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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Feb 02, 2011
aww i miss Buffy so much! 1) Older and Far Away 2) Surprise/Innocence
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Jan 25, 2011
1) “Older and Far Away” (Season 6)
2) “A New Man” (Season 4)
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Jan 24, 2011
Surprise/Innocence :)
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Jan 24, 2011
Actually, Helpless would be my number 1 followed by Surprise/Innocence. A New Man would be my third.
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Jan 24, 2011
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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Jan 23, 2011
Happy Birthday Buffy Summers!!! We do miss you.
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Jan 23, 2011
great choices.
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Jan 23, 2011
definitely surprise/innocence
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Jan 22, 2011
I actually agree with the order of this list.
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Jan 22, 2011
Surprise and Innocence definitely have to be number one, they're really great episodes.
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Jan 21, 2011
oh my gosh!!! i just wanna go back and watch every single episode :)
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Jan 21, 2011
Happy Birthday Buffy!!! Reading this make me grab my "Buffy: The Complete Series" DVD and watch it again!!!!



XO XO



:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)
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Jan 21, 2011
Great list. Buffy and Angel are excellent series.
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Jan 21, 2011
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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Jan 21, 2011
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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Jan 21, 2011
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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Jan 21, 2011
I`M MISSING YOU :D

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
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Jan 21, 2011
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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Jan 21, 2011
Happy Birthday Buffy! Innocence was also one of my favorite shows! Angelus was SO brutal ....but HOT!
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Jan 21, 2011
you're list is pretty well on the money. :)
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Jan 21, 2011
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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Jan 21, 2011
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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Jan 21, 2011
I always loved Helpless. One of my all-time favourite Buffy episodes.
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Jan 21, 2011
Innocence is tough to beat, though all the Angelus episodes (of both shows) are great.
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Jan 21, 2011
Happy birthday Buffy! Now I need to go rewatch series 1 through 7....
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Jan 21, 2011
Innocence is my All Time Favorite Buffy Episode !!!!
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Jan 21, 2011
Happy birthday, Buffy Summers!
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Jan 21, 2011
Happy Birthday!
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Jan 21, 2011
surprise/innocence is soooo good and i love older and farther away, really all the buffy bday episodes
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Jan 21, 2011
happy bday buffy!!!!!!!
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Jan 21, 2011
great list! buffy is the best tv series ever!
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Jan 21, 2011
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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Jan 21, 2011
Happy Birthday Buffy! Great rankings!
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Jan 21, 2011
My list is pretty much the same.
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Jan 21, 2011
Not bad
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Jan 21, 2011
Wooooohooooo totally agree!!!! Nicely done!
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Jan 21, 2011
Agree.
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Jan 21, 2011
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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