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Jane After Dark: Top five Buffy moments

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 25th 2009 11:02AM
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Top 5 MomentsI'm starting a new column here on TV Squad called "Jane After Dark." Some of you know I work the "night shift" here at the Squad, editing and scheduling posts into the wee hours. I'm a big multi-tasker, so I also use those hours to get caught up on all the great shows I've missed along the way.

Over the past year, I've watched some really cool shows, including Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Moonlight, Weeds, Entourage, Gossip Girl, and many others. So I thought it would be fun to write about my After Dark musings, and I hope you'll chime in with your own thoughts about whatever I'm watching.

I just finished Joss Whedon's magnificent Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I loved so many things about the show. No one could look as stylish as Buffy as she slayed those vampires. Angel and Spike were both hot in their own way. The love between Willow and Tara was sweet and gentle, but also powerful. And the characters continued to grow and evolve throughout the series. By the last episode, you really felt like you knew these characters and had grown right along with them.

So rather than write a Master's thesis on the show -- which I could easily do, because there's so much to say -- I'll focus in on my top five Buffy moments. Please share your thoughts and favorite moments in the comments below.

1. Buffy and Spike's sex romp with the building crashing around them. I admit I played this back 10 or 20 times, because it was so hot! They had all this pent-up back-and-forth stuff to work out, and by the time she kissed him and he looked soulfully into her eyes, I think I lost all feeling in my legs. And while I was a big Angel devotee at the beginning of the series, this scene made me forget all about him. Oh, I know Angel will always be there for Buffy, and in my own fantasy world, I believe they found their way back together after the series ended. But there was something complex and explosive between Buffy and Spike. Nothing could ever measure up after they finally got together.

2. Buffy's slo-mo run down the plank on the tower.
There was something so chilling about this scene. You knew that this was the only way it could go down. Buffy and Dawn shared the same blood, and because Buffy would do everything in her power to protect Dawn, there really was no other choice. So she looked in Dawn's eyes, then turned and ran full speed down that plank and into the swirling abyss below. It was so heartbreaking and selfless and, really, joyful in a way. I'm sure I stopped breathing for a few moments there.

3. Buffy clawing her way out of the coffin.
My real-life Buffy guides were very careful to protect me from any spoilers in our conversations, so I really had no idea how things would play into the next season. I figured that she must come back somehow, I just didn't know how. So when Willow's interrupted spell actually worked and Buffy was forced to claw her way out of that eerie coffin, I was panicking right along with her. The following storyline of Buffy being shocked and confused, and then telling her friends that they'd pulled her from the depths of Hell, when in reality, she'd been safe and loved in Heaven, it was another completely selfless act.

4. Willow losing Tara and going all "black and veiny."
Taking Willow to the dark side after the death of her lover wasn't just storyline filler. We learned just how dark people can go after suffering a tragic loss, and for Willow, that darkness meant taking the rest of the world down with her. Again, we see the selflessness of a character when Xander professes his love for his friend, and will do anything -- even die -- to try and bring her back to the light. Did he know it would work? I don't think so. I think he was just willing to take that leap of faith and see how it played out.

5. Buffy finding comfort with Spike after being shunned by the household. The complex relationship of Buffy and Spike came full circle with this scene, where Buffy asks Spike to lie down with her and hold her. Because of the near-rape scene earlier, it was important for both them and for us that sex didn't enter into the picture here. She was at a low point, and he was the only one who could comfort her at that moment. It speaks to the sweetness of someone letting down their barriers in a time of need, and another being there simply to "be there."

I look forward to reading your comments. As mentioned, feel free to offer up your own favorite Buffy moments, or your thoughts on the series, in general.

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smeagol8

Best Buffy moments? I wouldn't dare. How about a MUCH shorter list........ Top Five Lamest Buffy moments? Tops on my list is Anya's death in the final, and Zander's reaction to the news. "That's my girl". Doesn't even pause for a moment, let alone shed a tear.

June 07 2009 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
melina

Did Enyone Mention When Buffy Get's Cut By That Demond N Thinks She's In A Physicic Ward??

That Episode Made Me Think About Alll Of The Episodes Before And How It Effected Everything!

Buffy In That Institution
Her Mum Tell's Her To Find The Place That Is Most True To Her
With Buffy's Mum Being Dead Yuu Think That She Wud Want To Live With Her Mum And Kill Her 'Imaginary Friends'
But She Dosent She Pulls Through N Lives In The Place That Is True To Her

May 29 2009 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
naomi

I think you did a good job but... in my opinion, these are the top five:
1.YES, when spike gave that speech to buffy, his "You're the one" speech, the tears in her eyes made me melt for spike (: then she asked him to just hold her, and it made the scene so much more romantic.
2.when xander finally told buffy off. he's always so afraid because she could beat him to death, but then he finally said some mean things to her to remind her how much riley helped her before he left. then when riley's helicopter left, it showed viewers that life doesn't always have happy endings, even on tv.
3.when buffy killled angel. that was an extremely sad moment. and the hardest challenge buffy ever came up against. She loved Angel more then anything, and she had to kill him to save the world.
4.In "Becoming", I'm not sure which part, Buffy's mom asked: "have you tried not being the slayer?" and then keeps asking similar questions. Buffy gets in a fight with Joyce ending with: "Do you think I want to be like this? I didn't choose to be like this. it's my job. I wish I could be upstairs painting my nails, or talking on the phone, but I have to save the world." and Buffy walks out on her mother.
5. When Drusilla leaves Spike, Spike comes back to sunnydale and gets willow to do a love spell. he seems pathetic, sad and actually has some hilarious moments. I think this is a turning point for spike becoming good. He showed his soft side a bit, and this episode also included his "Love's bitch" speech.

there's so many more scenes, but I chose these.
it's my opinion, you can have yours.

