Season 5 Episode 14

Smile Time

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 18, 2004 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
603 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When several children are hospitalized after watching a TV show called Smile Time, Angel goes to check out the studio only to be turned into a puppet. Now, Angel and the gang have to stop a group of evil puppets from stealing the souls of children and return Angel back to normal.moreless

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  • Angel gone to Seseme Street

    This is one of my favorate episode of the show, this was a rather bizzare and risky move but it was the right move and sometimes the most bizzare ideas are the best kind.

    Not much to say that hasn't already been said, it was an episode that I thought was just plain fun and kinda touching. It was just a blast seeing Angel in Muppet form, from the movements to the excitable mannerism he inherited, it's something you have to see to believe. From seeing Angel fight Spike in his puppet form and actually winning, how the heck that happened I don't know. Or the simpliest things like seeing him try to operate a TV remote.

    The plot as well as the puppet villians I thought were soild and kinda creepy, there's always something about attaching evil to a figure on innocence that's creepy. And of course Angel and Gunn have a decent and rather daft battle with them, their fighting puppets after all you can only do so much physically.

    However two of the highlights for me were seeing the interaction between both Nina and Angel which I thought was sweet, despite Angel in puppet form at that time from their dialog I took it seriously. Both seem to be a decent couple and Nina is a decent character, sure not the greatest romance but I take this anytime over a crappy one.

    The second and I feel the best is the chemistry between both Fred and Wesley. Both of them are one of my favorate fictional couples up there with Amy Pond and Rory Williams from "Doctor Who". You can tell that sparks between both of them are starting to make a fire, that it was finally starting to happen; as Driver Stu from the TV show "The Adventures of Pete and Pete" put it "When love comes you better pull over to the side of the road and open your doors, cause nothing in this world matters more".

    I really like how from beginning to end we are in constant suspense and the suspense is delayed further at some points. From close calls where Wesley was about to hear Fred's true feelings toward him if he just stopped what he was doing for one more minute. Or even when that Knox interferes a couple of times, I remember thinking "what is wrong with this picture" or "get the frak out of here" I know that sounds bold but I don't like his character nor care; by his nature the guy is a roadblock. Let alone the guy really isn't funny as Fred says, he tries but doesn't succeed; to me a certain amount of laughter in a relationship is important because it means you enjoy each other. When we see both Fred and Wesley together we know it's right, heck in the battle sequence near the end both were working together kicking demon puppet butt, that has to be telling them something; let alone battles before that.

    But it then comes down to a great moment when Fred approaches Wesley and she is the one that does the courageous thing and confesses her feelings toward him then kisses him with passion, likewise for Wesley.

    Overall, this episode left me with a smile on my face.moreless
  • The sort of ep you'd only get from Joss


    The Good;

    It's all fabulous, a truly, truly great episode and I'm proud to say I do own a puppet Angel doll (unfortunately the one with him in vampface as all the rest were sold out).

    The Bad;


    Best line;

    Polo; "I'm going to tear you a new puppet-hole ***!" (a line never before said on TV and in all probability never will be again)

    also like;

    Puppet Angel; "I'm made of felt. And my nose comes off!" (as above)

    Jeez, how did they get away with that?

    The bit where the puppets make their creator 'talk to the hand', euugghhh!

    Apocalypses: 5

    Angel Cliches

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    Cute children's puppets are EVIL! Also like the talk between Gunn and Lorne with Framkin where he correctly points out that actually the public would invariably support him if their case ever came to trial. Puppet Angel's Jerry Bruckheimer style 'power walk' also hilarious.

    In disguise; 8

    DB/JM get's his shirt off; 18,

    Cheap Angel; 8

    Fang Gang in bondage:

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 15

    Wes: 8

    Gunn; 8

    Lorne; 6

    Fred; 5

    Spike; 6

    Fang gang knocked out: Angel by the nest egg

    Cordy: 15

    Angel: 20

    Wes: 9

    Doyle; 1

    Gunn; 4

    Lorne; 8

    Groo; 1

    Connor; 1

    Faith; 1

    Fred; 6

    Spike; 5

    Kills; 1 demon for Angel, 2 for Gunn and 1 for Wes

    Cordy: 5 vamps, 3 demons

    Angel; 48 vamps, 63 and 1/2 demons, 5 zombies, 12 humans, one werewolf and one cyborg

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    Wes; 15 demons+5 vamps, 5 zombies, 3 humans, 2 cyborgs

    Kate; 3 vamps

    Faith; 18 vamps, 6 demons, 3 humans.

