that he holds great meaning for her... and then bops him on the head again.

Buffy's fugue state about Parker (and sleeping with him) goes on and on. Willow & co are getting annoyed. Giles is still only helping out when called upon (i.e. we see less of him) and Oz has the same fascination with Veruca that he showed in the second episode.

Buffy finally gets over Parker.

Willow's confidence in Oz' "unswerving" loyalty is shaken.

Buffy is very Buffy in this ep. Ruled by her id even though her superego is shouting at her to wake up and smell the morning after -- she wants Parker because he was nice to her and the sex was good. When she finally accepts that all she was to him was a one-night stand (which she feels she knew before it happened), then she feels like a slut. She wanted comfort and a distraction from Angel -- and she got it. Unfortunately, then she had to deal with the consequences.

In many ways, I think her mooning over Parker was her transferring all the feelings about Angel that she felt she couldn't have (hope for the future, a normal relationship), and her fixation on him was a way of not-dealing with the absent Angel. Of course the sex could have been really, really good....

Willow is very much in character, but shows how much she has grown in self-confidence since the beginning of the show. Instead of being snowballed by Parker's charm, she sucks *him* into playing out his little act and then puts him firmly in his place. This is something she would not have been possible of when the show started. Pure smart-confident Willow.

Xander is still feeling left out of the rest of the gang's lives and desperately trying to connect. His character has shown so many stalls and reversals that it's hard to keep track, but he still has a good sense of good and evil (despite being ruled by his p*nis).

Best Moments:
Parker offering Buffy flowers and ice cream in her daydream.

Xander flicking his lighter at the four cavemen. "Fire angry!"

Jack (Xander's boss) casually confessing to causing his patrons to change into neanderthals... and then the show totally dropping the issue (no big bad-guy-chase-fight-kill scene).

Buffy swinging around and around in her chair. Totally out of it.

Willow putting Parker firmly in his place (or pants).

Buffy: "Boy smell nice!" and then licking Xander's neck.

Buffy hitting Parker on the head and knocking him out -- twice. (You go, girl!)

Rating: 4 out of 5 -- a really solid, satisfying episode with Parker getting hit on the head. What more could you ask for?


"Beer Bad. Fire Angry!" -- topic line for half the onlist discussion

"Yea! I love that by the time part of Buffy's fantasy from the begining about her saving his worthless butt & getting his apology & gratitude, instead of falling all over him she just wacks him one upside the head. Wahoo! A more deserved couple of whacks I haven't seen in quite some time. I'm also happy that we are now through the Parker-mope thing. It was getting old, fast." -- Julie

"I cheered! Especially after Id-boy hit on Willow, he deserved every whack he got. Can we turn him over to the ninjas now, just so they can make sure there's no demon lurking inside him, can we, huh? " -- Mary Beth

"I really feel for Xander. Everyone has gone & left him behind and he's understandably not too happy. All he has is the basement at home--a home where drinking seems to be the norm--and a clingy, former demon with no social skills for a girlfriend. The comments that Xander has been on the recieving end of continually batter his already miniscule self esteem. Knowing Joss, this is only going to get worse before it gets better." -- Julie

"For the record, in case there was any confusion...yes, that benefit of the doubt I gave Parker a couple weeks ago has expired, curdled, and undergone a chemical transformation into something highly toxic. He's proven that he's had the chance to learn better and *chosen* not to. Maybe he still will in the future, and that would be nice...but hey, *not* Buffy's problem."
"Pretty much sums it up. *snerk* She's had closure. She got to hit the guy. She probably won't remember a lot of it, but she'll feel better. She finally had to come out of denial and into the embarassment in this ep, and then she got to save him and reject him and hit him. She's fine now." -- Valerie and Chris

"The clobbering was BEAUTIFUL. (Quoth Jack: "They'll always have the club.") And one of the best parts about Buffy's "regressed" behavior...Cave-Slayer is still Slayer. She still goes into the burning building, knowing it's Bad, to get people out...including Parker, who is also Bad. Mind you, this got my brain spinning in a direction I hadn't gone in a wit, "As long as there have been vampires, there has been the Slayer." long have there been vampires?" -- Valerie

