Who else misses Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The TV show which debuted 20 years ago is still as popular as ever, with the entire series now streaming on Netflix. Although out of the mainstream spotlight, the show’s cult following is going strong - and for good reason!
The show was revolutionary in that it depicted a strong female character in a role that was usually taken by a helpless blonde girl. It was one of the first television shows to tackle on-screen homosexuality. It made amazing use of dialogue to build and create depth of character. It’s no WONDER people love this show!
But despite the obsession, do people really know everything about Buffy? Scroll down to discover 15 secrets that even the biggest fans might not know!
15 Bleach For Days
Every eight, to be exact. Spike, a vampire who plays Buffy’s enemy turned romantic interest in later seasons, is a fixture throughout the entire series. Like most characters, his look doesn’t change much over the course of the seasons, which means that his bleached hair was there for good.
BUT, since Spike is a vampire, his hair should technically never grow. This meant that his naturally darker roots could never be seen. If you’ve ever dyed your hair, you know how fast it regrows! To keep up with the story, James Marsters (who played Spike) had to have his hair bleached every eight days for six years. Marsters said that he “would have open sores from previous bleach, and they would pour bleach on top of those wounds.” Sounds like fun.
14 What's My Age Again?
In Hollywood, it’s obviously fairly common for someone in their 20s to be playing a teenager. Just look at other shows like The OC, Smallville, Beverly Hills, 90210, and the list goes on.
However, Charisma Carpenter, who played Buffy’s school nemesis turned friend Cordelia, takes the cake. When the show first aired in 1997, Carpenter was 27 years old. Her character Cordelia was 16 years old. This makes Carpenter one of the oldest actors to ever play a teenager, coming in at a whopping 11 years older!
She was definitely the perfect actor for the role, but you can’t help but wonder why they don’t cast younger people for teenage roles. She was a 16 year old with laugh lines! Hardly believable, but perfect nonetheless.
13 Willow Who?
Apart from Buffy, Willow is the only character to have appeared in all 144 episodes of Buffy! Alyson Hannigan seems like the perfect actress to represent Willow - but can you imagine that it didn’t start off like this?
The role of Willow was originally given to Riff Regan, who simply didn’t give off the cute and innocent Willow vibe that Alyson Hannigan has let us know and love. After they filmed the pilot episode, Joss Whedon realized that Regan didn’t live up to the ideas he had for Willow. You can see from the photo that Regan is simply not as “adorkable” as Hannigan. All in all, I am very happy about this recast because it would have sucked trying to pretend to like the original.
12 The School Looks Familiar...
Did you get a déjà vu when watching the first episode of Buffy? A sense that for some reason, you had been there before - sitting on your couch, watching the first episode of a brand new show about high school students. Although the plots and characters were different, something looked familiar…
It’s the school! Sunnydale High School, known in real life as Torrance High School, has played set to a variety of other television and movie ventures. Probably the most notable (and where your déjà vu came from) are Beverly Hills, 90210 and its recent reboot 90210, where the school is cast as West Beverly High School.
I will admit that I obsessed over Buffy and the original 90210 and different points during my life… must be the school that kept me going! ;)
11 Theatrical Roots
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was James Marsters’ big break. Before Buffy, Marsters was a theater actor for years, and like most theater actors who are unknown, he was broke AF. Marsters says that he ate a lot of beans and that he and his ex-wife “would eat oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Going from the theater to a television set really made him realize that he was in the big leagues and poverty would be a thing of the past.
According to Marsters, he said poverty didn’t bother him. He knew that choosing to be an actor was choosing a life of poverty. It really started weighing on him when he had his first child and realized he “couldn’t give this young human being the opportunities that he deserved.” Seems like a lifetime ago!
10 The Perfect Kiss... Not!
You know when you go on a date and you avoid eating all foods that give you a stinky mouth? You know, garlic, onions, coffee, pickles - the good stuff that creates bad breath? Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz used to load up on that kind of stuff before their kissing scenes! In fact, they would try to outdo each other and see who could have the more disgusting breath!
Knowing that, it’s crazy to rewatch these scenes and picture how gross and funny it used to be during filming. Not only that, but it proves their acting skills! It’s not easy pretending to be sexy when the atmosphere is totally unsexy. Maybe their faces of passion are actually faces of disgust. Either way, 10/10 acting!
9 Vera Wang's Cameo
Did you know that Vera Wang had a cameo on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Season 3, Episode 20, titled “The Prom.” Of course, we’re talking about one of her designer wedding dresses!
The episode begins with Buffy talking to Angel about how she sometimes wishes they could be a normal couple and do normal things like go out during the daylight. Later on in the episode, she dreams of their wedding.
I actually think it’s a toast to Buffy’s sense of fashion that she dreamed of Vera Wang. Or maybe they chose the dress because Sarah Michelle Gellar suggested it to the costume designers? After all, she wore a Vera Wang dress for her wedding to Freddie Prinze Jr. as well! Either way, these girls have expen$ive taste!
