CHAPTER 13
Buffy Rules

I hate it when people talk about Buffy as being campy … I hate
camp. I don’t enjoy dumb TV.

—Joss Whedon, Whedonesque.com

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer series is certainly a cult phe nomenon, and one that goes beyond its fan base to provide fodder for an academic industry. It ran for seven seasons, 1997–2003, and is reportedly the most written-about television show to date, especially if one sticks to straight textual analysis (as opposed to audience or fan studies, etc.). As in the case of Dark Shadows in the 1960s, the serial form of the weekly show allows for a rich variety of plots. The placement of a small town high school/college community on a Hellmouth, which incidentally needs a Slayer to keep bad things from coming out, would seem to be the perfect combination for a serial drama—when the high school plot gets boring, bring on the monsters! Joss Whedon, the show’s creator, states: “The two things that matter the most to me: emotional resonance and rocket launchers. Party of Five, a brilliant show, and often made me cry uncontrollably, suffered ultimately from a lack of rocket launchers” (Whedon 2006, DVD Commentary to “Innocence”). The show gives an intriguing mix of the mundane and the supernatural, focusing on a high school student’s life, which is also that of a Slayer, the Chosen One. Whedon is a true member of the film school generation for television. He is actually a third-generation television writer, following his father and his grandfather. As such, he brings a high level of cinematic and televisual literacy to his work, as well as a constant stream of rhymes and references to the past. Every once in a while, he sets up a challenge for an episode, such as “Hush” (4.5), in which no one can

-99-

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Vampires in the New World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Introduction - Taking Vampires Seriously vii
  • Chapter 1 - Vampire Scholarship 1
  • Chapter 2 - Dracula’s American 9
  • Chapter 3 - Early New World Vampires 17
  • Chapter 4 - Vamps in Hollywood 27
  • Chapter 5 - Blood and Pulp 33
  • Chapter 6 - Class-IC Horror 41
  • Chapter 7 - Urban Legends 49
  • Chapter 8 - Hammering It Home 57
  • Chapter 9 - Countering Vampire Culture 63
  • Chapter 10 - Black Vampires 69
  • Chapter 11 - Vampire Celebrities 77
  • Chapter 12 - Blood Consumers 87
  • Chapter 13 - Buffy Rules 99
  • Chapter 14 - Vampires for Children 107
  • Chapter 15 - White Trash and Teen Melodrama 121
  • Chapter 16 - Vampire Comedy 131
  • Afterword - Where Do We Go from Here? 143
  • Selected Chronological Filmography 149
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
  • About the Author 177
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