Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The Puppet Show

Season 1, Ep 9, Aired 5/5/97
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  • Episode Description
  • The new principal forces Giles to run Sunnydale High's annual talent show, and Buffy, Willow and Xander have to perform against their will. As if this isn't bad enough, things go further awry when one of the talent show participants is found with her heart removed. Buffy and the gang race against the clock to find the killer, and all the clues point to Morgan and his ventriloquist dummy.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar

    Buffy Anne Summers

  • Nicholas Brendon

    Alexander 'Xander' Harris

  • Alyson Hannigan

    Willow Rosenberg

  • Charisma Carpenter

    Cordelia Chase

  • Anthony Stewart Head

    Rupert Giles

  • Fan Reviews (44)
  • Puppet Meets Slayer

    By aurorawall16, Feb 02, 2015

  • Absolutely incredibly good

    By WillisEvans, Jan 03, 2015

  • "Into every generation is born one who must run the annual talentless show".

    By peyngel, Dec 14, 2013

  • "Puppet Show"

    By tarafan2, Jun 11, 2013

  • The Puppet Show

    By arkanitoo, Jul 09, 2012

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (25)

    • Snyder: (After catching Buffy in the prop room looking for Morgan) You know, with everything that's been going on recently I'm not sure how safe it is for a girl like yourself to be here. Alone. Buffy: Well I was just leaving. And I know how to take care of myself.

    • Buffy: The school talent show. How ever did you finagle such a primo assignment? Giles: Our new F├╝hrer, Mr. Snyder. Willow: I think they call 'em "principals" now.

    • Willow: I think dummies are cute. You don't? Buffy: They give me the wig. Ever since I was little. Willow: What happened? Buffy: I saw a dummy. It gave me the wig. There really wasn't a story there.

    • Cordelia: It's just such a tragedy for me. Emma was, like, my best friend. Xander: Emily.

    • Cordelia: I can't go out there. All those people staring at me and judging me like I'm some kind of... Buffy! What if I mess up? Giles: Cordelia, there's an adage that if you're feeling nervous then you should imagine the entire audience are in their underwear. Cordelia: Eww! Even Mrs. Franklin? Uhhh! Giles: Perhaps not.

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    Notes (6)

    • Featured Music: The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston (sung by Charisma Carpenter) - Cordelia rehearses this for the talent show

    • This was the least popular episode of Buffy on American TV, with a low Nielsen rating of 1.9 or 1,843,000 households.

    • Principal Snyder makes a reference to Principal Flutie being eaten "The Pack", the apparent suicide "I Robot, You Jane", missing persons (Jesse from "The Harvest" and many, many other vampire and demon victims) and spontaneous cheerleader combustion "Witch".

    • Willow running off stage during the play was ad-libbed by Alyson Hannigan, who thought that stage fright would be well suited to her character. For the next episode, Joss Whedon used stage fright as Willow's worst nightmare, and it became a running gag throughout the series.

    • In this episode Armin Shimerman is introduced as Sunnydale High's new Principal, Snyder.

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    Trivia (12)

    • Goof: In the scene in the library after Emily has been murdered, where Xander is trying to convince Giles that the murder means they are too distraught to appear in the talent show, the reflection of a sound boom can clearly be seen in the office door window in a number of shots.

    • Goof: While Buffy is searching around in the backstage area, there is a mirror in the background of the shot. For a brief second, you can see the reflection of a crew member.

    • Goof: The knife that Sid drives into the demon's heart is there at one moment, but when the camera turns back it's gone.

    • Goof: The demon needs a healthy brain. This would imply that the brain must be intact. When Giles is strapped onto the guillotine, his head is positioned so that the blade will slice through his head at approximately the middle of the forehead. This guarantees that the brain will be cut apart and will be made useless to the demon.

    • Nitpick: Buffy seems to have a difficult time getting out from under the chandelier. Granted, she is a bit dazed, but Slayers are supposed to recover quickly. Buffy has demonstrated feats of strength and resilience in other episodes that indicate that she should have been able to free herself more easily and quickly than she did.

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    Allusions (6)

    • Xander: Does anybody else feel like they've been Keyser Soze'd?
      The movie The Usual Suspects contains complicated trickery involving the mysterious character Keyser Soze where a supposed good guy turns out to be the bad guy.

    • Xander: (as Sid) Redrum! Redruuum!
      A reference to the classic Stephen King horror novel and movie The Shining. The clairvoyant son of the now crazed Jack Torrance writes and chants the word "Redrum! Redrum". When the mother sees the word in the mirror she realizes it is murder spelled backwards. (note: this line wasn't actually in the script, Nick Brendon was playing with the dummy and made it say 'Redrum' to get a laugh out of the cast and crew. Fortunately the cameras were still rolling at the time).

    • Buffy: I'd like to see Morgan without his better half for a few minutes. Ordinarily the phrase better half refers to a man's wife (or girlfriend). Possibly because of the amount of time Morgan spends with Sid or possibly because Sid has a better personality, Buffy refers to the dummy as his better half.

    • Buffy: Whoa, hey, you guys, all we know is that Morgan is a grade A large weirdo. Eggs (among other things) are graded according to quality and size.

    • Xander: Whatever happened to corporal punishment? Xander would prefer corporal punishment (physical punishment) to being in the talent show. Once common, corporal punishment is now almost entirely unheard of in public schools. It is still practiced in southern Mississippi, but only if the parent approves; and generally only used on elementary students.

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