17The late ’90s had a surge of girl power. In 1992, some guy named Joss Whedon penned a film called Buffy the Vampire Slayer about a cheerleader turned vampire hunter. The film garnered mixed reviews, to say the least. However, it paved the way for Joss Whedon to create the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as the titular character, which premiered in 1997 on the WB.
The legacy of what is, in essence, a high school drama about killing supernatural creatures is felt deeply by pop culture fanatics. This was the beginning of Joss Whedon killing off beloved characters (which makes us care about them even more), and there is an enormous amount of academic texts devoted to studying Buffy the Vampire Slayer, from philosophy to cultural studies classes. Fans of the show have learned a lot from the original cheerleader who saved the world (many, many times), and though the show has been off the air for 15 years, it continues to be staple in the nerd diet. For those of us who love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, here at CBR, we’ve got some relatable Buffy memes for you to sink your teeth into.
15. WATCH OUT, GUYS
Don’t underestimate the power of an astrophysicist. Of course, we’re not talking about Buffy at the moment; we’re talking about the eminent astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has become a meme thanks to his sass. Tyson’s defensive gesture when he said “Watch out, guys, we’re dealing with a badass over here” while talking about Newton is now used on the Internet when people are being a little too self-congratulatory.
Buffy Summers would also be quick to take down someone who was getting a little too big for their britches. Her job, which she started when most of us were learning how to drive, is to slay dangerous creatures that threaten her town and the world. She’s literally slays. All. Day. And it’s the face we all make when we’re frustrated at someone’s stupidity.
14. UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY
Buffy and Angel is at the front of the list when we think about doomed star-crossed lovers. It was a love story that was impossible from the start: Angel is a vampire, and Buffy is a vampire slayer. However, all that vamp brooding was irresistible to Buffy, and Buffy and Angel fell in love.
One of the many problems that Buffy and Angel faced in their relationship is that because Angel is a vampire, he will always be older than Buffy. Yes, we like to date the mysterious older guy now and then, but Angel was at least 300 years old when he met Buffy. This is a problem that would take many therapy sessions to work on, but the slayer life isn’t conducive to mental health care.
13. WHO’S THE BOSS?
Rupert Giles was the father figure Buffy Summers never had. He’s the one that introduced her to the slayer life, and he wears many hats. He is Buffy’s watcher, which meant that he’s responsible for her training. He’s the expert in the occult of the Scooby Gang, so it’s fitting that he’s also the librarian at Sunnydale High School, since he spends so much of his time consulting books anyway.
Don’t let the tweed and tea fool you: Giles is capable of kicking butt too. There have been numerous times where Giles has gone rogue from the Watchers Council’s wishes to help Buffy. Early on in the series, Giles even tried to take on the Master in Buffy’s place. It’s empowering for those of us who often have our noses in books to know that librarians are heroes too.
12. SHE’LL WAIT
High school drama is always intense. This is probably why we enjoy watching high school drama shows on TV — we love to see the intense drama, but not experience it firsthand. Not all of us made it out of high school unscathed by drama (usually involving friends. Or prom. Or both).
Buffy the Vampire Slayer had its fair share of drama, especially with the men in Buffy’s life. Remember when Xander kept trying to get Buffy to kill her boyfriend? Xander Harris, the comic relief character, had a crush on Buffy for a long time — feelings that she did not reciprocate. Indeed, Buffy was no stranger to drama in her life, so her face here is often how we feel when someone tries to start something with us.
11. KILLER JOSS
Fans of Joss Whedon franchises are used to getting their hearts broken at this point. We think of Wash’s fate in Firefly and Agent Coulson getting impaled in Avengers (he got brought back, but it still hurt when it happened). In Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s seven seasons, there were many times where Joss Whedon not only pulled at our heartstrings, but yanked our hearts right out of our chests.
One of the saddest episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and really one of the best episodes of television of all time, is “The Body” where the gang discovers that Buffy’s mom, Joyce Summers, has died. Each character intimately grapples with this death and how to cope with the grief. It’s a special episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because of its depiction of grief and because this is when Willow and Tara first kiss.
10. VAMPIRE LESSONS
One of the most polarizing vampire fandoms is Twilight. The book series, and the movie adaptations, were all that the kids talked about in the mid-aughts. Some of us did get swept away by the love triangle between a sparkly vampire, an ordinary (to the point of dullness) girl, and a werewolf whose solution to every problem was to take his shirt off. Some of us who grew up with Buffy, on the other hand, knew better.
If Buffy taught us anything, it’s that women are powerful and get the job done. These lessons aren’t exactly in the Twilight series where, literally, an entire book is spent with Bella pining over her boyfriend who broke up with her. Buffy had to kill her boyfriend and couldn’t spend nine months moping around. She still got work done.
Political discussions are unavoidable these days, even more so during the holidays. Though it depends on who you follow, for many of us, our Twitter timelines are full of the latest political drama and actual fires that are wreaking havoc on California. Sometimes we have to mute certain accounts and take a mental health day to ensure we don’t lose our minds.
