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Note: This article is about the episode. For other uses, see Once More, with Feeling.

"Once More, with Feeling" is the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's the seventh episode of the sixth season and the 107th in the series. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, it was originally broadcast on November 6, 2001, on the UPN network.


Series creator Joss Whedon wrote, directed and composed the music for this episode in which a mysterious force impels the Scooby Gang to burst into song. Even Buffy devotees may be hard-pressed to find an episode as off-the-wall as this, as Sunnydale denizens become players in production numbers in which cast members do their own vocals. Hear Tara sing about her love for Willow! See Xander and Anya perform a duet! Listen to Buffy croon about her lack of life direction! Who's behind the music? Dawn provides the key.[1]


Buffy is patrolling in a cemetery at night, but there is something wrong with her and with demons and vampires she meets: they are all singing and dancing. Buffy sings about her life after resurrecting, and the way she feels detached from it. She snubs the man held captive by the demon and three vampires she slays ("Overture / Going Through the Motions").

The following morning, the Scoobies reunite at the Magic Box and find out such things have happened to them all. They suddenly burst into song again, first wondering what can possibly be the cause for this — including a novel idea about bunnies Anya sings — and then, guided by Buffy, asserting their ability to deal with it together ("I've Got a Theory / Bunnies / If We're Together"). They further learn that it's not just happened to them; all the people in Sunnydale are forced to sing about their inner feelings, as a group nearby performs about cleaning mustard out of a shirt ("The Mustard"). Willow and Tara leave the discussion to enjoy the day, and Tara sings a love song to Willow about the difference she's made in her life, which leads them to their bedroom ("Under Your Spell"). Somewhere else, at night a man uncontrollably tap dances on the street, until he spontaneously combust. A demon watches him and calls it entertainment.

In the morning in Xander's apartment, he and Anya sing together about things they would otherwise have never told themselves or each other, namely their fears about their coming marriage ("I'll Never Tell"). They then complain with Giles about the constant singing, and discuss the man who caught on fire as reported on Sunnydale Press, ignoring a woman trying to sing her way out of a parking ticket ("The Parking Ticket"). At night, to investigate the current events, Buffy visits Spike on his crypt, when he's forced to sing to her about the torturous nature of their relationship, telling her to stay away from him if she doesn't make a decision about them ("Rest in Peace").

When Dawn gets home from school, she talks with Tara, who tells her that it looks like a demon is responsible for the singing. Dawn mentions to Tara her recent argument with Willow, an argument Tara can't remember. She remembers the bramble she found in the bedroom that morning and has been wearing and begins to worry that Willow may have cast a spell on her and rushes out to check on whether this hunch is right. Dawn, now alone, goes through her stash of stolen goods, and puts on a necklace she took from the Magic Box. She starts singing about her life, but is kidnapped by Sweet's minions, interrupting her song ("Dawn's Lament"). When Dawn wakes up in the Bronze, she and the three minions engage in an interpretive dance, which is Dawn's attempt to escape ("Dawn's Ballet"). Suddenly, the demon Sweet arrives tap dancing and introduces himself in a song. He mentions his intention of taking her to the Underworld and make her his queen, accusing Dawn of summoning him. He also explains if the melodies go on too long, people will combust and burn up from the intensity of emotion. Dawn tells him that her sister is the Slayer, so he tells his minions to bring Buffy to him so he can watch her burn ("What You Feel").

Meanwhile in the Magic Box, Giles and Buffy train in case she is expected to fight whatever is causing the singing. Giles asks if Buffy spoke to Dawn about her misbehavior during Halloween, but Buffy tells him she'd assumed he had sorted it. As Buffy continues her training, Giles sings, unheard by her, a song about his thoughts that his continued presence encourages Buffy to remain emotionally dependent on him, thus he decides to leave again for good ("Standing"). Tara arrives at the shop and looks up information on the bramble, which confirms it is used in spells concerning memory alteration. Devastated, Tara sings her decision that her relationship with Willow should end. Giles' and Tara's songs merge into a duet about how much it hurts to leave, yet each knows they cannot possibly stay. They sing as they observe Buffy and Willow respectively, who are distractedly chatting at the shop entrance ("Under Your Spell / Standing - Reprise").

