Buffy the Vampire Slayer will change. Your. Life.
Many dismiss the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer because of the campy movie of the same name that preceded the series, or even for the ridiculous-sounding title and the name of the central character.
However, fans of the cult show understand that there are few examples of such a well-executed mixture of genres (which, in the hands of almost any producer other than Joss Whedon, should really have nothing to do with one another). Drama, comedy, action, horror—all these apply to and fail to define Buffy.
Some of the pithiest, best-written lines I’ve ever encountered, along with the (occasionally excessive) tasteful sexual content, make Buffy the greatest guilty pleasure in the history of guilty pleasures. But that’s not enough to say that something will change your life, especially when I would nerdily maintain that this show helped shape me as I am today—even though it has been off the air since 2003, a full five years before I downloaded the first episode from iTunes.
Watching Buffy and her geeky-but-loyal Scooby Gang fighting vampires and other “big bads” while navigating the social landscape of high school and then college inspired me at a time when I found myself having to undergo similar rigors during my own second year of high school. Of course, I grappled with understanding my math homework rather than staking vampires on a nightly basis, but the sentiment behind that sometimes dark, sometimes dazzlingly beautiful pubescent world that Joss Whedon created in Buffy rang true all the same.
I would also argue that the supernatural angle to the show, far from beating the viewer over the head with the “high school is hell!” metaphor, serves to elevate the stakes of coming-of-age situations that, to a high school or college student, might truly feel life-or-death. Losing your virginity only to discover your partner has transformed in his or her attitude towards you, for example, becomes in Buffy’s world her vampire lover losing his soul after the moment of “perfect happiness” that is his sexual release. As the show progresses in seasons, Buffy and the gang’s non-supernatural problems mature alongside them.
Life-changer rating: 7/10
I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that Buffy completely transformed my worldview, but it is something I come back to when I find myself feeling sluggish, unmotivated, or sad. It is a show that energizes and inspires by virtue of the way it implicates the fully invested viewer in every scene, and I believe it deserves far more recognition for its artistic merit than it has received.
Put aside your preconceived notions—and your cheesiness filter, because most of the show aired during the ‘90s, after all—and watch just the first episode. I can almost guarantee you’ll be crying at the series finale in no time.But for how long, exactly, will Buffy the Vampire Slayer change your life? A couple of months, which is the length of time you will lose whatever semblance of a social life you have to watch all seven seasons of the show in quick succession.
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