Perhaps no other showrunner boasts as rabid of a fanbase as much as Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Joss Whedon. The series was partially responsible for the current convention-style fandom.
It featured one of the earliest hardcore shippers, and the fans have been so dedicated that college courses and in-depth blogs have popped up in dedication to the show’s deep and intense themes.
Fans clearly know a lot about the show, learning lines by heart and commemorating bits of trivia to memory. However, there’s a lot left to be learned about this popular teen horror dramedy.
Despite the Buffy fandom’s obsessive love for the series, there are still plenty of false assumptions and misconceptions in regard to the show.
Whether fans failed to notice critical, hidden details in a characters’ personalities (like Buffy’s hidden genius tendencies), or whether critics gave important storylines an undeserved bad rap (oh, yes, season 6 finally gets its due), there are lots of commonly held beliefs about the series that desperately need clearing up.
Here are the 15 Things Everybody Gets Wrong About Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
15. The Film IS Canon
Buffy does not burn down the gym at the end of this movie. Though, you couldn’t be blamed for believing that, considering how many times the TV series made reference to Buffy doing just that at her last high school.
Many viewers believed that the movie was canon on account of a few overlapping characters. Buffy’s old watcher, Merrick, puts in an appearance, lending validity to the movie.
Because of the overlap, many assumed the frequently referenced gym fire must have been present in the film, but it wasn’t. The fire is, in fact, referencing Whedon’s original script before it was allegedly butchered by the studio.
14. Willow Was Never Wiccan
A lot of viewers have assumed that Willow was a Wiccan, but she definitely is not, nor ever has been a subscriber to the old ways. Willow Rosenberg is Jewish and she is a witch, that’s all. In fact, the powerful magick user totally mocks and disrespects the disciplines of Wicca.
When Willow first meets the love of her life, Tara, it’s at a college campus Wicca group meeting. Willow immediately recognizes that the ladies in attendance have no idea how to perform actual magic, all except Tara, that is.
After she and Tara become close, Willow lets loose on her actual opinion of the Wiccan group, mocking their mystical “life force” talk. It’s actually the Halliwell sisters of The WB’s Charmed who more closely resemble the principles of Wicca with their attempts to avoid personal gain with their spells.
13. Spike’s Accent Is Actually Pretty Accurate
James Marsters gets a lot of flak for his bad British accent as Buffy’s nemesis (and sometimes lover) Spike. Marsters actually hails from California and auditioned for the part with a Southern accent.
Showrunners determined that the British accent was more suiting to the character, however, giving birth to William the Bloody’s hilarious backstory that saw him creating painfully awful poetry for the amusement of British nobles.
It turns out that Anthony Stewart Head’s real-life accent is more closely aligned to Spike’s rough-and-tumble Cockney than Giles’s prim-and-proper posh way manner of speaking.
On multiple occasions, Marsters sang Head’s praises, showing his gratitude for his co-star’s help in achieving the perfect dialect. Head would help Marsters perfect his accent when the cameras weren’t rolling. Sadly, David Boreanaz’s Irish accent is still beyond redemption.
12. Women Weren’t The Only Victims On The Show
Assault against Buffy‘s female characters has been depicted several times throughout the series’ seven seasons. Buffy and Cordelia are drugged and tied up in a not-so-subtle date assault allegory in season 2’s “Reptile Boy”.
Spike also attempts to assault Buffy in season 6’s “Seeing Red”. However, neither of those harrowing scenes were the series first attempt at exploring violence.
The first example of assault and/or date assault appears in season 1’s “Teacher’s Pet” when Xander is nearly assaulted by a substitute teacher/praying mantis lady, so we can throw statutory assault onto the list of Miss French’s transgressions too.
11. Xander Isn’t A Good Guy
Xander was verbally abusive to both Cordelia and Anya. In Cordelia’s case, Xander was constantly calling her a “vapid slut” with a closet full of clothes worthy of a street worker even as she was wearing knee-length skirts and cardigan sweaters.
He constantly mocked Anya’s confused understanding of the human world, acting as if his girlfriend’s shortcoming were nothing but annoying. He cheated on Cordy and left Anya at the altar.
It wasn’t just Xander’s girlfriends who were treated poorly, though, he was petty and negative toward women in general. He’s the reason why Dawn learns of Spike attempting to assault Buffy even after Buffy tried to keep the incident a secret.
10. Riley Was Buffy’s Best Boyfriend
In the debate over which beau was best, Riley is always left out in the cold. Viewers argue that Riley was boring, jealous of Buffy’s strength, and that he hurt Buffy by letting vampires feed off him. Yes, no, and no.
You can argue that he was normal compared to Angel and Spike, but he was still a member of a secret government-run military fighting demons. His job was exactly Buffy’s job, but he was still able to attend college and go on real dates, giving Buffy the opportunity for a semi-normal life like she always wanted.
Furthermore, Riley wasn’t actually jealous of Buffy’s strength. He was neglected by her– something she openly admitted to doing. This manifested itself in him attempting to be a tough guy to give her a reason to need/want him around.
9. It Made Sense That Joyce Didn’t Know Buffy Was A Slayer
A lot of viewers questioned how Joyce could possibly have not noticed what her daughter was up to. For starters, she likely assumed Buffy was up to something, but how could she be expected to assume her daughter was fighting the undead?
For a long time, Joyce had no reason to suspect vampires were even a thing. Joyce did think that Buffy was a problem child who was prone to bad behavior and she tried everything she could to rein that in, proposing curfews and attempting to quash her relationship with Angel well before she knew Angel was a vamp.
Adding to that, Kristine Sutherland, who played Joyce, said her character knew something was off the whole time, but that she was in denial to the truth. “I think a healthy amount of denial is important in giving your children space to be who they are,” she said.
