Leafing Through Pages: Analysis of Sports and Other Topics

01/04/2011

A Buffy and Willow Manifesto

In large, large part inspired by this 10 Reason manifesto about the Carly/Sam relationship in iCarly, I’ve decided to offer up a similar list revolving around Buffy and Willow.

From the first episode onwards, I’ve always felt an attraction towards the relationship between Buffy and Willow. During the latter stages of Season 1 and throughout Season 2 is when the relationship quickly transitioned from best friends to OTP level for me.

So here are 10 reasons why Buffy and Willow are such a One True Pairing. Warning that there are Spoilers through Season 7.

All screencaps are borrowed from the great Screencap Paradise: Buffy Section website. Much, much gratitude and thanks towards them. Also much thanks to Buffy World for the episode transcripts.

Reason #10: From their first meeting, Buffy was drawn towards Willow and Willow instantly returned the favor.

Buffy initially came over from Hemery High where she was a self professed clone of Cordelia. A high on the totem pole, fashion obsessed, rule the school personality who only hung out with the upper echelon of high school students. So it really is no surprise that Cordelia not only befriends her immediately but starts setting up situations to further their relationship in both Gym class and later meeting up at The Bronze.

The first instance of Buffy seeing Willow is when Cordelia verbally ambushes the redhead at the water fountain. One would assume, given Buffy’s early history, that she would either join in or at least smile and enjoy it. Take note that Buffy first wears a surprised, if not shocked, expression at Cordelia’s verbal taunt but then wears an expression of actual concern as Willow departs.

This is made much more striking considering her first meeting with Xander. She seems pleased that he helps her but her expression as she walks off is largely that he was nice but nothing more. She is also extremely negative towards both Giles and later Angel. Contrast that to Willow, where she expresses concern despite not even uttering a single word.

This scene always makes me wonder what Buffy’s character was thinking as she watches Willow walk off.


Buffy: Why don’t we start with, ‘Hi, I’m Buffy,’ and, uh, then let’s segue directly into me asking you for a favor. It doesn’t involve moving, but it does involve hanging out with me for a while.
Willow: But aren’t you hanging out with Cordelia?
Buffy: I can’t do both?
Willow: Not legally.
Buffy: Look, I really wanna get by here–new school–and… Cordelia’s been really nice… to me… anyway, but, um, I kinda have this burning desire not to flunk all my classes, and I heard a rumor that you were the person to talk to if I wanted to get caught up.
Willow: Oh, I could totally help you out! Uh, if you have sixth period free we could meet in the library?
Buffy: Or not. Or we could meet someplace quieter. Louder. Uh, that place just kinda gives me the wiggins.
Willow: Oh, it has that effect on most kids. I love it, though, it’s a great collection, and the new librarian is really cool.
Buffy: He’s new?
Willow: Yeah, he just started. He was a curator at some British museum, or, or *The* British Museum, I’m not sure. But he knows everything, and he brought all these historical volumes and biographies, and am I the single dullest person alive?
Buffy: Not at all.

Buffy seeks Willow out, both for her expertise in school work, and on a deeper friendship level. This despite Cordelia and later Willow both telling her that Buffy’s stepping onto thin ice by befriending Willow and her friends. A bonus is made as Buffy immediately deflects Willow’s attempts at self deprecation and Willow attempts to defend Buffy and help keep her status in Cordelia’s group by telling Cordelia that Buffy isn’t hanging out with them.

I love this scene. From Buffy’s hand wave to her smile to not putting down Willow, one can really just see the sincere happiness at possibly befriending her that Buffy has towards Willow. On the flipside, Willow flashes a smile and immediately grows concerned at Buffy’s judging her, which Buffy immediately throws to the side.

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Buffy: Well, my philosophy, do you wanna hear my philosophy?
Willow: Yeah, I do!
Buffy: Life is short.
Willow: Life is short!
Buffy: Not original, I’ll grant you, but it’s true. You know? Why waste time being all shy and worrying about some guy, and if he’s gonna laugh at you. Seize the moment, ’cause tomorrow you might be dead.
Willow: Oh, that’s nice!
Buffy: Um, I’ll be back in a minute.
Willow: Oh, tha-that’s okay, you don’t have to come back.
Buffy: I’ll be back in a minute.

Buffy yet again seeks Willow out at The Bronze and not only sits next to her but orders a drink, yet again showing an instance where she wants to spend a lot of time with Willow in particular. She again tries to help Willow out by offering her her own philosophy and reassures Willow that she likes spending time with her, despite knowing her for essentially one day.

Another favorite scene of mine and just note the instant smiles that light up both of their faces when they see each other. Just unabashed delight at being in the other’s presence.

Buffy later goes off to kill a vampire almost in direct contradiction that she would only do it as a “now and then” hobby. In large part, her reaction is specifically around the fact that it is Willow that is the target and it’s her advice that led Willow into the situation. Worth noting is that this is the first instance of Buffy’s concerned, worry attitude that she later adopts for situations that involve Angel.

