Monday, July 04, 2005

Buffy studies

I live beyond the reach of cable television, and mine is one of maybe two houses on this road without a satellite dish. Consequently, I could never have made my mark in the field of "Buffy studies." During its run I saw the program only sporadically when staying in hotels, not enough to really follow the story arcs.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, however, drew plenty of attention from those Christians who saw it as luring teens into "the occult," part of a general viewing-with-alarm of "teen witchcraft".

But, says Rochester College religion professor Gregory Stevenson, the show was not about "the occult" at all. It actually presents a universe filled with moral discourse and the "occult" elements chiefly function as extended metaphor, for example, "high school is hell (mouth)."

His book Televised Morality: The Case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer goes so far as to suggest that "Buffy employs Christian teachings as a vital piece of its moral foundation." (Xander as the Christ-figure, for instance.) This "modern fairy tale" does not glorify evil, Stevenson argues, but rather exhorts viewers to make better moral choices. He urges television critiques to move past superificial judgments based upon images of sexuality, violence, and the demonic.

Maybe I should go rent the DVDs.


Anonymous rosewood said...

Yes, you should rent the DVDs. And don't let the first season put you off. Keep at it.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

In the interest of historical completeness, I'm starting with the movie, which I never saw back when it was released.


10:30 AM  
Blogger Odious said...

Historical completeness is the only reason to see the movie.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...


From a critical standpoint I agree, but it was necessary to encounter Kristy Swanson as the Ur-Buffy.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Sojourner said...

Never thought of Xander as a Christ figure. lol

I will have to go back and watch the series again and see for myself!

1:28 PM  

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