Friday, March 21, 2008

Once More ... Once More: The Buffy The Vampire Slayer Reunion

So ... the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reunion was last night and I am having a hard time figuring out how to adequately relay my experience. Because I was allowed access unlike any other person there last night, I really want to convey first, how lucky and extremely thankful I feel to have enjoyed such access and second, I want to share as much of the experience as I can. I may end up tweaking this post a bit as I am able to better process last night's events. Let's get the bummer stuff out of the way first. For reasons that were not explained last night, Alyson Hannigan and Eliza Dushku did not attend last night's reunion. I'm sure there was no malicious intent by their absence but my fear was that something went wrong or that someone got ill or something. They were sorely missed last night. But everyone else who was confirmed to attend did attend. I was EXTREMELY fortunate to go as Amber Benson's personal guest ... this meant that I got to go everywhere Amber did. I ended up spending the whole night by Amber's side (except when she was on stage for the panel discussion) with the entire Buffy cast all night long. I cannot express how amazing that was for me. Amber was truly my angel ... she took great pains to make sure I was having fun and that I got to meet everyone. I will never be able to thank her properly for the experience. But let's get to things in order.

Here are a few red carpet pics of the Buffy folk who attended last night's reunion event, hosted by the Paley Center at the Arc Light Cinema Dome:

Photo credit: Wireimage

It was so surreal seeing everyone altogether ... they all got along as if it was a high school reunion. They were sharing baby pics with one another, lots of hugging and lots of "OMG you look great!". The cast members and I stayed in the green room while the episode Once More With Feeling was being screened in the Cinema Dome for the attendees. They did broadcast the ep on a big screen TV in the green room and Amber got all shy when her scenes came on. It was really cute. I was trying to get her to sing to me as if I was Willow but she wasn't interested ;) [Source]

I'm not sure whose idea it was but one of the cast members decided to rally the others to go outside to sign some autographs for the fans who couldn't make it inside for the panel discussion. So they all went outside, Sarah Michelle Gellar included, to say hello to the fans. It was really the coolest thing I saw last night. There were fans who flew in from Australia for the event, it was really remarkable.

Anyways, because I was with Amber and the cast all night, I was able to snap some intimate and fun pics of the Buffy folks hanging out with each other and hanging out with some of the fans outside ... here are some of my pics:

Then it was time for the panel discussion ... here are a few of my pics from inside the Cinema Dome of the actual event:

Here are a few of my copious notes that I typed into my BlackBerry as the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reunion panel was going on. I tried to jot down the more important/interesting aspects of the reunion so that y'all could have a pretty good feel for everything that was discussed last night. I'm sure I missed a few things but, really, I don't think I missed anything major ... so here goes, more or less in chronological order of discussion:

Sarah Michelle Gellar revealed that the hardest episode for her to tackle was Hush, which she found odd since there was hardly any dialog in the ep.

Michelle Trachtenberg revealed that she came down with a case of psychosomatic tonsillitis when she found out that she would have to sing in the musical episode, One More With Feeling.

Nicholas Brendon was cracking jokes thruout the entire discussion, he seemed to be in ADD overdrive ... he was very Xander on stage. Seth Green also cracked a lot of jokes, his were very sharp, witty and right on cue.

When asked if the musical episode would ever be brought to Broadway, Joss Whedon revealed that he would like to bring a Buffy story to Broadway, just not the musical episode Once More With Feeling (saying that it wouldn't work as a full-blown musical because it is merely an episode on a TV show). A real Broadway show would have to start from scratch. Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters, Seth Green, Amber Benson and producer Marti Noxon all said they would happily sign on if Joss did write a Buffy Broadway musical ... SMG said she would not sign on saying, "I'm out!"

Sarah Michelle Gellar said that season 6 was tough for her overall since she has a hard time separating herself from the character of Buffy thruout the course of the series ... since the things that Buffy was going thru in season 6 were so foreign to her she had a tough time of it overall.

Marti Noxon made the comment that, "Joss wasn't happy unless Buffy cried" referring to all the horrible things he put Buffy thru in the course of the series.

Sarah Michelle Gellar explained that Joss took all the horrible things about youth and molded them into the monsters that were the bad guys on the show ... this is what she believes makes the show so relatable to so many people.

Sarah Michelle Gellar revealed that she had *just* learned about the same-sex incident that Buffy got herself into in the comic book series and that she was unprepared to answer the question when it was asked of her on the red carpet.

Joss Whedon likened Buffy's same-sex incident in the current Season 8 comic book series to an experimental college experience.

Joss Whedon said there is a possibility of another Buffy the Vampire Slayer project but that "so many stars would have to align" for it to actually come to be and that he thinks it'd be "really cool" if something came to be. Nicholas Brendon joked that it could be called, "Xander: the one-eyed Monster"

Michelle Trachtenberg revealed that she feels "honored" that she was able to play such a pivotal role in the episode The Body. The ep made her feel as if she was losing a part of herself and it really allowed the audience, for the first time, to really connect with (instead of hate) the Dawn character.

