{The Sunnydale Project} Guest Post: My Life Long Relationship With Buffy and What Keeps it Going!

October 30, 2013 Uncategorized 9

Today I have for you a wonderful guest post from the lovely Liz who blogs at Along for the Read! She’s talking about her long-term relationship with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Please give her a warm welcome!

I vividly remember when Buffy came on the scene, in March of 1997.  We were in the middle of a basement renovation, so our dining room was acting as a temporary TV room.  Having a TV on the main floor was a novelty to the eight year old version of me. On that TV, in that dining room, the previews for this strange new show started to appear. When it started it seemed like a silly and fluffy concept, an opinion that likely many still hold.  A girl named Buffy who fights vampires? While we initially wrote it off for the first couple of weeks, my older sister and I got hooked in one Friday evening.  It very quickly became something that we watched and loved together, despite our seven year age difference. Given my age, I’m fairly certain my mom would have prohibited me from watching it if it were not for the fact that she was soon hooked too.  So there we were an eight year old, a fifteen year old, and a 45 year old all completely wrapped up in the same TV show.  Buffy managed to create fans out of people from all backgrounds and ages, with so many intensely devoted.

So what is it that makes Buffy so unique, and able to reach such a wide audience? Many, many perfect reasons, all rolled into one.  Here are some (just a few) of the reasons it really worked for me.

The versatility: The range of episodes that came out of this show was hugely impressive.  What other show do you know that managed a musical episode (“Once More With Feeling”), an episode with no musical score (“The Body”- AKA the episode where Liz cries for 44 minutes straight) and an episode that contains 27 ½ minutes without any spoken dialogue (“Hush”), all beautifully made and perfectly woven into the storyline?

On top of this, writers managed to create a character out of nothing, and make it as if she had always existed. Back before the days when Dawn existed, there was a world inside my head where I was Buffy’s little sister.  I built myself into episodes, but how could Buffy really have a sister? I knew realistically that could never happen, but Joss Whedon had a solution. He clearly just forgot to call me up and get me involved.  And so we met Dawn, the magical key who came with childhood memories built in.  And the impossible became possible in a way that completely made sense for the Buffyverse.  I know there are lots of Dawn haters out there, who say she whines too much, but I have a solid appreciation for her and her little sister tendencies.  I can relate.

The Characters: It is impossible for me to choose just one character as a favourite. I change my mind on this through every viewing of the series, I guess I relate more closely to or empathize with different characters at different stages of my life.  What I find interesting about people’s feelings towards characters is that I don’t think I’ve ever come across someone whose favourite character is Buffy.  She’s a strong, kick ass female lead, and yet the strength of secondary characters is what makes this show shine. If I had to pick a favourite, I’d probably have to say Xander.  But what about Anya? And Giles? And Oz?  Hell, even Cordy.  They are just all so fantastic, it’s like choosing your favourite child.

The Men: This show is full of hot steamy men in action. It made being in love with a vampire cool long before Edward and Bella entered the scene.  And I think there is something for everyone here. Focusing just on Buffy’s love life, I am an Angel fan through and through. I mean, look at him.

Who could resist the tall, dark, handsome and mysterious that he brought in full force from the start?  I eternally believe that Buffy and Angel should be together forever (even if they can’t have their moments of true happiness), but that doesn’t mean I don’t also love Spike.  Riley, on the other hand, I would prefer to pretend never existed.  Honestly though, I was so wrapped up in this show, even as a small kid, that the day after the Season 2 finale, “Becoming”, aired, when Angel was sent to Hell, I was so upset that I couldn’t focus at school all day, and felt anxious and ready to cry at any moment.  My mom clued in and nearly stopped letting me watch, but, thank god, it didn’t take.

The Humor:  Anyone who has watched an episode knows what I’m talking about here. There are so many laugh out loud moments that come in stark contrast to the emotional ones that they are thrown in with, often within the same scenes.

The Emotion: Man, this show can make me cry. Despite the fact that it is full of vampires and demons that we don’t see in this world, this show is incredibly realistic at portraying real life struggles and emotions.  Through out the different life stages of the characters there is always something universal that they are struggling with, and that makes them so easy to connect to.

When I saw Rachelia looking for people to do guest posts for the Sunnydale Project, I knew I had to do it.  I’ve been Buffy obsessed for two-thirds of my life, and consider it to be a huge part of my identity.  It is what made a fangirl out of me and started my tendency to become completely absorbed in fictional worlds.  What I didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be to channel all of my Buffy related thoughts into just one post.  I kept going in a million different directions, which goes to show the complexity of the show, and of loving it. I probably could have ended up with an entire book if I didn’t need to narrow things down!

