Willow Rosenberg, Buffy
It may be 13 years (!) since the final episode of Buffy aired, but Willow Rosenberg (perfectly played by Alyison Hannigan, later of “this one time, at band camp..” fame) remains one of my favourite TV lesbians of all time.
Although she started as heterosexual (didn’t we all, though?) dating fellow red-head and werewolf Oz during the show’s earlier seasons, by the time the Scoobies go off to college Willow is ready to free herself of the shackles of heteronormativity. After deciding to explore witchcraft further she joins an on-campus Wicca group and there she meets super-shy Tara.
The episode where the couple get together (‘Hush’) is only one in the entire series to be nominated for an Emmy Award in Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.
In ‘Hush’, a group of terrifying ghouls called ‘The Gentlemen’ steal everyone’s voices, rendering them unable to scream when The Gents cut out their hearts. Bummer. All the characters are forced to communicate non-verbally while they seek a way to defeat the bad guys and recover their voices.
In a seriously adorable scene, Tara (following an aborted earlier attempt to connect with Willow during a Wicca session) and Willow find themselves locked in a laundry room together, silently wracking their brains for ways to save themselves from the approaching Gents.
When Tara sees Willow unsuccessfully trying to use her witchy, telekinetic powers to barricade the door, she clasps Willow’s hand and together they manage to move a heavy vending machine against the laundry room door. In this moment, the symbolism is obvious: together, we are strong.
The next day, when everyone’s voice is returned, Tara tells Willow she is special and so begins Buffy: The Vampire Slayer’s sweetest romance.
When Tara is killed by a stray bullet from bad guy Warren’s gun, Willow goes berserk and uses her magic to enact a well-deserved bit of vengeance by flaying off Warren’s skin before burning him alive. Haw-haw!
Despite the tsunami of fan disapproval that greeted her subsequent relationship with anti-Tara, Kennedy, following the former’s demise, Willow was one of the first of a new kind of on-screen lesbian and remains one of the best examples of a well-drawn, utterly loveable TV lesbian.
Did I miss anyone? Comment below!
This piece first appeared on The Outmost.com