So, everyone knows how much I love TV. If you’re only a fan of my supreme writing skills and don’t know me, well, I’m pretty sure it has come through. If you do know me, you know that my profession for the last almost-15 years has been to watch TV all day. Well, technically, for the last several, I watch other people watch TV all day, because supervising. But still. And then, after a long day of work, sometimes I come home and…watch TV.
I don’t watch as much as I used to. Life with Chris is pretty busy. Since we only are on the same shift about half the time, when we do have the opportunity to see each other, we seldom want to be apart.
Who can blame me? Heart eyes for days.*
Ahem. Where was I? Right. TV.
Some TV shows have really resonated with me over the years, and a movie or two has really hit home, as you might remember from earlier this week. Carrie Fisher made six-year-old Monica realize she might be gay. But I’m a Cheerleader made me admit that I was gay, and it started something else — the urge to see myself onscreen more.
The next show that made a big impact was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sadly, I did not watch it when it was first on — a friend introduced it to me after it finished airing. Three of us used to watch it together after work, staying up till 1:00 in the morning with the people from Sunnydale. Then the other two started dating each other, effectively shutting the door on our group hangs, so I started watching it by myself. It was better that way, anyway, because he dictated which episodes were “bad” and worth skipping. No time for that, mister. All of the episodes need to be watched! Even Beer Bad!
A gift from those friends for doing a reading at their wedding. I guess it ended well for them.
[ Spoilers from BtVS are ahead. But it’s been off of the air for years, so, really, if you don’t want to be spoiled, watch the damn show already. ]
Once again, I saw myself onscreen, both in nerdy Willow and gay Tara. And also insecure Xander, demonic Anya, knowledgeable Giles, and even kickass Buffy. Probably not in Riley, though. Thank God. “This show is so real,” I remember saying, thinking how ridiculous it was to say that about a show that takes place on a Hellmouth. But it’s true — literally high school (and eventually college) as Hell.
I always had a soft spot for Willow — nerdy, awkward, adorable. Also, Alyson Hannigan. Then she went to college, got dumped, went a little crazy, and met Tara. And I was a goner.
There I was, on that screen again.
A friend burned me a copy of the Once More with Feeling soundtrack, and I listened to Under Your Spell on repeat. In my car. Getting off the phone with my GF so I could listen to it one more time. Sitting in the parking lot of somewhere (Burgh’s? Kings? I think the GF let me go for a rare night out — Chris must not have been going) listening to it one more time, feeling my heart swell as Tara sung her feelings to Willow, explaining that she was completely taken by her. Being sad that the relationship I was in wasn’t that; trying to come to terms that I would never have that and that’s okay. That’s just not the kind of person I was, and I wasn’t capable of those kinds of feelings. I was happy enough, GF was a good-enough person, and that was…enough.
I was wrong. It wasn’t enough. I’m capable of more than I thought I was, and this is the result.*
The day I got the box set, I came home from work at 11:00pm and announced to GF that I would be staying up and watching Buffy. She just shook her head, probably. I don’t know. Maybe it spun the whole way around.
She went to bed, and I let Buffy, Willow, Tara, and the gang keep me company. My heart swelled, making me feel less alone with that sweet, sweet box set in my TV stand. Making me feel less alone than the woman sleeping in the next room did.
It’s amazing what we tell ourselves is acceptable in life, isn’t it?
We broke up, obviously. Some BS about her not being willing to put me through being with her. Some stupid, ridiculous crap where she tried to make herself out as a hero when all she wanted was out.
Best thing that ever happened to me. Not an exaggeration.
Buffy kept me company in those months after. When I needed a laugh, I’d turn on Doppelgangland, my favorite episode. When I needed a cry, The Body was the obvious choice. Wanting to be scared out of my mind? Hush. Reminded of the kind of love I wanted for myself? Seeing Red, stopping a couple of minutes before the end.
I could take this opportunity to drone on for thousands of words about the “Bury Your Gays” trope, about how a gay is brought on a show (often a lesbian), and then she’s killed for no purpose other than advancing someone else’s storyline. I could ramble about the horrible, horrible message this sends to the LGBTQ community — gays deserve to be killed, they only exist as characters to further the straight people’s journey, if you sleep with someone of the same sex, you deserve to die — but I won’t. It’s utter bullshit, and it’s rare to find a show that doesn’t do it. Not to jump ahead here, but SyFy (and the country of Canada) does it right, both with Lost Girl and (so far) Wynonna Earp.
But I won’t. Ahem.
The day after our first official date (because we really had been pre-dating for the entire week and a half beforehand — sorry if this is a surprise to the people we hung out with [Heather, Beth, Amy, Sansón]), we went for coffee with her friend/my acquaintance (now our friend) Michelle and hung out at Barnes and Noble. I somehow convinced her to come back to my place, and we sat on the couch and…watched Buffy. My rambling about how Doppelgangland is the most perfect episode is probably why she agreed to continue dating me.
Every time I watched that episode afterwards, I thought of our sweet, special date 1.5. It made me feel even less alone than before.
Chris agreed to watch the entire series while she was in California, just because it meant so much to me. I am under no delusion that it meant as much to her as it meant to me…but the fact that she did it because I meant to much to her — well, suddenly, I didn’t need to watch Doppelgangland as often, you know?
And then she took me to the bridge from Under Your Spell because I married the perfect woman.
Up next in Monica’s Blogs About Media That Means A Lot To Her…Wynonna Earp. That’s what this was supposed to be, and then I started word vomiting about Buffy, and I couldn’t stop it. No fever, though, so at least I didn’t have to pull out the cowbell.
Until next time, friends, may your stakes be pointy, your pancakes funny-shaped, your candles extra flamey, and remember — the hardest thing in this world…is to live in it, love makes you do the wacky, and bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies.
*Photo credit to Laura Kathleen Photography