Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Prom

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The Prom
The Prom
Season 3, Episode 20
Airdate May 11, 1999
Production Number 3ABB20
Written by Marti Noxon
Directed by David Solomon
← 3x19
3x21 →
Graduation Day (1)
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Three

The Prom is the twentieth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the fifty-fourth episode overall.

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), Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), Brad Kane (Tucker Wells), Emma Caulfield (Anyanka)

Co-Starring: Danny Strong (Jonathan), Bonita Friedericy (Mrs. Finkle), Andrea E. Taylor (Sales Girl), Mike Kimmel (Harv), Tove Kingsbury (Tux Boy), Michael Zlabinger (Student at Mic), Monica Serene Garnich (Pretty Girl), Joe Howard (Priest), Damien Eckhardt (Jack Mayhew), Stephanie Denise Griffin (Tux Girl)


Plot Overview

Buffy's anticipation for the prom is overshadowed when Angel breaks up with her. She works through her heartache by trying to stop a student from unleashing hellhounds at the prom.


Monster of the Week

Tucker Wells, brother of future annoyance to the Scoobies Andrew Wells, raised a brood of hellhounds that he brainwashed using movies like Prom Night so they would lash out at anyone in formal wear. The hounds were bred during the Machash Wars to kill and are sustained by eating brains.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Vampire Buffy Staked Sewer
2 Tux Boy Hellhound Mauled Store
3 Hellhound Buffy Shot by Crossbow Sunnydale High
4 Hellhound Buffy Stabbed Sunnydale High
5 Hellhound Buffy Neck Snapped Sunnydale High


  • "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim: The first song that plays at the dance is "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim, which appears on his second studio album You've Come a Long Way, Baby. The song was one of several major hits Fatboy Slim had on the album, along with "The Rockefeller Skank" and "Right Here Right Now". The music video in particular was highly acclaimed for its direction by Spike Jonze and won three major awards at the MTV Video Music Awards.
  • "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang: When Buffy tries to lead the two remaining hellhounds away from Sunnydale High, they're distracted by a song playing at the prom. The song is a bit of "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang. The song first appeared on the band's 1980 album Celebration! and is popularly used at weddings, parties and even the return of the American hostages after the 1981 Iran hostage crisis was defused.
  • "The Good Life" by Cracker: After Buffy kills the hellhounds and goes off to put on her dress, the next scene of The Prom has "The Good Life" by Cracker playing in the background. The song appears on the band's 1998 album Gentleman's Blues and was released as a single, although it never charted.
  • "El Rey" by The Lassie Foundation: In the scene after Buffy accepts her "Class Protector" award, "El Rey" by The Lassie Foundation is playing in the background. The song appears on their debut album Pacifico. Like many independent artists featured in the series, the band hails from Los Angeles.
  • "Wild Horses" by The Sundays: After Giles tells Wesley to suck it up and go dance with Cordelia, Buffy watches several couples dance to "Wild Horses" by The Sundays. The song is a cover of the Rolling Stones song off Sticky Fingers and appears on the US release of Blind, their second album.

Arc Advancement


  • Big Bad: The book pages that Willow stole in the previous episode have been analyzed somewhat and reveal a few things, mainly that the term "ascension" refers to a human being transformed into a demon. They haven't narrowed down what exact demon the mayor intends on becoming, as there are thousands of possibilities.
  • Conspiracy: Although it seemed like Sunnydale's student population was willfully ignorant about the demons and assorted monsters that are drawn to the school, Jonathan's speech confirms that everyone knows what's going on despite the local government's attempts to keep it quiet.
  • Sunnydale High: Jonathan mentions in his speech that the 1999 class of Sunnydale High has the lowest mortality rate in history. Whether or not that holds up after Graduation Day is unknown.


  • Buffy and Angel: Angel decides to end his relationship with Buffy because of a combination of reasons, including the speech the Mayor made, a conversation he has with Joyce and a dream where she bursts into flames after they're married. Angel tells her that he's planning on leaving Sunnydale after graduation, should he survive the event.
  • Cordelia: Cordelia's father committed some kind of tax fraud or evasion and now the IRS has repossessed much of her family's possessions. She admits that she can't afford a prom dress, much less any of the colleges that have accepted her.
  • Xander and Anya: Despite Xander clear disinterest in hearing Anya's demon war stories, the two's date to the prom sparks their relationship.


