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Top 10 Things I Learned From Buffy The Vampire Slayer by Christie G

10.  Librarians are freaking awesome.

Well, I knew this anyway, but Giles was the epitome of what I actually wanted a high school librarian to be.  A wealth of knowledge, a touchstone when you needed someone to listen, a father figure in your darkest hours, and he could definitely kick demon and vampire butt.  The fact that he knew magic and didn’t practice because he was scared of his own powers didn’t hinder, either.

9.  Hold on to love when you find it
One big thing that you can learn from Buffy (movie or TV series or graphic novels) is to treasure love when you find it.  The most gripping episode that hammers this home to me was Seeing Red in Season Six.  After all the twists and turns and ups and downs in their relationship, Willow and Tara finally get back together, things are wonderful, and then Tara is *killed*, a side-casualty.  True love, gone in an instant, by accident.  Proof that you need to take all the love you can, when you can, because you never know what’s going to happen.
8.  Bad things can come in unsuspecting packages
Buffy is fun because it loves to dress up “the bad” in different ways- and they’re not obvious.  This is wonderful, because in real life, bad things are NOT obvious.  They don’t wander around with big signs over their heads saying, HEY, I’M AWFUL, STAY AWAY FROM ME, I’M AN EMOTIONAL VAMPIRE AND GOING TO SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF YOU!  We learn this in Buffy through a variety of ways:  Faith, who starts good, then goes bad (then good again- see number 4); Drusilla, who is always bad; evil packaged as innocent looking children or beautiful humans; The Initiative; the list goes on and on.
7.  Be flexible, and use your imagination
No matter what villain they faced, or evil they fought down, Buffy and her gang were always creative in the way they went about it.  It wasn’t always the most direct approach, it wasn’t the easiest, but it was the way that it got done.  And it *got done*.  It may not have been pretty, but it was done.  You had demons that made the entire adult population regress to their teenage years, ones that made everyone believe that they were their Halloween costumes, and my personal favorite, one that had everyone *SINGING* their personal business.  And how did they defeat them?  Quick thinking and creative solutions which, by the way, are hallmarks of what makes excellent employees in today’s workplace.  That flexibility and creative thinking goes a long way in real life- thinking outside the box is cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason.

6.  Friends can be your family
I’m the first to admit that I have a Buffy addiction, as well as a Disney one.  And what do they have in common?  A distinct lack of parents.  Buffy’s dad is AWOL from the beginning, then her mom dies in season 5 (one of the episodes that has been described as one of the best television episodes ever broadcast, BTW (Kaveney, Roz (ed.) (2004). Reading the Vampire Slayer: The New, Updated, Unofficial Guide to Buffy and Angel, Tauris Parke Paperbacks. ISBN 1-4175-2192-9).  So who is Buffy’s support network?  HER FRIENDS.  If it weren’t for Willow and Xander, who are there from the beginning, Buffy wouldn’t have survived emotionallythroughout her struggles, let alone physically.  I have a wonderful family, but I’m lucky in that I have wonderful friends that have supported me as well, no matter what I’m doing or what I believe in.  Having moved four states away from any family right after being married, I know the importance of my friend-family in my life:  if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to face a lot of things that life has thrown my way.
5.  You can survive the big bad
Buffy has a lot in common with YA literature, in that it shows that no matter what happens, you can survive it.  Buffy, Willow and Xander go through the death of parents, of friends, of lovers, even Buffy (twice).  They fight werewolves, vampires, demons, curses, ghosts, possession, spells.  They fall in love and out of love, sometimes with each other, sometimes with others in their close group, sometimes with the enemy.  They lose themselves numerous times along the way.  However, at the end, they win out, and it shows that you can survive the big bad.  It’s an important message that needs to be given, and I don’t think that it’s being given enough.
4.  The geeks shall rule the Earth
If Joss Whedon isn’t geeky enough for you, and the fact that he created Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse, directed the Avengers, and has a cult following that numbers in the billions world-wide, then consider this:  the characters that were the “geeks” in Buffy are the ones that have gone on to major stardom and continuing success.  Alyson Hannigan, who stars as Willow, has gone on to star in the blockbuster American Pie movie series, which just recently released American Reunion, and plays Lily Aldrin on How I Met Your Mother.  Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander, has made a career on the small screen, landing roles on Private Practice and Criminal Minds.  And Seth Green, who played Oz, went through the stratosphere, as Dr. Evil’s son in the Austin Powers movies, lending his voice in Family Guy and the video game series Mass Effect, and directing/producing and voice talent in the ongoing Robot Chicken TV series.  He’s so good he gives Sarah Michelle Geller jobs.  It’s good to be the geek, huh?
3.  Girls kick butt
If I had three wishes, the first one would be for Joss Whedon to have his own television station and film studio where he could make all the shows and movies his heart desires.  He consistently creates female characters who are intelligent, witty, and can kick ass with the guys- all of which should be considered normal in our society and isn’t.  There’s a wonderful quote from years ago where he was interviewed:

When asked in an interview years ago why he writes these strong female characters, he simply responded, “Because you’re still asking me that question.”