In the second episode, after Willow and Xander are attacked and learn of Buffy’s role as The Slayer, Willow specifically mentions that she wants to help Buffy. This despite the dangers of it being literally life and death in this case. Willow also affirms her decision to Buffy directly in the face of Buffy shooting down Xander’s accompanying her to find Jesse.

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Buffy: There’s no ‘we’, okay? I’m the Slayer, and you’re not.
Xander: I knew you’d throw that back in my face.
Buffy: Xander, this is deeply dangerous.
Xander: I’m inadequate. That’s fine. I’m less than a man.
Willow: Buffy, I’m not anxious to go into a dark place full of monsters. But I do want to help. I need to.

Worth noting is that Giles asks for Willow’s assistance in utilizing the computer and Buffy immediately says that she’s leaving, without mentioning anything negative about Willow’s helping out. While Buffy expresses concern over Xander being hurt physically, she is also quick to let Willow get some confidence and use a skillset that only she possesses within the group.

Reason #9: Body language and closeness

The examples go above and beyond just being close to one another in terms of physical space. Quite often whenever they are together alone, they will sit just as close to each other as possible to the point of almost physically touching knees and elbows. In large part they do this despite the fact that there is often no reason to as they are engaging in normal everyday conversation.

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As early as episode 3 and 4 of the show we see the closeness of Buffy and Willow physically. Between walking together in the hallways, sitting close to one another outside, and a myriad of places elsewhere the two are practically joined at the hip.

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Once again note the extreme closeness despite being the only two seated on the bench. Worth noting is that Xander is standing in front of them with a teacher and neither bothers to even shift apart at all. Also note the mirrored reaction in the second picture, a key point of their relationship that will be explored later.

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Willow: He’s gonna come over on Christmas Eve ’cause my parents are out of town. We’re gonna watch videos.
Buffy: That’s good, right? You guys are back.
Willow: It’s good. It’s perfect. In an awkward, uncomfortable sort of way. I just don’t know how to make Oz trust me.
Buffy: Xander has a piece of you that Oz just can’t touch. I guess now it’s just about showing Oz that he comes first.
Willow: I guess. Thanks.

Take note of how close the two are to each other in Season 3’s episode Amends. Willow is even slightly positioned towards Buffy whereas the two chairs opposite them in contrast seem to show more distance. Worth noting is that their closeness transitions into a conversation between the two about Willow’s relationship and attempts to make up with Oz.

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This is one of the prime scenes in relation to their closeness, especially from Buffy’s end. After believing Willow was dead, Willow comes into the library much to the joy of Buffy, Xander, and Giles. Only Buffy seems to literally be invading Willow’s personal space throughout the entire scene and seems almost enraptured throughout. Despite coming up with a later idea, Buffy continues to display worry about Willow’s physical safety.

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The same episode features another scene where Buffy and Willow are extremely close to one another as the group discusses a situation. Note that Buffy is initially behind Willow, then moves in front of her. Also note their closeness compared to the rest of the group in the final image.

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In a late Season 3 episode, Willow has to regale Buffy with her tale of heroics and does so with both seated on the library countertop with maybe an inch or two between them at most. Note that they are entirely locked onto the other and almost unaware of Wesley and Giles feet away.

Reason #8: Willow’s protective of Buffy health wise

This is seen as early as the 3rd episode with Willow’s maternal instincts and concern over Buffy’s health coming into play.

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Here we already see a physical instance of Willow tending to Buffy by holding a washcloth to her forehead after nearly fainting in the hallway. Note that Xander is largely hidden in this scene while Giles only expresses concern at the possibility that Buffy could die in a finite time. Neither male figure displays the physical act of caring for Buffy in this scene.

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This is more interesting as it comes in Season 2 but is directly after Oz, a future love interest (and somebody whom Willow had just been speaking to), was shot! Willow does not join Oz or stay by his side but instead tends to Buffy’s leg wound and opts to stay with her over Oz. Also note that Willow is the one doing the physical bandaging, this despite both Giles and Kendra already being in the library. Another instance of Willow’s nature to physically take care of Buffy here.

Willow: Her body, yeah. But her soul … her essence … I mean, that could be somewhere else. She could be trapped, in-in some sort of hell dimension like Angel was. Suffering eternal torment, just because she saved us, and I’m not gonna let … I’m not gonna leave her there. It’s Buffy.

Willow’s resurrection of Buffy in Season 6, part of her concern is that Buffy isn’t in heaven but instead in hell. Even in death, Willow displays worry over Buffy’s being harmed or hurt in some manner.

Reason #7: Others notice their closeness.

In Season 4 Riley wants to start a relationship with Buffy in the episode The Initiative. He tries to utilize Willow as a way to get his foot in the door and fully admits that he only knows Buffy likes Willow. This despite Willow being in a relationship with Oz prior and Buffy’s very brief one night stand with Parker.

Riley: Right to the point, ok. I was thinking of asking out Buffy.
Willow: She’s not here.
Riley: I know. See, I don’t know that much about Buffy. But I’m interested in what she likes, and so far, well, the only thing that I know she likes is you.

