The rise of Buffy Studies
When Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, came to an end in 2003, its status as a cult series was still relevant. Judging by the plethora of novels, comics, video games, not to mention sites, fanfictions, conventions and mentions in lists “Best TV series of all time”. But although it is always fun to watch a bubbly blonde and her friends confront the forces of evil with superhuman strength, magic, murderous replicas, the seven seasons of the series have also become the subject of more serious investigations in a more intellectual fanbase : academics.
Buffy, like the series hailed by critics as X-Files and Twin Peaks, has arrived before the Sopranos and era the Golden Age of Television, yet she was instrumental in that students treat the series like The Wire, Mad Men and Breaking Bad as works of art to dissect and analyze as much fervor as great works of literature. The University found Whedon's cult series particularly multi-dimensional, heavily playing with allegories, myths and cultural references, while combining an inventive narrative with dynamic characters and comments on the company.
Consequently, hundreds of articles and school books have been written about very profound themes tackled by Buffy the Vampire cons – and an academic journal and a multitude of conferences called Slayage – using the works of Whedon to discuss topics such as philosophy and cultural theory. Buffy she is an allegorical spectacle of modern life ? Yes. Buffy is it a progressive series, feminist and challenges stereotypes ? Yes. Buffy is it a philosophical study of subjectivity and truth ? Why not ?
Douglas Kellner, professor at the University of Los Angeles, wrote that television today excels in demonstrating subconscious fears and fantasies of the company, and that Buffy is a perfect example. The supernatural elements of the series, dit-il, bring “access to social problems, the hopes and anxieties, which are not always well represented in other, more 'realistic' media,” as sitcoms or crime series. Even the most popular series with a common concept as Teen Wolf or Vampire Diairies, which focus more on the drama side, romance and adolescent problems, starved metaphorical elements possessed Buffy the Vampire cons and that made it a fascinating series for students who wanted to study.
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, monsters here play the role of differences and the company's threats : Vampires symbolize sexual predators, werewolves represent physical force we can not control, and witches show addiction and feminine powers that can be perceived as threatening. Fighting the “Big Bads”, Buffy and her friends confront the monsters that we all face one day – Symbols of the oppressive authority, Empty sense rules, limited social standards, sexual discoveries, solitude, redemption – in other words, the fear of growing up and finding their way in life.
Those studying Buffy rubbed at different approaches to understanding the series dozen or attempt to use it in other disciplines. In the decade following the end of the series, ecologist specializing in populations at Stanford University used a mathematical formula to determine the number of vampires in Sunnydale. California in the fictional town in which the story takes place. A strategist in Washington Strategic and International Studies Centre DC, compared confrontation Buffy against the evil forces in the war between the United States and its enemies, and named “Buffy” a new paradigm in biological warfare, in homage to the vampire slayer. A historian in English published a lexicon “Buffyspeak”, a name given to the very particular talked about the series (Example : “Love makes you do the wacky,” “What’s with the grim ?” or “She’s the Do-That Girl”).
“Whedon seems to be an inexhaustible source” a dit David Lavery, an English professor at Middle Tennessee University who teaches using series Mad Men, Doctor Who, Lost or Buffy, and co-founded theWhedon Studies Association (Whedon Studies Association). “There is this complexity, This intertextuality and this authenticity that makes this history is so rich and deep to analyze. If he continued to do this kind of series for 10 coming years, I think Whedon studies are not ready to stop.”
While Buffy was instrumental in preparing the ground for prestigious series such as Mad Men is studied academically, Buffy lacks this notoriety with series like Mad Men enjoy. Emily Nussbaum, critical in the New Yorker, lamented the fact that Buffy seems much less attractive than it really is, which made it difficult for the fact to convince his friends of his true quality. (In the first season, note t-elle, “The costume werewolf looks like the coat of my great aunt Ida.”) However, intentional exaggeration to Dr. Who dont Buffy (the series) boasts was the subject of many lauded dissertations.
Meanwhile, other scholars have studied the complex relationship qu'entretien Joss Whedon with his world, analyzing as author and comparing it with other designers like series Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men) and Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy).
Besides Buffy, studies concerning pop culture is evolving dramatically in American universities. Students analyze now Madonna, Jay-Z, Harry Potter, The Sopranos, The Wire et Lost. These scholars – many of whom are fans of the works they study – sometimes rub this academic culture that looks at with disdain for their choice of study, despite democratization series.
But through history, we often notice that the fashion of yesterday often becomes a classic of tomorrow. Rhonda Wilcox, who also co-founded TheWhedon Studies Association, frequently compares the episodic format of the TV series in 19th century novels, like Charles Dickens. Dickens' novels, as Shakespeare, were considered the “Pop Culture” and thus not worth it to be studied by academics. Literary and film studies as we know them today, experienced such debacles. They also, first, fought for the legitimacy of their studies. “I think we are gradually trying to show people that the television series of the studies are to be taken seriously.” dit Wilcox.
Unsurprisingly can be, Whedon also it supports the rise of Buffy Studies. In an interview with The New York Times in 2003, he said, “I think it is very important that academics studying pop culture, even if they study seems superficial. If done with talent and marked pop culture, so it is that the study to find out why.”
Source & image : www.theatlantic.com