Monday, June 1, 2009

Buffy the literature slayer

Back from Book Expo, over the cold, and counting down the panicked days until my job ends and the Columbia Publishing Course begins. And did I mention I have HOMEWORK? I haven't had homework since library school! More on the Columbia course later. On to today's question/rant/musings.

Sometimes I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer was both the best and worst thing that ever happened to YA literature. Yes, I know it was a TV show and not a book, save for the Season 8 comics that Dark Horse is printing.

Please don't think that I think Buffy was a bad show, or that it wasn't influential in teen pop culture. I quite enjoyed the seasons I watched (1-4) and do have plans to finish watching to the end of the series via DVD. Eventually. Teens with superpowers were a very hot trend during the run of Buffy. I love Joss Whedon's wit and wisdom and do quote it from time to time. Buffy holds a place in the Great Teen TV Shows Hall of Fame, no doubt, but all of us who work with teens know that their perception of popularity, of hot shows, of important shows, changes every week. Every day, even.

Here's the sad fact we have to face, and if you're a Buffy fan who's my age, meaning you were an older teen or younger adult during the show's run and a fan of the series, one we must accept:

Buffy has been off the air for six years. It ran from 1997-2003. Today's fifteen-year-olds were born in 1994. That means, as far as they're concerned, the show barely existed. Sure, there are teens that are fans of the show, but either I'm oversensitive or they're showing up a lot more in teen literature than they do in real life. (Anyone studied this? I am totally using unscientific anecdata here.) Buffy is no longer the be-all end-all of teen shows, but sometimes I think that the teen literature world is slow to catch on to this fact. I know books are often a year behind pop culture, but this is much more than a year. I'm sure there's at least one book coming down the pipeline somewhere with devoted Gilmore Girls fans as the characters. (I know I've read one which mentioned a group of girls who were fans of Jensen Ackles, but I don't think the writer did her research because the group always got together on Thursday nights to watch DVDs...during Supernatural.)

Hey, I didn't say I LIKED acknowledging that fact. But it is a fact. Every generation has the shows that shape it, but every generation's shows can and do come to an end. Buffy has come to an end, and in five years no teens will have memory of its first run. It might not even show in reruns anymore and have to live solely on DVD. And those of us who serve teens and try to provide the latest and greatest in reading and pop culture for them must move on, though Buffy will always have a special place in our hearts.


Yair said...


I teach year 10's. A few of the intelligent girls discoverred Buffy and love it.

My Daughters in year 9 and grade 3 are watching atmo season 2 and loving it.

It will last. Those things often disappear for a few years straight after they were at the top of their popuylarity and than they get re-discovered and come back.

Lolita Hazed said...

I just graduated high school and me and my friends are Buffy devotees, and I mean that in the strictest sense. We based our senior year English video final on Buffy.

So I gotta agree with Yair.

tia said...

I was born in 1991, just graduated high school and I'm in my first year of university (whoo!). and I have been watching buffy since it came out! yes I was like 5 years old, but Buffy is easily one of the highlights of my life. It's so smart and funny. I believe that my best friend and I were shaped into the people we are today because of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in some way or another. I am an avid believer that Buffy was the greatest show on television, I worship everything Joss Whedon.
Dollhouse season 2 soon!