Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Zeppo

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The Zeppo
The Zeppo
Season 3, Episode 13
Airdate January 26, 1999
Production Number 3ABB13
Written by Dan Vebber
Directed by James Whitmore Jr.
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Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Three

The Zeppo is the thirteenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the forty-seventh 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: Saverio Guerra (Willy), Channon Roe (Jack O'Toole), Michael Cudlitz (Bob), Eliza Dushku (Faith)

Co-Starring: Darin Heames (Parker), Scott Torrence (Dickie), Whitney Dylan (Lysette), Vaughn Armstrong (Cop)


Plot Overview

The Scoobies gear up to stop another apocalypse, but fear that Xander will only wind up getting himself hurt. While being sent out of harm's way, Xander tries to find his rightful place by setting out on a quest to obtain his coolness. Little does he know that it will lead him on a very harrowing adventure and a lesser danger only he can stop.


Monster of the Week

Xander finds himself mixed up with some surprisingly spry zombies that, the school psycho, Jack O'Toole raises from the dead. One was thrown off a bridge and another was shot in the head, although they spend the night raising hell and causing crimes. Aside from not showing signs of rigor mortis and being far more intelligent than usual, they are more or less like traditional zombies.

Meanwhile, Buffy and the others spend their time off-screen averting the apocalypse, which The Sisterhood of Jhe attempts to bring about. The Sisterhood of Jhe is a cult that is dedicated to opening the Hellmouth. They succeed in raising the three-headed demon that nearly killed Willow when the Master ascended, but eventually the gang defeat it and save the day—all off screen.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Demon Faith Stabbed Demon Nest
2 Parker Xander Decapitated Street
3 Bob Xander Crushed School
4 Dickie Demon Torn Apart School
5 Jack Oz Mauled School


  • "Easy 09" by Tricky Woo: The song playing at The Bronze when Xander's ear is being talked off by Lysette is "Easy 09" by Tricky Woo, a Canadian indie rock band based in Montréal. The song first appeared on their 1999 album Sometimes I Cry, for which they were nominated for a Juno Award.
  • Supergrass - "G-Song"

Arc Advancement



  • Xander: Xander loses his virginity to Faith and finally finds some comfort in his identity, such as it is.



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: "Le zéro pointé" ("The Total Zero")
    • Italian: "Il giorno dell'Apocalisse" ("The Day of the Apocalypse")
    • German: "Die Nacht der lebenden Leichen" ("The Night of the Living Corpses")
    • Japanese: "ツェッポ" ("Tseppo" - "Zeppo")
    • Spanish: "Falta de carácter" ("Lack of Character")

Allusions and References

  • Zeppo Marx: The episode title, which is said by Cordelia after Xander is threatened by Jack O'Toole, is a reference to Zeppo Marx, brother to Harpo, Chico and Groucho Marx. Zeppo was involved in the first five of the Marx Brothers feature films and traditionally played the straight-man until he left the group to become an agent. Supporters of Zeppo consider him to be a necessary translator between the more absurd Marx brothers and the worlds they invade, although many believe he was simply superfluous.
  • Jimmy Olsen: When Giles tells Xander that he should hang back from leaping into battle, Xander calls him "Mr. White." Xander is referring to Perry White, the editor of the Daily Planet in the Superman comic books. Jimmy Olsen is also employed by the newspaper as a cub reporter/photographer who always seems to be getting into trouble.
Xander: Jimmy Olsen jokes are pretty much gonna be lost on you, aren't they?
  • Wanna Be Startin' Somethin: When Xander is babbling to Jack at school, he reference a Michael Jackson song, specifically "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" from Jackson's 1982 album Thriller. It is the longest song on the album and was the fourth song from the album to be released as a single.
Xander: Starting something? You mean like that Michael Jackson song?
  • Hello Nasty is the fifth studio album by the Beastie Boys, released in 1998.
Xander: Hello, nasty.

Memorable Moments


  • The establishing shot of the cafeteria lunch line with Xander and Oz is a reused shot from "I Only Have Eyes For You". This is evident as just before it cuts away, you can briefly see Xander (in a different shirt) sitting with Willow and Buffy.
  • A boom mic is visible briefly when Giles is in the library, just before he says that he's going to try to contact the spirit guides.


  • Xander: Why is it that I've come face-to-face with vampires, demons, the most hideous creatures Hell ever spit out, and I'm still afraid of a little bully like Jack O'Toole?
Cordelia: Because, unlike all those other creatures that you've come face-to-face with, Jack actually noticed you were there.
  • Xander: You're in a band. That's like a business-class ticket to cool with complementary mojo after takeoff. I gotta learn an instrument. Is it hard to play guitar?
Oz: Not the way I play it.
  • Xander: (to Dickie) Should've learned by now. If you're gonna play with fire, you gotta expect sooner or later --
(Dickie runs off)
Xander: I wasn't finished!