Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
It’s dark, even with a bright full moon. The cemetery is full of leafless trees, and eerie marble monuments to the dead, and then that Nerf Herder song starts going through my mind. Words do not describe how creeped out I feel right now. I want to run away screaming in terror. Then I see her.
She is young and blonde and conventional wisdom says she shouldn’t be out here alone. She looks up, ”Oh, there you are…I hope that you don’t mind meeting me here. There is just so much I have to do…The only way I could squeeze your interview talkie-thingy was while I am on patrol.”
She is Buffy Ann Summers. The Slayer! (Spelled capital T-h-e space capital S-l-a-y-e-r exclamation mark.) The chosen one of this generation, called to protect us from unworldly evils. I feel immensely safer in her presence despite her small frame. “What type of things do you have to do?” I ask her.
With no guile in her face the blonde looks up and responds. “You know, a math test, shopping, a pedi…saving the world from a rouge elder god bent on enslaving mankind…” Then with a smile she adds. “…You know girl stuff.”
As we walk past a dilapidated mausoleum I reply. “Well thank you for working me into your schedule…”I then throw out “So, how do you like being famous””
“Well it truly is a two edged sword, I mean yes, it is cool to be popular, and all…But the whole having to be who they expect you to be, all the time scene gets old fast. I mean I just wish I could be me…just be normal. But if you’re famous, you live forever. I mean figuratively at least, in that your reputation lives on forever, but also in this zip code the famous can live forever physically too.”
She takes a breath and continues “Did you ever see the episode that I stabbed Dracula and he just turned into a puff smoke and reformed, instead of bursting into flames like all the other vamps…It was our commentary on fame and popularity and the ability of it keep going even after you are gone…Drac is kind of like Kurt Cobain, for the fang-set.”
“Wow, I am sure that I would think that was deep and profound, if I understood anything you were saying.” I reply.
The girl shrugs. “I know, I get that a lot.”
“One of the original concepts for your show was that high school is hell, care to expound on that?” I ask.
“Sure.” She says turning her head as her ponytail swings in the night breeze. “A lot of common high school difficulties are turned up to ‘eleven’ of BtVS. Like…I let my boyfriend sleep with me know he is acting like a monster. Or my teacher is draining me dry with homework, but here it is, he is draining me with his fangs. The feelings a teenager have of isolation are multiplied when no one believes her about seeing a werewolf. If you take out the fantasy and horror aspects, you have a show about real teenagers with real world problems. They are just window dressed with vampires and horror. Kind of like Beverly Hills Nine-One-oh-six-six-six.”
“OK.” I say getting use to the strange cadence of her speech. “Buffy has been described as a show of tropes (The basic building blocks of a story.) And one of the oldest tropes out there is the damsel in distress. But you set that trope on its head?”
“Exactly.” She says proudly. “You would have boring TV if you went from trope to troope like some kid’s connect the dots book. A blonde teenage girl is supposed to get fileted like a gar… do people really fileted gars?…Anywho…look at Sarah Michele Giller’s movie rolls in Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Less slayer and more slayee. Another trope we flip on its pigtailed head is the ‘last girl’. You know the virginal androgens girl who out survives her friends to take out the big bad at the end. I am allowed to have a love life. I am not a virgin, well at least not after season two.”
“Speaking of boys.” I add.
“That is so typical.” She rants back at me. “Do you ask the men you interview about the women in their life!”
“Uh…uh…” I stammer. “Yeah I do, I asked Batman about Cat Woman, and called Captain Kirk on the carpet for his trysts.”
“Oh.” She replied. “OK, then.”
Regain my composure. “Tell me about Angel?”
“Well.” She gushes. “Total babe, I mean have you seen the actor who plays him hottie to the max ….Oh you mean like about his part in the zeitgeist of the show. OK, well we have discussed, how we did the, I slept with my boyfriend and now he acts like a total monster angle. He is also kind of like my soul mate, but we can’t be together because if he has a moment of happiness, he literally becomes a blood drinking monster. Kind of a tragic romance at its heart.”
“How does he compare to Riley Finn?” I ask.
