Buffy! Cool or what?


Buffy The Vampire Slayer. "Um, is there a guy in there that's dead?" asks Anthony Clark.

Why is Buffy the greatest thing on TV? Well, it's a funny, irreverent, sharply observed comedy drama. It retells popular myths and legends, updating them along the way, turning them into modern parables of teen angst and confusion. It's all that, and more.

And just because our story starts life in an American school (normally the "teen drama" kiss of death) doesn't mean its points of reference are that narrow. It effortlessly spreads its net much wider into more universal themes, in the process freeing it from the traps normally associated with youth-oriented shows. Buffy is nothing that it first appears to be. and that's what keeps it from being so last week. But hey, you've been paying attention so you'd know, right?

On closer examination the world Buffy inhabits is actually not based in anything nearing reality. Even apart from the monsters, vampires and magic, no one on Planet Buffy gets spots, has a bad hair day or suffers from acute shyness like most teenagers do. Willow may claim she is a hapless geek but right from day one she's the girl that geek teenage boys would want to date - a babe in geek clothing. Please!

And Xander. He's so a loser too, not. But by portraying winners as losers it makes them good to identify with. After all, nobody likes a smart arse, but a likeable failure is everyone's friend. While people like Cordelia, who appears to have it all, is actually Miss Two-Dimensional vainglorious bitch and we can therefore hate her. "Being this popular is not just my right, it's my responsibility." Yeah, right.

Librarian Giles is sort of a protector, sort of a teacher, sort of a friend type guy. The adult you can trust but can't quite understand. But then isn't that the best you can ever expect from someone over 40 when you're still in your teens? And as for Angel. the dangerous love interest from the wrong side of the tracks but all vulnerable with it. You can't say you wouldn't be tempted if you were Buffy.

Buffy herself is the ideal heroine - smart, sassy, attractive, unsure of her abilities (despite being a vampire killer), funny and cute. The girl that has almost everything except for a normal life and whose boyfriend just so happens to be undead. Yuk!

Still not convinced that Buffy The Vampire Slayer is the coolest thing on TV? It's your loss, but next time a creature from the Hellmouth comes scratching at your door you'll be pleased she's around because "monsters don't usually send messages. It's pretty much 'Crush! Kill! Destroy!'" You have been warned.

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