KILL YOUR ENTHUSIASM (15)
November 13, 2022
One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of favorite killed-off TV characters. Series edited by Heather Quinlan.
Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one.
I was pretty late to the game on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, picking it up in 2000 with late-night reruns in my first apartment out of college. It’s a show I would typically scoff at, being a die-hard Anne Rice fan, but I got past my snobbery for an ass-kicking heroine with quippy one-liners. My casual watching got serious after 9/11 with the premiere of the musical episode “Once More, With Feeling” (Season 6). It was the musical elixir my soul, and frankly the whole country, needed at the time.
I then bought all of the seasons on DVD from eBay and proceeded to watch the entire series. So much to identify with: being weird in high school, trying to make friends, avoiding the mean girls, regularly hiding HUGE details of your life from loved ones. But the most humanizing thing about Buffy is that she came from the kind of home many Gen Xers lived in — with her mom, Joyce Summers. Joyce was the divorced, single mom we all knew and understood. She was cool (she ran an art gallery); she wanted Buffy to eat breakfast and get better grades; she was there to comfort Buffy when her absent dad disappointed her once again; she dated John Ritter (RIP); she went to book club and said deeply typical/deeply regretful things in anger like, “if you go do this thing then don’t bother coming home.” Granted, a lot of these Joyce story arcs turned supernatural, but through it she became all of our moms.
Joyce’s mid-season death from an aneurysm in Season 5 was a punch right in the face. At the start of the season Joyce finds out she has a brain tumor and needs surgery. She comes through the surgery and goes back to life leaving us with a false sense of security that mom is ok. Then boom. Aneurysm. Death.
Buffy, the ass-kicking heroine, is rendered helpless. There’s no spell to break or battle to win. Mom died a totally mortal death.
For us, we’ve seen this. Our own mother. Our best friend’s mother. Joyce reminds us that no matter how big our lives become, death comes for all of us. Eventually.
KILL YOUR ENTHUSIASM: INTRODUCTION by Heather Quinlan | Max Alvarez on LANE PRYCE | Lynn Peril on PETE DUEL | Miranda Mellis on LISA KIMMEL FISHER | Trav SD on COL. HENRY BLAKE | Russ Hodge on DET. BOBBY SIMONE | Kathy Biehl on PHIL HARTMAN| Jack Silbert on MARTY FUNKHOUSER | Catherine Christman on MRS. LANDINGHAM | Kevin J. Walsh on YEOMAN JANICE RAND | Heather Quinlan on DERMOT MORGAN | Adam McGovern on LT. TASHA YAR | Nick Rumaczyk on BEN URICH | Josh Glenn on CHUCKLES THE CLOWN | Bart Beaty on COACH | Krista Margies Kunkle on JOYCE SUMMERS | Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons on DENNY DUQUETTE | Marc Weidenbaum on SGT. PHIL ESTERHAUS | Michael Campochiaro on GORDON CLARK | Fran Pado on EDITH BUNKER | Mark Kingwell on OMAR LITTLE | Bridget Bartolini on ALEX KAMAL | David Smay on VANESSA IVES | Tom Nealon on JOSS CARTER | Michele Carlo on FREDDIE PRINZE | Crockett Doob on AUNT LOUISE.
JACK KIRBY PANELS | CAPTAIN KIRK SCENES | OLD-SCHOOL HIP HOP | TYPEFACES | NEW WAVE | SQUADS | PUNK | NEO-NOIR MOVIES | COMICS | SCI-FI MOVIES | SIDEKICKS | CARTOONS | TV DEATHS | COUNTRY | PROTO-PUNK | METAL | & more enthusiasms!