Film and TV

Summer TV Club: Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Welcome to the Hellmouth"

Due to the massive amount of season finales going on in TV land, a place where most of us writers at Art Attack live, we came up with the idea to watch (rewatch) an older show and report back on our findings in a round table like discussion filled with snark, wisdom and potentially fart jokes. Because Pete, Jef and myself were want for suggestions, we threw it out to you and, oh the suggestions we got; Magnum PI was one of my favorites but unfortunately it is not available on streaming because Tom Selleck's mustache takes up too much bandwidth. Because we got so many great suggestions, we have decided that each week we will pick a "best of episode" from a different television show. Rather than watching the same television program, this will give us a chance to sound more scattered and discombobulated, which is par for the course.

We begin with one of the greatest television shows of all time (according to you out there) Buffy the Vampire Slayer! We decided that we would go all the way back to the beginning for this one and kick off our Summer TV Club with the first Buffy episode ever, "Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest," the series' two-part pilot.

ABBY: Trying to come at this as the first episode of a show that we know nothing about what's to come, what do you think of this as the kick-off to a show? Would you still watch it if this was the first time you ever saw it? '90s clothing aside. Would you be confused by the lack of back story?

JEF: They do drop hints throughout the episode, and later on, that the Kristy Swanson Buffy is canon, so you just kind of have to accept that. When the show came out it was more or less inconceivable that you hadn't at least caught a little bit of the original flick, though trying to show to a new audience these days might require a bit of explanation.

Here, let me try!

Cheerleader gets zapped with superhuman powers in order to kill vampires and other demons, kills a pervy vampire lord, rips off Paul Ruben's arm, saves the day, but gets blamed for destroying her school and has to move.

ABBY: I was actually surprised that I was hooked already with the pilot episode (again). For some reason, I thought that rewatching it after having known how good it gets, I would be disappointed. But not at all. The characters are strong, the quips are quippy and Buffy is already a bad ass.

PETE: Revisiting the canon question (and I rewatched "Wellcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest" again a few days ago so I'm totally an expert), Principal Flutie specifically refers to her burning down the gymnasium.

Being as accustomed to Whedon as we are now, post-Serenity/Dollhouse/Avengers, it's easy to forget how unusually good the dialogue was for a show (especially a WB show). "You look like DeBarge?" "Don't go all Wild Bunch on me?" That's gold, Jerry.

ABBY: Something that struck me as not gold though, there is no way in hell that Willow would talk to a guy/follow him (vamp or not) or believe that a guy slightly good looking would be into her. I did not believe that. Do you think she would really have made out with him? He's like 40. Discuss.

JEF: Considering the whole idea remains, "Dumb girl that walks into a monster's bitey rape trap turns out to be the thing monsters fear," I'm pretty cool with allowing dumb actions to slide. Whatever gets us to the kung fu is fine with me.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig