Beer Bad

Beer Bad

Infobox Television episode
Title = Beer Bad


Series = Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season = 4
Episode = 5
Airdate = November 2, 1999
Production = 4ABB05
Writer = Tracey Forbes
Director = David Solomon
Episode list = List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
Prev = Fear, Itself
Next = Wild at Heart

"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.cite news
title = Past Winners Database: 1999-2000 52nd Emmy Awards
work = The Envelope: The Ultimate Awards Site
publisher = Los Angeles Times
url = http://theenvelope.latimes.com/extras/lostmind/year/1999/1999_2000emmy.htm
accessdate = 2007-09-10
]

Plot synopsis

Summary

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 dialog 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 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".cite web
last = Petrie
first = Doug
authorlink = Doug Petrie
coauthors =
date = undated
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/buffy/interviews/doug/bad.shtml
title = "Beer Bad"
work = Buffy Producer's Inside Guide
publisher = BBC
accessdate = 2008-07-01
]

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."

Acting

tarring

* 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 Finn
* Adam Kaufman as Parker Abrams
* Paige Moss as Veruca
* Eric Matheny as Colm
* Stephen M. Porter as Jack-The Bartender
* and Lindsay Crouse as Maggie Walsh

Co-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

Music

* 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 "".
* 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

Translations

* 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")

Reception and reviews

This episode is considered by some fans to be the worst "Buffy" episode.cite web
url = http://tv.swingthesickle.com/ststv/Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer/Season_4/05.review
title = Swing the Sickle Television Reviews: Beer Bad
first = Matthew
last = Miller
accessdate = 2008-07-01
] A BBC reviewer complained about its "American puritanism"cite web
author = "Stephen"
date = undated
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/buffy/indetail/beerbad/reviews.shtml
title = "Buffy Episode Guide: Beer Bad: Review"
] and "Slayage" criticized writer Tracey Forbes for delivering a trite and obvious message in a series containing "such an abundant feminist subtext".cite web
url = http://www.slayage.com/articles/000012.html
date = March 1, 2003
title = The Top 10 Worst Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
last = Erenberg
first = Daniel
work = Slayage
accessdate = 2008-07-01
] However, Todd Hertz of "Christianity Today" used this episode of an example of the show's honest portrayal of consequences.cite web
work = Boundless.org
title = "Buffy Fades to Black"
first = Gina R.
last = Dalfonzo
url = http://www.boundless.org/2002_2003/features/a0000763.html
year = 2003
accessdate = 2008-07-01
] cite web
last = Hertz
first = Todd
date = 1 September 2002
title = Don't Let Your Kids Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer (But You Can Tape It and Watch After They Go to Bed)
work = ChristianityToday.com
url = http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/septemberweb-only/9-16-31.0.html
accessdate = 2008-07-01
]

Controversy

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.cite web
title = "ESPN Using News for Anti-Drug Propaganda"
work = APBnews.com
publisher = WordPress.com
date = April 6, 2000
first = Jim
last = Edwards
url = http://www.apbnews.com/media/mediawatch/2000/04/06/ondcp0406_01.html
accessdate = 2008-07-01
archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20020207134007/http://apbnews.com/media/mediawatch/2000/04/06/ondcp0406_01.html
archivedate = 2002-02-07
] 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."cite web
url = http://www.commercialalert.org/news/Archive/2000/01/prime-time-propaganda-how-the-white-house-secretly-hooked-network-tv-on-its-anti-drug-message
title = Prime-time Propaganda: How the White House Secretly Hooked Network TV on Its Anti-drug Message
date = January 13, 2000
first = Daniel
last = Forbes
work = Salon
publisher = CommercialAlert.org
accessdate = 2008-07-01
]

Continuity

Arc significance

* "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.

* In a fashion similar to "Tabula Rasa", Buffy's descent to a more primitive state lets us see aspects of her core personality: courage and willingness to face danger to defend her friends.

* Oz's attraction to Veruca is built up further, setting the stage for the following episode "Wild at Heart".

Timing

* Stories that take place around the same time in the Buffyverse:

References

External links

*
*

Episode guides

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/buffy/indetail/beerbad/ BBC episode guide to "Beer Bad"]
* [http://www.buffyguide.com/episodes/beerbad.shtml BuffyGuide.com episode guide to "Beer Bad"]

Reviews

* [http://www3.sympatico.ca/jenoff/btvs405.htm Peripheral Visions Review]
* [http://www.section31.com/review.php?id=212 Section 31 Review]
* [http://tv.swingthesickle.com/ststv/Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer/Season_4/05.review Swing the Sickle Review]
* [http://www.superjer.com/buffy/4x05_beer_bad.php MikeJer's Review]

Other

* [http://homepage.mac.com/dsample/Episodes/405_BeerBad.html Buffy Body Count synopsis of "Beer Bad"]


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