by Billie Doux
Mallena: Some of the inconsistencies drove me crazy, like when Angel said he had no breath to revive Buffy, but Spike smokes and I've seen vampires huff and puff after they ran. Not to mention the fact that their hearts don't beat, but they can have sex? How does that work? That's okay, I really don't want to know. Plus they have no soul and some are monsters, some are sweet. Didn't Giles say early on that a demon moves in? The Vampire Diaries had it easier, they acted human and ate/slept, etc.
Victoria: An amazing show. Two things that bugged me, though, were (1) Joyce not knowing that Buffy was a vampire slayer for a while (I love Spike's reaction: What? Your mum doesn't know? and I agreed with his stupefaction) and (2) the Watchers' Council not giving so much as a stipend to Buffy. If, for plot reasons, they needed her to be broke, they could have had her have a fight with them (which they did anyway), or have made some bad investments and have been broke (the First has embezzled the Watchers before blowing them up).
Mallena: Joyce was a very busy single mom, plus she didn't believe Buffy when she was younger and tried to tell her. It also bothers me every time I watch Supergirl. Kara looks exactly like her [Supergirl], glasses or not. It really wasn't fair that the Watcher Council people (including Giles) all acted like they had money, but poor Buffy had to struggle. Another thing that bugged me was the outfits that those "teenagers" wore to school. I've never seen a high school student wear a thigh high satin sheath dress to a regular day of school.
Victoria: Like going to fight in a long straight skirt.
Lamounier: Dear lord, if there was something that was consistently bad, it was the fashion. It did get better in season seven, though.
Sunbunny: The 90s were truly a dark time in fashion.
Victoria: Yes, I understand that they tried to get around it in Buffy with Joyce's disbelief, but it still didn't work for me. You're the Vampire Slayer, target numero uno, and you don't tell the people you live with who can invite in evil vampires? At least when Dawn joined the show they made it clear that she knew she was not supposed to let in strangers.
Joseph: I have a theory about this, Victoria. Other Slayers don't seem to have the same problem. At least one Slayer mentioned their parents (the Slayer from China who died at the hands of Spike). Suppose Buffy's unique in this parent-not-knowing thing? Suppose Slayers usually have parents involved in training? Suppose Buffy's first Watcher dying in Hemery also led to her resistance to involve adults? It's not logical but it could be very teen. It would explain why Giles and later Wesley are such dorks — they expect the servitude ground into parents and thus Slayers and have no training at all for Buffy's kind of rebellion.
Maybe Buffy's unique rebellious nature comes from her own historical antecedents. It doesn't explain why Giles didn't tell Joyce when he arrived — something she much later yells at him for. I have a feeling his silence was his way of trying to forge a connection with Buffy, who was traumatized and difficult to reach, something Giles himself sympathized with because of his background. All told, Joyce found out two years after the events at Hemery (Buffy's awakening as a Slayer) and moving to Sunnydale. Thoughts?
Victoria: There are many ways to explain it, but none of them work well for me. You (and your family) are the target of blood-sucking killers. You warn them. How can you not? If they express disbelief (likely) you make a demonstration of your superhuman strength, and even show them a vampire or two if needed. But I am assuming that there are vampires and vampire slayers, so I am in a different world than all the hero-based shows that keep those in danger in the dark.
Josie: I think the events of the terrible episode "Normal Again" clarify some of these answers: Buffy tried to talk to her parents about vampires, and they thought she was crazy. I can see why she didn't push the issue, especially considering any guilt issues she might have had about the divorce (which she seemed to feel partly responsible for) and the move to Sunnydale (which Joyce tells her was due to Buffy burning down her school gym in LA).
Victoria: That is one of the best explanations out there, but coming so late in the series (sixth year) and having not been referred to earlier (unless I missed something), it feels retrofitted.
Joseph: It's also possible that outside of Hellmouths vamps aren't that common and Buffy couldn't just reach out and grab a Spike equivalent.
I forgot about "Normal Again." I hate that episode.
Well, I mean I do agree with you — this is just me trying to understand the intended emotional arc for Buffy. What I think is that if a person becomes convinced viscerally, after friends and allies die, that people who find out about their world get killed (like her friends and enemies in LA and the boy she meets in Episode One) and that the convinced person convinces herself she can control the situation by maintaining silence and is confident in her ability to get all the baddies, it might make sense to them: I do not come from that background. Nor do I agree with the decision.
The secrecy vibe made no sense for me with Iris and Barry on The Flash for the very reason you state and likewise with Oliver and Thea [on Arrow] and the shows somewhat reward the rejecting of that much of the superhero secrecy by turning both Iris and Thea into strong allies once they learn the truth. Just like Joyce was when she was fully able to provide support to Buffy as the Slayer.
I think the overall morality of BtVS demonstrably spotlights the decision to hide the truth as a bad choice on Buffy's part and 'agrees' with you — and me — on this. I think Buffy pays for her choice to hide from her mother — and Giles pays, too. Even by the episode "Restless" the show was still exploring Joyce's role in Buffy's life and the lives of her friends. It took almost three years for them to get their relationship really strong again. I do wish the show had showcased how Giles and Joyce reconciled but one weakness of BTVS was how often fights took the place of emotional character development (even as I recognize how effective they were at dramatizing and symbolizing relationships.)