Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rhonda Wilcox, Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 2005.

Rhonda Wilcox--co-editor of Slayage--has written a wonderful book. It's entertaining and funny, and remains a careful and intelligent examination of the seven seasons of Buffy as a text. The book is structured in two parts. The first part looks at broad themes across the series: light imagery, naming, use of language, globalization, etc. The second part is six chapters of close reading, one on each of six chosen Buffy episodes ("Surprise"/"Innocence", "The Zeppo", "Hush", "Restless", "The Body", "Once More, with Feeling").

I'm at a loss for further thoughts on the book: I'm still thinking about some of the ideas Wilcox presents, and want to re-watch a number of episodes (especially including those on which Wilcox offers such careful close readings). She has thought very carefully about the show, and her writing on specific topics does a better job of defending the idea of writing about television--and Buffy, in particular--in an academic setting than her explicit defence that introduces the book. In fact, the writing itself offers a strong argument that thinking carefully about television is indeed a thing well worth doing.