Buffy the Vampire Slayer is without question the defining piece of media of my life. I watched it as it aired all throughout my adolescence and it profoundly shaped my life and self in so many ways from big to small (hell, even the way I talk and randomly slap together prefixes and suffixes as a phrase called for can be traced back to Buffy).
While it has its issues, the show taught me to believe in myself, to keep going, to treasure my weirdness and the strange and awkward things that don’t fit are the best things about me and what makes me me. It showed me that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, with and without capes, in and out of the spotlight. It defined the kind of person I wanted to be and I know there’s a whole generation of people that feel the same.
In honor of the 20th anniversary here’s a list of my personal top ten most meaningful Buffy quotes. There are a billion and fifty amazing, quotable moments and these aren’t even necessarily my favorite. These are the ones that meant the most to me, the ones that stuck with me and I think of when I need them.
“No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away and what’s left?” “Me”
“I’m the thing the monsters have nightmares about.”
"Seize the moment, ‘cause tomorrow you might be dead.”
“To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It’s-it’s… it’s not done because people deserve it. It’s done because they need it.”
“I made it up. I’m making it all up. So what kind of hero does that make me?”
“No guy is worth your life, not ever”
“When I say ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman.”
“I guess I just realized how amazingly screwed up they all are. I mean, really, really screwed up, in a monumental fashion. And they have no purpose that unites them so they just drift around, blundering through life until they die… which they… they know is coming, yet every single one of them is surprised when it happens to them. They’re incapable of thinking about what they want beyond the moment. They kill each other, which is clearly insane. And yet, here’s the thing – when it’s something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they’re lame morons for fighting, but they do. They never… never quit. So I guess I will keep fighting too.”
“They’ll never know how tough it is, Dawnie. To be the one who isn’t chosen. To live so near the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody’s watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You’re not special. You’re extraordinary.”
“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.”
Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.
When I was seven years old, my mom was channel surfing and left the TV on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had never seen an episode but something about this show spoke to me immediately.
It was “Helpless,” the ep where Buffy loses her slayer abilities, but still manages to beat a vampire and save her mother. I was in awe– a young girl, kicking butt and using her wits? Fighting monsters to save the people she loves? Sign me UP.
I asked my mom if I could start watching and thus began an entire summer of bingeing five seasons of Buffy (which was a feat back when episodes only aired on UPN and FX) so we could watch the premiere of the sixth season. I can still remember the final days of the show, when they began a countdown for how many episodes were left before the finale.
Even now when I’m watching fifty shows at any given time, Buffy speaks to me as a girl, as a woman, and as a person living in this world. It saw me through years of depression and of feeling lost and alone. I’ve seen the fandom grow and change and I’ve loved every moment of it.
I love that there are still debates about ships and character analyses and so much love for this world.
Over the past sixteen years, I have watched every episode at least a dozen times (except for “The Body,” which I’ve only sat through once. Seven year old Kayla cried for a week after). Its meaning for me has changed as I got older.
It taught me a girl can be strong on her own. It taught me it’s okay for a girl to rely on friends and family. It taught me what it means to be an older sister. It taught me to not be afraid to forgive and love with every fiber of your being.
And even now, one of the most important lessons resonates with me:
It has taught me the world can be cruel but that doesn’t mean you have to be.
Happy twenty years, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thank you for everything.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 20 Years of Slaying – The Watcher’s Guide
Publication date: October 03, 2017
Just in time for the show’s twentieth anniversary, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Watcher’s Guides have been compiled into one hardcover collector’s edition for the first time! Inside, you’ll find all the best content from Volumes 1–3 of the original Watcher’s Guides, as well as exclusive new content, including never-before-seen interviews with the cast and crew.
Author: Christopher Golden; publishing: Simon Pulse.