This coming from a guy who wants to ask out Buffy but no doubt has seen Buffy and Willow constantly around one another in a college setting. Also worth noting is that as soon as Buffy’s original roommate leaves, Willow immediately is the one to replace and move into Buffy’s dorm room.

As early as Season 1’s Prophecy Girl, Xander utilizes Buffy’s friendship with Willow to cover up his nervousness at asking out Buffy for the Spring Fling. This comment is made all the more humorous given Willow is the one who later comes out as a lesbian to Buffy.

Buffy: Xander, you’re one of my best friends. You and Willow…
Xander: Well, Willow’s not looking to date you. Or if she is, she’s playing it pretty close to the chest.
Buffy: I don’t want to spoil the friendship that we have.

Their constant presence together in The Bronze, whether studying or being alone upstairs, is readily apparent throughout the series as well. They are often seen seated at tables, usually in the company of each other with nobody else present. Such situations outside of high school can further imply a possible romantic aspect from other high school students.

From the Season 7 episode Conversations With Dead People, the concept of what other students thought of Buffy is briefly touched on.

Holden: I heard a lot of rumors about you back then. You were all mysterious.
Buffy: I was?
Holden: Well, you were never around. A lot of kids thought you were dating some really old guy, or that you were just heavy religious. Scott Hope said you were gay.

It is interesting that Holden remarks about Buffy’s dating an older guy (see Angel) or being heavily religious (since she wore a cross and had her bag of Slayer tools displayed several times on the floor). Given the concept of “gaydar”, even if Scott purportedly said it about every girl he dumped, there could be enough substance here that others believe him.

In light of Willow’s eventual coming out and the fact that they all still lived in Sunnydale, the later instance of Buffy living in a house with Willow, Tara, and Dawn could have furthered the implication that Buffy was gay. Even in Season 6, Buffy stumbles over her words when questioned by a social worker as opposed to quickly answering with a simple “No” or “I’m not.”

Willow: Buffy, I’m not feeling hot, so uh, I’m gonna take a quick nap, okay?
Buffy: Okay, Will!
Buffy: That’s Willow. She, uh, she kind of lives here too, actually.
Ms. Kroger: Oh, so you live with another woman.
Buffy: Oh! Oh, it’s not a, a gay thing, you know, I mean, well… she’s gay, but, but we don’t … gay. Not that there’s anything…

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Even in Season 2’s Innocence, Angelus utilizes the deep friendship that Buffy has towards Willow to bait her. Also it’s worth noting that Angelus was going to start with Willow’s death as the first message. He doesn’t even target Buffy’s mother. It isn’t until Jenny dies that Buffy gets the willpower to kill Angelus.

Angelus: I got a message for Buffy.
Buffy: Why don’t you give it to me yourself?
Angelus: Well, it’s not really the kind of message you tell. It sort of involves finding the bodies of all your friends.
Buffy: This can’t be you.
Angelus: Gee, we already covered that subject.
Buffy: Angel, there must be some part of you inside that still remembers who you are.
Angelus: Dream on, schoolgirl. Your boyfriend is dead. You’re all gonna join him.
Buffy: Leave Willow alone, and deal with me.
Angelus: But she’s so cute and helpless. Really a turn-on.

Reason #6: They push each other hard towards others yet never quite fully commit to the other’s happiness

This becomes such a focal point that one cannot help but wonder just why Buffy and Willow are so willing to push the other into relationships. In Season 1’s Never Kill A Boy on the First Date, Willow is very obvious in her excitement at Buffy and Owen dating. Contrast this to Buffy, the one who’s going on the date, and her reaction. Buffy is deliberately trying to downplay this in the face of Willow’s excitement. Part of the reason is likely because of Angel but considering Buffy had been trying to get Owen the entire episode, one would think she would certainly not be downplaying it at all.

Buffy: It’s not that big a deal. It’s just a bunch of people getting together.
Willow: It’s a very big deal!
Buffy: It’s not!
Willow: It is. Tell her!
Giles: I’m afraid it’s very big.
Willow: Thank you! Wait!

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Xander: Look, we gotta get to, uh… Uhhhh. We thought it’d be fun if, uh, we made this a double date!
Buffy: I didn’t know you guys were seeing each other.
Willow: Oh, yeah, well, we knew it would happen eventually, so we figured, hey! Why fight it?
Owen: And you guys are thinking double?
Xander: ‘Cause of… the fun!

Also interesting is that Buffy is pushing very hard for Willow to make the first move in terms of courting Xander yet she offers a dubious expression when presented with such a coupling in the same episode.

Buffy: Will, it’s okay. You don’t have to make him the bad guy.
Willow: But that’s the best friend’s job, vilifying and grousing.
Buffy: Usually, yeah. But he’s right. I mean, I think, maybe in the long run, that he’s right.
Willow: Yeah, I think he is. I mean, I tried to hope for the best, but… I’m sorry. It must be horrible.

As intently as Willow pushes Buffy towards Angel and into his arms, we also see some hints from Willow that she’s not all committed to their relationship and Buffy’s happiness. Willow doesn’t relent on making Angel the bad guy until Buffy admits that the relationship wouldn’t have worked long term. Note Willow’s cutting herself off after saying that she tried to hope for the best.

