The ultimate description of Buffy The Vampire Slayer is its own title
Well not quite, but for a show that is so full of tropes, it is quite tempting to just try and define it with a single, short, unusually capitalised phrase
; so we might as well use the one it already provided for us.
Inside the title the name of the heroine shows the young side of a young/old juxtaposition. The show has a focus on youth so expect Adults Are Useless
. In an effort to avoid Totally Radical
, we had Buffy Speak
. Really it's still the result of a thirty-five year old trying to write dialogue for teenagers. Other thing to note is the tone of the name, irreverence. That tone appears in Buffy's Establishing Character Moment
. Finally it's the Character in the Character Name and the Noun Phrase
and the hero is
undeniably that character. While we may have a Hero's journey, expect a dark side. If the writers go off the track with the hero then the viewers go off the show. For instance, the seasonal rot in season six is connected to viewers discomfort with Buffy's behaviour.
Well, see above but quote with us now "In every generation there is a Chosen One
. She alone
will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer
." (emphasis added) The starting voice over informed us that she was The One and we saw in the starting season the tropes that accompany The Chosen One in high school
: I Just Want to Be Normal
, It Sucks to Be the Chosen One
, The Only One
, Refusal of the Call
. Then in season 2, we learn There Is Another
. Then after that season she runs away but The Call Knows Where You Live
and so on. Eventually in the end there is an attempt to Screw Destiny
and we come up with The Chosen Many
In this series, the "the", unlike some other shows, is an indication of being The Only One
which gets reflecting in many of The Call
tropes recurring and running through as a theme.
One notably fact about the first season was the lack of vampire villains. Really the vampires in the title provide the old side of the young/old juxtaposition. So its not just Our Vampires Are Different
, it's possibly all Our Monsters Are Different
. The old legends will be taken and put up against youth culture (and bazookas). Also, vampires = fantasy genre and one important aspect for a piece in the genre is Applicability
fell on the allegory side, sometimes rather blunty, so the Aesops
and associated tropes came with it.
This indicates several things but above all, an action show. Consider then its aim of having a "strong" female character in the context of an action show. She can be emotionally messed up and run away, she can get into a messy relationship with a bad boy but she is important and strong because she is physically
strong. That is the starting point. This extends to the other characters, Willow is superior to the other "wanna-blessed-be's" because they are worried about wicca as a religion. Willow on the other hand wants to learn magic to fry demon ass.
The ultimate invalidation (and that's a good thing)
We can consider the ending, then, as the ultimate invalidation of the show's ultimate description. Surprisingly, this can be considered the perfect ending for the show, as the show was constantly trying to invalidate its own title:
- Buffy : We couldn't get rid of Buffy. We killed her twice and her friends kept bringing her back.
- Vampire : We couldn't get rid of vampires, or even the evil in general, that bug people throughout the series. No matter how many vamps bit the dust, no matter how many Big Bads were taught a lesson, there was always another around the corner.
- Slayer : Well, we can't get rid of the evils of the world so we need a slayer. The show's mythos takes care of that, insuring that any time a slayer dies, a new one pops up in its place. The slayer can try giving up, but, no matter what, after some Wangst and some Epiphany Therapy, she'll be back.
So how is the title ultimately invalidated? We left one word out:
- The: at the very end of the show, we the lose the definite article. Buffy releases the magics that limits the number of slayers. She is thus no longer The Slayer, but one of many. Once that happens, all the themes above come to a head. Buffy now could die and we wouldn't notice. The Vampires can be Slayed by someone else. Buffy may still be called "The Vampire Slayer," but it's clear that she is no longer absolutely necessary.
Season 6 was a massive Deconstruction of the series
The focus of the season was the main character's journey to adulthood. There was no long story arc or ancient evil to face. The bad guys are a bunch of nerds who never outgrew their childhood hobbies, symbolizing the fans who only liked the show's sci-fi and supernatural aspects. The real villain is not defeated by the strongest wizard or the mightiest warrior but by the comforting words of a friend. The season ended with Buffy affirming that she wants to live and Spike gets his soul back because the show is not about death or killing but the protection and sanctity of human life and that the world is a beautiful place to be despite all the hardships and tragedy we all face. That's why the Musical Episode
was appropriate to Season 6 rather than any other.
