Buffy The Vampire Slayer made its way to network television over 20 years ago. In the 90s, fans weren’t as eagle-eyed about Easter eggs as they are today. There wasn’t DVR to help pause and go back over certain scenes, analyzing every detail. There certainly weren’t streaming sites to allow fans even more time with their favorite characters.
If you wanted to go back and watch an episode again, you would have to record it on your VCR - or make the wait for the DVDs. The widespread use of technology like streaming sites and DVR has changed the way we consume television today. That doesn’t mean creators weren’t including Easter eggs, shout outs to creative teams, or even nods to the fans in content before the use of DVR. In fact, Buffy The Vampire Slayer had plenty of those.
The series spun out from the movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. Sarah Michelle Gellar took on the role of the title character and a “Scooby gang” built around her with friends and allies to help her take on vampires and demons. Over seven seasons, the writers, props department, and set designers squeezed in a lot of things that might have taken a few re-watches to catch.
While looking back at Buffy’s legacy, we’ve spotted 30 Things Fans Missed In Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
30 Moloch’s Name's Meaning
Season one of the series didn’t deal with a lot of mythology based episodes. Instead, as world building occurred and characters were fleshed out, there were a lot of monsters of the week to keep the stories flowing. One of those was a computer demon in season one’s “I Robot… You Jane.”
Called Moloch, this demon’s name had a double meaning. “Moloch” is a Hebrew word for demon. Willow was raised Jewish and had the most experience with the demon, so the name made sense there. It also, however, was a nod to a computer language function called “malloc,” which is short for memory allocation. Considering he was a demon born from computer usage, Moloch was a fitting name all around.
29 Textbook Lyrics
When a television series or movie has the text of a book shown on screen, the production company has to pay someone to use existing content. As a result, a lot of times what appears on the spotlighted pages will be created for the show by the props department.
In the case of the season one episode “Out Of Mind Out Of Sight,” a featured textbook has a familiar phrase. It features the line “joy is a warm revolver” and other rewritten lyrics for the Beatles song “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.” The paraphrasing makes it less likely for viewers to catch it.
28 Oz Predicts Willow’s Villainy
Some of the most interesting foreshadowing in Buffy The Vampire Slayer occurs in early series dialogue meant as a joke. One line from Oz in season two actually foreshadowed some of the events of season six.
Oz jokingly called Willow an “evil mastermind” when someone asked if her innocence was an act in the episode “Phases.” Four years later, Dark Willow surfaced as she became addicted to magic. Willow became so powerful she actually attempted to create an apocalyptic situation.
27 Back Off Pink Ranger
Outside of fighting bad guys, it probably doesn’t seem like Buffy and the Power Rangers have much in common. The season two episode “What’s My Line Part 2” threw out a line of dialogue that indicated otherwise.
Buffy tells Kendra, “Back off, Pink Ranger,” at one point. Bianca Lawson (Kendra) never played a Power Ranger. The line was actually in reference to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s stunt double. Sophia Crawford was the stunt double for original Pink Ranger, Amy Jo Johnson, on the kids’ series.
26 Funny Farm Reference
Apparently, Buffy liked to get pretty meta with her jokes in season two. In the episode “What’s My Line Part 2,” she made a reference to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s real life work.
Buffy quips to Kendra that she shouldn’t watch the movie Funny Farm. The movie, which starred Chevy Chase, also featured another familiar face. It was one of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s first pieces of acting work on the big screen. Her role in the film was uncredited, but she's one of the youngest extras in the movie.
25 Honoring Crew Members
Buffy spent a lot of time in two places: school and the graveyard. As a result, those two places require quite a bit of set pieces and props. Some of those pieces give shout outs to members of the show’s crew.
While season one of the series filmed in the Hollywood cemetery, a renewal meant a cemetery set was built instead. Without ready made gravestones, the crew had to create some. Many of the graves feature names of crew members instead of recreating ones that might have ended up on camera in the real cemetery.
Names of crew members can also be spotted on signs, yearbooks, and in dorm listings when Spike tries to track Buffy and Willow down in college.
24 Fandom Shout Outs
In addition to the crew getting shout outs, the fans that made the show so successful also saw some credit in the show. During the series’ heyday, an official message board for like minded fans was created to help promote it. That message board ended up acknowledged by the show’s team.
