Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Beer Bad

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Beer Bad
BtVS - Beer Bad.png
Season 4, Episode 5
Airdate November 2, 1999
Production Number 4ABB05
Written by Tracey Forbes
Directed by David Solomon
← 4x04
Fear, Itself
4x06 →
Wild at Heart
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Four

Beer Bad is the fifth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the sixty-first episode overall.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Seth Green (Oz)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), Adam Kaufman (Parker Abrams), Paige Moss (Veruca), Eric Matheny (Colm), Stephen M. Porter (Jack)

and Lindsay Crouse (Maggie Walsh)

Co-Starring: Kal Penn (Hunt), Jake Phillips (Kip), Bryan Cuprill (Roy), Lisa Johnson (Paula), Joshua Wheeler (Driver), Patrick Belton (College Kid #1), Kaycee Shank (College Kid #2), Steven Jang (College Kid #3), Cameron Bender (Stoner), Kate Luhr (Young Woman)

Uncredited: Heath Castor (Student), Michael Beardsley (UC Sunnydale Student)


Plot Overview

Still wounded from Parker's one-night stand, Buffy seeks solace from the company of four intellectual students who frequent the pub Xander has begun working in. Joining them in beer, Buffy soon drowns her sorrows, but finds herself in a devolved state while her new drinking buddies are thrown back even further down the evolutionary scale. In the meantime, Willow, noticing Oz's fixation on a female singer, decides to confront Parker.


Monster of the Week

The neanderthals which Buffy and the others turn into are reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but only in the sense that after drinking something, their personalities are changed significantly. In the context of the episode, the bartender is the "monster" for brewing the beer with an added ingredient which causes drinkers to devolve into cavemen.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1–3 Daydream Vampires Buffy Staked Daydream


  • Ash - "I'm Gonna Fall"
  • Collapsis - "Wonderland"
  • Kim Ferron - "Nothing But You"
  • Lauren Christy - "Perfect Again"
  • Lucious Jackson (featuring Emmylou Harris) - "Ladyfingers"
  • Paul Trudeau - "People Will Talk"
  • Paul Trudeau - "I Can't Wait"
  • Paul Trudeau - "It Feels Like I'm Dying"
  • Smile - "The Best Years"
  • THC - "Overfire"

Arc Advancement




  • 4x02 - Living Conditions: Veruca is the woman who gave Oz an intense stare while he was on his way to make sure Buffy didn't do anything crazy like kill her roommate. The fact that he's transfixed upon her at The Bronze implies a connection that is not revealed until the following episode.


The Show

  • Fake ID: Xander's fake ID is apparently from Ohio, rather than California. In California, only those aged 21 or older are legally allowed to work behind a bar. Xander can work in a bar without the ID, but only as a waiter.
  • Shy: The band that Veruca sings for, and plays in The Bronze while Buffy is getting drunk in the pub, is called "Shy". Much like "Dingoes Ate My Baby", the band on screen is lip syncing over an already existing band's music. In this case, the "real" Shy is THC, a Los Angeles based trip-hop group. George Sarah, half of the duo, appears as Shy's keyboard player.

Behind the Scenes

  • International: Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been dubbed into many different languages and the title translated for each different international version. Some international translations of this episode's title are:
    • French: "Breuvage du diable"("The Devil's Brew")
    • Italian: "Birra stregata" ("Bewitched Beer")
    • German: "Das Bier der bösen Denkungsart" ("The Beer of Evil Mentality")
    • Spanish: "Mala cerveza" ("Bad Beer")
  • Grant Money: This episode was written in order to take advantage of an offer made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy to partially fund programs that promoted an anti-drug message. The episode was rejected by the funding program, however, and no money was granted by the government. The ONDCP issued a statement to a journalist writing for Salon explaining why: "Drugs were an issue, but it wasn't on-strategy. It was otherworldly nonsense, very abstract and not like real-life kids taking drugs. Viewers wouldn’t make the link to our message."

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • (after seeing Xander's fake ID)
Willow: I don't believe this is entirely on the up and up.
Xander: What gives it away?
Willow: Looking at it.
  • Willow: I'm pregnant by my step-brother who'd rather be with my best friend and who's left me with no place to live, no food, except for this bottle of Wild Turkey, which I drank all up.
  • Giles: I can't believe you served Buffy that beer.
Xander: I didn't know it was evil.
Giles: You knew it was beer.
Xander: Well, excuse me Mister "I spent the sixties in an Electric Kool-Aid Satan Groove".
Giles: It was the early seventies and you should know better.
  • Willow: 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!
Parker: What?
Willow: 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.
Parker: Look, if you think that I'm --
Willow: I mean, you men. It's all about the sex! Find a woman, drag her to your den. Do whatever's necessary just as long as you get the sex. I tell you, men haven't changed since the dawn of time.
(cavemen burst in towing girls)
Willow: See?
  • Xander: Giles, don't make cave-Slayer unhappy.
  • Xander: And was there a lesson in all this, huh? What did we learn about beer?
Buffy: Foamy.
Xander: Good. Just as long as that's clear.
  • Xander: Anyways, I think that 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!
Giles: Uh, whose van is that?
Xander: I don't know. Wasn't locked.
  • Parker: Buffy. Buffy, I dunno how to say this. I'm sorry for how I treated you before. It was wrong of me and... I'm sorry. You were great tonight, really. I may not deserve this, but... do you think that you could forgive me?
(Buffy wacks him with a club, knocking him out)