Everything I Know, I Learned from Buffy

Written September 19, 2000.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy

The problem with democracy is that everyone gets a say.

Even those without all of the facts.

A case in point: When STC Council heard rumbles that Thursday night meetings weren’t working out for all of the membership, they decided to hold a vote on preferred meeting night.

The electorate spoke, and a new meeting night was chosen: Tuesday. Tuesday!? Buffy and Angel night on TV?

I have to confess: I’m a big fan. But I’m not alone. Anyone who attended the chapter’s year-end barbecue couldn’t help but notice the large number of Buffy-themed thank you gifts presented to prominent Council members.

While prominent, however, we the Buffy-addicted are apparently not that numerous. Or at least, not numerous enough. The vote proves it: Our chapter contains a majority of non-watchers.

It’s sad, really.

Now, I can’t in all good conscience urge you to ditch STC meetings in favour of a night in front of the tube. But we’re all bright, technical people, aren’t we? We can program our VCRs! And if you record the happenings on Tuesday night from 8:00 to 10:00 on CKVR (or CKPL), you’ll capture programming that is entertaining without being insulting. In fact, you might even learn a thing or two from Buffy.

“Learn something?” I can hear you say. “From Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The show about the dumb blonde cheerleader who fights cheesy-looking monsters?”

I just have to nip this impression in the bud. First, Buffy is not dumb; she’s whip-smart. Nor is she a cheerleader—hasn’t been since the movie. The monsters, demons, and vampires look plenty scary, and there is no cheese (except, occasionally, on people’s plates and in their subconscious).

See? You’re learning already! And more lessons await…

Teamwork is powerful

A recurring theme in Buffy and Angel is that while our superheroes are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, they’re way more effective as part of a team. In fact, each of these characters would probably have died a few times over without the assistance of their less powerful (though gifted in their own way) friends—Willow, Xander, Giles, Cordelia, Doyle, Wesley… Everyone has their part to play. Just like at the office.

Documentation is good

Be still my English major heart! In no other show in my recollection do the characters spend so much time reviewing ancients texts, both in old tomes and uploaded onto Web sites, in search of information about the demons and others foes who seek to harm them and all of humanity.

Good documentation is better

It would make for pretty dull plotlines, but our heroes are often stymied by the ancients refusal to write in clear language and to provide all of the information about whom they’re battling. They would have a much easier time of it had those old guys usability tested their texts.

Keep a sense of humour

I know you think you have some bad days at work sometimes, but have you every been a) falsely accused of killing a co-worker b) expelled from school c) kicked out of your house and d) required to kill the person you love—all in one day? Admittedly, that sort of thing can make Buffy and Angel pretty mopey, but it doesn’t stop them from going about their demon-busting work with a sarcastic quip or a humourous pun.

Don’t wear plaid with stripes

But you knew that. (And when in doubt, remember that basic black is always in style.)

Into every life, a little diversion must fall

Hey, you work hard all day. You could do worse than to relax at the end of it with programs that are smart, funny, and action-packed, with characters richer and more compelling than any others on TV (especially now that The Sopranos is almost over). And obviously, watching Buffy/Angel is no impediment to significant success within our chapter. (In fact, it might help.)

For more information

The new Buffy and Angel season has just started; you have plenty of time to jump on this bandwagon. To catch up all on the lore, try the excellent episode guide at www.buffyguide.com.

And then, we can have another vote.