Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 6 Episode 7

Once More, With Feeling

9
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 06, 2001 on The WB
9.7
out of 10
User Rating
1,430 votes
150

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Sunnydale is alive with the sound of music as a mysterious force causes everyone in town to burst into full musical numbers, revealing their innermost secrets as they do. Add in the fact that some townsfolk dance so much that they simply burst into flame, and it becomes clear that the Gang must stop this musical menace.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Partly-successful experiment

    3.0
    If you like Broadway show tunes, you will absolutely love this episode. The songs are actually pretty well done and it has the usual Buffy comedic flair. If however, you are like me and do not like Broadway show tunes, this episode is not going to change your mind about them. It's going to cause you to grit your teeth, cringe, and tempt you to skip over it entirely.



    Every series seems to have a need to do one of these episodes and usually they are terrible. Everything from "Xena, Warrior Princess" to "Fringe" have tried it. As an experiment, I guess this one kind of worked, and after 6+ years I suppose they earned the right to try it. But as a Buffy episode, I thought it flat out sucked.



    This is a polarizing type of episode that is anywhere from a 1 to a 10 (and probably not much in the middle) depending on what you like. Personally it's not my thing, but I totally understand why some would really dig it.moreless
  • Surprisingly good songs

    8.5
    I thought the first few songs were great, especially Tara's, which reached some pretty climactic stuff. Then the songs seemed to weaken as the episode's big drama kicked in and as some of the guys with softer voices took turns. But then again, as a novice, I don't know the characters that well. As to those reviewers saying there are no memorable songs: I bet there are tons of Buffy fans out there who know these songs by heart.moreless
  • Why is "Once More, With Feeling" so special?

    10
    Is it the singing? I say 'no,' or at least mostly I critique musicals as strongly as I critique movies or television episodes, so I must say that just being a musical does not make this a great episode. The attention, care, and effort put into it does. Although not my favorite episode of the series, it comes pretty darn close because of its endless rewatchability that is the result of vital character development, beautiful lyrics and cinematography, and the utter conviction of everyone involved. This is not about showing off and saying "hey, look at us! We made a musical!" It's very clearly about one, and only one, thing: the characters. That is the reason why it so amazingly succeeds.moreless
  • Cringe inducing

    1.0
    I realize I'm in the very small minority, but I thought this episode was just dreadful. The tunes were forgettable and the lyrics just plain dreadful. It was like watching a talentless 9th grader sing a song he wrote professing his love. That painful.

    Loved the rest of Buffy, but I find it jaw-dropping that so many people love thisepisode. Appreciate the campiness I could kind of understand, but if you want a great musical go rent West Side Story and be done with it.moreless
  • Worthwhile experiment even though it was not a success

    7.0
    Worthwhile experiment even though it was not a success.



    The actors' singing was adequate. None were outstanding. But they were good enough. They did not embarrass themselves. The best was probably Amber Benson. Her voice was the best trained.



    The problem was the songs. They really weren't very good. Not a single memorable melody. A far cry from Cole Porter, or even Andrew Lloyd Webber.



    The slickest, most professional number was Dawn's dance number. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Michelle Trachtenberg of "Ice Princess" fame is a proficient figure skater. The choreography may well have been inspired by parts of the Gene Kelly/Cyd Charisse number in "Singin' in the Rain."



    I don't fault Whedon for wanting to do a musical episode. I just think he should have come up with better songs, as well as a better plot justification for the musical numbers. The devil made me do it? Far too flimsy.



    Other TV series have pulled it off musical episodes with reasonable success. The famous Emmy nominated "black and white" episode of "Moonlighting" comes to mind.moreless
Hinton Battle

Hinton Battle

Sweet

Guest Star

Marti Noxon

Marti Noxon

Parking Ticket Woman

Guest Star

David Fury

David Fury

Mustard Man

Guest Star

Amber Benson

Amber Benson

Tara

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Dawn's line "the hardest thing in this world is to live in it" was the same advice that Buffy gave her before diving from the tower in the episode The Gift (5x22).

