In my humble opinion, the social issue that was dealt with best on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was bereavement. The tragic and utterly heartbreaking death of Buffy's Mother, Joyce Summers, was both a joy and incredibly hard to watch. The episode The Body was exemplary. It was rightfully critically acclaimed - even being described as one of the best single episodes of television in history. Joyce's death was beautifully dealt with. The thing that made it so impactful was the fact that Buffy and her friends dealt with death on a weekly basis and had learned to take it in their stride, but the natural passing of her Mother via an aneurysm was bewildering, shocking, terrifying and hugely upsetting to them all. It was the first natural death of a character in the show and it occurred well in to the fifth season. Each member of the group contemplated the loss of Joyce in different ways, with Buffy knowing she will have to take on more responsibility with regards to her sister, household chores and bills (amongst other things) and continue slaying without maternal comfort and support, Dawn knowing she'll have to grow up without a Mother, and Xander, Willow, Anya, Tara and Giles all mourning the loss of their friend's Mother - who was a friend of their's herself - in their own ways. The episode was devoid of music, which added to the solemn and upsetting tone, while prolonged scenes of uninterrupted filming added to the reality of the experience. It was acted beautifully and really did highlight the fact that, while the show was fun and not necessarily taken seriously as a piece of performance art, the actors who starred in it and the people behind it were incredibly talented and versatile. Of course, there were other deaths, but when you think about bereavement in the Buffyverse, Joyce's death is the first thing that springs to mind and Joss Whedon and his crew deserve some serious respect for the way it was handled. Like this article? Can you think of any other serious social issues that were tackled in Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Let us know in the comments box below!And please feel free to follow me on Twitter.