Introducing Buffy The Vampire Slayer
It’s always a pleasure to introduce newcomers into the fold of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even now some two months after the program went off the air, it’s still a refreshing dose of fun, fun, uberfun funness. Still today I remember seeing new arrivals to Buffy fandom staring wide-eyed at the opening sequence of their very first Buffy Season they were ever introduced to. It’s something that just stays with us in our lives and those types of memories are becoming increasingly harder and harder to come by. Especially as more and more Buffy fans begin to pop up around the globe. We’re losing the number of people to choose from and watch as they voyage deeper into the seasons past.
But it was while I was sitting down and watching these episodes with such newcomers that I began to remember when I, too, was once a newbie to the world of the Buffyverse. It’s hard to imagine that time now…being as how so much of my television viewing has since then become adaptive into adjusting for the Buffy episode premiere schedule. And only now that the show is over is it more easier to remember the time of when I was once Buffyless in my journey of living.
Thinking back…I do remember the first episode I viewed. A lot of people are fortunate to claim that they have been there since the earliest beginnings. But I am not one of them. No. I began my quest with a very powerful episode, however. I can at least claim that. I mean, it may not seem like much, but at least my first episode wasn’t something stupid like “Goodbye, Iowa.” That, for me, is quite enough to get me through the day.
Yes, I too can claim the first episode I watched with utter dignity. At least, the first episode I partially viewed…or took a quick tasting of…however you wish to phrase it. The episode was called “Halloween” and it was in the ripe belly of all things Season Two. I remember rather quickly learning the characters by both name and personality rather swiftly as the episode moved along. The show was well-built to adjust newcomers to the fold at any point of arrival. My arrival was rather late, you see. So yes, I can claim that that is factually true.
At the time, I had seen the movie of Buffy the Vampire Slayer once and remembered it vaguely…in my memory somewhere dancing the image of a vampire hovering outside of a window…as well as seeing Dylan make an appearance here and there. When I came across the episode, however, I had no idea what it was. It took a little bit of time and effort on my part to assess what the hell I was watching…and when I figured it out I was almost thinking I was crazy to find this program to be not only entertaining…but so damned addicting as well.
I had heard a few people tell me about the show at that time, but it was never anything that really sounded too interesting. To my credit, the people speaking of this show didn’t do it very good justice at all. You would have thought you were tuning in to watch “Dallas: The Animated Series” or something else of that nature. Perhaps an Alfred Hitchcock prequel for Birds. But yeah…their descriptions of the show were hardly anything worth bragging over.
And let this be a lesson for people out there promoting this show. Make sure you point out the amazing qualities that this program harbors. You’d be surprised how many times that kind of a thing is left out of the details. The genreless genre, for instance. See, now that alone would have had me addicted before even watching the series.
So yes…I suppose I’m saying that we as loyal fans should approach newcomers with a certain zest that perhaps is currently lacking in our world today. We just need to hit things at all new angles…to attempt to bring meaning to where meaning is at its most critical point of development. We shape the Buffyverse with our words in these instances. Approach these newbies with delicacy and care. They are truly fragile at this point of developing into productive DVD-buying fans.
The DVD generation begins. It is now literally impossible to hook people to Buffy as premiere-viewers. Our generation is now set in stone and will never change in number.
Well, I mean, we’ll all die and stuff…which will change our number. But the actual total number overall of who was there when it was happening will never change. Unless there’s ever a recount, at least. And provided it’s in Florida.
But yes, the night I first viewed Buffy still today stays with me. I remember it was on a night when I had nothing better to do…so I flipped around the channels and came across the episode. I joined it when it was already in progress and I remember one of the first scenes I saw was right after the spell had been first put into place. Looking back, I remember the first time I saw the character Spike…and for some reason he looked like he was sixteen years old to me…because that’s how I remember first assessing him. And yes, that sounds weird. But it’s true. That’s how I remember it at least.
I remember first seeing Angel and knowing immediately that he was a goodguy vampire. It was also immediately obvious of what his relationship with Buffy entailed. The excuse of having a soul was lost on me, but it also didn’t matter to me at the same time. Who really needs an excuse, after all? The show was entertaining…and that was all I needed. That was what had me hooked.
So I sat through the rest of the episode and decided to make a mental note to check it out again later as soon as the next episode hit the air. At least, if I ever found the time, that is. I wasn’t exactly too adament on becoming a regular viewer until I saw that the other eps were half as decent as the one I half-watched that night. And to my fortunate luck, they were indeed equally as good.
Fast-forward life a good long ways and here I am reminiscing on that while watching Halloween with a friend for their very first viewing. I have since that time pretty much watched every episode…minus a few here and there that I am sure to catch up with during my own DVD trials. So that’s kind of uplifting for myself…to have even more Buffy episodes I have yet to view. Ah…the wishful thinking of a true episode virgin. How nice that is.
But getting back to Halloween, everytime I see that episode now, I always see the beginning as a foreign start. I didn’t see the beginning of that episode until it came out on DVD, you see, and even now it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest. To me, the episode started with the spell…and for some reason my mind will never adjust to seeing the opening scenes as a part of that episode. I guess you could say it made quite an impression on me…or failed to make an impression on me if we were to look at it from the other way around.
So there I sit to watch more of the episodes as they pass. The most fun to watch with newcomers includes, of course, the pilot…watching as the world of Buffy is shaped into their minds and they begin to adapt their thoughts into the universe of the Summers family and Sunnydale crew. Watching those priceless expressions is always a welcomed addition to any living room scene.
Of course, then again, there are the vocal moments. Those spots during dead dialogue when a person will just turn to you and ask some of the most pointless or obvious questions dealing with the entire series. The most common question I receive before someone buys their Buffy Season One DVD is usually… “Should I see the movie first?” So I tell them no, and then they do it anyway. It’s a fun little cycle.
But for me, I still enjoy watching Halloween with newcomers. Almost as if I’m reliving the night I first saw that episode…and then helping to shape impressionable minds which are starving for information on the Buffyverse.
But yes, there are those newcomers who like to ask the gazillion or so questions while the episode is running. They usually ask an obvious one…such as…
“Is Buffy going to run against Cordelia to become Homecoming Queen?”
“Is Jenny really gone for good or will she be brought back as a vampire later?”
“When does Giles come out of the closet?”
The eagerness to answer such questions is often collided with the obvious solution…which is to just stay quiet and let them find out on their own. Ah, how it is nice to see such minds fascinated by a wonderful series. And the only thing I sometimes find myself wondering is….How will they react to the next set of circumstances? What will they say when Oz leaves town? What will they think when Xander gets plucked in Season Seven? Ohh…to be in the mind of a newbie. Truly priceless.
So now go. I bid you leave. Enter out into your days and spread the word of Buffy. Just do it appropriately and to the proper degree of dignity that the show deserves. If you simply follow that protocol…you shall do fine. Have no fear. Do not be afraid. Simply speak of the good word and share it with your neighbors. Go from door to door. Let them deny the truth all they want…but only press them harder when they turn away. For they will thank you for it in the end…the very end…the bitter end. The end when some of us will have seen the show and can discuss it in the afterlife…and others are left to twiddle their thumbs because they never once even thought about buying themselves a Buffy DVD. Do not let that be the future for them. Help them. Go to them. Share the good news to them.
And with that, I am off.
Thus with the click of a mouse, I die.