Wednesday, April 23, 2008

(Buffy) Through the Eyes of a Child

23 April 2008

People say that once you become a parent, you begin to look at the world through the eyes of your children. They also say that life becomes all the richer. They also say "Go away now, I have real people to be around." Odd.

So, I sat my sister's kid again last weekend, and for some reason, my niece grabbed my "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Season Two, Disc Five, and watched it. I was surprised by this, but not displeased. In many ways, the child reminds me of me (just a less psychotic one), from trying to talk like Christopher Walken to constantly wanting to watch scary movies

We had the evening alone together and I asked her what she wanted to do. She said, watch BTVS, and I said, "You know, I think I know an episode you'll really like." So I put on "Once More With Feeling" and we watched it together.*

We also watched "Tabula Rasa" immediately after, and I wanted to say a few words about it.

Why not? It's my bloody blog.But yeah, "Buffy" was completely different with a seven year old girl than with a thirty-something year old pal or a twenty-something year old cousin. Plus, my niece is a girl (hence the "niece" instead of "nephew" I suppose; I'd never really considered that before), and she had different things to say than my pals do. For example, Buffy and Dawn are really pretty. And Spike is cute.

Especially chilling was when, during the first song, my niece said, "I wish I was a vampire." I actually had to stop the DVD and ask her why. I used to think about being a vampire too, and it's especially tempting once you start growing wiry white (not grey, but WHITE) hairs in your beard or realising that you've got t-shirts the same age as that hot girl on "Heroes." But why would a little kid, who doesn't understand sexiness or the spectre of growing old, want to be a vampire?

"Because they're cool," she answered. And yeah, that was hard to argue with. "But they're evil," I said, parroting Jeff everytime I express a fondness for Spike, "Wouldn't you rather be a Slayer, like Buffy?"

"Yeah, a Slayer," she said, "That's what I want to be." I just saved her mother at least a month of counselling fees.

It was weird the things she asked to be clarified, such as why people were singing or where Buffy's mom went or why Spike wasn't in a wheelchair anymore. But she didn't ask who Dawn was or how Buffy had a sister or why she was so much taller than her. And she simply accepted that Buffy died and went to Heaven, but Willow brought her back.

My niece wondered if Giles was Buffy's dad, and when I said "No," she sort of got the feeling that maybe he was in love with her, cause he was singing, "Standing" and reaching out his hand, but she didn't see him there. That reminds me of that one issue of the Stan and Jack "X-men," when Professor Xavier reveals that he has the hots for the then-fifteen or sixteen year old Jean Grey. I don't suppose there's an X-men fan alive who doesn't shudder when he thinks about that.

And explaining to a seven year old what Tara's relationship to Willow is was strange. "Tara is Willow's girlfriend," I said. Later, during their pre-lovemaking song, she asked again. "Willow is Tara's girlfriend and Tara is Willow's girlfriend," I said, hoping that would suffice, and I wouldn't have to get out my Emma Frost and Spider-Woman figures and demonstrate how it worked.

The child couldn't quite decide if Spike was good or bad, so I asked what she thought. Not surprisingly, she said, "I don't know, that's why I asked you." I told her that Spike was bad, but he was in love with Buffy, and that makes him sort of good. If I could only explain it to tyranist with such succinctness.

And later, when Tara reprised "Under Your Spell," my niece didn't understand why Willow couldn't hear her singing, but Buffy could hear Spike sing his song. A good question, actually; one that I believe I raised the first time I saw the episode.

Most satisfying, my sister's child wanted to continue to watch after our allotted two episodes were over, even though it was now an hour later than I told her mother I'd get her to bed. I told her we'd watch more in the future, and the next morning, while I was still sawing logs (is that the old cliche?), she watched the first two episodes on the disc by herself, though out of order.

I'm not sure Season Six is the best way to introduce "Buffy" to anyone, let alone a child, but if they make her a fan, then who am I to argue? It would have been better to just sit her down with "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and let her go from there, but those discs are currently in the posession of my friend Merrill, who is struggling with those early shows even more than I did, and seems to have stalled with "Teacher's Pet."**

Maybe I should bring over "Once More With Feeling" and see if it works on him as well.

Rish "The Missionary" Outfield

*Little bit of trivia: "Once More With Feeling" is now the episode of "Buffy" I have seen the most times. I don't ever see that changing, just like I will never see a movie as many times as I watched the original STAR WARS.

**That reminds me: I was at Merrill's house the other night and his wife was telling us about this new CBS show she liked called "Moonlight," with a vampire private investigator. I began to rail against it, like I always do, and pointed out what a huge ripoff of "Angel" it is. To which, Merrill's wife responded, "Angel's a vampire?"
I looked at Merrill, and he was blinking too. "Did you seriously not know he was a vampire?" I asked. "No. They've never said he was in the episodes I've seen."

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