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June 07 2006

Dawn makes the list of the Onion's Most Memorably Unpopular Characters. Joining the likes of Scrappy Doo, Steve Urkel, Brenda Walsh, and more, Dawn makes the list at #3.

"But that didn't stop her from being an intolerably shrill, whiny, manipulative, troublemaking little McGuffin for most of the rest of the series."

Hehe that's awesome :)
But I like Dawn. I didn't find her annoying. She was an attention starved teenage girl: of course she's going to be a little obnoxious.
I like Dawnie, too.
I don't care what the general fandom opinion of Dawn is. I always liked the character and, with the exception of a couple of episodes where her brat nature was taken to intolerable levels, thought that she was a great addition to the show.

I actually don't think that there was a single character on either Buffy or Angel that didn't have at least one or two episodes where their basic character flaws became annoying. That doesn't make them a bad character to me however, it just makes them all the more believeable to watch. Sure, Dawn could be a brat but then Buffy, Xander, Willow, Angel, Cordy and all the others had moments where they really annoyed me. Hell, even Spike pissed me off once in a while.

If I'm being really honest, the character that I found to be the most annoying was Joyce, at least in the first two seasons anyway, but simply because of the role she was forced to play through being on the outside of the slayer circle. It just seemed like she was a little too much of a "mum" stereotype to be believed. It was a breath of fresh air when she finally found out about Buffy being the slayer at the end of season two and they could write her with a little more personality. It was much more interesting to watch her deal with her daughter's real problems rather than see her continue to make foolish errors of judgement, ignorant to what was going on right under her nose. I have to believe that Kristine Sutherland had a lot more fun with the role from season three onwards as well.
Another pro-Dawn vote here. For me, it may have helped that I just got into the show during S6 and caught up quickly with the FX reruns, so I kind of knew she was coming. The "gotta save Dawn, must be Tuesday" pattern was kind of annoying, but the times where they really connected were beautiful (when Buffy realizes what Dawn is, when Dawn realizes what she is, and of course in The Gift). Also Dawn/MT brought the funny (one word: mmmcookies).
When Buffy Summers' "little sister" suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the show's fourth season...yikes.
Dawnie added so much to the Buffyverse. Yes, at times she was annoying, but what 13 year old isn't? I loved seeing Buffy in the mother role after Joyce died. Dawn's appearance in the show helped Buffy become the leader she was in the end.
I liked Dawn too. I think she was a little sister. Little sisters aren't always pleasant. I also loved the Buffy/Dawn interaction. Blood Ties, The Gift.
Turned out the writers were pulling something clever and self-aware, and there was a plot reason that no one had ever seen or mentioned Buffy's sister before.

I was holding my breath until No Place Like Home FINALLY explained what the hell was going on with the sudden appearance of the slayer's sister. Joss made us wait five weeks to see whether (a) our favorite show had indeed succumbed to Cousin Oliver Syndrome or (b) Dawn would be brought safely and logically within the Buffy mythos. That Joss trusted his viewers to patiently wait for the explanation is as much a testament to his high opinion of the fans as to his own chutzpah as a storyteller.
I will never get all the Dawn hate. I never thought she was so annoying all the time. Sure, occasionally she was a little childish and immature, but that's just what goes along with being 14. My least favorite Dawn would have to be S5 Dawn, just cause she was so young. I was fine with her in S6, and i liked her in S7. "You know, if it is Margot, she's so gonna faint.", i always thought that was really funny for some reason.

If there is any character that should be on that list, i nominate Connor. Upon rewatching things, he got better (slightly), but during the first run of the show he was intolerable and i wished every week that someone would kill him.
I have to throw in a did not like Dawn vote. It was the execution of the role I did not like, however, not the concept. I loved the audacity of how she was brought into the story, but found her too annoying for too long. I don't know if another actress could have made her more sympathetic or if their original instincts that Dawn should be younger were right on target and no actress MT's age could have done any better.

Logically I could understand Dawn's pain, but emotionally, she just annoyed me. That indicates a failure in execution somewhere.

"I think she was a little sister. Little sisters aren't always pleasant. "

Obviously a totally unfounded, biased opinion from an older sibling of some sort and therefore not worth taking seriously. ;-)
The biggest problem is that after being a "big" part of season five, Dawn doesn't have anything left to do for two more years. It would have been cool to have Buffy train Dawn in Slayer lore, or maybe suddenly glow a bright green. That could have helped.
I used to hate Dawn too -- until I watched the series on DVD and got to see her from start to finish. To me, the most annoying character in the Buffy/Angelverse is, was and will always be Connor.
Connor and Dawn. Somebody should get those two crazy kids together. On second thought...no.
Dawn, Connor, and let's not forget Kennedy -- all good candidates for new characters who struggled to feel welcome in the established order.

