Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 6 Episode 12

Doublemeat Palace

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jan 29, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
493 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Starved for cash, Buffy gets a job in a fast food restaurant where the weird manager and high turnover of employees has her more than a little suspicious. When co-workers start ending up in pieces, the mystery behind the "secret ingredient" comes into question. Willow works on staying clear of magick, but she is forced to make a big decision when Amy gives her an unwanted gift. A vengeance demon friend of Anya's visits and questions her relationship with Xander, leaving Anya worried about their soon-to-be-married life together.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
  • Paralysis: a state of helpless stoppage, inactivity, or inability to act.

    I started this review with a definition for a specific purpose, which is that "Doublemeat Palace" has a very well executed point and theme at its core that excellently connects the viewer emotionally with its characters. This makes it a very important episode in the S6 lineup. While still definitely flawed, I'm going to get into the 'why' and 'how' of all this craziness. In short, I find DMP to be a very unique and frequently funny, gross, and disturbing episode that has utmost importance being in S6 for its theme and purposefully negative emotional connection. This may all sound pretty wacky, much like DMP itself, so let me begin doing some earnest 'splainin.

    Large portions of this episode are quirky and oddly paced, framed, and acted. Sometimes the episode even feels like it's completely devoid of much of anything. Quiet staring, long scenes, a weird atmosphere, and a whole lot of gross characterize much of this episode. Normally, this would be a bad thing. But I feel this is an episode designed to be flawed. I'd argue this was even Espenson's goal here. The point is that it accurately makes you feel what the characters are going through this season: the boredom, despair, disorganization, and assorted chaos. None of these are particularly positive emotions, which is why many people interpret what they're feeling as hate towards the episode itself. Personally, I think everyone's missing the point.

    A flawed episode to service deliciously flawed characters? It might just be so. In my humble opinion, entertainment isn't just about laughing and having a grand old time. It can also be about learning, growing, and -- most of all -- feeling through characters we've come to love. Even negative emotions -- if done right -- can be enthralling to experience through a conduit such as the characters on Buffy. "Doublemeat Palace" is an episode that, yes, punches me in the gut with the emotional reality of these characters. They're really having a hard time, and unlike so many other shows which aren't willing to go all the way, Buffy continues to buy my emotions and make me continue to care, even when it's flawed, because so much of what we see here is just so emotionally real. Although an episode like "Go Fish" may be a whole lot funnier than this, I'll take structurally daring and emotionally risky over modestly funny any day.

    "Doublemeat Palace" certainly has some major problems, but its guts certainly isn't one of them. It takes a huge risk in asking its viewers to share in the characters' pain, suffering, and boredom. I personally love seeing risks like this: seeing a show spill itself all over the floor and demand so much from its characters and its audience. Although DMP doesn't completely succeed when you put it all together, I can't speak highly enough of the show's willingness to have deeply flawed characters and even, at times, be flawed itself to make a point about the characters. All that I've just described is something I constantly feel Buffy fans often miss out on, especially when it comes to this season. So with all that said, it's time to address character threads.

    Thankfully, last episode, Buffy came to the important realization that she didn't still want to die. Although that's very important progress, she's hardly all better. From zoning out on the meat slicer to Spike's precise "You're not happy here" speech to the fact that even sex with Spike is becoming a routine distraction from her problems -- she looks bored. All of this is why she's at the point where she's willing to go even further into the black in the next episode. When Spike says, "You don't belong here. You're something... you're better than this," he's completely right, but he's completely failing to see the point and is completely oblivious to the reasons why she doesn't just be with him and enjoy it. It's called guilt over the effect her absence and occasional negligence is having on Dawn, which stems from not only the promise she made her mom in the hospital last year, but also from her own core morality.

    This is why I feel Spike's comment reflects right back on him. Buffy's better than Spike. At her core she's a moral, responsible, and utterly amazing woman, one that Spike cannot fully see, understand, or comprehend. While he certainly loves her greatly, he's only unknowingly continuing to bring her down while she's in this broken state. To Spike's credit, he's not inflicting this pain on Buffy intentionally, but he simply doesn't have the moral capacity to realize what effect he's having on her. Unfortunately, it takes a near-rape for this reality to open up nakedly in front of him and, to his credit, he does something about it.

