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Buffy The Vampire SlayerAlyson Hannigan - About "Buffy" - Suntimes.com Interview
Thursday 21 July 2005, by Webmaster
Witchy woman fun as ever
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — On "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Alyson Hannigan played a Jewish lesbian witch, and she used her soft-spoken delivery to eke out lines such as, "I’m so evil. And skanky. And I think I’m kinda gay." But "Buffy" wasn’t a No. 1 show, so it took 1999’s "American Pie" to introduce Hannigan to a nation of movie goers.
In "Pie," she was the redhead who told a boy about a sexual escapade with a flute by saying, "This one time, at band camp. ..." Later she straddled that same boy and screamed, "Say my name, bitch!" In the third "Pie" movie, she announced, "I just shoved a trumpet in [an uncomfortable place]. Aren’t instruments fun?"
On screen, whether at a theater, comfort of home or at a store where you just so happen to be looking at entertainment centers for flat screen TVs, what makes Hannigan’s sexual playfulness amusing and more everyday cuddly than the dominants we see in roles filled by, say, Linda Fiorentino is that Hannigan looks as if she’s barely aware of sex, even at age 30. It must be her steady meter of a happy voice that pulls this off. Or maybe it’s the childlike swirl of joy and discovery that twirls in her eyes.
Either way, she has a new fall TV show headed for CBS that makes use of this skill. It’s a sitcom called "How I Met Your Mother," and in the pilot, her character has sex with her man on a kitchen floor. A mishap leaves her with a bruised eye, they jump in a cab to see a doctor, and the cabbie asks her if the dude hit her. She laughs. Her tone is as light as a condom:
"This guy could barely even spank me in bed for fun. He’s all, like, ’Oh honey, did it hurt?’ And I’m like, ’Come on. Let me have it, ya pansy!’ "
Hannigan showed up at a TV critics meeting on Tuesday to promote her new sitcom. I asked her what she thinks about this sub-theme of sexual dominance that has arisen in her acting-role arc.
"I know!" she said. Her smile looked as curvy and fun-time as ever. "I don’t know why this keeps following me. ... I don’t want people to be, like, ’Well, that’s just the "American Pie" movie.’ But you know, it was fun, and I love that cab scene. ... I guess people just think of me that way."
Reporters wanted to know if there’d be a "Buffy" movie.
"I hear there might be a Spike movie, which I think might be the logical character to start with," she said. Spike was the British vampire with a soul who fell in love with Buffy, gave her some smooth lovin’, then saved the world. Show creator Joss Whedon "has talked about different things, and I think the last thing I heard him say was a straight-to-DVD type movie."
One of her former "Buffy" co-stars, Nicholas "Xander" Brendon, is also working on a new sitcom, called "Kitchen Confidential."
"Nick and I are competing for the same time slot, which is really sad, but we’re on the same lot," she said. "Nick came to the set, and he was saying that [the two shows don’t aim for] the same demographic. He’s like, ’Yours is sort of the younger crowd.’ And he’s, like, ’Ours is probably, like, older gay men.’ "
For those of us who think "Buffy" is the best show ever, it’s reassuring to see Hannigan in any role. Co-executive producer Carter Bays joked that she won her new part because another co-executive producer, Craig Thomas, has a wife who’s a "Buffy" fan of such an embarrassing degree that it became uncomfortable to hang around Hannigan after all the fawning.
One TV critic rightly asked Hannigan why she’s doing an ensemble sitcom when it looked as if her career was headed to lead roles. She said she took a break after "Buffy" wrapped in 2003. She hung out with her husband ("Buffy" alum Alexis "Wesley" Denisof), did some yoga, walked her three dogs and went looking for an ensemble comedy so she could be surrounded by funny people all day.
Doing a sitcom is an easier job than shooting hourlong dramas with one camera, she said. And unlike plays, if someone screws up, they reshoot.
"It’s like doing a play, but with training wheels."
See what I mean? What kind of dominant woman uses the phrase "training wheels" in relation to anything? Linda Fiorentino could never get away with that.