On the flip side, who would get your vote for new characters who fit in so well they could have been there from the start? My choice: Oz.
I think people who pick on Dawn are being terribly unfair. Aside from the fact that Michelle Tractenberg is a terrific young actress, and the character did grow far more likable in later seasons (even as Buffy was getting less so) it's just like you people don't understand her. I mean, no one ever listened to her or paid attention to HER feelings. If you can't understand this, then just get out, get out, get out!!!!
Register one vote of Kennedy love here.

Yes, Dawn was a little sister. Thank TPTB that I never had one of those.
I didn't appreciate Dawn's character for a really long time -- like Miss Edith, until I watched her on DVD from start to finish. I also understood her better when I figured out what Joss and Co. were doing with her character. When I first experienced Dawn, my feelings were the same as those of newcj: "but found her too annoying for too long". I have to say, part of me still feels this way. I'm not surprised she's made a list with Scrappy-Doo. It's how I referred to her for at least two years.

Can I just say that while I no longer hold seething Kennedy hatred, I never warmed up to her either? She's more annoying than Dawn, imho. Not sure if it's the character, actress or what, but... she was such a letdown.
Logically I could understand Dawn's pain, but emotionally, she just annoyed me. That indicates a failure in execution somewhere.

Well said newcj, well said. I find it hard to watch her in other things without being annoyed too. She may be a fine actor who just rubs some folks the wrong way.
Hell yeah! She was incredibly obnoxious. Only when Whedon showed up did she become bearable.
I should also add that Livia Soprano (Nancy Marchand) MADE the first season of "The Sopranos" -- now there was a big bad for you.
Dawn was a bit annoying in the fifth and sixth seasons, but she had her really good moments too, I think. She had a lot of potential as a character, and I always just felt that it wasn't explored enough. I never quite bought the whole explanation that once her blood was drained she was no longer the Key.
I found Dawn annoying to start with ('Get Out ! Get Out ! GET OUT !' was easily her peak annoyance level) then I gradually warmed to her. By 'Potential' I agreed with Xander completely, she was extraordinary. Of course she was meant to be annoying at times just as Connor was.

(it says something about Joss Whedon that I knew, just absolutely knew he'd explain Dawn in a convincing way, even if her arrival was kind of sudden)

Scrappy-doo on the other hand is just irredeemable. He's like the cartoon equivalent of fingernails down a blackboard with a soupcon of kicked in the nuts ;).
bobster: heh.
Dawn isn't annoying as everyone thinks. If you have any female teenaged relatives, you recognize the whinny tone... And if you were once a teenage female, check out the family videotapes... yeah, voice modulation into that shrill that only those 13 to 16 can master and use effectively. =)
And I have to agree with Miss Edith that Connor was the most contrived, annoying character ever to enter the Jossverse. Kennedy, I didn't care enough to like or hate her.
Add me as another who found Dawn to be mostly annoying, but tolerable by season 7. Her whining almost ruined season 6 (my second favorite after season 3) for me. Was I alone in cheering on Dark Willow to put Dawn out of our misery?
Anyone have any press/links from that time as to how Joss dealt with the whole "WTF is this sister character doing on the show!?!" questions from the fans for those first five weeks? I'd be curious to see how he tapdanced around it, or did he just go radio silence? Somebody had to have asked...
I also didn't find Connor that annoying. Well, a little annoying, I was getting pretty pissed off at him near the end of Season Four with his hatred of magic. If you wanted to manipulate Connor and get him into a rage, talk to him about magic. He wasn't handled quite as well as he should've been, but I certainly don't hate Connor.

But damn that Kennedy. Damn her, I say.
I love that James Hurley made the list. I actively wince every time he's on screen in Twin Peaks.
From what I understood originally Dawn was supposed to be around 10-12, and the scripts were already wrote her as being that age, when they cast Michelle Tractenberg, who was in her teens, it made the Dawn character seem very immature when a teenage Dawn was reading lines meant for a younger kid. Least that is how I remembered it explained on the special features for season 5.
While I was innitially put off by dawns appearance, she grew on me pretty quickly. Kennedy never bothered me all that much either. I didn't really like her, but I have no hate for her either.
I love that she beats Barney.

And just because Dawn is a younger sister, doesn't mean she had to be an obnoxious brat. My younger sister and I are now about the same age range that Dawn and Buffy were when she appeared on the show, and she's nothing like that. It's just not an excuse.

