Five ways 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' ruined my life
Do you know what happened just a few short days ago? Sarah Michelle Gellar retweeted a pic (from husband Freddie Prinze Jr., swoon) of her daughter Charlotte pinning down her dad during a jiu-jitsu class. Sarah Michelle’s caption was totally perfect and got our hearts all aflutter. Get this, she called her daughter a #futureslayer. Heart eyes emoji!
This unexpected Buffy moment got me thinking about my favorite show of all time. I start watching Buffy when it premiered in 1997 and watched through the first 4 seasons as they aired. I eventually stopped watching it (until recently, but we’ll come back to that) but a bunch of adults I knew kept watching it through the end. So it would become this awkward thing of, “Hey Teen Erin, did you see that crazy episode of Buffy last night?” And I’d have to say in response, “No, sorry, Adult, I stopped watching that vampire show because I have play rehearsal every night.” So it was only a few years ago (at the insistence of some friends) that I started completely re-watching (and subsequently dragging my husband with me) and finally got to finish watching the series. And boy, was I hooked.
It took maybe 3 minutes for me to remember why I watched the show in the first place and then it just kept coming. And you know what? I don’t care about the weird stuff. I don’t. The Dawn Stuff doesn’t bother me at all (that season 5 finale gets me every single time), and I don’t care that it just goes totally off the rails eventually (come on, you know what I mean). I’m with them all the time. I want to be best friends with Willow and to have dated Angel and have Xander be in love with me and secretly date Spike later on and have a great mentor (and friend) in Giles. I really do.
This show ruined my pre-teen and teen years and then came back to ruin my adult years. I can’t escape it. So for that, here are five ways Buffy ruined my life:
1. I don’t understand why I don’t have slayer strength
This is the thing, I’m “stronger than I look” but I’m not STRONG. You know what I mean? Like, I can carry heavy things, I took kickboxing briefly in high school and I didn’t wimp out when I went camping with my family and had to hike out 4 miles in pouring rain with a huge camping pack on, but I don’t have Slayer Strength.
Buffy Summers does and she is amazing. I mean, I know she’s The Chosen One and everything, but she can really kick butt. (She also heals quickly and doesn’t bruise which I’ve always been intensely jealous of.) A ton of vampires closing in on her? Who cares! Some gross demon stalking her? She’s fine! And she makes it look SO easy. Never a hair out of place, never without makeup, never sweating.
I’m so jealous that Buffy can go out and kill demons and vampires every night and win (and sometimes date vampires too! Luckily they’re not sparkly on Buffy) and gets to be this strong, tough girl. We always hear about her training with Giles (and sometimes see it) but that mostly just seems fun playtime. She gets to hang out with her best friends and maybe kick a punching bag a few times and throw daggers and stuff. That sounds pretty great to me.
Of course, this also goes for Sarah Michelle Gellar in general. I sort of don’t understand that she personally doesn’t have slayer strength. Anyone else start watching Ringer and then wonder why she didn’t just start beating everyone up?
It’s not like I want to go out and pick a fight or anything, but it’d be nice to know I could defend myself against some demons if necessary.
2. I think a bare midriff and a stake is a viable fashion option
My basic fashion M.O. is early to mid-90’s teen. I often get comments from my husband describing my outfits as, “what teen girls on sitcoms wear when they want to piss off their dads.” This means a lot of boots with stretchy (and kind of short) skirts. I’m trapped in the ’90s. Or maybe just re-embracing them. Anyway, once we got to the late ’90s, I was less excited by what people were wearing. Except for Buffy Summers. That girl can DRESS.
I look at episodes of Buffy and say, “What is Cordelia wearing?” or “I can’t believe they put Willow in THAT.” But I pretty much never think that about Buffy (even when I should). There is something about her character that transcends time periods for me. It’s as if I don’t even notice the horrendous patterns on her clothes or the fact that her stomach is always showing even though she knows she could be in a fight at a moment’s notice.
3. I still hold a grudge against Eliza Dushku
You may think I don’t know the difference between real people and fictional characters. But I do.
Well, I usually do.
I have this problem with Faith from Buffy, where I “understand” that she’s a character played by Eliza Dushku but at the same time I sort of just think Eliza Dushku WANTS me to BELIEVE she isn’t Faith. You know what I mean? Faith is such a manipulative character that I just kind of watch Eliza Dushku in other things (including Bring It On) and am just waiting for her to say, “Ha ha! Five by five, jerks!” and stab Buffy or something.
I may have problems.
Obviously this wasn’t a problem with True Lies since she was a little kid. Basically as long as she’s cast as some sort of character where she can kick people’s butts or was too young to be able to do so, I’m okay with it. Anywhere else, I’m just suspicious of her.
(By the way, good job, The League, for using her correctly as a Krav Maga instructor).
4. I was convinced my teen years were going to be a horribly traumatic experience
Buffy has a lot going on in her life and so do her friends. She’s constantly dodging death, she’s trying to save the world AND she’s also trying to get through high school. (I totally didn’t mean for that to sound like the pitch for this show.)
I mean, most teen dramas are about the normal things: dating, fights with your parents, getting into college. But Buffy has the whole I’m Dating a 200 Year Old Vampire Who Turns Evil thing thrown in, as well. And they never get their normalcy. They can’t just go to Homecoming, they have to get attacked and they can’t graduate from high school without the keynote speaker turning into a giant snake demon during the ceremony.
Can’t these guys catch a break?!
I’m surprised I was even able to ENTER my high school on the first day. I was mentally preparing myself for the worst case scenario which, of course, involves almost dying every day and having friends who are ex-demons and werewolves, obviously.
5. I would desperately love to live in a land where a demon forced us to break out into song
Buffy had some GREAT specialty episodes in its run. Obviously, “Hush” is pretty amazing (and terrifying) and any Halloween-themed episode is really fun (especially when Xander is Army Guy) but, like many others before me, my favorite “special” episode is “Once More, With Feeling”.
I’m sorry, but I’m a sucker for a musical number. Actually, I’m not sorry, but I AM a sucker for a musical number. Especially in a non-musical environment.
I’ve never been super interested in singing alone on stage and even turned down a solo my senior year (when every senior in our choir was supposed to do a solo) because I was just completely petrified about singing without everyone. But singing in the shower, at work, on the street, at karaoke . . . is what I live for. (I actually just stopped writing to take a time out to sing along to ‘Defying Gravity’, which came up on Pandora.)
But this is why musicals are so great. Normal people hanging out and breaking into song. That’s what I’ve always dreamed of! I’ve been known to put on this episode (with the sing along feature, obvs) and just watch it on loop. I get exhilarated when it starts and cry myself to sleep when it’s over. It’s so perfect and I just want to live INSIDE it, if that makes sense and doesn’t sound super creepy.
Why can’t that just be my life? Killing some vampires, sometimes being taken over by a singing and dancing demon, having witty banter with my friends and always wearing a pleather jacket and carrying a stake?