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  • Writer's pictureJordan Abbruzzese

Two Times I Managed To Be Normal

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

This Friday, March 10th, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer's TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY! I have already started to plan my celebrations accordingly: watching my top five favorite episodes and perhaps creating a Buffy-themed snack.

Actually, back in October, my roommate Orey and I were trying to make a Buffy-esque cocktail while binging the second season. We were searching the interwebs for Halloween-inspired mixed drinks, and found one that used a mix of iron pills and corn syrup to create the taste of blood. We were instantly weirded out, yet a little intrigued? To be honest, I can't stop thinking about it.

Anyway, for those who follow The Hedgehog Files Facebook page and my personal Twitter, prepare for many Buffy things ahead (but probably not much more than usual). We all know that I have a problem.

A problem that I tend to get really (eh, too) defensive about. But hey, when you love something you do it unapologetically and sometimes a little like a crazy person.

So, in light of a week of all things Buffy, here are two instances when someone insulted my favorite show to my face and I acted like a completely normal human:

Back in December, I accompanied my boyfriend to his holiday party. We found an empty table, near the middle but still close to the buffet, and sat knowing we were leaving ourselves vulnerable to whoever wanted to join us. He had some work buddies on the way, but his boss and wife got there first.

I had never met his boss, but he had a cool mohawk and a friendly face. His wife also had a sweet nature that made me want to stroke her long, brown hair (but I didn’t, because that would’ve been strange). We began the awkward exchange of “What do you like to do outside of work?” when they revealed that they loved watching movies. He explained they often fall into ruts of re-watching the same things, which I responded that I can totally relate to, and he then mentioned that Serenity was one of their favorites along with the Firefly series in general.

Are you kidding me?! I asked, placing my palms on the table in a way that was a little too excited. I love Firefly! I absolutely love Joss Whedon in general, really. Now, normally I wouldn’t be super surprised if someone told me they are a Firefly fan since the show is amazing, but I just wasn’t expecting my boyfriend’s boss and wife to casually mention that they were Browncoats within the first five minutes of chatting.

“Oh yes we love it!” his wife answered. “We do really like Joss Whedon’s shows. Except Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I never got into that. I just didn’t like it.” Then she smiled, her eyes twinkling in the light of deception. I had been fooled.

I felt something in me snap, and was compelled to do the slow sideways head tilt, popularized by so many horror film slashers. My smile shifting diagonally as my cheek twitched. I hadn't even brought Buffy up, for once! I didn't deserve this. Inside, I was all:

What the heck is wrong with you it’s the best show ever how can you like his other stuff but not Buffy can’t you tell I’m a Buffy fan isn’t it obvious do you even care are you some sort of monster maybe if you tried it again you’ll like it this can’t be happening do I look weird I feel like I look weird how long have I been silent I should say something but what

“Oh, that’s just fine,” I said, with a small forced laugh. “It is my absolute favorite show of all time, but it isn’t for everyone.”

I am well aware that a dissent in opinion is normal, not everyone likes what I like, and REGULAR people can easily hear “Oh I don’t like that show that you like,” and casually respond “Oh really? Well that’s cool I get it.” And really, I had reacted so normally that I was a bit alarmed, yet pleasantly surprised. She didn’t know I was actually a deeply offended psycho who lived and breathed this fandom from a show that aired twenty years ago.

I was just the girl who ate too much prime rib at her husband's work holiday party and also most of the desserts displayed in the middle of the table because they were miniature and I couldn't help myself.

And begin the drum-roll for scene number two:

Fast forward to last Friday night, when my Orey invited a guest player to our regular RPG. It was a coworker of his who I had never met, but she had a friendly energy and an eagerness to learn about the game. While waiting for our other players to arrive, Orey mentioned that she also liked Buffy. “Oh really?” I asked, hopeful and bright eyed. “That’s awesome-” but before I could say more, she interjected with “Yes, I do. Well actually, I do like the show Angel better because I tend to find Buffy as a character to be really whiny.”

I felt like my face, so smiling and vulnerable before, had frozen and cracked, pieces falling into my lap and off the couch.

I slowly felt the familiar rage build up inside. Like, did she regularly make house calls to personally insult people's favorite things to their faces upon meeting them, or was this her first time? Orey and Tobias looked at me, waiting to see my inevitable over-the-top reaction. I gritted my teeth.

“I do agree that Buffy can be whiny,” I began, acknowledging her feelings, “But Angel is also pretty whiny in my opinion, and-” she interrupted me again. “Well he is more of a brooding, dark whiny,” she explained, which is a popular Angel description that I don't really tend to agree with.

“Well, Angel the show is a bit darker than Buffy, so that does make me appreciate it on a different level,” I tried again. She mentioned how many of the characters on Angel are more likable and have better character development, which is true in some cases. I even think that one of the characters who leaves BtVS for a spot on Angel has the best character development in all of Buffyverse.

I quickly asked her what other shows she liked so that the focus could be off of Buffy before I lost my marbles on this sweet, opinionated girl who was happily eating blueberries on my couch while bashing (unbeknownst to her) one of my biggest T.V. feminist heroes and icons (who can get a little whiny, but hey, so can I obviously).

The conversation moved onto HBO and Harry Potter, while I twiddled my small thumbs and attempted to calm the electric pulses inside. I knew I was taking things too personally. I knew I was being ridiculous, but could I help it? Eh, not really. I was feeling more agitated than the time my friend Jack told me he thought it was really odd that I had a large, framed picture of Buffy by my bed. You know what, Jack? It is odd. You're right. But I'm not taking it down because who else will watch over me as I sleep?

The point is, I covered it up! I didn’t make a scene. I am applauding myself for doing what any other regular human person would do naturally.

(I just knew that I would write about it later.)

Because when you become so obsessed with something, you almost lose your sense of normalcy. If she would’ve been like “Mulder sucks” or “Twin Peaks didn’t do it for me”, I would’ve had a similar reaction.

But. The. Point. Is: I survived. I did a thing. So bring on the Buffy criticism and I will sit and take it! Or maybe not, because I’d probably also cry and be super irrational. You see, loving a story and characters this much means they become an extension of you. You take it personally. And if you aren’t that into anything, and you think I’m being a lunatic and reading this post was a total waste of time - well, that is pretty valid actually.

But if you are like me, and love a story (be it a book series, movie, television show, comic, any type of lore, etc) with your heart and soul, then you get it. Thank you for sharing in my pain as I get through this tough time of having strangers insult my favorite show to my face. Here, we celebrate little successes.

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