Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Superstar

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BtVS - Superstar.png
Season 4, Episode 17
Airdate April 4, 2000
Production Number 4ABB17
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by David Grossman
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Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Four

Superstar is the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the seventy-third episode overall.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), James Marsters (Spike)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Danny Strong (Jonathan Levinson), Amber Benson (Tara Maclay), Bailey Chase (Graham Miller), Robert Patrick Benedict (Jape), John Saint Ryan (Col. George Haviland), George Hertzberg (Adam), Emma Caulfield (Anya)

Co-Starring: Erica Luttrell (Karen), Adam Clark (Cop), Chanie Costello (Inga), Julie Costello (Ilsa)


Plot Overview

Jonathan is a superstar and renaissance man. A genius, uber-talented, and all around celebrity, there is nothing that Jonathan can fail at. However, a series of attacks by a demon has Buffy beginning to think that there is something amiss about he and his abilities.


Monster of the Week

Jonathan performed an augmentation spell that transforms the sorcerer into a paragon—the best of everything and everyone's ideal. However, the spell has the drawback of creating an exact opposite force, a demon which resembles everyone's greatest nightmare. When the demon was killed by Jonathan, the world reverted to normal and Jonathan assumed his old position at the bottom of the social food chain.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Vampire Buffy Staked Cemetery
2 Vampire Buffy Shot with Crossbow Nest
3–4 Vampires Jonathan Shot with Crossbow Nest
5 Vampire Buffy Shot with Crossbow Nest
6 Vampire Jonathan Shot with Crossbow Nest
7 Librarian Adam Shot with Crossbow Nest
8 Demon Jonathan Pushed Down a Hole Cave


  • "Trapped" performed by Royal Crown Revue: In the first scene at the Bronze, before Jonathan comes on stage, Royal Crown Revue is on stage performing "Trapped", a song from the band's 1999 album Walk On Fire. The band is often credited with starting the swing music revival of the mid-1990s.
  • "Serenade in Blue" performed by Royal Crown Revue: After Jonathan takes the stage he, and the rest of Royal Crown Revue, perform a swing version of "Serenade in Blue". The song is a big band standard which most popularly was performed by Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Danny Strong is not the one performing the vocals, however. He's lip-syncing to vocals performed by Brad Kane, who played Tucker Wells in "The Prom".
  • Royal Crown Revue - "Hey, Sonny"

Arc Advancement


  • Big Bad: Adam is apparently powered by a trace of uranium which effectively will power him forever. Additionally, Jonathan claims that cutting off Adam's head isn't going to destroy him.



  • 3x18 - Earshot: Jonathan makes a direct reference to the time when he was contemplating suicide in the Sunnydale High School bell tower. He holed up with a rifle, but was stopped by Buffy during her brief stint as a mind-reader. She didn't realize that Jonathan was planning to kill himself though, she thought she was averting a school shooting.
Jonathan: After the thing with the bell tower and the gun...


The Show

  • Opening: The opening credits sequence was recut in this episode to insert about 10 shots of Jonathan performing stunts from this episode between the billed characters. The end of the credits, usually signified with a close-up on Buffy, is also changed to into a near parody of the last scene in the Angel credits (except shot from the opposite angle).
  • Comics: The Jonathan comic book on Xander's coffee table is real, although at the time that the episode first aired it was not available for purchase. Dark Horse Comics published a one-shot story in January 2001 set in Jonathan's alternate universe, written by Jane Espenson (who also wrote this episode).

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: "Superstar"
    • Italian: "Superstar"
    • German: "Jonathan Superstar"
    • Spanish: "Superstar"

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Willow: I don't care if it is an orgy of death, there's still such a thing as a napkin.
  • Buffy: A nest. No biggie. I bet I could do it. I mean, I know I could take at least two.
Anya: Yes. And then we could run for help while the other three suck your heart out through your neck.
  • Anya: They weren't very well organised. If they had all rushed at Buffy, they could have killed her right away.
Buffy: Thanks, Anya. That won't keep me awake all night.
  • Spike: Back off, Betty.
Buffy: It's Buffy! You big, bleached... stupid guy!
  • Buffy: There's no way he could know. I mean, you don't just look at someone and say, "Hey, that's not your body. Get out of that body with your hands up!"
  • Riley: (about Xander and Anya) Quite the couple, aren't they?
Buffy: They get into a fistfight, I got a 50 on Anya.
  • Anya: Xander?
Xander: Yeah.
Anya: Let's go have sex now.
Xander: Yeah. Okay.
  • Willow: Buffy, this is Jonathan. You know he doesn't get scared. You talked about it when you gave him the Class Protector award at the Prom.
  • Anya: Xander's not here.
Buffy: Oh.
Anya: You're not going away. Why aren't you going away?
Buffy: Well, I was kind of hoping… to… look…. at some of Xander's stuff.
Anya: Oh. Sure. Come on in. Make yourself at home... and so on.
  • Anya: (to Buffy) Oh, you're still here? That's nice.
  • (Buffy grabs the book Anya is reading)
Anya: Hey! I was just at the part where he invents the Internet.
  • Buffy: I'm just saying it doesn't make any sense. He starred in The Matrix, but he never left town. And how'd he graduate from Med school? He's only 18 years old.
Xander: Effective time-management?
  • Buffy: Well, I was just kind of... wondering if maybe anyone else thought that... :Jonathan was kind of too perfect?
Xander: No, he's not. He's just perfect enough. He crushed the bones of the Master, he blew up a big snake made out of Mayor, and he coached the U.S. women's soccer team to a stunning World Cup victory. We saw him doing those things.
  • Buffy: Giles, do you have a Jonathan swimsuit calendar?
Giles: No. Yes. It was a gift.
  • Anya: And who really did star in The Matrix?
Riley: Wait, that wasn't real either?