Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most influential shows in all of television. It changed how we view everything from strong female protagonists to long-form storytelling. Additionally, the show blended humor with drama in a way that helps it feel exciting and fresh, even after all these years. The show was known for pushing the envelope. This primarily came in the form of violence: episode after episode featured bloody violence against vampires, werewolves, and other creatures that go bump in the night. And on more than one occasion, the show evoked real world violence like school shootings, resulting in episodes being censored and delayed.
However, for every episode that got delayed or censored, there were many things that somehow slipped by the censors. This involved moments of dialogue that were erotic, or hand gestures that let us know exactly what characters were going to be doing with those hands (and other parts). And sometimes it just involved robotic love slaves and the characters who loved them. If you want to know about these hot and heavy moments that the censors somehow slept on, then you’re in luck as we've put together 15 times Buffy The Vampire Slayer snuck by the censors.
15 ALL THINGS BUFFY BOT
In an earlier episode of the series, future Big Bad Warren had built a creepy robot girlfriend. Just when everyone thought it couldn’t get any creepier, Spike commissioned Warren to build a new robot that looked exactly like Buffy. They have a lot of on-screen coupling in the episode “Intervention”...so much that we wonder if the censors were just asleep at the wheel.
They have some lovemaking sessions that range from weird roleplay (like when Spike has her try to kill him first) to downright weird (when she mounts him in a graveyard in front of Xander and Anya while she repeatedly screams to Spike that he’s the “Big Bad”). Finally, when Xander comes to visit, we see the bot’s head come up from below Spike, leaving the viewer with no mistake as to what she was doing!
14 BUFFY'S STAKE JOB
One of the all-time Buffy episodes is “Hush.” The premise of the episode is deadly simple: creepy monsters called The Gentlemen steal the voices of everyone in Sunnydale. When no one can scream or call for help, they then cut people’s hearts out all over town. It’s a genuinely creepy episode...but it also has some genuinely hilarious moments.
A moment that shockingly slipped past censors comes during Giles giving a briefing via projector on who The Gentlemen are. Willow writes out the question of how to kill them, and Buffy pantomimes staking them through the heart. However, without a stake in hand, it looks like she is planning to do something downright naughty with her hands...something her friends think, too, until she takes out an actual stake to show them what she means!
13 DOING THE WILD THING
Most of the entries on this list are dedicated to moments that slipped by censors who were seemingly asleep at the wheel. However, the episode “Where the Wild Things Are” may be the only entry that was written explicitly to spite the would-be censors of the show!
This episode is mostly remembered as the episode where Buffy and Riley can’t stop hooking up. A mystical influence inside a house makes it where they can’t get enough of each other while their friends must figure out a way to break the spell. The sheer amount of on-screen, explicit canoodling is interesting enough, but Buffy legend holds that Whedon created this episode because the network had been complaining about the violence on the show. The message was clear: if the network didn’t like the slayer actually slaying, then Whedon would replace the violence with lovemaking... something they considered, ironically, even more offensive!
12 POKE-A-BOO WITH ANYA
As a character, Anya is known for being blunt. She basically took over this role from Cordelia after the latter went over to Angel. Typically, Anya is blunt about things such as her money, and she finds great comfort in capitalism after becoming human. In the episode “Hush,” however, she was blunt about what she wanted from her boyfriend!
Because no one could speak for most of this episode, characters are forced into alternate communication. Most characters write out their questions and responses on dry erase boards. However, when Xander attacks Spike because he thought the vampire had bitten Anya, she immediately decides to reward him for being her (sort of) hero. Anya holds two fingers in an “O” and pushes another finger repeatedly through it as she looks at Xander. The two quickly leave the room, leaving the rest of us to wonder if the censors have left, too!
11 SPIKE'S BRITISH BIRD
There is a scene with Spike in the episode “Hush” that didn’t just sneak by the censors…it snuck by the vast majority of the viewers, too! When Xander is getting on Spike’s nerves, Spike holds two fingers up in a backwards “V.” It’s a quick scene, and neither Xander nor anyone else offers much of a reaction. Pretty innocent, right?
Actually, no. In England, this gesture is the equivalent of giving someone the middle finger. It is a backwards version of Churchill’s classic “V for Victory” sign and is the cultural equivalent of telling someone “up yours.” This is probably on the milder spectrum of what Spike would like to tell Xander, but it’s still pretty shocking to see it made it onto the screen.
10 WILLOW MAKES QUESTIONABLE JOKES
Bad boy Spike is on this list a lot, but much of it has to do with the weird things he does with Buffy (and Buffy robots). However, there was an incident in Season Four when he tried to murder Willow that is pretty surprising. Not only is this scary scene played for laughs, but it also effectively makes light of sexual assault.
When Spike tries to bite Willow, the chip in his head activates. This causes immense pain and forces him to back off. This kicks off a weird sequence where Willow treats Spike like he’s impotent and thinks his inability to bite her is a reflection on the fact that “I’m not the kind of girl vamps like to sink their teeth into.” It’s funny until you realize the show links biting to other more criminal activities and that she feels almost pity that Spike couldn't perform.
9 BALCONY BOFFING
By the time the sixth season is over, you will have seen more Spike and Buffy romantic romping than even the most hardcore ‘shipper would ever want. The idea of them hooking up stops being risqué, so the show finds creative new ways to shock you with it…like when they openly do it in public!
In the episode “Dead Things,” Buffy is dealing with the emotional trauma of being resurrected from the dead. Spike has become a rebound-from-death lover, and in a shocking scene, the two hook up on a balcony of the Bronze. Spike is behind her and makes her watch her friends dancing below while Spike and Buffy do their own tango above. It’s pretty wild not only that Buffy consents to this but that the censors somehow let it past!