    Let me now go back to the definition I opened this review with: paralysis. This word has meaning permeating not only this episode, but this entire part of the season. In the literal, immediate sense, we have the paralyzing penis monster! Yes, it's extremely out there, but I have to say that it really works for me. Wig Lady says "[the] paralysis means I can eat you This is a very adult metaphor -- and yes metaphors are still an integral part of the series -- for how Buffy's sexual relationship with Spike is slowly killing her, which is a realization she eventually verbalizes in "As You Were", but has a continued effect all the way through "Seeing Red". Her root problem is that she's inable to break away from it -- Buffy is too torn up inside to do much of anything, and the news she got back in "Smashed" that she might have come back "wrong" is fueling all of this forward.

    All in all, Buffy's a complete mess right now, with the only consolation being that's she's not suicidal anymore. Many people complain that S6 drags Buffy and Spike's ordeal out too long, but I couldn't disagree more. Every episode since "Smashed" has been relevant towards this relationship and has propelled it forward. Now that all the foundation has been set, though, it's time for an episode that has the characters really start to see inside themselves and start piecing together what it all means and what's next. How lucky for us, then, that "Dead Things" does just that!

    Although I've been mostly positive and enthralled by the style and issues tackled by DMP, it's unfortunately far from a great episode. My major problems mostly consist of Buffy's freak-out over the alleged human burgers, which is way over the top, the mid-episode Buffy/Willow/Xander scene where they discuss the "Gary burger," which just drags on and on and is not funny at all, Willow's constant "it's not magic!" outbursts, which are pretty irritating, and Amy's characterization from this point on. I hate her dialogue to Willow about "how it made you Corny and trite. What is Amy's issue anyway? At the end of the episode, it seems like it's that Willow took so long to de-rat her, but this idea is never developed after this.

    Because I'd like to end on a positive, I'll say that one little moment I really appreciated was seeing Dawn making a big realization about Buffy's future. She says, "Buffy's never gonna be a lawyer, or a doctor [or a software developer ;)]. Anything Xander truthfully replies, "She's a Slayer. She saves the whole world. That's way Dawn then says, "But that means she's gonna have like crap jobs her entire life, right? Minimum wage stuff. I mean, I could still grow up to be anything. But for her... this is This is a really insightful bit of character growth for Dawn, which I think makes her respect Buffy even more than she already did. Wow, we needed more of this kind of development from Dawn throughout the entire season. Great stuff.

    Anyway, to wrap up, all I ask is that you consider what I've said here, and try to watch "Doublemeat Palace" with a different perspective next time. It's definitely got problems, but when you dig below the surface, it's a surprisingly daring and emotionally naked episode. It also doesn't have the egregious character slip-ups we saw in "Wrecked" and the severe execution issues of "Gone", which is why it scores better than both of those. I'm fully aware that this isn't a popular opinion, but I take great pleasure in seeing something like this rather than the simplicity of much of the very early days of the series.moreless
  • Lowpoint of the season


    The Good;

    Very little, a very weak episode. Actually our first introduction to Halfyrek and the scene between her and Anya is wonderful. Also like Xander's advice to Dawn that if Buffy can't ever have a proper career outside Slaying Dawn can do it for her. Some nice comedy too with Xander eating the burger and the 'Hi, I'm Troy McClure' style corporate training video.

    The Bad;

    The list goes on. I think if Xander had been working in the DMP everyone would have loved this but we don't like seeing Buffy humiliated (in a non sexual sense)

    Best line;

    Buffy; "The double meat medely is people. Well, probably not the chicken part but who knows! Who knows!"

    Women good/men bad;

    Actually it's pretty disturbing that Halfyrek comments most of the time she's not even sure she's cursing the right guy. Love the way that every good point Anya states about Xander is twisted into a negative by Hally. Amy also shows her true colours implying that she's bitter at not having been deratted earlier.


    The severed finger and Manny's severed foot. Note how Buffy is now quite happy to include Dawn in the emergency meeting and show her some of the nastier sights of life.

    Kinky dinky;

    Actually I think Buffy and Spike against the trash trailer must rate as the most unerotic sex scene in the history of TV, even the most avid Spuffers must admit it's positively depressing. Now as we've all wondered before during 'Anne' surely a girl as beautiful as Buffy can get a better job? (or as Xander put it hasn't she ever met 'any nice pimps'?). 'Pretty Woman' or at very least doesn't Sunnydale have a Hooters or Spearmint Rhino? (or did Mayor Wilkins not allow them as not in keeping with his vision of the place? Even he with all his power couldn't stop streetwalkers to judge by 'Innocence' despite what the Gorch's say in Bad Eggs). Ok, I'm not entirely serious but I can never get over the Hollywood cliche of a girl as beautiful as Buffy working in fast-food. Still after Belle du Jour not as unthinkable as it once might have been. Of course after watching Dollhouse or Morena Bacahra's character in Firefly you get the idea that Joss is actually quite keen on the idea of prostitution? Everyone seen the Eliza Dushku as a dominatrix scene? Then again she's thin, petite, beautiful, flexible, she'd be an awesome magician's assistant. Even got her own identical twin with the Buffybot which you need for many of the classic illusions. The Geeks (and Xander) also like the Vulcan woman from Enterprise, what a suprise. Nowadays it would be Summer Glau as The Big Bang Theory proves. Anya and Halfrek both comment on Xander's large upper arms which makes sense if you're a construction worker (Nic Brendon bulks up noticeably in the final 2 season but I prefer slimmer Xander from the earlier seasons)

