" is the 17th episode of season four of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy Summers is a fictional character from Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise. She first appeared in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer before going on to appear in the television series and subsequent comic book of the same name...
and the gang discover a nasty nest of vampires, they go to Jonathan
Jonathan Levinson is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character is portrayed by Danny Strong.-Character history:Jonathan was born in 1981 and raised in Sunnydale, California...
for help. At Giles
Rupert Giles is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character is portrayed by Anthony Stewart Head. He serves as Buffy Summers' mentor and surrogate father figure...
' place, Jonathan checks out weapons and practices hand-to-hand with Buffy. Willow
Willow Rosenberg is a fictional character created for the fantasy television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer . She was developed by Joss Whedon and portrayed throughout the TV series by Alyson Hannigan...
uses her computer to find a way to attack the vampire nest, but Jonathan finds a better way. He slays the majority of the vampires, leaving Buffy to feel inadequate, as she allows one vampire to get by her.
As they leave the crypt, Jonathan poses for some picture. He senses Spike hiding in the shadows and the two go face-to-face. Buffy's at a lack for her usual puns, but Jonathan steps in to knock Spike's confidence down. While putting pictures of Jonathan up on a wall, Willow and Tara
Tara Maclay is a fictional character created for the fantasy television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer . She was developed by Joss Whedon and portrayed by Amber Benson from the fourth to the sixth season until the character's death. Tara is a shy young woman with magical talents who falls in love...
talk about the fight earlier that night and Buffy's relationship with Riley
Riley Finn is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Portrayed by Marc Blucas, Riley was introduced in the 1999 season four premiere episode, "The Freshman", and Blucas was part of the series credited cast for the second part of season four...
. At Riley's dorm room, Buffy tries to play basketball, but she is too uncomfortable around him to let him get close.
Jonathan comforts Buffy and he tells her that she's mad at Riley because he doesn't know her as well as she'd like him to. He tries to convince her to forgive Riley because her expectations are too high. All the while, Jonathan signs autographs for overzealous fans. Colonel George Haviland is the new commander at the Initiative, but Jonathan takes over and explains the plans to find and destroy Adam. One fan, Karen is spying on Jonathan's house, but is attacked by a demon and manages to run away.
Jonathan talks to Riley about his relationship with Buffy, then shoots at apples atop of the heads of Initiative operatives, while blindfolded. When Jonathan takes center stage singing at the Bronze
The Bronze is a fictional nightclub in Sunnydale, the fictional setting for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Of 144 episodes of the series, 66 have at least one scene at the Bronze, not including its appearance in the unaired pilot....
, Buffy and Riley take the dance floor. Xander
Alexander LaVelle "Xander" Harris is a fictional character in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as in numerous items in the series Expanded Universe, such as comic books, tie-in novels and video games...
Anya is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also appears in the comic book series based on the television show. Portrayed by Emma Caulfield, the character appears as a guest star in the third and fourth seasons of the show before...
are inspired to go somewhere to have sex when he plays the trumpet. Buffy tells Riley that she wants to move on with their relationship. Karen goes to the Bronze for Jonathan, and when she is taken back to his place, describes the demon's appearance. Jonathan acts strangely when she draws a symbol she saw on the demon, but he dismisses it as a harmless monster.
Adam realizes that something is wrong with the world, and that Jonathan isn't supposed to be this popular, but decides to see how the situation develops. When twin blond girls call for Jonathan to come to bed, he drops his robe to reveal a symbol on his shoulder that is like the symbol Karen drew. On her way to her dorm room, the demon attacks Tara. She chants a spell and escapes with her life. The next morning, Tara identifies the demon by the symbol on its head, and Buffy has even more reason to question Jonathan.
Buffy stops by Xander's, and finds Anya and plenty of things on Jonathan. Buffy questions how Jonathan could be so perfect. He is credited for all the great things that have happened in the world (starring in The Matrix
, inventing the internet etc.). Riley encourages everyone to follow Buffy's lead. They look at Jonathan's swimsuit calendar to see the monster's mark on Jonathan's shoulder. Jonathan arrives and explains that he has a history with the monster and every time he faces it, he is overcome by confusion.
Buffy and Jonathan get information on the demom's location from Spike. Willow discovers that Jonathan did an augmentation spell that would make everyone adore him but also created a demon. If it is destroyed, the spell is reversed. The gang has a hard time dealing with the prospect of a world without Jonathan.
In a cave, Jonathan tries to prevent Buffy from falling into a pit, but the demon interrupts them. Jonathan leaves it to Buffy to fight the demon. Jonathan pushes the demon into the pit and his life is saved by Buffy.