I think we can all agree that your high school self and your college self are two very different people. Usually, a large part of who you were in high school goes straight out the window once you head off to college. New school, new people, new life.
Cue Tara and Willow! Although Willow was depicted as heterosexual for the first few seasons of Buffy, that all changed when she started college and met Tara in Season Four. Although their relationship was alluded to, they did not share their first on-screen kiss until midway through Season Five! And at the time, it was a BIG DEAL - theirs was actually one of the first lesbian kisses to be shown on television! Just another reason why this show was so amazing.
7 Once More, With A Better British Accent
Buffy the Vampire Slayer has not only one, but TWO regular British characters. However, only one of them is actually British! The biggest fans know that Giles, played by Tony Head, is the real Brit!
The other Brit is of course Spike, played by James Marsters, who does a pretty convincing job. The reason he got so proficient, however, was because Head tutored him! In fact, upon hearing Marsters’ attempt at a British accent, Head deemed it unacceptable and took it upon himself to tutor him for months on end. Eventually, Marsters was able to perform his accent to satisfaction. Sometimes actors hire accent coaches, and sometimes they get thrust upon them! Who better to teach a British accent than an actual British person? The fans were convinced regardless!
6 For Rat's Sake
Writers need to re-write scripts all the time in order to accommodate the lives of actors, from getting pregnant to scheduling conflicts with other productions. Do you remember the episode in Season Two where Buffy was turned into a rat by Willow’s witch friend Amy? Buffy remained a rat for a large majority of the episode. Although it just seemed like a normal part of the story line, there was a practical reason for this - so Sarah Michelle Gellar could make her first appearance on Saturday Night Live! She hosted the show and the musical guest that night was Portishead. With a little maneuvering, she was able to star in two shows! Must be nice to have the ability to duck and weave through engagement so effortlessly.
5 Faith's Faith
In Season Three, a second slayer was introduced to Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans. Her name was Faith and she was played by Eliza Dushku. Faith was a wild, sexy slayer who liked to have fun and wasn’t used to playing by the rules. Her stark contrast from Buffy was blatantly evident.
Her character was highly sexualized, and although nothing explicit was ever shown, it was alluded to like crazy. There was a good reason for this choice: Dushku is actually a practicing Mormon! This created a bit of conflict as the show was known for being rather sexually charged. Although Faith was liberal and often flaunted her sexuality, Dushku refused to do scenes that were revealing. Who would have thought!?
4 Foreshadowing Buffy's Death
"She saved the world. A lot." In the final episode of Season Five, Buffy heroically saves the world and spares the life of her sister by jumping into a portal and ultimately killing herself. But did you know that her death was foreshadowed a full TWO SEASONS in advance?
In “Graduation Day Part 2” in Season Three, Buffy and Faith share a cryptic dream while both in a coma in which Faith says “Little Miss Muffet counting down from 730.” Two years or 730 days later (because 365 + 365 = 730), Buffy dies. This line has been said to also foreshadow the arrival of Dawn, who is referred to as Little Miss Muffet a few times throughout the fifth season. Are these writers on the ball or what?
3 Cry Me A River
In Season Three, Episode 20, “The Prom” (again!), Angel tragically breaks up with Buffy for reasons that are mature but that I still refuse to accept. In the scene immediately following this, Buffy is shown in her bedroom with Willow and crying. It’s obvious that she feels like sh*t and doesn’t understand why this is happening. She exclaims “I’m just trying to keep from dying.”
The secret here is that after filming this scene, Sarah Michelle Gellar couldn’t stop crying for a full 30 minutes! She was so dialled into the scene that production needed to halt so that she could get ahold of her emotions compose herself. Imagine! When I do that at my job they call me a baby… clearly I should have been an actor! ;)
2 Season 8?
After Season 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer switched networks from The WB to UPN. Although the show had catapulted to success during its time on The WB, the network reportedly didn’t have the same vision and passion for the show that Joss Whedon and other executives did. Pretty weird considering the show pretty much made the network, but anyways….
UPN was largely supportive of the themes and ideas the show wanted to explore - SO supportive that they even wanted to renew the show for an eighth season! Unfortunately for us all, neither Sarah Michelle Gellar nor Joss Whedon were interested in returning. According to Whedon, the show’s Season Seven completion had already been planned, and given the amount of foreshadowing that this show does, I don't doubt him one bit.
The final Buffy the Vampire Slayer secret that even the biggest fans might not know is that Nicholas Brendon, who played Buffy’s friend Xander, had a stuttering problem. According to Brendon, the problem became apparent as a child and the embarrassment he ensued during public speaking really took a toll on his confidence all throughout high school. He only had his first date at 21 years old!
In order to become an actor, he had to first tackle his problem. He is said to have practiced things like tongue twister sentences diligently until he became a master of his demon. Clearly it worked out - he landed one of the major supporting roles on Buffy! Him and the rest of the cast will forever be in our hearts.