    Gunn; 11 vamps+ 15 demons, 5 zombies, 1 human.

    Groo; 1 demon

    Fred; 3 vamps+ 2 demon, 5 zombies

    Connor; 16 vamps, 5 zombies, 2 demons, Jasmine

    Spike; 21 vamps, 7 demons+1 human+one parasite

    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 3

    Angel: 3

    Gunn; 1

    Wes; 1

    Alternate Fang Gang; puppet Angel

    Cordy: 4

    Angel: 12

    Fred; 2

    Wes; 1

    Gunn; 1

    Connor; 1

    Lorne; 1

    Characters killed:


    Recurring characters killed;


    Total number of Angel Investigations; 6,

    Angel, Gunn, Fred, Lorne, Wes, Spike

    Angel Investigations shot:

    Angel: 14

    Wes; 2

    Packing heat;

    Fred uses one of Wes' 45s to good effect (maybe they've learned their lesson from Lineage?). She's a good shot but then she is from Texas.

    Wes; 11

    Doyle; 1

    Angel; 4

    Gunn; 3

    Fred; 4

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost:

    Cordy: 5 ?+Wilson/Hacksaw Beast+Phantom Dennis+Groo+Connor plus possibly the Beast

    Angel: 6; Buffy, Darla, The Transcending Furies, Eve

    Wes; 3 definite; Virginia, the bleached blonde and Lilah, 1 possible, Justine

    Gunn; 2 Fred and Gwen.

    Fred; 1 Gunn

    Groo; 1Cordy

    Spike; 3-Buffy, Anya, Harmony

    Kinky dinky:

    Nina and Angel start to grow closer and closer. Naked Nina in her cell showing an awful lot of flesh after returning to human once more "Oh my god, I ate him!" Hmmmmm? Flora the puppet says she wants to get Gunn's 'Pretty eyes'. Fred thinks puppet Angel is cute. Nina seems to now enjoy being naked and locked in a cage. She thinks the whole vampire thing is kinda sexy although she admits that's a cliche for an art-school chick.

    Polo's line to the little kid 'Get over here and touch it' is a bit suspect especially the way he moans and groans when he's draining the lifeforce and talks about taking their innocence away.

    Captain Subtext;

    Angel has been utterly oblivious to Nina's growing attraction to him but it's perfectly plain to everyone else, even souless Harmony. He does however pick up on the Wes/Fred vibe.

    Know the face, different character; 7 David Fury, writer, producer, director and now actor. He previously played the goat-sacrificer in Epiphany and the mustard on his shirt guy in Once More with Feeling.

    Parking garages;


    Buffy characters on Angel; 17

    Wetherby, Collins and Smith. Angel, Cordy, Oz, Spike, Buffy, Wes, Faith, Darla, Dru, The Master, Anne, Willow and Harmony. POSSIBLY The First Evil, Andrew.

    Questions and observations;

    Especially love the way that Horatio can convey whole sentences in just a few sounds, Chewbacca style. Also you note that Groofus is beginning to be more and more won over to humanity (a common theme in Buffy/Angel), actually caring about the quality of the show in addition to their soul-sucking. David Fury is pretty good in his role. Fred shoots down Knox whom as we'll see doesn't take rejection well. It's been 4 months since Unleashed. Puppet Angel does pretty well against Spike. The last few seasons of Happy Days are referenced where Fonzie famously 'jumped the shark' (a sly joke for the Angel audience and critics who might think Angel is past it's best? Or the WB executives?) In an otherwise extremely lightweight episode we have the beginning of the fall of Charles Gunn, the senior partners having given him these new abilities he revels in and then forcing him to make moral compromises when they start slipping away from him.

    Presumably the camera crews etc we see are actually the real Angel camera crews? Why no commentary?

    Marks out of 10; 10/10, it's eps like these that make Buffy and Angel so special.

