Saturday, March 10, 2007

MARCH 10 1997

When I decided to stow my gear on land, I figured I’d take advantage of all the amenities the Beach had to offer. I took long showers, slept in more than 4 hour increments, washed my clothes whenever they got dirty, got a paying gig in local theater, got serious (and smarter) with a girl, and started – gulp -- watching television. I had spent years without cable (except for whatever was on the set at the end of the bar) and with remote in hand, I sought the original, the well-written, the unique.
Unique, rare. I found myself tuning in a high school cheerleader as she and her classmates fought vampires. Did what? Yep. I became a Buffaholic. I know, I wasn't in the demographic. But I discovered that other people also didn’t go to the Pub on Tuesday nights. A gruff janitor I worked with watched every week, because, as he said, “Miss Summers is a good-looking unit.” I would switch back and forth from Bruins game to latest Sunnydale exploit. Whedon's linguistics crept into regular discourse. A third- or fifth-wheel would become “a Xander.” A particular kind of woman was "a Vengeance Demon.” My job was “chock full of museum-y goodness.” To this day, I still holler at bad drivers, “What is your childhood trauma?”
I have sussed a pattern. Buffy’s Scooby Gang, the five guys who worked with Doc Savage, the Farscape crew of Moya or Serenity, the ‘bots and Joel or Mike from the Satellite of Love, the ‘71-‘72 Bruins, the 2004 Red Sox (except for Schilling) or the Clash or Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Crewmates. Teammates. A skilled clan or band all working toward a common goal. Not self-important glory-seekers, not adolescents working in their “rational self-interest,” not a misunderstood loner bending a situation to his own whim. Sure, the show was called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but would you have watched it if it were just a lone tough girl just killing things without any comic relief or older wisdom or family? Or would anyone have watched Tweedy Librarian Vampire Disliker? Sure, Mike Nelson’s RiffTrax is funny, but often just mean-spirited without Crow or Servo. Even on an America’s Cup race, a crew can work for glory, but I defy any member to claim that ship’s glory for him or herself.
So, in a couple of weeks, Joss Whedon’s latest comic book, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, hits the shops. It’ll be lunch at No Problemo and then next door to LooneyToons because I’ve invested in my community. And I’ll pick up a copy because I’ve invested in those characters. And yes, I know I’ll be the oldest person in the store. At least, I think...

No comments: