Today I have another great guest post for all my Sunnydale Project readers. Please welcome Hannah, who will be discussing how she came to the Buffy fandom a little late, but is happy that she did, because it means she has appreciated the show as an adult so much more than she could have in high school!
I have not been a Buffy fan for long. In fact, it’s been less than a year. I knew it was a thing, and I knew that if so many people I liked were fans of it there was a pretty good chance it didn’t suck. But it took starting a new job, where my supervisor said that the only thing I needed to do to fit in was know the Buffyverse, to get me to do it. Because when you’re getting graduate degrees in library science and children’s literature, and your supervisor is also a YA author, you know that you’re probably all going to like the same types of things.
So it was time. I got on Netflix and set to watching every episode I could, every second I could—and some seconds I couldn’t, like all the times I didn’t have a social life or got a little behind on my reading for school. Thanks to this handy dandy first result in a Google search, I was even able to determine how exactly to incorporate watching Angel into the mix so as to watch crossovers appropriately. I was pretty easily hooked, and I generally read Wikipedia and other fandom entries on the episodes during my watching so as to become immersed and as knowledgeable as any other Buffy superfan.
To backtrack, since you readers of Bookish Comforts don’t know me, I’m Hannah. I’m 24. I hated high school. I didn’t like college much more, since it felt like high school. I absolutely love that I keep getting older, because I feel like I’m finally becoming me. So it may seem strange that I became so quickly obsessed with a show about high school and college, but I promise you it’s not.
Here’s the thing: Buffy was on when I was in high school, so I could have been watching it then. Certainly there’s a lot to be said for reading or watching teen angst when you’re a teen and feeling less alone. For example, The Perks of Being a Wallflower definitely helped me through my adolescence. Also, during high school I was so concerned with stamping out everything in me that was nerdy, quirky and uncool (it didn’t work, by the way) that I didn’t actually seek things out like that, even when I knew I would probably like it. But I think there is a reason that we slightly older fans find the show so compelling, and it has everything to do with the fact that we are just that—slightly older, with more experience and more tools to bring to the table. Here are five reasons I’m perfectly fine with the fact that I was 23 before I entered the Buffyverse.
1. Being out of high school gives you perspective—maybe. I know I still carry a lot of angst, but I have still been out of high school long enough that I can find the drama in the early episodes funny in a different way than I could have when I was living it. It’s not that you can’t see humor in your own situation, but I think it would have stung a bit more if I had been watching it when I was 16.
2. Spending five (going on six) years in higher education and focusing on literature, media, and social sciences means that there’s so much more that you can do with a show like Buffy. Okay, first of all, Buffy studies is a thing! (I’m still excited that when I decided to make up a master’s degree and type “master’s children’s literature” into Google, there was already such a program that existed that would let me study the stuff I loved with the critical theory I was becoming obsessed with.) Knowing that there is an entire other field of study based on awesome youth media makes me exceedingly happy. Also, I’m sure you know that there is so much going on in Buffy with regards to classic literature, film history, feminism, religion, and so much more. Having finished my first run-through of the entire series, I’m trying to decide which critical theory lenses to put on for my next go.
3. Did I mention I’m in library school now? Yeah. If I had been in high school, I would have taken Giles and all the jokes made about him at face value. Now I can be annoyed with them, find them funny, and also find them ironic. Wins all around!
4. Basically everyone I spend time with these days is a Buffy fan, whereas that really wasn’t the case in the past. When you’re in graduate school, your world doesn’t exactly narrow (if the above paragraphs haven’t shown you how many new things I know about and love to play with, I don’t know what will), but it does specify. So many people in my programs make random references to characters, lyrics from “Once More, With Feeling,” and random Sunnydale events that I would be missing out on major social capital if I didn’t know Buffy. It’s just a thing that tends to pepper people’s sentences and to inform their own experiences, and while I don’t quite understand how or why it happens, I certainly don’t want to be left out.
5. Twilight exists. I have to read it for class this semester, and while I’m quite certain that I can make jabs at it just based on my own superior intelligence and lofty, lofty standards for books, I feel like I will have a more legitimate opinion now that I am acquainted with Buffy.
When I signed up for the Sunnydale Project, I had a feeling that I would be in the minority as someone who could have watched Buffy, the Vampire Slayer as a teen but didn’t pick it up until later.
What was your first Buffy experience like?
“Comp lit and mediaphilia” means I am an addicted consumer of all media, though primarily books (printed and e-), television (online or when I’m at the gym), and Internet (meaning blogs, memes, etc), and that I use them to draw comparisons, make connections, understand myself and others, and pose questions. I love to be interdisciplinary; I love multimedia; I am always curious. The tagline is not only what governs my life (ancora imparo) but also the underlying spirit and rule of all of my posts.