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18 June 2014
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Doug Petrie with weaponry. Grrr!
Doug Petrie
Buffy producer's inside guide

Beer Bad
Buffy takes a beating at college and from her fans.

BBC : After the horror of Fear, Itself, Beer Bad marked something of a change of pace...

Doug Petrie: Beer Bad. Again, light and fluffy, as we say. It came from the brain of Tracy Forbes, a Canadian writer who was on our staff. We were just trying to mine the college experience as much as possible and what happens there. Well, very young people get unlimited access to alcohol and become horrible! We all do it - or most of us do it - and live to regret it, and we wanted to explore that. So the metaphor of college boys - intellectual college boys who drink and become Neanderthals - is pretty straight up. It's a metaphor.

BBC : At this point in the season we are seeing the fallout from the relationship between Buffy and Parker too.

Doug Petrie: We did want - and Joss wanted - a kind of harsh college experience. Of giving your heart and body to someone when you're not experienced in either, and having them use you and split, you know.

BBC : Do you think it was very cut and dried who was right and who was wrong, or do you think Parker to a certain extent had a point: that Buffy shouldn't have got so emotionally involved?

Doug Petrie: I think in reality the right and wrong of it is very fuzzy. I think that on our show Parker was portrayed as a little more... I think that those things do happen and I think that Parker had a little bit of a responsibility to listen to Buffy and he owed her at least a good solid conversation, and I think he just kind of blew her off. Also, the fans had a very strong response to it. We were surprised. I'm pretty sure from the internet and from what I've heard, the fans just hated it.

BBC : Hated what?

Doug Petrie: That Buffy was jumping into a relationship and that this guy would treat her so callously. But also we were getting a lot of stuff from the first half dozen or so episodes of the first quarter of the season where people were saying, "We're tired of Buffy being abused and Buffy being wimpy and Buffy being battered about by the forces of college." There was a pretty strong fan response. They felt that she was being kicked around by Spike, by Sunday, and by Parker, Not at all the strong character that people love to see.

This was a very conscious choice - we had to ride that out because we didn't want her to find her strength immediately in this new setting. But fans were pretty outspoken about how to find her sea legs now and eventually she did.

Read our episode guide to Beer Bad >>

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