However, I do think that Connor tops her in obnoxiousness. It's really the whiny-factor.
Agreeing with the James Hurley annoyance. My memory flinched on that one. I actually liked Dawn and thought that Michelle Tractenburg was an unusually beautiful girl. I did not, however, understand how she was suddenly doing things like translate ancient Etruscan in season seven.
Half of the problem with Dawn was the character as written (the annoying little sister). I never had one of those, but do have a ten years younger brother - so I can relate. The other half of the problem is poor Michelle's voice. Maybe age will modulate its tone, but even in the "Eurotrip" movie it hit those shrill heights far too easily.
I really liked Dawn, and what they did with her.
Yes, the annoyance was part of the role, so I'm fine with that.

The only one character I really hate is Kennedy (I'm leaving Connor out, he was needed). We can say that annoyance was part of her character too, but for me, it goes beyond that. I was annoyed not by her attitude, but for herself, her relationship with Willow. What a mistake, and what disappointed I felt seeing that on my favourite show.
I don't think Dawn was supposed to be sympathetic, not at least to start with. I think it drove home Buffy's amazing abilty to love and protect humananity, even when she was shipped a sister that was not really her sister, brainwashed to think she was and said sister was a whiney uber-brat. Dawn was much more likable in 6 & 7, I thought. Also, the author's assertion that Dawn had never been mentioned before was not correct either..there were references made to Dawn at least twice in season 4. I even caught one intially.... :)
Glad to see some Ross Gellar hatered. I cannot understand why anyone would ever want to hang out with him/date him/work with him or whatever. And then he got an English girlfriend who was a walking cliche of what US TV shows think English girls are like and finaly he had someone that he had a lot in common with.

But I liked Dawn and Michelle did a great job in the role.
Dawn was brilliant!
She has to be annoying...she is the little sister!
I remember seeing her for the first time and I was like
Wha? Huh? Who? Where did that come from?
It was great!
I used to like Dawn with some amounts of annoyance in season five, and hated her in mid-season six. Then I warmed to her by the season's end and more or less liked her in season seven. Upon rewatching, I actually like her in season six; like the season itself, she is executed very well at the beginning and end (Dawn's pain in "After Life" especially cuts me to the core), but there's some floundering in the middle. My favourite example of "um...what?" is the scene in "Gone" where Dawn screams out, "Why don't you care about this!?! I can't talk to you if I can't see you! Leave me alone!" And then there's the "get out! get out get OUT!" in "Older and Far Away." The sad thing is that her actions make sense in both cases--um, abandoned, much?--but that the execution is so jarring that she comes across as incomprehensible.

But still, even in those episodes, there are moments, like Buffy's pushing Dawn's (stolen) birthday present away to look at the chest Xander has gotten her. Oh poor Dawnie, DOES anybody even notice? Does anybody even care? *scream!*
I had trouble accepting Dawn. Visually I found it hard to get past her Harriet the Spy-ness and I remember her from Pete and Pete too well. And I think males have a more difficult time empathizing with her. I like the character a lot but I always kind of wish someone else was cast.
I don't have a little sister, and this show made me oh so thankful that I never did. Oh wow, she annoyed me at times. Yes, I understand that she was supposed to be a teenage girl -- but she did things that made me scream "you're going to get everyone killed!"
Chiming in on the Dawn is obnoxious bandwagon. But she didn't annoy me half as much as Xander, though I know most of you disagree. I know that obnoxious characters set the stage for certain interactions, but sometimes those two were like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.
I liked early Dawn. She was very clever, quick thinking, devious girl, hanging with Spike, sneaking out to get her own answers when Buffy wouldn't give them to her. She was the only one smart enough to seek out the crazies for answers. And to question Glory when she got the chance. That's more than Buffy did.

That group could have so used the help from someone like that. Too bad the writers did so little with her for the next 2 years. If they weren't going to use her, why didn't they kill her?
Dawn was annoying a few times, but she was still a great character. If I had to choose, Cordelia would be the most annoying character in the Jossverse. I don't find Connor annoying, I love him.
I like Dawn, having a teenage brother I know teenagers are right stoppy so-and-sos.

I also like it when Dawn wheres tight trousers and dances at The Bronze (c'mon, who didn't like that scene?)

Similarly, I like Pikachu, he was fun.
Obviously a totally unfounded, biased opinion from an older sibling of some sort and therefore not worth taking seriously. ;-)
LOL, it's funny 'cause I'm an only child.

I didn't like Connor, though. I loved BabyConnor, I tolerated IJustGotBackFromAHellDimensionConner, but I had a lot of dislike for I'mSoWhinyIHateEverythingConnor. Season 5 Connor, I very much liked.

