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''Buffy the Vampire Slayer'''s creator defends the show's finale

The previously postponed season ender is the last thing parents should worry about, says Joss Whedon

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Sarah Michelle Gellar
Stephan Danelian/Outline

Okay, ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans, you can stop gnashing your teeth. The long-awaited finale is airing tonight at 8 p.m., after being postponed for nearly two months because of fears that the episode’s high-school-graduation battle scene could cause copycat violence in the wake of the teen shootings in Columbine and Atlanta. But you may wonder what all the controversy was about as you try to find a correlation between the outcast members of the Trenchcoat Mafia attacking their classmates and Buffy leading her fellow students against an enormous demonic serpent and his vampiric henchmen. Says series creator Joss Whedon (who wrote and directed tonight’s episode): ”I hope viewers aren’t disappointed that the show’s not incredibly violent and strange.”

Executives of the WB had worried that if another instance of teen violence had sprung up, ”Buffy” might have been scapegoated just like the film ”The Basketball Diaries” was after Columbine. ”I didn’t agree that it needed to be postponed,” Whedon tells EW Online, ”but I didn’t think the WB’s reasons were spurious.” Still, Whedon believes the climate that has caused TV and movie execs to worry about shielding impressionable young viewers doesn’t apply to ”Buffy.” ”I think children SHOULD be protected… from psychotic children whose parents don’t know they’re building bombs in their garage,” he says. ”I don’t think they need to be protected from the WB on Tuesday nights at 8.”