Two groups of friends go through life together loving, fighting, winning, losing, blah, blah, blah. But that’s where the similarity ends. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the best. shows. ever.
The L Word could have been just as satisfying, and here’s how.
1. You’ve changed — Characters should evolve. Without growth, what do we have? A 31 year-old Urkel, that’s what. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Giles got his cool on, Willow went gay and became sexier in the process, and Buffy grew up.
But the changes happened naturally over time — not over the damn hiatus. On The L Word, Helena went from bitch to best friend so fast, it gave me whiplash. Alice was bi in January but gay in March?
If your name rhythms with “bacon,” have yourself a Buffy viewing marathon. Watch and learn.
2. Do not go gently into that good night — Why was Dana killed off when everyone loved her and Erin Daniels?
Here’s a clue. Ilene Chaiken said in an interview once, “We never tell a story based on what the audience wants.” Bully much? Would Buffy creator Joss Whedon have killed Willow in Season 3? No. Because Whedon is neither arrogant nor stupid. (Although he did call off Tara, which was almost as bad.)
Here’s a kooky idea: Don’t kill off your main characters, especially if they’re cute.
3.The dating game — The L Word girls should take dating lessons from the Scoobies.
Lesson 1: If your date turns out to be a demon, run. When Xander realized his teacher was actually a giant praying mantis, he broke it off with her. If only Dana had sized up Tonya and dumped her with the same haste.
Lesson 2: When encountering a vampire, put a stake through its heart. Don’t go out to dinner and later have sex with it. (Uh, unless his name is Angel or Spike. Or Vamp Willow.)
4. Sweet revenge — Why can’t the most hated characters on The L Word meet the same fate as the villains on Buffy? Willow skinned Warren alive for killing her beloved Tara. Slimeball Mark should’ve been electrocuted by his camcorder while secretly videotaping Jenny in the shower. But noooo. Mark got caught and what happened? He was asked to stay.
Buffy never left me feeling as gypped.
Lots of people hate Jenny or Max with a passion usually reserved for mimes and root canal surgery. I’m not suggesting such a fate for them. But can’t Chaiken make them fun to hate, and not just annoying as hell?
One word: Anya.
5. Music to my ears — This is the last time I’m going to harp (heh) on The L Word‘s theme song. I hate it. Instead of theme music with lame alliterative lyrics, Buffy’s opening credits are set to a rocking little tune by a band called the Nerf Herders. It’s got fun guitar licks and a block-rocking beat. I’m going to drown out Betty with the Nerf Herders from now on.
What other lessons should Ilene have learned from Buffy?
Editor’s Note: the comments below were left by many different readers, but when we transferred this post and its comments from our old WordPress blog, it somehow changed the username for every comment to “Binxi.” Sorry for the weirdness.