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Paley Festival: Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion

by Kristin Sample, posted Mar 21st 2008 8:21AM
Buffy and Spike From March 14th to March 27th, The Paley Center for Media is presenting the twentieth-fifth annual William S. Paley Television Festival. The Paley Center, formerly the Museum of Television and Radio, says that the festival celebrates "television's rich and diverse programming and the creative process behind the medium." This year the festival includes Chuck, Friday Night Lights, Pushing Daisies, and Gossip Girl among others.

Last night, I attended the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion. For what happened during the panel discussion and some pictures, read on past the jump...

Pre-Buffy Fun

I got to the Arclight at 3:45 thinking I would be one of the first arrivals. I even brought my laptop because I thought there would be no one to talk to. The box office didn't open until 5 pm, the doors didn't open until 6 pm, and the show didn't start until well after 7 pm. With that in mind, imagine this scene. There were lines wrapped around the theatre with beach chairs, blankets, fast food wrappers and even tents.

Boy, was I mistaken about the Buffy fanbase. I knew the show had a strong following but these fans were superfans. I met a lovely couple in line. The husband had a collage of pictures of every female actress ever to appear on Buffy, Angel and Firefly. He even explained to some other superfans how he agonized over the organization of the photos.

At 7 pm, there were more pre-game activities. We watched a clip from All My Children (1994) that featured Sarah Michelle Gellar and Susan Lucci. The crowd laughed and swooned at this. One of the festival's directors made a quick speech about the Paley Center's mission. She said that each year there is one very special event during the Festival week and last night was it. The 850 seats in the Arclight sold out in 2 hours. People had planted themselves outside at 7 pm the night before to get good seats. People had flown from other countries (I saw France and Hungary passports). Fans paid $750 for premium packages (the tickets included three other shows).

The director also announced the Buffy Reunion moderator, Matt Roush of TV Guide. Roush, a long time fan of the show, got up and quipped, "My name is Matt and I'm a Buffy-holic." He also described the show as "Clueless meets Carrie by way of Salem's Lot" and "My So-Called Life as a Vampire Slayer."

Roush then introduced Marti Noxon, an executive producer and writer for the show. Briefly, she spoke about the influence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It combined genres and turned horror conventions upside down. The cute blonde in the horror flick that got killed in the first ten minutes is now smart, athletic, tough and can kick vampire ass. She also introduced the night's featured episode, "Once More, With Feeling" (the Buffy musical).
Michelle Trachtenberg, Emma Caulfield, Amber Benson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Charisma Carpenter
The Introductions

After the audience watched the entire musical episode of Buffy, Matt Roush resumed his hosting duties by introducing the cast and creators of the show. Here's the order:

David Greenwalt (also executive producer and co-creator of Angel)
Amber Benson ("Tara Maclay")
Seth Green ("Oz")
Charisma Carpenter ("Cordelia Chase")
Marti Noxon (also a producer for Angel, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice)
Michelle Trachtenberg ("Dawn Summers")
Emma Caulfield ("Anya")
James Marsters ("Spike")
Nicholas Brendan ("Xander")
Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy Summers")
Joss Whedon (Creator)

There was no Eliza Dushku ("Faith") or Allison Hannigan ("Willow") despite both their names being in the program and on the press releases. And while Sarah Michelle Gellar got a little standing ovation, the entire crowd was on their feet for Joss Whedon.

Charisma Carpenter and Joss Whedon Discussion of the Musical

Roush decided to begin with "Once More, With Feeling" as the audience had just viewed it. Of the episode, Whedon said it was fun and "There was music everyday." He also mentioned that the musical was not the hardest episode. He felt "Hush" was more difficult. James Marsters said that none of the cast members signed on to be singers and none of them were professional singers. But, they knew Joss had written a get script. Marsters also commended his fellow castmates for their courage, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar who apparently had begged Whedon to get out of it. Gellar said, "bring the Buffy rap back" instead of a musical.

