Obsessions Bite.

May 26, 2011

Okay, so here is what’s been going on. Here is what I’ve been thinking about every time I look like I’m listening for the past year. Here is what’s been distracting me from writing during my free time. Here is that comment or anecdote ready to burst from my anxious lips; from my hot, erupting brain. The thing that I’ve been visibly holding back in conversation so much of the time. Here is the thing I find it hardest to admit about myself.

**And I feel the need to put forth such a sensitive, revealing exposure of self as a penitent offering for not writing for so many months. Bless you, both of you, who read this. You shall now be rewarded with a large nugget of scandalous truth.**

Here it is. I, myself—she who is too cool for school, too hip for yo’ lip, too fab to…um…grab (and of course, I quote only myself here)—I am a mostly closeted Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanatic. FANATIC. Like, it’s fallen off into complete pathology.

I say “mostly closeted” because, while I will tell people I enjoy the show and occasionally engage in a little light Buffy chatter with like-minded individuals, I do not generally divulge the degree to which I am involved with this show. Even my darling male companion—he who introduced me to the long-gone television drama—only knows snippets of the reality of my sickness. He has grasped the stalactites and stalagmites of my geekdom where this is concerned, but he’s never seen inside the whole big, scary cave.

*waves from inside the cave*  Hi baby. Don’t judge me, mkay?   *vampire bats fly about over my head*

How did this happen, you may ask? Fair question, fair question.

So, I have resisted watching the show for years. As an awkward-appearance, slightly weird, and overly theatrical teen girl existing outside the skinny popular girl social orbit, when the show originally aired, I never felt drawn to the momentary glimpses I had had of the show’s protagonist. Sarah Michelle Gellar—a beautiful, tiny, perky teen girl (who at least starts out as a cheerleader). A cheerleader. No, please. Cheerleaders have always given me the wig. (Yeah, I see you, other Buffy fans who just enjoyed my use of the word “wig” here.)

You see, without having seen the show, I knew this archetypal girl at school, and…well…to put it delicately, she seemed to me a vile, heinous, Satan-incarnate bitch. And at 14, I was far too busy watching Dawson’s Creek to bother with a show that had the outright over-the-top special effects you see in the first few seasons of Buffy. I mean, come on. The Master looks like they put Mr. Bigglesworth’s head on Dr. Evil’s body.

So I never watched it.

Years later (about a year and three months ago, to be exact), I suddenly find myself as an adult (kind of), mostly living with my darling male companion, and this puts us both in the position of having shared programming for entertainment in the evenings. And hey—he just so happens to have all seven seasons of Buffy on DVD. He asked me if I would watch the first season with him, see if I could get into it (since he had seen the series once before and enjoyed it). And since the dear man had sat through every movie from my collection I could think to inflict upon him, I gladly obliged.

Well, gladly is the wrong word. Truthfully, I just thought it would be sort of unsupportive if I didn’t give it a good old try.

So, over the next few weeks, we watched the first season. Thankfully it is short, because the first season is not exactly the series’ finest work. This, of course, will be up for dispute among other Buffy fans, but I stand by it. The monsters in season one can be silly, the drama can be overplayed, and the special effects are old enough now to be more adorable than scary. However, as Joss Whedon is widely regarded for his winning dialogue, it was at least amusing, and I did really begin a love affair with the primary characters. So we moved on to season two.

Month after month, I watched diligently as Buffy, a character I grew to admire immensely for her integrity and general adorableness; Willow, who had my favorite ‘isms of the entire run; Xander, who I would so have dated in high school; and Giles, who I would so have dated right now (actually, Tara too); went on to defeat the Big Bad in story arch after story arch. Some plot lines were regrettable (*coughTheInitiativecough*), some were really compelling, and some ended up being sort of terrifying. That last season was dark, man.

It took us from February until about October to be finished with all seven seasons, during which I—no joke—became preoccupied enough to start subconsciously scanning a room for wooden pointy things the moment I walked in. That, gentle reader, was the beginning.

Two days after we witnessed the end of this show, to which I had devoted the at-home evenings of my every week, I found myself waking up in cold sweats, walking around with the shakes, hallucinating about vampire babies crawling on my ceiling and rotating their heads to look at me, experiencing unyielding hellmouthless restlessness, anxiety, and depression. General malaise. The Buffy and Angel love theme haunted my dreams. I listened to the Once More with Feeling soundtrack several times for a little bump, but it only barely took the edge off. I found myself feeling isolated and alone without my friends. Not, like, my actual friends. But without Tara and Willow. And Giles. And Oz. And Spike. It was full-blown withdrawal, and I was fairly certain it might injure me to stay that way too long.

And then it hit me like a stake to the heart. Oh my god. I had become a total and complete Buffy nerd; I mean absolutely to the core.

