BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
How effectively does ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ use a fantasy world to explore real world issues?





After exploring two episodes from Series one, I have come to the conclusion that in both cases, the sub plot relates to Buffy’s personal life and the real life issues give the audience a situation to which many teenagers can relate to. For example:


In ‘Out of mind, out of sight’, the real world issue is that of school children feeling alone. Many teenagers have a great difficulty making friends, have poor relationships with classmates and suffer from loneliness.


The sub plot of the story is Buffy missing being popular and generally feeling like an outsider. We know that she used to be popular when she explains to Cordelia about her popular days, “You know what you were saying before? I understand. Somehow it doesn\'t seem to matter how popular you are when... I did sort of feel like something was missing”.


In ‘Witch’, the main real world issue is that of parental pressure. Usually, the goals that parents have for their children are not intended to cause them pain or hurt, but because they want the best for their children. Conflict arises when the childs’ and parents’ expectations are different. Typically, the child argues that it is their life and that they have a right to pursue their own goals.


The main sub plot of the story is the conflict between Joyce and Buffy. Joyce thinks that Buffy is just like her when she was younger and thinks that Buffy needs to do something new to keep herself out of trouble, “Oh good! I\'m glad you\'re taking that up again, it\'ll keep you out of trouble,” she states, after Buffy tells her that she is taking up Cheerleading. Moreover, she believes she understands how Buffy must be feeling, “Well, I was thinking. I know the cheerleading thing didn\'t work out… Maybe you should think about joining the yearbook staff. I did, it was a lot of fun.” Buffy does not respond to this treatment well and continuously repeats that it is her own life, not hers as she openly illustrates this to her mother, “Oh, this just in: I\'m not you! I\'m into my own thing”. Buffy would like Joyce to understand that Buffy is old enough to make her own decisions in life. Not only does this occur in the relationship between Buffy and Joyce but also between Amy and her mother. This is where a potentially nasty witch trying to please her hard-driving, former cheerleader ‘mum’ by doing whatever it takes to make the cheerleading squad.


The other true to life storyline is that Willow loves Xander but Xander loves Buffy. Xander emphasises his love for Buffy by saying, “Cool! Was she wearin\' it? The bracelet, she was wearin\' it, right? Pretty much like we\'re goin\' out.” However Willow likes to keep her love for Xander more confidential than him as she shows by her facial expression after Buffy tells Xander that he is “totally, and completely one of the girls! I\'m that comfy with you.” Buffy says, as she is “a bit looped”. In the mean time, Willow smiles, as she now knows that her lover is not loved by Buffy. This sub plot is left open at the end of the episode.


The real world is created through a combination of many effects. For example, a homely kitchen is created in the scene when Buffy is with her mum by firstly, mise en scene. The mise-en-scene is wonderfully used to express the homeliness. The scene begins with a toaster popping up, and Buffy pulling out a freshly toasted half of a bagel; automatically creating the sense of a homely setting. The clutter in the kitchen adds to the homeliness but in a friendly way showing that it is a busy and family type kitchen. An important element of realistically creating this effect is if it has all the props that an ordinary kitchen would have such as the American style fridge, kettle and microwave. Additionally, costume, hair and make-up add to the effect. Joyce wears clothing typical of a mother, 1960’s style hair with a little make-up consisting of dark shades of brown whereas Buffy wears bright and rather feminist