Saturday, December 19, 2009

Twilight vs. Buffy*


Fact is, I like the Twilight series. I really enjoyed the books in a self-indulgent kind of way and I've liked the movies too. For the past two or three years, everyone has had vampire fever. And supposedly Twilight spawned it all. And as the author and others tell it, the stories aren't so much about vampires per se, but about the challenges a teenager must overcome and face in dealing with love. The vampire element is just a spicy metaphor. And I buy that.

But the thing is, someone told this whole story before. And they told it well. Very well. And I think its cult-classic status is getting overshadowed by the Twilight saga. And that other story, my friends, is the television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In so many ways, Twilight and Buffy are super similar. In an interview with Stephenie Meyer, she admitted that she'd never seen the series and knew very little about it, and her sister was surprised because Twilight and Buffy are so similar (her sister is a Buffy fan).

So, I think it's high time they took each other on. Here goes.

MOST LIKEABLE HEROINE:

Twilight: Bella Swan is sulky, self-conscious, klutzy, and completely centered around her vampire crush. She would do anything for those she loves - she's even been willing to die for them.

Buffy: A shallow teenager in denial about her destiny, Buffy Summers is vain, self-centered, and witty, with a heart of gold. As the chosen one, she is definitely a kick-butt kind of heroine. When it comes down to the wire, Buffy steps up to the plate and does her duty. She's also willing to die for those she loves (and countless schoolmates and strangers that she doesn't even like). In fact, she has laid down her life. Twice.

WINNER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 
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VAMPIRES

Twilight: Much long-standing vampire lore is tossed aside and replaced with sparkly vampires who can go out in daylight, who don't have fangs, and have no need to fear a wooden stake.

Buffy: More traditional lore. Regular looking when they need to be, but they "morph" into a demonic fanged vampire when they are ready to fight or feed. No daylight, no crosses, no wooden stakes, no garlic.

WINNER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Sorry, I like my vampires fangy, flawed, and actually menacing.)


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WEREWOLVES

Twilight: These werewolves are more like shape shifters. They look exactly like wolves but are large. Their pack instincts/abilities are pretty cool and believable.

Buffy: Traditional lore with someone turning into a wolf only at night and only during the three nights surrounding the full-moon. They cannot control what they do in wolf form, often killing and eating people. The wolf costumes are horrible and seeing Seth Green romp around on his hands and knees just doesn't do it for me.

WINNER: Twilight


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VAMPIRE BOYFRIEND(S)

Twilight: Edward Cullen has massive amounts of self-control and refrains from eating humans in general and Bella specifically. Instead, he eats wild animals. He "lives" just to love her and protect her. He is handsome, egotistical, overprotective, and brooding. Oh yeah, and he sparkles.

Buffy: Angel is 260 years old and a gypsy curse restored his soul, giving him the remorse he needs to have the same self-control Edward manifests plus heapings of guilt to atone for his for his violent indiscretions. He buys pig blood from the butcher shop rather than kill people or feed off street rats. He protects Buffy as much as he can without minimizing her abilities. He is handsome, self-deprecating, and brooding.

Spike also must be mentioned. A vicious vampire with a sadistic sense of humor, he eventually falls in love with Buffy and intentionally seeks out a way to have his soul restored to make himself worthy of her. He is selfish, colorful, and loyal. And it must be mentioned that he, too, is freakin' hot.

WINNER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer


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TEAR-WORTHY MOMENT

Twilight: Thinking that he's doing what's right for Bella, Edward breaks up with Bella in the woods and leaves Forks.

Buffy: After a moment of true happiness, the gypsy curse is undone and Angel loses his soul. In order to save the world, Buffy has to run her true love through with a sword. Oh, and then there's also the time that Angel thinks he's doing what's right for Buffy and breaks up with her right before prom and leaves Sunnydale forever.

