"It's the End of the World ... Again": UNCG Buffy Studies Class is Now in Session. The Slayer does indeed still matter, and enthusiastic BtVS fans showing up for the first night's class proved it. Vacating a 60-seat-capacity room for a much larger auditorium (with giant video screen!) in the nearby student center, the night began with S1's "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest."
Discussion of the episodes, touching on everything from the sexuality of vampires to Buffy's representation of female empowerment, went on for a good half-hour afterwards, with thoughtful input from viewers old and new. (It's too bad we won't be getting graded for our participation, because based on this night's commentary I'm pretty sure everyone would be getting an A :)
As a BtVS/AtS fan who's long felt isolated on the East Coast, and particularly in this southern region of the country, it was wonderful to feel that sense of Buffy-verse community coming together. Just hearing so many people laughing at the same lines, and knowing everyone there was enjoying the show as much as the presence of others who shared the same love of Joss's work, was amazing. Instant camaraderie -- just add the Whedonverse and stir (once more, with feeling)!
Apparently Sabrina Boyer and Lydia Howard, who organized the class, are hoping this leads to the possibility of a for-credit pop culture class on Buffy being added to the university's curriculum. It's very apparent from talking with both of them that their appreciation of Joss and his work is deep, genuine and broad-based in its aspirations for the community. They were blown away by the larger-than-expected crowd that showed up, and are considering adding more evenings for episode showings and discussion, as well as putting together a gathering before the spring mini-conference that will feature fan fiction, testimonials and poetry. Our local TV station even showed up, filming a brief segment for their 11 p.m. newscast (which they showed in the first 10 minutes, no less).
All in all, it was a great start to what promises to be a fun and memorable exploration of the Slayer in the south. And I'm so excited for the next class I can't stand it (not that it's at all obvious or anything)...
September 07 2006
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