The Drudgeon reviews Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Episode 001 – Welcome To The Hellmouth

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Episode 001 - Welcome To The Hellmouth 43 min., 1997
Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Charles Martin Smith
Language: English
My rating: ★★

Extremely stereotypical characters in a completely unbelievable environment is not a really good start.

* * *

In the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer we are introduced to the main cast and the main villain. The settings are firmly placed in front of you, so you know where the action will mostly be taking place. So shall we dive into the beautiful part of Sunnydale, California? Let’s!

The Settings

Sunnydale High School is the place where the teens go to school (duh), and most of the problems are going to be occurring.

The Bronze is a club that anyone can go to, but is still really cool(?). This will be the second place where most of the action will take place.

The Heroes

Buffy Summers is obviously the main character (as long as there is a show named Buffy The Vampire Slayer, she will never truly die for good).  She is the “normal” popular girl who likes to talk about clothes and movie stars, but she also likes to talk to the geeks of the school (sorry, this is problem number one. I don’t know many kids in high school that go out and play football or are cheerleaders and then go and hang out with the total losers —that is how they are portrayed—of the school). But that aside, she is also known as The Slayer, the only girl in all the world who has to fight the vampires. Which is what the overall story is getting us ready for: fighting vampires. Neat!

Willow is the ultimate nerd in every sense of the word. The only part of the stereotype that’s missing is the glasses and pocket protector. Other than that, she comes off as a really nice and trusting person. They meet when Buffy is looking for help with her homework.

Xander is the average, everyday teen boy. Horny! All he wants is to have sex with any girl that comes his way (just not Willow who is fawning over him, in a very painfully obvious way). Buffy meets him when he rushes to help her pick up her fallen books.

Jesse is the friend of Xander and he…well, he…not much is really shown about him, so I guess that means that he is going to die soon.

Cordelia is the bitch of the school, but is also really nice. Wait…what??? How can there be a complete bitch of a character who is actually really nice at the same time? Okay…I’ll just let that play out. She meets Buffy in class when Buffy realizes that you need to bring books to class, which Buffy didn’t, and Cordelia lets her share the book.

Buffy’s Mom works and takes care of her daughter. Normal.

Mr. Giles is Buffy’s “Watcher.” He is the guy that helps out by doing research and telling Buffy about things that are coming up in prophecies. He is almost only ever in the library.

Mr. Unknown is a man that was following Buffy when she was going to The Bronze. He says that he is on her side but not much else is revealed about him.

The Villains

The Master is the “Ultimate Bad Guy” (until he is killed…and then next season there is another Ultimate Bad Guy). He’s trapped underground, waiting to gain strength and the right time to break free.

Darla is a vampire that is acting like a student and trying to get “food” for the Master and herself.

Luke is the tough and been-around-forever bad guy that may (I stress may) give Buffy a run for her money.

The first episode of almost any show will have its problems: shoddy sets, bad acting, bad effects, etc…everyone just needs to get into the swing of things before the show can really take off. Taking that into account, it was an entertaining first episode. Most of the characters are firmly set in stone, the way they act now is how they will act until the end.  That’s okay, but I really hope that there is going to be some real work done to move the story along. I hope it won’t just turn out to be another “monster of the week” show.

The last thing of the show that I will write about is my main problem with the show. I really don’t think that Joss Whedon went to a real school. Maybe he was just dreaming his way through school. The popular kids did not (sorry, I mean DID NOT) hang out with the dorks. There was no crossover. So don’t give me this shit that Buffy is able to be in the cool crowd and the geek crowd: it’s just the most unbelieveable thing in the show, except maybe The Bronze (I won’t even get started on that retarded place that was created for the show). Yes, it is a world of fantasy and there are vampires and monsters, but that is the fantasy part of the show. I thought that maybe someone who is always called a genius about getting the character of his shows and movies to be the most realistic wouldn’t fail so much right off the bat. I’m not impressed with his characters or there relations to one another.  Time may tell if the characters get better or not. I will continue to watch and see.