    Captain Subtext;

    As is commeted upon in a later ep the worm thing that emerges from the old lady's head is just one giant penis. It spits it's goo at the straight (or bi girl to judge by the comics) making her helpless but the lesbian sees it, screams and runs away before decapitating it with a vagina shaped cooking instrument. And Buffy's new boss is called Lorena (Bobbit?)

    Apocalypses; 6

    Scoobies in bondage:

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 1

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1

    Xander; 1

    Dawn; 3

    Scoobies knocked out:

    Buffy: 17

    Giles: 12

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 11

    Will: 8

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 3

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 3

    Wes: 1


    Dawn; 2

    Kills: one demon for Willow

    Buffy: 103 vamps, 41 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot

    Giles: 8 vamps, 2 demon, 1 human, 1 god.

    Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon

    Will: 6 vamps + 3 demons +1 fawn.

    Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human

    Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie

    Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans

    Xander: 6 vamps, 2 zombies, 1 a demon,

    Anya: 1 vamp and 1 a demon

    Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons

    Spike; 8 vamps and 2 demon

    Buffybot; 2 vamps

    Tara; 1 demon

    Dawn; 1 vamp

    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 4

    Anya; 1

    Dawn; 1

    Alternate scoobies:

    Buffy: 7

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 4

    Tara; 1


    Spike; 1

    Recurring characters killed: 10

    Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh, Forrest, McNamara, Joyce

    Sunnydale deaths; 2 guys from the DMP


    Total number of scoobies:

    Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Spike,

    Xander demon magnet: 5(6?)

    Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?), Dracula?

    Scoobies shot:

    Giles: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 4

    Riley; 1

    Notches on Scooby bedpost:

    Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny and 3xDraccy babes?

    Cordy: 1?

    Buffy: 4 confirmed; Angel, Parker, Riley, Spike. 1 possible, Dracula(?)

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Joyce: 1;Giles, 2 possible, Ted and Dracula(?)

    Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca

    Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley

    Xander: 2; Faith, Anya

    Willow: 2;Oz and Tara

    Riley; 3; Buffy, Sandy and unnamed vampwhore

    Spike; 1 Buffy

    Spike; good or bad?

    Dawn in peril; 8

    Dawn the bashful virgin; 6

    What the fanficcers thought;

    Cash strapped Buffy (and indeed any and all of the female characters) turning to prostitution is a staple of a lot of adult fic both before and during DMP and indeed afterwards. My favorite has Buffy eventually recruiting the rest of the Scoobygirls into her new profession turning Revello Drive into a high class bordello with Joyce as the madam then trasforming her post-Chosen Army of Slayers into an Army of Slayer/Hookers to fund the new Slayer academy.

    Questions and observations;

    Surely the authorities must inspect the DMP's produce, don't they have a problem with false advertising? Considering how nicely the Geeks tricked out their headquarters with all the money they stole couldn't Buffy and co sell it to raise some cash? Doesn't Amy remember that she turned HERSELF into a rat and indeed left Buffy and Willow to burn at the stake to do so? Love Dawn's kitten t-shirt. Dawn says she's eaten a lot at the DMP, it doesn't show. I reckon Dawn should be a Doctor, that way she can patch up the other scoobs as necessary. Also note that the Yanus head from Halloween is still in the Magic Box.

    Would Buffy have survived without Willow's arrival? I think so, Slayer headling was obviously dealing with the paralysing agent when she arrived. Anyone else think that Lorena reminds them a lot of Ellen Degenerees with a little of Lynette from Desperate Housewives?

    Marks out of 10; 3/10, pretty damn terrible compared to what Buffy can achieve

  • Doublemeat Failure

    Doublemeat Palace-Starved for cash, Buffy gets a job in a fast food restaurant where the weird manager and high turnover of employees has her more than a little suspicious. When co-workers start ending up in pieces, the mystery behind the "secret ingredient" comes into question. Willow works on staying clear of magick, but she is forced to make a big decision when Amy gives her an unwanted gift. A vengeance demon friend of Anya's visits and questions her relationship with Xander, leaving Anya worried about their soon-to-be-married life together.

