Press || 2002
Growing Fangs? by Jennifer H. Tomooka - Cinescape
Published: Febuary 15, 2002
As Buffy's younger sister, Michelle Trachtenberg’s on and off camera growing pains are anything but normal.
For the past six years, BUFFY fans have come to accept that life in Sunnydale is far from ordinary, especially for the slayer and her merry band of Scoobies. Case in point: last season’s sudden introduction of a younger sister for Buffy (played by Michelle Trachtenberg), who just also happened to be the human embodiment of “The Key” – a supernatural force with the ability to unlock interdimensional doorways.
This season, however, change is the norm. There’s a new network, new storylines, and new experiences for every member of the cast, especially Trachtenberg’s Dawn, who is beginning to grow up rather
“I’m looking forward to the end of the season,” says Trachtenberg. “Just like anyone else, Dawn is getting more rebellious and more mature and more of her own person; more a woman. And just growing up, and older, I guess. And, of course, Buffy and Dawn have to deal with that in the way that they do best, which I will leave to you guys to tune in and watch.”
Trachtenberg feels a special kinship with her onscreen BUFFY persona, as the emotions that both experience are, for the most part, similar.
“Next year, she’ll be 16, the age that I am now,” says Trachtenberg. “That’s cool, because I get to experience it before she does, so it’s like going back and doing it over again, except with demons and demon eggs and hatchings and all of that.”
When asked what viewers can expect from BUFFY on its new home at UPN, Trachtenberg states that anything is possible, including the continuation of Buffy’s role as Dawn’s guardian and the friction that relationship can
“Well, I think it’s safe to say that anything that’s ever mentioned in a past episode is likely, or could possibly be brought up again in the future,” says Trachtenberg. “It’s very exciting. Being Dawn’s guardian is a risky situation for Buffy because she’s always had a mom and she’s always been the child. Now she’s the mom. [Dawn isn’t] her child, but is her sister and she has to look out for her like a child. There are different things that will be happening at the end of the season. Of course, as with BUFFY tradition, they will be slightly sadder things.”
And Dawn is certainly growing up. In this season’s “All the Way” episode, viewers were treated to seeing Dawn as a hormone driven teenager willing to lie to her sister just to sneak out and have a little fun.
“Yeah, it was definitely very fun,” says Trachtenberg. “It was another episode where Dawn was getting older and you could see her just coming out and being new and fresh. This is kind of a glimpse into an older Dawn.”
Nonetheless, Dawn’s brief adventure in the adult world did not end on a happy note. She accidentally kills the vamp with whom she experienced her first kiss. In the span of moments, Dawn is brought to the crushing reality that she is not like other teens and she can’t have the same experiences that they have. But don’t feel too badly for her – Trachtenberg certainly
“I think it’s kind of fun to leave [viewers] kind of sad at the end of every show,” says Trachtenberg. “I think that [one of the] basic ideas of BUFFY is that we like to mess with your mind. We like to give you a little happy mixed in with the sad. Make you cry, make you laugh. Make you sing and dance!”
It is this element of “anything goes” that Trachtenberg finds fascinating. She is appreciative that the cast is given the opportunity to explore their ranges as actors.
“It’s awesome that they give us the chance to visit every rainbow of our expertise,” says Trachtenberg. “I really think that it’s fun to just experiment with our characters. And I love that they give us the opportunity to do that.”
Trachtenberg believes that Buffy's longevity and success is largely due to the fact that the show continues to evolve.
“I think that it’s very important that a show keeps all different kinds of storylines, all different kinds of colours and emotions running through each character,” says Trachtenberg. “And that is exactly what makes the show so interesting. I think the fact that BUFFY is in it’s sixth season means that we’re doing something right.”