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Buffy Spoilers

By Annalee Newitz

THERE WILL NEVER be another Buffy spoiler because the seven-year run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is over. During the final season, I shared my sense of impending doom and loss by joining a well-organized "Buffy group" in Sommerville, Mass.. Every Tuesday (the Day of Buff) would begin with a flurry of emails in which the group would decide where to order food and who wanted what. Our hostess, Honey, would make sure the food was on its way by the time all of us--an intrepid crew of geeks and fans--reached her place and started debating what would happen when Spike the Tormented Vampire stopped being schizo.

At the Sommerville Buffy Group (SBG), there are two rules: Pay for your damn dinner and NO SPOILERS. The problem is, I like spoilers. Knowing what's going to happen next doesn't "spoil" the show for me, it just makes watching a richer experience.

Reading fan sites looking for hints or leaks about upcoming developments is a way of making every day a Day of Buff. Often, I can't even remember the difference between what's happened already in the Buffy plotline and what's about to happen according to some spoiler website.

I still vividly remember one of the first times I went to the SBG and announced casually, "Don't worry about the apocalypse too much, because Faith will show up and help save the day." A chilly silence settled over the room, and Honey looked at me in pained way. "We don't like spoilers," she warned.

The takeout Chinese food curdled in my stomach as I realized I'd violated their safe Buffy space with information from the future. It was as if I were a time traveler who had brought the gas turbine back to the Middle Ages and was about to change everything. Subsequently, I kept my spoilers to myself.

Frankly, how Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended doesn't really matter to me. The joy I took in the show had nothing to do with the kinds of things that are revealed by spoilers: who will die, which direction the plot will twist, upcoming guest stars and emerging or disintegrating story arcs. I watched Buffy in the same way I read new issues of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: not for the paltry plot, but for a chance to immerse myself in another world full of bizarre supernatural forces, strange characters and freaky battles.

I loved Buffy because realism is so damn tiring. I don't want to see another gritty story about dashed hopes and ambiguous desires. I'm sick of watching the same mundane, attention-seeking "real people" parading into humiliating games of superstardom, survival and surveillance. There's enough reality in my life, thank you very much, and what I need most is a chance to stretch my imagination.

Fantasy is hard work. It requires you to think about how your mind truly functions, which is nothing like a Java compiler or several fact-filled columns in The New York Times.

Human consciousness is packed with monsters, visions, conversations with the dead and the kind of heroism that seems impossible in our daily lives. We imagine devil horns on our bosses' heads as they berate us, and we plan over and over again how we could have rescued a loved one from death if only we had superpowers or a spell and magic potions. Watching Buffy is like taking a trip into the minds of millions. All right, that sounded cheesy. But what do you expect from a fan who is losing one of her favorite shows?

For the last four episodes, the SBG held Very Special Meetings. We ate luxurious, decadent chocolate desserts after each episode, talking animatedly about what we thought of the latest developments as our sugar highs crested and crashed. Buffy's ex-boyfriend Angel returning? Bogus. The evil sexist Preacher getting chopped up with a magic ax? Cool. Witchy Willow finally getting to have some hot sex with her new ass-kicking, pierced-tongue girlfriend Kennedy? Sizzling. As for Rachel's chocolate sundaes, Paulo's chocolate tortes, Charlie's chocolate mice and Jim's homemade chocolate splurge--no spoiler could ever do them justice.

A wise woman once said, "I don't request the kingdom. What sense in borders and nations and patriotism? But I miss the kings."


Annalee Newitz (maude@techsploitation.com) is a surly media nerd who happens to know that Spike is going to be on Angel next season, so ha! on you if you don't like spoilers.


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From the May 22-28, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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