1. Firefly taught them how to handle disappointment.
The cancelation of Firefly was a dark time in their life that they don’t like to revisit. It was a time when everything they knew about life was thrown into question, and they weren’t even sure how to continue on without their weekly dose of space cowboys. However, they were able to overcome this massive disappointment (thank you, Serenity) eventually, and if they can do that, they can handle the disappointment of you forgetting the occasional birthday/anniversary.
2. They know the importance of a well-timed joke.
Wash knew that the best way to defuse a situation was with a really good joke. For that matter, so did Xander, and Lorne, and Willow, and Kaylee… you get the point. Humor is super important to them, even when they’re in the midst of fighting demons or fleeing Reavers.
3. Unlike “The Gentlemen,” they don’t want to steal your heart; they want to earn it.
The “Hush” episode of Buffy taught all fans that stealing hearts is very bad and completely terrifying. They will absolutely wait listen to your voice, and earn your heart fair and square.
4. They’re extremely loyal.
Anytime Mr. Whedon comes out with a new project, you better believe they will be there to watch it in all its glory. Even if it’s a horror movie and they hate scary movies, they’ll gather their courage and go see Cabin in the Woods, because that’s what love is, and you better believe they’ll show the same loyalty to you.
5. They’re appropriately hesitant about blindly following authority.
They have nothing against authority, and aren’t necessarily spokespeople of anti-establishmentarianism. They just know they need to be informed about what’s happening around them to make sure their mayor isn’t actually the demon Olvikan and bent on destroying the city.
6. They know the human condition is a spectrum.
The characters in Whedon’s projects are rarely simply good or bad. Even Dr. Horrible who wanted so badly to be an evil villain couldn’t escape his humanity. Fans of these shows know that even if a person is a literal demon on the surface, there may be a human soul lurking underneath.
7. They support the idea that once someone’s in your life; they’re in it forever.
Once an actor on a Joss Whedon show, always an actor on every Joss Whedon show. Just because a Joss Whedon fan moves jobs, doesn’t mean they’re going to forget about their coworker friends. They make sure everyone at least has a cameo at some point in their future.
8. They’re not afraid to experiment with something unconventional.
So many of Joss Whedon’s projects are strange on the surface, and brilliant upon further inspection, so fans know that even if they have their reservations, what’s the worst that can happen? Worst-case scenario: Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie. Best-case scenario: The Avengers.
9. The Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie taught fans to never give up.
If Joss had given up on Buffy after that failed attempt of a movie, we wouldn’t have the beauty that is the TV show. So, when a fan fails at doing something they truly believe in, they know that they will keep trying, because who knows? Their Sarah Michelle Gellar moment could be waiting right around the corner.
10. Willow showed fans that everyone is deserving of a second chance.
Characters in Joss’s shows aren’t afraid to be complex, and that everyone’s capable of royally screwing up. Did Willow go off the deep end during season six of Buffy? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve forgiveness and a chance to make things better. Fans learned this early on, and are much more open to forgiving you if you’ve done something horrible. I mean, you probably didn’t skin someone alive, so how bad could it be?
11. Fans are well acquainted with grief, and aren’t afraid to cry openly after finishing Serenity or basically any Joss Whedon show.
RIP all our favorite characters. With the loss of Penny, Tara, Fred, Wash, and so many more characters, Joss Whedon has single handedly ripped out every single fan’s heart multiple times, and we somehow find a way to carry on. Personally, I went into a deep, deep depression when we lost the bright star that was Wash, and will probably never forgive Joss for this tragedy. CURSE YOU, JOSS. CURSE YOU!!
12. If she’s a woman, Buffy taught her to be confident that she’s capable of doing anything.
Not just in a badass vampire slayer way, where a woman can be her own superhero, but in a Buffy Summers way, where a woman can feel free to struggle with her emotions, and then get up and carry on.
13. If he’s a man, Buffy taught him to be well aware that women are equal.
For every great man on one of Whedon’s shows, there was an equally great woman, and the pairs were strongest when working together than when at odds with each other.