Saturday, December 17, 2005

More TV Talk

As made clear on the DVD (special features), Buffy the Vampire Slayer is now fair game for UCLA and Berkeley type schools, interested in exploring perennial themes via "TV literature" (which'd make sense in California, where high level TV literacy is greatly prized).

So here I am, a wannabee UCer, filing my PhD thesis in American Literature, about why I found the resolution so satisfying. Stop reading if you're anxious to keep the ending hidden (same with Huck Finn or any good yarn -- open source doesn't mean you have to know).

Buffy's chief source of suffering is her "one and only" status as The Slayer, which means it's up to her to show leadership in the face of trully daunting odds (lots of mirror imagery). But she intuits that her own Messiah-hood is a pitfall, a weakness that plays into the hands of her enemy (The First).

Buffy asks herself how this "one slayer at a time" bottleneck ever came about in the first place. With that question, she realizes she and her friends have the freedom and resources to spread the slayer function more widely, per a democratic model. Willow finds this a nifty exercise and deftly executes the maneuver. The charge goes to women, mostly. The First seemed rather deeply misogynistic, so that makes sense too (forewarned is forearmed).

Our little party is still on a magic school bus when it's all over (an eternal return to the beginning, another turn in the spiral); more adventures lie ahead (in Cleveland?). And yes, good people have died: Anya gets to explore her humanity more deeply (a privilege she seems curiously excited about, despite our obvious stupidity) and Spike goes out in a blaze of glory (literally), his soul saved just as surely.

Like I said, a satisfying ending. We watched it as a family on the upstairs Sony, renting from Netflix.