I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer around age 11 or 12, after my best friend had been going on and on about the show for what seemed like forever. I had somehow caught an episode on TV and despite my any earlier protestations, I was immediately hooked! Without delay I quickly became absolutely absorbed in the show - I’d set up my VCR to tape the re-run episodes each night, I bought the books and magazines, poured over trivia about the show and actors, listened non-stop to the soundtracks (my brother knows most of the lyrics to the Once More With Feeling CD from being subjected to it, haha!), and I even threw a small Buffy Halloween party with said best friend. The show became my world - I was a walking, talking Buffy encyclopaedia! I breathed, ate, slept, dreamed and lived Buffy. I even remember my parents being a bit wary that I had developed some sort of unhealthy obsession! But the show was fulfilling me in ways that I didn’t even realize at the time, and I think that’s what kept me coming back day after day, week after week, and even year after year.
This post is about why I love Buffy, so here are three ways the show has captured my heart:
Ok, sure, Buffy fights vampires and other monsters and demons, and there’s magic and an impending apocalypse practically every other week, but Buffy and her friend’s problems are so painfully relatable - the desire to fit in, being the outsiders, dealing with high school and growing up and death and relationships, and *sigh* it’s all just exhausting, isn’t it? While Buffy, Willow, and Xander deal with many of these problems in the form of monsters, the feelings and dilemmas they have are very real.
“It’s my first day. I was afraid that I’d be behind on all my classes, that I wouldn’t make any friends, that I’d have last month’s hair. I didn’t think there would be vampires on campus!” - Buffy, “Welcome to the Hellmouth”
I was kind of a loner in elementary school, and my first year of high school - I had only one or two good friends, kept to myself, and was quite socially awkward - so I completely related to Buffy desire to fit in and her craving for some sense of normalcy. In the mean time, the characters in the show became my friends - I knew everything about them, and we had a standing date each night as I caught up on a new episode after homework. However, as high school progressed, I found my own Scooby gang and family of friends, and I could relate to the safety and comfort that Buffy, Willow and Xander felt with each other.
Then high school was over for Buffy, and she was facing “the real world” with college, jobs, relationships, deaths in the family, and home ownership. Although I was still in high school, the fears that manifested themselves in the form of demons and monsters reflected my own fears for my future - and while I haven’t revisited the show (until now!) for much of my university career, the values, lessons and sentiments that I learned from the show have followed me along my way, a comfort blanket of knowledge if you will.
ANYA: That's so very humorous. Make fun of the ex-demon! I can just hear you in private. (talks to the chicken foot) 'I dislike that Anya. She's newly human and strangely literal.'
WILLOW: (frowns) Anya, I don't say that. No one says that. No one talks that way. - “Into the Woods”
There's no denying it - the show is funny, right down to its title! The writer’s week in and week out did a great job of providing us with funny little puns, pop culture references, "buffy speak" and more, which just added much more life to the show. Over the years I fell in love with Buffy's puns, Willow's geek humour, Xander's self-depreciating funnies, Giles' exasperation, and the range of cast that regularly brought the laughs: Cordelia, Spike, Anya, and Andrew. I like how it didn't matter whether the Scooby Gang were facing the scariness of high-school or a monster, but humour was almost always present, like it was a survival tactic. The fun and hilarity helped counter the darkness of the show (especially in the later seasons), but what it really did was put me in laughing stitches and keep coming back for more!
From the first episode I watched, I instantly loved Willow, mostly because I saw a lot of myself in her. Willow, in the beginning, was shy, not too confident, a nerd (yay nerdfighters!), and had one good friend - Xander. We were so much alike! But besides our similarities, I just really love Willow's overall story arc. Alyson Hannigan did an amazing job in her portrayal of Willow. In my opinion, she steals almost every scene she is in! Willow is such a loveable character, when she is hurt, I’m hurt, and when she cries, well, it just destroys me! I’m so grateful that the writer’s were able to create such an amazing character, and for Alyson Hannigan’s acting chops - maybe if I hadn’t connected so much with Willow, I wouldn’t ever have continued watching the show, which would have been a shame!
Overall, while the show has interesting episodes, great writing and acting, and is one of my favourite genres - paranormal - it was ultimately the little things that ultimately drew me in to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and had me loving the show almost immediately!
Over the course of The Sunnydale Project you will be seeing a few more of these “What Buffy Means to Me” or “Why I Love Buffy” posts, as we have some great guest posts lined up for you. But, I still want to hear from YOU - what about the show made you fall in love with it?