So anyone who knows me on any kind of intellectual level probably knows my obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon, the show’s creator, is one of my favorite people on this planet and everything he touches is of interest to me. So when I accidentally ran across a Youtube channel called The Passion of the Nerd that makes video reviews of each episode, I was intrigued to say the least. The guy who runs the channel originally made a video about why people should watch the show and how to get your friends interested in it.
He has gone on from there to make a video review for each episode and is in the middle of the second season now. My only gripe is that I can’t binge watch all of the reviews for every episode ever made. He is a wonderfully intelligent human. His videos not only sum up the content of each episode, but also provide insightful analysis of what each episode contributes to the arc of the show and the development of individual characters. His most recent review as of my writing outlines a larger philosophy for the whole show, delving into Whedon’s love of Sartre’s La Nausea and the way the show follows some of the main tenets of existential philosophy. In simpler terms, Joss Whedon’s characters are constantly faced with outstandingly difficult choices in an indifferent universe. The reviewer goes on to quote Stanley Kubrick and- in a stunningly moving sequence- overlays that with a montage of significant moments throughout the series. I’ll include the quote as well as the video- both are well worth your time even if you are totally unaware of the wonderfulness of this series.
“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”