Friday, December 20, 2013

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Buffy the Vampire Slayer

My youngest son has a lot of ambitions, and he’s pretty good at achieving them. Very determined in quite a praiseworthy way when he’s aiming at living and studying for a year in London and gets waylaid at the last minute by ulcerative colitis that put him in the hospital with IVs pumping blood back into his nearly bloodless body, yet makes it to London the next year. It’s more like stubborn when his goal is to drag me kicking and screaming into 21st-century popular culture.

I stopped watching television back in the late 1980s because I was a working (and going-to-school) single mom and needed to find time to write somehow without taking time away from my kids. I stopped keeping up with pop music earlier sometime in the *shudder* disco age. After I grew up enough to stop wearing bell-bottoms and mini-skirts, I stopped paying any attention to fashion. I’ve always been a person who danced to my own drum, one who lived in books and on paper, very introverted and introspective. And then I was a workaholic. So American popular culture passed me by.

My older two kids seem just fine with that. Of course Mom is just out of it and doesn’t know what’s cool. *eloquent shrug* But the youngest, who’s over twelve years younger than his brother and sister, decided somewhere along the road that it was his duty to bring me current with the world of movies, music, TV, celebrities, all the trivia that a normal American would just know.

This started when I had a demanding job running a combined campus and community women’s center at our local university. I was always understaffed and had to raise all the money for our programs myself. My son, Joseph, became my right-hand computer geek. When something went wrong with our computers, Joseph fixed it. When I needed our computers to do something that they couldn’t do, Joseph managed to get them to do it. When our website needed updating and I had no money to pay for IT, Joseph updated it and even redesigned it. He was a lifesaver, but he had a price.

For each of these jobs and others, I had to watch so much TV, animé, or video game with him. First, it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We went through all of his boxed DVDs, and I became a fan—Spike!!!—who watched the last couple of seasons as they were broadcast with him to my husband’s confusion and dismay. (Did I mention that my husband is like me? And that Joseph eventually talked him into going to a Communiversity class on feminist agency in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?) 

Once Buffy was covered, he insisted on Marmalade Boy, a popular Japanese animé adapted for TV from an even more popular manga. (Animé are Japanese animated films and TV series while manga are Japanese graphic novels/comic books, usually with outlandish premises like a boy turned into a girl or a girl who’s also a fox demon or something much more bizarre.) I would never have believed I could become fond of an animated TV romance about Japanese teenagers whose parents were divorcing and marrying each other—with English subtitles. Altogether, albeit it was during the time when Joseph was so very ill, we watched all 76 episodes of Marmalade Boy. I call that true motherly love myself.

Then, there was his insistence that I watch as he played Final Fantasy 10 all the way through for probably the seventh time so that I could see the “wonderful character arcs” and the “great storyline.” I did not ever take him up on his offer to use the controls. After that, there were lots of others, including Firefly, Dr. Who, Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog, and Glee.

Now, Joseph has moved back in with us for a while, and he’s already started—Orange Is the New Black and the Dr. Who audiodramas. I draw the line at American Horror Story, however. Stay tuned to see how this battle of wills plays out. (He whispers, “Hint: Joseph wins.” *evil laugh*)

Note: Blogger will still not allow me to post comments on The Stiletto Gang or my own blog (though I can post on other Blogger blogs). So I will respond to your comments on our Facebook page, so visit us there at

I'm going to try responding to comments here since I know everyone isn't on Facebook--there are some people even more out of it than me it seems. :-)

Ramona, you--and Joseph--are right. buffy has great story and character arcs. And Spike! he inspired a whole sequence of my poems, "Coyote in Love." Some of my most popular poems with women.

Kristopher, yeah, Joseph's a pretty amazing young man. He just took a job teaching at Haskell Indian Nations University and made me the proudest mom in the world. I do like Orange is the New Black, but I'm drawing the line at American Horror Story, though I love Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates.

Katreader, yes. Buffy seriously rocks.

Sally, didn't you love the musical episode, "Once More With Feeling"?

Mary, Joseph and I have always shared tons of interests. He loves to write, to read mysteries and fantasy/sf, loved opera, has read and loved the classics I adore (and has taught them), loves to knit and bake. Consequently, it's natural that he'd want to share his interests with me. It's a fair trade--except forAmerican Horror Story.


  1. Spike!!! Buffy has great story arcs, so you can count watching the series as research. Plus....Spike!!

  2. What a great post Linda. And your youngest son has great taste. You are going to love Orange is the New Black. And I think you should give American Horror Story a chance. It is very well written and acted. Can get a bit intense at moments, but I would never give up the chance to see Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates together.

  3. Go, Joseph! When I was writing for Silhouette, my editor suggested I watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer! And I loved it.

  4. My students used to do this for me, and my nieces do so now, as Jill did with Legend of the Seeker -- and once in a great while, they also explore one of my suggestions. Happy sharing.