The Meta of Buffy with Gabrielleabelle

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Interviews by Fans
Title: The Meta of Buffy with Gabrielleabelle
Interviewer: Margaret Bates
Interviewee: Gabrielleabelle
Date(s): May 7, 2012
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Buffy the Vampire Slayer
External Links: Interview, Archived version
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Contents

The Meta of Buffy with Gabrielleabelle is a fan interview with Buffy meta author Gabrielleabelle. She is interviewed by Margaret Bates from the feminist blog Legendary Women.

Extracts

How did you get drawn into the Buffyverse? Do you remember which episode or season got you hooked?

I actually started with Firefly.

I didn't watch much TV (besides Star Trek) during my teenage years, so I missed Buffy when it aired on TV. I've never been one for 'vampire stuff', so I never had any inclination to watch it after the fact, either. However, a guy I was dating brought Firefly over to my place one evening and we started watching. We stopped dating afterward, but I still had his DVDs. I felt horribly guilty for this and didn't do anything with them for a whole year until the guilt had dissipated enough to give them another try.

I enjoyed it a lot, and I was intrigued by this Joss Whedon fellow. I managed to get the Firefly DVDs back to the guy I'd dated, but I was curious to see what Whedon could do if given a full series - not just part of a season - to work with. As such, I went to his first project, Buffy.
What has inspired you to write so much meta about the show?

I love the show. I don't feel compelled to write meta about most other shows. Buffy, though, has a structure and narrative that calls out to be analyzed and played with. That's what I like to do.

Is there a general theme that comes up most in your meta or something about the show you feel compelled to address over and over?

I think there are times when I get attached to a particular event to write meta about. Generally, though, my interest in the series runs the gamut from Willow's hats to the feminist subtext in Checkpoint. One of the joys of Buffy is that it is such a broad show. It gives us a lot to talk about.

What do you think is the most problematic thing about the Buffyverse?

Not an easy question. With seven years of story, it's inevitable that there would be problems. Buffy is a narrative that skews towards the feminist, though it's not necessarily a feminist narrative. Oftentimes, the story gets prioritized over any sort of political message.

As such, a lot of the more controversial story decisions - the empowerment spell in 'Chosen', for instance - don't ping me as much as they might other people. That's a result of the complex intertwining of the fictional story with real-life politics. There will always be friction between the two.

There is one issue, though, where the series falls down that can't be explained as a story decision, and that's in its dearth of characters of color. For a show set in Southern California, it's unbearably white. When it does have non-white characters - Kendra, Trick - they tend to die.

The show made some effort in the final season to diversify its cast. We get Robin Wood, Kennedy, Rona, and a number of other Potentials who are not white. However, at that point, it's too little too late. We still have six seasons full of mainly white people. By the end of the show, we don't even have any characters of color in the main credits.

This erasure of racial diversity leaves us with a very white-washed view of feminism.