Kennedy, though? I don't know how they could kill Tara and give me Kennedy and think I'd be okay with it.
I was a teenaged girl, I had an older sister, I had younger sisters. Dawn may be an accurate if incredibly selfish version of the teenaged girl but I did not want to see it again. And if any of us had behaved as badly as she did for so long, well. Violence would have ensued.
Gotta say this for Dawn: she is "most memorable," and people either love her or hate her. She certainly made an impression; that's better than just being forgettable, I guess!
Scrappy doo is the most annoying. I must agree.
I loved Dawnie - maybe not so much with her "Get out, get out, get out!!!" bits but there was a lot of good stuff with Dawn too. One of my favorite Dawn scenes is when she gets frozen so she can't move and they pose her on the couch and then leave her there. I also loved the relationship between her and Buffy and I thought season five was one of the best seasons with all Buffy went through and the fact that she now had to be the mother of her "little sister". I was also one of the people that were worried that there would be no really good explanation of how Dawn came to be and then when it was explained I thought it was brilliant.

And my heart broke so much when Dawn curled up in bed next to the Buffybot because she missed her sister so much and then how gentle she was with Buffy when she discovered her to be alive. Tearing up just thinking of those moments.

I also think the rest of the cast fantastically acted like Dawn had been there all along. Every scene was believable and each characters own relationship with Dawn was so sweet.
And so the debate goes on ! I think Dawn added a lot to the show, and on many levels Season 5 may be my fave - it's just a juggernaut that keep s going to the point where you really think all just may be lost this time.

I do think that sometimes TPTB had some trouble knowing what to do with Dawn from ep to ep and I was really hoping for more after the close of Season 6. It would have been interesting if Dawn had grown more, show she wasn't "just a kid" by acting more like a young adult.

Just my 2 coins,

M
I used to miss Buffy episodes from time to time (not organized enough to tape them if I was out) so when Dawn appeared I just assumed I missed the season opener. The revelation of the key stuff was mostly confusing. That happened to me a lot with Buffy and Angel and it still happens with Smallville. Luckily with Smallville my friend's 55-year-old dad watches it religiously and he always fills me in on what happened.

I loved Dawn from the beginning, though, because I always wanted a little sister even if she was whiny. When I saw MT in Eurotrip I felt awkward with the sexiness. Close up on Dawn's chest anyone? Very creepy for the Buffy fan.
*yawn* Isn't it sort of cliche to pick Dawn as an unpopular character by now?

I agree with pretty much everything Rob Macleod said way up there at the top. Every single character (even Buffy herself, though it pains me to admit it) had at least an episode or two where they were good, even great. Even the most annoying characters on BtVS served a purpose and was interesting and satisfying in their own way.

Whining about Dawn is really old hat.
The only character unpopular with me was Parker.
However, I do think that Connor tops her in obnoxiousness. It's really the whiny-factor.


And the sneer is genetic. Who knew?
Aw, I love Ross and Urkel! No comment on Dawn.
Dawn started out annoying and stayed there for a while. But I think she paid it off when she fought back-to-back with Buffy in the S6 finale.

Connor was annoying and never wuite paid it off.

Kennedy was a panoramic vista of irritation.

interestingly, no Firefly characters irritated me so much.
"interestingly, no Firefly characters irritated me so much."

Its untimely death almost certainly kept it from having bad things happen as well as more good things.
Something I forgot to mention in my post above. I LOATHED Pikachu with a passion. But then I hate the entire Pokťmon concept, as well as the countless copycat versions such as Digimon and Yu Gi Oh (no idea if that is how you actually spell it but it looks about right, hehe). Awful, awful ideas that should never have been allowed to inflict themselves on the world.

Okay, mini-rant over.
I liked Dawn too. Okay, season five and six, she could be a little irritating at times, but by season seven she was definitely a likeable character. I disliked the now infamous shrill exclaimation- "Get out, get out, get out!" but apart from that she wasn't that annoying.

The only thing I really didn't like was in "Real Me" whenever Dawn was threatening to tell Joyce about Buffy, and when Joyce actually criticised Buffy for not looking after Dawn. How could Buffy possibly have known that the Magick Shop owner was dead so she could have stopped Dawn seeing the body? How was she supposed to avoid "slaying" in front of Dawn? Just retreat and leave her to be killed instead of saving her?

But as others have said, most characters can be annoying at some point. Like in "Homecoming", I felt that Cordelia was deliberately written much more snarky than usual to justify the rivalry between her and Buffy. I mean she makes a comment about Buffy's parents being divorced, which is completely irrelevant and I have a hard time Cordy would have cared about that, I can imagine her being totally au fait with divorce lawyers and hardly attack Buffy because of it.

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