Willow: You two are so right for each other. Except for the, uh…
Buffy: Vampire thing.
Willow: That doesn’t make him a bad person. Necessarily.
Buffy: I’m brainsick. I can’t have a relationship with him.
Willow: Not during the day, but you could ask him for coffee some night. It’s the non-relationship drink of choice. It’s not a date, it’s a caffeinated beverage. Okay, sure, it’s hot and bitter like a relationship that way, but…

The above was earlier shadowed by Willow in Season 2. She makes a fairly negative comparison to coffee only after Buffy’s admittance that she and Angel can’t and shouldn’t have a relationship.

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Buffy: Ampata’s only staying two weeks.
Willow: Yeah. And then Xander can find someone else who’s not me to obsess about. At least with you I knew he didn’t have a shot. Well, you know, I have a choice. I can spend my life waiting for Xander to go out with every other girl in the world until he notices me, or I can just get on with my life.
Buffy: Good for you.
Willow: Well, I didn’t choose yet.

Now compare that scene to the above scene from Season 2, where Buffy tries to gently but firmly push Willow towards making the first move in trying to get Xander to notice her. It is worth noting that Buffy assumes Willow has convinced herself to make a move whereas Willow tells Buffy she hasn’t decided before eventually giving Xander her go ahead to date Ampata.

Buffy: Hey, Will, don’t look, okay, but… No, don’t look! That guy over there is totally checking you out.
Willow: Oh, that’s Oz. He’s expressing computer nerd solidarity.
Buffy: Really? Then why is he on his way over here right now? Told you!

Buffy also pushes Willow towards Oz initially by mentioning that he has been checking her out.

Buffy: Hey, speaking of ‘wow’ potential, there’s Oz over there. What are we thinking, any sparkage?
Willow: He’s nice. Hey, I like his hands.
Buffy: Mm. A fixation on insignificant detail is a definite crush sign.
Willow: Oh, I don’t know, though. I mean, he is a senior.
Buffy: You think he’s too old ’cause he’s a senior? Please. My boyfriend had a bicentennial.
Willow: That’s true. Uh… I guess… I just…
Buffy: You can’t spend the rest of your life waiting for Xander to wake up and smell the hottie. Make a move. Do the talking thing.

Willow later gives confirmation to Buffy that her prodding has had success by mentioning how she likes Oz. Willow eventually asks Oz to Buffy’s birthday party thus starting their relationship.

Willow: Hi, Scott. What are you doing here?
Scott: You told me if I came after 8:00, I could run into Buffy.

Willow also returns the favor with Scott Hope, trying to help Buffy move on to him after Angel.

Willow: Ok, say that I help, and you start a conversation. It goes great. You like Buffy, she likes you. You spend time together, feelings grow deeper, and one day, without even realizing it, you find you’re in love. Time stops, And it feels like the whole world’s made for you two, and you two alone, until the day one of you leaves and rips the still-beating heart from the other, who’s now a broken, hollow, mockery of the human condition.

Willow, partly due to Oz’s recent departure, manages to neatly summarize the Buffy/Riley relationship despite later coaching Riley on how to pick up Buffy.

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Willow: It happened right? Did it happen? With Parker?
Buffy: Yeah, it happened.
Willow: Well, and details. I mean not details. I don’t need a diagram. But, you know. Like maybe a blurry watercolor.
Buffy: It was nice. It was really nice. He’s going to call.
Willow: I love this part. Don’t you love this part. Like when it’s all new and everything’s a discovery.

Parker: Just for one night can’t two people who feel an attraction come together and create something wonderful? And then go back to their lives the next day better for it but never over analyzing it or wanting it to be more than it was? I have. She should too.
Willow: People like Buffy a-and me assume that intimacy means friendship and respect. People shouldn’t have to ask first if you’re going to be eyeing other prospects tomorrow.
Parker: People shouldn’t have to preface casual sex with “just so you know I’ll never grow any older with you.” It takes the fire out of it.

Note Willow’s earlier enthusiasm when she learns Buffy and Parker slept together and her later u-turn, including confronting Parker, when he abandons Buffy and stands her up.

Willow: Saw her. Saw her completely.
Buffy: Ouch. Just got a scratch from all that brittle.
Willow: It’s… when I was seeing her, she was seeing someone else. A girl.
Buffy: You mean-
Willow: I mean … not “seeing” seeing. Well, maybe. I don’t know, it was inconclusive, and I didn’t stick around to find out. Might have magicked my fist through a wall or something.
Buffy: Will, I’m sorry.
Willow: I mean, they’re probably just friends. I press my lips against my friends’ all the time.
Buffy: I’m sure they’re just friends. Once you fall for Willow, you stay fallen.
Willow: Thanks, Buffy.

Even as late as Season 6 Buffy tries to reassure Willow that she miscontrued scenes when regarding Tara.

Reason #5: Buffy is inherently touchy feely with Willow especially but also other females

This is a rather interesting thing I noticed much more upon rewatching the series as a whole. Buffy’s character is incredibly touchy feely and far more with female characters than male characters.