Girls still need these strong female characters, in television, in film, and in books, because right now a lot of them are lost and no one is sure why.  It’s blamed on our instant culture, on television, on music videos, on rap, on the current fad of the moment, but no one really knows.  I feel that if they had more positive role models to look at, instead of shows that encourage them to fall down drunk every night and act stupid to attract attention, that it could not be a bad thing.
2.  Love knows no boundaries
Buffy shows us that it’s OK to love whomever we want, and that there shouldn’t be any judgment with it.  Buffy herself loved Angel (vampire with a soul), Rylie (military cyborg), and Spike (vampire first without a soul then with a soul).  Xander loved Willow, then Cordelia, then finally Anya (vengeance demon).  Willowcrushed on Xander, then Oz (werewolf), then Tara (female witch).  And you know what?  THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH THEIR RELATIONSHIPS.  NOTHING.  And there were no judgment from their friends.  Which is the way it should be.  So love who you love because love is precious (see #9).
Finally, the best thing about Buffy is that anyone can be the hero of the story.  If that’s proven anywhere, with any character, it’s with Spike.  He goes from being evil vampire, to chipped with an anti-violent impulse device, to a rapist, to a vampire with a soul, to the sacrificial savior of Sunnydale and the world through seven seasons, all with peroxide blonde hair, a leather duster, and a wonderful British accent.  Would you have seen that coming?  He’s the most extreme case, but anyone can be the hero of their own story, they just need to believe that they can be.

Check out these awesome website for more of The Sunnydale Project
Bookish Comforts
Patricia’s Particularity

The Sunnydale Project is a look back on all things Buffy by fans.  Buffy and all that it entails is owned by Joss Whedon, who is awesome.

Slayer Scavenger Hunt
on Slayer Saturdays!

Did you notice some words written in red in this post? If not, go back and take a look. You’ll want to, I can reassure you. Why? Because we are having a Buffy themed scavenger hunt! How fun is that? To find out how to participate, read the details below. And I know you’ll want to participate because we are working on getting some GREAT prizes lined up for the winners!

  • Each week on our Slayer Saturday posts look for the words highlighted. There will be 3 sets of words each weekend, so make sure to visit all three blogs (Bookish Comforts, Patricia’s Particularity and Teen Librarian Toolbox).
  • Write down the words each week (Sept. 8 – Oct. 20), putting them in an order that makes sense. All together these words create a quote from Buffy.
  • During the last week a form will be made available on all three blogs where you can turn in the quote that you have pieced together.
  • On the last weekend of The Sunnydale Project, Oct. 27, the quote will be revealed! We will then draw a winner from those who have correctly completed the quote.
We really hope you have fun with this! We’re still finalizing the prize, but it’ll be worth participating for! An announcement will be made when all details have been finalized.


  1. These are some great lessons to take away from the show and I've totally learned all of them.

    I hadn't heard Whedon's quote before but I love that he said that and that he continues to proven that girl's can/should/will kick ass in every one of his scripts.

    I have to admit, I got a few chills when you were talking about Spike's story arc.

  2. Spike and Willow have always been my two favorites since the start, and the fact that Spike goes so back and forth in his story is just masterful- especially when you know they didn't start out with OH, let's take this bleached blond punk and have him save the world at the end. If you read a little into it, he actually wasn't supposed to *be* a main character at all.

    I'm completely geeking out to see what he'll do with TV and the S.H.I.E.L.D. project….


  3. If you love Spike and Willow – come check out the current comic season! Spike has his own mini going on right now, and Willow is still kicking butt (currently, she's hanging out at the Angel and Faith comic, but she has her own mini coming up too.)

    Another lesson I love? Gender roles are out the door. Who is the “heart” of the gang? Xander. Who is the “Brain”? Willow. I can't remember right now what episode it was that came right out and said that, but I loved it. (It was one where they had to take those roles for a spell.)

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