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Alyson Hannigan

Why Alyson Hannigan is still the sassiest, smartest, most awesome sidekick on TV ?

Friday 8 August 2008, by Webmaster

Alyson Hannigan now goes toe-to-toe with Neil Patrick Harris on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother — but she graced the cover of Out herself back in August 2001. At the time, Willow, her character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was up to her neck in witchy, womanly wiles. We unearthed the story over at Out.com, and then asked our favorite real-life Willow to comment on the logical progression from awkward teenage Wiccan to pre-school-teaching, quip-slinging Lily...

When I first stumbled onto Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I found myself rooting for one character in particular — Willow, the cute, smart, goofy girl who had an unrequited thing for her best friend, Xander, and a serious boyfriend who she loved even when he turned out to be a werewolf, and then a girlfriend whose witchy ways still couldn’t save her. Willow was a girl who said things like, "When I’m with a boy I like, it’s hard for me to say anything cool, or — or witty — or at all. I — I can usually make a few vowel sounds, and then I have to go away."

In other words, I loved Willow for being me. And I loved Alyson Hannigan for portraying her with such plucky aplomb. Alyson reminded us that it was not only cool for girls to be smart, but they could also be proud to be smart. That Buffy might be the Slayer, but she was so much more powerful with her friends. And Alyson’s portrayal of Lily in How I Met Your Mother is, in a way, actually a logical progression from Willow — like an alternate, non-Hellmouth universe where Willow gets to grow into her skin at a normal college without the fate of the world hanging over her head. As Lily, Alyson gets to shake off the shackles of a drama and embrace the over-the-top-ness that a sitcom allows.

She, like Willow, embraces her dorkitude, maybe even more so — Slap Bet Commissioner, anyone? She played fake girlfriend to Barney to scare off his one-night-stand girls post-sex. And she’s even encouraging of her husband’s crush on one of Robin’s boyfriends, Gael. She has the same complexity as Willow, just in a sitcom-y fashion: "I buy designer clothes and accessories that I can’t afford. I have fifteen credit cards and they’re all maxed out. And nobody outside this room, not even my husband, knows and I feel terrible because all I want to do right now is ask you where you got those shoes. They’re adorable!"

I’m looking forward to the day when Alyson gets to play lead — but as a sidekick, she’s still working magic.