|This article is about the episode. For the fast food chain, see Doublemeat Palace (business).|
"Doublemeat Palace" is the twelfth episode of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred twelfth in the series. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Nick Marck, it originally broadcast on January 29, 2002 on UPN.
Buffy thinks she smells something rotten after she takes a job at a fast-food restaurant that soon has her wondering about the "secret ingredient" in the burgers. Hurting for cash, the Slayer takes a job at Doublemeat Palace, where her fellow employees don't respond well to her sense of humor. "Levity is a time thief that picks the pocket of the company," explains one co-worker. But it's Buffy's growing concern that something demonic might be going on that really turns her stomach. Also, Anya's old friend Halfrek pays an unexpected visit and questions whether Xander is the right man for her; and Willow tries her best to stay away from magic.
Willow updates Xander and Anya about the Trio, explaining that the three seem to have disappeared and moved from their basement lair. Anya chimes in with supportive statements about working hard for money and the importance of working in America just before Buffy appears, wearing a uniform for her new job. Later, Buffy is introduced to the world of fast food with the help of a unique and graphic video about her new place of work, the Doublemeat Palace. Her boss, Manny, introduces Buffy to her unenthusiastic coworkers and walks her through the area behind the counter, clearly identifying off-limit locations.
Buffy is offered the Doublemeat Medley, a burger consisting of typical ingredients and layers of meat and chicken, and Manny requires that she eat it. She reluctantly takes a bite, then questions what the secret ingredient in the meat is, but gets no clear answer. Buffy watches as a coworker, Gary, waits on a woman wearing a wig who is a regular at the Palace. After his demonstration, Buffy takes the next customer, but is lost quickly in the process as the man's order is too difficult for her to follow.
During her break, Buffy sneaks around in the back rooms, searching for the truth behind the secret ingredient, but is caught by Manny. At the counter, Buffy finds her friends have come by to visit her and she treats Xander to a Doublemeat Medley. Anya goes on a rant about how behind the wedding plans are, partially blaming Willow for the complications. Later, Buffy receives a surprise visit from Spike at the restaurant. He teases her, suggesting that she took the job to feel normal given that Buffy may possibly be a demon now. Buffy strongly refutes this, despite the fact Spike's chip now allows him to hurt her. Spike then tries to persuade her to leave the job and be with him, warning her that this job could kill her. He offers to do everything in his power to take care of her and help her with her money problems. She remains determined and turns away. Gary goes out to the alley behind the restaurant and encounters someone/something that he recognizes; then that someone or something attacks him.
The next day, with Gary not there to work, Buffy is told to work the grill and another coworker, Timothy demonstrates the process for her. Again, Buffy asks about the secret ingredient, but still can't get an answer from anyone. Manny then assigns Buffy to a double shift because of the reduction of employees. At the apartment, Xander talks to Anya, who's in another room, about Buffy working a double shift just before Halfrek, a female Vengeance demon appears suddenly before Xander, threatening to tear him into pieces. Fortunately, Anya enters the room and recognizes the Vengeance demon as an old friend and the girls greet each other gleefully. Anya clears up the confusion, explaining that she invited Halfrek to the wedding, not to seek vengeance on Xander. Wisely, Xander leaves to let the girls chat.
Back at the Doublemeat Palace, Buffy spots Spike outside through a window and spends her break having sex with him in the alleyway out behind the restaurant, though she looks thoroughly disinterested. Amy pays Willow a visit, wanting her rat cage as a souvenir and talks with Willow about her progress with avoiding magic. Before she leaves, Amy (wanting to get Willow back onto magic) gives Willow an unasked-for gift: A magical boost of power she can't quite control. Buffy watches the grinder grind meat, but discovers a human finger in the processed meat. Appalled at the idea of human meat being the secret ingredient, Buffy confronts Manny about it, but he doesn't agree with her suspicions. Buffy charges out into the dining area, attempting to stop all the patrons from eating while shouting that the meat is made of humans. The outburst gets her fired.
Over drinks, Anya and Halfrek talk about Anya's relationship with Xander and Anya begins to re-evaluate her situation with Xander after Halfrek repeatedly insists on addressing the issue. A meeting is called at the Magic Box as Buffy presents the severed finger and a Doublemeat Medley as evidence for her "people burger" theory, but Xander eats the burger before Buffy explains her theory. Willow arrives late, ready to begin researching despite the fact that she's still under Amy's gift spell and lacks control over her use of magic. Buffy leaves to investigate Doublemeat Palace after hours while Willow uses science to test a leftover piece of meat from the Doublemeat Medley.
Buffy breaks into the fast food place and finds clues: Blood and Manny's severed foot. Willow struggles to avoid using magic while Dawn and Xander talk about the kind of future life Buffy will have because she's the Slayer. Then Anya shows up late after Halfrek's departure, and a tense argument develops between her and Xander over the less-than-attractive appearance of a Vengeance demon.
Willow's analysis reveals that the basic composition of the "meat" is cellulose. While continuing to snoop, Buffy encounters the regular customer, Wig Lady, without her wig. A demonic lamprey-like appendage emerges from the lady's head and sprays a paralyzing liquid at Buffy. The lady advances on Buffy and talks about eating Doublemeat employees as the Slayer struggles to escape.
Willow shows up and tries to inform Buffy of the Doublemeat Medley which is not made of humans, but processed vegetables, then begins to confess to her about Amy's magical gift. Buffy's unable to respond to the information as she continues to try to get away from the demon, which manages to latch onto her shoulder and start to feed. Inside, Willow tries to stop the Wig Lady, using a large blade to cut the lamprey from the woman's body. That doesn't immediately kill the lamprey and Willow quickly shoves it into the meat grinder. The next day at the Summers' house, Amy pays Willow a visit, needing to borrow a few necessities. Willow denies her entrance into the house and angrily suggests that Amy stay away from her.
