‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: One Slayer’s Portrayal Would Never Fly Today

by Jeremy Spirogis
l-r: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Charisma Carpenter, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green in a parking lot on

What ’90s child may ever neglect Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The second this teen present aired in 1997 it was an enormous hit and went on for a complete of seven seasons till its inevitable (however nonetheless heartbreaking) sequence finale in 2003. It impressed a whole era of sweet sixteen women to wish to develop into precisely like Buffy, going to a daily highschool by day and slaying evil vampires by night time.

Although Buffy the Vampire Slayer is now a cult basic and there’s so many issues we love about it, there’s one space the place the present at all times struggled: racial variety. The characters had been performed by primarily white actors, and when there was lastly a Black character on the present, she was portrayed in such a problematic approach that will by no means fly in today’s progressive local weather.

l-r: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Charisma Carpenter, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green in a parking lot on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
(L-R) Sarah Michelle Gellar, Charisma Carpenter, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green | Getty Images

What is ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ about?

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The titular character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is excellently performed by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who has gone on to star in different movies and marry ’90s heartthrob Freddie Prinze Junior. The present follows a younger lady named Buffy, who’s, sure, a vampire slayer, but additionally lives a traditional teenage life in lots of different methods. Buffy slays vampires and different legendary creatures alongside together with her pals, but additionally navigates romantic relationships (with, sarcastically, a vampire) and teenage rivalry all through the present’s 7 seasons.

The present was so immensely widespread that it even resulted in a spin-off sequence known as Angel, which options one in all Buffy’s love pursuits who’s a vampire with a soul. There’s additionally been speak of a Buffy reboot, which might carry pleasure to each lady world wide who grew up within the ’90s.

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is missing in variety

RELATED: ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: Cordelia Was Supposed to Be Played by a Black Actress

Although Buffy was many teenagers’ favourite present and truly might have been forward of its occasions in different areas like celebrating ladies, it’s laborious to disclaim that it’s severely missing in a single space: racial variety. There are virtually no characters of colour on the present, which sadly wasn’t that uncommon throughout that point.

Actually, one of many present’s protagonists, Cordelia Chase, was imagined to be performed by a Black actor. The present’s creator, Joss Whedon, truly needed to forged a Black actor however was met by pushback from the community. Whedon’s former PA wrote a tell-all e-book about Buffy and revealed: “Originally, Joss was looking for a Black actress for the role of Cordelia. But one of the stumbling blocks there was the way we knew Joss anticipated the relationships shifting and changing. There was some concern at the network at the time that interracial relationships would be problematic.” 

It’s unhappy, however not stunning, that even within the ’90s, mainstream media didn’t wish to painting one thing as stunning as interracial love.

The problematic portrayal of the one of many few Black ladies characters

Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually solely portrayed one outstanding Black lady, and that was Kendra. Kendra, performed by Bianca Lawson, was a vampire slayer from Jamaica, in line with ScreenRant, who was killed after showing in solely three episodes in season two.

It’s problematic sufficient that one of many solely Black characters on Buffy bought such little display screen time, however what was actually problematic about Kendra’s character was her weird accent. Perhaps as a result of she was Black, Lawson was compelled to imitate a Jamaican accent, though why she couldn’t have been a Black American character is past us. Lawson performs the character splendidly, however the accent makes Kendra get handled as if she’s an unique different. It’s much more problematic that Buffy truly makes enjoyable of Kendra’s accent within the present after they get into some arguments. This sort of factor would get Buffy “canceled” within the eyes of the general public today, and we hope that if there’s ever a reboot, the producers will do a greater job at making a extra inclusive present.

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