Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers and Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg. Image from

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers and Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg. Image from

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a groundbreaking show in a couple of ways. Firstly, the lead character is a 16 year blonde high school girl who could kick some serious butt. She also saves the world on more than one occasion. When the show debuted in 1997 there were very few shows on TV which had a female as the star of the show and even fewer that had a female successfully beating up men. Secondly, there were very few shows that had a supernatural theme to them. Today we have an abundance of entertainment based around vampires but in the ’90s they were few and far between.

The main focus of the show is in the title: Buffy Summers is tasked with defeating vampires and saving the world from the Hellmouth. Her love for the vampire Angel complicates this task for her. The friendship between Buffy and Willow is less explicit than other shows; they rarely hang out by themselves or spend time at the mall like other teenagers. However their friendship helps bring out the best in each other.

Before Buffy comes to town Willow is bored by school; she is smarter than everyone in the school, including some of the teachers. When she discovers what Buffy is doing she immediately wants to help. By being a part of Buffy’s world Willow grows in a number of ways. She breaks out of her shell and becomes a confident young woman who uses her advanced computer skills to help Buffy defeat vampires numerous times. Through Buffy she also discovers the art of witchcraft which becomes an outlet for her to challenge her intellect and to learn new skills.

The friendship is also important for Buffy. By sharing her secret with Willow she realises that she’s not alone anymore. Of course she is the one who fights the vampires but Willow’s research gives her an advantage. Willow also provides Buffy with an outlet purely to vent, and when the fate of the world rests on your sixteen year old shoulders, having that is priceless. Willow is also extremely supportive of her relationship with Angel. While everyone else is wary of her dating a vampire, with Xander even being openly hostile, Willow encourages Buffy to follow her feelings. She even goes as far as helping Angel win her back when Buffy is going through a dangerous path with Faith.

This friendship is a little different to others on TV. As well as dealing with normal teenage things like mean girls and love the two girls also have to deal with the supernatural world. These two girls have saved countless lives all while still in high school. Perhaps the importance of their friendship to each other is most evident in the season three finale. The two have graduated high school and are moving on with the rest of their lives except Buffy can’t move on. She is still the slayer and so Willow decides to ignore the many colleges around the country (and world) who accepted her in order to stay in Sunnydale and help Buffy battle evil.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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