Throughout the series Buffy hugs Willow in serious moments and they constantly slide in little moments of physical acts that between a male and female would be considered coupley. Just take note of the following collage of images, in seasonal and episodic order from left to right (e.g. Season 1 through 7).

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Note that in all of the images, the two are constantly either linking arms in public places or going so far as to openly hold hands (a gesture that becomes significant with many of the couples on the show including Buffy and Angel as they walk down the street in Amends).

We see this same touchy feelyness with several other female characters in the following image collage.

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Also worth noting is that often times when Buffy breaks down or needs a shoulder to cry on, it invariably is Willow’s or at least another female character such as Tara. Willow rarely breaks down in front of Buffy but does so on several occasions.

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In Season 3’s Bad Girls, it is Willow’s reveal of jealousy to Buffy that initially forces Buffy to break down and reveal what she and Faith had done.

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In Season 3’s The Prom, Buffy again breaks down to Willow upon the fact that Angel has broken up with her. Buffy’s comments in particular are especially intriguing in light of her reaction to finding out Willow’s death in Doppelgangland.

Buffy: I think horrible is still coming. Right now, it’s worse. Right now, I’m just trying to keep from dying.
Willow: Oh, Buffy.
Buffy: I can’t breathe, Will. I feel like I can’t breathe.

Compare that reaction to the one from Doppelgangland… Similar choice of words related to the lack of feeling anything physically.

Buffy: I can’t feel anything. Arms, legs, anything.

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Buffy again breaks down to Willow when Willow forces Buffy to accept that it’s just guilt in Season 5. Note that it was only Willow who could possibly have brought Buffy back at that time too. As such, their relationship has now transitioned from an extremely close one socially to one that is equally close mentally.

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In Season 4, Willow breaks down in Buffy’s arms after the realization and acceptance that Oz was with Veruca physically.

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In Seasons 5 and 6, Buffy breaks down twice but this time it is Tara. The first time is over the possibility of Xander and Ayna breaking up while the second time is again during a reveal from Buffy.

Reason #4: Both make references to the other’s physical features

As early as Season 1 and throughout the series, both girls make comments to each other and others about the way the other girl looks. Note the following examples.

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Buffy: (smiles) Wow! You’re a dish! I mean, really.

Buffy picks out the costume for Willow and then, upon seeing Willow wear it, makes a very suggestive comment over how good Willow looks. She even adds the word “really” to emphasize to Willow that she isn’t just saying it to be nice or give Willow confidence.

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Willow: Ooo, Scott Hope at eleven o’clock. He likes you. He wanted to ask you out last year, but you weren’t ready then. But I think you’re ready now, or at least in the state of pre-readiness to make conversation, or-or to do that thing with your mouth that boys like.
Willow: Oh! I didn’t mean the *bad* thing with your mouth, I meant that little half-smile thing that you…

So not only does Willow admit to Buffy that she’s observed enough to know Buffy does one mouth thing (that boys seem to like) but does a second thing with her mouth that evidently is bad. Buffy’s reaction of shock, after a positive remark about Buffy’s mouth, causes her to not only stammer over her words but further mention that there’s a bad thing. This all done in the presence of Xander, Oz (Willow’s boyfriend at the time), and Cordelia.

Reason #3: They can read each other without having to say a word

There are several episodes that showcase the ability for Buffy and Willow to sense that something’s wrong with the other without having to immediately come out and say it.

Willow: She’s possessed!
Giles: Possessed?
Willow: That’s the only explanation that makes any sense. I mean, you should’ve seen her last night. That wasn’t Buffy.

From Season 2’s When She Was Bad. Willow offers up that based upon physical observation, she knew it wasn’t Buffy being normal and Willow jumps to another thing controlling Buffy instead of possibly entertaining the idea that Buffy herself has changed.

Reason #2: Willow’s jealousy of Faith and Dislike of those who hurt Buffy emotionally

Buffy: Why am I seeing a look?
Willow: You really *do* need to find the fun, B. Uffy.

Willow is initially on the bandwagon when Faith arrives, thinking she is cool and not showing much negativity towards her as an individual. She even goes so far as to cop Faith’s nickname of Buffy. Also note Willow’s initial support of pushing Faith towards Scott Hope. This in the face of previously trying to push Buffy into his arms.

The jealousy begins to really become more exacerbated as Buffy spends more time with Faith than Willow. Buffy even goes so far as to ditch Willow and join Faith on a patriol.

Willow: I mean, don’t get me wrong. I-I completely understand why you and Faith have been doing the bonding thing. You guys work together. You… You should get along.
Buffy: It’s more complicated than that.
Willow: But, see, it’s that exact thing that-that’s just ticking me off! It’s this whole ‘Slayers only’ attitude. I mean, since when wouldn’t I understand? You, you talk to me about *everything*. I-it’s like all of a sudden I-I’m not cool enough for you because I can’t kill things with my bare hands.

