After discovering the corpses of two young children bearing a symbol linked to the occult, Joyce spearheads a campaign to rid Sunnydale of witches.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Little Girl
Little Boy
Michael Czajak (as Blake Swendson)


The discovery in Sunnydale park of a boy and girl aged 7-8, apparently murdered ritually as indicated by markings, soon tracked to witchcraft -as used by sorcery apprentice Willow-, has an unusual emotional effect. Buffy's mother, who was there in an attempt to bond, founds the soon influential Mothers Opposing the Occult, MOO, actually including fathers and sympathizers, which alas targets white as well as black magic, even slaying, actually urged by the two killed kids to 'hurt the bad girls'. Eagerly helped by principal Snyder, mayor Wilkins and the police, MOO manages to have the school lockers searched, Giles' books confiscated and risking to end up a stake, where they believe witches must be solved, even if this extreme 'punishment' concerns their own daughters. When the gang realize nobody ever identified the kids, they find there's more to Hans and Greta Strauss, in their dark past... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

12 January 1999 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The future director Jerome Elston Scott played the stoner boy who is led away from his locker in the opening scene. See more »


Buffy is tied to a stake with rope around her midriff and hips. Depending on the camera angle being shown, her right arm is either held against her hips or free from the elbow down. See more »


Giles: There is a fringe theory held by a few folklorists that some regional stories have actual, um, very literal antecedents.
Buffy: And in some language that's English?
Oz: Fairy tales are real.
Buffy: Hans and Gre- Hansel and Gretel?
Xander: Wait. Hansel and Gretel? Bread crumbs, ovens, gingerbread house?
Giles: Of course. It makes sense now.
Buffy: Yeah, it's all falling into place. Of course that place is nowhere near this place.
Giles: Some demons thrive by fostering hatred and-and, uh, persecution amongst the mortal animals. Not by-not by ...
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References Apocalypse Now (1979) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Performed by Nerf Herder
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User Reviews

Not the best episode of the season
3 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Gingerbread" is about censorship. A militant parents-right's group has taken over Sunnydale. They're searching school lockers for objectionable materials, banning inflammatory books, persecuting people who are different, etc... It's a monster-of-the-week that deals with real life issues under the guise of witchcraft and fairy tales. This isn't the best episode of the season, but it's still pretty good in places. You could skip "Gingerbread", if you're in a hurry and watching the season on DVD. But, really, it's worth seeing just so you can understand the running Amy/rat joke in the seasons to come.

"Gingerbread" has Hansel and Gretel coming to Sunnydale. While out on patrol with Buffy, Joyce stumbles across the bodies of two children and is horrified. Determined to stop the violence and mysterious happenings in Sunnydale, Joyce organizes "Mother's Opposed to the Occult" or "MOO." Suddenly, everyone in town is preoccupied with avenging the deaths of the children and tracking down the witches that apparently killed them. They're confiscating Giles' books, stealing Cordelia's scented candles and questioning Willow about her wicca-ness. It soon becomes apparent that the whole town is under some sort of spell.

The dead children are really Hansel and Gretel and, to make things even more complicated they are also a demon. It hides in the guise of the children, breaking communities apart and inspiring them to persecute witches. Joyce and Willow's Mom capture their daughters and tie them up. Willow, Amy and Buffy are all soon set to be burned at the stake. Amy morphs into a rat to escape. Oz and Xander fight to save Willow and Buffy, while Giles and Cordy work on a cure for the demons spell.

There are some good parts to the episode. I like that "Gingerbread" finally addresses the dangers of living in Sunnydale. The disappearances and skinnings and "sudden neck ruptures"... There's no way that the citizens of Sunnydale could fail to pick up on the problems in their town. They have a willful, blind ignorance of the darkness that surrounds them. And Pricipal Snyder reading off the titles of the confiscated library books is hilarious. "Blood Rites and Sacrifices." I can't believe that Giles just has those books sitting on the shelves. Also, it's good to finally see Willow's mother and understand a bit more around Willow's home life. No wonder Willow wants to spend all her time at school. Lastly, I like Amy turning into the rat. Poor Amy will be stuck like that for quite a while.

Also aside from the Hansel and Gretel reference, the title of the episode has a hidden meaning. The word Gingerbread has the letters D-A-N-G-E-R in it.

On the downside, Angel's not in this episode very much. He should have been involved in the "lets-save-Buffy" plan. And did Giles' books really get burnt? He won't like that.

My favorite part of the episode: Willow's mother's rant against the patriarchal biased of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood."

19 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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