"What was he thinking?"
"Thinking? *Xander*?"
"Oh. Right." -- Jack and Valerie

"Okay, one last note. How many _didn't_ answer Buffy's line of "fire bad." with "tree pretty?""
"Did *anyone* not? We wonder if late-night (possibly inebriated) plays on that line among the staff weren't the origin of this ep in the first place..."
"Oh, *thank* you, Val. I now have Marni Noxon, Jane Espenson, Joss, David, and various others all sitting around a table making grunting noises, throwing Cheetos, and muttering two-word sentences. "Buffy good. Spike bad. Burn Spike. Smack Harmony. Yes! Kill!" "Killing bad. Must hurt first. Hurt, then kill. Kill later. Maim now." "Xander *stupid*." "Duh!" "*DUHHHHH!*" "< snort > Duh duh duh..." Okay, badness. Without alcohol, even. Need Caffiene. Argh! Val! Make it STOP!"
"I can see this sooooo clearly... "Hurt *lots*. Hurting good. Hurting make more money for writer. Money goooood." < snicker, giggle > I don't think I _really_ want to know what future plot ideas Joss might have developed under the influence of "way too much beer."" -- Julie, Valerie, Chris, Mary Beth

"Part of the fun of watching them "regress" is that what's-his-name's thesis on the idea of morality developed under the influence of beer, and Dr. Maggie's explanation of the Id, were both proven right. Buffy does sound like a CaveChick, but even more than that, she sounds like a two-or-three-year-old who wants what she wants, and wants it *now*. Her response to Xander's "and what did we *learn* about beer?" ("Foamy!") was just awesome. Hehehehee. No, you *don't* learn anything while you're still intoxicated. Trust me on this. (No, no details. Just trust me.)" -- Christina

"And didn't she just zero in on why he was so shallow *perfectly*? She's got a much better grip on the essentials of "relationship" stuff than Buffy does, sometimes. Of course, she also had the benefit of Buffy's experience, here. Parker is just unbelievably arrogant slime to try this with the friend of someone he's already kicked in the teeth. Which made me *so* happy when he got hit on the head *three* times! wheeee! " -- Chris on Willow

"But silly Willow! No, you do not let your boyfriend go off by himself with the current flavor-of-the-moment! You go with! Not because you don't trust him, but just to prevent any deep-and-meaninful werewolf-musician bonding! < sigh > Not that she knows about the wolf thing, but still.... Prevention is worth a lot more than cure, kiddo." -- Chris

"I kept wondering *exactly* what the spell/chemical enhancement was supposed to do to the drinkers of the beer. Was it just supposed to strip off inhibitions (ie, Superego, in Dr. Maggie's terms), and went a little too far 'cause of how much beer the guys drank, or was it really supposed to regress them to cave-boys? And wasn't it just hilarious that Jack came right out with the "my brother-in-law's a Warlock" explanation to Xander? Only in Sunnydale! When we didn't see the identity of the distiller, my first thought was "Ethan's back!" Too bad it wasn't. Or... was it? It's just possible Jack is married to Ethan's sister....." -- Mary Beth

"Xander being so sweet with the self-flagellating Buffy. Not to mention making sure that she got cut off when things started getting more than a little out of hand. Granted, a perfect friend wouldn't have let her get drunk in the first place --- but he's got (or rather, *had*) a job, and he isn't her dad, as he pointed out. I doubt he has a job any more, of course... and how are they going to explain this? Spiked beer? Jack goes to jail and loses his license?" -- Chris

"There is something intensely satifying in expressing one's disgust with a person in two-word sentences. "Parker Bad. Clobber Gooood. Happy Now!" The primitive brain is never all that far away..." -- Chris

"Although, the second that guy ripped on him with his socieo-geopolitical crap, I recognized the type. I *knew* that guy. I was friends with that guy. Occasionally, I had to hit that guy, hard, just to shut him up. The happy things are: (a) Jack's right: beer makes all men stupid, (just like testosterone), and (b) Life does not grade for the big words. All four of the Cro-Magnons are headed for a wake-up call which Xander will have survived long before they do, when they realize they can screw up just like anyone else in this world." -- Chris

"Poor Xander - the only times Buffy hits on him is when she's under the influence of a spell. He's gonna develop a complex, poor guy." -- Mary Beth

"Did anyone else find CaveBuffy pressing her face against the glass of the van, trying to communicate with her fellow beasts, both funny and sweet?"
"Yes! Beautiful, priceless SMG moment. Of which she had many in this ep. Much good use made of her expressiveness." -- Chris and Valerie

"Another bit for the class-action suit...she picked [the fire extinguisher] up, and the first thing out of my mouth--before I even really processed it through the brain, I think--was, "Good Buffy. Just don't throw it at the fire." Which, of course, she promptly did. %-} She knew it should make the fire go away, she was just a wee bit fuzzy on *how*." -- Valerie

"Anyone else love the reverse parallel to The Pack? ("Boy smell good" vs. "The more scared you are, the better you smell.") Xander most of all was the one to be able to spot and/or relate to Buffy's regressed state-- after all, the boy's both been there and done that! " -- Dianne

"Oh, and Giles? You never, ever try to reason with a two-year-old or an Austraulopithecus. Just for future reference." -- Chris

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