When asked what her most terrifying moment on the show was, Michelle Trachtenberg answered that it was finding out about "Once More, With Feeling." She mentioned that she gave herself "pyschosomatic tonsilitis" when she found out she had to sing. After Michelle recounted how her face was puffy from crying about the episode, Seth Green chimed in that he cried because he wasn't in it.

Roush asked Whedon if he had any plans for a Broadway musical after the success of "Once More, With Feeling." Joss said he would love to do a Buffy musical but he would not expand on his musical episode. He would just start from scratch. When the cast was asked if they would go to Broadway with Whedon, all but Gellar raised their hands.

Discussion of "The Body"

After the cast talked about the musical, they spent a lot of time talking about "The Body." Matt Roush said it was a raw and dangerous episode of Buffy and he wondered what their memories of it were. Gellar relayed that both she and Trachtenberg have strong single mothers. It's hard to separate the real from the show with episodes like "The Body." Gellar retold how Joss wanted to do one shot for when Buffy finds the body. "You mean, no retakes?," Gellar said. She had half the day to prepare and then they shot for three minutes with a handheld. Gellar mentioned how this was instance of the show breaking the rules and challenging the cast (as well as the audience). She said it felt more like a live stage play than a television show.

Trachtenberg commented she was honored to be in the episode. She felt like the decision to have no sound while Buffy tells Dawn about their mother's death was a good one in retrospect. It allowed the audience to connect with the scene, to attach their own emotions to it.

Emma Caulfield recounted how a fan approached her and asked about her monologue in "The Body." The fan asked what was going through her mind when she read her lines. Emma told the fan she just had to go to the bathroom and was really hungry. She then said she felt bad for upsetting the fan and called it an "Anya moment."
Joss Whedon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Nicholas Brendon
What's your favorite movie and what's on your iPod? (A question from a fan)

Joss Whedon: Matrix / Steven Sondheim
Sarah Michelle Gellar: South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut / no answer for music
Nicholas Brendon: Kojak, the movie / then he talked forever about nothing
James Marsters: Apocalypse Now / Beck, Rolling Stones, Nirvana
Emma Caulfield: Silence of the Lambs and Pulp Fiction / Radiohead
Michelle Trachtenberg: Labyrinth and Rain Man / Madonna, Kanye West
Marti Noxon: Poltergeist and Good Fellas / 2 artists I've never heard of
Charisma Carpenter: Anchorman / The Killers
Seth Green: Raising Arizona and There Will Be Blood / He said he has over 25,000 songs on his iPod.
Amber Benson: Sullivan's Travels / Steve Earl
David Greenwalt: The Godfather and Serenity / He joked he didn't know what an iPod was.

