Joyce Summers was living in L.A., happily married with a teenage daughter when things started to go wrong. The daughter, Buffy would get into fights and trouble at school, finally getting expelled after she burned down the gym. Amidst these problems her marriage breaks down and she finds herself making a new life as a single parent in the small town of Sunnydale. Although she has a good job running a gallery, her homelife doesn’t get much better when, despite all her promises, Buffy still manages to get into trouble at school. She soon learns that, despite her apparent problems, Buffy has a clear head in a crisis and this makes her proud.
With a new job in a new town and her daughter making new friends, Joyce tries to move on with her life too and soon meets Ted, a computer parts salesman and a great cook. Unfortunately, Ted is first accidentally killed by Buffy and then turns out to have been a robot anyway, so she decides to leave men alone for a while.
When she first learns the true reason for her daughter’s strange behaviour, that she is a Vampire Slayer, she has a hard time dealing with this, especially when Buffy is first in the frame for murder, then gets expelled from school; again. The ensuing argument between mother and daughter leads to Joyce rashly telling Buffy that if she leaves the house she better not return. Buffy, however, has the world to save and so has to leave, and runs away to L.A.. When she returns, Joyce gradually starts to come to terms with her daughter’s calling and even has a romantic tryst with her watcher, Giles albeit under the influence of enchanted band candy.
Joyce thinks that things are finally working out when Buffy graduates from highschool with good grades and without the world coming to an end. Buffy goes off to college and meets a nice young man, but Joyce soon has another teenage daughter to contend with, Dawn. Then those niggling headaches she’s been having turn out to be a tumour and Joyce needs an operation. With both her daughters beside her, Joyce recovers from the operation, but in her medicated state she sees that Dawn is not really a teenage girl. When Buffy explains it all to her, her mother’s instincts tell her that, no matter what Dawn is, she still needs her protection. Joyce, however, is unable to give this as, just as once again she was venturing on a love life, a post operation aneurysm takes her life. RIP Joyce Summers, mother of two exceptional girls.