One way was in the naming of a demon for the show. The demon Polgara didn’t have a random name. It was the username for a prominent member of the message board. Likewise, when the Homecoming Queen competition is analyzed in the season three episode “Homecoming,” one of the candidates is listed as “PB Crazed.” You might think that means peanut butter. It’s actually a reference to “posting board.”
23 Buffy Predicts Joyce’s Demise
Over the years, Buffy The Vampire Slayer featured a lot of demise and destruction. Usually it was the bad guys meeting their ends, but sometimes, allies lost the fight as well. One demise hit the audience harder than most because it wasn’t supernatural at all. If they had paid attention, they would have discovered that Buffy laid the foundation for it in an earlier episode.
In the episode “The Body,” Joyce Summers lost her life as the result of a brain aneurysm, something very unexpected and tragic for the series. In the earlier season four episode “The Freshman,” however, Buffy joked about her mother perishing in response to the price of textbooks. Her tease? She hoped it would be a “funny aneurysm.” Ouch.
22 A Spell For Buses
Ancient spells never appear written in English. In the case of the season four episode “Fear Itself,” a summoning spell was written in Gaelic. Luckily for Buffy fans, plenty of people still read and speak the language today, allowing that summoning spell to be translated.
The text appears in a book with “The Mark Of Gachnar,” but it has nothing to do with the demon in the episode. Instead, it translates to a news report about buses in Dublin, saying, “a special bus route will open in Dublin today despite reports that it may cause traffic congestion as a result.”
We suppose it’s “summoning” those buses, so it still counts as a summoning spell, right?
21 A Biblical Verse References The Gentlemen
The episode “Hush” was a landmark hour for Buffy. Known for snappy dialogue and sarcastic wit, nearly the entire hour is silent as the Gentlemen make everyone in Sunnydale mute. Of course, we don’t need dialogue to spot Easter eggs.
Not long after everyone loses their voice, Buffy and Willow walk by an outdoor church service where the sign reads, “Revelation 15:1.” That particular chapter and verse is an Easter egg for the episode as it reads, “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues - last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.”
There were, naturally, seven Gentlemen going after the hearts of seven town residents.
20 Season 3 And Season 4 Episodes Foreshadow Dawn’s Debut
Though plenty of fans were shocked at the sudden appearance of Buffy’s little sister Dawn in season five, her addition was planned for a long time. Instances foreshadowing her arrival were peppered through seasons three and four.
Many of those instances occur as a result of strange dreams or Buffy’s interactions with Faith. Faith makes reference to Buffy “dressed up in big sister’s clothes” during a fight, and tells Buffy in a dream later that “little sis is coming.” She’s not the only one though.
When one of Buffy’s dreams features Tara, the latter tells the former to “be back before dawn.” When she wakes, Buffy walks by, and looks inside, the room that becomes Dawn’s bedroom the next season.
19 Sappho’s Love Poem
By the time the season four episode “Restless” rolled around, Willow and Tara were in a committed romantic relationship. It was no secret. That didn’t stop the show from including an Easter egg related to their relationship on Tara’s skin.
Willow writes script on Tara’s back in another language. Most viewers weren’t sure what it meant, and it was never referenced later. It turned out to be a love poem. The poem wasn’t just any poem; it was written by Sappho of Lesbos. The word "lesbian" gets its root from her home, and she might be the most famous women loving woman of all time, so it’s a nice reference to Willow and Tara’s relationship.
18 A Fated Expiration Date
One storyline in season four featured Faith and Buffy body swapping. Faith takes advantage of the situation, arming herself with Buffy’s credit card to go shopping. When she does, there’s an Easter egg that’s hard to spot.
The expiration date on Buffy’s card is May 2001. That’s significant because Buffy does literally expire in May 2001. That’s when the episode “The Gift” aired. Buffy chose to sacrifice herself for her little sister, effectively expiring at the same time as her credit card on screen.
17 Season 3 And 4 Count Down To Buffy’s Demise
In addition to that expiration date that seems like fate, seasons 3 and four both seemed to start the countdown clock on Buffy’s life.
In the season three finale “Graduation Day Part 2,” Buffy has a strange dream. The dream features Faith telling her, “Miles to go, little Miss Muffet, counting down from 7-3-0.” Not only does 730 days equal two years, which is how many years later Buffy’s sacrifice occurs, but the “miles to go” is also a reference to her losing her life. The phrase comes from Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening,” which is about the end of life.
