In season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Tara and Willow pursue a romantic relationship

There's lots of hugging and smiling and talking about their feelings, but up to the sixth episode, they do not kiss. Was there studio/PR/political objection to the nature of this relationship? How much? What was the nature of it- was it deemed too controversial, inappropriate for younger viewers, were executives worried that it would perform poorly?

  • Studio executives seem to have all sorts of strange and misguided ideas. I assume it's because the vast quantities of money they get paid for doing $%^& all have warped their minds
    – user11154
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 11:23

2 Answers 2


According to The Strange And Incredible Saga Of Willow and Tara On "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", there was initially at least some backlash from some fans about the relationship.

The storyline received a great deal of attention in the press and sparked a controversy that divided the show’s most loyal fan base. In fact, Amber Benson who played Tara experienced first hand just how nasty the fans could get. She would visit the Buffy posting boards on the web on a regular basis and discover that negative comments were not only being made about the Willow/Tara relationship in general, but that the fans were targeting both the character of Tara as well as Amber Benson herself. “It was just so surreal to have people using my name and Tara’s name interchangeably and saying nasty things about both,” she said in the October 2000 issue of the English Science Fiction/horror magazine Dreamwatch. Benson also went on to say in the interview that ” it hurt for people to make nasty comments about Willow and Tara’s relationship and about my weight and what I looked like as a whole. Whether someone says that your ugly to your face or on a posting board, it still hurts horribly. I mean, you wouldn’t just go over to Joe Blow and say, ‘I think you’re a fat, ugly sexual pervert.” Almost immediately websites showing their support for Benson began popping up all over the web . “I have gotten so many supportive letters from fans,” Benson said. They have been so kind, she said. “they make me feel better about everything , especially when they share their experiences. They make me realize that I am not alone. We are all beautiful no matter what we look like on the outside.”

The article also goes on to explain why there was no on-screen kiss between Willow and Tara until season 6.

Hannigan also went on to talk in the interview about how the WB network would not allow an onscreen kiss between the two actresses ” In America we’ve not been allowed to have the kiss on screen. As actors, we sometimes get the squished down version of reactions, so it could be that The Powers That Be are freaking, but to us it doesn’t seem like a big deal. The show goes out at 8:00 p.m., the first hour of prime time. If it went out at 9:00 p.m., we could probably show a kiss, but why bother ? I don’t think we need to see it. It’s just the annoying fact that we see Buffy and Riley having full--- on sex all day and all night (in Where The Wild Things Are.), but these two girls can’t even kiss ?”

The show moved from the WB to UPN after season 5, so apparently that network was a little bit more progressive-minded about the relationship.


It might just have been because a lot of the audience were teenagers and they wanted them to know that there was a relationship but not start sending their minds off to the - erm - more physical aspects.

To the best of my knowledge there was no opposition but I am in the UK and do not know what was happening in the USA.

  • 2
    But they were fairly explicit with several other "physical" relationships. Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 17:16
  • But not girl on girl ones, the image of which is normally more effective at causing young men to day dream.
    – Stefan
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 9:40
  • 2
    *young heterosexual men Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 17:57

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