This story first appeared in the May 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Reassemble the staff of cult favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the conversation quickly devolves into a barrage of rapid-fire quips. Asked what he learned from his experience in the writers room, for instance, show creator Joss Whedon deadpans, “Do it all yourself.”
If Buffy were on the air today, however, he wonders whether network executives would encourage his staff to “make her more passive.”
David Fury notes that Buffy, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, probably would have to be more likable. “We don’t like it when the characters are angry with each other and have conflicts,” he says, mimicking a network exec.
Between poses, the group — still close a decade later, though years sometimes pass between reunions — reflects on the early signs of connecting with the supernatural drama’s fans at Comic-Con and on Internet message boards; a British imposter who claimed to be part of a showrunners exchange program and conned them into paying for pricey lunches; and the show’s longer-term impact on the writers’ collective careers.
Says Drew Z. Greenberg, “Every meeting I go into, Buffy is still the first …” — but before he can complete his thought, Rebecca Sinclair jokingly interjects, “… thing he says.”
Douglas Petrie demonstrates the stunned look he gets when encountering female fans of the show, and Whedon reveals the reaction he often receives from a younger demographic. “I’ve been meeting a lot of beautiful young women who say, ‘My mom loved that show,’ or, ‘I wasn’t allowed to watch it because I was too young,'” he says, adding: “I’m like, ‘Shut your bitch mouth!‘ I’m very gracious. Can you put that in italics to show that I’m joking?”