An Interview with the Slayage Online Journal of Buffy Studies Editor, Elizabeth Rambo

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Title: An Interview with the Slayage Online Journal of Buffy Studies Editor, Elizabeth Rambo
Interviewee: Elizabeth Rambo
Date(s): May 11, 2012
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Jossverse
External Links: An Interview with the Slayage Online Journal of Buffy Studies Editor, Elizabeth Rambo, Archived version
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An Interview with the Slayage Online Journal of Buffy Studies Editor, Elizabeth Rambo is an interview with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer focus.

It was conducted by, and posted to, Legendary Women, Inc., an organization devoted to promoting the empowerment of women, both in the media and in their everyday lives and endeavors.

"Dr. Rambo of Campbell University has long been a scholar in the field of Buffy studies and works on the editing board of the popular online academic journal Slayage, devoted to furthering Buffy studies around the world. She talked with us about Buffy studies, great Buffy-speak quotes, and Cordelia Chase, Queen Bitch of Sunnydale."


Can you tell us what drew you to the Buffyverse (including its sister show Angel)?

Previously, I taught for several years in the suburbs of Los Angeles at Biola University. So I was living in Southern California when the Buffy movie came out and thought the title’s implied satire on (a) Valley Girl culture and (b) horror was hilarious, so I liked the movie as campy fun. (Sorry, Joss Whedon—what did I know?) When the TV show was announced a few years later, I was on board from day one—especially when it turned out to be miles better than the movie in terms of character development, atmosphere, and mixing genres. But still funny! Of course I was going to watch Angel, too.

Which season and/or episode of the show do you think best exemplifies why this show has earned a reputation for being feminist?

Season, probably be Season Two, my other favorite season. Buffy has to overcome several major losses and decide for herself what’s important: Angelus thinks Buffy has “No weapons...No friends...No hope. Take all that away... and what's left?” Buffy’s reply, holding the sword between her palms: “Me.” Willow, too, steps up with more “resolve” than we’ve seen before. However, I think the scene in Season Four’s “Primeval,” in which the Scoobies join forces and create “superslayer” Buffy to defeat Adam also exemplifies the feminist reputation of the show: feminism is in part about being able to stand up for oneself, but it’s also about being part of a team, trusting in one’s friends, cooperation. The “source of [Buffy’s] power” in this scene is the love and support of her friends.

Who is your favorite female character and why?

Oh, Buffy. I know she can be contradictory and overbearing and frustrating and cruel, but from the first time I heard “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” I loved the idea of “just a girl” who can take on the demons, vampires, etc., and that’s never really changed. I like the fact that in spite of her hero status, she gets knocked down pretty far from time to time in the course of seven seasons, but always finds her way back, eventually.

Why do you think Whedon studies, in this case those focusing on the Buffyverse, have become such a rich ground for intellectual debate and for journals such as Slayage?

I suppose because, unlike many (most?) TV shows, Buffy is essentially polysemic. Just by presenting itself as drama-horror-comedy, the show gives scholar-fans and fan-scholars different ways to approach it. Then add dynamic characters, narrative arcs, the multiple uses of metaphor. I could go on…