• even without a soul he’s kind to buffy
• like people seem to forget that he is so much more forgiving & merciful than the also soulless angelus…?
• he might not have a soul but he had a heart and can love, like if that’s not poetic than what is?!
• he writes poetry
• his cheekbones could cut glass
• he shamelessly watches soap operas like dawson’s creek & passions and is totally team pacey
• and talks about them with buffy’s mom over cocoa “with the little marshmallows”
• he took care of dawn even after buffy was gone, showing that it wasn’t only buffy that motivated him, it was also his love for his “little bit”
• he saw and understood buffy the way none of her friends ever could
• he was not only a counterpart but also an equal to buffy in supernatural strength & prowess
• he was the one who stood by her and told it like it was to the ungrateful scoobies
• he redeemed himself and got a soul…
• …which was what ultimately helped him go out in a blaze of glory as a world-saving champion
• he continued to help fight the good fight with angel even after he left sunnydale
• he had a lot of trauma in his human life and still was able to reveal that side of himself to dawn and buffy
• he loves the ramones
• he gets very indignant when people say he looks like billy idol
• he’s the cutest lil punk rock vampire ever, just love him okay?
'Buffy' Turns 20: Looking Back on the Great First Episode
On March 10, 1997, The WB network—your TV destination for 7th Heaven and Dawson’s Creek—debuted a new show. In its opening moments, two high schoolers, a boy and a girl, sneak into a classroom late at night. You get the distinct impression they’re looking for a place to make out. There’s a crash and a thud, and the girl, alarmed, cries out, “What’s that?” but the guy, all swagger, calms her fears. He leans in for a kiss and… the girl bites him on the neck and starts slurping his blood. Fade to black and then the opening credits.
Right from the start, before we’ve even seen the title character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there’s ample suggestion that this is not going to be your usual supernatural show. (Fun fact: Supernatural premiered on The WB in 2005.) In that opening scene, by having the girl—she’s the vampire Darla, by the way, played by Julie Benz–feign a swoon as a fake-out, easily overpowering the boy, writer-creator Joss Whedon had pulled a then-unusual switcheroo: the “helpless” girl got the better of the cocky guy. Girl power would continue to be Whedon’s overriding theme for a total of seven seasons, establishing Buffy as one of the most influential, admired, and culturally predictive shows in the history of television.
Watching that first episode again now, the pilot episode for Buffy the Vampire Slayer–titled “Welcome to the Hellmouth”–remains a hot-blooded pleasure. It rarely feels dated, unless you count a joke that name-checks John Tesh and a comment about how dreamy all high schoolers find James Spader. Part of the reason for the Buffy pilot’s timelessness is that Whedon was inventing a new way of TV-talking—a certain speech cadence (“Morbid much?”), a certain way of constructing pop-culture references—that would be quickly adopted in writer’s rooms both back then and unto the present day. It’s safe to say that nearly every character in shows ranging from The OC to Veronica Mars to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is fluent in Buffy-speak, on a conscious or unconscious level.
Countless heroes have warned villains that they’re about to get an ass-whupping, but when Buffy warned Darla by saying, “This isn’t going to be pretty: we’re talking violence, strong language, adult content”—well, no one had phrased a threat with such TV-savvy self-consciousness, yet with such a light touch. Whedon’s had a way of tucking laugh-lines into the simplest phrases—as when Alyson Hannigan’s Willow tells a puzzled Nicholas Brendon’s Xander to meet her at “the library, where the books live”—that was novel and exciting. You wanted to laugh out loud when Buffy describes David Boreanaz’s Angel as being “gorgeous, in an annoying sort of way” but you didn’t dare, lest you miss her quick assertion to the tweedy British librarian and vampire “watcher” Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) that, yes, she’d be willing to kill a few vampires, but “it’s just that I’m not gonna get all extracurricular about it.”
It was Whedon’s brilliant idea to make a high school the site of a “hellmouth”—a “center of mystical energy,” a throbbing locus of evil, which was, if you thought about it for a second, just the way you thought of high school when you were of high school age. It was his further brilliance to make vampirism a metaphor for young love. The way the slayer Buffy and the vampire Angel fed off each other, hungrily and insatiable—Whedon was able to get away with a degree of sexual tension that would have been otherwise forbidden on network television.
In the pilot, everything the series would become is all there, right from the start. Buffy is forever the lonely outsider who can’t tell most of her classmates how much power she really possesses. The opening hour is Buffy’s first day at her new school in Sunnydale—she and her single-mom (Kristine Sutherland) have just moved in. Why? Because Buffy burned down the gym in her previous school—she did it because it was vampire-infested, but to whom could she confide that? Not even dear old Mom.
We meet Buffy’s soon-to-be best buds, Willow and Xander, the stuffy but solicitous Giles, the initially elusive and flirty Angel (he actually says to Buffy, “Don’t worry, I don’t bite”), and Charisma Carpenter’s vain mean-girl Cordelia. We’re taken to the Bronze—the only suitably seedy music club in what Cordelia describes as “a one-Starbucks town”—to hear some of that pop-grunge music that was all the rage back then.
The hour moves swiftly, peaking with the reveal of the Master (Mark Metcalf), a powerful demon who would prove to be the first season’s primary villain—or in Buffy-speak, the show’s first “big bad,” soon to be a universal term among the TV-savvy. Actually, on that night in 1997, the WB aired the second episode right after the pilot, and Whedon’s second script was as tight as the first, further fleshing out the characters and giving Giles a couple of long swatches of dialogue to explain Buffy’s unique status as “the Chosen One,” the once-in-a-generation vampire slayer, with tips on vamp-killing and how to tiptoe around the perimeter of a Hellmouth.
Sarah Michelle Geller, a virtual unknown cast in the title role, is both heartbreakingly fragile (so small-boned, her hair wispy and flyaway) and yet startlingly tough (so cleverly sarcastic, so precise with a wooden stake through the hearts of bad guys that disappear in a plume of dust when she struck them).
At the time, TV critics had to beg adult viewers to watch a show with such a ludicrous-seeming title. Soon enough, the growing cult for the show was sure they’d found something they hadn’t known they’d needed: a reservoir of feminist empowerment filled with blood and wit.
The year is 1977. A Vogue spread pairs fur-coat cladmodels (including Jerry Hall) with C-3PO, Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers. Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Dawson Leery—whoops, we mean Sarah Michelle Gellar & James Van Der Beek—are both born, and so is the original Vans Slip-on. Shop new prints and colorways of our timeless classic at vans.com/slipon