Recently in Buffy Category

The Vamp Ass Buffy Really Kicks

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Rebecca was good enough to send me the link to this Buffy/Edward mashup, which I cannot stop watching--it's so satisfying! I posted it on my Facebook page (I should admit that I've gotten over my earlier Facebook ambivalence and now really enjoy it), as did half a dozen of my friends. But those of you who aren't on Facebook deserve to see this too, so here it is, in case you've somehow missed it so far.

Vampires and the Names of Women Who Love Them

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Here's the thing: I don't like vampires. I'm not interested in stories or movies about vampires. I have, nonetheless, developed a habit of paying attention to shows about women who are in love with vampires, having been sucked (har!) into the genre because Buffy the Vampire Slayer was so good.

I understand that Season II of True Blood starts tonight. If I had HBO I would probably watch it. I'm about half way through Season I on dvd, and I like it well enough to keep going. Before starting the show, I read Dead Until Dark, the first novel in Charlaine Harris's series about southern vampires, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse books.

I admit I paid attention to True Blood only because I felt obligated to do so, given that I write about Buffy and that I'm going to write about the loathsome Twilight series. But it's... interesting. I'm interested. Dead Until Dark was about 50 million times better than Twilight, on every level: better prose, stronger character development, more realistic attraction between the main characters, and WAY more compelling supporting characters. (Though one of the nice things the TV show has done is make those supporting characters even more compelling--I didn't realize how much the story needed more from Tara and Lafayette until I saw more of them.)

True Blood isn't as good as Buffy, at least not so far, but it sure as hell doesn't suck. (Well, OK, it sucks in the vampire way. It doesn't suck in the bad way, of, you know, sucking something besides blood from a jugular vein.) But despite the fact that both shows focus on pretty young blonde human females with supernatural abilities who fall in love with vampires over a century old, they're so different that they're hard to compare.

I started to provide some background and analysis of TB, but also started worrying about spoilers, since I know I have quite a few readers in Europe where the show has yet to air, and besides, if you really want to know about the show, there are websites that already contain more information can I could provide. So I'm just going to make a few non-spoiler observations.

One More Reason to Love Buffy

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According to a study discussed in a story published last week in The Telegraph, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is inspiring women to leave conventional organized religion "because they feel the church is not relevant to their lives."

Wow.

Go figure.

Buffy didn't start this phenomenon--according to the author of the study, Dr Kristin Aune, a sociologist at the University of Derby, it began two decades ago, before Buffy was on the air. One million women, or 50,000 a year, have left their churches over the past 20 years. But Buffy helped show women an attractive alternative to religions that afford them little sense of the egalitarianism they value: wicca. Buffy celebrated female power, connection to the larger world of nature and spirit, and a disdain of hierarchies--all things inimical to traditional western religion. So they're bailing on it.

ONN: TV Nudity OK If It's Who?

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Here's a funky little thing from The Onion News Network that freaks me out a bit:

FCC Okays Nudity On TV If It�s Alyson Hannigan

I saw this a few days ago but haven't posted it sooner because I needed a while to think about it. Obviously it's a joke 'cause it's from the Onion, but is part of the joke that Alyson Hannigan isn't all that sexy? I'm honestly confused, and I honestly need help understanding this, 'cause it's sorta relevant for a paper I have to write.

As longtime readers of my blog will know, I do scholarly work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Alyson Hannigan played Willow for seven years, and part of Willow's character was that, at least initially, she WASN'T sexy--she was the wallflower character. But does she become truly sexy and do I fail to see that about her because I am blinded by her original characterization? I honestly think she's the least sexy character on the show, even after she hooks up with Tara--I think Tara is much hotter.

I haven't stopped to think about whether or not I find the women of Buffy all that hot--too fixated on Spike, I admit--but now that I consider the matter, I think there are lots of female hotties on Buffy, but Willow really isn't one of them. I think Joyce is hotter than Willow. I think Jenny Calendar is hotter. I think Halfrek is hotter. I might even think Dawn is hotter, though her sexuality is so rarely addressed that I find it inappropriate to consider the matter. And there's no question for me as to who's the hottest woman on Buffy: it's Anya.

But is Alyson Hannigan hot in ways that Willow (regular Willow, not vamp Willow) isn't? I admit I didn't think she was hot as Trina Echols on Veronica Mars, and I didn't watch enough of How I Met Your Mother to decide if she was hot on that.

I know, I know; it's a goofy thing to worry about. But as I say it's relevant for a paper I'm writing so I welcome opinions from any and all Buffy fans who might come across this.

The Lead-Up to Two Minutes In Heaven

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Warning! This entry contains spoilers! If you A) haven’t seen seasons I or III of Veronica Mars and B) intend to watch them some day and C) are upset by spoilers (I’m not), then read at your own risk.

If you look at the calendar on my blog, it shows that I took a full week off from blogging, Sunday December 9 through Saturday December 15. I completely missed National Blog Posting Every Day Month or whatever November is called; I was traveling and away from home for over half the month, and much of the time I was gone I didn’t have reliable internet access, so there was just no way I could have done that gig.

I decided, however, that I’d compensate by posting every single day for a week or ten days in December, and I thought December 5 through 15 would be ideal as those days (even though that’s actually 11 days). But I got distracted on December 8, and what distracted me was a sweater I started last spring and really want to finish before 2008 rolls around, and Veronica Mars.

