In doing tonite’s Buffy Rewatch, this really got to me. Not the lack of racial diversity in the episode (Inca Mummy Girl), but the idea that so many people cared so much. Did I notice it before? Of course. Did I care? Not really. It doesn’t affect the show as it is or was. It doesn’t affect how brilliant the writing is, nor does it affect how awful season four was. But it is an idea that is present.
I do believe, however, that if we’re going to discuss the lack of racial diversity, we ought to be looking at the series as a whole, and not just individual episodes.
The idea of Sunnydale, California, allegedly, is that it is supposed to be a very diverse town, as California is a very diverse state. (Here’s where I play devil’s advocate) Think about Sunnydale for a minute. As the fictional town it is. It’s on a hellmouth. People have been moving out of Sunnydale at increasing rates. Property values are going down. Are you REALLY surprised more people don’t want to live there. People die in Sunnydale. And most people can’t explain why. Would YOU want to move there just to prove that Sunnydale was diverse?
But other than that… the series as a whole has had a limited number of “colorful” characters. Most of them played less than significant roles in one-off episodes and end up dead. Does anyone remember the locker room in Welcome to the Hellmouth? That isn’t a white girls screaming about the EXTREME DEAD GUY that just fell out of her locker.
Granted, she only had one episode. Well, one scene in one episode. And there’s a lot of characters like that. One’s that try to be important or influential, or diverse, and they end up getting killed.
Then of course there’s our Islander Slayer, Kendra. And don’t forget baddies Mr. Trick and Sweet. And even more importantly, Robin Wood, the new principal of the NEW Sunnydale High, who probably had the most episodes.
But this was the 90’s. I think if Buffy were done today, it would be a very different show. I give the show quite a bit of credit for being as awesome as it was. And to me, the lack of racial diversity, as it were, is not going to affect me either way. Except maybe to get me to talk about it.
But I’m a purist. I like my Buffy as it was, is and ever shall be. I love the writing, and the characters and can’t imagine it being a different show with different people or different ideas.
Plus, it gives us all something to talk about.