TV Wisdom: 17 Things We Learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

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The whole of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 1 was a commentary on the issues facing teenagers, manifested as the monster of the week. Underneath the overarching themes though, there were many lessons to be found. 

In this post, we discuss 17 lessons that Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1 taught us.

Refresh yourself on the pilot episode that started it all by checking out our rewatch review and comment your own lessons that Buffy taught you over the years. 

1. Never Underestimate a Pretty Girl

Never Trust a Pretty Girl with an Ugly Secret - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Something important for Joss Whedon when creating Buffy was the concept of a beautiful, unassuming girl being this force of nature who kicked ass on a weekly basis. It is a theme that we see throughout the show's seven seasons.

Even in the case of Darla, it was easy for her date to assume she was sweet and innocent, but you never know what someone is really made of. 

2. Listen to Your Dreams

This is What Dream are Made Of  - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

They're most likely trying to tell you something. 

Sure maybe we don't all have prophetic dreams like Buffy does, but our dreams are often our subconscious trying to process our life. 

If you pay close enough attention to your dreams, you might find the answer to the question that you've been looking for.

Related: 9 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes We'll Never Forget

3.You Are More Than Who You Are on Paper 

On Second Thought - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

It was easy for Principal Flutie to assume the worst of Buffy, after all, not many people burn down their school's gym. 

Buffy wasn't simply just those words on paper, though. That goes for all of us. 

Maybe you had terrible grades in school. Maybe you haven't won countless accolades. That doesn't mean that there aren't hundreds of extraordinary things about you. 

After all, Buffy's slayer abilities could never be measured on a standardized test. That didn't stop her from saving the world. A lot. 

4. First Impressions Aren't Everything 

Those Crazy LA Kids - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Xander and Buffy ending being incredible friends, but if Xander had listened to his first impression of her, he might have run in the opposite direction. 

Dropping stakes around school and talking about vampires with the school librarian don't exactly scream "Be my friend." 

It is so easy for us to meet someone and trust those initial instincts about them, but when we do that we risk missing out on someone great. 

5. Just Because You Have Everything in Common, Doesn't Mean You Have to Be Friends

A Match Made in Heaven? - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Buffy and Cordelia seemed like they would be fast friends when they met on Buffy's first day of school. They had so much in common so how could they not be? 

Maybe before Buffy became the Slayer, that would have been enough, but not anymore. 

It is human nature to stick to things we know, and that means people who are very similar to us. By breaking out of our comfort zones, though, we can expand our interests and find people we connect to on deeper levels.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Welcome to the Hellmouth

6. Reading Is Good for the Soul

Some Light Reading - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Sure, maybe Vampyr wouldn't be my idea of a rainy day read but don't forget kids, reading is fun! 

7. Opposites Attract

New Friends - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Similar to not just being friends with someone because they have things in common with you, it is important to be open to people who are the complete opposite of you.

Willow and Buffy were opposites, but Willow ended up being one of the most important relationships in Buffy's life. 

If Buffy hadn't been open to being friends with someone different than her, the world would have ended more than once. 

8. You Can't Ignore Your Responsibilities

Can't Escape Responsibility  - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Buffy thought she could outrun her responsibilities by moving to a small town. Little did she know that Joyce brought her to the literal mouth of Hell. 

As great as it would be to hide under the covers and pretend that you're sick anytime you don't want to do something like you did when you were a kid, being an adult means facing your responsibilities head-on. 

9. The Right Outfit Makes All the Difference

What to Wear? - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Who doesn't automatically feel better when their outfit is on point? 

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10. A Stranger Is Just Someone You Haven't Met Yet

Hey There Stranger - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Buffy may have been caught off guard by Angel stalking her down dark alleys, but little did she know he would become one of the great loves of her life.  

Every single person in your life was at one point a stranger, but they're only a stranger until you meet them.

By treating strangers with the same kindness you would treat your family or friends, you are keeping the door open to new relationships. 

11. Boys and Girl Can Be Just Friends

Shock and Awe - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

This is as much a lesson to viewers as it is a reminder to TV writers.

Just because a boy and girl are friends, doesn't mean they will ever become more than that. 

One of my biggest issues during the early seasons of Buffy, was that the writers tried to force a relationship between Willow and Xander down our throats.

The relationship between them not only destroyed the Scooby Gang's relationship with Cordelia, but it also reinforced this notion that people of the opposite sex can't be platonic friends. 

Luckily the Xander and Willow experiment was only a brief hiccup during the shows run, but it is impossible to pretend like it wasn't a major one. 

12. Seize the Moment

Seize the Day - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

So much of Buffy and the Scooby Gang's lives revolved around life or death experiences making the idea that you need to seize every moment because you never know when it will be your last, even more, important to them. 

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13. Don't Waste Time on the People Who Treat You Badly

Out of His League - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Jesse wasted some of his last moments as a human pursuing Cordelia who was an absolute jerk to him.

Life is way too short to spend any energy on people who aren't worth your time. 

14. Confidence is Key

Bad Timing - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

The writers tried very hard to make the audience believe that Alyson Hannigan couldn't get a guy, a laughable fact in hindsight. However, the key thing about Willow is she lacked confidence. 

When Willow came into her skin more we saw these problems fall away. 

15. The Opinions of Others Is Not the Be All and End All

Social Suicide  - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

It is easy to forget that we are not the sum of other people's opinions of us. Those opinions are just that: opinions. 

Buffy may have thought that people only viewed her as a freak and a weirdo, but during Season 3 when she is given the title of Class Protector, she finally sees that the opinion of the few, was not the opinion of the many. 

16. The Past Has a Way of Coming Back to Haunt Us

Rise of the Master - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

We all would love to believe that what is past is past, but that is not always the case. 

Sunnydale might have forgotten the days of the reign of the Master but just because they were forgotten, doesn't mean they didn't happen.

With the past, it is always best to face it head-on, rather than try to run from it, because it may always be there, lurking just beneath the surface, or in a pool of blood in a cave beneath the city. 

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17. Don't Give up Hope

Watch Your Back - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Even in the most dire situations, all hope is never lost.

Buffy always found herself in situations where it seemed like there was no way out, but she fought and persevered. 


Did you learn something that we failed to recognize?

Hit the comments to share your memories of the Buffy Vampire series premiere!

Meaghan Frey was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in September 2020.

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