  • Smile Time

    Smile Time was a superb episode of Angel. I enjoyed watching this episode because we got to see Nina again as she came in to spend the Full Moon at Wolfram and Hart in the safety of a cell. It was great how Fred and Wesley are continuing to bond as Nox looks on. The story of this episode was unique and a fun episode full of action and humor. I thought Angel's puppet body was a good likeness and his insecurities about being a puppet were funny. I think there may be some symbolism here to how he is feeling. The last battle was funny and the ending of the episode was a nice surprise and I look forward to the next episode!!!!!!!moreless
  • Smile Time is for everybody, and so is this episode.

    What's left to say about this episode that the other reviewers haven't? It was an awesome approach, and necessary considering the two episodes immediately following this one are as dark as Angel can get without the writers using Angelus. I laughed and I cried, but the crying started because I was laughing so hard. Spike finding Angel as a puppet and the ensuing fight scene between them is classic and must be seen by all Buffy and/or Angel fans.

    Aside from the main Smile Time TV show plot, the episode also advances Nina's relationship with Angel, Knox's unhealthy attraction to all things Fred, and Gunn's desperation to maintain his legal smarts. It was a well rounded episode and definitely not filler. A "must see" for anyone who may have missed it during Season 5's initial run on the WB.moreless
  • Puppets!

    Smile Time is a hilarious episode and very unusual and original in the fact that it features our main character turning into a puppet! It may sound extremely bad on paper but turns into one of the most unique and well put together episodes in the series!

    Whoever did the puppet work, I applaud them. The puppets look natural and moved effortlessly, which can't have been easy. Angel in particular looked as if he was moving by himself rather than someone with strings were guiding him. The fight scene were excellently done and it really is a credit to whoever did the movements and strings as not once does it look lame.

    This episode is pure comedy. It has some excellent lines and every scene made me laugh. From Angel claiming to not have puppet cancer, to Spike calling Angel "A wee little puppet man" to the puppet board room meeting, every scene will have you laughing. I particularly enjoyed the scene with the puppets all around the table. It was so silly but hilarious and every puppet is remarkable. I really loved the big purple thing that just made weird little noises and the puppets all understood what he was saying. The way e was killed was ingenious.

    One thing I wasn't impressed with was the whole Angel/Nina thing. Cordy died 2 episodes previously and he's already breakfasting with dog-girl. Not that Nina isn't super hot or anything but dead lover Angel? Nina/Angel aren't a great couple- they lack any sort of passion. One thing I also loved were the Wesley and Fred scenes, where they were growing closer and closer together. S5 has turned me into a bit of a Wesley/Fred shipper and it was great to see them get so close here. From all the little hints Fred was dropping that Wesley was so oblivious to to the kiss at the end, they were great here. Knox irritated me lots as usual and I'm glad Fred gave him the brushoff as they ain't a good couple. His jokes are pretty awful and I tend to agree with Fred when she says he doesn't make her laugh.

    Smile Time is a hilarious episode and one that you will not soon forget. It's not deep but it is really funny and has some nice Wes/Fred moments. A real gem of the show and of Season 5.moreless
Marc Vann

Marc Vann

Doctor Sparrow

Guest Star

Abigail Mavity

Abigail Mavity


Guest Star

David Fury

David Fury

Gregor Framkin

Guest Star

Jonathan M. Woodward

Jonathan M. Woodward


Recurring Role

Mercedes McNab

Mercedes McNab

Harmony Kendall

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • When Polo, the lead puppet, tells Ratio to save the "Nest Egg," Ratio suddenly moves from inside the toy box to behind the cameras.

    • When Fred opens Angel's office double doors inward while flanked by Wes and Gunn, Puppet Angel is supposed to be leaving with them. But when we pan down to see Puppet Angel, with sword on shoulders behind head, he is standing too close to the group. He would have had to have left the office then waited for the group while they waited for the doors to close before catching up to Angel.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • Ratio: Honk!
      Grufus: Ratio's right, man. This Angel cat must've been the dude that broke into the "Don't" room last night.
      Ratio: Honk!
      Grufus: That's what I'm sayin'! He messed with the nest egg.
      Polo: Stupid jackass. Might as well walk into a nuclear reactor and lick the core!

