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Buffy, her sister, and friends must all cope with the sudden and unexpected death of Joyce.

Episode Info
Episode number: 5x16
Production Number: 5ABB16
Airdate: Tuesday February 27th, 2001
Network: WB

Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon

Guest Stars
Randy ThompsonRandy Thompson
As Doctor Kriegel
Amber Benson (1)Amber Benson (1)
As Tara
Kristine SutherlandKristine Sutherland
As Joyce Summers

Co-Guest Stars
Kevin CristaldiKevin Cristaldi
As First Paramedic
Stefan UmsteadStefan Umstead
As Second Paramedic
Loanne BishopLoanne Bishop
voiced 911 Operator
Kelli GarnerKelli Garner
As Kristie
RaeRae'Ven Larrymore-Kelly
As Lisa (credited as Rae'ven Larrymore Kelly)
Tia MatzaTia Matza
As Teacher
Main Cast
Sarah Michelle GellarSarah Michelle Gellar
As Buffy Anne Summers
Nicholas BrendonNicholas Brendon
As Alexander "Xander" Harris
Alyson HanniganAlyson Hannigan
As Willow Rosenberg
Anthony Stewart HeadAnthony Stewart Head
As Rupert Giles
Emma CaulfieldEmma Caulfield
As Anya Jenkins
Michelle TrachtenbergMichelle Trachtenberg
As Dawn Summers
Episode Notes
Outside of the opening and closing credits, this episode is devoid of any music. Nevertheless, score composer Thomas Wanker remains credited in the episode.

Sarah Michelle Gellar got her first acting nomination for this show at the end of this season. The Golden Globes nominated her for Best Actress in a Drama series. Many believe it had to do with her fantastic acting job in this episode.

This episode scored a 5.5/8 in the ratings.

This episode ranked 2nd out of 17 WB shows for the week.

TV Guide hailed this episode as "The Finest Hour of Television This Year".

This episode scored a 3.5 in the national ratings.

Ranked 82 out of 134 prime time shows.

Although Joyce Summers dies in this episode, she would still appear subsequently, in flashbacks or as a ghost. This follows through with the Buffyverse rule that not even death can end a characters run in a show.

Tara reveals that she lost her mother when she only 17.

The scene where the cast is shown enjoying a big holiday dinner was included so the guest starring and production credits would not run through the scene of Buffy discovering Joyce on the couch.

This episode marks the first on screen kiss between Willow and Tara, which was previously not allowed due to WB's policy against same-sex kissing.

Joyce's death is the first of only two deaths in the series that came about by natural causes.

Series star James Marsters does not appear in this episode. This marks his only absence since becoming part of the main cast in Season 4.

Episode Quotes
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.

Buffy: She's cold.
911 Operator: The body is cold?
Buffy: No, my mom! Sh-Should I make her warm?

Giles: (on phone) Hello?
Buffy: Giles, you have to come.
Giles: Buffy?
Buffy: She's at the house.

Anya: Are they gonna cut the body open?
Willow: Oh my god! Would you just stop talking? Just shut your mouth, please!
Anya: What am I doing?
Willow: How can you act like that?
Anya: Am I supposed to be changing my clothes a lot? Is that the helpful thing to do?
Xander: Guys...
Willow: The way you behave --
Anya: Nobody will tell me.
Willow: Because it's not okay for you to be asking these things!
Anya: But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens, how we go through this. I mean, I knew her and then she's - there's just a body. And I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore. It's stupid; it's mortal and stupid. And Xander's crying and not talking and I was having fruit punch and I thought, "Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she'd never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever." And no one will explain to me why.

Xander: In my defense, some crappy wallmanship here.
Willow: Yeah, you can hear everything next door...
Xander: Who did the drywall on this place?
Willow: I always forget to ask.

Tara: Did I miss something?
Anya: Xander decided that he blames the wall.

Buffy: Giles says he's gonna go over the paperwork.
Xander: Man, if there's one day they should not give you homework.

Anya: I wish that Joyce didn't die. Because she was nice and now we all hurt.
Xander: Anya, ever the wordsmith.
Buffy: Thank you.

Buffy: Was it sudden?
Tara: What?
Buffy: Your mother.
Tara: No. And yes. It's always sudden.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorJoss Whedon
Executive ProducerKaz Kuzui  |  Fran Rubel Kuzui  |  Gail Berman  |  Sandy Gallin  |  Joss Whedon
Co-Executive ProducerMarti Noxon
Supervising ProducerDavid Fury
ProducerDavid Solomon  |  Jane Espenson
Co-ProducerJohn F. Perry  |  Marc D. Alpert  |  Douglas Petrie
Consulting ProducerDavid Greenwalt
Production DesignerCarey Meyer
EditorPeter Basinski
CastingAnya Colloff  |  Jennifer Fishman  |  Amy McIntyre Britt
Unit Production ManagerJohn F. Perry
First Assistant DirectorAlan Steinman
Second Assistant DirectorAthena Alexander
Music EditorFernand Bos
Costume DesignerCynthia Bergstrom
HairstylistLisa Marie Rosenberg
Key GripRonn Cooney
Camera OperatorAllen D. Easton
Set DecoratorDavid A. Koneff
Location ManagerPeter M. Robarts
Transportation CoordinatorRobert Ellis (2)
Property MasterRandy Eriksen
Construction CoordinatorSteven Fidler
Production Sound MixerDavid Yaffe
Script SupervisorSuzanne McRobert
Production CoordinatorCathy Carr (2)
Script CoordinatorDavid H. Goodman
Assistant EditorRobert Hudson (2)
Post Production SupervisorBrian Wankum
Supervising Sound EditorCindy Rabideau
Re-Recording MixerKurt Kassulke  |  Tom Perry  |  Adam Sawelson
LeadmanKeith A. Cuba
Director of PhotographyRaymond Stella
Stunt CoordinatorJohn Medlen (1)
Visual Effects SupervisorLoni Peristere
Main Title DesignMontgomery/cobb
Chief Lighting TechnicianChristopher C. Strong
ScoreThomas Wanker
AssistantKelly Wheeler  |  Diego Gutierrez (1)  |  JD Peralta
Casting AssociateLonnie Hamerman
Key HairstylistMichael Moore (3)
Original CastingMarcia Shulman
Special Effects CoordinatorBruce Minkus
Makeup ArtistRobin Beauchesne  |  Brigette A. Myre
Paint ForemanLisa Gamel
Make-up SupervisorTodd McIntosh
Theme ByNerf Herder
Production AuditorEdwin L. Perez
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