After everything Joss Whedon has put his name to you would think that he might state that something a little more grandiose might be the ‘best’ thing he’s ever done, but his answer could surprise people. As Jun Chung of Screenrant goes on to state, Whedon’s proudest moment came after directing an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer titled “The Body”. As it’s revealed to those that didn’t watch the show, this was the episode in which Buffy returned home to find her mother dead, and had to deal with the loss in a very real and visceral manner that went on to permeate the entire episode and affected the show in its own way moving forward. Having lost his own mother at the age of 27, Whedon has stated that he wanted to explore that moment in a very real way since it did in effect kind of ground the show in a manner that made it clear that death is about the only thing that’s ultimately binding and can’t be reversed, at least in some cases. In the realm of fantasy, death is usually something that can be toyed with and even cheated on occasion, but in this episode he was looking to make a point with the death of Buffy’s mother, or one of many to be certain since the whole idea of the show was that as the chosen Slayer, there wasn’t a lot that Buffy couldn’t do since she had the power to take on some of the worst of the worst and come out the other side intact. But death is one enemy that she could never hope to win out against when it became a reality for those around her. It’s a strong message for such a show, but it had the impact for many fans that Whedon was trying to achieve.
There are plenty of fans that might be a little astounded by this admission from Whedon but the point to remember is that it’s not always bound to happen that an individual’s most successful achievement will be the one that they’re the proudest of, it could very well be the one that they had the most emotional connection to, as it appears to be the case in this instance. From a box office and ratings standpoint a lot of people would likely point out that Whedon’s contributions to pop culture have been massive when it comes to everything he’s done, and that’s the stark truth since really he has managed to do quite a bit in his time. But what a person tends to be most proud of is usually something far different than people might expect since they get to look beyond the glitz and glam quite often and are usually more attached to something that people might find both endearing after a while since it will tend to say quite a bit about that individual. Dealing with the death of a character in a show is nothing new after all, but when performed to the height of brilliance that some might claim happened in “The Body” it brings a different feel to the show moving on since it alters the characters in some fundamental way that is easy to see once the show moves on. The same effect can be seen in movies, but it tends to happen much quicker and not allow for quite as much emotional impact unless the change comes over the course of two or more movies, meaning that there is then room for the emotional and physical changes that occur in the story as a result of the occurrence that enacts said changes.
Learning that he had an emotional tie to this episode makes it far less surprising that Whedon would see this as one of his biggest triumphs as it carried a much deeper meaning for him and likely allowed Whedon to bring some of the real feeling that he’d experienced in his own life to the show in an effort to heighten the level of realism and show that despite being such a badass, Buffy was also a human being that had very real issues to deal with. Death is often something that gets tossed about in various TV shows and movies and tends to be treated in a very flippant manner, but there are those moments when it becomes obvious that someone has taken the time and effort to really bring forth a bit of personal experience that can make the show that much better and a lot more convincing so long as the actors are able to put more of themselves into it. This also goes a long way towards showing that heroes are still quite vulnerable in more than one way. It might surprise some folks, but it’s not really hard to believe that one episode out of so many projects could hold a special place in Whedon’s triumphs.