Beer Bad
Written by: Tracey Forbes
Directed by: David Solomon
Air Date: Nov. 2, 1999


UGH. What a piece of crap episode. I might have given bad scores to episodes like “Teacher’s Pet”, but the difference between that and “Beer Bad” is two-fold. First, I hate the name. Let’s get that out of the way immediately. It sucks, is bad, and should feel bad. But the other difference is that we’re in the fourth season, now. We have better writing, better costumes, better effects… all around better production values. I get that this was supposed to be the good ol’ “Don’t Drink, Kids!” episode of the show (literally… they wrote it to get grant money specifically by being this kind of episode) but come on. If the characters on your show are supposed to be growing up, maybe you should, too… as a writer.

The main offense with this episode, though, is that we’re still dealing with stupid ol’ Parker, the guy Buffy boinked a few episodes back. She hasn’t gotten over him, wishes he would call her and apologize (she even has a pretty OK dream sequence at the start of the episode during Prof. Walsh’s Id-Ego-Superego lecture), and she wants to know what is so wrong with her that he wouldn’t want her. I don’t care anymore, even the other characters are ceasing to care at this point, and Parker doesn’t give a fucking shit. So why try to convince us to care? Jeeeeeesus.


The plot revolves around… hold on, scratch that. Let’s try again.

The “plot” revolves around some dick bartender enchanting beer to make prep-like jock-douches turn into the Geico cavemen. I mean, the jock-douches and Kal Penn. Buffy, inadvertently, gets caught up in the issue by missing Parker so damned much she is perfectly OK being surrounded by four men who continually booze her up. Its a stupid moment for a character that is not the brightest bulb, but is never depicted as being mentally handicapped. Well, until this episode. She cave-girls it ups but, because Xander – who happens to be a new bartender (seriously, the need to fit him into every episode is already starting to grow tired) – boots her out early, she doesn’t go full cro-magnon. Instead she just has a speech problem and draws cave paintings on her walls.

The costumes are bad, but for the first time in many episodes, I’m going to talk about the music being bad. Its REALLY bad. I mean, horrible. The entire finale in which the burning building housing our cave-heroes and -heroines crumbles about the place is scored to the most ridiculous music I’ve heard since Season 1. Its persistent, loud, does nothing to build the tension, and only serves to make me both roll my eyes and want to keep them in a position of looking away, rather than having them roll back down to the screen. But! But! There’s a subplot going on about Oz being drawn to ugly-ass Veruca…! Surely that is interest— False. Because her scene involves her “Band” playing “Music” and it is so bad and ear-scratchingly offensive I wanted to curl into a ball and fade away into nothingness.


You may think I’m being too hard on this episode. You’re wrong. Dead wrong. There is no real lesson learned, here. For an episode designed to make a quick buck and an episode on someone else’s dime, all it does is drive home the fact that irresponsibility is only bad if someone magics up your drink. Otherwise, you’re fine. The issue here wasn’t that the kids drank too much. No, the issue here is that the kids drank evil beer. “Beer Bad’ being the title of the episode, I think they mean the beer itself is morally up to no good. Its is being mischievous. Nasty. Not that it is a poor choice. And that’s why, from what I can tell, the Office of National Drug Control Policy didn’t fork over the cash for the episode. Buffy and friends don’t advocate not drinking. They advocate not falling for a sorcerer’s devious ways.

And how about the fact that there is absolutely no repercussions for any of the bad characters? I’m OK with the cavemen not dying or getting blamed; it wasn’t really their fault they caused property damage. But Xander merely makes a passing judgement on the bartender before going for help. Where is his comeuppance? If you aren’t going to teach us that beer is bad, teach us that using magic for evil is bad! He isn’t mentioned again, seen again, or anything. We can presume that, once Buffy is back to normal, they’ll go after the guy, but what will they do to him? He isn’t a warlock, he isn’t shooting fireballs out of his ass hole. No, just some laid back dude who got pushed too far. They won’t punch him into submission and how can they prove to to the police he was behind anything? He has a chemistry set, sure, but that doesn’t explain cavemen. Its all a mess.

I need a drink. After an episode that is supposed to teach me not to drink. Bravo, writing team.

Episode Rating: 64

Additional Notes:
-Did I say I hated Veruca already? I hate her. Yawn. At least we get to move forward immediately with the next “BtVS” episode
-While I hate the utilization of the bartender, his casual utterance of his brother being “a warlock” is comical
-Giles’ attempts to describe cave-Buffy to that stoned-out-of-his-mind dude is also comical
-Thank the fucking Sun God Ra that we’re done with Parker. Christ…
-Obvious joke of that woman finally wanting a light for her cigarette is obvious
-I think it’s all smooth sailing from here, though! For this season, anyhow…