    • Polo: Okay, which one of you short bus bastards turned the CEO of Wolfram & Hart into a puppet?!

    • Harmony: Oh my God! Angel you're a...
      Puppet Angel: Shut up! What are you people looking at?! Well...?
      Spike: They're looking at the wee little puppet man.

    • Grufus: Looks like Polo has a case of the grumpies!

    • Wesley: It's clearly some sort of hex. Or a powerful warding magic.
      Lorne: Maybe its some type of puppet cancer.
      Puppet Angel: I do not have puppet cancer!

    • Angel: Wes, it wasn't just breakfast. You know, it was, uh... breakfast. I mean, here we had this very good, very platonic thing going on, and then all of a sudden, out of the blue...
      Wesley: Are you blind? Angel, there are things called signals. Odorless, yes. Invisible, certainly. But unmistakable, like the ones she's been casting your way for months.
      Angel: No. I would have noticed.
      Wesley: This isn't just from me. This comes from people who know. This comes from the ladies.
      Angel: The ladies?
      Wesley: Fred, Harmony, the girls in Transcription. As Harmony put it, "Why else would a chick who's coming to spend three nights in a jail cell dress like it's her first date?"
      Angel: Oh, God. The ladies are right.

    • Nina: Anyway, I was thinking... I mean, what are you doing for breakfast tomorrow?
      Angel: Oh, you know, drinking blood.

    • Angel: Wes, put the Special Ops team on Red Alert!
      Wesley: Red Alert?
      Angel: I want helicopters and tear gas!
      Gunn: Angel, we...
      Angel: This is war!
      Lorne: Angel, baby, muppet, pumpkin, um... this show is number one in it's time slot. Tykes love it all across the southland. We can't just toss a jihad at their studio.
      Angel: Ohh, right.

    • Angel: Harmony, get my call list.
      Harmony: Um...
      Angel: And Spike needs a car.
      Spike: You heard the puppet.

    • Framkin: And if your intent is to pressure me, extort money, do any of the things your firm is famous for, well, I'm afraid you're in for a fight.
      Lorne: Yeah? Well, a fight suits us just fine, Papa Smurf. We're gonna let the entire world know what you're up to.
      Framkin: "Up to?" Gentlemen, I bring joy and laughter to children. You bring tax exemptions to nasty corporations, acquittals to the clearly guilty. Frankly, I doubt the world wants to hear from you.

    • (about Nina)
      Angel: Wes, it's not gonna happen?
      Wesley: Why?
      Angel: Because I'm not that guy! That guy is charming and funny and... emotionally useful. I'm the guy in the dark corner with the blood habit and 200 years of psychic baggage.
      Wesley: Get over it!
      Angel: Why are you yelling at me?
      Wesley: Because! Angel, if there's a woman out there, who you find truly attractive, who you think about, let's say, most of the time, who represents even part of what you think makes the world worth fighting for, and who doesn't view you as an entirely sexless shoulder to lean on, you have to do something about it.

    • Lorne: Nina definitely wants a piece of Angel cake.

    • (On the Smile Time puppets)
      Gunn: These particular devils have a very distinctive MO.
      Fred: They've done this before?
      Gunn: Seen the last few seasons of Happy Days?

    • Spike:Hey big guy, I need another car. Last one went in the drink...
      Angel: Spike.
      Spike: Look at you.
      Angel: Spike. Just turn around and walk away.
      Spike: You're a...
      Angel: Spike...
      Spike: You're a bloody puppet!

    • Polo: We eat babies' lives!
      Grufus: And uphold a certain standard of quality edutainment.
      Polo: Screw edutainment! The life-force we're pulling out of these snot-nosed kids is one hundred percent pure innocence, dickwad!

    • Nina: (To Puppet Angel after first seeing him) Are you all right?
      Angel: I'm made of felt, ( Pulls off his nose, he sounds "stuffed up")
      and my nose comes off (replaces nose). . .ahh. ( shrugs)

    • Framkin: We have a song here at Smile Time that reminds me of your courage and pluck. It's called, uh, "Courage and Pluck." Goes a little like this: Ohh, courage and pluck, courage and pluck...

