I am re-watching 3 series at present and with Stargate I am skipping an odd episode, but with Blakes 7 and BtVS I am being a good girl and watching them all ... even those that I don't want to.
In doing so it makes me see bits of the overall story that I would have missed and had forgotten, so I must be positive and continue.
In my BtVS re-watch I am at one of those episodes. I don't like it ... and a lot of the problem is that it addreses the problem of bullying. Buffy was a great series in that they did deal with a few issues that are taboo ... yet occur far too often in real life.
I will admit the opening of Willow and Xander telling Buffy that the whole point of the trip was not to look at the animals, but to have a day off school was fun. Although I do wonder how much of that is Willow, or if she is just agreeing with Xander, as Willow is a "nerd"
However the happy atmosphere swaps to the pack of 4 picking on Lance. He tries to relax, be involved, including lying to Mr Flutie. So is taken into the Hyena House, where Xander also goes to rescue him ... making himself look good to "his" girls, and inadvertantly getting caught in the spell.
I found it interesting that as Willow is pushing Buffy for answers about her feelings on Angel she is very vague. There again, he has only been around for a few moments at a time. How can Buffy know him?
As the spell takes effect the first sign is Xanders comment about croissants being bird food ... over the next 7 years, not a thought he will have again ;)
Buffy puts her reflexes to good use as she catches Herbert, saying he was cute, whereas Principal Flutie said he was tough and bring about team spirit. Sadly, another warning is seen in his reaction of fear as Xander walks past.
School progresses to games - and dodgeball. It is left with Lance, Buffy and the pack of 5 ... who pick on the weaker member (Lance), who gets rescued by Buffy. School games can be horrific (remembering bruised anklew bones from hockey) ... Sadly the coach's comment was -"This game is brutal. I love it". Not seeing the aspect of bullying that was going on.
Willow decides to confront Xander on his recent behaviour. The cruelty he displays is sad, and horrific. He knows how she feels about school (and him) and in one sentance shoots her down - "We've been friends for so long I feel I can tell you I've decided to drop geometry, which means I won't have to look at your pastey face again"
Sadly Herbert's doom is sealed when the 5 say "Let's do lunch" ... and then the slo-mo of them walking through the school is a good shot, empahasing their dominance over the rest of their class.
Sadly Giles doesn't see the problem, saying that Testosterone turns all men into morons. (How many times do teachers/family etc fail to notice, or help, people being bullied?)
The 4 are sent to Mr Fluties office and as he tried to sort them out, they sadly turned the tables on him.
He was a such a positive man, who tried hard to bring aducation and a feeling of team spirit to a school ina troubled town.
However Xander returned to seek out Buffy, and tell her that now he was strong she should have him ... He would settle for no one less. Ironically he calls her Slayer. (This is the scene that I hate for many reasons ... bullying is a painful subject for me. And as a Spike lover it is hard to see Xander pushing himself on Buffy, yet hating Spike for his stalking ... Xanders attempted rape, yet him never letting Spike forget his in later years.)
Xander and the rest get together and decide to taunt Willow, who runs, and then spot a family getting into a car, so head there to try to get at them. Buffy arrives and taunts them into chasing her back to the zoo. Giles, meanwhile has been persuaded that there is a spell in place and goes there, to be met by the zoo keeper now a Masai Warrior ... and so gets knocked out (again!). Buffy fights back, and throws him into the hyena pack!
Back at school Xander is chatting to the 2 girls and said he remembers the school trip and then nothing ... although Giles points out to him that nowhere has he read that there is a forgetting aspect the spell. So, the girls forgive - and Xander carries ona their friendship, with no "facing the consequences" (This is so often the case for bullies ... they continue, or they move on, but never have to face the people that they have abused and injured over the years)
Yes, I was bullied ... and no, the person never realised, or acknowledged that it happened.
Yes, I had support from my family - although that did give me a security blanket that to this day is hard to escape, as the family are used to making decsisions for me to help me.
Life was hard - is hard for those who are bullied ... and the bullies themselves become very hard people who don't take others feelings into account.
To a degree I have forgiven those at school - but those years have shaped who and what I am ... and continue to do so. However, maybe those steps are what led me to today, and my friends here ... so maybe, in a perverse way, I should be thankful (although I doubt that will happen!!)