Now - firstly, I'm already giddy at the thought of writing this and trying to get everything I want to say into one post, so forgive me in advance. It's going to be wordy, it's going to be full of Buffspeak, and it's going to descend into waffle and/or fangirl territory fairly quickly. This is my sickness.
Here's the soundtrack just to put you in the mood - if anyone can get past the two minute mark in "Close Your Eyes" without getting teary, you are made of stone, my friend.
I've just deleted two paragraphs of waffle, including air dates for various countries (see what I mean?) - all I need to say, really, is that TV3 began in Ireland in 1998 and brought with it a plethora of American TV shows, including Buffy (and the gloriously ludicrous Sunset Beach). From the off, my sister and I were all over it - we video taped every episode off the telly beginning with episode one.
Our Homemade Script Books
A lot of people my age seem to have a bit of a grá for witches, witchcraft, and all things magic in general - so when the Season One episode "Witch" aired, my sister and I knew we had found our people. We began taping it off the tape off the telly - let me explain. We'd use the video recorder to tape the episode off the telly. Then we'd set up a cassette recorder and record all the audio. Then we'd make a copy of the cassette so we each had one. Then we'd spend a day or so listening and pausing, listening and pausing, to write down every. single. scrap of dialogue from the episode on A4 notebooks and each pick several parts to play and we'd run dialogue. I'm sorry, Stephanie, if this outs us for the absolute nerds we were, but it's something we adored and we did it well into Season 2 when it became - well, a ridiculous amount of effort. We had entire folders full of scripts. This is probably the reason that myself and Steph could mouth the dialogue of the first - at least the first 12 - episodes.
Getting merchandise of any kind wasn't easy when you lived in Leitrim and you had very little money - but by 1999, I had a part time job and was able to buy the odd book. We'd both read the books from the library, but our favourites were The Watchers Guide and The Sunnydale High Yearbook. There was also a quiz one that we used to test each other regularly with. Now - there are thousands of Buffy books out there, I know that there are a few of the old story ones on thebookshop.ie (just search 'Buffy'). My most recent addition to my Buffy collection has been this colouring book, complete with quotes and scenes from various episodes. I love it so much that I don't want to colour it. A family friend from America once sent us the most 90's backpacks - silver, slightly shimmery, with the Buffy logo on it. Mine is still floating round somewhere, it resurfaces every so often. My sister bought the soundtrack on cassette, I later bought it on CD.
Favourite Personal Buffy Moments
1. The time my sister and I wrote to Kathleen Tracy, author of "The Girl's Got Bite" - to ASK HER IF SHE COULD SEND US CAST PHOTOS. You need to remember here that we had no internet access and nobody was printing photos or posters of Spike or Drusilla - so because Kathleen had lots of photos in her book, and we had her book, it seemed totally reasonable to write a letter to this woman telling her how much we loved her book and asking her for copies of the pictures she used. To her credit, despite the fact that we probably appeared absolutely crazy (and demanding), she wrote us a lovely letter back explaining that that's not really how it works, but with a black & white picture of Spike & Dru printed on to the letter. That letter immediately became one of our prized possessions.
2. The time I whittled a stake to use as a prop for a nail polish post. For those wondering, I didn't whistle a jaunty tune.
3. Well, this. Clearly. I changed my twitter handle this year but the tweet is still there - I still get a little bit giddy every time I
4. Having toddlers that treat sleep like it's some kind of challenge can have benefits sometimes.
This is unlikely to happen again (those people are HARDCORE) but it's a great way to remember little details about the show. (That's from the Quiz Up app btw - it's free, my current special subjects are Buffy, Friends, and 2000s Music).
5. Realising that there were others who loved Buffy just as much as I did. It's awesome, it's fantastic, and it's still amazing to me how much people LOVE Buffy. I'd love if the 20th Anniversary could introduce new fans to the show, because it's such an important one. The twitter hashtag #buffyslays20 is just fantastic. When you grow up and you find other fans, there's a solidarity there. We get it. We're like a Scooby Gang, only we're scattered all over the world. We were there together, we watched together, we experienced it all together.
