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September 29, 1998 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-29

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 29, 1998

Strong and
weak make
'Buffy' good
b Michael Galloway
hily IV/Multimedia Editor
Welcome to Sunnydale High School, where vam-
)ires roam, the mortality rate keeps climbing and the
caching staff and student body are completely oblivi-
)us.
Well, not completely, but most people would have
;uspected something amiss awhile back.
Fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" have been
agerly awaiting tonight's season premiere to find out
A.hat happened to Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who
an away from home after a falling out with her moth-
,r (Kristine Sutherland), and Angel (David Boreanaz),
ier vampire boyfriend whom she was forced to kill.
And to add even more angst to it all, she didn't kill
urm when he was still being a jerk. No, he got his soul
q ck, so he was the Angel she knew and fell in love
j ith. But the portal to Hell could only be shut by
illing him. So in a scene almost as poignant as when
;pock died in "Star Trek II" (I'm three-quarters seri-

I

Cone l

ties

6

love and loss

Buffy The
Vampire
Slayer
The WB
Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

ous here), she thrust the sword
through her vampire lover's
chest, sending him to Hell but
saving Earth and Sunnydale
once more.
Sound incredibly melodra-
matic? Or maybe just verging on
the ridiculous?
Well, it is. In fact, "Buffy the
Vampire Slayer" is nothing short
of a comic book, with cliffhang-
er endings, ominous interludes
and long anticipated confronta-
tions.
Keep that in mind, and
"Buffy" becomes endlessly

Courtesy of the WB
David Boreanaz, Anthony Stewart Head, Alyson Hannigan, Seth Green, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon,
Charisma Carpenter fight the forces of evil in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

entertaining. The show is such a
)arody of high school life. Angel is the boyfriend you
ust don't know any more, especially since his charac-
er transformation came right after having sex with
Suffy. The "Buffy" version of the Invisible Man was a
;irl who wasn't just unpopular, but unknown, and so
inknown that she actually ceased to be visible. Then
here's Willow's (Alyson Hannigan ) boyfriend, Oz
Seth Green), who confuses her by showing interest
)ut keeping her at distance. Then it's discovered that
ic's a werewolf, so they just have to chain him up once
i month.
Tonight's episode, "Anne," will be no disappoint-
nent to fans anxiously waiting to see what has hap-
)ened to our favorite neighborhood vampire slayer.
If I say anything about it, it'll ruin it (plus the WB
ietwork would be upset at me), but a special no-prize
o anyone who catches the visual gag that makes
3uffy a hero of the worker.
For those who aren't fans of the show, here's a quick
)lot synopsis. Every generation has one girl, known as
he Slayer, who alone has the strength and skill to fight

vampires, assorted spawn of hell and any other super-
natural jerks. Not all are cute and spunky, just most of
them. Buffy is our generation's Slayer. She and her
recently divorced mom had moved to Sunnydale after
being kicked out of her former school for burning the
gym down (a vampire slaying incident).
In Sunnydale, she has found a new Watcher, an
instructor in the ways of demons and a trainer by the
name of Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), whose
Oxford Degree and incredible credentials easily land-
ed him a job as the school's librarian. Buffy has also
befriended Willow, an unpopular, aptly named wall-
flower.
Both she and her best friend Xander know Buffy is
the Slayer and are her trusty sidekicks, along with
Willow's love interest Oz and Xander's make-out
buddy, the self-absorbed Cordelia (Charisma "former
San Diego Chargers Cheerleader" and "There's no
way I'm in high school" Carpenter).
Now, Buffy has been kicked out by Principal
Snyder (Armin Shimerman or Quark on "Star Trek:
Deep Space Nine"), who knows much more about
who Buffy is then he lets on, and Buffy has run away
from home after a falling out with her mom (Kristine
Sutherland).
Most of the credit for this show, which is actual-
ly smarter than it first appears, goes to the show's
executive producer, Joss Whedon, who also wrote
"Alien Resurrection," "Speed," "Toy Story" and,
regrettably (though it eventually led to something