    • The headline of the paper that Xander is reading in his apartment says "Mayhem Caused: Monsters Certainly Not Involved, Officials Say."

    • If you look carefully, the magazine near Dawn's jewelery box (we see this when she sings Dawn's Lament) has Justin Timberlake on the front.

    • At the end of the scene where Spike brings one of Sweet's minions to the Magic Box, Spike walks out through the front door. You can clearly hear his footsteps after he is outside, which sound as though he is walking on a wooden floor. There isn't any wood flooring outside the front of the shop. The surface consists of a concrete sidewalk and an asphalt street.

    • When Dawn is with Sweet after she's been captured, Sweet transforms her outfit into a dress. Before he magically does this, the neck line of the dress is visible.

    • After Xander and Anya sing 'I'll Never Tell' it automatically cuts to Giles, Anya and Xander walking down a sidewalk. If you look closely-in the first few seconds of the scene, on the far right, in the windows reflection you can see the camera man walking with the camera and a boom is visible.

    • When Buffy is dancing at the end of "Something to Sing About" in front of the stage, the body of the puppet demon behind her seems to shift all over the place with every cut.

    • In the scene where Tara and Anya are backup, Tara messes up her dance steps and you can see her laughing in the background.

      In interviews, Amber Benson explains, "Emma and I were doing our little dance, and seriously, I ran into the pole, and they used the take. I don't think you see me hit the pole but you see me afterwards, and I look dazed, and then I back up, 'It's OK. I'm good. I meant to do that.'"

  • QUOTES (23)

    • Spike: (Singing to Buffy) Life's not a song. Life isn't bliss, life is just this; it's living! You run along, the pain that you feel, only can heal by living! You've got to go on living, while one of us is li-ving.

    • Willow: I've got a theory we should work this fast!
      Giles and Willow: Because it clearly could get serious before it's passed!

    • Sweet: Showtime!

    • Buffy: I touch the fire and it freezes me. I look into it, and it's black. Why can't I feel? My skin should crack and peel. I want the fire back! Now through the smoke, she calls to me; to make my way across the flame. To save the day, or maybe melt away. I guess it's all the same...
      So I will walk, through the fire, 'cause where else can I turn? And I will walk through the fire, and let it...

    • Giles: I was able to examine the body while police were taking witness arias.

    • Giles: Will this do a thing to change her? Am I leaving Dawn in danger? Is my Slayer too far gone to care?
      Xander: What if Buffy can't defeat it?
      Anya: Beady-eyes is right, we're needed. Or we could just sit around and glare.
      All: We'll see it through, it's what we're always here to do, so we will walk through the fire.

    • Spike: (singing) This torch I bear is scorching me. And Buffy's laughing, I've no doubt. I hope she fries! I'm free if that bitch dies! (gets up anyway) I'd better help her out.

    • Buffy: So what is it? What's going on?
      Giles: I thought it didn't matter.
      Buffy: Well I'm not exactly quaking in my stylish yet affordable boots, but there's definitely something unnatural going on, and that usually doesn't lead to hugs and puppies.

    • Parking ticket Lady: I've been having a bad, bad day
      Come on won't you put that pad away
      I'm asking you please no
      It isn't right, it isn't fair
      There was no parking anywere
      I think that hydrant wasn't there
      Why can't you let it go?
      I think I've paid more than my share
      I'm just a poor girl don't you care?
      Hey I'm not wearing underwear.

    • Victim that Buffy just saved:(singing)How can I repay....
      Buffy:Whatever

    • Anya: (Singing)I've got a theory it could be bunnies.
      (Everyone gives her a weird look)
      Tara: I've got a th...
      Anya: Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes. They've got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses. And what's with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway? Bunnies, bunnies, it must be BUNNIES!!!!!!!
      (Short silence)
      Anya:...Or maybe midgets.

