Thought Catalog
June 30, 2014

7 Things Buffy The Vampire Slayer Taught Me About Life

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Series (Seasons 1-7) (2010) 39 Disc
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Complete Series (Seasons 1-7) (2010) 39 Disc

My husband and I bought our house in the fall of 2008. As we entered the world of hydro bills, property taxes and buying adult things like new windows and weren’t quite sure what to expect, we tightened our belts a little. Part of this process involved us hibernating over the winter and watching the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from start to finish.

I was a complete newbie to Buffy and her Scooby Gang, whereas Chris was already a die-hard fan anxious to introduce me to Sunnydale. I spend a lot of time thinking about role models for the minions and TV that is entertaining peppered with a side of life lessons. I am looking forward to re watching Buffy when my children are old enough!

Please note – this list is riddled with spoilers, but come on Buffy’s been off the air for over a decade now so if you really cared about what happened you would know by now!

1. Sometimes You’ll Give Your Heart To Someone and They’ll Turn into a Monster

“We’re not friends. We never were. And I can fool Giles, and I can fool my friends, but I can’t fool myself. Or Spike, for some reason. What I want from you I can never have.” Buffy

This is almost anyone’s worst nightmare and happened to Buffy quite literally after Angel experiences a moment of true happiness and becomes Evil Angel – which is both terrifying and amazing (the first few times it happens).

2. Don’t Forget to Bring Mr. Pointy

“This is my lucky stake. I have killed many vampires with it. I call it Mr. Pointy.” Kendra

Life is easier when you show up prepared: Whether it’s bringing a stake to slay vampires or a pencil to take notes. Always be prepared.

3. You Don’t Get to Choose Your Family, But Take Good Care of Them

“Killing things with wood? Ooh, scary vampires–they die from a splinter.” Dawn

Dawn is arguably the most loathed character on Buffy, but as much as everyone loves to hate Dawn she’s still Buffy’s sister (kinda, sorta) and Buffy steps up to take care of her and bail her out of trouble because that’s what big sisters do.

4. Bad Things Can Happen for No Good Reason

“It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And, and Xander’s crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.” Anya.

When Buffy loses her mom to a brain tumour in season 5, there’s no demonic force behind it, it’s just life taking someone away early. Buffy is thrust into the adult world and has to cope with it just like anyone else, slayer powers or no slayer powers.

5. You Can Be Your Own Worst Enemy

“Well, we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer, but, gosh, we did that last night.” Xander.

My absolute favorite season of Buffy is season 6 because most of the problems the Scooby Gang faces aren’t Hell Mouth related they are of their own making and feel very real. Willow faces addiction and turmoil in her relationship with Tara, Buffy struggles to make ends meet financially and people like Joyce and Giles aren’t around to provide sage advice and ground them.

6. Sometimes it Takes a Good Friend to Save You from Yourself

“It must be really hard when all your friends have, like, superpowers; Slayer, werewolf, witches, vampires; and you’re, like, this little nothing. You must feel like Jimmy Olsen. “ Cordelia to Xander

In the end of season 6 the hero is Xander (the one with no supernatural powers) who reminds Dark Willow of who she is and who she can chose to be when she’s spiralled out of control. I had a friend do the same for me when I was laying on the floor listening to Tom Waits on repeat during a particularly bad break up, not entirely apocalyptic, but relatable.

7. You Can Be Who You Choose to Be and Don’t let Anyone Tell You Differently

“Yes, it’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.” Giles

One of my favorite things about Buffy is it’s examination surrounding characters and their evolution throughout the series, particularly Spike, Angel and Anya who struggle to fight their demons figuratively and directly every day. TC mark