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Happy 30th Birthday, Buffy! In Lieu of a Gift, We've Ranked Your Birthday-Centric Episodes

Happy birthday, Buffy Summers! Okay, the character’s birth date has been widely contested by us nutballs who care, but January 20, 1981 is generally regarded as the safest bet. We fans know that the Slayer’s birthday isn’t really cause for celebration—Buffy tends to have exceptionally bad luck each time it rolls around. But hey, she’s turning 30, and that’s just not something we can ignore.

Hence, here's my ranking of the five Buffy birthday-centric episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

5. “A New Man” (Season 4)
Apparently Buffy isn’t the only person who suffers the curse of her birthday. In Season 4, Ethan Rayne transformed Giles into a Fyarl demon, forcing him to go head-to-head with his Slayer. Of course, Buffy recognized her Watcher’s caring eyes and stopped herself before delivering a killing blow. “A New Man” is a fairly entertaining episode, but these birthday installments work best when Buffy’s the victim.

4. “Blood Ties” (Season 5)
A pivotal episode of the series, “Blood Ties” marked the moment in which Dawn discovered her true identity as the Key. And then, of course, she had to go and make Buffy’s birthday all about her. There are some stirring moments—Dawn entering the party with blood dripping from her arms, the Summers sisters reinforcing their blood bond—but Dawn’s incessant whining makes this episode a tough one to re-watch.

3. “Older and Far Away” (Season 6)
Some of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s best episodes are the comedic ones. While “Older and Far Away” also has its share of bratty Dawn, it’s consistently entertaining and—in my mind—one of Season 6’s most underrated hours. Buffy and her party guests become trapped in the Summers home after Dawn makes an accidental wish to Halfrek. Bonus points for the abundance of Clem, the cutest cat-eating demon that ever was.

2. “Helpless” (Season 3)
Ah, that wonderful transition to adulthood. Unfortunately for Buffy, her 18th birthday forced Giles to put her through a cruel Watchers’ Council-imposed test. She was drugged to the point of helplessness (see episode title), then pitted against psychotic vampire Zachary Kralik. In the end, Buffy used her wit to defeat him, and the entire ordeal brought her and Giles closer together. Happy ending, I guess?

1. “Surprise”/“Innocence” (Season 2)
For many Buffy fans, myself included, this Season 2 two-parter is when the series made the transition from good to great. In “Surprise,” Buffy celebrated her birthday by losing her virginity to much older vampire boyfriend Angel. In “Innocence,” she dealt with the consequences. See, by giving Angel a moment of perfect happiness (you figure it out), Buffy inadvertently released Angelus, his soulless alter-ego. Worst. Birthday. Ever.

Which birthday-centric Buffy episode is your favorite?

Comments (38)
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aww i miss Buffy so much! 1) Older and Far Away 2) Surprise/Innocence
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1) “Older and Far Away” (Season 6)
2) “A New Man” (Season 4)
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Surprise/Innocence :)
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Actually, Helpless would be my number 1 followed by Surprise/Innocence. A New Man would be my third.
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I'd argue that Blood Ties is #3, with A New Man at 4 and Older... at 5. There's not a lot of interesting character work in Older and Far away, which is why A New Man edges it out.
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Happy Birthday Buffy Summers!!! We do miss you.
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great choices.
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definitely surprise/innocence
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I actually agree with the order of this list.
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Surprise and Innocence definitely have to be number one, they're really great episodes.
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oh my gosh!!! i just wanna go back and watch every single episode :)
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Happy Birthday Buffy!!! Reading this make me grab my "Buffy: The Complete Series" DVD and watch it again!!!!



XO XO



:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)
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Great list. Buffy and Angel are excellent series.
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I'm gonna go with "Surprise"/"Innocence". It's the most remembered I believe due to the Buffy/Angel arc and how it was so memorable. I'm not entirely sure what else to say except it's the one of her birthdays that comes to mind first above all others. I think I know what DVDs I'm pulling out today with nothing else to do...he he!
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Am I the only one who hated Surprise... I liked innocence, but all the kissy scenes in surprise really ruined it for me.
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Oh how I miss Btvs... The best show that this world has ever known, seriosly, no words can describe how amazing/great/awsome it was.
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I`M MISSING YOU :D

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
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I just a finished a marathon viewing a couple of weeks back, and for some reason, I'm ready to go again.
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Happy Birthday Buffy! Innocence was also one of my favorite shows! Angelus was SO brutal ....but HOT!
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you're list is pretty well on the money. :)
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I think Blood Ties and Older and Far Away were my two fav bday episodes. Could not stand A New Man! Season 4 had to be my least favorite season!
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i completely agree with your list.
i think "Helpless" and "Suprise"/"Innocence" could of drawn for the top spot because both are amazing.
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I always loved Helpless. One of my all-time favourite Buffy episodes.
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Innocence is tough to beat, though all the Angelus episodes (of both shows) are great.
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Happy birthday Buffy! Now I need to go rewatch series 1 through 7....
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Innocence is my All Time Favorite Buffy Episode !!!!
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Happy birthday, Buffy Summers!
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Happy Birthday!
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surprise/innocence is soooo good and i love older and farther away, really all the buffy bday episodes
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happy bday buffy!!!!!!!
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great list! buffy is the best tv series ever!
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That's my list, too. Since neither Season 1 nor Season 7 had birthday episodes there's only the five to choose from, and I'd definitely rank Surprise/Innocence as number one.
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Happy Birthday Buffy! Great rankings!
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My list is pretty much the same.
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Not bad
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Wooooohooooo totally agree!!!! Nicely done!
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Agree.
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I'd agree with this list for the most part, cept I liked Blood Ties a little bit better than Older and Far Away.
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