Slayer self defense
I think those reading this page would have a fair idea about Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. For a quick rundown, let's answer a couple of brief questions.
Who is Buffy Summers? Or rather, what is she? Well she said one time she wanted to be a firefighter, a job placement program thought she'd make a good cop, she was a Burger Fool
, a school counsellor, worked in a cafe, and...what's the word? Slayer.
Okay, what does a Slayer do? It's their duty to hunt down and kill vampires, demons and the forces of darkness. Must be why her school she'd be good in the police force, except she goes several steps further than any officer has the right to.
What does this have to do with self defense? We can pick up on a lot of ways what she does is good and what she does is bad.
Buffy herself has said how you should Never Be a Hero
. In this case she is absolutely right, doing what she does and becoming a vigilante wo\man
can get you killed. However with that said you can avoid what would be a mistake emulating her while still seeing how watching what she does can still be applied should you face a similar sitch.
How can what she does is bad, you may ask? She's been doing this for fifteen years, three is more than most Slayers achieve. By going through her actions we can identify what's right and wrong, and how they might apply to us.
First thing's first, how does Buffy usually perform her duty? She goes about at night in the hopes that she will come across some nasty to slay. No no no no no, hell no. I don't care if Sarah Michelle Gellar
has a black belt in taekwondo, if she did this in the real world
she'd end up killed. Now of course there are no vampires or demons in Real Life
, there have been vampire attacks (no, really, check out True True Blood.) There's no Slayers either. Chalk one up to Little Miss Everybody sucks but me,
and yes I hated hated hated her attitude in this scene as well. Of all her failings this might be Buffy's biggest one, yes if you are faced with a monster you can apply some of what she does to defend yourself, yes you can use it to defend others. The last thing you want to do is to go around looking for trouble. I'll go into detail about this below.
Now having explained why you do not go out on patrol, let's look at what happens when she does go out on patrol. One way we'll do is is to compare her to Riley when he went on patrol. In his case he acted much different, in that he came across as actively hunting for something. Now this would indicate to would be assailants that there was a predator in their area and he was best left alone. On the other hand one demon might feel threatened by such behavior and feel the need to challenge him. Buffy, and Faith, or Angel, Spike, in fact they can all be guilty of this. Except they are not as obvious about it.
On the other hand the Scoobies and Buffy act and dress normal, for all intents and purposes they do the job better because they do not present themselves as a threat, however they do present themselves as prey. In their case they are able to take care of themselves but the ideal is a happy medium: to present yourself in such a way that will make an assailant have second thoughts about attacking, yet not encourage trouble. There are many ways to achieve this: how you walk, how you dress, act, however this is not a guide to what you can do, it's examining what a Slayer does. One good example of someone who does it right is Angelus in the episode Phases.
What's he doing? For all intents and purposes he's just out for a stroll, holding a flower. Several things work in his favor however. One is his size; there are people out there much bigger than him yet he is usually classed as The Big Guy
. This would scare off some would be attackers. Another is here he is very obviously the predator, the Nice Guy
act is just that, an act, but let's say for a moment it wasn't. He gives no motive for someone to attack him, the fact he's a Complete Monster
Speaking of which, rep has a lot to do with how someone is perceived, and whether or not they might be attacked. In Angelus' case none of the good guys who know who he is would go after him without backup. The same can be said of those who know Buffy's history: not as a Slayer, but as someone who burnt down the school gym, said to have violent tendencies and have at least two murder charges brought against her. Notice also how she can quickly defuse a situation when she began becoming a Bully Hunter
and word got around she beat up others, at the price of many seeing her as a freak (an issue that would become resolved when Sunnydale finally waking up to what was happening.) While not ideal, at least her rep meant she wasn't subject to rape attempts after fighting off would be rapists and her arrest over Kendra's death.
More to come.