‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Postponed This Episode After a Real-Life Tragedy

There are several reasons why TV shows might decide to pull some episodes from their lineups. Some postpone the episodes while others simply do away with them. Often shows end up having to adjust to real-life events to avoid coming off as insensitive or tone-deaf. Buffy the Vampire Slayer enjoyed a successful seven-season run even with a changing cast.

However, the producers had to postpone one episode after a real-life tragedy. Find out what episode was delayed and why.

The premise of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

The show revolves around Buffy Summers, a young woman chosen to fight evil forces and protect humanity. The mystical calling that grants Buffy her powers usually manifests in the form of prophetic dreams giving the chosen one dramatically heightened endurance, physical strength, accelerated healing, and agility.

Buffy is reluctant to take on the enormous role of saving the world as she wants to live a normal life. She, however, learns to embrace her fate as the ‘Slayer’. Buffy receives guidance from Rupert Giles, The Watcher, a member of The Watchers Council. The Watcher’s role is to train and guide Buffy by researching the creatures she faces, giving insight into their origin and how to defeat them.

He also trains her on how to fight and stay in shape. Buffy finds comfort in the help of some of her high school friends, including Willow, a wallflower whose personality is a stark contrast to Buffy’s outgoing nature, and Xander, who, even though he has no supernatural abilities, provides a grounded perspective and some much needed comic relief.

Throughout the show, Buffy meets several more people willing to join her in the fight for good, including Angel, a vampire who becomes her love interest. He, however, leaves after only three seasons as he understands that he can’t give Buffy a normal life. Buffy forms a group (called the Scooby Gang or the Scoobies) with several other students, including shallow cheerleader Cordelia and Oz.

The show postponed this episode after a real-life tragedy

According to Mental Floss, season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer hit show experienced a delay twice due to a real-life tragedy. The first episode was titled ‘Earshot’ and involved a student going to the fictional Sunnydale High School’s clock tower with a rifle. The show revealed that the student intended to end their own life and not harm other students.

However, the series producers decided against airing the episode, reasoning that airing it wouldn’t have been appropriate since the Columbine High School Massacre had only taken place a week before. WB decided to postpone the episode and instead aired a rerun. Although fans understood the circumstances surrounding the episode’s delay, they didn’t like that the show postponed its finale.

The finale titled ‘Graduation Day: Part Two’ involved school violence. The network and showrunners had pushed the episode two months back from its scheduled air date due to the lingering fear about the massacre. The delay angered fans, and WB listened to their frustration by posting the episode online instead of airing it on TV.

Other shows that have faced similar fates

Friends cut out a scene after the 9/11 bombings in the spirit of not coming off as insensitive. Season 8 had a scene where newlyweds Monica and Chandler arrive at the airport and are immediately outshined by another set of newlyweds who get all the honeymoon perks. However, the plot that aired wasn’t the intended episode.

The original one involved the sarcastic Chandler making a joke about a bomb, which got him and Monica detained by airport security. The deleted episode was uploaded to YouTube in 2007 with a note detailing the intended air date and why they decided to replace the story. The message said, “as part of the history of the show, we hope that the scene can now be viewed in the spirit which they were originally intended.”

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