Sarah Michelle Gellar offered that she had more time to prepare for the death of Buffy's mother Joyce (played by Kristine Sutherland) and still had a hard time dealing with the emotional impact of Joyce's death (especially since she is so close to her own mother and she could not imagine losing her). She had a half day to prepare for the scene where she finds her mother's body and the 3-minute scene was shot on a handycam, which was the only scene shot that day. She loves that the show constantly broke the rules, every rule in TV show making.

Joss Whedon revealed that the ep The Body intentionally used no music, he wanted it to have the same feel as the Hitchcock movie The Birds which also used no music in key parts of the movie.

Emma Caufield revealed that she had to go to the bathroom in the worst way when she shot her poignant monologue scene in The Body. Her tears were actually generated from a need to go to the bathroom.

Joss Whedon said that Joyce Summers (played by Kristine Sutherland) was the most underrated character of the series.

Amber Benson said that she had no idea that she and Alyson Hannigan would become lovers when she signed on for the show. They were taken aside 3 eps into her tenure on the show and they were complimented on their "good chemistry", then they were told about their burgeoning relationship. She says the beauty of the show is that it has heart. Her quote was, "Joss wants to touch you guys" which caused the audience to erupt in laughter.

David Greenwalt (producer) talked about how The WB network called him and asked directly, "are you really gonna do the 'gay thing'?" Joss said the network told him that they had already had "too much gay" that year (on Dawson's Creek, etc.) and then they tried to get him to cut out the same-sex kiss between Willow and Tara, he in turn seriously threatened to pack up his office and quit. Joss also revealed that it wasn't "the kiss ep" that caused the network to lose advertising dollars ... it was the ep where Buffy started working at a fast food restaurant (the Doublemeat Palace) that caused ad revenue to drop.

Charisma Carpenter says that she felt it was the right move for her character, Cordelia Chase, to move on to Angel. David Greenwalt said there would've been no Angel series without her ... James Marsters said that when she left Buffy he became the new Cordelia.

Charisma Carpenter says she was afraid Angel would fail but Joss took her for a walk and told her, "you will always have a net here at Buffy". She also revealed that Joss liked to pretend to fire people (Marti Noxon confirmed this).

Joss Whedon said he didn't put Buffy on The WB to win Emmys (in response as to why the show didn't win more awards).

The panel was asked what their fave movies were and what was on their iPods at the moment ... movie choices varied from the South Park movie Bigger, Longer and Uncut (SMG) to Pulp Fiction (Emma Caufield), music choices varied from Beck and Nirvana (James Marsters) to Britney Spears and Abba (Michelle Trachtenberg).

Joss Whedon promises that Oz will show up in the comic book story arc, says that Buffy was mature enough at 13 to date Angel (their relationship was about love, it might not have been legal but it was real).

Seth Green revealed that the thing he misses most about being on the show was showing up at his trailer only to find that David Boreanaz had already pooped in it ... he swears it's a true story (and that Boreanaz is proud of it). Michelle revealed that she misses sneaking into SMG's trailer to pet her shoes and that she also misses sneaking up to hang out with the writers hoping to convince them to let her hang with the "cool kids".

Sarah Michelle Gellar says that playing the Buffybot kept things fresh and new for her, it allowed her to find the essence of Buffy and that she thought it was "fun" being Spike's sex slave.

And that was pretty much all that was discussed. Most of the discussion was lead by the moderator from TV Guide (who, IMHO, wasn't all that great to be honest) but that last few topics were asked by folks in the audience. Also, Michelle Trachtenberg (who's lovely mother and sister I got to meet in the green room) confirmed officially from her own mouth that she has joined the cast of Gossip Girl so we can deffo be on the lookout for her on the show.

I have to give a shout out to a few Pink readers who I got to meet last night ... I want to say hey to Kathie (who does the amazing blog Give Me My Remote) and Carla (who is pictured above).

Because of the intimate nature of my access last night (ie. with Amber) I wasn't able to get pics with the cast members (it would've been weird under the circumstances) but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I was able to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event unlike any other person in attendance last night ... and for that I will be forever grateful. I got to bond a bit with Nicholas Brendon's girlfriend, I got to chit chat with Emma Caufield and I got a really sweet hug from Sarah Michelle Gellar herself! No picture or autograph could ever top that. So it must be known publically that I am forever indebted to Ms. Amber Benson. Her kindness and generosity is truly remarkable ... I cannot say enough how thankful I am for the experience. Much love goes out to her boyfriend Adam Busch who gave up his ticket for the event so that I could go in his place.

So that was it ... the whole kit and caboodle. All of my pics from last night have been uploaded to for your viewing pleasure. If I neglected to include anything, I'll make sure to update accordingly. And now ... I'm off to NYC.