Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite TV show of all time. I watched it when it first came on TV and I still watch it today. The show is witty, full of life, and always able to bring a smile to my face. But just as good as Buffy can make me laugh, it also has the same ability to make me weep like a baby. While watching the season 2 finale this morning with my cup of tea, I had my box of kleenex ready. To my own surprise, I never once had to lean forward for that papery heaven because tears and snot never oozed down my face. It officially happened: I have become a Vulcan. Even with the emotional song composed by Christophe Beck in the background, I was unable to elicit any emotions. Had I seen this episode too many times to where it no longer affects me? Am I broken? Why am I not crying? Then I got to thinking about all the times over the franchise that made me ugly cry. I wanted to share some of those scenes.
1. Buffy Killing Angel
I will start with the scene that got me thinking about all the sad moments in Buffy. We spent most of the second season waiting for the ultimate battle between Buffy and her ex-boyfriend vampire, Angel. After they made with the sex and he lost his soul, we knew the showdown was inevitable. Each episode helped to prepare us more and more for the death of true love a we know it. But in typical Joss Whedon fashion, we had to have our hearts ripped out instead. Buffy is just about to lay down the finishing move when Angel gets his soul back due to Willow’s spell (perfect timing…) Our inner romantic begins to rejoice because now Buffy and Angel can be together again, as long as they just do not have sex anymore… then we see what Buffy sees. A portal that Angel opened to suck the world into hell that can only be closed after he goes through it. Angel is telling Buffy how confused he is and how much he loves her. She’s crying. He’s crying. We are BOOHOOING. The music in the background makes us want to kill ourselves. She tells him to close his eyes. She tells him she loves him. She kiss him. She kills him. SHE KILLS US. The ugly crying couldn’t get any uglier…
2. The Time When Buffy’s Mom Dies
People die in this show all the time, it’s sort of one of the main points. We usually do not care about them at all… but when Joyce, Buffy’s mother, dies, it’s as if we lost our own mother. Watching the episode “The Body” literally makes my entire body hurt. I feel the pain of a million crying babies. I cry so hard that I want to shove my face in a bucket of ice to make it feel better. There’s not enough vodka in the world to numb the pain…
The entire episode is just one giant sob fest. Kleenex sales must have hit all time highs this week. The saddest part is not necessarily when she finds her mother.. But everyone else reacts to her mother’s death and then she reacts to that…
“We’re not supposed to move the body!” Ugh. Those words haunt me to this day. After she says it her face freezes in terror and she basically collapses even more so, emotionally and physically. It’s times like these that I wonder about my humanity. I can’t imagine crying any harder for the loss of a loved one than I am watching Buffy with her mother. Again this show forces me to ask myself, “Am I broken?”
Anya’s reaction to Joyce’s death is almost unbearable. A former demon turned human, she does not understand mortality of a loved one and watching those around her grieve. Her mini-speech of “Whyyyyy!!!???” is very reminiscent of Sally Field in Steel Magnolias at her daughter’s funeral. “And I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch ever. And she’ll never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever. And no one will explain to me why.”
3. When Oz Leaves Willow
Oh. My. Gosh. Willow makes the saddest ugly cry faces in the history of tears. Just watching her makes my nonexistent double chin quiver with sorrow and my heart feel like it wants to fall out of my butt. When Oz is telling Willow he has to leave (because his inner-werewolf is an adulterating whore), we can’t help but feel her pain. Willow has this uncanny ability to make everyone around her cry when she does. I have never heard of contagious crying until I saw her on Buffy…
4. Giles Finds Jenny Dead
This death was a complete and total shocker. Jenny was just becoming an essential member of the Scooby Gang, despite her “semi-betrayal” of Buffy by omitting the truth about Angel/Angelus. When this happens, Giles also turns his back on Jenny, even though they were becoming quite the hot couple around school. Giles comes home one night and sees some flowers and a note from Jenny telling him to come upstairs. Va-va-voom! Sexy times! He’s going up the stairs and there is this intense opera song playing and then we see Jenny on the bed… not moving… not trying to be sexy… dead with a broken neck. Giles drops everything. Glass shatters. Our hearts shatter.
5. Buffy: Class Protector
Okay so this is my favorite episode of Buffy. It’s prom. She dances with Angel (their last dance ever). She finally gets credit for being the Slayer and feels loved by all those she has saved and all the sacrifices she has made. And The Sundays “Wild Horses” plays in the background! If this is not a recipe for all the tears then I do not know what is. She twirls around with her little umbrella and the floodgates open… damn the onion ninjas!!!
6. When Xander Saves Dark Willow
We are really scared of Dark Willow and all the flaying people alive she is doing. Buffy can’t stop her. Giles can’t stop her. But a yellow crayon can! Xander’s recollection of one of their kindergarten days together makes us weak in the knees. Watching this scene makes me want to throw myself from the top of a bridge onto interstate traffic. Again, Willow is crying. She is crying so freaking hard that she can’t even finish sobs. All the hugging. All the screaming and punching. All the tears. ALL THE PAIN. This is the best crayon story ever; it is better than Harold and the Purple Crayon. “I love crayon break-y Willow, and I love scary, veiny Willow.”
7. When Riley Flies Away
I was never a huge fan of Riley, but that does not make his departure any less sickening. I cried so hard in the episode he left that even my fingernails hurt. It was one of those, “But just look! She’s right there!” moments. One of those moments that makes you want to puke. One of those moments that you are so shocked is happening that the only reason you can’t cry any harder is because of how unbelievable devastated you are. But in the end, Buffy is alone. With her broken heart. While we watch, contemplating suicide.
8. When Buffy Sacrifices Herself
I remember watching this at my parents’ house after binge watching Season 5 in an entire day. My mom was finishing up with supper and I was in the living room. The music. The speech. The facial expressions. I did all I could to not burst out in sobs. Screaming, “Why?” at the TV a slobbery mouth and snot running down my face is how I felt on the inside. On the outside I was hugging my pillow. My face was about to burst open with the pain. My eyes burned and I could barely see through my watery sorrow. My cheeks hurt from clinching my jaw shut. I wanted to die. Stupid Dawn…
9. When Buffy Wants to be Broken
Buffy starts sleeping with Spike after she is pulled out of Heaven. At the same time, Spike is able to physically harm her despite the chip that was put in his head during Season 4. Convinced she came back broken or wrong, she enlists Tara to help her figure it out. After hearing that she’s only different on a basic, molecular level Buffy starts to cry. “Why do I let Spike do those things to me?…Tell me that I’m wrong! Don’t forgive me! Please don’t forgive me!” AND WE ARE ALL SOBBING UNCONTROLLABLY.
10. When Tara Dies
Willow makes us weep openly yet again. Is there a theme here? Honestly, I cannot imagine this show without Willow (or even Alyson Hannigan to be more precise) because of her ability to reach into the depths of our pain-drenched hearts and yank out all our feelings. We all loved Tara. Every one of us. And after being apart for so long, we were thrilled to see Tara and Willow back together again. Until a freaking bullet rips through Tara’s chest spurting blood all over Willow. WHAT? Why does Joss Whedon not want anyone to be happy? As if vampires and monsters are not enough, he has to make everyone suffer more?? There is literally no moving on from this one…