“In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of of darkness. She is the Slayer.”
I didn’t really watch television when I was in high school. I never knew what what was happening, because I couldn’t understand what the actors/characters were saying. But I did watch movies. But Buffy the Vampire Slayer was special. In high school, my best friend Tammy and I watched the movie “I Know What You Did Last Summer” over and over and over. Seriously. We couldn’t get enough of it. One Christmas, my parents gave me the first two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on VHS. That was all I had for a while.
I don’t know that it was any one thing that sucked me in (pun intended), but Sarah Michelle Gellar was a HUMONGOUS draw for me. I just love her. I love the way she loses herself in the character she’s playing. Those tears she cries in front of the camera are real. I once read in an interview that she had taught herself to cry on demand because she wanted to portray the character as realistically as possible. She’s just the very definition of awesome. Such a good role model. Buffy Summers is a pretty powerful woman. Women can be powerful. That is what I took from the show, first and foremost. You can’t categorize it. It’s everything – drama, comedy, action, horror. Everything. It was versatile. And it was a gift. To me. It was a gift. The best gift I could have ever gotten at the time.
Back then, we didn’t get the channel that BtVS aired on, and then another network bought it. And I was finally able to watch it past the 2nd episode. I discovered the closed captioning button. JOY! Can you imagine how much I freaked out every Tuesday night at 8pm? I was so excited. Buffy the Vampire Slayer came to mean everything to me. EVERYTHING. I would scramble to get all the episodes taped (and that is a lot of VHS, let me tell you… I had them all on my bookshelves, in order, and sometimes when I couldn’t sleep, I would pop one in the VCR and get lost in the world of someone else who couldn’t sleep. And now, of course, there are the dvds, which take up a lot less space.)
And then there was the spinoff, Angel. The vampire-with-a-soul. You didn’t want to be around him when he loses it. HA! Loved that one too, but BtVS was always my first love. Today, it is very much a part of me. Even when I watch it today, I feel so much of what I originally felt when it aired. Hope, most of all. The show helped me grow into the person I am today. I think and speak in Buffy quotes sometimes. I do impressions of the dialogue. I even named my shih tzu after it! That should tell you something. It will never go away for me. Never. Did you know that there are actually college classes you can take about this show? Mostly philosophy classes, because much of BtVS was philosophical. How could it not be? It was basically life or death in the Buffyverse. I haven’t heard of any other show that can claim this vast amount of popularity.
I know there are people who will not understand this. The very title of the show turns them off. In response to this, I just shrug. It isn’t my loss. I have gained SO MUCH by watching BtVS. I found Buffy, and she helped me find myself. She didn’t embrace what was different about her until the last few seasons. She spent the first season trying to deny who she was and what she was born to do. I could sympathize with that. And in the second season, she realizes she has no choice. It becomes a job to her. And later, it defines who she is. She grows not only as the Slayer, but also as a woman. She is two things at once, just like I am. I am a writer. And I am a survivor of this thing we call life. Buffy was too, come to think of it. The girl actually DIED twice! Her life was insane.
Like Buffy, I found it really hard to accept myself as who I was. Back in high school, I was struggling. Thank goodness for BtVS novels. The Buffy Summers who lives on in me keeps me grounded and it keeps me strong. When I think of her, when I think of the show, I smile. I have a secret. A secret no one else would know, unless they have watched the show too.