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About The Drudgeon

I don't remember my real name or where I came from. All I know is that I'm traped in an underground cave with nothing but a TV, DVD player and a notebook and pen. They keep calling me The Drudgeon, I don't even know what that means. Someone keeps dropping horror movies in and yelling at me to watch them and write about what I watch. Then I eat the DVD and case, because they tell me if I consume the horror I will understand the horror. I think there are three of them. So if you are reading this right now, HELP ME!!!!!!! OUCH!!!! Someone just poked me with a sea urchin attacked to a pool cue, what the fuck is going on?
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5 Responses to The Drudgeon reviews Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Episode 001 – Welcome To The Hellmouth

  1. John Bruni says:

    Keep in mind that Joss Whedon is a third-generation television writer. His father wrote for BENSON, THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, and THE GOLDEN GIRLS, and his grandfather wrote for, and I am not making this up, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and THE DONNA REED SHOW. Hell, even two of his brothers are writers (one of them wrote for DEADWOOD). He went to the best schools (his mom taught at one of them) and studied in England. Of course he’s going to be out of touch with reality. One of the things that draws me to BUFFY is that it ISN’T a reflection of how high school really was. Take the vampires and demons and such out of the show, and it’s still a fantasy, which makes the world he depicts intriguing.

    • Lackey says:

      The closest thing I’ve ever seen to an accurate representation, in film or on TV, to my high school experience was Daria, and that was a cartoon.

      I tend to think of Whedon less as having two brothers who are writers and more as having one brother who’s a writer and another brother who’s a musician/composer who does some writing. Other than one episode of Drop Dead Diva, Jed’s only written scripts for Mutant Enemy productions (a bunch of stuff for Dollhouse, and no more than one-third of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog).

      Zack, on the other hand…I keep inadvertently following shows he writes for. He wrote several (very good) episodes for the first season of Fringe, and I guess now he’s on staff at AMC’s conspiracy/political thriller Rubicon, which I am something ridiculous like four episodes behind on.

    • Lackey says:

      Also, this just occurred to me: Whedon’s grandfather was a sitcom writer, Whedon’s father was a sitcom writer, and Whedon himself started out on sitcoms.

  2. Amber says:

    Well, to be fair, I don’t think that Buffy is ever “in with the cool crowd” of Sunnydale High. They briefly attempt to accept her because she is pretty, and she is the new girl – novelty is big with any popular crowd. I think the whole point is that she WAS part of the popular group at her old school, and now she is struggling to maintain that persona at a new school, a struggle which is compounded by the idea that being “The Chosen One” is not something she can escape. The entire point of Buffy is that she desperately wants to be a “Normal” girl, but that is not her destiny.

    I think the fact that she befriends the “undesirables” in the very first episode is a preparation for Buffy’s character journey. It marks the beginning of her journey towards self-discovery, reinvention, and role-acceptance. She comes to realize that being popular will be something she can never again achieve, unless that popularity (infamy?) applies to the supernatural world. In this way, Buffy is tied to the character Sookie Stackhouse from the True Blood television series in that she will never fit in with so-called normal people and openly (frequently!) laments this fact.

    What I love about this show is that Buffy learns (which you will see as you watch for longer) that the cool kids aren’t actually anything special, and that the friendship she builds with the other characters on the show are the kind that last a lifetime, which is a lesson I feel is universal to the teenage experience. Most teenagers struggle with their indentities and want to “fit in” in high school or find friends that they can connect with. I think that Buffy’s journey is one in which she starts out having a very clear idea about what will make her happy (cheerleading, popularity, vapid conversations about shopping, eye candy boyfriends), and life/fate/destiny/Joss hands her the things that she actually needs to become her truest self.

  3. Amber says:

    Also, Cordelia being nice and bitchy at the same time is not exactly a contradiction. Most Queen Bees are portrayed in such a way – favortism and sweetness to those she deems “worthy” and cut-throat bitchiness to anyone else. Initially, she is testing out whether or not Buffy is worthy of her spot near the Queen Bee, so she is nice. However, in order to establish and maintain a Queen Bee status within the hierarchy within the school, Cordelia must be a raging bitch to all others.

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