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'Buffy' nostalgia react: 5 adorkable Wesley moments in 'Bad Girls'

“Bad Girls” is a memorable episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Rewatching it, there were moments that I realized were burned on my brain, that I could have done a mental rewatch of, even though years had passed since I’d last watched the episode:

  • The “want … take … have” sequence when Buffy embraces her inner bad girl.
  • Faith breaking our heroine out of her chemistry test with a staked heart drawn in fog on the window.
  • The devastating moment when Faith accidentally stakes a human (the Mayor’s lackey, Allan), and how it completely changes the game for both of the Slayers.

Those are all moments that, if you’d asked me to tell you about what happens in “Bad Girls,” I would have described in great detail. But there’s another really important thing about this episode that, memorable as it is, I forget to associate with this episode: the arrival of Wesley Wyndham-Pryce.

Even though you know Wesley started out his Whedonverse run as a big dork, it’s easy to forget that and associate him with his rougher, tougher, cooler self from Angel. Wesley wasn’t evil (not in the strictest sense, anyway—his determination to dethrone Giles as the resident Watcher and to take charge of Buffy’s slaying was a kind of evil). He wasn’t even really mean or terribly harsh.

He was annoying. He was that special brand of annoying that really gets under your skin and irritates you until one day, you realize you actually kind of like that person. Wesley’s greatest crime, in his early Buffy days, was trying too hard. And, in a nostalgic way, it’s kind of adorable. Here are five moments in “Bad Girls” when Wesley tried too hard and was a huge dork, in the cutest way.

1. The time he bragged to Giles about having fought two vampires. In controlled circumstances, of course. On the bright side, Giles really comes into his own in the witty retorts department once he’s fired by the Council.
Giles: No danger of finding those here.
Wesley: Vampires?
Giles: Controlled circumstances.

2. That time he tried to tell Buffy what to do. It was really adorable, the way he thought he could just order her around.

And then, in return, Buffy delivered what might be her cutest comeback of all time.
Buffy: Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says “please.” And afterward I get a cookie.

3. The time he was 100 percent Giles’ annoying, copycat little brother and he didn’t even realize it. If I had to pick a single favorite Wesley Wyndham-Pryce moment from “Bad Girls,” there’s a very, very good chance it would be one that has almost nothing to do with him and almost everything to do with Giles. They simultaneously pull handkerchiefs out of their pockets and start cleaning their glasses in exactly the same way. Wesley doesn’t see that it’s happening, but Giles does—and he sheepishly stops cleaning his glasses immediately. It’s hard to see it at the beginning, but Wesley and Giles do turn out to be more alike that we might have guessed (especially in their post-Council careers). It’s a subtle but perfect moment.

wesley and giles cleaning glasses

4. The time he gave Buffy “sage” Slaying advice. The thing that makes this great is that Alexis Denisof really sells how inspiring Wesley believes his advice to be. Wesley leans in and imparts his first bit of real wisdom to Buffy: the three words that a Slayer should live by.

“Preparation … preparation … preparation.”

5. The time he thought he and Buffy were bonding. When Buffy meets Wesley, she’s instantly suspicious, asking Giles if he’s evil. It’s nothing personal. The last one (Gwendolyn Post) was literally, actually evil. Wesley explains that Giles has triple-checked his credentials, but he keeps his cool and doesn’t seem the least bit offended by Buffy’s accusations. Instead, he applauds her on being so thorough, chiming that “a good Slayer is a cautious Slayer.” It’s inadvertent advice that she’ll disregard throughout the episode, of course, to disastrous consequences. But the really adorkable thing about it is that Wesley treats it like a bonding moment for him and Buffy. You can almost see him resisting the urge to elbow her playfully and wink. It’s the cutest.

Really, Buffy sums it up best when she’s describing Wesley to Faith: “I know this new guy’s a dork, but … (long pause) … I have nothing to follow that, he’s just a dork.” But at least he’s a lovable dork. Eventually, anyway.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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