R.J. was a Sunnydale High student at the time of its reconstruction and a classmate of Dawn Summers. He owned an enchanted quarterback jacket, which he inherited from his brother, Lance, who, in turn, got it from their father. The jacket caused women within a close proximity to fall in love with the wearer.
Dawn fell in love with R.J. one afternoon as she was sitting on the benches near the field. She noticed R.J. putting on his jacket and drinking water, falling instantly under the spell. Later that day, Dawn approached him while he he was talking with his friends (teammate O'Donnell, girlfriend Lori and fellow cheerleader Cheryl), but he subsequently brushed Dawn off. In order to get him to notice her, Dawn tried out for the cheerleading team the next day, but only succeeded in making a big fool of herself in front of R.J.
The following day, Dawn overheard O'Donnell boasting to R.J. that he had gotten the quarterback position. To ensure R.J.'s position as quarterback, Dawn pushed O'Donnell down the stairs, and is subsequently sent to the principal's office, where she denied her involvement in O'Donnell's accident. Later, R.J., impressed with Dawn's standing up to Principal Wood, asked her out on a date. The two of them went to The Bronze that night; however, Buffy was there to witness them dancing very closely, and confronted Dawn privately about it.
Dawn leaves, and then faces Lori outside The Bronze. After a brief cat fight, Lori leaves, warning her to stay away from R.J.
The next day, R.J. was sent to Principal Wood because of his tendency of getting girls to do his homework for him. R.J. faced Buffy, who fell for him as he put on his jacket. The following day, Buffy pulled him out of class and brings him to a vacant room, where she begins to seduce him. After discovering the pair Dawn runs into Xander and gets him to interrupt Buffy, finding her already half undressed and on top of R.J.
While Xander and Spike interrogated Lance, R.J. arrived at the Summers' house. Willow and Anya, who answer the door, fall for him too. The girls argued over R.J., and decided to prove their love for him. Willow began to perform a spell to turn R.J. into a woman to fulfill her sexual preference, while Anya went off to rob a bank. Buffy decided to kill Principal Wood, and Dawn, realizing she would never have R.J., lay herself across the train tracks in order to give her life for love. Except for the robbery, all the girls were stopped by Xander and Spike, who then stole R.J.'s jacket and burned it.
R.J. was a somewhat stereotypical jock. He rarely did his homework, instead using (probably without realizing it) his jacket's enchantment to manipulate girls into doing his homework for him. He strongly disliked Principal Wood and had a tense friendship and rivalry with his teammate O'Donnell, who replaced him as starting quarterback.
However, R.J. was not always a jock. His brother Lance told Xander that before R.J. joined the football team, he was really into "geek stuff" like comic books and Model UN, suggesting that he was more geeky than he appeared to be. He also enjoyed writing poetry, showing a more sensitive side. Even after his "transformation," he expressed some respect for one of his old English teachers.
- Anya Jenkins - Anya went on a thieving spree to try to win his heart, and Dawn tried to kill herself to prove her eternal love. Spike and Xander were able to interrupt Willow's spell, stop Buffy from killing the principal and together they saved Dawn. They then were able to steal the jacket from R.J. and burn it, freeing the girls from the spell.
- Buffy Summers - Buffy, under the influence of a love spell develops a brief, powerful obsession with this high school quarterback, along with Dawn, Willow, and Anya. She betrays her sister's trust by seducing RJ in an empty classroom, and almost kills Principal Wood to prove her love to him. The spell is broken when Spike and Xander destroy the enchanted letterman's jacket.
- Dawn Summers - Dawn develops an obsessive crush on this popular high school athlete because of his bewitched letterman jacket, resulting in her humiliating herself at cheerleader tryouts and pushing his rival down a flight of stairs. When she finally comes to accept that she can never be with him, she decides to commit suicide by lying on a train track to prove her "love" for him. Buffy rescues her, and the spell is broken.
- Willow Rosenberg - Under a love spell along with Buffy, Dawn, and Anya, Willow became obsessed with this male high school student, despite his "physical presence." When Anya pointed out that "his physical presence has a penis", Willow insisted that she could "work around it", summoning the goddess Hecate to transform him into a woman. Xander and Spike intervened before she succeeded, and the love spell was soon lifted.
Behind the Scenes
- He was portrayed by Thad Luckinbill.
- Luckinbill is 10 years older than Michelle Trachtenberg and two years older than Sarah Michelle Gellar.
- It was not made clear whether or not R.J. was aware of his jacket's appeal, because the context implies both answers are possible, although the script more or less confirms that he wasn't. When Spike and Xander stole the jacket, he made no attempt to get it back.
- Every time a girl falls in love with R.J., the theme from A Summer Place plays in the background. This music had been previously cited by Oz as something that impressed him about a girl.
- If it is left unclear exactly how far Buffy succeeds in her seduction of RJ. If they do progress to actual sex then he is her fifth lover, the last we see her take in the series and the only one who is younger than her.