The jealousy comes to a head in the episode Consequences. Willow openly walks off on Buffy and as mentioned earlier we end up with a scene where Buffy breaks down in Willow’s arms. Willow openly says that Buffy and Faith should be getting along for professional reasons (being Slayers) and then basically pushes her own issues with their fading relationship into the open. Also note Willow’s worry that she’s no longer “cool enough” in Buffy’s eyes as a main reason for their deteriorating relationship.

Willow: No way. Some people just don’t have that in them.
Buffy: Look, I’m sorry. I-I know how you hate talking about Faith.
Willow: No, it’s okay.
Buffy: No, really, we should just…
Willow: No. I-it doesn’t bother me. I mean it.
Buffy: Uh, Will?
Willow: Oh.
Buffy: Emotional control?
Willow: I’m working on it.

In the episode Doppelgangland we already see that Willow’s emotional control is swayed heavily when the mention of Faith comes up, given her relationship and effect on Buffy. Willow was easily spinning a pencil in the air but when Faith gets mentioned, the pencil flies off with such force that it embeds itself deeply into a tree. It’s also an example of just how deeply Willow has taken a dislike towards Faith.

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Willow: It’s way too late. You know, it didn’t have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends in your life like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a Slayer and now you’re nothing. You’re just a big selfish, worthless waste.

Willow continues to stand up to Faith and constantly badgers her about just how cool and lucky she is to have Buffy in her life whereas Faith doesn’t anymore.

Willow: They could throw other things.
Buffy: I forgot how much you don’t like Faith.
Willow: After what she’s done to you? Oh, I wish those council guys would let me have an hour alone in the room with her, if I was larger and had grenades.

Even into Season 4, the awareness of Willow’s dislike of Faith is still there and note that Willow specifically mentions it is in large part to what Faith did to Buffy.

Willow: Just so you know? I’m prepared to hate this woman any way you want.
Buffy: Thanks, but no. I don’t wanna seem all petty.
Willow: Well, that’s the beauty! You can’t, but I can. Please. Let me carry the hate for the both of us.
Buffy: Go nuts.

Willow carries the dislike of Riley for most of the episode. She later transfers it onto his wife, Sam, as well going so far as to call her a “bitch” in the process.

Reason #1: They profess their love to one another openly

This becomes an incredibly common theme between our girls throughout the series’ run. The notable examples are all following. Throughout the series, most often the words are used from mother to daughter, sister to sister (Buffy to Dawn), or relationships where the two characters show a true love interest towards one another. Even Willow mentions loving Xander “so much” in Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered prior to their affair in Season 3.

Buffy: Hmm, I know you don’t, that’s ’cause you’re my friend. You’re my Xander-shaped friend! Do you have any idea why I love you so, Xander?
Willow: We gotta to get her to a…
Xander: Let her speak!
Buffy: I’ll tell you! You’re not like other boys at all.
Xander: Well…
Buffy: You are totally, and completely one of the girls! I’m that comfy with him.

First though is a mention of Buffy explaining to Xander why she loves him so in Season 1’s The Witch. Note Willow’s wide grin afterwards since Xander pulled the same card on Willow except he compared her to being a guy (and they eventually have a brief affair in Season 3).

Note Buffy’s pleased grin towards Willow when saying the last line and Willow’s glee at the backhanded compliment.

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Buffy: Okay, well, there are safer schools. There are safer prisons. I can’t let you stay because of me.
Willow: Actually, this isn’t about you. Although I’m fond, don’t get me wrong, of you. The other night, you know, being captured and all, facing off with Faith. Things just, kind of, got clear. I mean, you’ve been fighting evil here for three years, and I’ve helped some, and now we’re supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives. And I just realized that that’s what I want to do. Fight evil, help people. I mean, I-I think it’s worth doing. And I don’t think you do it because you have to. It’s a good fight, Buffy, and I want in.
Buffy: I kind of love you.
Willow: And, besides, I have a shot at being a bad ass Wiccan, and what better place to learn?

In Season 3, the closeness of the two is further conveyed when Willow opts to attend UC Sunnydale to further her magic abilities mostly but also to be around Buffy. Worth noting is that both girls immediately go to the local Espresso Pump to have Mochas together. This after Buffy also tackled Willow in her glee.

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Buffy: I’ll come back as soon as this is finished. I just want you to take it easy, ok? Riley was right. The main thing is put the blame where it belongs. Don’t hurt yourself.
Willow: Uh-huh. Ok.
Buffy: You’re ok?
Willow: I’m fine. I promise.
Buffy: I love you.

In Season 4’s Wild At Heart, Buffy leaves Willow alone but not before saying the above three words. Particularly worthy since it is exactly after Willow comes upon Oz/Veruca being together.
You can absolutely see the sincerity in Buffy’s eyes and the pain she’s also experiencing for Willow.

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Buffy: But I want it together. Will, I miss you. And Giles, and Xander. And it is my fault. I’ve been wrapped up in my own stuff, I’ve been a bad friend.
Willow: You’re the Slayer, Buffy. Your stuff is pretty crucial.
Buffy: I mean Riley. And…Riley, mostly.
Willow: Well, I haven’t been Miss Available either. I–I kept secrets. I hid things from everyone.
Buffy: That’s not your fault. Will, you were going through something huge.
Willow: I wanted to tell you, but I was so scared.
Buffy: You can tell me anything. I love you. You’re my best friend.
Willow: Me, too. I love you too.

