With reference to one or two episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer studied in class, explain how the series encourages the viewer to question assumptions about high and low culture and/or television as a form of popular culture. You may wish to consider issues of genre, authorship and gender.
Vampires are widely known for their slick back black hair,fanged teeth and black and red capes; however, in the television show 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' these traditions have made different way for female fighters and ghoulish monsters. We each have our own different thoughts about what and who vampires are, but the media use their power on public to create a strong image of what are vampires 'should' look like and have endorsed traditions believed for many years. In order to maximise viewing figure, the producer's of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' have made a good mix of the horror genre and the typical, classical American high school show. This mixture of different genres is suitable for many different class or age groups and tastes.
The first episode is titled 'Welcome to Hellmouth' this name is an oxymoron as it uses words that express good and bad. The build up to the episode shows a young couple breaking into the school through a window in the science lab. This action not only ads tension but also shows a link between science and the supernatural, something that has been talked about for hundreds of years. The woman turns into a green hideous monster and kills that boy. This is very rare for a vampire tale as traditionally vampires did not look like monsters and also they only attacked defenseless females.
The episode starts properly when Buffy Summers, a 16 years old girl moves to Sunnydale, from LA with her mother. This is not the setting that the audience would expect for a vampire story as the word 'Sunnydale' hardly paints a picture of a dark, horror place full of vampires. Therefore, this name subverts the traditional signifier's. On the first day of school, the popular girl named Cordelia inducts Buffy into the cool crowd, Buffy attempts to be friends with three other students,Willow, Xander and Jesse. This gesture shows us that Buffy is a good judge of character, strong minded and that she is a leader not a follower.
Buffy goes to the school library to get some text books. The library, although a more unusual setting was much more like something from a vampire story, it was dark and empty. To add tension the producers used 'scary' disjointed music to try and set the scene and the camera moves in onto a newspaper article, to which you can read the headline which refers to a missing teenage boy. This article casts a question mark over the 'normal' nice Sunnydale.
Then a figure appears behind Buffy, it is Buffy's new watcher and the new school librarian,Giles. He brings a book with 'Vampyr' on the cover and scares Buffy off. This endorses the old traditions as the book was old, and full of cobwebs, possibly to add more mystery to this section. The spelling 'Vampyr' again highlights the books age and tries to make it look even more strange, this also brings more history and tradition into the episode, two elements that are important to any gothic style story.
The show seems to take a different twist when a dead body is found in the school changing rooms. It is unusual that the body was discovered in the school and another good point to note is that the victim was a man, which is unusual for a vampire story, as traditionally the victims were all defenseless females. Buffy to investigate and found the body was killed by vampires.
At home, Buffy prepares for her night out to the 'Bronze,' Sunnydale's only night club. Her mum thinks that everything is going to work out in Sunnydale and that they will be able to have a happy life there. It is very ironic as Buffy knows that bad things are just around the corner and also this shows that her mother is unaware that she is a 'vampire slayer'.