Thursday, March 10, 2022

Buffy at 25

25 years ago today--March 10, 1997--Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted on TV. I didn't start watching until a few years later, but it quickly became my favorite TV show. At some point it morphed into my favorite TV show ever. Now I call it the best TV show ever. I suspect I'll always feel that way.

The twenty-fifth anniversary of Buffy got me thinking about, well, years, and in particular about the differences in ages between the characters on the show and the performers who played them. Rivers of words have been devoted to the show and the characters and the people behind the episodes, not to mention the meaning of it all, but I've seen only passing references to the fact that, for example, when the show first aired, 26-year-old Charisma Carpenter was playing high school sophomore Cordelia Chase. Our first few times through the series, my wife and I completely bought Carpenter as a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old, but now that we know she was a decade older, she looks less high schoolish to us. That doesn't mean she's less good in the role. She's still a great Cordelia. It's impressive that she wasn't just portraying somebody ten years younger than she was, she was playing a character 40% younger than her years. That can't be easy. 

It was similar for Nicholas Brendon as Xander. He was also about 10 years older than his character. Even today watching him in Buffy Season 1, I have no trouble seeing him as a sixteen-year-old boy. I'm not sure what that says about him. Or me.

At the other end of the spectrum are Mercedes McNab as Harmony, who at the time of Buffy's debut was a high school junior playing a high school sophomore, and Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn, a fifteen-year-old playing a fourteen-year old at the time she joined the show.

Here's some information I compiled on ages of Buffy characters and performers once I got it into my head to look this stuff up. I apologize for it being in the form of an image instead of a table, but I couldn't find an easy way to convert an Excel spreadsheet into a decently-formatted HTML table.