    Sigh. A part of me hates to say this, but I just....can't stand this episode! I've tried, I really have, but even after repeated viewings, I just can't see anything good about this episode. I know that this episode is focused on establishing Buffy in the working world and showing how much energy it takes out of you. Since the last time I watched this episode, I've worked at Dunkin Donuts for 3 years. You'd think that I would have liked this episode considering how I too know the burden of customer service that Buffy faces in this episode, but I actually hate it even more. The writers fail to truly exploring how jarring and lonely a minimum wage job can be. The rude customers, the long hours, the low payments, the struggle of getting along with co-workers, theembarrassment, etc. Sure, some of this is touched upon throughout the episode butmost of the Doublemeat Palace scenes come of either mind-numbing boring or utterly bizarre. The wacky manager, the the co-workers that zone out etc. all plays out like some hokey gimmick. Maybe the writers were going from something campy yet creepy, trying to set up thepossibilitythat something is supernaturally strange with them all but it turns all...their all just plain weird. Not to mention, most the comedy comes off over the top and a bit much. Like there might be a possiblity of people being the secretingredient in the burgers. Buffy runs around stopping people from eating their burgers as her co-workers pull her away. Then an old lady runs up asking, "What about the cherry pie?"...Hhhhmmm...yeahh... Then you have the scene where Xander may have eaten someone by eating one of the burgers and no matter how many jokes flew around that scene, the idea od Xander eating someone was too disturbing to laugh at. I also, hated the infamous reveal of the penis-like monster old lady. Another reason why I hate this episode is this creature has to be one of themostrepulsive and disgusting looking monsters the writers have ever created. Just watching Buffy getting eaten by that thing as well as after Willow kills it and we see the pieces of it coming out of the grinder. *vomits* The collectively "ehws" from Buffy and Willow just don't say enough!

    What is decent about this episode is Buffy's continuing to feel isolated and inferior about everything going on around her. The scene where Buffy has a break and has sex with Spike in an alley is one again, pretty graphic but you can't help but feel for Buffy. Also, if you notice, she's starting to become bored by her hook-ups with Spike. Sure she still wants him, but now it's more wanting him to escape from responsibilities, instead of the pain. I did like that scene between Dawn's reflecting on how limited Buffy's life is in terms of career. It's very insightful coming from her and shows being the slayer for Buffy means never really be anything more than a burger flipper for most of her life. It's also great seeing Willow continuing to fight her addiction and standing up to Amy when she forces magic on her. That scene at the doorway was a commanding moment for Willow, showing how committed she is in her decision and how Amy is no longer the girl from the early years we once knew. All and All, "Doublemeat Palace" is considered one of the worst (at times, THE worst) episode of the series and I have a hard time disagreeing with that. It's a pretty messed up episode and not in a good way. I've tried to see as much good beneath the ugly surface, but just wanna cringe.moreless
  • Even though I am a big Buffy fan, it was hard to see this episode. I get that they were trying to put Buffy to work in a real job, but the scenes in the work place were too slow, not adding much to the episode plot.moreless

    Even though I am a big Buffy fan, it was hard to see this episode. I get that they were trying to put Buffy to work in a real job, but the scenes in the work place were too slow, not adding much to the episode plot.

    The wig lady did come as a surprise but i thought it was a bit lame and didnt care much for it. I thought there were some obvious mistakes in the episode as well, for instance, Willow trying to get in at the end but the door was closed, so she started talking through the outside mic and the next thing we know is that shes inside? how did she get in?

    Anyway, so far season 6 is not favorite (with the exception of 2 earlier episodes). Hope it gets better as I have become addicted to the show.moreless
  • Buffy gets a job... sorta.

    This episode was really weird and pretty much had nothing to do with the plot. I still was curious to see how Buffy was going to do as a fast food joint and it turned out not so well. That video must have been horrible. I don't even want to know how the cow and the chicken are made. "Special Ingredient" Disgusting. PEOPLE!? I'm so glad that theory was proved wrong and it was just vegetables. I'm really proud of Willow. This was a great episode to watch Willow develop as a character because she's not doing any magic(that we know of) and is actually getting along pretty well. Manny, the manager, was freaky and thought he was going to be the bad guy, but know they're all just brainwashed. I was surprised that the cherry pie woman was the villain. That icky little thing coming out of her head was disgusting. Willow saved the day though. I'm sorry to hear that Anya is having doubts about marrying Xander after her little demon friend came. I'm with Xander on that one, those demons are really ugly. Anya is a pretty hot ex-demon if I do say so myself. Nothing really happened in this episode, but sorta suspenseful.

