We got to the part on Buffy where Willow comes out. Once again, hopelessly dated. At this point, Willow and Tara have been flirting and working their way into each other’s lives for about half a season. Nobody notices. Nobody. Tara even starts coming to Scooby meetings, and when Oz returns to town, Xander tells him Willow doesn’t have a guy in her life.
But okay, Xander is a social moron. One doesn’t expect Xander to be the most perceptive guy in the room.
However, Willow’s best friend and roommate Buffy does not seem to care at all that Willow is spending all her time with a new person. She doesn’t ask Willow the kind of questions Willow is asking Buffy about Riley. Okay, it doesn’t occur to her that Tara is a romantic interest, because Willow has heretofore only been interested in men (Xander and Oz.) This kind of blindness did happen in the nineties. I saw it happen to people I love. But Buffy also doesn’t seem particularly interested in the fact that her best friend is spending so much time with another “friend.” Of course, when she first meets Tara, Tara has just saved her butt, so that would tend to dispose her positively toward the woman, but suddenly there’s a new Scooby, and nobody wonders why?
It takes Oz to see it. And then Willow comes out to Buffy and Buffy freaks out a little bit. (Side note: I love the moment where Willow asks Buffy if she’s freaking, and Buffy makes a decision not to freak out. She sees that Willow is hurt by what she’s doing, and she stops. Just stops. One sees that Buffy still has some mental rotation to do on the subject, but she decides she’s not going to let that hurt Willow, and she doesn’t.) So that part isn’t bad.
One wonders for a moment if Oz’s anger is pure jealousy and anger at Willow for not telling him the truth, or if it’s tinged with homophobia. And then it’s a little unclear whether Willow makes her choice because a) she loves Tara, b) she’s realized she’s gay and whatever relationship she has with Oz in the future, it won’t be a romantic one, or c) Oz is dangerous when she’s around, and he’s leaving anyway. I think in this case, the whole first-lesbian-relationship-on-TV thing was not well-served by the format. The show works hard to draw the parallel between Werewolves and gay people. I kind of see it–it’s not Oz’s fault that he’s a Werewolf any more than it’s Tara’s fault she’s gay. But…Werewolves =/= lesbians. Just…no.
And then there’s the ending. Where Buffy’s relationship-beginning episodes end satisfyingly with a kiss, this episode ends with Tara blowing out a candle, leaving her dorm room unrealistically pitch-black.
That’s right. The show that brought us blood-sucking orgasms chickened out on a gay kiss.
Still, the whole thing let me have this parenting conversation, which I’m pretty proud of:
Kid: Why isn’t Willow telling Buffy she was hanging out with Tara?
Me: Remember I told you that your body will be sending you signals over the next few years about who you’re going to fall in love with and who you’re going to want to have sex with? And that it’s your job to listen to those signals and figure out what kind of grown-up you’re going to be? And that most people need to try out different things before they figure it all out?
Me: Well, Willow’s body is giving her some signals she wasn’t expecting, and she wants to spend some time figuring them out before she brings her friends into it. But she will when she’s ready. Does that make sense?
Kid: Yes…but Tara lied about that spell and she’s a demon or something. What’s Tara lying about?
Me: Spoilers, Sweetie!