I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know it is not perfect. Sometimes it is dated and the production values seem off. But I still love it and I am not alone. Every semester when I talk with my students about superhero stories I always hold up Buffy as a wonderful example of the genre. And every semester there is always at least one woman who falls in love as a result of my introduction. When Buffy the Vampire Slayer celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year it became clear that Buffy Summers’ popularity has not waned in the interim. There are three reasons that the popularity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has endured.
Buffy is a composite of the human experience. Every single episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes you laugh, makes you cry, and makes you fearful. Sometimes you are laughing while you are crying. Sometimes you have goosebumps while you are laughing. But every episode puts you in touch with the essential human emotions. And every episode teaches you about life and love. Although conceived and delivered as an over-the-top teenage horror story, Buffy is so much more because the characters are so much more. Yes, they can be considered essentially archetypes or memes, but as you watch their stories unfold you discover how rich and full each person is – which makes their relationships with each other extremely powerful. Buffy is a love story exploring every aspect of love. Not just romantic relationships but the love between friends, siblings, and humanity.
Buffy is a coming of age story not only for the namesake character but her entire peer group – as well as the adults and the other worldly characters. Buffy teaches us how to cope with the big bad that exists in all our worlds. Growing up is hard no matter what your age and, in fact, the hardest lesson of all might be that we are never really grown up at all. While none of us has to bear the burden of being the slayer, we all have burdens and most of us have no idea about the burdens that others must bear. Nobody is normal and nobody has it all figured out. We are all struggling and fighting to survive in our own way. We all have demons we need to face. We are all struggling to come of age and become something more.
Perhaps the single most important lesson that Buffy the Vampire Slayer can teach us is that time is important. Time is fleeting. We never know when we will die or when we will lose someone important to us. Therefore we need to make the most of the time we have by living and loving to the fullest – and we need to give our lives meaning and purpose. We need to work to fulfill our potential. Maybe we all won’t save the world, but we can all slay demons of destruction and have an impact on our world in countless ways.
Why do you think Buffy the Vampire Slayer has such enduring popularity? In what ways has Buffy touched your life? What is your favorite thing about the show?Tags: #GirlPower, #Heroes, #Stories