So, in order to alleviate my pain, and now that I had identified what I was, I made the decision to begin the show all over again. All the way back to the beginning. I work at a desk job where I can listen to things on my headphones, so I just started streaming it (intravenously) through my Netflix while I worked. I did this mostly in secret. I had literally just watched the entire series, so I was able to merely listen to it and watch what was going on in my memory with crystal clarity. And oh god, was that a relief. The world was back to normal. Joyce was still mothering. Tara was alive and waiting to be discovered. Giles was still a father figure. Angel’s neck wasn’t all thick and obnoxious. I could watch Faith get stabbed again (she annoyed the crap out of me). For that matter, the Mayor wasn’t a blown-up snake yet. (I love him beyond reason.) All was right.

Until I ran through the entire series again. Second time. This time I got through it in three months. Three months, back-to-back episodes. What a high. So, upon finishing season seven, I experienced the same problem. Sweats. Cravings. The fervent desire to see someone turn to dust after a well-timed pun or quip. But I knew what to do this time.

Season one, episode one—we meet again. I went through the entire series a third time. Three times through the entire series within a matter of a year and a few months and  change. I started noticing crazy, little things I might never have noticed. For instance, nearly all the monsters—if you listen to just the audio—are voiced by the Tasmanian Devil, as far as I can tell. Really. Listen to it. I found plot points I had never noticed before. In fact, I unearthed plot hole after plot hole. I know things no socially functional person should ever really know.

And just this Monday was the day I finished run number three.

Now. I sit here, on my computer, staring at the Netflix page I keep open and waiting on my far left tab. How many days will I wait? How many days will I pretend I’m done?

By the time you read this, dear reader, I wager I am already knee-deep in early high school vampire slayer angst.

It’s far too late for me.

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9 Responses to “Obsessions Bite.”

  1. Don Alsafi said

    Okay, you’re hilariously awesome. I mean, I knew that. But more.

    Two things:

    * Have you yet watched Angel? If not, let me know – I’ll loan you the series. It’s not the same kind of show, but it is a very good one on its own rights, and there were seasons where I found myself enjoying it more than the Buff one.

    (Also, since the final season of Angel takes place after the final since of Buffy, you get some character continuations; eg, Spike joins the cast.)

    * Having finished off all of Buffy Seasons 1-7, you probably should have Season 8, don’t you think? In case you’ve somehow missed this information, Season 8 was a comic series that ran these past few years and, unlike the typical licensed spinoff media, is absolutely canonical and authorized. In fat, Joss is the “showrunner” in the same way that he was for the show: The season-long story is of his design, he writes the most important story arcs, and the other ones are written by comic writers and his TV-show writers, all chosen by him. It really is the most official continuation you could ask for.

    I’ve not read it myself (I got distracted very soon in and have been meaning to get back to it), but I’m told by many many people that it’s quite worth reading.

    Let me know if this is something you’re interested in. ’cause, y’know, I’ve got the connections. 🙂

    • Ms. M said

      No, I have not watched Angel yet, and I’m finally at a point where I’d really like to. Chris might have it; let me check with him first. But if he doesn’t, I’ll hit you up, darlin. 🙂 We’re just starting Firefly, but since that won’t take too long to get through, I’ll let you know in about a month or two.

      Also, I would love to read the rest of it in comic form, and yes, I did know about that, but I have that stupid thing about comic books where I can’t read them because they give me headaches. Too much going on on one page. Like crossword puzzles, which I have to do with someone else so that they can read me the clues and fill in the words for me. So. I can read comic books frame by frame, but that would mean cutting apart perfectly good comic books in what I can only imagine would be the most time consuming endeavor I’ve undertaken since that time I swore to hold my finger in a hole in a dam for someone. And let me tell you about that headache…

      • Don Alsafi said

        Oh yeah! I’d forgotten that. You’d have to have your hands covering the rest of the page to block it out. Or have sheets of paper to move around as you progress through the page. It would be awesome.

  2. Tish said

    Ok, Don just forwarded me the link to this post, and I have to tell you that I loved it. So super glad you are out of the closet! As someone who has been two two Buffy academic conferences, multiple fan cons, and led a Buffy discussion group for about 3 years, I absolutely support this obsession of yours. In fact, I encourage it! Keep watching again and again and again! Also, let’s sometime meet up for drinks and Buffy talk?

    • Tish said

      please forgive my stupid “two two” typo, and insert a too where appropriate.

      • Tish said

        argh. to. god, i used to be an english major, but now i’m just dumb.

      • Ms. M said

        I would SO LOVE that. We should definitely do it soon! 😀

      • Ms. M said

        LOL No worries. I totally understand. I just replied to Don, and then had to go back and removed about 4 split infinitives after the fact. And the only reason I can do that is because I have editing power here as the owner of the blog. It’s all good. 🙂

  3. Don Alsafi said

    We are all grammar geeks here. Which makes the whole thing hilarious for every one of us. 🙂

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