    • Spike: So that's all? Just come to pump me for information?
      Buffy: What else would I want to pump you for? (pauses) I really just said that, didn't I?

    • Xander: It could be witches!
      Some evil witches!
      (off Willow and Tara's look)
      Which is ridiculous, 'cause witches they were persecuted
      Wicca good
      And love the earth
      And women power
      And I'll be over here!

    • Willow: The sun is shining, there's songs going on... those guys are checking you out...
      Tara: What? What are they looking at?
      Willow: The hotness of you, doofus!
      Tara: Those boys really thought I was hot?
      Willow: Entirely!
      Tara: Oh my God! I'm cured! I want the boys!
      Willow: Do I have to fight to keep you? 'Cause I'm not large with the butch.

    • Buffy: So, Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday.

    • Xander: Does this mean that I have to... (gulp) be your queen?
      Sweet: It's tempting. But I think we'll waive that clause just this once.

    • Buffy: (singing) There was no pain, no fear, no doubt, till they pulled me out, of Heaven. So that's my refrain, I live in Hell, 'cause I've been expelled, from Heaven.

    • Dawn: Oh, my God. You guys will never believe what happened at school today.
      Buffy: Everybody started singing and dancing.
      Dawn: I gave birth to a pterodactyl.
      Anya: Oh, my God. Did it sing?

    • Xander: Spike sang a widdle song?

    • Spike: As darkness comes she appears.

    • Dawn: The hardest thing in this world, is to live in it.

    • Tara: Tha-that's right! Th-the volume! The -text-
      Giles: What text?
      Willow: The volumey text
      Tara: You know
      Willow: The Mermrfrd... Report

    • Spike: You should go inside, finish the big group sing, get your kumbyayas out.
      Buffy: I-I don't want to.
      Spike: The day you suss out to what you do want, there'll probably be a parade. Seventy six bloody trombones.

  • NOTES (33)

    • While the gang is trying to figure out what is going on, Giles sings "a dancing demon, no, something isn't right there." Joss Whedon, who wrote this episode, played the demon Numfar in the Angel episode Through the Looking Glass (2x21). Numfar had no lines, but danced almost the entire time he was onscreen.

    • There is an easter egg on the DVD of this episode. Select "Once More With Feeling", and then in the following screen go to the "Language Selection" and there highlight the menu entry "English for the hearing-impaired." Now press the "Left" arrow key on your remote control and the Buffy "B" will be highlighted giving you access to 3-minutes worth of footage from the soundtrack signing at Tower Records in Los Angeles.

    • This episode is number two in Joss Whedon's list of his top ten favorite episodes according to The Last Sundown featurette in the season seven DVD box set.

    • Michelle Trachtenberg asked Joss Whedon not to give her too much to sing, and that she'd rather dance instead.
      That is why she has the dancing scene when she is in the Bronze with Sweet.

    • When this originally aired on the UPN network in the US they aired the entire episode, even though it ran 8 minutes over the alloted hour. Subsequent airings were edited to make it fit into the time format.

    • This episode ranked #44 on TV Land's The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments.

    • The purple backpack that Dawn dumps her stuff out of in her bedroom belongs to Joss Whedon, according to his audio commentary in the DVD.

    • The man who sings the song The Mustard is David Fury, the co-executive producer.

    • This episode and Hush (4x10)were both nominated for Emmy awards. Neither won. This episode, however, was left off the official ballot sent out to voters due to a misprint. The error was fixed with an addendum, but it was too late as many voters had already returned their ballots.

    • This episode is the first to have its title shown on screen, but not the last. Season seven's Conversations With Dead People also had its title displayed during the teaser.

    • Alyson Hannigan stated in an interview that she asked not to have much to sing, but regretted it afterwards because of how good the songs were (and the fact that Willow could have had a bigger part in the episode). The two songs she most wanted to sing more in were, Walk Through the Fire (her and Sarah's favorite song) and Under Your Spell, sung by Amber Benson.