What are they doing now?
  • David Greenwalt is no longer in the biz. He says he's waiting for another call from Joss Whedon.
  • Amber Benson just sold a series of fantasy books to Penguin.
  • Seth Green said he and Charisma Carpenter were making a fitness video. (So, basically, he's not doing much or didn't want to talk about it.)
  • Marti Noxon is working on a Grey's spin-off.
  • Michelle Trachtenberg just wrapped Seventeen Again and Kids in America with Topher Grace. She will also guest star on Gossip Girl.
  • James Marsters just finished shooting Dragonball and is working on Torchwood.
  • Emma Caulfield just got back from doing charity work in Africa. She also has two movies coming out although she didn't mention what they were.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar also just returned from Africa where she did work for CARE.
  • Joss Whedon just wrapped a musical short starring Neil Patrick Harris.
Seth Green and Sarah Michelle GellarTidbits
  • I overheard a superfan say that Sarah Michelle Gellar has never attended a Buffy convention or event until last night. She is not on any of the DVD commentary either. But, later on, I hear another superfan say that Gellar had indeed attended the 1998 Paley Festival where Buffy the Vampire Slayer was honored for the first time.
  • Best lines of the night. David Greenwalt (in a weird effort to skirt around a question) told the audience, "I'm not wearing any underwear." To which Seth Green replied, "That's kind of a bomb to drop."
  • When asked "Angel or Spike?," Sarah Michelle said, "Well, he's sitting on stage," and pointed to James Marsters.
  • It seemed as though most of the cast hadn't read the season 8 comics. Sarah Michelle didn't know that Joss wrote her a new love interest, a woman. "Willow?," she suggested quickly.
  • Joss Whedon said that he would give up the comic for a chance to work with the cast again (presumably on a movie). But of the movie possibility, he seemed dubious, "So many stars would have to align."
  • When Nicholas Brendon wouldn't shut up about something (sorry, I forget what), Michelle Trachtenberg said that he's just mad because she's taller than him now. "Bigger boobs," he retorted. Ouch.
  • A fan asked Sarah Michelle Gellar if it was hard to play Robo-Buffy. She answered that Robo-Buffy, which forced her to find the essence of the character, is an example of how the show never let her get lazy.
  • Seth Green said that what he missed the most about working on the show was arriving each day to his trailer and finding that David Boreanaz had pooped in it. Amber Benson said she missed making out with hot chicks. And David Greenwalt said he missed directing Gellar who he called "a machine."
  • Amber Benson was asked why she declined returning to the show. At first she joked that she was having sex with Marlon Brando at the time and needed to be by his bedside during his last days. (Whoa.) Then she said that she was directing a project in London and just wasn't available.
  • When asked about season 6, Gellar remarked that Buffy "felt so foreign to me" and "felt so removed from me at the time." "I've always looked up to her," she continued about her character. Moreover, Gellar mentioned that it was hard to watch Buffy suffer.

I will also be attending the Dirty Sexy Money panel on March 25th and The X-Files panel on March 26th. Just a note: The X-Files panel is replacing the premiere of Tracey Ullman's State of the Union which mysteriously got canceled. Check back with TV Squad for news about those Paley events.

Also, as soon as I get pictures from last night's event, I will post them. The press was not allowed to take photos although fans were (provided they didn't use a flash).

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Patrick Muhleck

I love buffy the vampire slayer books and magazines and DVD and CD-Music and Comic magazine. I wrote the buffy the vampire slayer Travia Quiz. Emma said she praying for me's ear. I hope emma caulfield actress. Joss
Whedon direction film "buffy the vampire slayer very excellion Job 200%. emma caulfield will see me in next time. I can't hearing my ear. yes emma caulfield said she is understand the colhear implant transplant. emma caulfield will helping me. I will be surgecy in Hosiptal Los Angeles,California. I live in monroe,michigan. I is only. Iam sad adpotion. Please emma caulfield pick up me in date! Hope. maybe Buffy the vampire slayer new word puzzle.

April 12 2008 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They asked her Spike or Angel, and she pointed towards James. Hence, she chose Spike.

April 04 2008 at 4:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No I'm not thinking she chose Spike over Angel it was just that as she said Spike was sitting on stage lol

April 04 2008 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

SMG picked Spike over Angel. Guess she's a sex fiend, after all.

Not that I'm complaining...

April 02 2008 at 7:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
christine muhleck

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March 30 2008 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patrick Muhleck

Dear emma caulfield actress "buffy the vampire slayer"
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Best wishes Friend
Patrick Muhleck

March 29 2008 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's with all the Nick Brendon haters?

March 25 2008 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Even if most of the Whedon fandom could not be there, thanks to all the great publicity and efforts from the online sites, we still get a chance to see and hear what went on - Thanks for your efforts -


March 24 2008 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

your comment about Seth Green doing nothing...was this a joke of yours?? cos he is most likely the busiest out of all of them...family guy, robot chicken...which he is one of the creators...scratch it, you must be joking

- maria

March 24 2008 at 7:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so whats nick brendon doing nowadays? prob looking for work?

March 24 2008 at 2:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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