Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Why “Earshot” Was Pulled By The Network


Buffy the Vampire Slayer, during its first network run, pulled the growing season 2 episode, “Earshot”, from airing for a good reason.

  • by Jack Wilhelmi


Danny Strong as Jonathan in Buffy Earshot Episode

Joss Whedon’s cult classic tv program, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, resonated with fans for exploring poignant social issues heavily, but one episode in season 3, “Earshot” was pulled from airing on The WB for an extremely specific reason.

Though Buffy the Vampire Slayer is obviously a teenager and young adult-oriented supernatural drama, in addition, it functions as a coming old tale, especially in earlier seasons once the Scooby Gang were in senior high school still. From season 1 to season 3, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her friends make an effort to balance various supernatural threats – as their senior high school in fictional Sunnydale, California is conveniently on the Hellmouth – with real-life, relatable conditions that teenagers experience. Season 3 saw the gang as senior high school seniors, coping with prom, graduation, the question which college they might attend, career goals, and so on.

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Season 3, episode 18, “Earshot”, explored another component of the senior high school experience: isolation, loneliness, and how these feelings could cause visitors to make very grave decisions. After Buffy gets the capacity to hear everyone’s thoughts, she discovers several unexpected downsides to her new “gift”, including overhearing a threat whilst in the crowded school cafeteria: “this time around tomorrow, I’ll kill you all.” At enough time of season 3’s operate on television, 1999-1999, school shootings weren’t as commonly discussed or as prevalent in media because they are in 2020. Not merely was the problem shocking for audiences at the proper time, however the episode’s air date was pushed back again to September 21, 1999. Only a week following a major tragedy that was it had been initially set to air, at the right time, unprecedented entirely.

Why “Earshot” Was Banned From Airing On The WB

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Earshot Episode

On April 20, 1999, a mass shooting occurred in Littleton, Colorado at Columbine SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and 1 teacher, committed suicide then; Klebold and harris were both seniors at Columbine. Following the shootings, the media condemned the intake of violent media amongst teenagers, movies within the horror genre particularly. While Buffy the Vampire Slayer is horror-adjacent, it had been more palatable for young audiences than feature films within the horror genre, such as for example 2000’s Ginger Snaps, that was harshly scrutinized simultaneously for exactly the same reasons and almost didn’t get made due to it.

In “Earshot”, Buffy’s gift allows her never to only find out the one who is going to commit an awful act of violence, Jonathan Levinson (Danny Strong), but talk him from his attempt down. It is a powerful moment not merely for Jonathan and Buffy, but also for the show, since it puts a narrative set up that usually the people who plan to be violent and harm others come in plenty of pain and just need you to definitely make sure they are feel heard. While this is not always the reasoning behind mass shootings or other similar crimes, it shines a light on the loneliness that lots of students and teenagers experience; they feel alone on the planet, with no additional options, and make bad choices to be able to cope or right the wrongs they feel they will have suffered.

“Earshot” pitted Buffy against another sort of foe, even though she saved Jonathan temporarily, he finished up learning to be a major element down the road in the show within a three man band of villains referred to as “The Trio”. Warren (Adam Busch), the group’s leader, was arguably probably the most sinister of the three, and continued to shoot Buffy and murder Tara (Amber Benson) in season 6, episode 19, “Seeing Red”; this event was among the show’s most random acts of violence. “Earshot” finally aired on The WB 8 weeks following the season 3 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Graduation Day, Part Two”.

Next: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Why “YOUR BODY” IS THE GREATEST Episode


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Jack Wilhelmi may be the horror features editor at Screen Rant, and contains been with the website since 2019. He could be a lifelong fan of the horror genre, and loves any excuse to go over genre-related topics, since none of his friends dare challenge him in horror trivia. He’s got been published on the independent horror blog Morbidly Beautiful, and contains covered major genre film festivals such as for example Cinepocalypse in Chicago. He’s got also served as a judge for the Ax Wound Film Festival.

In his leisure time, he is a passionate dog dad to a high-spirited rescue pup named Peter Quill and enjoys volunteering with various animal rescue organizations. Jack loves to travel and explore dark tourism-related along with other various haunted locations. He enjoys studying psychology, the paranormal, and can watch literally any schlocky B-movie on earth for fun.

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