One More Reason to Love Joss

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As if there weren't already so many, many reasons to love Joss Whedon, latest on the list is his speech at Equality Now, discussing his responses to the question he is invariably asked: "So, Joss, why do you write these strong women characters?"

Buffy, Fiction and God

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Here's an entry from Stephen Frug that speaks to several of my primary interests: good writing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, moral and artistic complexity, and religion. I recommend it with this disclaimer: it's LONG, as long or longer than some of the stuff I post. But it's really thoughtful and interesting, and worth your time.

Academic conferences can bring out snarkiness, competition, cruelty in even the nicest people: they've got these intellectual territories to defend, ideas in which they have a great deal invested, and when someone threatens that territory by challenging those ideas, watch out! I've been in and observed my fair share of very heated exchanges--about like when Warren, Jonathan and Andrew argue over who was the best James Bond. (I love Andrew's resentful claim that "Timothy Dalton should win an Oscar and hit Sean Connery on the head with it"--not that I love Timothy Dalton OR Sean Connery--actually I hate the whole Bond franchise--I just can't help laughing at the line.) You'll sometimes see outright hostility flare up in the Q&A sessions after panels. It doesn't always happen, but it happens often enough.

One of the many great things about the Slayage conference was how little of that occurred: people were generally courteous and generous. I'm not saying no snarkiness occurred--it did--but the few times it happened just underscored how rare it was the rest of the time. We decided it was because we are so often attacked for having this bizarre scholarly interest in this element of pop culture most academics feel is beneath their notice, so when we got together, the main thing we felt was gratitude at being among friends. Still, it was very cool to go to a panel and hear such good-natured exchanges. By no means did everyone agree with everything they heard, but I've rarely seen criticisms presented and accepted so graciously: "Have you thought about this?" "Why no, I haven't! Thanks so much for suggesting that." OK, you hear stuff like that at conferences all the time, except that the graciousness of such statements is often a mere veneer, but when you heard it at Slayage, it seemed sincere.

The Joy of Being a Nerd

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In "The Nerd Voice" from The Partly Cloudy Patriot, Sarah Vowell says something like (I'm paraphrasing because I don't have my copy here with me and so can't quote it verbatim, as I prefer to do) that being a nerd--which means caring too much about a particular topic--is the best way to make friends that she knows of.

I have spent the last few days at the Slayage Conference held in Barnesville, Georgia (there's a whole long story as to why it's being held at such an out of the way location, the short version being that a college here offered to host it), indulging in nerdiness, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I am currently operating on less than five hours of sleep because I stayed up way past my bedtime last night to drink cheap beer and discuss, among other things, whether or not the cruelty of "Hell's Bells," the episode in which Xander jilts Anya at the altar, was necessary or not--I argued that it was really awful in that he not only broke her heart but humiliated her, and someone else argued that it was that extra element that made her reenroll as a vengeance demon, which made all these other plot twists in seasons six and seven possible yada yada yada. The thing is, this was an extracurricular discussion: this was after a full day of organized panel discussions of the Whedonverse. This was a conversation where people took of their shoes and sat on beds and talked informally about text and subtext and so on and so forth in BtVS and Angel and Firefly/Serenity--as well as other things. There was a discussion on Harry Potter, but I'm not really into that and so could add little to it, and as for the Jane Austen hints I dropped, everyone else was content to let them lie on the floor among the bottlecaps and carpet lint.

Riley, Ultimatums, My Absence and No Comments

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So.

I am one of the few Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans who really digs Riley, Buffy's cornfed Iowa boyfriend who is also a member of this covert military operation, the "Initiative." Most people find him too wholesome and bland, but I think he's physically hot, dryly funny, decent to women, and very appealing.

Spike, Sunday's guest blogger, became my friend when he and I collaborated on a presentation on BtVS. He worked on Buffy and labor; I worked on Buffy and sex. He has been helping me thinking out some of the ideas I wanted to develop for the paper I'm presenting this weekend at Slayage 2. Blog Spike (as opposed to BtVS Spike) and I both like Riley but disagreed about how we felt about his departure from the show.

As you might have noticed, I'm not exactly developing lots of original ideas in my entries this week--too busy. As another time-saving blogging technique, I'm posting an (almost unedited) email I sent Blog Spike about Riley and what was going on when he left Buffy in Season Five--it's both topical (to me, anyway) and something I can just cut and paste.

I would love to hear from any other Riley fans out there, if any more read my blog. Unfortunately I got up this morning to find I'd received over almost 500 junk comments in six hours, so I'm turning off all comments until I get back. At that point, I'll try to figure out some better way of filtering out the crap comments from the legitimate ones.

***

When I was home for Christmas, I ended up going on this dreadful drive out in the desert with my parents, my brother and his family. It was a Sunday afternoon and we had driven less than a mile when my brother up in this HORRIBLE cd of little kids singing the Articles of Faith (13 statements of belief for the Mormon church) set to music. It was cloying and gross, and I was revolted to be confronted with so overt a method of socializing little kids into swallowing all that codswollop. I took a deep breath; I listened for a few moments, and then I said, "If you want to listen to this, that's fine. But I can't listen to it. If this is what's going to be playing in the cd player, please take me home before we go any further, because I cannot and will not listen to this."

And Brother said, "Well, uh... OK." And he took the cd out and put in a cd of silly lyrics set to classical music.

My six-year-old nephew asked, "Why are listening to this? I wanted to listen to the cd I got today at church."

"Holly asked us to change it," Brother said. "We're going to listen to this."

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