In another Season 4 episode, Buffy and Willow both lament not being available enough to the other, apologize and blame themselves, then promptly share I Love You’s and hug. This scene totally has the imagery of two lovers making up after a quarrel.

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Willow: Love you so much.
Buffy: I know.

Even in Season 5’s The Body, the only profession of love is from Willow towards Buffy, in consolation. This is not even going into their constant touching and declarations of ILY (more so from Buffy to Willow) in Season 8, considered canon by Joss himself.

Overall Thoughts
I hope there was enjoyment and an understanding of why I appreciate and support Buffy and Willow as a slash pairing and why they are my O(ne)T(rue)P(air) on the show. I could have gone deeper in some of the factors but felt this was long enough as it was.

09/27/2008

Top Ten Underrated Moments In Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Any fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer can rattle off a multitude of their favorite scenes from many acclaimed episodes and even casual fans can mention Buffy leaping to her death in “The Gift” and hardcores can mention Tara’s death in “Seeing Red” or every single scene in “The Body” but this post isn’t to remember those scenes. Nor is it to remember Jenny’s death or the debut of Principal Snyder.

The list you’ll be seeing in a few moments is all about the moments that don’t get mentioned but had a significant impact on the season at hand or even greater, the series itself as it continued forward. Some of these scenes may seem insignificant to you but I hope the reasoning will still be sound enough that you can see my point.

#10: Season 4’s “The Freshman”
Why: One name – Sunday. From the very start of the episode we see Buffy is out of her element and struggling not only to adapt to college life but the slaying side of mixing said occupation with the need to study and not earn withering looks from Maggie Walsh. So what’s so great about Sunday you ask? She almost broke Buffy’s arm and generally kicked her ass throughout the episode. Sure we had seen Buffy harmed before by vampires (Helpless) but this was supposedly an ordinary vampire not even 15 years old. Sunday probably could’ve broken Buffy’s arm if she really focused on the task and in the second fight, looked to try and break Buffy’s other arm. This was an ordinary vampire but it showed the dangers of slaying and although Buffy’s The Slayer, she’s not impervious to making one simple mistake that could end her life.

#9: Season 1’s “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”
Why: The FBI gets involved to smuggle Marcie out of the school (while she’s still invisible). It’s the freakin’ FBI and I’m sure Mayor Wilkins was well aware of the happenings but this was (and should be) a stunning revelation. The FBI officers didn’t answer when Buffy remarked, “It’s happened before, hasn’t it?” and it also calls into question if Sunnydale was under watch all this time. It would make it easier to understand how something like The Initiative was able to exist and function if the US Government was aware of its role and helped finance some of it.

#8: Season 4’s “Living Conditions”
Why: This is a little Wiffy (BuffyxWillow) but Willow’s moving into Buffy’s room helps not only signify the comfort level the two had and would no doubt have afterwards but also allows for the two of them to become deeper on a friendship level. Buffy could’ve easily just lived life as a single for the school year but opted to have Willow move in, thereby opening an avenue for the two friends to bind tighter (which, ironically, didn’t happen throughout the season). Their closeness is commented on frequently and even Riley makes mention of the pairing, “I only know she likes you,” when talking to Willow about courting Buffy. We later see the sisterly bond between them when Willow and Tara begin living with Buffy and Dawn at the Summers home.

#7: Season 3’s “Lovers Walk”
Why: Oz makes the mention that he can smell Willow’s fear which is inconspicuous by itself but it raises an interesting point about Buffy and Angel’s relationship. Buffy commonly remarks how she’s aware that Angel is there when he appears but if you really watch and study the episodes, there are numerous scenes where one should be well aware of the others presence but nothing is shown. If Oz has such a close feel for Willow that he can differentiate her fear from the smell of other people, why aren’t Buffy and Angel (Slayer & Vampire) highly attuned to one another? The big example would be in “Pangs” where Buffy should’ve sensed Angel the second he showed up but didn’t. Maybe it’s nothing or maybe it’s small evidence that their relationship isn’t as deep as many fans like to think.

#6: Season 3’s “Graduation Day, Part 1”
Why: Faith kills her first human, willingly, and even banters with the victim before killing him at the behest of Mayor Wilkins. It really epitomizes (more than Faith shooting Angel or threatening Willow) just how far her descent has come. She no longer gives it a second thought to kill, period (human or demon).

#5: Season 4’s “The Yoko Factor”
Why: It’s all about the fears surfacing but the biggest fear that strikes me is Willow’s accusation at Buffy that she can’t handle Tara as Willow’s girlfriend. We know the fears of Buffy/Giles/Xander but it’s interesting that Willow’s is not only fresh but it’s targeted to her best friend who’s been living with her in the same dorm room. Buffy pushed Willow towards Oz to make sure that the redhead was happy and Buffy was there to comfort Willow when Oz left. Initially, Buffy was thrown when Willow mentioned Tara but at the time of the comment, Buffy was in a relationship with Riley and clearly just wanted Willow to be happy, whatever her decision. Buffy never looked down on Willow for being with Tara so the only conclusions would be that Willow felt Buffy was jealous of Tara (which would mean that either Buffy had feelings for Willow knowing that Tara wasn’t just a friend but the girlfriend in every sense) or that Buffy was homophobic, which would be a tall leap to come to.

