Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Gingerbread

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Season 3, Episode 11
Airdate January 12, 1999
Production Number 3ABB11
Teleplay by Jane Espenson
Story by Thania St. John &
Jane Espenson
Directed by James Whitmore Jr.
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Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Three

Gingerbread is the eleventh episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the forty-fifth episode overall. Joyce's attempt to bond with her daughter over her craft leads her to initiate a literal witch hunt after finding two children ritualistically sacrificed in the park.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), David Boreanaz (Angel), Seth Green (Oz)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Elizabeth Anne Allen (Amy Madison), Harry Groener (The Mayor), Jordan Baker (Sheila Rosenberg)

and Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder)

Co-Starring: Lindsay Taylor (Little Girl), Shawn Pyfrom (Little Boy), Blake Swendson (Michael), Grant Garrison (Roy), Roger Morrissey (Demon), Daniel Tamm (Mooster)


Plot Overview

Joyce is horrified when she discovers the bodies of a couple of children in the park. With markings of magic practice at the scene, Joyce rallies the adults in Sunnydale to go on a literal witch-hunt, which includes Buffy.


Monster of the Week

The story of this episode is inspired by Hansel & Gretel, in which two children are nearly eaten by a witch in her gingerbread house while lost in the forest. They manage to kill the witch and run back to down, alerting the adults to what fate nearly befell them. The resulting witch hunt leads to man innocents being rounded up and killed.

According to records, this cycle repeats itself every 50 years, with the demon taking on the form of a pair of innocent kids who are "killed" by something mystic. The demon in turn feeds off of the resulting chaos and pushes the mob into persecuting and killing witches.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Mr. Sanderson Buffy Staked Park
2 Demon Buffy Stabbed in the Neck School


Arc Advancement



  • Willow: Willow's mother makes her first (and only) appearance in the series, she's portrayed as an egocentric professor who has little time for her daughter's activities. By the end of the episode she knows that Willow is a witch and is dating Oz, but chooses to remember only the latter.
  • Amy: In a desperate attempt to escape from being burned to death, Amy turns herself into a rat and skitters away. Although they try, Willow and Buffy aren't able to turn Amy back into a human and she remains stuck in rat form. She'll stay this way for several seasons.



The Show

  • Continuity: In the canonical graphic novel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Tales of the Slayers, the story of another slayer who is burned at the stake is told. The Righteous Slayer was the protector of a medieval English town whose easy defeat of a vampire menace caused jealous men to react violently.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • 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: "Intolérance" ("Intolerance")
    • Italian: "Le streghe di Sunnydale" ("The Witches of Sunnydale")
    • German: "Hänsel und Gretel" ("Hansel and Gretel")
    • Japanese: "ジンジャーブレッド" ("Jinjābureddo" - "Gingerbread")
    • Spanish: "Hansel y Gretel" ("Hansel and Gretel")
    • Turkish: "Zencefilli Kek ("The Cake with Ginger")

Memorable Moments


  • When we first see Buffy tied to the post talking to Joyce look at her arms. When the camera looks at Buffy her arms are free of the ropes from the elbows down, but when the camera is on Joyce, Buffy's arms are restrained down to the elbows


  • Shelia: Willow, you cut off your hair. That's a new look.
Willow: Yeah, it's just a sudden whim I had... in August.
  • Buffy: What is this?
Willow: A doodle. I do doodle. You too. You do doodle, too.
  • Xander: Aw, man. It's Nazi Germany, and I've got Playboys in my locker!
  • Principal Snyder: Just remember, lift a finger against me, and you'll have to answer to MOO.
Buffy: Answer to Moo? Did that sentence just make some sense that I'm not in on?
  • Cordelia: I came over here to tell Buffy to stop this craziness, and found you all unconscious... again. How many times have you been knocked out, anyway? I swear, one of these times, you're going to wake up in a coma.
Giles: Wake up in a - Oh, never mind. We need to save Buffy from Hansel and Gretel.
Cordelia: Now, let's be clear. The brain damage happened before I hit you.
  • Buffy: Mom, dead people are talking to you. Do the math.