A lot of people have laughed at me over the years about my dedication to the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And, recently, someone told me that watching your favorite old TV shows can spark inspiration.
I’ve been meaning to write this specific article for a while, and now, after watching three minutes of Buffy, it’s completely obvious why I’ve put it off for so long. After watching this tiny fraction of this TV show it’s completely and painfully obvious why it almost physically hurts to write about it.
What’s funny to me, and always has been, is that people who laugh about Buffy being a cheesy joke of a show obviously never watched the program. Sure, they may have sat in front of their television, but they obviously didn’t watch the show.
In Spring of 1997, Buffy Anne Summers moved to Sunnydale, California. She met Willow and Xander and Cordelia. Under the watch of Giles, she slayed vampires as I finished my senior year of high school. While Buffy adjusted to a new school, I was dealing with my friends deciding we were no longer going to associate with each other — and the last minute panic of what was the next step in my life. We were, in a way, in the same place.
Over the next seven years, I grew up with the “Scooby Gang”, watching them fight their battles while I fought my own. No, I wasn’t fighting vampires, but I did deal with those people that seem to want to suck the lifeforce from you. I never had a friend who became addicted to magic, but I sure saw a lot of friends that felt drugs were the only solution to any traumas they had to deal with. Boys were nice one minute and the next it seemed they had lost their souls. There were countless parallels between the Buffyverse and everyday life. Even now, almost ten years after the series finale, I have had situations come up – or even just life happening as it does — and I’ve stopped and thought: “Wow, it’s like that time on Buffy…”
This is exactly why I have been putting this article off.
Buffy is just too close to real life.
My mother passed away almost four years ago. I remember, the day she died, thinking about the speech that Anya gives after Joyce, Buffy’s mother, passes away.
“But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s, there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And, and Xander’s crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.”
Out of all of the things I could’ve been thinking that day my mom died, you know what kept going over and over in my head? My mom was never going to have fruit punch again.
That’s how powerful of an influence this TV show that I’ve been laughed at for having such dedication to meant and still means to me.
I’m not going to tell you my life troubles, don’t worry. But it’s funny just how much the above statement is real. I don’t have a little sister. Quite the opposite, my sister is almost four years older than me. But every day in the last year, more and more, it’s feeling like I’m Buffy and my sister is Dawn. And it must be Tuesday. Those who watched the show understand what I mean.
Things have been very repetitive lately in my life. I think that’s why I didn’t want to write this article. The song above from the superb “Once More, With Feeling” episode seriously sums me up right now. Once again, my life has imitated Buffy. Or Buffy was imitating life… and I’m just catching up.
It has been ten years since Buffy ended on TV. Even though I’m an adamant supporter, I have always had a major issue with season seven and the finale. (And don’t get me started on the comics.) I guess my beef with season seven is that I never understood why they completely abandoned our Scooby Gang, branching out and telling the story of the potential slayers of the world. I just never understood. Why? Why would they do that? Why do we care that all of these girls have the potential to be Slayers? Woop dee doo. Let’s focus on our core group that we spent six glorious years with.
It took me those ten years, and watching these three minutes, to understand what that final season was trying to communicate to its fans. Something we pretty much knew all along, but we needed to discover for ourselves. In our own lives. In our own ways. On our own time.
I think I get what that message (however blatant it was 10 years ago) actually means — finally.
I’m now 33 years old and I finally get what that entire series was building up to.
I don’t fit in. I’ve never fit in. Sure, I have my own Scooby Gang.
And I’ve been through a lot. Yes, many have been through worse. Many have been through less. But just waking up every day, I can feel the weight of the world — and I keep on.
I’m just a girl.
But for getting through life itself so far — and in one piece?
I’m a Slayer.
Let’s start with the Buffy stuff I own. OK, I have TONS. I have the board game, I have every Sideshow 12″ figure, I have all of the Clayburn Moore action figures. I have the diecast cars. I have mugs and a shirt and a Claddagh ring. I have books out the wazoo.
I have posters…
Now let’s get into weird stuff. In 2004, after two years of teaching a class called “Reflections of Society in the Buffyverse”, I presented my ideas at the Slayage Conference. This conference had great minds from the entire world presenting on Buffy and what it meant to them or society or history or religion or… you get the point. It was an amazing experience.
I have Buffy Valentines, Buffy playing cards, games, postcards, puzzles, binders, planners…
I have a replica of the cross necklace given to her by Angel.
My mom called me one night from a local liquidation store.
“They have Buffy collector plates.”
Buffy Suckers! Yep. I have two paint cans and two mini cans of these. They are pretty awesome. But not as cool as…
Here we go. This is the cool stuff. Did you know they made mini lunchboxes full of stake shaped bubblegum?
Did you know they made individual Buffy suckers?
Did you know they made Buffy Chocolate Bars??!
Yep, I have a box of them! The flavors are as follows: Buffy – Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Cream, Willow – Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter, Xander – Milk Chocolate with Caramel and Spike – Milk Chocolate with Crispies
I ate a few back when I found them in 2003, but saved the rest. Truly the coolest little thing I own.
Yep, this is a signed script of one of the most powerful episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “The Body”.
After 9/11, Joss and the gang decided to give fans an incentive for donating to the Red Cross. I was going to donate anyway, and by sending my receipt to them, I was able to get this. It still makes me smile.
While most people still probably don’t understand just how powerful of a force Buffy is to some of us, it doesn’t deter my love and admiration.
I’m not ashamed to say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer has taught me two of the greatest lessons in life.
The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.
Be brave… LIVE.