    • As Giles, Anya and Xander are walking down the street talking (passing the lady singing about her parking ticket and the dancing street sweepers) they pass a man and woman doing a ballet in the street. This is the shows choreographer and his assistant, they were added to the scene at the last minute and basically improvised the dance.

    • In Walk Through the Fire, Tara sings the line, "What can't we face, if we're together" but it seems to have been intended for Willow as it is she who is given the line in the sheet music.

    • From the Once More With Feeling commentary: Joss Whedon had written a completely different song for Something to Sing About that he called My Girl. It was basically Buffy telling Sweet to take her instead of Dawn and trying to convince him that she is "his girl". Joss then changed this because he believed he had covered this idea before the song, and so he wrote Something to Sing About.

    • From the Once More With Feeling commentary: In early drafts of Xander and Anya's song I'll Never Tell, several lines were different. For example, "Will I look good when I've gotten old" was "Will he look at me when I've gotten old." Joss decided on the present line as it worked better with Xander's "Is she looking for a pot of gold" line.

    • From the Once More With Feeling commentary, in early drafts of Spike's song Rest In Peace, several lines were different including "Whisper in a dead man's to" was "Whisper it in a dead man's ear."

    • Joss Whedon spent his entire summer vacation from the show (the first one he'd taken since the show started production) writing this episode.

    • This episode took four months in total to write, film, and produce.

    • The two vampires and the demon from the opening scene, the dancing street cleaners, and Sweet's minions are all played by the same people. Joss Whedon mentioned this on the DVD commentary.

    • This episode originally aired in Australia on April 15th 2002. Due to its overwhelming popularity, it was rerun on April 15th 2003 in Australia, thus being the only ever episode (to date) to have ever been rerun during new episodes of Buffy. This also caused Angel to rerun Waiting in the Wings, the only other Joss Whedon-written episode of Buffy or Angel for that season, the very next day.

    • This is the only episode of season six that Joss Whedon either wrote or directed.

    • In Anya and Xander's song ("I'll Never Tell"), Anya says Xander's "penis got diseases from a Chumash tribe" referring to his experience in season 4's 'Pangs'.

    • Tara makes reference to when Glory altered her mind in 'Tough Love', when she sings "you know I've been through Hell", in the 'Under Your Spell-Standing Reprise.'

    • This is the first ever episode to air in widescreen (it would only be used for this one episode).

    • For the first time since the show began, the closing credit music is replaced. The dance of the Road-Sweepers is played.

    • The soundtrack for this episode is available on CD.

    • Tara's song to Willow is literal as she is still under Willow's amnesia spell.

    • Willow makes reference to a theory of how "some kid is dreaming and we're all stuck inside his wacky Broadway nightmare." This is a sort of culmination of the Scoobies experience with nightmare realms seen in other episodes, starting with Season 1's 'Nightmares'.

    • This episode has been voted as the 13th greatest musical ever in a poll conducted by the Channel 4 of the UK.

    • The Mutant Enemy logo sings the "grr... arg..." at the end of the episode. Joss Whedon provided the vocals.

    • Sarah Michelle Gellar was about to have someone else sing her songs and she was going to sing in the background, until she realized how emotional they were and didn't want anyone else to sing them.

    • The "Parking Ticket Woman" was played by Executive Producer Marti Noxon.

    • The episode's original score, songs and lyrics were written by "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon, with the music being composed by Christophe Beck.

  • ALLUSIONS (18)

    • Buffy: A world of no.
      Spike offers Buffy a drink and she says 'a world of no,' a line similar to the lyric 'a world full of no' from one of Roxie Hart's songs from OMWF's fellow musical, Chicago.