“No comparison. Angel was my one true love.” She explains, walking over a fallen tree branch. “Not that I didn’t love Riley too. He was this Special Forces guy who hunted demons. He couldn’t handle the fact that I was better at it than he was. He thought he was inferior, so he sought refuge in the arms of a vampire.” She spit on the ground in disgust. “He is kind of like the guy who can’t take it that his wife is more successful than he is at work, and makes more money than he does. So he cheats on her…Cheats on her with boney forheaded fang bearing whore…” She takes a breath to calm down. ”Well he found a nice normal human who can fight demons but not as well as he can so they are happy…And I am happy for them.” Though the look in eye indicates this may not be as over as she claims.
I am almost afraid to bring up the next one. “And Spike…?” I leave the end of that question dangling.
She blows out a puff of air that raises her blonde bangs for a moment. Finally she continues. “The fans either loved or hated Spike and I getting it on. It was pure lust, no love there. He is sort of the ultimate bad boy. But when I broke it off, he tried to get back to who he was, and came back a completely different man.” (Spike tried to get a chip in his head that prevented him from killing removed, and had his soul restored, then he had to deal with several with the remorse of several centuries of what he had done as a vampire.) “So I guess in the end the relationship could be summed up as someone discovering who he is but, he has changed too much and the relationship couldn’t handle it.”
“What about Xander Harris?” I ask.
“Xander!” She asks in shock. “I mean we never got together as a couple. I love him as a friend…wow even in that context that sounded lame… Joss Whedon’s original plan was that we become a couple in the end. Then he was going to make Xander gay, but changed his mind, and had Willow come out of the closet instead. See Xander is the normal guy. He isn’t a slayer, he isn’t a witch, or some smart guy with an English accent. But he did survive seven seasons, so he’s got to have more going on for him than penmanship. Still he’s our Zeppo, you know the Marx brother no one remembers, but in a way it is easier for the audience to relate to him that way. Did that answer your question?”
“Uh…Sure.” I reply and go to my next query. “Tell me about Sunnydale.”
“Oh sure.” She replies. “It is basically Santa Barbara if it was belt over a portal to hell. See the city is built over this Hell Mouth, which is a portal to hell. But it is also a plot device, see this way you can bring all kinds of spooky and creepy things each week. Just say the Hell-Mouth pulled them into town. Also you can kind of lamp shade all the occult activity and dead people lying around, saying the Hell Mouth makes people not question what is happening in front of their own eyes. Sunnydale is also the most evil city not counting Cincinnati.”
“That ought to be its motto.” I joke.
“It was the campaign slogan for Mayor Wilkins.” She shoots back nonchalantly.
“The Hell Mouth must be in over-drive then to cover all the bodies in Sunnydale.” I ask not oblivious that we are walking in the middle of a cemetery.
Buffy nods. “Yes, the average life expediency of a Sunnydale-ite is about that of a red shirted ensign on TOS or a Spinal tap drummer. Ms. Calendar, Tara, Jonathon, Poor Anya…The list goes on. But it is how you build horror. You bring on additional characters, make them interesting enough for people to care about them and put them in danger. It rings hallow if you don’t deliver on the threat of death occasionally.”
“But there was one death that was different than the others. That of your mother, Joyce Summers…Is it too early to talk about her?” I ask sympathetically.
“No…no…” She replied trying to steel herself. “Her death was based on the death of Joss Whedon’s mother. It was from a brain tumor. I could protect her from zombies and vampires but not from her own body…A lot of viewers thought that Dawn would resurrect her with her magic…But that didn’t happen. The real world invaded our fantasy world.”
I feel bad getting her to talk about it so I ask her. “What is in store for the future?”
She perks up a little bit. “Well you know Joss had ideas for scripts for years after we were cancelled. They have manifested in the form of Dark Horse comic books. So far season eight and nine are out, in comic book form. They were talking about making a re-boot with none of the originals on either side of the camera involved. But that seems have stalled. It possible they were threating to go with all new people to scare Joss in to working on it. But you know he is so busy working on that mutant superhero thingy.”
We get to the wrought iron gate at the end of the cemetery. “Well I guess our patrol is over.” She tells me.
“Hey want to go hang out at the Bronze?” I ask hopefully.
Before she can react three ugly vampires burst from the ground. “Saved by the ghouls.” She says as she back flips into action, leaving me alone in the night.