Buffy saved me. Buffy, Willow, Jenny, Joyce, Faith - they all showed me that women could be strong, women could be powerful, women could change the world. They showed me that we can do anything we want to. They taught me that no matter how hard life gets, no matter how much we have to sacrifice or fight, that things CAN get better and things CAN change. The entire gang taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to fight for Good. And, also, that High School (or Secondary School) can be a little bit shit for everyone. You just need to get through it.
"If Joss Whedon had had one good day in High School, we wouldn't be here." - David Greenwalt
20th Anniversary: Welcome to the Hellmouth Buffywatch!
Recently, I've become severely addicted to the Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast. I've mentioned this here before, but it's just like sitting down every week to meet up with friends and chat about Buffy - only they're the type of friends who don't think you're crazy for talking about continuity or pop culture references, they positively encourage it. Hosts Kristin and Jenny are rewatching from the start, and documenting their thoughts after every episode. Plus, there's an amazing original song at the end of every episode. Prophecy Girl made me cry. They're holding a Facebook Live event to celebrate the 20th Anniversary tonight, on March 10th - unfortunately for those of us running on GMT, it's at 1am, but I really want to join in - the plan is to get your Season 1 DVD, or your episode online, however you watch - and press play at the same time, so we can all join in chat and watch together all around the world. You'll find the event on Facebook: 20th Anniversary: Welcome to the Hellmouth Buffywatch!
Favourite Buffy Episodes
I could go on for years and years but there are so many things I love about every season - I'm not mad about Season 7, truth be told - I've learned to tolerate Riley and Dawn more with every rewatch, I've learned that even though Xander does my head in he's pretty important (Buffy would've stayed dead without him) I've a new admiration for Joyce since I watched it again after having my kids, and I'll always love Giles.
It goes without saying, if you're planning on watching Buffy and you haven't seen it before, there are some fairly big spoilers in the videos below so proceed with caution. Also, they're not in chronological order.
1. Once More, With Feeling
Musical episodes can be dodgy (all of that Grey's one apart from Sara Ramirez was pretty cringe, tbh) - but the gang nailed it here. I still listen to this soundtrack regularly, that last part when they find out what really happened to Buffy.....heartbreaking. It's so clever.
A silent episode? How will that work? That'll never work... IT WORKS. The Gentlemen are easily one of the scariest Big Bads of the whole show, but a lot happens in this episode. It's a really important one for Willow and Tara, as it's the first time they see how strong they are combined. The scene with Giles and the projector is one of my favourites of any show, ever. It's just hilarious from start to finish.
3. Prophecy Girl
This is when shit got serious. Up to then, Season One had been kickass, it had been amazing, Buffy had been fantastic - but this is where she realised she the choice between saving the world and saving herself. We see her really afraid, then face those fears head on - It's a brilliant episode.
4. Becoming, Part II
Both episodes in the 'Becoming' two-parter are emotionally draining, they're just perfect. I still remember the first time I saw Part II and how much it made me sob - I'll still never forgive Xander, and I still can't get through "Close Your Eyes" without BAWLING. I don't want to embed a video here because the title pretty much gives away the plot, but if you fancy putting yourself through that particular hell again (I've just done a full-on Dawson cry here), you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UklpzSAKLfo
5. The Prom
Buffy is determined that her friends will have a perfect Prom - so she does all she can to protect them. This is the first time that other students acknowledge that Sunnydale isn't the safest place to live - and the scene where Jonathan (GRRRRRRR) gives her the Class Protector award is really lovely, she finally gets some appreciation and recognition from her peers. Plus, that super proud look on Giles' face? Adorable.
Thank you Joss Whedon.
In honour of the 20th Anniversary (and because I'll probably fall asleep long before the Buffering Facebook live event), I'm going to start rewatching from episode one at the weekend. This time, I'm going to blog it - I'll wait until I have a couple of episodes at a time to chat about and aim for 1-2 posts a month, they'll be weekend posts. Please use this as an opportunity to watch with me if it's something you're interested in!
Still holding out for Xander, Giles, Faith and Tara Funkos...