I Know Where I'm Going

Category: Buffy Art Historian

Buffy Art Historian: Conundrums


ANYA: Willow thinks she’s in love with my boyfriend, R.J.

BUFFY: Willow, you’re a gay woman—and he isn’t.

WILLOW: This isn’t about his physical presence. It’s about his heart.

ANYA: His physical presence has a penis!

WILLOW: I can work around it!


season 7, episode 6, Him (written by Drew Z. Greenberg, created by Joss Whedon)

(artwork: Cherubino Alberti, A naked man [Ignudo], twisting towards the right, holding drapery, after Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgment’ fresco in the Sistine Chapel, 1580–90, engraving, 31.6 x 20.5 cm, The Metropolitan Museum, New York)



Buffy Art Historian: Dating


DRUSILLA: Your face is a poem. I can read it.

XANDER: Really? It doesn’t say ‘spare me’ by any chance?

DRUSILLA: Shhh. How do you feel about eternal life?

XANDER: We couldn’t just start with a coffee? A movie, maybe?


season 2, episode 16, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (written by Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon, created by Joss Whedon)

(artwork: Giorgio Ghisi, Venus and Adonis, ca. 1570, engraving, 32 x 22.5 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)


Buffy Art Historian: Martyrdom


SPIKE: Gaaah! What the bleeding hell is wrong with you bloody women? What the hell does it take? Why … do you bitches torture me?

BUFFY: Which question do you want me to answer first?


season 5, episode 14, Crush (written by David Fury, created by Joss Whedon)

(artwork: Jan Wellens de Cock, Temptation of St. Anthony, ca. 1520, oil on panel, 60 x 46 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid)


Buffy Art Historian: Lies, Lies, Lies


Gustave Moreau, Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1864, oil on canvas, 206.4 x 104.8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


GILES: You mean life?

BUFFY: Yeah. Does it get easy?

GILES: What do you want me to say?

BUFFY: Lie to me.

GILES: Yes, it’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.

BUFFY: Liar.


season 2, episode 7, Lie to Me (written by Joss Whedon, created by Joss Whedon)



Wall painting from Room H of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, Roman, Late Republic, fresco, ca. 50–40 B.C., 175.3 x 193 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



Buffy Art Historian: Conclusions


BUFFY:  In other words, your typical male.

XANDER:  On behalf of my gender, hey.

GILES:  Yes, let’s not jump to any conclusions.

BUFFY:  I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.


season 2, episode 15, Phases (written by Rob DesHotel and Dean Batali, created by Joss Whedon)

(artwork: Georges de La Tour, The Fortune Teller, 1630s, oil on canvas, 101.9 x 123.5 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)


Buffy Art Historian: Emily Dickinson


Because I could not stop for Death (479)
Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –


John Singer Sargent, Madonna, Mosaic, Saints Maria and Donato, Murano, ca. 1898, watercolor and gouache on white wove paper, 32.4 x 24.1 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.


GILES: Oh, Emily Dickinson.

BUFFY: We’re both fans. [referring to the boy she likes]

GILES: Yes, uh, she’s quite a good poet, I mean for a…

BUFFY: A girl?

GILES: For an American.


season 1, episode 5, Never Kill a Boy on the First Date (written by
Rob DesHotel and Dean Batali, created by Joss Whedon)



Buffy Art Historian: Ducks and Dikes


Frank W. Benson, Ducks Alighting, 1921, etching, 25 x 20 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Kano Tan’yū (Japanese, 1602–1674), Ducks and Reeds, ca. 1650, album leaf; ink on paper, 21.3 x 27.3 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Kawabata Gyokushō (Japanese, 1842–1913), Pair of ducks, 1887–92, album leaf; silk, 34.3 x 27.9 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Watanabe Seitei (Japanese, 1851–1918), Ducks in the Rushes, ca. 1887, album leaf; ink and color on silk, 35.6 x 27.3 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


BUFFY: Is Sunnydale any better than when I first came here? Okay, so I battle evil. But I don’t really win. The bad keeps coming back and getting stronger. Like that kid in the story, the boy that stuck his finger in the duck.

ANGEL: Dike. It’s another word for dam.

BUFFY: Oh. Okay, that story makes a lot more sense now.


season 3, episode 11, Gingerbread (written by Jane Espenson, created by Joss Whedon)



Pieter Nolpe, The Bursting of St. Anthony’s Dike, 5 March 1651. Vertoninge…Amsterdam, 17th century, intaglio, 33.7 x 50.8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Antonio Tempesta after Otto van Veen, Plate 29: Civilis Floods the Land by Defensively Breaking the Dikes, from The War of the Romans Against the Batavians (Romanorvm et Batavorvm societas), 1611, etching, first state of two, issue 1, 16 x 20.5 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Xu Yang and assistants, The Qianlong Emperor’s Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll Four: The Confluence of the Huai and Yellow Rivers, 1770, handscroll; ink and color on silk, lacquer box, 68.8 x 1096.17 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



Buffy Art Historian: Pep talk


XANDER: Buffy, this is all about fear.  It’s understandable, but you can’t let it control you.  ‘Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to anger.’ No wait, hold on. ‘Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side.’ Hold on, no, umm, ‘First you get the women, then you get the money, then you…’ okay, can we forget that?

BUFFY: Thanks for the Dadaist pep talk, I feel much more abstract now.


season 4, episode 1, The Freshman (written by Joss Whedon, created by Joss Whedon)

(artwork: Berenice Abbott, The El at Columbus and Broadway, 1929, gelatin silver print, 15 x 20.3 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)


Buffy Art Historian: Communist Revolution


HALFREK: Darling, take a look around. There’s a lot to see. There’s a revolution going on outside that you are somewhat responsible for. Aren’t you the teeniest bit interested?

ANYA: Well, what is there to be interested in? The worker will overthrow absolutism and lead the proletariat to a victorious communist revolution, resulting in socio-economic paradise on earth. It’s common sense, really. I have better things to worry about.


season 7, episode 5, Selfless (written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, created by Joss Whedon)

(artwork: Boris Kustodiev, Bolshevik, 1920, oil on canvas, 101 × 141 cm, The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)


Buffy Art Historian: How I feel about death


ANYA: I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s, there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore. It’s stupid. It’s mortal and stupid. And Xander’s crying and not talking, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.


Anya trying to make sense of loss and the mortal world: season 5, episode 16, The Body (written by Joss Whedon)

(artwork: Andrea Mantegna, The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c. 1490, tempera on canvas, 68 x 81 cm, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan)



%d bloggers like this: