Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996–2003)
32 user 3 critic
Buffy, Dawn, and their friends deal with the aftermath of Joyce's death.


Joss Whedon


Joss Whedon (created by), Joss Whedon

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah Michelle Gellar ... Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon ... Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan ... Willow Rosenberg
Emma Caulfield Ford ... Anya (as Emma Caulfield)
Michelle Trachtenberg ... Dawn Summers
James Marsters ... Spike (credit only)
Anthony Head ... Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Randy Thompson ... Dr. Kriegel
Amber Benson ... Tara Maclay
Kristine Sutherland ... Joyce Summers
Kevin Cristaldi ... First Paramedic
Stefan Umstead Stefan Umstead ... Second Paramedic
Loanne Bishop ... 911 Operator (voice)
J. Evan Bonifant ... Kevin
Kelli Garner ... Kirstie


Buffy sees Joyce lying on the couch, calls 911 and unsuccessfully follows emergency procedures. When the paramedics arrive, they realize that Joyce is dead. Buffy calls Giles and goes to the school to tell Dawn. Along the day, the Scooby gang grieves the death of Joyce and sympathizes with Buffy. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

27 February 2001 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Kristine Sutherland (Joyce) is notably absent in much of season 4. She apparently told Joss Whedon that she wanted to leave the show to move abroad. His reply was that "you can't leave because I'm going to kill you." See more »


At 06:30 as the camera zooms on Buffy's face, the wide screen shot shows what is probably a mike, in the top right corner. See more »


Dawn: Um, guys, hello, puberty? Sort of figured out the whole no-Santa thing.
Anya: That's a myth.
Dawn: Yeah.
Anya: No, I mean, it's a myth *that* it's a myth. There is a Santa Claus.
Xander: The advantage of having a thousand-year-old girlfriend. Inside scoop.
Tara: There's a Santa Claus?
Anya: Mm-hmm. Been around since, like, the 1500s. But he wasn't always called Santa. But with, you know, Christmas night, flying reindeer, coming down the chimney, all true.
Dawn: All true?
Anya: Well, he doesn't traditionally bring presents so much as, you know,...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Instead of the regular opening credits, a flashback scene was created that consisted of the whole cast having Christmas dinner at the Summers' house. It was created so as not to have written credits appearing over the dramatic opening scenes. See more »


References The Powerpuff Girls (1998) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
See more »

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User Reviews

Joss Whedon (almost) goes ingmar Bergman!
25 October 2009 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

If anyone ever asks if a show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer is capable of transcending not just its targeted demographic but just the possibilities of the medium of TV, you don't need to look too much further than the episode The Body. While there were a plethora of fantastic episodes in the first three seasons, four and five were a little more spotty and hit or miss. But when it hit- most often thanks to Joss Whedon's direct involvement in episodes Hush, Restless and this one- it really connected. In this case it's a true heartbreaker of an episode, and one that you shouldn't watch out of context of the season. The build-up leading in season five to what happens with this 'body' brings on an enormous gulf of pain and horror. But it's not of the supernatural. It's something so relatable it stings- a good sting, I suppose, but one that comes out of real art.

What Whedon taps into in his style here (what he calls the "physicality" of people in the first few hours after a loved one has passed) is the inability to cope with mortality. Every character has his or her own way of "dealing"- in quotes since it's a dealing that is about as heavy as one can not hope to imagine- and most significant is seeing Buffy's initial reaction at the start of the episode, of the same disillusionment that sends one into a state of shock (and, frankly, us too), and Anya, who up until now has been mildly or quite annoying as a 'comic-relief' only to provide as the once-demon persona on the show the most profound statement on death heard in a while. Only monologues spoken in Ingmar Bergman films dealing with the matter of life and death (and the incredible, impossible void left for us in the presence of nothingness) top this one for a cinematic depth of this situation.

It's great storytelling, superb and intimate acting, and with a final moment in a morgue that has a poetic flavor. Dare I say it, it's even better than Hush at conveying a breakdown of the human spirit.

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