Marc Bernardin
June 23, 2009 AT 07:25 PM EDT

What to get the man who’s given us everything? Okay, maybe not everything — I’m still waiting on that cold fusion thing, script-boy — but writer-producer-director Joss Whedon has been a cornerstone of popular culture for nigh on 20 years now. From his early gigs, on the Roseanne writing staff and helping craft the Toy Story screenplay, to his titanic television achievements Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse — not to mention his paradigm-shifting Internet musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog — Whedon has not only helped inform our entertainment discussion, he’s led it.

So, hey, happy 45th birthday, Joss. (Can I call you Joss? Thanks.) Hope it’s a shiny one. And, as a present to, well, us, I’ve selected a birthday-related Buffy clip that, in my not-even-close-to-humble opinion, has almost everything you want from Buffy: humor, poignancy, destiny, and a smothery hug from Angel.

“Helpless” is my favorite Buffy birthday episode; what’s yours?

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