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Amber Benson's Forward
I’ve posted a few segments of Amber Benson’s Forward to Buffy: The Making of a Slayer before. However, I decided one cannot fully appreciate Benson’s dedication to her character, Tara, or loyalty as a Whedonite without reading it all. Read; marvel; share.
“If there’s one thing I can say about my time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s that Alyson Hannigan was right: I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I remember the exact conversation.
Alyson- who will forever be enshrined in the science fiction and fantasy lexicon as Buffy Summer’s best friend, Willow Rosenberg- was trying to explain to me how I was now a part of something that wasn’t just entertainment, but a bona fide way of life. Of course, I had no idea what she was talking about. I was just there to do a couple of episodes of this sci-fi television show and that was it.
At least that’s what I thought- little did I know back then how much this ‘sci-fi television show’ was going to change my life.
Because Alyson was right: Buffy is so much more than just entertainment. It’s a way of being that transcends its medium. It’s opened minds, changed hearts, and shown people there are different and better ways to live- and it didn’t just do it at home in the United States. No, Buffy became a worldwide phenomenon.
Without preaching from a soapbox, it tackled the day’s hot-button issues, making grand statements about gender, sex, violence, and inequality- without talking down to its audience. The writing was clever, the relationships felt real, and there was at least one character each of us could identify with. In a nutshell, Buffy was smart, and it made you feel smart for ‘getting it’.
But it wasn’t just intelligence that marked Buffy as something different. In a world rigged to make us feel alone and insignificant, Buffy gave us hope. It made us feel as though we were a part of something bigger than ourselves; that we belonged.
If someone like Joss Whedon could find his way in Hollywood; if he could create an imperfect, human heroine like Buffy Summers and get someone as cool as Sarah Michelle Gellar to inhabit her; if this little mid-season replacement nobody cared about could get (and stay) on the air while, at the same time, growing a large and devoted audience of rabid fans… well, then maybe the Hellmouth was the place to be.
Even now, so many years after the end of the show, there are still new fans finding their way into Sunnydale. Buffy doesn’t care that they’re late to the game. She’s been waiting for them - and she accepts all of them exactly as they are. Besides, no matter how many times you may have seen an episode, there’s no such thing as an expert. I can guarantee there are always new and intriguing things to discover in Buffy; things that you somehow missed on previous viewings.
So as you dive into this lovely book, be prepared to lose yourself in its pages. As all initiated know: Once the Buffyverse has you in its clutches, it won’t ever let you go.
- Amber Benson