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February 02 2007

The lady and the vamp. A Buffy essay by Zoe Williams originally published back in 2002. Clive James (perhaps the world's greatest ever tv critic) describes it as "one of the best things about popular culture I had ever seen". With Buffy season 8 almost upon us (and indeed the 10th anniversary of the show), Zoe's essay is an useful reminder of why we fell in love with the show in the first place.

Cool find, Simon!

I'm not so sure about the American aversion to garlic, but I loved this graf:

"Language is never irrelevant to action. When Buffy is missing, Willow points out that 'the Slayer always says a pun or a witty play on words, and I think it throws off the vampires,' and Xander replies, 'I've always been amazed with how Buffy fights, but in a way I feel like we took her punning for granted.' Americans, though, are always tinkering with words in this way, in all kinds of telly scenarios. They are just jealous that they didn't make up this language. We did."
I'm guessing this was written before there was a whole episode about Buffy's hair (oh, and being invisible).
And "Faith Bad vampire slayer. Raised by accident (see above). Dead." is a tad wrong.
And she's a bit mean about Cordelia but still a good read.
"from which one can infer that failing to want to have sex with Buffy is evidence of a profound moral decrepitude..." - I can happily say that my morality is strong and vigorous.
nice article ... but ... I'm American and I LOVE garlic :)
Faith: Bad vampire slayer. Raised by accident (see above). Dead.

she isn't, is she? I'm fairly sure, that she survived!
Depending when exactly she wrote the article in the early 2000s, Faith may have been perceived to have been dead at that time.
I miss Buffy. (sigh)
Thanks for the link Simon. I really enjoyed this article, made me feel all nostalgic.

My favorite part:

"Giles, being the only reliable and cognisant adult in the show, acts as an emissary for our nation, giving the UK a reputation for independent thought and irreverent behaviour. Spike and Druscilla are also English, and are at the uppermost glamour end of the vampire scale; all American vamps are badly dressed. Spike and Dru are also much more intelligent and multi-faceted than the US undead. One can only assume that Joss Whedon (Buffy's creator) once spent a very good holiday here."

Hee heee!
Depending when exactly she wrote the article in the early 2000s, Faith may have been perceived to have been dead at that time.

She mentions 2001 and references plot points from S5 of the show, after we've seen Faith not only alive (though comatose) in the hospital near the end of S3 but also very much alive and kicking in two episodes from S4. Calling her "dead" is simply a mistake. Nice article, though. Enjoyed the "top notes of Sartre" that the author detects in the depiction of the undead.
"Vamps cannot get into your house until they are invited; likewise, member states of the UN cannot get into a war unless they are (attacked, convinced of imminent humanitarian catastrophe, or) invited in by another member state. This is one of a number of clues suggesting that the UN based its constitution on a combination of Dracula, The Lost Boys, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer."

Hee. I loved this. A good article, which did indeed bring me back to the heyday of Buffy. *sniff*

I believe that the idea of Americans not liking garlic stems from an earlier time, when we as a culture were more parochial in our food tastes. It's now as much of a myth as the American belief that there is no good food in England which is equally outdated, stemming from an earlier time (post-WW2, boiled beef-and-veg, rationing, etc.) - but still an extremely common perception in the U.S.

And is Catcher in the Rye our seminal novel? I mean, Love it and All, and in fact, I wish it were so, how admirable would that be? - but really, not so sure that it is, or that there is one.

"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be." J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-02-02 20:58 ]
God, that made me miss Buffy all over again.

It's funny, I'd just finished reading the piece on the BBC website about Clive James' site.

Soon to have his own spin-off series, Ripper.

Sob! It was never to be! (Barring miracles, which given this fandom, you should never discount)
It's funny, I'd just finished reading the piece on the BBC website about Clive James' site.

I read that piece too, saw the Buffy mention and then went to his site to see if there was anything post worthy there. An lo and behold, there was :). I've always enjoyed reading Clive James' stuff. And his show back in the 90s was brill.
That was a great read!

... the giant tsunami of useless females that the past 20 years of telly has supplied.

From a horror film class I took once in college, the only woman I can think of (and she wasn't a tiny blonde) who fought back somewhat successfully in the time period the author is speaking of, was Laurie Strode in the original Halloween (let's not speak of the versions that followed).

ETA: I would have mentioned Ripley, but I don't consider it strictly horror, and she also doesn't really fit in with the whole teenager-in-peril motif (even though you know Ripley really does kick a lot of monster ass).

Recently we've got The Descent, and I could sure see why Joss liked it so much. Beyond the good pacing, great plot and character development, there are stunning parallels between Buffy/Faith, and Sarah/Juno, plus just seeing a bunch of strong, competent women get together was a total gas.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-02-02 19:43 ]
My favourite section:

Buffy's hair

This changes frequently. Sometimes it's long and wavy, at others it's shorter and straight, and there are many permutations in-between. The same holds for Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex And The City) and Jennifer Anniston (Friends). Yet no one mentions Buffy's hair except, in days gone by, Cordelia, the apotheosis of the shallow and pointless individual. This is because Buffy's hair is not the point. The point is that she fights huge demons.

It's so true. I think the only time I noticed hair changes was when it was actually to make a point--ala Willow's shorter 'do in season 3. Oh, and the animal living on Cordy's head in "The Shroud of Rahmon," but that's a different story....

Oh, right, and Buffy's short season six hair. ALSO relevant to the emotional storyarc.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2007-02-02 20:51 ]
I found this article in the Guardian Weekend supplement ( I just checked in my scrapbook, yes, I kept it) published on 17 November 2001. I felt elated that a respectable paper such as the Guardian had featured this essay - and distinctly remember dancing round the kitchen happy in the knowledge that 'my show' was taken seriously. This was long before I discovered the on line community. I also used it to wave under the noses of the non believers in my family, "See, NOT a kid's show" .

Happy to report they are full converts now.
[pedant] The description says 'an useful reminder'. [/pedant]
I was going to say that my favorite part was the Buffy hair thing, but WilliamTheB beat me to it. That paragraph made me chuckle :)
I love stuff like this. I've mentioned this before, but if anyone gets a chance, take a gander through the ScoopMe archives for anything written by 'Hunter Maxin'.

Amazing writer and the most eloquent Buffy fan I've ever read. I looked forward to his weekly analyses of the shows every bit as much as the episodes themselves. I can't tell you the number of times I would throw my head back and yell "yes, YES!" while reading his words.

He so got it.
Thanks for the refresher, Simon, on why Buffy was so special. I can't believe I am as excited as I am about "Season 8!" I am getting over feeling disappointed about it being in comic book form, and just glad to be getting more "real" story about what happened to Buffy & Co.
Willowy - I loved Hunter, too. It was reading Hunter that helped me look more closely at that "silly show for teenagers," for which I am forever grateful. There's quite a few great reviewers and essays and analysis out there, when it comes to BtVS. There was such a unique depth and relevance to the show.
I enjoyed the article. Here's my fav part "her sexiness comes as much from her quiddity as from her perky girl-parts" being a huge fan of perky girl-parts myself. And the quiddity thing. That's right too.

Which reminds of a line I heard on One Tree Hill a few weeks ago, the only time I watched it. Some minor character was at this teen virgin meeting and advised a peer to tell her boyfriend to keep his man parts away from her lady business! I loved it being a huge fan of lady business myself. I vote that best line not in a Whedon show that should have been in a Whedon show.

There seemed to be several factual errors. But it was written by a Brit so they must be intelligent right?

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