    • Buffy: Going Through The Motions
      At the very end of Buffy's first song "Going Through the Motions" she walks up steps to a landing in the graveyard overlooking the cemetery. As she finishes singing her last line "I just want to be alive!" she stakes a vampire whose dust explodes around her. This is based on the scene in "The Little Mermaid" when Ariel is on top of the boulder in the ocean overlooking the beach. As she is singing her last line "Part of that world" a large wave crashes behind her.

    • Buffy/Giles: Training montage from an eighties movie / inspirational power chords.
      Buffy is referring to the decided trend in 80's movies to include a "training montage" (nor just Rocky and the Karate Kid--many 80's movies have that, such as the ones about dancers). Power chords are a type of simplified chord played in a lot of rock music - the types of songs that usually accompany 80's movie training montages.

    • Sweet: That's entertainment...
      Sweet is referring to a 1953 song of the same title. The song was first played in the film The Band Wagon, and quickly became a huge hit. The song remained popular ever since, and is now often used in shows and films which deal with show business (particularly sentimental views of past glories from stage and screen).

    • Xander: Respect the Cruller and tame the Donut!
      This line is an homage to the film Magnolia in which Tom Cruise's character, Frank T.J. Mackey, is a male inspirational speaker. One of Mackey's common themes is that men should be more dominant over women. Xander is reciting one of Mackey's catch-phrase lines, but using "cruller" and "donut" as euphemisms for parts of the male and female anatomy.

    • Visual: Lethe's Bramble
      The flower that Willow uses to alter Tara's memory is named after one of the rivers in the underworld of Greek mythology. The river's waters allowed the dead to forget their lives on Earth.

    • Xander: Respect the Cruller!
      A cruller is a type of donut, but the dough is braided into a long oval shape rather than baked in a traditional circle. Since the dough is not raised, they are usually more airy and less dense than a regular donut.
      French Crullers are a variety which have a circular shape, but scalloped edges.

    • Buffy: So, Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday.
      Buffy is referring to the fact that Buffy has been airing on Tuesdays since January 27, 1998. Plus, Dawn pretty much gets in trouble for most of the episodes since she's appeared.

    • Spike: Saw a 600 pound Chirago demon makin' like Yma Sumac - that one'll stay with you.
      Yma Sumac is a Peruvian singer with a very impressive vocal range.

    • Sweet: I can bring whole cities to ruin and still have time to get a soft shoe in.
      Soft Shoe was a popular Jazz step and is still commonly used in some Jazz routines.

    • Buffy: I feel like I should bow or have honor.
      Since she just kicked a board in half she is referring to Martial Arts testing where students must pass a test and bow.

    • Anya: When I get so old and wrinkly, that I look like David Brinkley.
      David Brinkley is a published, award-winning journalist who happens to be quite old and wrinkly.

    • Spike: ...there'll probably be a parade. 76 bloody trombones.
      Meredith Willson wrote the song "76 trombones" for the musical The Music Man, which was a hit both on Broadway and as a 1962 musical motion picture.

    • Sweet: I bought Nero his very first fiddle.
      According to legend, Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar just watched and played a fiddle while Rome was burning.

    • Buffy: Whistle while you work so hard all day to be like other girls.
      Disney's cartoon movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs featured a song called "Whistle While you Work"

    • Spike: Some day he'll be a real boy.
      An allusion to Pinnochio, a story about a puppet who comes to life. He can move and talk but is still made of wood, and he longs to become a real boy.

    • Spike: You should go back inside. Finish the big group sing. Get your kumbayayas out.
      A dual reference to the famous camp song Kumbaya, and to the 1969 Rolling Stones live album Get Yer Ya Yas Out.

    • Tara: This demon, that can be summoned, some sort of Lord of the Dance... Oh, but not the scary one. Just a demon.
      Lord of the Dance is a Celtic themed dance production, headed by Michael Flatley of Riverdance fame. It is a common target of jokes because of a perceived arrogance in the title and the fact that neither the stage production nor the video recordings sold well at all compared to Riverdance.

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