#4: Season 2’s “Ted”
Why: Buffy killed Ted, whom she thought was a human, partly out of self defense but as Buffy says, her powers gives her the responsibility to hold back and keep her emotions in check. We see Buffy’s horrified reaction at his death and the reactions of Xander and Willow (He was evil/a demon), which is in stark contrast to Faith’s cool but run emotion after she kills in Season 3. It’s also an early scene that showcases just how easily a Slayer can use their powers to do something irreversible and shows how easily a Slayer can be virtually unstoppable if they did go bad.

#3: Season 1’s “Nightmares”
Why: It’s a fabulous episode and everybody knows it but two things make it underrated: The litany of fears and it’s the first episode that Joss directed on the show. What struck me were the fears displayed – Xander: Clowns, Willow: Fear of Singing In Public (Also see her nightmare comment in other seasons about being nude, late for a test, and the Hellmouth opening), Giles: Letting Buffy down and essentially seeing her die under his stead (Which does happen twice, one by her own choosing), and Buffy: Being buried alive or turned into a vampire.

#2: Season 1’s “The Pack”
Why: IMO THE absolute most underrated episode in the seven seasons of Buffy from a story standpoint. It brought forth the first instance of a beloved main character going dark/evil when Xander got possessed and verbally crushed Willow while trying his hand at sexual assault on Buffy. It also gave us the first real big death in the series (excluding Jessie) when the hyenas eat and kill Principal Flutie, a suitable surprise when I first saw the episode and helped set up the introduction of Principal Snyder in the very next episode.

#1: Season 3’s “Graduation Day, Part 1 and 2”
Why: I’m using both episodes but there is so much going on. The first big moment is Faith’s shooting of Angel and admitting, “Meant to,” when she’s informed that she missed. This is really telling because if Faith had second thoughts, she very easily could’ve just shot Angel through the heart and instantly staked him while remaining hidden from Buffy. Buffy’s emotions in turn could’ve led to her death or serious injury at the hands of Faith or The Mayor. The second moment is that Buffy tries to kill Faith and we see the hatred and the intensity on Buffy’s face all the way up… to the actual stabbing. It’s like Buffy was Faith at that very moment and immediately realized where she was emotionally. If Faith had died, I’m curious if Buffy would’ve responded much like she had in Ted just almost not being able to handle it (not to mention the reaction from The Council). The final moment is Angel’s biting of Buffy, which ties back to Buffy’s fear of being turned into a vampire. Buffy was literally carried to the hospital and although Angel would never turn Buffy, it raises an interesting question if he would if it meant “saving” Buffy from inevitable death.

07/10/2008

My Top 10 Are You Afraid of the Dark Episodes

Who can forget as a child watching Nickelodeon and hearing the creaking floor and swinging chair that told you it was time for Are You Afraid of the Dark and not being scared?

In memory of a classic show from the “Golden Age” of Nick shows, here is a Top 10 of the very best episodes. Join me in my trip down memory lane as I submit for approval of the midnight society…

#10: The Tale of Jake & The Leprechaun
Episode Part 1

This episode is memorable for the depiction of the leprechaun trying to take over Jake. One of the first episodes that left its imprint on me.

#9: The Tale of the Pinball Wizard
Episode Part 1

Memorable episode with a fun, unique theme that wrapped up the first season.

#8: The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner
Episode Part 1

Clearly a take of The Joker, but I remember seeing this episode for the first time and not only being drawn to the jester costume but terrified as well. A truly scary villain and the episode is great for the mixture of light hearted fare and genuine creepiness.

#7: The Tale of the Watcher’s Woods
Episode Part 1

Memorable episode that also featured a young Jewel Staite. Another underrated but solid episode.

#6: The Tale of the Water Demons
Episode Part 1

I remember this being one of the scarier episodes in part because of the fog and the involvement of water. Not good enough to crack my top five, but close.

#5: The Tale of the Renegade Virus
Episode Part 1

Another classic villain in a show that had several. Somewhat underrated but enjoyably scary.

#4: The Tale of the Hungry Hounds
Episode Part 1

This episode terrified me at the time and stuck with me like few others. Also gets a bonus for featuring a young Mia Kirshner.

#3: The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float
Episode Part 1

Take in the fear of swimming and add in a creepy monster and you get a really memorable episode. Starred a young Kaj-Erik (Kai) Eriksen.

#2: The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor
Episode Part 1

This episode still manages to make me wig and it’s mainly a result of the villains who just come off as creepy without really having to try. Also featured a young Aaron Ashmore.

#1: The Tale of Laughing in the Dark
Episode Part 1

The creepiest episode to air on the show, in my opinion with the most memorable villain as well.

Any episodes that you feel should be included?

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