8 WITCH ON WITCH
In a couple of episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show went full Star Trek on us and showed us a kind of parallel world. This was one where Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, and the town ended up being overrun by The Master and his minions. One of these minions was vampire Willow, and she pushed the envelope in more ways than one.
Vampire Willow takes a shine to the human version of herself right away. In fact, she makes it clear that she’d like to hook up with herself at the earliest opportunity. On paper, this was the show’s cheeky way of addressing the Willow was gay (something she did not know), but it’s also crazy to imagine the network letting it happen. This network fought Willow and Tara romance tooth and claw, but they’re fine with Vampire Willow wanting a weird on-screen hookup with herself!
7 BRINGING THE HOUSE DOWN
Certain fans have given a lot of thought to the idea of superhero lovemaking. What is it like when super-powered beings go at it? Wouldn’t things get damaged all over the place? This is something that Buffy and Spike found out when they hooked up…and it was enough to literally bring the house down!
It begins when Buffy punches Spike and he punches her back. They are surprised that Spike (who still has a chip in his head) is able to harm Buffy, and she worries that coming back from the grave made her something less than human. Their violence turns to passion in an abandoned building, and pretty soon they are hooking up…which is enough to destroy the walls around them! This scene was cut down to make it less steamy, but it’s still surprising to see censors letting the final product be released.
6 TARA'S SINGING
It seems weird to think about now, but Willow and Tara’s relationship was a groundbreaking moment in TV. Not only was Whedon pushing the envelope with an ongoing, on-screen lesbian relationship, but he had to fight network censors the entire time. However, this didn’t keep him from slipping in some shockingly raunchy moments, especially in the musical episode “Once More With Feeling.”
In this episode, magic compels everyone in town to frequently break out into song. Willow and Tara get a light melody that would have fit right into a Disney movie...until it got dirty. At one point, Tara is laying down under Willow, singing how she loves to be “spread beneath my willow tree.” As Willow’s head moves downward, Tara begins to float, repeatedly singing “you make me complete.” The first part of the word, though, is held much longer, with Tara telling Willow “you make me come...plete.”
5 BLOWING OUT THE CANDLES
The entire Spike and Buffy romance seemed like a social experiment on the part of the writers. Through both dialogue and action, it seemed like they were hell-bent on seeing how far they could push things on-screen. And in the episode “Older and Far Away,” we see just how blunt and blatant things could get!
The plot of this episode revolves around another one of Buffy’s ill-fated birthday parties. She and her friends are mystically stuck in Buffy’s house, but this doesn’t keep her and Spike from exchanging some saucy dialogue on the downlow. He asks Buffy if they can slip away for a minute and then says “I’ll let you blow out my candles.” Without raising an eyebrow, Buffy says “here? Now? I don’t think so.” It’s a good thing the censors don’t care about context!
4 THE SHAPE OF THE SPIKE
Every now and then, these moments that snuck past the censors also end up giving us a little too much information about our favorite characters. There are several exchanges between Spike and Buffy that are like this. And one of the exchanges in “Wrecked” goes so far as to tell us the shape of Spike’s…well…spike!
The episode was mostly about Willow’s growing addiction to magic (a plot Buffy fans often try to ignore), but there is an eye-raising conversation between Spike and Buffy. This episode is directly after they brought down a house with their lovemaking. This is relevant because when Buffy tries to tell Spike he’s crazy by saying “you’re bent,” he quickly responds with “Yeah, and it made you scream, didn’t it?” As Jane from Firefly might say, we’ll be in our bunk!
3 FIFTY SHADES OF ANGEL
There are a lot of things that Buffy contributed towards our modern myths and attitudes about vampires. Conversely, there are classic legends that the show was wise enough to borrow and add their own spin to. One of these examples is that vampires are seductive creatures…and the end of the third season showed just how much Buffy enjoyed the seduction!
Part of the plot involved her vampire-with-a-soul boyfriend Angel being poisoned. It turns out that the cure involved him drinking the blood of a Slayer. When they can’t catch rogue Slayer Faith in time, Buffy allows Angel to drain her. As he does so, Buffy lets out a moan that is decidedly not family friendly! This scene probably looked innocent enough on page, but ended up being the kind of thing you don’t want to watch with your parents!
2 DIRTY, INVISIBLE FUN
When it comes to the inappropriate moments between Spike and Buffy, Spike is usually to blame for initiating things. However, in the episode “Gone,” we see just how wild Buffy will act when she turns invisible. So wild, in fact, that the character ends up being guilty of assault!
Feeling liberated by being invisible, Buffy begins having romantic romps with Spike. Best of all, she no longer fears her friends seeing what she is doing. This leads to some bizarre scenes where, from Xander’s perspective, Spike is making passionate love to his own bed. When Spike gets annoyed by Buffy’s shame and asks her to leave later on, he suddenly looks down and says “Okay, that’s cheating.” It’s pretty clear what invisible Buffy is doing, but it’s also clear she started doing it without Spike’s consent, which is more than a bit problematic.
1 XANDER LOVES ANYA'S BODY
As it turns out, Willow and Tara aren’t the only characters that get some dirty moments in the mostly clean musical episode “Once More With Feeling.” Xander and Anya sing a duet in their pajamas that lays bare their fears about getting married and living with each other forever. Overall, it’s a sobering song, but it has some light moments, including a couple of pretty shocking lines!
Both of the lines involve Xander, who is rhapsodizing about how much he enjoys his girlfriend’s body. In one instance, he sings about how she’s “the cutest of the Scoobies with your lips as red as rubies and your firm yet supple...tight embrace!” The latter two words humorously replace the reference to her breasts, and he returns to the joke later by singing “warm in the night when I’m right in her tight...tight embrace!” Xander’s true secret ability is singing around the censors!