A Look Back: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Throughout the ’90s, before there was Twilight with its brooding vampires and damsels in distress, there was the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was smart, strong and could really kick ass, as she and her faithful friends, the Scooby Gang, regularly saved Sunnydale, CA from vampires and other creatures of darkness.

But, of course, teenage television can’t be all about fighting demons from hell. Buffy’s heartwrenching romance with the vampire Angel was turbulent and dramatic, and it catapulted David Boreanaz to super-stardom (at least with the girls). Willow and Xander, Buffy’s best friends, as well as her other assorted sidekicks, were a little kooky, but their relationships ran deep, making the show as much about growing up in the late ’90s as it was about a cheerleader-type high school student destined to be The Slayer. Producer and writer Joss Whedon called it the “high school as a horror movie” concept, and with that, Buffy easily became his most successful venture.

The other amazing aspect of the show was Buffy herself. She was an ordinary teenager; she stayed out late, partied, ditched class, had beef with the mean girls (except when they needed saving), wore fashionable clothes and fought with her mom. But the difference between Buffy and teen shows today is that it wasn’t about gossipy cliques, sex, or melodrama. Buffy was about friendship, courage, love, sacrifice and, of course, lots of action.

The 5 Best Things About Buffy:

Buffy could fight and save the world without boys. She didn’t need to be saved! Buffy was a great role model for young women. The message she conveyed was loud and clear: girls can be anything they want to be and don’t necessarily need a strong, young man to help them or save them. They can be strong, courageous, and even heroic.

Buffy and Angel’s romance: Buffy and Angel’s romance had the ingredients to keep teenagers and adults alike interested. It was passionate, turbulent (given that Angel was a vampire with a soul and Buffy was the vampire slayer) and complicated… But you always wanted them to work out, even after Angel got his own spin-off series.

Willow: Played so aptly by Alyson Hannigan, Willow was a great foil to Buffy and her best friend. Willow was almost normal, but not quite. She was strange, optimistic and happy (aside from that time she turned into a dark witch and started killing people). She made being slightly off-beat cool. Plus, she was the instigator of the first girl-on-girl kiss ever on prime time television when she began dating fellow witch, Tara.

The Scooby Gang
: Buffy’s gang of friends was the typical teenage gang in most respects. They were loyal and helped Buffy get into and out of most of the near-death situations she found herself in. They were a tight-knit group that teens could easily relate too, including the token chaperone, Giles. The Scooby Gang grew over the years to include a vampire, Spike, who was in love with Buffy and resembled Billy Idol, a vengeance demon, Anya, who was Xander’s girlfriend, and Buffy’s younger sister/the key to saving the world, Dawn.

The crazy action: The vampires and monsters on the show were almost comical and never looked menacing enough to scare anyone, but the fight sequences were choreographed with so much intensity that despite the bad make up and poor acting of the villains, a viewer almost always ended up becoming engrossed and entertained. Not to mention, there were a few legitimately scary episodes and Buffy even died twice over the course of seven seasons.

Veena Rao I am an opinionated person and love talking about books, politics and feminism. I believe that we make a difference just by being aware.

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6 Responses to “A Look Back: Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

  1. Jen Kalaidis

    Gotta love Buffy! Guess what, you can now stream it on Netflix! I’m rewatching it (along with a ton of other shows). It’s so fun to watch it now that we’re older…you pick up on so much different things!

    Oh, and Angel is hot. Reason enough right there!

    Reply
  2. Valeria

    Let’s not forget – that it made being a bit of an outcast, a cool thing to be.

    Reply
  3. Jess d'Arbonne

    “Buffy” was, and always will be, my favorite show. I think it does something profound to the people who watch and love it. Maybe it was because I watched it on the air during my formative teenage years, but Buffy was the single greatest role model for me as a young woman. I laughed, I cried, it changed my life. She saved the world a lot.

    Reply
  4. Erica

    Plus, she was the instigator of the first girl-on-girl kiss ever on prime time television when she began dating fellow witch, Tara.

    Willow is cool and definitely influential in getting more gay people on TV, but she was not the first one. That happen in 1992 and on LA Law.

    Reply
  5. Camille

    “But the difference between Buffy and teen shows today is that it wasn’t about gossipy cliques, sex, or melodrama. Buffy was about friendship, courage, love, sacrifice and, of course, lots of action.”

    I agree, young people today are missing out a lot without a Buffy on TV.

    Nice post!

    Reply

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