Spike suddenly arrives with one of Sweet's henchmen, who reveals to them that Dawn has been kidnapped. Xander, Anya, Tara, and Willow are eager to help save Dawn, but Giles insists that Buffy goes alone. Spike offers to back Buffy up, but she questions why he'd do that after saying he wanted her to stay away from him, so Spike skulks away, telling her he hopes she and Dawn burn. Buffy leaves alone, once again singing about her inability to feel, as both a conflicted Spike and the Scoobies express their desire to fight along with her, accompanied by Sweet, who summons them an ensemble song ("Walk Through the Fire").

Arriving at the Bronze, Buffy starts to sing and dance defiantly, expressing her current condition and the hardships of being the Slayer. Her friends arrive and provide back up dancing with her. Unable to stop singing, Buffy finally reveals to Sweet and her friends that, by resurrecting her, they had ripped her out of heaven. As her friends react in horror to the admission, she begins dancing wildly to the point of smoking in impending combustion. Spike suddenly arrives and grabs her, interrupting her spin of death. He then concludes the song by singing to her that the only way to heal from her pain is to carry on living ("Something to Sing About").

Applauding, Sweet prepares to leave with Dawn, who continues to deny that she summoned him. After he points out that she bears his talisman in a necklace, Xander confesses that he did it to cheer the mood, but did not expect the implications. This leads Sweet to decide to waive the clause of making Xander his queen. He then points out in a song that, because of all the hidden feelings he caused them to reveal to each other, none of them can claim "it ended well," daring them to say that they are really happy now ("What You Feel - Reprise"). After Sweet leaves to "Hellsville," the group performs together, questioning the costly victory they've achieved and what to do next ("Where Do We Go from Here?").

Spike leaves the group in the middle of the song, but Buffy goes after him. Behind the Bronze, their previous songs merge as they sing to each other. They kiss, the curtains fall, and the chorus swells one last time ("Coda").


  • Tara finds out that Willow magically made her forget their argument from the previous night ("All the Way"). She'll confront her about it in the next episode, "Tabula Rasa."
  • Giles refers to experiencing singing room service delivery, which suggests he has moved out of the Summers' house ("Flooded") and is living in a hotel.
  • Giles asks Buffy if she spoke to Dawn about the incident on Halloween, from the episode "All the Way."
  • Despite never being part of a real life musical before, Buffy sang while under a curse in the episode "Witch," Willow attempted to perform an opera in "Nightmares," and Giles previously played at Espresso Pump in the episode "Where the Wild Things Are" and at home in "The Yoko Factor."
  • The song "I've Got a Theory" features numerous references to previous episodes:
    • Willow suggests that "some kid is dreaming," a reference to the events of "Nightmares." At the time, Giles said: "Dreams? That would be a musical comedy version of this. Nightmares — our nightmares are coming true."
    • With his theory about "evil witches," Xander could refer to Catherine Madison, whom they had to face in "Witch."
    • Anya blames bunnies, reinforcing her fear of bunnies, introduced in "Fear, Itself."
    • Buffy sings: "I've died twice," referring to the season finales "Prophecy Girl" and "The Gift."
  • In her song about bunnies, which frightens her, Anya sings: "What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?" Willow says something very similar about spiders — "What do they need all those legs for anyway?" — in "Nightmares."
  • Anya's line, "His penis got diseases from a Chumash tribe," refers to when a Native American vengeance spirit infected Xander with a cornucopia of various diseases, including syphilis, in the episode "Pangs."
  • Anya references Xander's "beady eyes" again in the episode "Entropy."
  • Dawn ends the song "Something to Sing About" by saying "The hardest thing in this world is to live in it." Buffy used the same line when saying goodbye to Dawn in "The Gift."
  • After "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," this episode marks the second time Xander unintentionally causes troubles by using magic.
  • Buffy finally reveals the truth about actually being in Heaven to everyone, albeit, after being forced to do so by Sweet. Before this, Spike is the only one to know that the Scoobies had pulled her out of Heaven with their resurrection spell, being told so in the episode "After Life."
  • It's the third time Buffy kisses Spike, after "Something Blue" and "Intervention."
  • In "Selfless," there is an extended flashback to this episode. Anya and Xander reference an earlier song involving coconuts, and Anya sings about wanting to become "Mrs." She hears a man singing that he got mustard on his favorite shirt, providing backstory for "The Mustard" song.
  • The transition used in "Under Your Spell" between the outside and the bedroom is very similar to Willow's teleportation spell used in "Two to Go."



