Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Buffy the Vampire Slayer's 13th Anniversary

Thirteen years ago, I was eleven. That seems odd to type. Thirteen years ago, I was yet to reach actual teenage years. I was a preteen. My favorite shows, if anyone is interested, were Caroline in the City and Suddenly Susan. At least one of those shows were on at the same time a weird show about a teenage vampire slayer premiered. And my father made me miss whichever one that was, because he wanted someone to watch this new weird show about a teenage vampire slayer. That? Is probably a decision he's regretted for the full 13 years that have followed.

I've written a lot about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I've written a lot about Joss Whedon. I've been profoundly, scarily, affected by both.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is probably one of the reasons some people in middle school and high school were under the mistaken impression I was a lesbian (note to any other 12-17 year olds out there: if you're going to wear shirts that are black and predominately feature women, even if those women are show-specific, be prepared for questions).

Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have skewed my perception of who and what is cool. For instance: like Joss Whedon? You're cool. Mock Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You're so not.

But Buffy the Vampire Slayer has done a lot more than that. And on this, its anniversary, I'm going to list some of those things out.

BtVS was a show that fully encompassed the geeks inheriting the earth thing. It was a weird show, in that the geeks and the losers seemed to not care that other people thought of them as geeks and losers. Sure, Buffy was bothered by it, from time to time. She had, after all, previously been cool. But Xander? When Rodney Munson beat him up every day for years, he hated Rodney Munson. This was a good thing for me, being that I have odd parents, an odd name, and am both geeky and nerdy. It was validation when I hated the kids who made fun of my name, instead of hating my name. And that was good, at eleven.

BtVS was a show that had tons (and I mean tons) of kick ass women, who were powerful and righteous and strong - and emotional and screwed up and flawed in a myriad of different ways. It was also a show that had a lot of kick ass men who were emotional and screwed up and flawed in a myriad of different ways - and who were also powerful and righteous and strong.

BtVS has probably shaped my philosophical outlook more than any other singular thing. It has done more for how I see the world than Alexander Hamilton, than Thomas Jefferson, than Sartre, than Steinem, than de Beauvoir. And on things as far ranging as friendship, militarism, the role of government, atheism, feminism, ethics, life, and family.

When I want to reference why I feel a certain way, I may break out a BtVS quote. I may - in fact - point to a certain scene. Which leave those around me who have not seen the show or who are not totes obsessed more than a little confused. And I'm okay with that.

Thirteen years on, I'll still cry when I see Becoming Pt 2. Thirteen years on, I'm still in awe of what the show is. Thirteen years on, I'll still spend a day watching season 1, and loving it.

And while it is a little pathetic to pull myself out of my blogging rut by writing about this particular topic, it is also a testament to the show that I still care this much about all of these characters, thirteen years down the road.

So, happy anniversary, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'll write about you again - next year.


MediaMaven said...

It's great that you still have such affection for your teenage show. I rewatched some eps of one of mine recently, and it didn't hold up to me--at least in one way--and there was a part of me that was awed by the fact that I spent so much time and energy on it back in the day. Oh, teenagers. That was my dominant reaction.

I've grown beyond my show; you haven't. You still love it and appreciate it even more. For me, it's a fond memory, a curious remnant of another, geekier, life.

Connie, Orlando said...

Thirteen years ago, I was 47, no doubt older than your parents. I've gotten over the guilt of being a middle aged woman obsessed about a show peopled by kids in high school. It was so much more than that. Without a doubt, the best show ever on TV, and I have many, many years to compare it to. Nothing better before it, and nothing better since it's demise. Keep writing about it - I'll keep reading it! Thanks.