WINNER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer


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VILLAINS:

Twilight: James sets up an intricate ruse to lure Bella to Phoenix, making her think she's protecting her mother. He's vicious and sexy. Victoria wants revenge and will stop at nothing to avenge her dead lover. The Volturi are ominous and ancient and will stop at nothing to protect their secret world. Yet, they're pretty much a "leave us alone and we'll leave you alone" group of vampires.

Buffy: With seven seasons, there are seven different villains. The best though include the Mayor, a germophobic, family-oriented demon, Glory, the haughty, couture-loving hell god, and, Angel, Buffy's true love whom she must kill after an unexpected event takes Angel's soul away.

WINNER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer


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BEST SIDE-KICKS

TwilightTwilight definitely lacks in this area. So much focus is on Edward and Bella that there isn't much periphery. But Jacob is entertaining (and hot) and Alice definitely ranks high for being Bella's truest friend.

Buffy:  Willow qualifies as the world's best. friend. ever. From Cordelia, to Anya, to Giles, to Andrew, Buffy's supporting cast is colorful, hilarious, and worthy of the spotlights they have.

WINNER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer


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BEST GRATUITOUS NUDITY

Twilight: Ah, that first scene where Jacob takes his shirt off. The camera angle. The rippling washboard abs. Definitely over-the-top and oh-so-swoon-worthy.

Buffy: Riley and Spike both had great bodies, and Spike's shirtlessness was not always necessary but still delish.

WINNER: Tie

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BEST LOVE TRIANGLE

Twilight: Edward and Jacob both love Bella deeply and would do anything for her - including letting her go and find true happiness with the other. 

Buffy: Angel and Spike used to pal around and hunt together for over a century, now both ensouled and in love with the same woman, their rivalry continues. However Angel loves Buffy enough to know she's better off without him and stays away. Spike has no such self-control and involves Buffy in a self-destructive relationship.

WINNER: Twilight The tent scene in Eclipse is classic, with Edward reading all of Jacob's thoughts as Jacob provides the safety and warmth that Edward cannot.


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BEST METAPHOR:

Twilight: Love is hard and there are always obstacles when your lovers are star-crossed.

Buffy: High school is hell. Literally. Oh, and the metaphor of a guy changing after you give yourself to him. We've all been there. And girls who will do anything to get on the cheer squad (like witchcraft). And all our idle fantasies of blowing up the school and having the principal get eaten.

WINNER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The metaphors are obvious, funny, and have a stronger message and payoff.
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OVERALL WINNER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has better plots, more intensity, higher stakes, more memorable characters, more human foibles, and is hands-down a much more compelling story. I still have love for the Twilight saga, but Buffy beats it hands down. If you're into the vampire craze, go retro and check out this phenomenal series. No wonder it's such a cult classic. Funny, witty, dramatic, intense, and chock-full of smart dialogue.

I love me some Buffy.





* I know I am totally a nerd. No need to point it out.

5 comments:

Jamie Boyd said...

You made me want to watch Buffy.

Meagan said...

Hmmm. I never got into Buffy. I think the Bella's character is more believable from the standpoint of if I suddenly found out there were vampires and werewolves I'd probably be a klutz and freak out all the time rather than a butt-kicking hot chick who stakes them.

Chad and Tina said...

This is great!! I want to share this with everyone!!!

Jennie Smith said...

I love Buffy too! Much better than Twilight in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Meagan; it's true that we can't all be superheroes, and that is the point of Buffy. She's the one who HAS to fight the baddies, being the Slayer, and her friends who are just average humans have to try and keep up with her. We can see completely believable human characters as well.
On the other hand, I really hope that you wouldn't be like Bella if there were vampires in the world, because she has no character development and is pretty annoying. All of the time. To me Bella is the unbelievable character. At least in Buffy we know the reason why she is sometimes annoying, and there is significant character development throughout the series.
So conclusion, sure Twilight can be a fun read if you're into it, but if you want vampire romance, drama, humour and action go with Buffy.

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