  • 3x09 - The Wish: Anya granted Cordelia's wish that Buffy never come to Sunnydale, but the wish was rendered inert when the alternate reality Giles destroyed her power source. Since then, Anya has become a regular mortal without any of the powers she once held. She did try to get them back by tricking Willow into helping her get it back in an earlier episode but did not succeed.
  • 3x05 - Homecoming: Buffy finally gets the "perfect high school moment" that she was looking for at the previous school event (in which she was not declared homecoming queen) when she's given the "class protector award" by Jonathan.
  • 3x13 - The Zeppo: Someone mentions zombies during Jonathan's speech about Buffy, which could refer to several different occurrences. Most recently, Xander was mixed up with a group of zombies in varying states of decomposition who nearly blew up the school. Also, Buffy's "welcome home" party was crashed by zombies raised by Joyce's African mask.
  • 1x06 - The Pack: After Jonathan says that "weird stuff" happen in Sunnydale High, someone shouts out "Hyena people!" A group of bullies and Xander were possessed by hyena demons briefly, which led to the death of the original principal.


The Show

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: "Les Chiens de l'Enfer" ("The Hellhounds")
    • Italian: "Il ballo" ("The Dance Party")
    • German: "Der Höllenhund" ("The Hellhound")
    • Japanese: "プロムパーティ" ("Puromu Pāti" - "Prom Party")
    • Spanish: "Baile de Graduación" ("Prom")
  • Buffy's Award: The reason why Jonathan is the one award Buffy the "Class Protector" award is because she talked him out of committing suicide in "Earshot". However, "Earshot" was not broadcast until Fall 1999 out of respect for the Columbine school shooting and in the original broadcast, the poignancy of Jonathan giving her the award was lost on the viewer.

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Angel: The prom?
Buffy: End of High School, rite of passage thingy. Think cotillion with spiked punch and the electric slide.
Angel: Right.
  • Anya: You know, you can laugh, but I have witnessed a millennium of treachery and oppression from the males of the species. And I have nothing but contempt for the whole libidinous lot of them.
Xander: Then why are you talking to me?
Anya: I don't have a date for the prom.
Xander: Well, gosh. I wonder why not. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with your sales pitch.
  • Anya: Men are evil. Will you go with me?
Xander: One of us is very confused, and I honestly don't know which.
  • Anya: Look, I know you find me attractive. I've seen you looking at my breasts.
Xander: Nothing personal, but when a guy does that, it just means his eyes are open.
  • Angel: You deserve more. You deserve something outside of demons and darkness. I mean, you should be with someone who can take you into the light. Someone who can make love to you.
Buffy: I don't care about that.
Angel: You will. And children.
Buffy: Children? Can you say jumping the gun? I kill my goldfish.
Angel: Today. But you have no idea how fast it goes, Buffy. Before you know it, you'll want it all. A normal life.
Buffy: I'll never have a normal life.
Angel: Right. You'll always be the Slayer. But that's all the more reason why you should have a real relationship instead of this, this freakshow. I didn't mean that.
  • Buffy: Don't what? Don't love you? I'm sorry. You know what? I didn't know that I got a choice in that. I'm never gonna change. I can't change. I want my life to be with you.
Angel: I don't.
Buffy: You don't want to be with me? I can't believe you're breaking up with me.
Angel: I doesn't mean that I don't...
Buffy: How am I supposed to stay away from you?
Angel: I'm leaving. After the Ascension. After it's finished with the Mayor and Faith. If we survive, I'll go.
  • Buffy: Usually, yeah. But he's right. I mean, I think that maybe in the long run that he's right.
Willow: Yeah. I think he is. I mean, I tried to hope for the best, but... I'm sorry. Must be horrible.
Buffy: I think horrible is still coming. Right now, it's worse. Right now, I'm just trying to keep from dying.
Willow: Oh, Buffy.
Buffy: I can't breathe, Will. I feel like I can't breathe.
  • Buffy: I'm gonna give you all a nice, fun, normal evening if I have to kill every single person on the face of the Earth to do it.
Xander: Yay?
  • Buffy: I mean, where did I think you get your blood, McPlasma's?
  • Jonathan: We have one more award to give out. Is Buffy Summers here tonight? Did she, um... This is actually a new category. First time ever. I guess there were a lot of write-in ballots and, well, the prom committee asked me to read this. "We're not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you. But that doesn't mean we haven't noticed you. We don't talk about it much, but it's no secret that Sunnydale High isn't really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here."
Student 1: (shouting) Zombies.
Student 2: (shouting) Hyena people.
Student 3: (shouting) Snyder.
Jonathan: "But whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you, or helped by you at one time or another. We're proud to say that the class of '99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history. And we know that at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class offers its thanks and gives you, uh... this." It's from all of us. And it has written here "Buffy Summers, Class Protector".