My writing group has several Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans, so for New Year’s we decided to marathon. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve continued watching. I’ve tried doing a full rewatch before and never got very far, but I think I’ll make it this time.
Buffy is a very special show for me. I was a tween when it came out. My mom loves vampires, and for whatever reason she asked if I wanted to watch with her.
Petite, unassuming former cheerleader is called as The Chosen One to rid the world of vampires. She is given super strength and the ability to heal quickly. She kicks butt, repeatedly. Her typically male adversaries constantly underestimate her. She kicks their butts. With a hefty dose of Real Life, and emotional turmoil–and did I mention the brooding guy lurking in the shadows? Oh, and it’s funny, too. I was instantly sold.
Joss Whedon, you master of storytelling, you.
Buffy’s smart and emotional and doesn’t try to please others. When she’s pissed off, you know it. She doesn’t apologize for her feelings.
She isn’t brute strength, either. It takes problem solving skills to realize you have to stab the demon in the heart, not the head.
And through all of this, Buffy is just Buffy. She’s a teenager growing up in Southern California with newly divorced parents, a bad school record (burning down the gym is frowned upon, even if it was full of demons), few friends, and a forbidden love. She’d be a fully realized character even without the vampire slaying.
To me, this was a show where the girl got to be the hero. It was something I shared with my mom. My best friend at the time also watched, and we played out our own alternate-universe Buffy games with our Barbies. (There were two of us, so we had twin slayers, Buffy and Bambi.)
Shows for kids don’t often grab your emotions and yank. Joss Whedon loves yanking emotions. So this was one of the first shows where I was totally invested and had my little heart kicked around for funsies. I still get all the feels when I hear Buffy and Angel’s love theme, “Close Your Eyes”.
That’s 2:43 of raw emotion told through music. I won’t spoil what-all happens to make this so poignant, I’ll just say it’s worth watching.
Now as I watch again, I have to hand it to Sarah Michelle Geller. She’s a hell of an actress. Nothing else I’ve seen her in has given her the range or depth of this role. Her Buffy is at once shy, uncertain, confident, and determined.
She’s a real human being.
If I can ever write a character as strong as Buffy, I’ll be happy.
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