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Two vampires, staked by Buffy.
  • One vampire, beheaded by Buffy.
  • One unidentified demon, impaled by Buffy with a sword.
  • One unidentified man, burned by Sweet.

Behind the scenes[]


  • At 50 minutes, this is the longest episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even with shortened opening credits, it is much longer than the usual 42 minutes. Joss Whedon comments in the extra material on the DVD that the network graciously allowed him to run past the regular hour.
  • The deleted scenes from the 42 minute syndicated version include the morning scene before Buffy's patrol; the end of the "I've Got a Theory" song; and parts of the dialogue between Sweet, Buffy, and Dawn (including Dawn's repetition of the line from "The Gift").
  • This is the only episode shown in the US in the widescreen format used for seasons 4–7.
  • Choreographers Adam Shankman and Mama Fletcher appear in the background after the parking ticket song.
  • Writer and producer Marti Noxon can be seen singing and acting as the "Parking Ticket Girl." David Fury also cameos in the episode as the "Mustard Man." Fury started his career in musical comedy and also appeared in the Angel episode "Smile Time."
  • The scene for "Under Your Spell" was filmed in the Kenneth Hahn Park, in Los Angeles.
  • Buffy's line, "Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday," is a reference to Buffy on Tuesday nights on UPN. Buffy also aired on Tuesday nights on The WB for the majority of its run.
  • The three henchmen (Zachary Woodlee, Timothy Anderson, and Alex Estronei) play Buffy's graveyard opponents in the opening sequence of "Going Through the Motions" as well as a trio of street sweepers.
  • To keep up with the fact that the episode is a musical, the Mutant Enemy logo monster says his signature line in a sing-song voice.


  • The original airing of "Once More, with Feeling" had an audience of 3.4 million households.[2]
  • The scene featuring the musical number "Under Your Spell" was viewed as pornographic by countries such as the Philippines and China and edited out.[3]
  • Despite the series being dubbed in various languages, only the French version translated and dubbed the songs in this episode instead of keeping the original singing voices.

Deleted scenes[]

  • One line was cut, about Sweet and Buffy:[4]
    Giles: "What does he want?"
    Henchman: "Her... plus chaos and insanity and people burning up, but that's more big picture stuff."

Pop culture references[]

  • One of the lines in "Going Through the Motions" references the song "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." Buffy sings: "You'll find this fight just doesn't mean a thing," and the vampire she punches finishes: "...she ain't got that swing."
  • Xander's line, "Respect the cruller. And tame the donut!" is a reference to a similar line from the film Magnolia.
  • "I'll Never Tell" also references the song "You're Just Too Too" from "Les Girls" by Cole Porter. Both songs have a very similar filming style (two people dancing around a living room) and content (a couple somewhat-facetiously discussing each other's good and bad points), and it even features one direct reference: Anya's line "Look at me, I'm dancing crazy!" is also said by actress Kay Kendall in the original song, in both cases during the song's dance breaks.
  • Anya compares her older self with newscaster David Brinkley (1930–2003).
  • Spike tells Buffy he's seen "a 600-pound Chirago demon making like Yma Sumac," in reference the legendary Peruvian soprano.
  • Tara makes a reference to Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance when she says to Dawn, "Willow said they have a lead on the whole musical extravaganza evil. This demon that can be summoned, some sort of Lord of the Dance. Oh, but not the scary one. Just a demon."
  • The flower used as a catalyst for the memory spell is revealed to be Lethe's bramble. Lethe is Greek for "forgetfulness" and is also one of the five rivers in Hades, causing forgetfulness in all who drink from it.
  • Spike's line, "Finish the big group sing. Get your kumbaya-yas out," is a reference to both the song "Kumbaya" and to The Rolling Stones album Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!.
  • At the end of the episode, Spike says to Buffy, "The day you suss out what you do want, there'll probably be a parade. Seventy-six bloody trombones." This is a reference to the song "Seventy-six Trombones," from the musical The Music Man.
  • Spike says about the puppet-looking henchman: "Someday you'll be a real boy," referring to the character Pinocchio and the wooden puppet's dream of becoming human.