After the demon falls into the pit, everything goes back to normal, and Jonathan is back to being ignored. Jonathan explains that, at counseling after his attempted suicide, another guy informed him about the augmentation spell. However, he skipped the demon part.
Buffy and Riley are kissing on his bed, until she moans, "Jonathan".
"Superstar" can be seen as a spoof on Mary Sue
A Mary Sue , in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for the author or reader...
fanfiction, in which an idealized version of the writer is inserted into a fictional universe and upstages the established characters. Jonathan, a peripheral character, becomes nearly omnipotent, universally adored and admired, and even takes Buffy's place in the opening credits.
Buffy's character is severely affected by Jonathan's augmented universe: most or all of her previous slayer feats are now credited to Jonathan, and Buffy's position and persona are demoted from confident leader to nervous sidekick. Throughout the episode, Buffy quickly gains confidence in her abilities as a slayer, and through her actions also gains that confidence from the others.
The title sequence
A Title Sequence is the method by which cinematic films or television programs present their title, key production and cast members, or both, utilizing conceptual visuals and sound...
is generally constant throughout each season, except when the regular cast changes. This episode has a specially modified title sequence that contains about 10 shots of Jonathan performing heroic acts such as defusing a bomb. The end of the sequence is a shot of Jonathan with a flowing cape, similar to Neo in The Matrix
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving...
(whom Jonathan had apparently portrayed under the spell), replacing the usual shot of Buffy triumphant. In spite of Jonathan's prominence in the sequence, Danny Strong is not featured as a regular cast member.
Jonathan-related merchandise seen in the episode includes a number of Jonathan comic books published by Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent American comic book and manga publisher.Dark Horse Comics was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon, with the concept of establishing an ideal atmosphere for creative professionals. Richardson started out by opening his first comic book...
, the real company that publishes comic books based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Danny Strong lip-syncs the song that he sings at The Bronze ("Hey Sonny / Serenade in Blue / Trapped" by Royal Crown Revue
The Royal Crown Revue is a band formed in 1989 in Los Angeles, California. They are often credited with starting the Swing Revival movement. Live, RCR has been extremely successful: They participated in 1998's Vans Warped Tour, opened for the B-52s and The Pretenders and played at major US Jazz...
). Brad Kane
Bradley Caleb Kane is a singer, actor, and writer.-Career:Kane began to act when he was three years old, with a small role in the movie Six Weeks. At the age of eight, he obtained the role of one of the four chorus boys in the Broadway musical Evita...
, who played Tucker Wells in "The Prom," provided the vocals. While playing the trumpet at the Bronze, however, Strong was actually synching the notes, fingering it as instructed by a family member.
- The immediate prequel to this episode is Jane Espenson
Jane Espenson is an American script writer and television producer who has worked on both situation comedies and serial dramas. She had a five-year stint as a writer and producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and shared a Hugo Award for her writing on the episode "Conversations with Dead People"...
's Buffy comic, Jonathan
Jonathan is a comic, a story based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series.-Story description:Only one person can save Sunnydale from Russian vampire mobsters, surprisingly that is Jonathan Levinson. Jonathan gets help from the Slayer and her pals. It seems Jonathan is quite the legend,...
- Some time has passed between the previous episode and this one, Tara has been introduced to the rest of the gang, and she now associates with them socially; although the romantic nature of her relationship with Willow is still secret.
- This episode introduces Jonathan's dabbling in magic, which will play a major role in season 6.
- Jonathan helps Buffy and Riley overcome issues raised in "Who Are You".
- Jonathan reveals Adam's weakness (his uranium power source), although this is not mentioned again until later in the season, well after Jonathan's spell is ended.
- Jonathan's spell establishes how easily reality can be bent to an extreme degree, setting a precedent for the sudden integration of Dawn
Dawn Summers is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon and introduced by Marti Noxon and David Fury on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, portrayed by Michelle Trachtenberg. She made her debut in the premiere episode of the show's fifth season, and subsequently appeared in every...
in Season 5.
- This episode introduces the world without shrimp and the world entirely of shrimp. The former will be referenced again in "Triangle", and the latter by Illyria in the season 5 Angel
Angel is an American television series, a spin-off of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series was created by Buffys creator, Joss Whedon, in collaboration with David Greenwalt, and first aired on October 5, 1999...
- This is also the first time that Xander performs a spell by himself, showing how easy it is.
- A comment made by Riley about a spell allowing the caster to "turn an enemy inside-out" is a possible allusion to the fate of "Trio" member and friend of Jonathan's, Warren Mears, in season 6.