We all have friends and family (sometimes that person is us) who talks about politics a lot, even during holidays. While it’s important to be educated about current events, sometimes we just want to have a glass of eggnog and talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What really livens up a holiday party is asking everyone if they were Team Angel or Team Spike. Trust us.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry offers up his life to Voldemort to protect Hogwarts and the wizarding community. He knowingly walks to his death, which, as a teenager, is impressive. Because his nickname is “the boy who lived,” it was a very big deal that he’d be willing to die. But like many of our favorite characters, there was a way around this fate, and Harry Potter came back from the dead.
Buffy Summers doesn’t just die once — she dies a total of two times. This is a lot to shoulder as a young person, and it was much more difficult for her to come back. She says that she was peace, finally, which makes us feel guilty for rooting for her return. We love when our heroes come back from the dead (there are many episodes of Supernatural that do this as well).
7. THANK GOD FOR SMARTPHONES
Tests to see if you’re watching something from the ’90s includes butterfly clips, frosted tips, and huge laptops. It’s one thing for us as modern viewers to suspend belief that supernatural creatures exist. But it takes us out of the story when we see an enormous cell phone or computer.
If Buffy the Vampire Slayer were remade in today’s world, we can only imagine the group text thread. Most of it would probably be Giles telling them to hurry to the library and stop wasting time on Snapchat. It’d be harder for Buffy to maintain a secret slayer life as well (really, it’s a lot harder for anyone to have privacy these days). It is interesting that in comparison, we carry the power of that ’90s laptop (probably more) with our smartphones everywhere we go.
6. STUDY SKILLS
Willow Rosenberg is your typical studious smart best friend. She’s also the one you can turn to when you’re in need of a spell because, as we find out later, she’s a powerful witch. Willow’s journey from sweet friend to empowered yet still sweet (unless you piss her off) witch was just one of many character arcs that we followed in the seven Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons.
The thing about having a show take place in a high school (at least for a certain number of seasons) is that you have to see the characters go to class and study, or else it’s completely unbelievable. Unfortunately, Buffy’s study skills aren’t quite as developed as her fighting skills, but nonetheless, our girl made it to college. With some help from her friends.
5. THE GOSPEL OF BUFFY
There are certain fandoms that we feel the need to pressure our friends, significant others, and strangers to get into because they will understand us so much more if they just know what we’re talking about. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of these fandoms, and there are many others that aren’t helmed by Joss Whedon that we’ve been pressuring our friends to get into already.
This struggle is shown perfectly with Leonard from The Big Bang Theory trying to get his longtime crush (and now wife) Penny to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Inevitably, like all good significant others, Penny allows Leonard to show her some fandoms, and it’s amazing what nerd knowledge she accidentally picks up, as seen with the Thor’s hammer argument she has with Amy and Bernadette.
When you come into a fandom later, you’re lucky in one sense because you get to binge all of the series. This binge behavior came into prominence with Netflix, which has become a non-negotiable thing to have in most households. When Buffy the Vampire Slayer was on Netflix, new fans got to discover it; but what happens when the internet is too slow for your slaying needs?
Because she’s a slayer and, for a while anyway, a student, Buffy is often put in a position where she has to make difficult decisions. In times like these, she may have to stop and think about what’s coming up next, which we can refer to as buffering.
3. LIKE A LEAF IN THE WIND
Many television shows were canceled before their time. One of the most iconic examples of this is when Firefly was canceled after one season. Created and written by Joss Whedon, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly was a fan favorite show that had unfortunate hiccups with the way it was released on the air (the episodes weren’t released in order). The show was canceled, and fans had major Willow rage face.
When Firefly was canceled, it hit its devoted fans hard. However, while it wasn’t given seven seasons of storytelling like Buffy, the fans rallied and got a film sequel to the show. You can imagine our faces when we got that news. It looked about as opposite as the Willow rage face as your can get.
2. POP QUIZ
The Scooby Gang has faced a lot of Big Bads throughout the years. There was the Master, the Mayor, Adam, and Glory, who was interested in killing Buffy’s sister. Other Big Bads were loved ones, such as Angelus (yes, Buffy’s boyfriend was the villain to take down for a season. It was sad. We still can’t talk about it) and even Buffy’s best friend Willow who went dark for a season.
You’d think that with all these threats they faced that the Scooby Gang wouldn’t be afraid of anything, but this is not the case. What puts the fear of God in the Scooby Gang? A surprise test. It makes sense when you think about all the classes they have to skip out on to do their slaying work.
1. GIRL POWER
One of the best films of 2017 was Wonder Woman. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot as Diana, Wonder Woman left female viewers in the audience in awe of all the girl power on the big screen. The walk through No Man’s Land left many women in tears. As refreshing at it was to see a female superhero in a movie, we have been getting these heroes on TV for a while now.
In the ’90s, we had shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena: Warrior Princess for us to get our female empowerment fix. Both of these shows featured woman warriors who had close friendships with other women (Xena’s relationship with Gabrielle was more than close, let’s be real), and it was great to grow up with these strong women.
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