Buffy returns to the Doublemeat Palace to return her uniform to the new manager, Lorraine. After revealing her knowledge of the Doublemeat Medley's composition, she is sworn to secrecy. She gets her job back and resigns herself to working there, at least for now.
- When Xander remarks that he hears Anya's "go money go" rant on money and efficiency daily, Willow responds that he will for the rest of his life. Xander's face shows dread, another example of foreshadowing of the events of "Hell's Bells".
- Buffy mentions her experience as a waitress in LA, from episode "Anne".
- Dawn and Xander discuss Buffy being unable to be nicely employed for all her life, and Xander suggests Dawn to be the one with a nice job. At the end of the series, Buffy graduates police academy (Finale) and Dawn is a college student intending to become a grief counselor (In Pieces on the Ground, Part Three).
- In episode "Entropy", Willow will describe the Wig Lady's true appearance as "Well, let's put it this way, if I wasn't gay before..."
- Timothy Blane
- Emily (Only mentioned)
- Alexander Harris
- Gina Havers
- Anya Jenkins
- Amy Madison
- Manny Rocha
- Willow Rosenberg
- Lorraine Ross
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Gary Tilson
- Phillip Todd
- Wig Lady
Organizations and titles
- Gary, eaten by the Wig Lady.
- Manny, eaten by the Wig Lady.
- The Wig Lady, lamprey decapitated with a large knife and chopped in the meat grinder by Willow.
Behind the scenes
- Joss Whedon revealed that the portrayal of the fast food industry with the Doublemeat Palace caused sponsors to threaten to pull support: "The only thing that we've ever actually been stopped or asked to stop doing was the fast food run. When Buffy worked at the fast food joint it made the advertisers very twitchy. So apparently the most controversial thing we ever had on Buffy was a hamburger and chicken sandwich."
- Buffy screaming "It's people! It's people!" at the customers is an homage to the movie Soylent Green (1973), with its famous line "Soylent Green is people!"
- Xander's line was cut due to length:
- Xander: "We were all going to yell 'good luck on the new job', but we don't have that kind of timing that kind of thing requires."
- Dawn's line was also cut due to length:
- Dawn: "So much suspense. It's like taking a pregnancy test... when they do that in pregnancy test commercials."
Pop culture references
- Buffy compares the Doublemeat Palace training video with romantic comedy film Sleepless in Seattle (1993), mentioning its main actors Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Goofs, bloopers & continuity errors
- In the scene where Buffy is learning to use the grill, she flips the burgers when they are done on one side and then starts to speak with the manager. From a distance, the burgers now appear to be completely raw.
- Armenian: "Դրախտ համադամասերի համար" (Paradise for Gourmets)
- Czech: "Doublemeat Palace"
- Finnish: "Roskaruokaa tarjouksessa" (Junk Food Sale)
- French: "Fast Food" (Fast Food)
- German: "Geheimnisvolle Zutaten" (Mysterious Ingredients)
- Hungarian: "Duplahúsos palota" (Doublemeat Palace)
- Italian: "L'Ingrediente Segreto" (The Secret Ingredient)
- Japanese: "ダブルミートパレス" (Doublemeat Palace)
- Polish: "Wściekłe krowy" (Mad Cows)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Palácio Carne Dupla" (Double Meat Palace)
- Romanian: "Doublemeat Palace"
- Russian: "Рай для гурманов" (Gourmet Paradise)
- Spanish (Latin America): "El Palacio de la Hamburguesa Doble" (The Palace of the Double Hamburger)
- Spanish (Spain): "Doble de Carne" (Double Meat)
- Austin and Hughes (JW music library) — "Power Play"
- Warren Bennet (First Com Music Library) — "The Twist"
- Thomas Wanker — original score
- As a child, Sarah Michelle Gellar appeared in Burger King commercial ads. McDonald's infamously sued her for citing their meat in one of the ads and banned her from eating in their restaurant. Ironically, McDonald's was a sponsor for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
|Manny - "Interesting, isn't it?"|
|Buffy - "Oh, yes! Like how the cow and the chicken come together even though they've never met. It's like Sleepless in Seattle if Meg and Tom were, like, minced."|
|Xander - "It's fast food. I have swum in these murky waters, my friend. There is assorted creepiness, there is staring, there is the enthusiastic not-showing-up-at-all. I think you're seeing demons where there's just... life."|
|Buffy - "I'm working. Go away."|
|Spike - "Yeah, and you chose to be in a consumer service profession. I'm a consumer. Service me."|
|Manny - "You're working a double-shift."|
|Buffy - "What? Another eight hours? Right after these eight hours? That's... so many hours."|
|Dawn - "My friend Janice? Her sister's a lawyer."|
|Xander - "You think I should sue over the burger? That's interesting."|
|Dawn - "No, I just mean... Buffy's never gonna be a lawyer, or a doctor. Anything big."|
|Xander - "She's a Slayer. She saves the whole world. That's way bigger."|
|Dawn - "But that means she's gonna have, like, crap jobs her entire life, right? Minimum wage stuff. I mean, I could still grow up to be anything. But for her... this is it."|
|Xander - "Okay, but maybe you'll be a lawyer or a doctor, and you can use all your money to support your deadbeat sister."|
|Dawn - "Oh, that's terrifically better. Thanks."|