This summer, I'm going through a rite of passage. It's a little late, to be honest, but you can just call me a late bloomer.
This is the Summer of Buffy.
I missed Buffy the Vampire Slayer the first time around—I was in high school and college, and getting my monster-of-the-week fix via The X-Files, and I'm not sure what happened. I wasn't paying attention? I wasn't into vampires? I didn't know about Joss Whedon (though, to be fair, nobody really knew about Joss Whedon in those days)? Whatever. I missed it.
I put it off for nearly a decade—not because I thought I wouldn't like it, but because I knew I would love it. I wanted to be in a place where, just in case, I could mainline Buffy without the normal trappings of an adult life—job, rent, you know how it goes—to distract me. I was thinking pregnancy bed rest, or possibly surgery for my nonexistent bunions. Well, you know what's a lot like both of those things, without the painful physical implications? Unemployment.
I just finished the first season, and I'm surprised about a lot of things.
I'm surprised by how many of my assumptions have turned out to be wrong: There's a sense in which, by being on the internet, Buffy's bound to become a part of one's fannish vocabulary. I knew things! Things about the plot! Except for the part where the things I knew were mostly inaccurate in fact or in context! I blame the internet.
I'm surprised that Buffy's mom is still alive. For example. I thought she died right off the bat, but Christine tells me that's much later.
I'm surprised at how little backstory there is: Buffy's the Slayer, period, end of discussion. It's nice, cutting straight to the (vampire) chase.
I'm surprised by how short all of Buffy's skirts and pants are. Did we really do that?
I'm surprised by Angel: I came to David Boreanaz via my weird affection for Bones, and I wasn't sure I'd have any patience for Baby Boreanaz's broody ways. This just in: I was a crazy person. Of course Angel made all the girls' hearts go pitter-pat! He's tortured and he has a soul and he wears that leather jacket, and it's super hot! Smitten. Immediately.
I'm surprised by Sarah Michelle Gellar: I like her. Huh.
What I hear about Buffy, over and over, is that I haven't even scratched the surface of it—that the show is barely itself in the first season. I like it anyway, though, Scooby Doo "and I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you kids!" vibe and all. It's dopey and funny in a way that I can identify as the germ of later Whedon hilarity. I'm impressed by his imagination, and his willingness to be obviously metaphorical, and the many ways he invents to show us the monsters of adolescence, or of life generally. I'm excited to see what happens (not that I don't already know, right?), or at least whether Buffy's clothes ever get less horrendous (also up for a Stacy/Clinton intervention: one Willow Rosenberg). I see good times ahead.
Next up: in which I become a big girl, TV-wise.