    • Framkin: No name calling at Smile Time.
      Lorne: Bad person!

    • Gunn: You turned my boss into a frickin' puppet!

    • Fred: Oh my God, Angel, you're cute!
      Angel: Fred... don't.
      Fred: But... oh, look at your little hands. And the hair!
      Angel: Hey! You're fired.

    • Angel: Stupid thread...stupid needle...stupid fingers!

    • (While Puppet Angel attacks, and subdues, Spike in the Elevator)
      Angel: Stupid, limey, piece of crap!

    • Angel: Ah! Geez! No! No, Nina! Bad Nina! Ah! Gah! Ahh!

    • Wesley: This transformation may have altered your stress response mechanism.
      Angel: What?
      Gunn: He's saying you have the proportionate excitability of a puppet your size.

    • Polo: I'm gonna tear you a new puppet-hole, bitch!

    • Angel: Lorne!
      Lorne: My little prince! What did they do to you?
      Angel: Nina...tried me!
      Lorne: Medic! You're gonna make it, Angel, just don't stop fighting! Doctor! Is there a Gepetto in the house?

    • Nina: Is there a reason why you won't look at me?
      Angel: 'Cause I'm under my desk.

    • Polo: So, you got a little demon in you.
      Angel: I got a lot of demon in me. (vamps out)

    • Puppet: It's smile time!
      Angel: No, it's time to kick your puppet ass all the way back to hell.

  • NOTES (6)

  • ALLUSIONS (10)

    • (On the Smile Time puppets)
      Gunn: These particular devils have a very distinctive MO.
      Fred: They've done this before?
      Gunn: Seen the last few seasons of Happy Days?
      Happy Days was a sitcom set in the 1950s, that ran from 1974 to 1984. The last few seasons were noticeably poorer in quality that the earlier ones, and even coined the phrase "jumping the shark" to indicate when a series has passed its prime.

    • Wesley: That's not how magic works, Knox.
      Knox: Really, Merlin?
      Merlin is the wizard who advises King Arthur in the legends of the Round Table.

    • Lorne: Angel, baby, muppet, pumpkin...
      The Muppets are a group of puppets and costume characters, and the company created by Jim Henson.

    • Lorne: My little prince! What did they do to you?
      This is a reference to the French book, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, which was later turned into a musical in 1974 starring Gene Wilder and Bob Fosse. Roughly speaking, it is about a pilot who is forced to land in a desert and meets a young boy who teaches him a great deal about life and wonder.

    • Gunn: He's saying you have the proportionate excitability of a puppet your size.
      Referring to Spider-Man, who is often described as having the "proportionate strength of a spider" for a man his size.

    • Lorne: Medic! Doctor! Is there a Gepetto in the house?
      Gepetto was the man who made the infamously deceitful wooden puppet, Pinocchio, who later turned into a real boy.

    • Lorne: Shut up, Papa Smurf!
      The Smurfs was a cartoon show that aired on Saturday mornings during the 80's. Papa Smurf was the leader of the Smurfs and had a beard similar to the one sported by Framkin.

    • Puppet Angel: I'm made of felt...and my nose comes off.
      Puppet Angel is very reminiscent of Sesame Street's Bert. When he observes Smile Time in his office, his expression of disgust looks eerily like Bert's trademark scowl. Later, while talking with Nina, he pops his nose off and holds it in his hand -- a time-honored Bert-ism.

    • Doctor: Oh, acute "Flowers for Algernon" syndrome… Though I do think Cliff Robertson captured the poignancy of it more elegantly.
      "Flowers for Algernon" is a short story about a man, Charlie Gordon, who was mentally retarded and had a surgery done to increase his intelligence quotient. Eventually, Charlie becomes a genius, but finds himself not as happy as his former self was. The story ends with Charlie eventually losing his newfound mental prowess. It slips away from him in much the same way that Gunn's did. "Flowers of Algernon" was made into a movie, Charly, staring Cliff Robertson who won an Oscar for his lead role.

    • Knox: It could be The Joker.
      Knox compares the grins on the children as something The Joker from Batman would do. The Joker used a chemical (in both the movie and comics) to kill people leaving a grin, similar to the children's, on their faces after they die.