So Buffy the Vampire Slayer did an all-musical episode. Big whoop. In an upcoming episode of estranged sister show Angel (airing Feb. 4 at 9 pm/ET on the WB), both series' creator, Joss Whedon, takes the white-hatted vampire and his gal Friday, Cordelia, to the ballet. Top that, Slayer!

"I guess Joss felt the show wasn't quite gay enough yet," executive producer David Greenwalt said with a chuckle at the recent Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

In actuality, the hour brings to a boil the unspoken, decidedly heterosexual passion that has been simmering for weeks between the unlikely partners in crimefighting — a plot twist that is sure to strike terror into the hearts of viewers holding out hope that someday Angel will reunite with Buffy.

"The idea that Angel and Cordelia would have feelings for each other scared us," Greenwalt admitted. "We said, 'No, but Buffy...' And Joss was like, 'People move on.'"

So, although disapproving fans might want to drive a stake through Whedon's ticker, neither he nor Greenwalt will be convinced to alter the course of the story that they are telling. "I don't care what people think about [the flirtation]," Greenwalt insisted. "I know we're doing the right thing.

"People didn't like Spike [the Slayer's current lover] when he came to Buffy," he continued. "They didn't like it when we got rid of [Cordy's demonic pursuer] Doyle. There are always things that people don't like, and part of that means you are doing your job correctly, because it means that people are identifying with the character. You have to earn [the audience's affection]."

For his part, leading man David Boreanaz empathizes with the hopeless romantics who can't conceive of Buffy living happily ever after without Angel. "If you saw these two characters get back together, it would be so different from what Buffy has done and from where Angel is," he suggested.