8. Buffy Isn’t A Dumb Blonde
It’s easy to assume that Buffy wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box. She had no real interest in high school (especially history) or participating in the Scooby Gang’s monster-related research. She relied on Giles and Willow to research for her and her grades were constantly suffering due to all her absences.
Even still, she constantly had a knack for knowing when and where monsters would show up, often being right even when her friends insisted she was wrong.
She was right on in suspecting her college roommate, Kathy, and in not trusting the creepy talent show puppet. She also rocked her SATs, getting a score even brainy Willow was super impressed with. Imagine what she could have done if she had actually bothered to apply herself.
7. There’s More Than One Hellmouth
Sunnydale became a hub for evil activity thanks to the Hellmouth being located directly under Buffy’s high school. Demons were drawn to the Hellmouth, which acts as a literal gate to Hell.
Despite this Hellmouth being the most active, it is far from the only one. There’s even more than two. Sunnydale, Cleveland, Easter Island, and an artificial one was once created in LA.
In the season 7 finale, the Scooby Gang closes the Sunnydale Hellmouth once and for all, but the celebration was short-lived. Giles informs the gang that despite their success, there is another Hellmouth located in Cleveland.
It’s a funny joke, but it’s also an indication that evil hasn’t been fully defeated. The Easter Island Hellmouth became a huge danger in the comic book version of the series.
6. Just Getting Bit Won’t Make You A Vamp
In the early seasons, characters were shown to be bitten and then the camera would cut away. They would later be shown to come back as a vamp, or they would be shown to be fully dead.
Because of this early editing, it makes sense that viewers would assume just being bitten would be enough to turn a victim into a full-blown vampire, but that’s not how it worked on Buffy.
Becoming a vamp was a two-way street, you had to be bitten and you had to drink the vampire’s blood. However, it’s more than even that, you had to be practically drained of blood before drinking the vamp’s infected blood.
Evidence of this was given when Buffy actually drank a little of Dracula’s blood in season 5 after being bitten by him. The bite needed to be more severe and the drinking needed to be immediate, it was a complicated process.
5. There Actually That Aren’t That Many Key Deaths
Joyce, Tara, Jenny, and Anya are the only four main characters who met their permanent end and were never to be resurrected in one way or another– and you could argue that Jenny wasn’t really a main character.
Though her death definitely mattered in a “girl in the fridge” sort of way, her character never gained the same sort of traction as some of the other side characters, like Anya or Spike. All four of the permanently dead characters were still mentioned and/or appeared in the comic book series through flashbacks and other narrative devices.
Spike, Darla, Angel, and Buffy were all brought back from the dead and the rest of the deaths on the show, no matter how surprising they may have been, simply didn’t feature major characters.
Kendra was a shock, but she wasn’t a main character by any means. Whedon’s reputation is as a character killer, but most of his beloved Buffy characters were long-lasting survivors.
4. They Can’t Just Bring Back Every Dead Person
Obviously, lots of dead people have come back, but they were all undead to start and/or died of supernatural causes. Of the characters who have been resurrected– Spike, Darla, Angel, and Buffy– every single one have had a bit of demon in them, Buffy included.
It was also stated that people who died of natural causes could not be brought back, including murder victims so long as the deed was committed by non-magical means.
This explains why Joyce, Kendra, Anya, Jenny, and Tara could not be resurrected. People wondered why Willow brought back Buffy but not Tara, she did try and was yelled at by the magical realm saying that it was impossible.
3. Buffy Can Die All She Wants Now
When a slayer dies, another is called. One girl in all the world may hold the power to slay vampires at any given time, but Xander valiantly resuscitated a drowned Buffy in season 1, he reset the slayer line.
After Buffy’s short death, a second slayer, Kendra, was called. Then, of course, after Kendra died at the hands of Drusilla, Faith came into being.
So, was a second slayer called when Buffy died a second time in season 5’s “The Gift”? No, because Faith was still alive and kicking, it didn’t matter how many times Buffy lost her life.
At this point, the OG slayer could die and be resurrected a thousand times and no other slayers would be called until Faith met her end. This has been confirmed by Whedon himself.
2. Season 6 Wasn’t Bad
Many fans blasted season 6 for being so dark and gloomy, though the trauma and realism of Netflix’s Jessica Jones and AMC’s Breaking Bad have proven there is a definite market for this sort of maudlin content.
The characters are afflicted with real-world pain. The story discusses breakups, abusive relationships, and power shifts. These journies allowed the characters to grow even as the series was winding down.
Viewers were also disappointed by the Trio, the red herring Big Bad before Willow went full-evil. Fans thought the Trio were funny, but a bit of a letdown after huge enemies like Goddess Glory and Angelus.
However, as Vanity Fair pointed out, they were a perfect metaphor for the state of women’s rights today. Season 6 was truly years ahead of its time.
1. Joss Whedon Wasn’t The Master Of Foreshadowing
Whedon is revered for his careful attention to detail and for the many, many clever moments of foreshadowing seen throughout his series. But what most may not realize is that not all of Whedon’s infamous foreshadowing moments were planned in advance.
He certainly did foreshadow major events in the series like Dawn’s shocking arrival, Joyce’s sad death (and Buffy’s too, for that matter), and, of course, the Mayor’s epic rise.
Sometimes these hinted at events were revealed multiple seasons ahead of time thanks to his careful planning of the show’s plot.
However, he would also rewatch old episodes and look for little moments he could call back to in upcoming storylines, creating an almost artificial sort of foreshadowing. Whedon was so crafty he created his foreshadowing after the fact.
Can you think of any other things about Buffy the Vampire Slayer that most fans get wrong? Let us know in the comments!
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