The date is March 10th 1997 the premiere of Buffy The Vampire Slayer launches on the WB network as a replacement for the show Savannah. A young Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a teenager who is chosen by fate to be the Slayer of all things evil. Me…I was two.
It wasn’t until early 2000’s that I discovered this show and it was all thanks to my mom. We used to go to Best Buy all the time and I would be a kid in a candy shop as we went down the TV seasons aisle. I couldn’t wait to see all the seasons of Buffy. Back then we got the really bulky boxes that had Buffy on the front and the color of the season. My favorite is season 1 because it was purple but also because it was badass with Sarah on the front with a stake in hand. When we started collecting the seasons we always came home and watched them together. It was the first show I was attached too and the first show I “binged”. When we finished a season we always put in on the side of the TV stand where we had black shelving. I remember clearly looking at all the seasons lined up and thinking, “Wow they look so good against the black.”
I was captivated by her journey and tried very hard to emulate her to the best of my ability. I would always recite some of her witty lines to my mom who would laugh in return. Although, using the excuse, “I need to save the world from demons” didn’t work that well when it came to avoiding chores. Buffy was the first strong woman that I saw on television. This was back in the 90’s and there were not that many strong female-oriented television shows. This was a glass ceiling shattering first. It was a pivotal part of growing up for me. Buffy taught me a lot of valuable lessons. She is strong both physically and mentally, witty, inspiring, compassionate, loving, and most importantly BADASS. If you put all of her badass moments together with the show’s theme song you would probably have one of my favorite videos on the internet. (Move over sneezing panda!)
I had a rocky childhood and Buffy Summers was a solid foundation to come back to. I would watch a lot of her when moments in my life got hard. Buffy handled her problems with a poise and strength that I would try to pull from. Some of her raw, vulnerable moments taught me that it was ok to break down, open up, and then rebuild yourself even stronger. I don’t think I was aware of just how powerful this series really was. It may sound silly but every dark anxiety attack I would get, I would try to channel the strength from Buffy. I would keep replaying her line from Chosen in my head over and over again, “Are you ready to be strong?” The speech in Chosen stands alone as my all time favorite speech in the series.
So here’s the part where you make a choice: What if you could have that power…now? In every generation, one slayer is born…because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power…should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a slayer…will be a slayer. Every girl who could have the power…will have the power…can stand up, will stand up. …every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong? (Season 7, Episode 22, “Chosen”)
I get goosebumps just thinking about this speech. I saved this one in my phone’s notes just in case I ever need something to get me through the day or have a really bad anxiety attack. It is my anchor. (There are so many great speeches in Buffy and you can check them out here.)
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendan, David Boreanaz, Anthony Head, Charisma Carpenter, James Marsters, Eliza Dushku, Emma Caulfield, Seth Green and Michelle Trachtenberg among many others were like a second family to me. I loved watching them take on any obstacle and come out stronger on the other side. It didn’t matter the size of the evil that infected their lives. If they battled it together they were stronger. Even when Willow went dark in season 6 they were stronger than the pain of loss.
Good always triumphs, there is always second chances, friendship conquers all, heroes don’t always have to work alone, some rules are meant to be broken, but I think the most important theme of all Women can be heroes. Women are strong. Buffy taught me that. It is great that this has come full circle. Now more than ever the world needs Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It needs to show young girls that they can achieve greatness and be just as powerful as a man. In Buffy’s case maybe even stronger. I wanted to be Buffy because being Buffy meant that I could do anything I set my mind to and get through any bump in the road life had to offer.
This series will always be close to my heart. I will always be up for binge watching this or even showing it to new people. I wear my Buffy hoodie and shirt with pride when I go out. It’s helped shape me into who I am today. I’m not afraid to be strong because of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s portrayal. If I ever get the privilege to meet her one day I think I will just settle with a teary-eyed thank you…followed by a hug. I will pass on her legacy to my little cousin when she is old enough to watch and understand. I think every little girl should get the privilege of knowing who Buffy Summers is. This show deserves the utmost respect because it truly is one of the greatest. I don’t think I have enough nice things to say about it. All I can do is be thankful for Joss Whedon and his team for everything he has blessed us with. Buffy will live on forever in the hearts of all its fans.