Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Imaginary Cake

I was doing some research a while ago (“research” is what I call it when a random notion pops into my head and I spend a significant amount of time trying to track down information on that subject through Google and Wikipedia and such) and I found an interesting bit of meta-trivia, namely that even the hardest-core fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer cannot agree on exactly when her birthday is. The closest it can be pinpointed is either January 18 or January 19, 1981. I believe the discrepancy has something to do with the original airdate of the first episode in the tv series that was set on her birthday, and whether you count how many days elapse in the episode or not (couple with the fact that, as a fictional character, there’s no official birth certificate to which to refer) but anyway. By now I’m sure you realize what this means:

One way or the other, today at the latest, Buffy is 30.

I gotta admit, I prefer the high school era.
Kind of funny, for a show that more or less unfolded in “real time” and was all about literalizing the horrors of adolescence and young adulthood, to think of Buffy at an age which is almost universally considered to be, at the very least, when people kinda start to maybe edge towards the part of life where someone could be called “old”. Of course I didn’t even start watching Buffy’s tv exploits until I was already on the far side of 30 myself which meant her metaphorical monsters were things I remembered rather than identified with, and the idea of the character leaving her 20s behind doesn’t fill me with any extraordinary sense of reckoning with my mortality or the like.

And despite being an arguably nifty hook to hang today’s post on, it’s a false premise anyway. Buffy the Vampire Slayer doesn’t actually age. She’s eternally in high school or college (or dropped out but still in that neck of the woods) depending on which phase of the character you prefer. There aren’t any stories about her being over-30, and stories are all that fictional protagonists have. Buffy may get more and more dated as time goes by, but she’ll never get old. Again, kind of funny for someone who’s the sworn enemy of the immortal undead.

Meanwhile, where all of this overlaps with the allegedly real world, the Great Second Viewing of BTVS project remains stalled out. It started as a summertime go-to, and maybe that’s the best (if not only) approach to take, because ever since September, Thursday nights have been taken up with the comedy block on NBC and/or football on the NFL Network. Of course football is now over but NBC’s shows are starting new episodes again tomorrow. Re-watching BTVS wasn’t even one of my pop resolutions last year, nor is it one this year, but the big box set is still perched on the corner of the credenza, looking about as reproachful as cardboard possibly can whenever I walk into the den. I’ll get back to it eventually, I reckon. Hopefully before Buffy turns 40.

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