Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Uninitiated: Watching Buffy the First Time

There are few things in this world that make me as happy as introducing someone to Buffy. We Buffyfesters have each done it to many someones in our lives but, on this occasion, I've decided to do things a bit differently. I recently sat down with a group all of whom, despite being colossal nerds, have never ridden the joy train that is Buffy (that came out dirtier than I'd intended). Realizing that Buffy Season One is a tad dated i thought it was important to remind them of the world that was back when the Slayer first hit our screens. Find the introduction I gave and a few first impressions after zee bump.

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We're going to take a little trip, you and I, back in time to the tenth of March, 1997. Just think of me as the Doctor, H.G. Wells, Marty Mcfly, Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan all wrapped together in a shiny bow. Phone Box, Time Machine, DeLorean, or... you know... phone box again (GEORGE CARLIN in a phone box) what have you; time, traveling, backwards; come on, it'll be fun!

So, a little background. It's 1997. William Jefferson Clinton has just begun his second term as president and people are listening to Hanson sing MMMBop unironically. In fact the whole "doing things ironically" movement isn't even so much as a glint in an emo kid's eye because the word "emo" doesn't exist. It's the year Kate Winslet declared "I'll never let go, Jack. I'll never let go." and then promptly let go thus causing stereotypical women everywhere to cry into their popcorn whilst their equally stereotypical boyfriends were thinking back to the nude scene and wishing like hell this damned movie would end already.

Cell phones are like the bat phone: for emergency use only. Most of us are just getting this thing called the internet at a whopping 28kbps through AOL (or, dare I say it, Compuserve) so that we can look at porn for free and pretend to be lesbians in chat rooms. That last part may just be me.

Some people die. On the same day we nerds are mourning the passing of the great Terry Nation, the rest of the world is set ablaze at the murder of Christopher George Latore Wallace (better known as Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G).

Having been terrified by a photocopied sheep, federal funding is officially outlawed for research on any human cloning. Meanwhile a bunch of cultists castrate themselves and commit mass suicide because they think their ticket to heaven is on a comet for some reason.

Tony Blair is appointed prime minister which is as baffling as the whole castration/comet thing and Deep Blue beats the greatest human chess player reminding us, once again, that robots are totally going to overthrow us. Any day now... just you wait! Steve Jobs makes his triumphant return to a little company you may have heard of called Apple which was doing so badly that Microsoft had to buy $150 million worth of shares in it just to prevent themselves from becoming a monopoly. Princess Di passes away making us forget about the whole gang wars thing and remember how much the paparazzi kind of suck. The Marlins beats the Indians and nobody cares because neither of those teams are the Yankees. There's a worldwide stock market crash (imagine that)!

But more important than all those things is the transmission of the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In our first sitting we ripped right through the first disc which, as a reminder, includes: "Welcome to the Hellmouth", "The Harvest", "The Witch", and "Teacher's Pet". For a first season that is often maligned as cheesy and uninspired, I was delighted to discover that these new fans took to the show like a newly sired vampire takes to multiple fighting techniques. On top of the intentional humor, they all had a good hearty laugh at how it was we were meant to believe Charisma Carpenter could ever pass for a high school student. Their favorite character by an overwhelming majority vote was Willow and there were some lewd comments about Buffy's breasts that will go unmentioned in this recap.

All in all, it was a surprisingly positive experience that will be repeated once monthly. Next time I hope to record their responses and edit it together in the most unintentionally hilarious way possible. Stay tuned...


Jennifer Noelle said...

Just a few months ago, I had no idea who Joss Whedon was. A friend had shown me Dr Horrible, and after I bought it for my co-worker, who I thought might like it, she realized it was a Joss creation. She told me, "That' the guy who made Buffy!!" and was really pumped to make me watch it, although, I was really skeptical.

So, the first few months of this year, I spent watching all of her DVDs. (I still haven't given back season 6 or 7, even if they are the worst) and now I'm reading the comics.

So, as a newbie myself, I found this post to be quite interesting. I'm trying to watch Angel now, but Hulu only has season 1 and my co-worker doesn't have those DVDs yet. :/

AndrewCrossett said...

I wish I could watch Buffy again for the first time. :-(

Michelle said...


I wish i could watch Buffy again for the first time, too!

Anonymous said...

That's great!! I did just manage to convince a friend to watch Firefly with me - she's become interested since seeing Nathan Fillion on Castle - and she's really enjoying it. I think Buffy can only be a step or two behind at this point.

I will definitely use your flashback info to set the mood, too!