Monday, August 3, 2009

Last week I while was talking to someone (sorry, forgot who) about Buffy and Twilight, I was reminded that Mr. Wilson, my AC English teacher in high school, was a huge Buffy fan. He would joke that his winter break plan was just to watch Buffy. At the time, this made him seem rather odd and almost creepy since I thought the main demo of Buffy was probably 12-20 year old girls, not mid-30s guys. But now because of Twilight, I have a new appreciation for Buffy.

I haven’t been living under a rock, so I know that the Twilight book/movie/pop culture phenomenon is hugely popular. Almost as big as Twilight’s fandom is the amount of discussion about Bella and Edward’s relationship. Everyone’s got an opinion. I guess I’m not that qualified to review Twilight since I have not read the books or seen the movie, but I have been reading the blogosphere debates (flame wars?) about vampire guy/human girl relationships. I defer to this YouTube video and its accompanying explanation by its creator. I think it best shows that not all vampire/human relationships and male/female romances have to play out Stephanie Meyer’s way. And it’s funny.

Jonathan McIntosh of Rebellious Pixels, created this video and explains the reason for making it:

In this re-imagined narrative, Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s an example of transformative storytelling serving as a pro-feminist visual critique of Edward’s character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy’s eyes, some of the more sexist gender roles and patriarchal Hollywood themes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed - in hilarious ways. Ultimately this remix is about more than a decisive showdown between the slayer and the sparkly vampire. It also doubles as a metaphor for the ongoing battle between two opposing visions of gender roles in the 21st century.

Before seeing this video, I have read critiques of Twilight, contrasting it with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, such as this review from Salon.

Comparisons to another famous human girl with a vampire boyfriend are inevitable, but Bella Swan is no Buffy Summers. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was at heart one of those mythic hero’s journeys so beloved by Joseph Campbell-quoting screenwriters, albeit transfigured into something sharp and funny by making the hero a contemporary teenage girl. Buffy wrestled with a series of romantic dilemmas — in particular a penchant for hunky vampires — but her story always belonged to her. Fulfilling her responsibilities as a slayer, loyalty to her friends and family, doing the right thing and cobbling together some semblance of a healthy life were all ultimately as important, if not more important, to her than getting the guy.

Jonathan McIntosh writes a longer expose on Twilight/Buffy called What Would Buffy Do?

There are readers and moviegoers who simultaneously object to Bella and Edward’s antifeminist relationship and enjoy the series. I may be even be such a fan, if I ever watch more than the movie trailer or the book review. But I don’t think I will pick up the books because if I’m in the mood for the vampire genre, Buffy is the more palatable choice.


ecomarci said...

haha i haven't read or seen twilight (or buffy) but I liked that video!

Ainsley said...

that was like... the funniest thing I've seen in a while. Love the HP clips at the end!