Chosen Families in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
About the Book
The television series Buffy and Angel revolve around radical conceptions of family. Indeed, their coherence depends on the establishment of nontraditional families that admit vampires, demons, witches, werewolves, and other bizarre characters without censuring them for their peculiarities. This work argues that what makes these characters enduring and engaging is their critical family connections—for their most involved struggles occur not within the graveyard, but around the dinner table, just as the most challenging adversarial forces that they must face are not demons or vampires but the stuff of everyday life.
What does “family” encompass within these two series? How does it relate to concepts of gender, sexuality, power and the supernatural as they emerge from the shows’ complex narratives? This book explores such questions. It also examines the “chosen family” (an idea marketed specifically by successful programs such as Friends and Sex in the City within the past ten years), juxtaposing it against various images of the fractured biological family displayed in both Buffy and Angel.
Through eight chapters addressing various family-related aspects within both shows, this work plots the trajectory of this unstable notion of family, even as it is transformed, remediated, and rendered unrecognizable from a “family values” perspective by the unique and supernatural relationships that proliferate in Buffy and Angel.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
Table of Contents
1. “She’s Not All Grown Yet”: Willow Rosenberg as Hybrid, Hero and Middle Child of the Scooby Family 25
2. “This Carpenter Can Drywall You into the Next Century”: Xander Harris as Hero, Big Brother and Male-In-Progress 44
3. What It Feels Like for a Slayer: Buffy Summers and the Paradox of Mothering 67
4. “Daddy’s Home—I’m in Real Trouble Now”: Fathers Who Watch in Buffy and Angel 89
5. Demonic Maternities, Complex Motherhoods: Cordelia, Fred and the Puzzle of Illyria 112
6. Buffy, Angel and the Ivory Tower: Open and Closed Family Systems 134
Afterword. Families Beyond Buffy (or Firefly, and Everything After) 156
Book Reviews & Awards
“the first scholarly book to focus on nontraditional family relations in the series…a necessary and welcome addition…well-written,well researched…insightful”—Journal of Popular Culture; “new view”—SirReadaLot.org.