The episode soundtrack was composed by Christophe Beck and Joss Whedon.


  • Xander's line, "Respect the cruller. And tame the donut!" does not, in fact, respect the cruller; he has a twist donut and a cake donut in his hand, not a cruller.
  • Scot Zeller portrayed the tap dancing victim, but he was miscredited as Henchman.
  • At the Bronze, when Buffy sings: "And every single verse," Amber Benson accidentally bumps into a support beam. In the next shot, she can be seen laughing and hiding behind the beam.
  • In the first chorus of the song, Buffy sings: "I will walk through the fire," but her lips clearly say: "And I will walk through the fire."
  • Right after "I'll Never Tell," during the scene with Giles, Anya, and Xander, the camera and camera crew are visible reflected in windows following them along the sidewalk.


  • "Once More, with Feeling" was nominated for Outstanding Music Direction in the Emmy Awards.[5]
  • The episode was also nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation in the Hugo Awards.[6]

International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Եվս մեկ անգամ, և զգացմունքով" (Once More, with Feeling)
  • Czech: "Ještě jednou a s citem" (Once More with Feeling)
  • Dutch: "Nogmaals, met gevoel" (Once Again, with Feeling)
  • Finnish: "Vielä kerran tunteella" (Once More with Feeling)
  • French: "Que le Spectale Commence!" (Let the Show Begin!)
  • German: "Noch einmal mit Gefühl" (Once More with Feeling)
  • Hungarian: "Egyszer, érzéssel" (Once, Feeling)
  • Italian: "La vita è un musical" (Life Is a Musical)
  • Japanese: "ワンス モア ウィズ フィーリング" (Once More with Feeling)
  • Polish: "Zagraj to jeszcze raz" (Play It Again)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Quem Canta os Males Atrai" (Those Who Sing Bring Their Sorrow Close)
  • Romanian: "Once More, with Feeling"
  • Russian: "Ещё раз, и с чувством" (Once More, with Feeling)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Una vez más, con Sentimiento" (Once More, with Feeling)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Otra vez, con más Sentimiento" (Once Again, with More Feeling)



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Buffy: "I'm not exactly quaking in my stylish yet affordable boots, but there's definitely something unnatural going on here. And that doesn't usually lead to hugs and puppies."
Dawn: "Oh my god! You will never believe what happened at school today."
Buffy: "Everybody started singing and dancing."
Dawn: "I gave birth to a pterodactyl."
Anya: "Oh my god! Did it sing?"
Buffy: "So Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday."
Anya: "It has to be stopped. It was like we were being watched, like there was a wall missing from our apartment. Like there were only three walls and not a fourth one."
Anya: "Dawn may have had the wrong idea in summoning this creature. But I've seen some of these underworld child-bride deals, and they never end well. Maybe once."


  1. "Buffy Season 6." Craig's BuffyVERSE 4ever. Retrieved on July 31, 2021.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Sixth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  3. Ann Tatko-Peterson, "Where 'Fringe' goes, others have gone before: Five TV musical episodes." East Bay Times, April 23, 2010.
  4. Joss Whedon, The Script Book: Once More, with Feeling. Simon & Schuster, December 2002.
  5. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Television Academy. Retrieved on December 11, 2017.
  6. "2002 Hugo Awards." The Hugo Awards. Retrieved on December 11, 2017.