May 20 2009 at 7:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ju388303

Best episode ever...Jenny Calenders Death (season 2?) It was a turning point not only for the show but for tv in general. Till that happened we really didnt believe that Angel would hurt anyone.. but he did..and didnt even respect her enough to bite her but instead just snapped her neck. Who can forget Giles when he went back to home find Jenny's body laying on the bed sorrounded by candles. Tragic!
I think this paved the way for shows like Lost and 24 in showing that killing off a main character ups the ante.

May 12 2009 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

I went through a period just after I turned 40 when I stopped watching tv for three years. When I say I stopped I mean stopped completely EXCEPT each week's episode of Buffy when the seasons were being broadcast. The depth of characterisation and the writing made a huge impression on me and I totally mourned when it ended.

I still don't watch much tv, I find very little that can capture and, more importantly, hold my attention enough to make me return to watch compulsively week after week - Dexter maybe, True Blood has some promise, the Tudors - so my viewing is mainly the news and dvd reruns of past shows like the Sopranos and 24 which I missed when originally broadcast.

This year on my 48th birthday my younger son sent me the complete dvd collection of Buffy which I have watched from beginning to end in the last two months and am about to start over again. The varying ages of the fans is really not surprising because Buffy is only an ostensibly 'teen' thing on the most superficial of levels. Scratch the surface and you are confronted with the most profound and universal issues that apply to ALL age groups. Mr Whedon is truly a writer with a Shakespearean breadth and depth of observation and expression.

Top 5 favourite moments? Well I can't narrow it down that far I'm afraid but I must say to those who disagreed or disapproved of Jane's choices is that no one need take exception to anyone else's choices of favourites. There are no 'rights' or 'wrongs' here because, like the top 5 favourite songs or top 5 favourite books, it's purely subjective, certain things speak more loudly on a personal level to some than they do to others. Similarly with the 'which are the better seasons?' question. Who can say definitively? I view it as a progression, a growing up and a coming of age.

Nice article, Jane, thanks.

May 02 2009 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian

Jane,

Thank you so much for your post. I had to come up with my own list after reading yours.

Ok, I've been thinking about my top 5 Buffy moments and here they are:

1. Joyce's Death- This episode still haunts my subconscious.
2. The opening of Season 5 when we first see Dawn- No other TV show has left me going WTF more than this scene.
3. At the end of Season 6 when Xander saves the world- I'm a huge Harris fan and it was nice to see him do what no one else could.
4. In "Once more with Feeling" when the scoobies find out that Buffy was yanked from heaven- I so love that episode.
5. When Spike is unable to bite Willow- That talk afterwards when Willow reassures Spike that this happens all the time and if he wants to try again he can is one of my favorite scenes.

Of course I have some honorable mentions:

Buffy kills Angel
Angel turns evil
Spike decides to kill Drew and Buffy because he's in love with both of them
Oz- pretty much any scene
Angelus kills Mrs. Calendar

Please feel free to post more great ideas about Buffy and Joss's other great shows. You can tell by the response you got how passionate people are about these shows.

April 28 2009 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MM

So many good memories! Love your choices, but have to add the Prom episode - Buffy's determination to make one night special (in a good way) for all her friends, Giles offer of consolation ice cream...the protectorate award, and Angel coming through in the end. Sigh.

oh - that and the Thanksgiving episode, when all presume that Angel's gone bad again; and Anya won't stop fantasizing about sex with Xander. That one's a hoot!

April 27 2009 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

It's a tiny little throwaway moment, but for me it sort of embodies what makes Joss & the other Buffy writers so far above the rest of the TV writers out there: that one little scene where Buffy and Xander are arguing about her decision to kill Anya, and he calls her out on her preferential treatment of "Her" demon friends versus the others (If you like a demon he can live, but if I like demon they have to die). And she reminds him that she killed Angel, and how he was fine with that. Then there's one little snippet of dialog that just sticks in my head - she says something like "Remember giving me Willow's message - kick his ass?" Which of course is not what Willow said at all, and Willow, sitting right there, only manages to get out a "Hey, wait a minute..", but then the argument goes on and the moment is lost: So Buffy STILL doesn't know that that isn't what Willow said at all, and the misunderstanding continues. It's a tiny but telling detail about the way they wrote that series - every single little moment between the characters was still remembered, was still having little ripple effects on their lives, and was still referenced, YEARS later. Playing every emotional beat like that, following the ripple effects of every single action like that: that absolute character through-line continuity is what made the characters so real and relatable, no matter how outlandish the plot. I wish every writer in every genre was forced to study Joss Whedon and his writing staff before they could get a license to produce a script - every show on TV would be better for it!

April 27 2009 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kipbot

one other funny:

Spike: "poor watcher, did your life flash before your eyes? Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea." In the spirit of making this praise of the show rather than favorite lines, it's a great moment where Spike is with the Scoobies, but still Spike.

April 27 2009 at 8:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kipbot

I like the moments, but no funnies? Favorite funnies:

1) Spike and Andrew talking about curly fries and how bloomin onions are made on the motorcycle ride.

2) Buffy commenting on Giles's portrayal of her hips on the overhead projector in Hush.

And for serious, the snow in Sunnydale moment. I was on my exercise bike when I watched it for the second time and teared up and spent much time looking for the sheet music after that.

April 27 2009 at 8:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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