Sarah imparts a few life lessons learned whilst covering her favorite show ever.
May 20, 2003
So. Seven years of bitching and gushing and kickin’ it with Goop Buddy and it all ends here. I’m packing away all of my best nicknames (so long, Backstreet Riley! Nice knowin’ ya, Adam of Borg!) and bidding farewell to Sunnydale.
I’ve been a fan before. I’ve worshipped at the temples of Star Trek and Star Wars and X-Men. If you want to take it back to the acid wash days, I still have my collection of New Kids on the Block T-shirts. And if you want to take it way back, like, Mr. Peabody style, then I’m sure Strawberry Shortcake has some stories to tell. But nothing has ever resonated with me quite like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I don’t need to tell you why the show is great. If you’re reading this, you know why the show is great. What I can tell you is that this is one phenomenon I’ve gotten involved with in a big way and that I’ve met a lot of spiffy people and had many fun and freakish experiences because of Buffy.
Oh, what? Is the Meter of Geekster Pretentiousness already reading too high? Are you taking bets on when I’m going to start crying, awash in Slayer memories and my own sense of self-importance?
Dude. We are so not even there yet. Just wait.
As a final farewell to my beloved show, I would like to present to you a few of the very important life lessons I learned whilst on the Buffy beat. (I started writing about the show during season 2 and began reviewing it regularly in season 3, just to give you some context.)
Oops: When the first episode of Buffy aired, I watched. I liked. And I was pretty sure that it didn’t have a chance in hell of lasting more than a few episodes. Cut to a season later and I’m crying my eyes out over “Prophecy Girl.” The lesson here is, “Even if you’re a genre nerd, there’s no need to be such a crabby pessimist.” But then, you know…Firefly.
Superdeformed: You know what’s funny? People with big heads on little bodies. I learned this while doing a little ‘zine in college that happened to feature my first pieces of Buffy scribbling. My genius idea for a layout: cut out the heads of the Buffy cast members and stick them on top of tiny superhero bodies! Oz was Gambit. This, believe it or not, is part of what got me the job of writing about Buffy (among other things) at IGN. So I guess the lesson here is, “Big giant heads on tiny cartoon bodies are always funny, and you can sometimes even use them to gain fully-benefited employment.”
Kill Me Now: Now would be a good time to invoke Willow Rosenberg. “Oh, I don’t get wild. Wild on me equals spaz.” I don’t think it will come as much surprise that I’ve always identified the most with sweet geek Willow, all the way back to the wallflower/bulky overalls days. Anyway, “spaz” is the only way to describe the time I was covering a certain big geek event and, after claiming to be a Serious Journalist Type to Mr. Doug Petrie, flashed my Funsaver disposable camera. There is only one word for that, baby, and that word is smoooooooth. Or the time I landed the Big One (aka an interview God himself, Joss Whedon), and, in response to something terribly witty and insightful he said about Buffy being a show that would hopefully be remembered for years to come, I uttered the following:
“Well, uh…I’m sure that people will totally…do that.”
First of all, who are these “people” I’m talking about? Are these the infamous “they” people behind crop circles and the cancellation of Farscape? And what are these “people” going to do exactly? Also, “totally?” Suddenly I’m a character in a Sweet Valley High book?
Anyway. I guess the lesson here is, “Try not to be a complete spaz even if you totally are one. Totally.”
Sidekick-O-Rama: Trusty readers from the IGN days will remember a certain lovable little green glob by the name of Goop Buddy. Since this is a farewell piece of sorts, I’m now going to reveal what I swore I never would: the ORIGINS of Goop Buddy. See, the ol’ team back at IGN Sci-Fi used to frequent the ever-chaotic KayBee over at the Tanforan Mall every week. Delightful treasures abounded. We found a Herbert Hoover doll. An Extreme Sports Spider-Man (I think he rappelled and everything). And last, but certainly not least, there was some badly-conceived toy line involving sharks and Hawaii and the eco-system… Anyway, the bad guy came with his very own Goop Buddy. That’s right, Goop Buddy was an accessory. But I immediately recognized his potential and plucked him from obscurity to become my much-beloved sidekick. The lesson here is, “Always have some dumbass gimmick on hand for when you can’t think of anything better to write.”
“Aren’t You…” One of the nifty things about writing about a show as nerd-friendly as Buffy is that occasionally readers will start to recognize you, the inconsequential journalist/reviewer. They will start to call you by name. You will receive emails with insightful and affectionate subject lines, like “Sarah is an annoying bitch.” You will maybe even get recognized on the escalator at a big-time geek event like San Diego Comic-Con, prompting you to marvel at your own pseudo-famousness. Unfortunately, your editor will then be identified as your sidekick Goop Buddy, and all because you didn’t caption a picture properly. So the lesson (obviously!) is, “Always remember to edit your photo captions.”
Anyway. It’s been quite a ride, folks. For those who want to know, yes, I continue to love and identify with Willow and feel that perhaps I have evolved right along with her. No, I haven’t become an insanely powerful witch who tries to take over the world with my scary black eyes and bulbous veins, but at the very least, I’ve become someone with no qualms about sharing a story involving Doug Petrie and a disposable Funsaver. And that’s something, right?
I Said I Wouldn’t Cry…
My love of and involvement with all things Buffy has been enhanced by ever so many people and I must take a final moment to recognize them. (I know, I know…you’re all, “What is this, the fucking Oscars? Is she really going to give props to people just because she happened to write about some TV show for a while?” Look, I gotta do this now — it’s not like I’m going to win an Oscar any time soon. Or ever.)
Many props to: The OG Buffy Buffs (Kelly, Ellen, Joolee and Lisa G), The New Recruits (Megan, Carissa, Amanda, Jenny and Sierra), the friends I’ve made along the way (Natalie, Jen ‘n’ Jeff J., Carly), the IGN SF heads who made all the Buffy love possible in the first place (Jeff, Jason, Shorn, Spence and Julian), the good ol’ post-Buffy chatters from the IGN Boards (too numerous to name, but you know who you are!), all of the cast and crew of Buffy who let me bug ’em at one point or another (special props to the always gracious and good-natured Amber B.), Matt Springer (my partner-in-crime on the Buffy beat), Susan Young (a Watcher if ever there was one), Ken Burke (who sent me down this path in the first place), Marcus over at Zen, and all the kids here at EG. Big love and thanks to all of the readers of my random scribblings — you’ve sent me some of the grooviest emails over the years. And to anyone else that I’ve forgotten in my Buffy-ending-induced haze: I’m sorry. Just send me a mean email. And of course, the biggest, shiniest props to Kelly Tyler, the first Buffy fan on the planet.