Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


1. (original meaning) Adding information to the back story of a fictional character or world, without invalidating that which had gone before.
- Urban Dictonary

A few months ago we took out a subscription to Lovefilm Instant, which among other things has given me dangerously unfettered access to Buffy episodes. I have been indulging in a fit of nostalgia and watching the entire thing, all 7 series, from start to finish.

Watching the early seasons of Buffy is like looking back at my own teenage years. The main characters are supposed to be mere months younger that me; the clothing, hair, technology and mannerisms are all those of my own generation.

As I was watching the first season, I couldn't help paying extra attention to the character of Willow, who as anyone familiar with the series will know, later becomes/realises she is a lesbian. For those who are not familiar, teen-Willow has a crush on a boy, slightly-older-teen-Willow has a relationship with a boy, but early-20s Willow has two successive relationships with women. I don't know - I haven't read up on it - whether this was always something that Joss Whedon intended, or whether it developed as the seasons went on.

When I look back at my own high school years, there are some things that stick out glaringly as signs that I was gay and didn't know it. The way I blushed and stuttered when speaking to girls. The way I couldn't quite 'get' crushing on the usual cute boy celebrities and had to pretend as best I could. The way I craved "intense friendships" with girls and didn't quite know what that meant.

As I watch these early seasons, I can't help looking for the same signs in Willow... and imagining them, where I can. Imagining in her unknowing proto-lesbian character my own proto-lesbian self.

It's surprisingly therapeutic to overlay the past with the future, to see in earlier events the shadow of later events that the players in those events could not even imagine.


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