Monday, June 11, 2007

Making sense of Buffy

The Buffyverse is complicated.

I'm trying to show my kids how to write essays in something other than five paragraph format. So today I showed "Destiny," The Angel episode in which Spike and Angel beat the shit out of each other over the fake Cup of Destiny. Then I gave them copies of Peter Beagle's essay on the difference between Spike and Angel. They have to go through the essay and find the thesis and mark all the specific examples and the elaboration in different colors.

I think for my other class I'll switch it to the one where they go to Italy. "Destiny" confused the crap out of them. They asked if we could watch the show from the beginning. God, I wish I could comply.

I tried explaining things. I gave them a primer on the whole Spike - Buffy - Angel saga before I showed them the episode. Writing things on the board did not help.

The idea of demons controlling the world with an evil law firm sounds really stupid when you say it out loud.

When we were going over the essay, to explain what I wanted them to do I pointed to a part in the essay where Beagle brings up Spike's affair with the Buffybot.

"He had sex with a robot?" one of my kids asked.

"Yes," I said. "Which was really creepy when her friends saw him having sex with her in the graveyard and thought it was Buffy. But it was okay because in that same episode Spike did something really nice for Buffy so she pretended to be the robot to make him feel better."

I watched my student scrunch up his face in an effort to make sense of what the hell I just said.

I'm thinking it's a miracle we got one full season out a show this complicated, much less seven and five of a spinoff. Hooray for miracles.


  1. Anonymous5:31 PM

    For your next class, I highly recommend showing them the Buffy episode "Earshot." Buffy develops the ability to read everyone's mind and what she learns is that everyone in high school feels like an outsider. When she confronts a school shooter, he wails "I feel alone." Buffy retorts more or less "Everyone feels alone, you idiot, but not everyone goes up in a bell tower with a high powered rifle."

    Your students will associate with the alienation theme and you can talk about coping and relating. Good stuff for high schoolers!

  2. If I had time, I'd show the whole series, believe me.

    There is an essay in the Buffy book that utilized "Earshot," but unfortunately it delves into too many other plot twists for me to use with my kids. It's a good episode for them to see, though. If I had time.

  3. you can say "sex" in middle school???

  4. High school.

    And yes.


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