Buffy Anne Summers, the fictional heroine of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer series (which includes film, television, video games and comic books) turned 30 years old yesterday (or today, depending on whose timeline you believe) and CNN fells it is necessary to publicly celebrate the famous vampire slayer’s milestone birthday … and I would agree. Buffy Summers is deffo deserving of much BIRTHDAY LURVE.
If you’re not already celebrating at your local comic book store or glued to Oxygen’s 10-hour marathon of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” re-runs, then maybe you don’t know. Today [January 19] is Buffy Anne Summers’ 30th birthday. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” has survived through one feature length film, a cult television series and a comic book. Still a fan favorite and no stranger to controversy, Joss Whedon’s influential franchise about a teenage girl who just happened to be naturally good at killing vampires is still inspiring fans. Buffy’s birthday is reason for them to celebrate. There was a moment in the episode “The Gift,” which aired in 2001, when fans certainly didn’t think this powerful girl would make it to 30. That’s because Buffy took a swan-dive into a magical vortex from hell and died. At the end of the episode her gravestone is shown, marking her life from 1981 until 2001 with the epitaph, “She saved the world a lot.” (She was resurrected the next season, when the show moved from the now defunct WB network to UPN.) Few who are aware of the “Buffyverse” would argue with that. Buffy saved the world from plenty of “big bads,” like vampires, demons and witches, but she did something pretty heroic for the people who tuned in every week to watch her adventures, too. “(The show) really brought a lot of nerdy girls out of their shell,” said Andrea Carlson, 27, a dedicated Buffy fan who works for the state of Minnesota. “It did make it more acceptable to be a female who was into more unconventional sides of society. And I think a lot of guys were suddenly like, ‘Hey, these nerd girls are really cute!’ Instead of just being the best friend, now we’re more accepted as almost sex symbols, thanks to that show.”
Without question, Buffy is not only one of the most beloved female characters of the past decade + but she has become one of the most beloved TV characters of the modern age.
“Buffy is the sexy, hot chick that’s always slaying everything, but the fact that she has her smart sidekick — always with the laptop, always researching, I think (the show) did a lot to show that there’s more than one type of girl,” said Janeka Rector, a 32 year old die-hard Buffy fan who works at the University of Texas at Austin as a development specialist. Series writer and “Buffy” comic book contributor Jane Espenson agreed. She said the show’s central characters (who referred to themselves as the “Scooby Gang”) gave overt nerdyness “a lovely coating of coolness and acceptance.” Fans and critics often wondered how a man like Whedon could portray the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl so accurately. “We are definitely in tune with our feminine side,” said “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” comic book artist Georges Jeanty of his collaboration with Whedon. “I don’t think it’s so much a respect for women, but it’s just the acceptance of a human being.” Jeanty said Whedon broke the stereotype of helpless, attractive girls in horror movies with “Buffy.” “He just thought, what if, once the monster did catch up to the blond girl who was screaming and running away into the alley, what if that girl then turned around and really started kicking some ass?” … “You can find certain things in the characters that you, personally, can identify with,” said Kim Frum, a public relations expert for the Maryland state highway system and another Buffy fan. “Some days I’m having a “Willow” day and other days I’m having a “Xander” day where nothing goes right, I’m a complete klutz and I’m getting knocked in the head all the time,” she said. “Some days I just want to fall out laughing, and I know exactly where to go back to and watch a certain scene. It’s still fun to watch even if you know the entire series by heart.”
To clarify for the uninitiated, Buffy Summers isn’t technically 30 years old in the comic book series (which gives the character and her friends new life, going into a Season 9 later this year) because she will perpetually be the same age in the Buffyverse. But, in terms of the TV character that we all know and love, if she lived in the real world … she would be 30 years old now. No matter what her age is, Buffy Summers will live on FOREVER in the hearts and minds of geek fans around the world … and her immortality comes without having to turn into a vampire. Now that’s a neat trick, right? I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Buffy’s 30 Birthday by sending all of our genuine Birthday Lurve to our most beloved fictional vampire slaying chick!