Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Television and Perspective: I'm a Buffy Virgin, Too!

Inspired by this post written by a self-proclaimed "Buffy Virgin" and the easy access to the series via Netflix Instant Watch, I've decided to start watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for--get this--the very first time.

This may seem strange. Let me explain.

I grew up in the sticks. Really, there were literally a lot of sticks. They fell off of the trees, which the skilled technicians said were part of the problem in our television reception--that and the whole being isolated from all humanity thing. Because of this, we couldn't get any "regular" television channels. We also could not get cable.

The only option for television (except VHS tapes, of course) was satellite. And we had one. It looked pretty much like this:

big satellite dishes

I'm not exaggerating when I say this thing was huge. In fact, once it had fallen defunct and did little more than mark our backyard like some ill-placed space junk, we threw the garden hose over the top of it, pushed a giant trampoline up against it, and slid down the side on our own homemade water park. (Shut up! I lived in the sticks! This was prized entertainment.) In addition to being huge, it was also ironically limited. Though we could get hundreds of bizarre channels that most of my town-dwelling, cable-having schoolmates had never heard of, we could not get the regular channels that most people get just by sticking some tin foil on top of their TVs. 

All this to say that--while I got plenty of all-night marathons of Taxi and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which I think did wonders for my sense of humor and budding feminism)--I was utterly outside of any social interaction that centered on television. I had never seen any of the things that my peers had seen. 

So, I completely missed Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The television show, anyway. I saw the movie. In fact, my little sister was so obsessed with the movie that she watched it over and over and over again until I finally hid the tape because I could not take one more second of it. 

She found the scene where Pee Wee Herman dies an obnoxiously loud death particularly amusing:

I did, too. The first three times. After that, not so much. 

Want to know a secret? I hid the tape up in the couch springs. I refused to tell anyone, not even when that couch was tossed into a burn pile of junk. It's not that it was a bad movie, per se, but five times in one day? Try it. See how many days you can take.

So, here I am, fifteen years late to the party and watching teenage hijinks as a grown woman. But when I went to the Pop Culture Association conference, there was an entire subsection of Buffy analysis. And so far I've only watched to the first episode's opening credits, but I'm already seeing some potential for feminist analysis. In that minute, a couple is breaking into the school to make-out.

The boy is looking like a 1950's greaser stereotype and the girl is playing innocent and scared. He's being very predatory, and of course I'm waiting for the twist and expecting him to be a vampire. But then this happens:

So, you know, there's some potential here. 

What do you think? Would Buffy hold the same meaning for you now as it did when you were younger (or are you a Buffy virgin, too?!) Have your perspectives and analytical abilities changed in a way that would alter the show? If so, would they make it better or worse? 

Oh, and--if it's good--I'll probably blog about it some. If you want to use this as an excuse to re-watch the series, I'd love for you to join in on the conversations. 


  1. Do it do it do it! I love the series and there are a few re watches out there right now, but your insights will be great to add the maaive amount of Buffy academia. Checkout the publication "Slayage". It's pretty dank writing on such a great cult classic. oh and because the movie was so far from what Joss Whedon wanted Buffy to be, he had to go ahead and make the series for tv just to getbhispoint across. Enjoy!!!!

  2. I was a Buffy virgin until 2 years ago and I watched the entire series. It is fantastic and I think you are going to absolutely love it. It's series finale is seriously.... maybe one of the best feminist finales in the history of all time. I LOVE THE SHOW. If you ever need to geek out over it, I'm dying to talk to someone about it because everyone else is like "oh Buffy old newz." We could do a Buffy feminist exchange commentary blog thing, if you want. I would LOVE to join in on the convos.

  3. I remember when the series came out. I watched it pretty regularly and enjoyed it, and am currently doing a re-watch in large part because of Mark Watches ( which you might like. I'm very interested in reading what you have to say about the show. What's sticking out the MOST for me right now is the FASHION. Like, oh yeah, once upon a time we all wore jeans that went past our belly buttons, coupled with belly shirts. HAWT. It makes em kind of nostalgic. Also: Anya is the best character ever and I want to be her BFF.

  4. I loved the show when I was younger and I love the show now. The later seasons are the best in my opinion. I have been re-watching the show recently, and I think that I still appreciate them much in the same way. I think I have always identified with Buffy and her desire to balance her responsibilities, and still lead a normal life. Enjoy watching, and I look forward to some analysis. Can't wait to hear what parts you like (or dislike) the most.

  5. Yay! I'm glad I'll have so many people to talk about it. Maybe that's the trick to being late to pop culture--be SO LATE that you're actually on time again.

  6. Yes! I just watched the series for the first time myself last year! High-fives for grown up ladies digging on the Buff!