Quick, which episode of Angel is your favorite? No, wait. I already know the answer. It's "Smile Time." It's always "Smile Time." Even if you've never actually seen the episode, it is your favorite. You know why? Two words: Puppet. Angel.
Everyone knows Puppet Angel and everyone who knows Puppet Angel loves Puppet Angel because Puppet Angel is a puppet that looks like Angel. Angel has spent 8 years (by this point) trying to get people to find him menacing, even though his name is Angel, he's a vampire with a soul, and he's a 250-year-old immortal being who hangs around with high school kids and is pretty much as scary as a two-by-four — and as interesting.
"Smile Time" came on the scene at a weird and difficult point in the series. It was the fifth (and final) season, Angel and his crew were now somehow in charge of a giant demonic law firm despite no legal training or ability, and it was right in between the death of Cordelia and the death of Fred, because nothing ups the stakes like dead women -- right, Joss? Naturally, with all that death, what we needed was an entire episode populated by evil puppet fights.
Oh, did I forget to mention that the bad guys were a group of evil puppets? Cause the bad guys were a group of evil puppets, and I'm pretty sure they consumed childhood innocence like mystical cocaine.
It's been 13 years since this episode aired and I still want to sit the Angel writers down and ask which Sesame Street Muppet hurt them when they were a child. It was Elmo, wasn't it? It's okay. You can tell me.