The main reason that Buffy The Vampire Slayer has become one of the most enduring television shows in history is simple:
High school really is Hell.
Joss Whedon may be many things, not all of them good, but he was smart enough to recognize the potential that lies in our high school years and he transformed all those seemingly-innocent experiences that terrified us all into action sequences and brilliant plot lines. And that’s why we’re going to focus on one of high school’s most terrifying protagonists:
#93: That One High School Teacher You Wanted To Disembowel.
You may have blocked out their memory, but everyone has one. For me, it was Mr. Kidney. He taught business (and how to hate going to school), his dress code was Sixties shop teacher chic, his arm hair was as thick as a Persian rug and he had very pointed views on yours truly.
“You’re a slacker, Hookey! And if there’s one thing I know… It’s that you always will be!”
Mr. Kidney’s dead now; sadly I wasn’t responsible for it, but his legacy of terrorizing his students endures in their memory. Teachers are gods in some ways; they shape our young minds and help chart the course of our entire lives. And some of them know it. And those instructors are the most terrifying of all.
To be fair, I recognize that many teachers were once students themselves, full of lofty ambitions… That life ground into a fine paste later on. And so they turned to teaching to pay the bills rather than wind up on the streets congregating verbs for twenty bucks a pop.
But abusing one’s power over another is never acceptable, no matter how bitter you are. Still, I suppose I should be grateful to my high school nemesis for teaching me to be persistent all my life.
It’s been decade since I left my high school’s hallowed halls and I still hate the son of a bitch.
And I’ll be damned if I’d give him the satisfaction of thinking that I actually was a slacker who took the supposedly-easy way out rather than stick to the business of living. As Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) once said in Young Guns 2, “I shall finish the game.”
Take that, Kidney.
See you in the lobby, kids…