I remember the first time I saw Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was 14, at home, bored and randomly flipping channels when I chanced upon an American show in one of our local channels. I think it was part two of Welcome to the Hellmouth and as I kept on watching this show about this badass teenage girl fighting off the undead with so much sarcasm, it clicked. I’ve seen this before! Different actress, but yes, this is Buffy Summers.
I remember her because a few years back, I was probably 9 or 10 back then, I randomly watched the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV and loved it. I mean, how could I not? Buffy was a cheerleader who can kick some serious vampire ass. Okay, 10 or 11 year-old me may not have said exactly that but movie Buffy was really cool.
Flash forward to 1997 and towards the end of Welcome to the Hellmouth Part 2 (sadly, I was not able to watch the first part until a few months later when there was a re-run), I was in love ❤.
I loved the show, loved its cool theme song, loved the supporting characters, but most of all, I really, really love Buffy. I mean, I already thought movie Buffy was cool but TV Buffy was awesome. And with each episode and each season, I grew to love and respect the character even more. She was funny, sarcastic and despite her superpowers, she was relatable. She wasn’t perfect, she also made mistakes and suffered its consequences but that also made her human. Subsequently, I also became a huge fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar, the actress that played her.
In my teenage to new adulthood years, I looked up to these two women. Buffy, who can swoop in and pummel anyone with her super strength while spewing her witty one-liners, became my hero and Sarah, who always seemed so grounded and professional, became my role model. Both women are strong, mature and smart. And sure, I watched and liked other shows like Dawson’s Creek, Felicity and Charmed back then too but BtVS was my constant. I can miss episodes from those other shows but I would die if I miss an episode of Buffy…which is exactly what I told my exasperated mother when she wanted me to go somewhere on Buffy night.
And to be honest, it was a bit hard to be a fan of American shows back then. Growing up in the Philippines, Internet streaming was impossible so the only way I could watch the show is wait for it on TV. We get show months after it originally aired in the States so even when I wanted to be part of the show’s online community, I shied away from it because I wasn’t updated on the latest episodes as everyone was. Good thing SMGFan.com (one of the largest Sarah Michelle Gellar fansite) had its very own forum and I was able to be a part of a community that loved and want to discuss all things Buffy and Sarah. I’m not in touch with them anymore, but I made great friends in that fan community and I really hope they’re all good and well.
Fun Fact: The handle I often use, lilradrad, was actually a spoof of a good friend’s username in the forum, LilBufBuf. My second name is Radmilla and I used Rad as my online nickname back then so when the forum got this spankin’ new feature of being able to change usernames…LilRadRad happened as a joke and a shoutout to my girl. I just ended up using it cause I started to like it. ^.^
Looking back on my early Buffy days… there’s just so much nostalgia. I was such a proud fangirl back then! I remember how I used to collect magazine and newspaper articles of anything related to Buffy and SMG that even my mother would let me know if she saw a write-up in the papers. I spent good parts of my allowance on Buffy collectibles and I even created scrapbooks dedicated to my love of the show and the actress. I’m pretty sure they’re all still in my room at my parents house…which is something that I can’t wait to get my hands on when I go back home to visit. I even had a word document on my old computer of my favorite quotes organized per season, per episode. My room was a damn mess back then, but that I made sure to organize. I was so vocal of my love for the show that some of my college friends started calling me Buff , even up till now!
Okay, I think I have to end it here because this has turned into an unintentionally long post. This shouldn’t surprise me, really. I can discuss the show per episode, per character, per villain, per relationship and so on. I can sing-along Once More with Feeling, I debated over the fact that it was Buffy and not Dawn that said ‘The hardest thing in this world is to live in it’ first. With Buffy, I can just go on and on.
I understand that this is a very personal (and I admit, fangirly) account of my whole relationship with the show, the character and the actress that portrayed her and I didn’t really go much in to depth on the show itself (which is something I would love to do on another day) but this is what Buffy the Vampire Slayer means to me. It wasn’t all perfect, I did not always love where the show went and the characters’ decisions but it was a show that has had a huge impact on my formative years. And you know what? I’m damn thankful for it. As heroes go, Buffy’s pretty damn great. And I’m pretty sure, 40 years later, Buffy Summers would still be my hero.