Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered 20 years ago today at the dawn of the information age when humanity was grappling with a very big question — can nerds ever be cool?
Sarah Michelle Gellar and and her crew did their best to convince us. The conventionally hot outcasts who wouldn’t take any bullshit from demons spent most of their time hanging out in the library with teachers researching ancient monsters.
Shockingly, the gang’s not very lucky in love — it is not chill to ask out a high schooler when you’re a vampire who has been alive for centuries… and that’s actually one of the more successful relationships. In “I, Robot. You, Jane,” the show gets to the root of a great modern evil — the endless stream of creeps you encounter while trying to find love online. The episode originally aired April 21,1997, and to this day, it is still the most powerful art created about Tinder.
Jenny Calendar, the impossibly cool technopagan computer science teacher, makes her debut. She’s enlisted the students to help scan a bunch of books from the library to make digital copies. Having a searchable database of knowledge is pretty cool. Later on, she totally drags the librarian, Giles, “You think knowledge should be held in these carefully guarded repositories where only a handful of white guys can get at it!” It’s great.
Unfortunately, one of them is cursed and dear, sweet Willow ends up a dating a literal monster who she thinks is just a high school student named Malcolm.
“I met him online,” Willow explains to Buffy, to which she responds, “On line for what?”
Ah, remember when those jokes were new? Was anyone ever so young?
“He doesn’t talk like someone who would have a hairy back,” says Willow defending her new love. Girl, a hairy back is the least of your worries!
See, “Malcolm” is actually an Italian demon named Moloch from the 1500s who is released upon the world again when Buffy opens an old book.
Apart from being a bad boyfriend, he also invents fake news by hacking into some student’s computer and changing his report to say, “Nazi Germany was a model of a well-ordered society.” Angry men on the internet truly never change.
Xander is jealous because he’s not the center of attention for once and fails to coin the term catfishing.
“Sure he says he he’s a high school student, but I can say I’m a high school student.” he says, which Buffy points out is true. “I can also say I’m an elderly Dutch woman, get me? Who can say I’m not if I’m in the elderly Dutch chatroom.”
Moloch obviously got a bunch of lonely dudes at the school to do his bidding. One of them even repeats, “I’m jacked in. I’m jacked in. I’m jacked in,” while carving an M into his arm with a razor blade. Not cute! You will probably meet a guy like this on Bumble. Run away.
Buffy asks a computer science nerd what’s up with online dating profiles and he tells her, “They write the profile themselves, so they can say anything they wanted.”
That’s when Buffy determines that she needs to dox the creep and figure out the location the “e-letter” was sent from. Since she doesn’t know that IP addresses are a thing, she does some good, old fashioned detective work and trails a shady classmate.
Willow’s a smart girl and starts getting nervous when Malcolm makes a classic online dating mistake: proving he’s a cyberstalker. After he brings up information from Buffy’s permanent record to use against her to try and isolate Willow, as scumbags do, she’s not really feeling it as much.
They try to get rid of the demon by simply deleting a file, but obviously that does not work. Meanwhile, Willow is trying to ghost Malcolm but the just won’t take the hint and one of his minions kidnaps her. This is a great reminder to download Find My Friends.
Back at Sunnydale High School, old man Giles is figuring out what we already know.
And Ms. Calendar is all, “bitch, I know. I’m a technopagan.”
So she start casting spells with her keyboard and Giles realizes she’s the hottest woman alive. Later in the episode, he takes off his glasses while explaining the reason why he likes books more than computers because they smell nice.
Willow dumps Moloch multiple times, but he doesn’t give up and Buffy finally just has to kill him. This is not the ideal conclusion of a bad online dating experience, so Mashable encourages our readers to block and report losers the second they start making you feel uncomfortable. It’s not worth it.