greater), the movie version of "Buffy the Vampire
Slayer."
The show's star, Sarah Michelle Cellar, also
deserves credit for the continued practice at kickbox-
ing and for good melodrama. Hey, she won an Emmy
for her role on the soap opera, "All My Children," so
she must know how to overact.
Some honorable mentions need to be given out in
the acting category. Xander is often the comic relief,
and Brendon delivers the punchlines with high school
style sarcasm. Boreanaz was much better at being the
evil and soulless Angel than at being the moping but
good boyfriend.
James Marsters shows a lot of style and humor as
the bloodsucking villain Spike, and Juliet Landau also
delivered some good performances as the insane and
flighty Drusilla.
But Seth Green, Oz, is the scene stealer. You never
know what he's going to say, and it always ends up
being funny or at least original. Part of that may be the
writing, but few actors could make the role work.
Still, "Buffy" is not really an acting showcase. In
fact, the bad episodes of the show can be as much as
the good ones just because you sit back and make sar-
castic remarks. Actually, you can do that with every
episode, but that's the point.
Even when it's bad, it's good. You're entertained. If
you can't buy into the fantastic or silly, avoid "Buffy"
at all costs. Otherwise, you should be following the
continuing adventures of the uncanny Buffy.

Sarah Conley
Ellen Gilchrist
Back Bay Books
Lost love, lost friendship, lost
life. Ellen Gilchrist's newest
novel, "Sarah Conley," is not
only a story of losses, but of a
titular character whose strong
personality deals with the ghosts
of her past with vibrant energy.
Ellen Gilchrist is the accom-
plished writer of 15 books, one
of which won the coveted
National Book Award in 1984.
The complex character and plot
that Gilchrist creates in "Sarah
Conley" puts this book in the
same ring with
her others.
Sarah ..h
Conley, a;GM
successful
52-year-old
writer and
"Time" maga-
zine editor, is
forced to reexamine
lurking emotions
when a childhood
friend calls Sarah to her
deathbed. This figurative
visit to her past subsequently pre-
sents Sarah with the choice of
being with the man she has always
loved or continuing to pursue her
ever-rewarding career.
In addition to her past love
affair, Sarah runs into many
aspects of her life that her fast-
paced New York City lifestyle
has allowed her to forget.
Through this gradual revealing
of her past, the reader comes to
completely understand Sarah
Conley.
The strength that Sarah
exhibits despite past hardships is
unparalleled. She is a woman of
steel, a woman of ideas and
ideals pjaced upon her by her-
self. The possible love affair is
an indulgence that this self-suffi-
cient woman logically knows she
should not take, yet she is tempt-
ed. And the beautiful, romantic

scenery in which the novel takes
place does not help her logi. .
Gilchrist's descriptions are
detailed and breathtaking. She
uses beautiful and striking
imagery that masterfully draws
the readers into the center of
Paris, as if they, too, are walking
by the Seine. The same descrip-
tive prose is used to transport the
reader to an old farmhouse in
Tennessee and even to Conley's
small-town birthplace, Tyler, Ky.
Along with stunning images*
Gilchrist's writing is filled with
the same wittiness that her title
character embodies. Such humor
gives insight on how Sarah her-
self handles her serious prob-
lems.
And, mirroring Sarah's
complexity, the
novel's plot is filled
with twists that
constantly keep
the reader guess-
ing.
Sarah Conley
focuses on the
strengths of a
love, of a
friendship, of a
family, of one
woman. The
timeless binds between Sarah and
these relations are underlined, as
is Sarah's strength of character.
What makes the story interest-
ing, however, is Sarah's fall from
her pedestal of strength, for the
reader then sees the beauty of
human weakness. Through
Sarah, the reader sees the impor-
tance of occasionally letting raw
emotion overcome logic, even if
strength is compromised.
Sarah Conley is an unforget-@
table literary character. Her trag-
ic past has only created a beauti
fully complex character that the
reader can not only identify with,
but strive to become.
This novel is about a rekindled
love affair, but more importantly,
it focuses on the strengths and
tender weaknesses of one very
interesting woman.
- Gina Hamadey.*

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