Welcome to the Hellmouth: Representations of Helplessness in Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s “The Body”

When Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered in 1997, fans and critics fell in love with the show’s witty banter, creative and insightful retellings of the average high schooler’s struggles and, perhaps most of all, its sharp, strong heroine. Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) was relatable—she fell for the wrong guys and wore questionable clothing—but she was also aspirational. Almost every episode featured Buffy battling it out with various vamps. “Patrolling,” in which Buffy, stake in hand, played one-woman neighborhood watch, was part of the show’s vernacular, and Buffy prided herself on punning while slaying. Watching Buffy land a perfect roundhouse kick or stake to the heart while her blonde ponytail bounced perkily was undeniably part of the show’s appeal. A sad rarity, viewers were treated to a woman with punch—literally. Continue reading