Tonight my family and I watched a couple of episodes of season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My daughter has really gotten into it, and it has led to many interesting conversations about how to treat other people, relationships, and the reality of vampires, not to mention the fascination I have with seeing which pop culture references she understands.
But tonight included a famous episode called “Family,” which is the one where we find out why Willow’s girlfriend, Tara, messed up a demon-finding spell in a previous episode and doesn’t want to try it again in this one. The main plot of the story is about Tara trying to hide what she thinks she is because her family has shown up to take her away, only to discover she is just a regular young woman and has been completely accepted by “the Scoobies.” But what really made this episode memorable is the dance between Tara and Willow at the end of the episode when they talk about the love they have for each other.
In 2000, as I watched this episode with some friends, it was a big deal seeing two women on network television embrace and discuss their love for each other as any other couple in love might. Joss Whedon, who did write and direct the episode, does NOT make it a big deal. It’s just the end of the story as the couple is reaffirmed despite Tara’s fears of rejection earlier in the show. But it was sort of a pinnacle of a lesbian relationship and one did not see that on TV as a purely normal thing fourteen years ago.
Tonight, my nearly-eleven-year-old daughter didn’t bat an eyelash or ask a single question. She just saw a couple of women in love dancing together, and it was like watching any two young people in love to her. My wife and I talked about it afterwards, and we both remembered the episode as being a pretty big deal when we first saw it. We also agreed that we liked that our daughter did NOT see it as a big deal.
The Kid has grown up knowing couples of several variations, and we have always told her that it doesn’t matter who you love as long as that person, male or female, loves you back and respects who you are. Tonight proved our parenting worked, but also proved that there is hope in the following generations that all people can be seen as equals and some day, hopefully soon, this blog post will be completely obsolete and laughable.