Written by Drew Z. Greenberg; directed by Michael Gershman

Xander reluctantly welcomes Spike, his new roommate, to his apartment. Spike doesn’t think the arrangement will work out, but Buffy thinks that he will do better away from the basement. At school the next day Dawn and Buffy chat on the bleachers while they watch the football team practice. Dawn tries to understand Buffy’s feelings for Spike, and points out that having a soul doesn’t automatically make him a good person. Suddenly she is mesmerized by the sight of a football player and her infatuation is underlined by the theme to A Summer Place. Buffy battles a demon in Anya’s apartment, saving her from the hit D’Hoffryn put out on her. Back at school, Dawn approaches the football player (R.J.) and some of his friends. She, of course, makes a fool of herself, but R.J. is somewhat polite. At home she looks through boxes and finds Buffy’s old cheerleading uniform (last and only seen in “The Witch”). She goes to auditions for the cheerleading squad and - surprise, surprise - makes a fool of herself again. At home she locks herself in her room and cries that R.J. will never notice her. Buffy is dismayed to see that Dawn shredded her cheerleading outfit. Buffy reminds her that she just met R.J., but Dawn claims that she knows his soul.

Dawn overheard R.J.’s friend telling him that he, not R.J., will be starting in the next game. Dawn tells the friend that he can’t treat R.J. this way, then pushes him down the stairs. Wood asks Dawn why the boy claimed that Dawn pushed him; she lies that he was embarrassed. Later, R.J. compliments Dawn on the way she handled Wood and asks if she wants to meet up with him later that night. Buffy, Xander, and Willow hang out at the Bronze, listening to the Breeders and discussing Spike. They spot R.J., who is dancing with a scantily clad girl who Willow and Xander both find hot…until they realize she’s Dawn. Buffy confronts Dawn about lying to her and wearing inappropriate clothing (“Anna Nicole Smith thinks you look tacky”). Dawn tells her that she’s jealous that Dawn is getting attention for once. Outside the Bronze she is threatened by a cheerleader and gets into a catfight. The next day, Buffy pulls R.J. aside at school and tells him she’s on to his devious ways. Suddenly she changes her tune, finding him attractive. That night she tells Dawn that R.J. does like her, but that she should wait for him to make a move.

The next day Buffy pulls R.J. out of his class and takes him to an empty classroom. They begin making out and are espied by Dawn. She runs outside and tells Xander that she’s mad at R.J. and Buffy. Xander tracks them down and drags Buffy away. At home he tells Buffy and Dawn that they’re probably under a love spell, but Buffy believes that only Dawn is under the spell. Dawn blasts Buffy for betraying her as Anya and Willow research R.J. Xander flashes back to his own love spell experience in “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.” He remembers R.J.’s brother, who was a couple of years ahead of the Scoobies in high school, and offers to go talk to him. For some reason, he takes Spike with him. R.J.’s brother Lance, who was popular in high school, is now pretty much a loser who delivers pizza and still lives at home. He tells Xander that R.J. used to be a geek who wrote love poetry, but then blossomed into a popular guy. Spike notices that Lance and R.J. have the same jacket; Lance explains that their father gave him the jacket, and after he graduated he gave it to R.J.

Willow and Anya are unable to find a spell to counteract the one that R.J. is using. R.J. shows up at the house (wearing the jacket, of course), and Willow and Anya chase him off, accompanied by the theme to A Summer Place. They begin to fight over R.J. and are joined by Buffy and Dawn. The four fight over R.J., each believing that she loves him the most. They decide that each will do something to prove her love for R.J. Buffy announces that she will kill Wood, and Willow decides to use magic to prove her love. As the four separate, Buffy tells Dawn that she doesn’t have a chance. In a four-way split screen, Willow prepares to do a spell in her room, Buffy drives to the high school, Anya dresses like a burglar, and Dawn heads for the railroad tracks and lies down.

Xander and Spike interrupt Willow’s spell and she tells them that she and the others are proving their love for R.J. Wood works in his office as Buffy approaches with a bazooka. She takes aim and Spike tackles her to the ground. As he tries to leave, Buffy tackles him; he grabs the bazooka and runs off with Buffy chasing him. Wood looks out the window, but they’re gone. Willow performs a locator spell to find Dawn, which she does. Buffy saves Dawn just as a train comes by, even though she and Willow are sure that Anya is already seducing R.J. Dawn tells Buffy that she could never compete with Buffy, and proving her love by giving up her life was the only demonstration she could think of. Buffy tells her that she would never want Dawn to die just so she could get the guy. Xander and Spike track down R.J., tackle him, and take his jacket. They burn the jacket at the Summers’ house and the girls discuss the crazy things they almost did. Willow asks Anya what she almost did and Anya claims that she wrote an epic poem about R.J. Suddenly a radio announcer mentions a masked bandit who held up a number of businesses in Sunnydale and Anya quickly turns the radio off.


GRADE: B+ I'm in the minority on this, but the wackiness of this episode makes it worth watching.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “You're gonna live in that small room over there. I know it looks like a closet, but it's a room now. You're not gonna touch my food. I take the first shower in the morning, and if I use up all the hot water, that's your tough noogies. And I hate this plan. Are you keeping up, or do you need some kind of English-to-Constant-Pain-In-My-A** translation?” - Xander to Spike

“Is there something more emphatic than hate? Can I revile the plan?” - Xander

“Remember when she used to have a crush on me? I miss the much cuter ‘me’ crush.” - Xander

“I’m the pushy queen of slut town.” - Dawn

Buffy: “Xander, hi. This is R.J.”
R.J.: “Hey, guy. It’s called knocking.”
Xander: “I'm sorry. It's just checkout time was an hour ago. We were hoping to make up the bed. Also, it's a classroom, you chowder-head! Now get off the boy, Buffy.”

Willow: “I have tried every anti-love spell spell I could find.”
Anya: “Even if you find the right one, the guy would probably just do an anti-anti-love spell spell…spell.”

Buffy: “Willow, you're a gay woman - and he isn't.”
Willow: “This isn't about his physical presence. It's about his heart.”
Anya: “His physical presence has a penis!”
Willow: “I can work around it!”

Anya: “Well, you're gonna have to do better than that - I'd kill for him.”
Willow: “You’d kill for a chocolate bar.”

Willow: "I can prove my love with magic."
Anya: "Yeah, right. What're you gonna do, use magic to make him into a girl?" (Willow's eyes widen) "Da%&."

“Oh, man! Now I've gotta start all over. Hecate hates that.” - Willow

Xander:“That, my friends, is the smell of sweet, sweet, victory.”
Anya: “Also, burning cotton-poly blend.”
Buffy: “Xander, be honest. You didn't, you know, think about slipping that jacket on just a little bit?”
Xander: “I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it didn't fit.”

“It was a spell. You were helpless. We're not responsible for anything we did morally or, you know, legally….” - Anya

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