In “Restless,” the season four finale, Buffy’s alarm clock reads 7:30 in a dream, but it’s made clear to her that the clock is “all wrong.” Even though the episode made the reference to the previous countdown, she was already a year closer.
16 Restless Predicts Tabula Rasa
Buffy isn’t the only one to have strangely prophetic dreams in the series. Xander also has some interesting ones. In one dream in the episode “Restless,” Xander dreams that Giles thinks of Spike as his son.
Cut to the episode “Tabula Rasa” in which everyone loses their memories temporarily, and Spike and Giles actually believe they’re related for while. Spike even wears the same jacket (belonging to Giles) in the dream as he does during the events of “Tabula Rasa,” adding to the prophetic effect of the dream.
15 The Demon Halfrek Knew Spike As Cecily
One of the most entertaining additions to the series was former demon Anya. Anya had to adjust to a life of humanity, but she still had friends in the demon world. One of those was Halfrek. As it turned out, fans had already met Halfrek before she was introduced.
The same actress played the role of Cecily in the season five episode “Fool For Love.” Cecily was the object of William the Bloody’s (because of his “bloody awful poetry”) affection. He even wrote a poem for her before she soundly rejected him.
In season six, when Halfrek appeared in an episode, she recognized Spike as William, his pre-vampire name, a nod that two already knew each other. What’s not clear is whether Halfrek was masquerading as Cecily or if Cecily somehow became a demon after.
14 Vampire Willow Foreshadows Character Development
The vampire version of Willow was from another timeline, but she was certainly informative for where the character would go. Some of her traits foreshadowed the person Willow could become.
When Willow ran into the vampire version of her other self, she remarked that she thought the vampire wasn't exactly straight. The real Willow hadn’t yet realized that she also preferred the company of women.
Likewise, the vampire version of Willow didn’t take kindly to people getting in her way, or listening to lengthy exposition. She used the phrase “bored now” to indicate she was moving on to something more evil. When the Willow of the normal timeline became addicted to magic and was briefly a villain, she used the same phrase for the same reasons.
13 100 Episode References
Hitting the 100 episode mark was a huge landmark for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Usually that kind of run only happened for medical dramas and crime procedurals in the 90s.
The show’s 100th episode happened to be “The Gift,” the episode in which Buffy sacrificed herself to thwart the apocalypse and make sure her little sister had a chance to live. During the course of the episode, she asked Giles how many apocalypses this event would make. His response indicated they’d seen six, but it felt like they’d been through 100 of them.
12 Dawn’s In Trouble
The much hyped musical episode “Once More With Feeling” featured a lot of meta humor. One of those instances was Buffy’s nonchalant line of “Dawn’s in trouble, must be Tuesday.”
Throughout most of the show’s run, it locked down the Tuesday night time-slot. Even when the series made the move from the WB to the UPN for its final season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer still aired on Tuesdays. Tuesdays must have been an eventful day of the week in Buffy’s world as well.
11 Recycled Actors
The world of Buffy The Vampire Slayer could sometimes seem very small if you had a good eye. There were several actors employed for multiple roles. Sometimes this was a result of the actor having a lot of experience with stunts and fight scenes. Other times it was because makeup and prosthetics for some of the villains meant fans couldn’t tell who the actor was underneath.
Camden Toy was one actor who was able to appear as multiple villains across seasons. He played more than one vampire on the show, one of the Gentlemen, and a demon named Gnarl who ate human skin.
10 A Wacky Broadway Nightmare
“Once More With Feeling” didn’t give Willow a ton of singing. As she references in one song, her lines are “mostly filler.” Actress Alyson Hannigan didn’t seem to mind too much, and one of her other lines in the episode stood out.
During the number “I’ve Got A Theory,” most people remember Anya’s fear of bunnies as the big reference. Willow’s past is also referenced though when she postulates, “some kid is dreaming and we’re stuck inside his wacky Broadway nightmare.” An early episode of the show saw that happen to Willow as a child made nightmares reality. Willow’s nightmare involved performing on stage.
9 Writers On Screen
Cameos from creators have become standard practice in superhero movies. Directors, producers, and comic book writers frequently get their chance to appear on the big screen. It’s not as prevalent on the small screen.
