ariad: (btvs // go hand in hand)
As some of you know, I am leading a Buffy the Vampire Slayer course next semester at my university. I'm a senior at UC Berkeley, and we have a program that allows undergrads to design and facilitate pass/no pass courses. A couple of examples that will be offered next semester are Intro to Soviet Animation and The History of Queer Comics. The DeCal program also allows courses designed around television series, and my Buffy the Vampire Slayer course, which I am inheriting from this semester's fabulous facilitator who laid the very impressive groundwork for the class, is one of them.

My co-facilitator and I are currently gathering readings to go with our chosen episodes. These readings come mostly from Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association and Rhonda Wilcox's Why Buffy Matters, with a few essays from Lorna Jowett's Sex and the Slayer, James B. South's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale, and Rhonda Wilcox and David Lavery's Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

When we finalize our list, I'll post it on this journal, but for now, I'll recommend a few of my favorite readings that come immediately to mind. I don't agree with all of them 100%, but they make damn good cases. [edit: The descriptions below say what the essays argue, but as with all things, I recommend reading them very critically before subscribing to their interpretation.] Most of these are from Slayage, and the links are all to PDFs.

Stacey Abbott, "A Little Less Ritual and a Little More Fun: The Modern Vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
Abbott examines the transition of depictions of vampires from a traditional, pseudo-religious representation of the “old,” as seen in the Master and his cult, to the anarchic, pop culture-referencing modern vampire that is Spike.

Michele Boyette, "The Comic Anti-Hero in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Silly Villain: Spike is for Kicks"
Boyette argues that in order for Spike to be redeemed, he had to first be comedic. In doing so, she provides a wonderful examination of the evolution of Spike's portrayal.

Kevin K. Durand, "'Are You Ready to Finish This?': The Battle Against the Patriarchal Forces of Darkness"
An essay about how Caleb is an unsubtle character but that he is a lens through which we can interpret other patriarchal, hierarchical figures, particularly the Watchers' Council and the Shadow Men, and see them as instantiations of the First.

Greg Forster, "Faith and Plato: 'You're Nothing! Disgusting, Murderous Bitch!'"
A chapter from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy. Argues that Buffy is a eudaimonist text and that this is expressed especially through the character of Faith in Season 4. Great analysis of the series' moral code.

Gert Magnusson, "Are Vampires Evil?: Categorizations of Vampires, and Angelus and Spike as the Immoral and the Amoral"
I've actually not read this yet because it came out as I was writing one of my term papers, but look at that title! We necessarily spent a lot of time this semester discussing Angelus' and Spike's morality, and I am eager to have this essay change the course of that conversation for next semester.

Em McAvan, "'I Think I'm Kinda Gay': Willow Rosenberg and the Absent/Present Bisexual in Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
McEvan discusses the potential problem of bisexual erasure in the depiction of Willow's sexual orientation but does so in a way that does not discount the legitimacy of how she identifies. Also discusses how the show codes bisexuality and kink as evil.

Rhonda Wilcox, "I Think I Can Name Myself"
Chapter 3 from Why Buffy Matters, about identity formation, especially in the characters of Anya and Spike.

Rhonda Wilcox, "Fear: The Princess Screamed Once"
Chapter 9 from Why Buffy Matters that focuses on the episode "Hush." Wilcox hits a number of different topics in this chapter, including depictions of successful and unsuccessful communication in the episode and Riley Finn as a representation of the patriarchy.

Enjoy! Later on, I'll also post some of my reading responses from this semester, including responses to Durand, McEvan, and Wilcox.
ariad: (Default)
I like analyzing writing techniques. It seems to me that the best way to learn about the importance of things like theme and structure are to examine their use in the stories you admire and to figure out how they do or do not contribute to the meaning of the work or to the audience's experience. Today, I looked at uses of common thematic model in television. It was more for my own study than anything else, but I know some of you enjoy this type of metatextual discussion, and I'd like to hear other people's analyses if anyone has any. Spoilers for Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The model: The theme of the work is tied to the basic concept of the protagonist. Both the plot and the protagonist's development are influenced by the theme, and the motivations of the primary antagonist run counter to the theme.

Example 1: Angel )

Example 2: Buffy the Vampire Slayer )

Example 3: RTD Era Doctor Who )

Example 4: Avatar: The Last Airbender )
ariad: (Default)
Comics



Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8. Finished this a few weeks ago. As a whole, the season was entertaining, but I cared so little. It's a shame; great and terrible things are happening to my favorite characters and I just don't give a shit. I think the art style may be to blame because Georges Jeanty's lineart just isn't very emotive. However, read it for the army of tiny vampire teddy bears screaming, "EAT THEIR #%&@ING OVARIES!"

More: 'My glimmering hope is so large it eclipses the sun and the moon!' )
ariad: (Default)
Final Fantasy VIII
Ah, character development. So wonderful and yet so dangerous. Wonderful because, hurrah, movement, growth, etc. Dangerous because it becomes difficult to say you like a character in a general sense. What I mean is,

HOLY FUCK I LOVE SQUALL.

I haven't liked him since I was eight years old. I also haven't played this part of the game (end of Disc 2, beginning of Disc 3) since I was eight years old, although I may have liked him back then just because he's pretty. I fully admit that at the beginning of the game, he is a major douchebag. Not quite as much as Luke from Tales of the Abyss (who sadly sticks in my mind pre-development), but: "Your schoolmate is dead." "THIS IS ABOUT MEEE."

Have some shame, dude. Childhood trauma and internal monologues considered, that was still pretty bad. But then he started to grow, thanks to his friends who touched his shriveled little jackass heart and caused it to blossom into a happy palpitating blood squeezer, re: "You're glad they're not dead!" "No, I'm not. (Except I secretly am.)"

I am eagerly anticipating the train tracks scene because I think I will be all over that, especially given the record of scenes that have made me like Squall:

my paraphrased Squall talks a lot more than real Squall )

Vampire Relationships lolololol
AHAHAHAHAHA, I was just reading a description of the things Edward from Twilight does to Bella that can be considered creepy and misogynistic, such as sneaking into her room and watching her sleep, stalking her, breaking up with her for her own good, thinking she needs constant supervision and protection, etc. etc. etc. and it sounds just like Angel and Buffy.

OH, VAMPIRES.

I haven't read Twilight, but as far as I can tell, the difference is that Angel and Buffy's relationship is portrayed as unhealthy and doomed to fail, whereas Edward and Bella's is portrayed as the ideal (or so I hear). Also, Buffy can beat the shit out of Angel. And does. Numerous times.

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