    Rating = Cmoreless
Pat Crawford Brown

Pat Crawford Brown

Wig Lady

Guest Star

Brent Hinkley

Brent Hinkley


Guest Star

Kirsten Nelson

Kirsten Nelson

Lorraine Ross

Guest Star

Elizabeth Anne Allen

Elizabeth Anne Allen

Amy Madison

Recurring Role

Kali Rocha

Kali Rocha


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • "There's a high turnover rate" is the comical explanation Jane Espenson has given us for the Doublemeat's high mortality rate going unnoticed. The managers might not be bothered by employee turnover, but it seems strange that the police have not detected a pattern of actual missing people, not just employee turnover, based around this franchise.

    • It's odd that the drive-thru was still lit up when Willow goes to find Buffy at the end, even though the restaurant was closed.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Xander: (about Halfrek's demon face) So, An, the way she looked, with the face... That wasn't what you used to look like, was it?
      Anya: Something wrong with that? I mean, did you think she was unattractive?
      Xander: Okay, is there any answer to that question that won't make you nuts?

    • Manny: You don't need to be in there.
      Buffy: Sorry. Was just curious.
      Manny: Curiosity killed the cat.
      Buffy: Theory #5: Cat-burgers.

    • Anya: Okay, see, this is why demons are better than people.
      Willow: Interesting turn.
      Anya: When I was a vengeance demon, I caused pain and mayhem, certainly. But I put in a full day's work doing it, and I got compensated appropriately.
      Xander: Welcome to today's episode of "Go, money, go!" I hear it daily.
      Willow: Yup, for the rest of your life.
      Anya: But supervillains want reward without labor, to make things come easy. It's wrong. Without labor there can be no payment, and vice versa. The country cannot progress. The workers are the tools that shape America.
      Buffy: Good to know. I was kinda feeling like a tool. And now I know why.

    • Willow: Amy... if you're really my friend, you'd better stay away from me. And if you're really not... you'd better stay away from me.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The Season 6 DVD includes a featurette entitled "Buffy Goes To Work." It contains interviews with writers, directors, and cast members commenting on the episode as well as their own job experiences.

    • The Doublemeat Palace building is the same building used in season 3's 'Faith, Hope, and Trick' where Mr. Trick drives through and kills the window guy.

    • Ridiculing fast food doesn't pay the bills. Joss Whedon has said in interviews that this episode was wildly unpopular with sponsors. He also states (in the disc three special feature Academy Of Television Arts And Science Panel Discussion) that the Network Producers found this episode the most controversial episode of the season- even more so than the last three episodes (Smashed, Wrecked and Gone) which featured much nudity and many sexual references.

    • This is the first time since her character's introduction that Amber Benson has been absent for two episodes in a row.


    • Buffy: Variety is the spice of bad.
      This is a nod to English poet William Cowper. The original line is: Variety's the very spice of life that gives it all its flavour (_The Task_ Book ii, "The Timepiece", lines 606 and 607). Cowper was deeply troubled, and modern interpretation would dictate that Buffy's paraphrase is actually truer to what he intended (that variety leads to desire which leads to frustration, and so on), despite that the line is often (mis)used to mean the opposite (that variety is the secret ingredient to happiness).

    • Buffy: You hit so many buttons, it was, like, Buttonpalooza.
      The slang affix "palooza" likely has its origins in the 1960s America, and is/was used to impart a sense of grand-scale importance. However, the reference is almost certainly to Lollapalooza, the alternative concert series that defined summer music festivals for Generation Xers. Joss, et al, have borrowed from it many times over the course of the show.

    • Buffy: Don't eat it! It's people!
      This is a reference to the 1973 movie Soylent Green. In the year 2022, the starving masses depend upon the government manufactured food item Soylent Green to exist. But in the midst of a murder investigation, a cop named Thorn (Charlton Heston) uncovers the chilling source of the product. It is made from corpses. When he makes this discovery, Thorn screams "It's people! Soylent Green is made from people"

    • Willow: ... and pictures of that Vulcan woman on Enterprise.
      Willow is referring to Enterprise, the latest Star Trek series which also airs on UPN. The Vulcan woman in question is T'Pol, played by Jolene Blalock.