We’re big fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and everything else by Joss Whedon, the show’s creator, that we can lay hands on). When Rossella and I attended a Buffy convention in London in 2001, we were almost the only mother-daughter pair to attend (the few other kids present were arguably too young to be watching the show). George Hertzberg, the actor who had played Adam, a cyborg monster, remarked that it was cool that I share a passion for the show with my daughter. I explained one of my reasons: “Buffy looks after her friends and family, saves the world, and she kicks ass. What better role model could I find for a teenage daughter?”
Joss himself was at that convention, and he kept looking through the crowd at Ross, as if he wanted to hear what she had to say. But she was too shy to speak unless she could think of something intelligent to say; most of the other fans’ questions she overheard were fairly idiotic. Joss might have been more interested in her point of view than some others’; his aim with Buffy was to create a role model for girls, a strong heroine who can take care of herself and those she loves, no matter how big the baddies ranged against her. How many opportunities does he get to talk to a savvy 12 year old about whether it worked? ( I should admit that Ross didn’t really need Buffy to encourage her to be a strong, independent-minded young woman; she was already that, and more. Can’t imagine where she got it from. <grin>)
“Buffy” isn’t just a mother-daughter thing, though. It started out that way, because we received the first two seasons on video while my husband was away on a month-long research trip. Ross and I sat down to watch, were hooked within five minutes, and watched two or three episodes that first night. We continued at that pace until we’d watched every tape we had. When Enrico returned, we watched them all again with him. Since then, “Buffy” has been a family affair, and none of us is ashamed to say so.
Fortunately, the show was available on video in the UK shortly after each season finished, so we were able to catch up with real broadcast time by Season 4. For that year, we relied on a friend/colleague/fellow fan in the US to send us tapes she recorded. Season 5 began during my big California adventure, so I was able to do most of the taping myself. For seasons 6 and 7, we’ve found other arrangements. In the meantime, we’ve exchanged our tape collection for DVDs; I sold the tapes (half price) to another friend in Milan, for whose Buffy addiction I was responsible.
Yes, like all true believers, we are Buffy missionaries, trying to share the joy with a largely uncomprehending world. Many media commentators have done likewise, more influentially than we ever could, yet the show never got beyond cult status in the US. Don’t get me started on what people do watch…
Now Buffy is coming to an end; the last episode will air on May 20th. I’m glad they’re quitting while the show is still great, but we’ll miss it. Terribly.
If you’ve never seen Buffy, or have only seen an episode here or there (and didn’t know what the heck was going on), I envy you: you can start now, right from Season 1 Episode 1 (“Welcome to the Hellmouth”), and watch the whole, glorious epic from beginning to end. What are you waiting for?