On Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Skin Pale As Apple Blossom
By Peg Aloi
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is thinking man’s eye candy. Thinking woman’s dramedy. Prime-time soap opera for Trekkies.
Strokevision for loner Lovecraft buffs. Textually rich, emotionally dense, psychologically juicy, it’s as layered and complex as Twin Peaks without the po-mo pretension. Douglas firs, doughnuts, and log ladies? Huh-uh: palm trees, herby potions, and vampires, oh yeah. Even academics like me can get away with penning essays and presenting them at conferences, and in between the sandwiches and mineral water and panel discussions and comparing of CVs we all feel a delicious glee: watching and analyzing this sexy show is legit, somehow. But none of us need fool ourselves: if we still have pulses, we watch in part because the young nubile characters are so damn fine.
Hetero-confession time: I have a thing for Giles. He’s urbane, handsome, brilliant, compassionate (yet capable of cold-blooded calculation when it’s called for), and he sings like a dream. But I feel a need to explore my love for one of the show’s female characters who I find to be a perfect foil to Buffy’s California cheerleaderliness, Anya’s sexpot-alien-bombshell, Willow’s bad-grrrl-geekitude, Drusilla’s nasty little-girl strangeness, or any of the assorted other femme fatales, nocturnal emissaries, or lambs-for-the-slaughter who appear from time to time, sometimes only for the duration of your average Clairol Herbal Essence commercial. One woman walks alone, in quiet strength, with languid gait, street-urchin eyes, shepherdess hair, New Romantic fashion sense, and a penchant for logic of the acid-flashback variety. Tara is to Buffy …