Growing Up Buffy: One Fangirl’s Look Back

Buffy | Joss Whedon | Shows 1

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What you are about to read, skim, or possibly click away from is the beginning of my attempt to add to the constantly growing written word on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I do not claim to be the expert on the Buffyverse. I only claim to be a fan of the beloved show set on a Hellmouth. I type those words (Buffyverse and Hellmouth) and my spell check underlines them in bright red telling me I have made an error. It seems that with every computer I purchase, I am adding those words and many others like Acathla and Xander to the Word dictionary. And so begins yet another of my patented Buffy diatribes that my friends both know and hate.

I was twelve; days shy of thirteen when Buffy first aired on that fledgling WB network on March 10, 1997. I was a typical pre-teen before Buffy. I played sports, performed in those grade school plays that my parents videotaped and now show to embarrass me. I was a nerdy, writer, academic and a sarcastic little brat. I also felt alone and misunderstood and that I would never make it out of my hometown of Greenwood Indiana (which if you don’t have a map nearby is just south of Indianapolis). My plans were to be a lawyer while writing best sellers in my spare time, while also saving the world with my superhero powers. Okay, so I didn’t get and still don’t have any superhero abilities, but there’s still hope, right? Coincidently enough, I am still also waiting on my acceptance to Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and I refuse to believe that I am a mere Muggle.

The night Buffy aired for the first time, I paid no attention. It was a mid-season replacement based on a movie I hadn’t seen because I heard it was terrible. Point of interest: later I would see the film several times and while it’s not exactly Oscar caliber, it’s pretty funny and let’s face it Buffy fans, if Joss had never made the film, we might not have ever had the show. The night of March 10th, I must have had something better to do like riding my bike around the suburbia I was surrounded by, play basketball as every Indiana kid does in his or her driveway, or maybe chase the boy I had a crush on around while he talked about his fabulous older girlfriend. So clearly, I was busy. Lucky for me, The WB recognized that one night of Buffy was just not enough. I don’t recall the specifics or for how long this was done, but I do remember being able to see Buffy sometimes 3 times a week. The same episode was often shown on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. So, while I missed that blessed first night, I caught the premiere finally and within the first three minutes with that spectacular Joss Whedon crafted twist (spoiler alert) of Darla being the vampire and not that shady looking guy who tries to lure her to Sunnydale High, and there goes spell check again. Sunnydale is a word, and you know what? So is Whedon for that matter. But I digress.

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As a blossoming thirteen-year-old writer, I took it upon myself to craft my own plot twists, characters, etc. based on that lovely show. I also figured out an easy way to make it through any English Lit class junior high paper through college thesis. My concept was simple. Write what you know. Someone told me that and I guess it sunk in. Every paper, project, test, etc. I could incorporate Buffy into, I did. The result is that years later, I have a compilation of all things Buffy ever written by me. When I started my first “big girl” job after college, I happened to mention to someone that I could pretty much compare anything to this world to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We were taking a training class at the time and that person told me to compare the show to what we’re learning. I wrote that paper and I still feel like I made some excellent points.

Now, why would you want to read these things I will be posting? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this. I accept that. I also have my prepared answer. For the seven years that Buffy was on the air, I went from ages 12-20. Those metaphors that every Buffy scholar has written about; I lived them. The metaphors; not the actual demons. The walls of my bedroom for those years and still somewhat to this day were covered with pictures, articles, etc. about anything Buffy related including anything about the cast and crew. I bought magazines, cut out the pictures of Sarah, Alyson, Nicholas, Tony, Charisma, Emma, David, James, Joss, etc. and tossed the magazine into the garbage. I had gotten what I came for.
What I offer you is not a scholarly look at Buffy. There are several of those already out there and I have read them already. In fact, I quote several of them throughout my own work. I offer you one fan’s perspective about growing up Buffy. Many of you will undoubtedly relate to what I write. It seems no matter the age of the fan, we all understand one another in relation to the show. Some of you probably have no idea what I am talking about because you are a new watcher (no pun intended.) You caught an episode in syndication, bought the seasons on DVD, or stream the seasons on one of the various services available today. Congratulations and welcome to the club! Now is when I say that back in the day, those of use who watched from the beginning had to get out a blank VHS tape and a VCR to record each episode and then add that VHS to our Buffy episode library. Maybe we even took each of those tapes with us to college and scared our dorm roommate freshman year because we brought more tapes than clothing and accessories. But us dedicated fans aren’t really that bad once you get to know us. Although there is a Buffy trivia test you must pass in order to be an official member. My pop culture and philosophy professor once told me that his go-to trivia test for Buffy fans was to ask one question, “What was different about the Bronze after the fumigation party?” If you can answer that correctly, you’re a Scooby.

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I hope you all enjoy what I will be writing here. My goal is to include things I wrote growing up in school and on my own. Recognize that some of this stuff was written by a thirteen-year old girl and will not be the prose of an educated writer who now fully understands what a thesis statement looks like. I also plan to include other Joss Whedon topics. Nothing he’s done is off limits and that means that spoilers will appear as necessary. If you have not yet watched the series and you don’t want to be spoiled, my suggestion is to get watching and return later. I hope that whatever I put out there will create discuss amongst Buffy fans both old and new and that you let me know if there is something you’d like addressed or discussed. Let’s continue this amazing fan community here at The Nerd Cave where all of us “fangeeks” are welcome and celebrated. And gentle viewers (readers); remember in every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer. And I am just a fan.

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Source: Whedon, Buffy Wikia, Nerdapproved

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  1. Rosalind Lachane - May 12, 2013

    Can’t wait for more of your spin on Buffy

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