Buffy Summers saved the world, a lot. She did it with style and strength, but also with the genuine vulnerability of a teenage girl in an overwhelming situation. 20 years ago this month, Buffy aired its first episode and I was immediately hooked. I was older than the intended audience to be sure, but she spoke to me anyway. With Joss Whedon at the reins, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has given us some of the best quotes of the 90s. Below are some of my favorites.
“OK, I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming whatever the hell it is I’m gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and… maybe one day I turn around and realize I’m ready. I’m cookies. And then, you know, if I want someone to eat— or enjoy warm, delicious cookie me, then, that’s fine. That’ll be then. When I’m done.” – Buffy
“When I say ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the one, Buffy.” – Spike
“To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It’s-it’s… it’s not done because people deserve it. It’s done because they need it.” – Giles
“But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s, there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And, and Xander’s crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.” – Anya
“Passion…it lies in all of us. Sleeping. Waiting. And though unwanted, unbidden…It will stir…Open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us, guides us. Passion rules us all and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love…the clarity of hatred…and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms: shuttered and dank. Without passion…we’d be truly dead.” -Angelus
“The first day of kindergarten, you cried because you broke the yellow crayon and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You’ve come pretty far. Ending the world — not a terrific notion…But the thing is…yeah, I love you. I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love scary, veiny Willow. So if I’m goin’ out, it’s here. If you wanna kill the world, well, then start with me. I’ve earned that.” – Xander
“I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles… tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I’m OK. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world… is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.” – Buffy
“So here’s the part where you make a choice: What if you could have that power…now? In every generation, one slayer is born…because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power…should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a slayer…will be a slayer. Every girl who could have the power…will have the power…can stand up, will stand up. …every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?” – Buffy
If I missed your favorite, let us know in the comments.
Helen is the Assistant Buyer at the Half Price Books wholesale division Texas Bookman.