It is rare that I come across a fellow Buffy fan in real life, but when I do, I can guarantee it gives me enough fuel for a life time of conversations with that person.  So if you are a fellow Buffy fan, looking for someone to obsess or agonize over it with, please come find me (I’m on Twitter: @alongfortheread!). Or, if you are not formerly a Buffy fan, but looking to start watching, please do so right now, you won’t regret it, and then come find me when you inevitably need someone to obsess and agonize over it with.  I can honestly say that I will continue to be a Buffy fan for the rest of my life.  I get something new out of it with each viewing, and I hope that more people can continue to discover and love it for all it has to offer.

// Share your thoughts… Leave a Comment! //

What do you love about Buffy? What has kept you coming back for more?

9 Responses to “{The Sunnydale Project} Guest Post: My Life Long Relationship With Buffy and What Keeps it Going!”

  1. HiyaYou

    When I was 11/12, my sisters and I started watching the show. Around season 4 and onward, when it started getting “inappropriate”, I remember they would make me go sit in my room while they watched outside. *eye roll*

  2. aelishm

    Oh God. “The Body.”
    I almost NEVER care about character deaths – since it’s almost never permanent (#SciFiFanProblems!) and is usually a periphery character. But Joyce WAS a periphery character, and yet her death is still one of the most haunting TV moments.

    Farscape *might* be a close second in the making-you-care department, but there was so much chaos in that show that it was easy to get distracted. Firefly might tie with Farscape. But their death was so not-protracted that it couldn’t be that painful.

    I have no idea how Buffy managed to make a relatively small character’s death so powerful. I have no idea how they did a LOT in that show – I don’t think anyone does, since no one’s been able to repeat it.

    • Liz

      Very true. I think that the impact was so big, not because the audience was attached to Joyce, but because of the portrayal of the death and the aftermath of it. It wasn’t a dramatized version it was just REAL. The acting by everyone was spot on, and it just felt like watching in on a real person’s tragedy. Death is a sad thing, whether you know the person or not, so I think the real difference was how true to life everything felt.

    • Rachelia G

      Totally agree aelishm, character deaths in sci-fi/paranormal/fantasy shows usually seem less meaningless because they always seem to bring the damn characters back, which yay for some, but it is so overdone.

      Also, I totally used to think that Joyce was a minor character, but when I was rewatching the first few seasons last year I realized just how often Joyce was in the show, even if it was making small comments here and there, and how parenting was big theme the first two seasons. I don’t think many fans realized how much they truly loved her until she was gone :(

      I totally agree with you Liz, Joyce’s death is still one of the most realistic portrayals of death and its aftermath that I’ve seen on TV. SO painful :(

  3. SweetMarie83

    Aaah this post makes me want to cry. It’s always so exciting to come across a hardcore Buffy fan, someone who truly GETS it. I’m so mad at myself for not reading this last week because I would have run up to Liz at the meetup and hugged her and made her talk Buffy with me lol. There are just so many things I want to say about this post, but I don’t even know where to begin. Just YES, YES, AND MORE YES, all these things and a million other things make this show one of the best shows ever, and are some of the main reasons it will always be one of my favourites. GREAT post.

    • Liz

      ahh thank you so much, Marie, I am sad we didn’t get a chance to talk at the meetup, I love meeting and talking to Buffy fans.

      I am so glad you connected to what I had to say, I love talking Buffy, thank you for the comment, you pretty much made my day :)

  4. Rachelia G

    I love the intergenerational part of the fandom — it wasn’t all teenyboopers loving the show, but a very diverse range of people!

    I LOVED all the points you made about versatility. I honestly hadn’t thought about it in the way you framed it, especially creating a character out of nothing!

    I always find it funny too that most peoples favourite character isn’t Buffy, and I think that may be because her issues always seemed SO humongous and she was literally gifted/chosen with her powers.

    Bangle fans unite! <3

    That screenshot of Anya talking about Joyce and death never fails to make me cry :( :(

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful and touching post Liz and for being part of the Sunnydale Project!!!

    • Liz

      Thank you so much for letting me write it! I loved having a chance to write it down, though it was SO difficult to put it all into one post, I had a million different drafts with different ideas because there is just so much to say.

      I had so much fun being involved, and thank you again for the magazines, they will be a very prized addition to my collection.

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