Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 1, Episode 8: I Robot You Jane


In this episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow’s scans an ancient book, in which a demon is trapped. This releases the demon into the computer and the demon now flows thorugh the internet, and get his minions to build him a body and a lot of stuff happens, such as the introduction of the schools computer teacher, who later is revealed as a self-identifying Technopagan. The demon uses the net to control and manitulate people, as well as watch over everything, hacking surveillance cameras, web-cams, digitized records.

Some say (including many a youtuber reviewers) this is one of the worst episodes of Buffy, but I strongly dissagree. This episode both presents an excelent green robot demon, as well as captures the energy of chaotic optimisim around the dot-com boom in the late 90’s It makes me think of the 2009 documentary We Live In Public  which follows the rise and fall of tech ghoul and performance artist Josh Harris, and his projects like Quiet: We Live in Public, a no-privacy underground capture hotel where every participant was filmed at all times and could tune into different “tv stations” to watch each other, and weliveinpublic.com, where the idea of the digital self was fetichised to the extremes as Harris live-streamed him and his girlfriend for several months 24h/7 on an online website. (Harris lives in Las Vegas now, no longer a millionare, convinced that the FBI is investigating him because of his involvment with Gelitin’s 2001 The B-Thing, a strange and possibly fake art installation of a wodden balcony on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center)

There is a sort of infantile energy that comes with late 90’s computer and net talk. The possibilities of internet-companies being viewed as this endless growth paradigm, before the burst of the dot-com bubble in 2001. The internet could do anything, share anything, create everything, so why not a net-demon?

As the weird computer kid says in the opening sequence of I_Robot,_You_Jane:

“The printed page is obsolete. Information isn’t bound up anymore, it’s an entity. The only reality is virtual. If you’re not jacked in, you’re not alive.”