In Buffy’s musical episode, however, a pair of writers appeared - and even sang - in the episode. Marti Noxon played the woman getting a parking ticket who swore “that hydrant wasn’t there.” David Fury played a man exiting the dry cleaners, excited that they “got the mustard out.”
8 Warren Predicts His Fate
We can easily write off some of the prophetic jokes on Buffy The Vampire Slayer as coincidence. It’s possible writers didn’t have a specific plan in mind and some of them just linked up well years later. In the case of Warren predicting his own fate, however, his prophetic joke lands in the same episode, not seasons later.
In “Villains,” Warren thinks he needs a little magical protection. Afraid that Buffy will retaliate for him shooting her (not knowing he actually shot Tara), he seeks out help from the character Rack. Rack senses Willow’s fury and warns Warren, but Warren doesn’t listen, sarcastically noting that they can discuss his “skin trouble” instead. Later, Willow demonstrates how angry she is by actually removing Warren’s skin, really giving him trouble.
7 Oz And Willow Were Destined
Willow and Oz’s relationship might not have made it to the end of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but young fans should have know their characters would have chemistry. Seth Green and Alyson Hannigan had already played two characters in a relationship before.
The two actors previously played a couple in the sci-fi kids movie My Stepmother Is An Alien. They were child actors when they appeared together the first time around, so some of their original audience members probably caught them as adults on Buffy.
6 A Season 7 Phone Call Was A Crossover
When Buffy started thinking about the future in season three, a relationship with the vampire Angel was no longer in the cards. Angel relocated, and when he did, he landed his own spinoff series. There wasn’t a ton of crossover between the two shows other than the occasional guest appearance by Faith in both.
In fact, when Faith popped up in Angel’s neck of the woods in his fourth season, Angel was actually the vampire Angelus, and not on the side of good. He called Buffy’s house to find out if she was still in Sunnydale. That phone call happened in season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When Dawn answered the phone and told Buffy she had a call, he hung up, his question answered. It was a tiny moment that happened on both series.
5 There Are More Hellmouths Than Sunnydale
One of the reasons Buffy and her friends see so many possible apocalypses is because of where they live. Sunnydale is located on top of a Hellmouth. A Hellmouth is what the Buffy universe calls an entrance to the underworld and all of its demons. It’s a good thing Sunnydale had its own personal slayer.
Sunnydale, however, isn’t the only one. There are jokes made about the Hellmouth in Cleveland, but the season seven episode “Never Leave Me” reveals a map of several locations all over the world.
4 There’s An Alternate Universe Made Of Shrimp
In season four, Anya makes an attempt to explain the idea of many universes. To illustrate her point, she explains that there could be a world where shrimp don’t exist, and on the flip side, there could be a world of nothing but shrimp. Interestingly, she gets back up from another series.
The demon Illyria joined the team at Angel Investigations in the guise of Fred. Like Anya, she explained the idea of many universes. Illyria had also actually been to other universes. One of them was a world full of shrimp, which she didn’t particularly care for.
3 The Bronze’s Last Band
The Bronze was a staple on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Despite clearly being a bar, the Sunnydale teens liked to hang out there to catch a band or two. One band in particular was an Easter egg for fans.
As the apocalypse loomed in season seven, one band was brave enough to play out the end of the world. That band was Nerf Herder. This was a special band because they were actually the same band that created the show’s long running theme song. When Joss Whedon wanted a new theme following season one, producers brought in several lesser known groups to write one. Nerf Herder was chosen, and their theme song remained in place for the rest of the show’s run.
2 Spike And Angel Have The Same Name
When these two humans were turned into vampires, the demonic part of the vampires had their own names. Angelus became Angel when he had a soul. Spike stayed Spike, even when he grew a conscience. Spike was originally William in his human life. Angel was originally Liam.
While William is a traditional English name, in Ireland, another name had the same meaning, and part of the same root. Liam is the Irish equivalent of William.
We have to wonder if Spike and Angel ever realized that about one another.
1 The Doctor
This last Easter egg isn’t courtesy of the television series, but instead it comes from the continuation of the series. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is ongoing in comic book form.
In the comics, the pop culture icon got to share the page with another pop culture icon from a genre series. In the background of a panel, readers who are fans of Doctor Who are in for a treat. The David Tennant version of the doctor, with Billie Piper as Rose, can be seen in the artwork.
Did all of these Buffy The Vampire Slayer Easter eggs slip by you? Or did we miss something you caught? Let us know in the comments.