the top five reasons you need to watch buffy the vampire slayer
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend Oz Comic-Con in Sydney and meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer stars Nicholas Brendon and Emma Caulfield. I managed to keep my cool during my very brief chat with them, but on the inside I was squealing at a decibel that would have rivalled that of a group of 12-year-olds attending a One Direction concert.
However, only a few of my friends possessed the same level of excitement as I did about the two Buffy cast members visiting Australia. I quickly realised that, unfortunately, the majority of people my age have not seen the intelligent and entertaining television series that is Buffy (understandable, since it premiered in 1997).
So, to rectify this, I thought I would put together a list of reasons why you should start watching Buffy—or why you should consider a re-watch if you’re already familiar with this brilliant show. Have a read, and I guarantee you will be spending the next few weeks binge watching all seven seasons of the series.
1. It smashes gender stereotypes to teeny tiny pieces. As famously stated by creator Joss Whedon, Buffy was a response to the overwhelming number of horror films ‘where some girl walks into a dark room and gets killed.’ He decided to make a television series where ‘a blonde girl walks into a dark room and kicks butt instead.’ Accordingly, the character of Buffy is tough, feisty and self-assured. She spends her days destroying vampires and other assorted demons with ease, dolling out witty one-liners and standing up for herself and those around her.
However, Buffy’s identity as a young woman is also central to the show. She is surrounded by a group of close friends, she worries about failing her classes, spends a considerable amount of time at local nightclub The Bronze, argues with her mother and stresses over her relationships with boys.
Basically, Buffy is a great character because she is complex. She was one of the first characters within popular culture to illustrate that women are capable of more than a simplistic, one-dimensional personality. Whedon’s representation of Buffy as a composite character is summed up excellently in the episode ‘Faith, Hope & Trick,’ when Buffy remarks that she wants to ‘date and shop and hang out and go to school and save the world from unspeakable demons. You know,’ she says, ‘I wanna do girlie stuff.’
2. It’s ridiculously funny. Buffy is chock full of amusing moments which lighten the often serious tone of the episodes. The show is particularly well known for the quips frequently dealt out by its characters, affectionately dubbed ‘Buffyisms’ by fans. Some of my personal favourites include ‘That probably would’ve sounded more commanding if I wasn’t wearing my yummy sushi pyjamas’, ‘Kicking ass is comfort food’, and ‘If the apocalypse comes, beep me.’
3. Television romances to end all television romances. The spark between Chuck and Blair will quickly pale into insignificance once you witness the love stories that feature on Buffy. There’s the relationship between the two witches, Willow and Tara, which is sweeter than about ten tonnes of Tim Tams. Another favourite couple of mine is Xander and Anya. The fact that Anya was once a vengeance demon, who wreaked havoc on men who mistreated women, makes for some very entertaining interactions between the two. And then, of course, there’s Buffy and Angel – the original human/vampire relationship that runs rings around Elena and Damon or Bella and Edward. This relationship will result in you sobbing frequently and exhausting your local supermarket’s supply of Kleenex.
4. There’s a musical episode. If you were a fan of Scrubs episode ‘My Musical,’ which had all cast members singing from start to finish, or How I Met Your Mother’s hilarious musical number ‘Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit,’ then this is another reason to check out Buffy. The musical episode ‘Once More, With Feeling’ is often cited as one of the show’s greatest achievements. Within the episode, a new demon in Buffy’s town of Sunnydale compels everyone to burst into song and dance. The result is an excellent array of musical numbers, which focus on everything from devious bunnies to the relationships between characters to the elation felt after the dry cleaners have successfully removed mustard stains from your clothing. If you’re anything like me, you will love this episode so much that you will purchase its soundtrack from the nearest music store and memorise the lyrics to each song.
5. It’s just great, okay? I honestly could’ve written a list of 100 reasons to watch Buffy. This show has helped me get through the stress of the HSC, days spent sick on the couch and overwhelming amounts of university work. You should definitely give it a go. You won’t regret it, I promise.