With 145 episodes under its belt, a spin-off, and many comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a cultural phenomenon. Being well-received, the show has had an enduring success even after its cancellation in 2003. While it might be hard to believe for superfans, the show wasn’t always great.
As blasphemous as it may seem, it is true that some episodes were just not good. Some people may have liked them, but overall, they are panned by the viewers. Here are the ten episodes that are truly the worst of what Buffy and the gang had to offer the viewers based on their ranking on IMDb.
10 Gingerbread (6.8)
When two children are found dead in a park alongside some witchcraft like symbols, the town goes mad. Most affected is Joyce, Buffy’s mom, who spearheads a campaign against the occult under the name Mothers Opposing the Occult or MOO for short. After Joyce Summers joins MOO, Sunnyvale turns into Salem.
At this point in the series, Willow had just started looking into the occult and was found to have witch symbols in her locker. Giles also loses all his books due to their inherent occult nature. Magic-users Amy, Willow, and Buffy are set to be burned at the stake, but they escape, allowing Buffy to kill the demon that was manipulating everyone. Also, Amy turns into a rat and stays that way.
9 Superstar (6.7)
When Jonathan takes over Buffy’s place, her central role is dearly missed. Buffy and the normal gang take a backseat as a former side character and sometimes villain Jonathan is front and center as the hero of Sunnydale. He is suave, strong, and better than everyone else in every way.
Buffy notices things aren’t what they seem, especially after a demon bearing the same mark as Jonathan attacks Sunnydale. Willow discovers that Jonathan performed an augmentation spell which also created the creature. The gang learns that the only way back to normal is for the creature to be destroyed. Rather than keep up the ruse, Jonathan ends up killing the demon and ending the spell.
8 Listening to Fear (6.7)
The truth about Dawn and Joyce’s sickness comes to light in this episode about a space demon that gravitates to the mentally ill. Joyce is due to have surgery in two days so Joyce, Dawn, and Buffy have some family time. A man in the hospital points at Dawn and says that she has nothing inside of her. The Queller, the demon, begins attacking people with mental illnesses.
As the time for surgery draws near, Joyce goes into a craze and is targeted by the Queller. During a fight with Buffy, and Spike, who happens to be in the house stealing pictures of Buffy, the Queller is killed. The episode ends with Joyce finding out the truth about Dawn and asking Buffy to take care of her if something happens.
7 Where the Wild Things Are (6.6)
Buffy and Riley's intimacy sparks the appearance of ghost children which attack the gang. Buffy and Riley beat some demons then head back to Riley’s room. The house responds by giving the classic checklist of haunted clichés, such as a leaking faucet.
Xander, who is now driving an ice cream truck, tells Anya they should get together, but there is a line of children outside who hear him.
The gang finds out that Riley’s house used to be an orphanage and that the old caretaker was a horrible person who accidentally created poltergeists in the house. Anya stops Buffy and Riley from being intimate in the house and the poltergeist is stopped.
6 Goodbye Iowa (6.6)
A Frankenstein's monster-esque creature kills Riley and Buffy’s boss at the Initiative. Buffy, having been secretly working for the Initiative, spills her secrets to the gang. Later, Professor Maggie Walsh is found dead, causing a lot of problems for the Initiative. While investigating, it is learned that Maggie had been secretly drugging all of the soldiers, including Riley, who is now going through harsh withdrawals.
The monster, Adam, made of human, robot, and demon parts, tries to relate to Riley by calling him a brother, but that causes the two to fight. Adam kills a lot more people but escapes. Spike also has a side story where he is hiding from all sides of the conflict.
5 Go Fish (6.6)
The members of the swim team make perfect monsters that can swim. Buffy and the gang attend a party for the swim team and meet various members. Buffy gets flirted with, Jonathan gets dunked in an ice bath, and Xander gets jealous. Also, the skin of one of the swim team boys is found with nothing inside.
The swim coach was actively turning his students into Gill Monsters and they begin attacking students at the school. While investigating, Buffy is captured and thrown into a hole where she is almost eaten. Xander saves her, then is attacked by the coach who falls into the hole and does get eaten. The monsters return to the sea, never to be seen again.
4 Doublemeat Palace (6.4)
Buffy gets a job at a fast-food restaurant and has a bad beef experience. After getting a job at Doublemeat Palace, Buffy investigates the contents of a new sandwich, which is too good to be true. After finding a finger, she comes to believe that employees are being turned into burger meat and attempts to find the truth, which leads to her being fired.
The human meat plot turns out to be a red herring and the true problem was a customer who happened to be a lamprey. Willow and Buffy kill it before it can eat anyone else. Buffy gets her job back after revealing she knows the real secret ingredient, processed vegetables.
3 Bad Eggs (6.4)
Worried about teenage sex and pregnancy, a teacher gives out prehistoric parasites for the gang to look after in the form of eggs. They get the eggs and begin caring for them, but at night the eggs end up taking care of themselves. Buffy and Angel are on the hunt for two murderous vampires, but get distracted by each other’s lips.
The two weirdly talk about children and Buffy finds out she can’t have any, which somehow surprises her. The eggs hatch and begin controlling people including Willow and Cordelia. Buffy kills the mother creature from the inside and leaves covered in goo. She also gets grounded.
2 As You Were (6.4)
Riley shows up in town with a mission and a wife. Still working at Doublemeat, Buffy is met again by her ex Riley, who needs her help with a demon in town. As Riley and Buffy battle the demon at the bottom of a dam, Sam, Riley’s wife steps in to help. Buffy kills the demon and finds out that the couple was trying to get answers from it.
Buffy and Spike hook up throughout the episode, and Riley walks in on one of those times, believing Spike to be “The Doctor” who is housing some demon eggs. Spike says he doesn’t know anything, but Riley and Buffy find the eggs, which hatch and attack. Buffy grenades the eggs and creatures and Spike’s home. Buffy breaks up with Spike at the end as well.
1 Beer Bad (5.7)
Being an after-school special that just doesn’t work, the title is as ham-fisted as the episode is. Xander finds himself employed as a bartender somehow and begins serving a new beer called “Black Frost” to the patrons of the bar, including a love sickened Buffy. Buffy and her four new bar friends begin to exhibit strange behaviors as they drink the beer.
Eventually, Buffy and the four friends are reverted to caveman-like tendencies, including fear of fire and painting murals on walls. Willow and Buffy’s recent lover Parker are kidnapped by the four and locked in the bar which accidentally gets lit on fire. Cave-Buffy saves the two, gaining back some of her smarts before knocking Parker out with a club for fun.