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November 03 2006

How I almost ignored Buffy. You know you're getting old when you've read your first "10th Anniversary of Buffy" article. Anyhow, Sequential Tart has two nostaligia driven pieces for perusal. First up is a personal recollection of the show and then there's an excellent round table discussion of Buffy.

Expect many more articles of this ilk in the months to come.

You know whats funny? If you read what Layla Lawlor says, that is my exact experience. I mean its to a T almost, including starting in season 6. When she says this:

"As far as the plotlines go, there were a lot of things about the latter part of the series that I didn't much like, despite the fact that it was the first part of the series that I saw. Making Spike one of the good guys was one of those things, because I never really felt like the writers wanted him good it felt more like they caved to fan pressure and then didn't know how to write him as a good guy. And I didn't like the way that Buffy was written towards the end; she went from being a character that I liked and sympathized with, to someone I really didn't want to know. I also felt that the latter couple of seasons lost a lot of the sparkle of the early ones and got weighed down by overly heavy and serious plots. So ... yeah. I had such issues with the end of the series that it ended up overshadowing my enjoyment of the early parts, which is sad."

I then realize that I too have said something exactly like that before. That includes the idea that the end of the series really ruined my enjoyment of the earlier seasons. That was fascinating...
Crack out the Geritol and that cool chair thing that can take you up the stairs... ;-)

*Great* article-thanks Simon!
Well, what Miss Laylor says about the latter years of Buffy is a situation a lot of long-running shows experience, from "X-Files" (Mulder and Scully parents?) and "MASH" to "Gilmore Girls" (you should see the row fans are having over what is happening this season). The UPN years of Buffy weren't as good as the WB years (except for the musical, of course), but it's still a good show that made TV better.
And I'll pass on the Geritol, thanks. I don't even think you can find that stuff at Longs Drugs or CVS or Shoppers Drug Mart.
Still, remember one other thing....2007 is the 15th anniversary of the original movie. Very few who saw it the first time would have guessed it would include two Oscar winners (Hillary Swank and Ben Affleck), someone who would eventually marry a real Friend while making "Scream" (David Arquette), and the creator of a classic animated series (Seth Green, who's in the movie for three seconds). 2007 will be the year of the Slayer, or should be.
I saw the movie long before the series, liked it ok, and remembered it when the series started. I did't notice the difference between them in the beginning.

It is amazing how Buffy and all Whedon things have become, and still is, such a notable part of my life. I cannot really tell at what point I got hooked. I just remember the withdrawal reaction I had when the Swedish network in mid season 2 took a break and I later lost my TV-connection. It caused me to promptly buy my first DVD player and go straight for the DVDs.
It took Joss's 1st commentary to explain to me why I had gotten hooked.

And I passionately love all seasons, but in very different and always changing ways. I constantly discover new issues and new understanding of them.

Just two minor details connected to the 10th anniversary above, and me realizing the effect Buffy still has:
Willow made the librarian remark, not Buffy. And Cordelia called Xander the Zeppo, then he proved her wrong. I really should not remenber this, or hear their voices in my head saing this!

I was already on the geriatric slope in 1996. Hear my nails and heels scratching the slippery surface.

[ edited by onesnailshort on 2006-11-03 15:31 ]
Still, remember one other thing....2007 is the 15th anniversary of the original movie. Very few who saw it the first time would have guessed it would include two Oscar winners (Hillary Swank and Ben Affleck), someone who would eventually marry a real Friend while making "Scream" (David Arquette), and the creator of a classic animated series (Seth Green, who's in the movie for three seconds). 2007 will be the year of the Slayer, or should be.


I was about to point that when I read your post.
Just finishing the line of thought, I never got to see it the first time either, but the movie also had the guy who fathered a vampire named David, who's also Jack Bauer (Kiefer's dad, Donald Sutherland), and one of the big names at the time (Luke Perry), so it can't really be ignored, even if it has to be considered as a campy classic.
I think the round table discussion was the most..um....well-rounded. Thanks for finding the articles. :)
"it felt more like they caved to fan pressure."

Er....since when did Joss ever cave to fan pressure. What we need not what we want remember. If he'd caved to fan pressure Tara would still be alive, Kennedy would have met with a firey end and someone, anyone, would have shown the slightest bit of interest in a soulless demon actively seeking to win his soul back. But no. So like I said, since when.
WOW!

Loved the artcles. I remember my sister and I saw the first Buffy movie in the back of the theater. We laughed so hard. Had a great time.

Loved how they described Xander so perfectly. He really was the heart of the group. And their descriptions of Giles was so good. Made me miss both all over again.

The round robin was very intresting. So many views and very nicely and perfectly said. I was amazed at the amount of Faith love that was very present. Not that I don't share it..LOL.

[ edited by Donna Troy on 2006-11-04 00:00 ]
I vividly remember a friend telling me about a new movie that he thought sounded so cool. "It's about a vampire slayer. Named Buffy!" (At this point, he cracks up laughing.) "Doesn't that sound great?" My very teen self just replied, "God, that sounds so stupid!" Needless to say, I didn't see it until a few years ago on cable. Eeek! I was smart to stay away -- and am sorry I avoided the show til a few years ago on reruns.

I realized just this week Buffy is still on FX every morning at 7 eastern. I thought they didn't show it anymore but I was wrong. They still have the 7 am show and it's on now while I get ready for work. I guess it has been 10 years since the show was new. This morning I thought those Season 3 computers in the classroom looked very large and clunky. :)
Fun reads. The round table especially reminded me of how varied BtVS fans can be - attracted and repelled by totally different and conflicting things, but equally avid fans of the show. "As you were" as one of the favorite all time episodes? huh. Certainly not for me, and yet i can respect her (his?) reasons... And the same with many of the other answers that I might passionately disagree with, and yet still agree with the person on our overall love for the series.
In particular, I was surprised that almost all of them liked the movie, at least to a degree. I didn't see it until after the series was over, when I rented it on netflix out of curiosity. I almost couldn't get through it all - in fact, I think i might have fast forwarded some parts - because I found it so painfully bad. I'm certainly glad I didn't see it when it came out or I might never have found my way to the show!
Yep, certainly a lot of different opinions. Didn't see too much love for Season 3 which is my personal fave but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Also, a lot of praise for Xander's loyalty and humour, both very praiseworthy qualities but once in a while i'd like to see someone notice his bravery. Sure, he wasn't a particularly good fighter but the guy was crazy brave, always hurling himself into harm's way (and sometimes actually into Harm ;) without hesitation. He was also one of the more insightful characters (even all the way back in 'When She Was Bad' it's Xander that knows what Buffy needs).
Well, since it was only about 4 years ago that I started with Buffy, I don't feel the years like others do. I just still miss it, but thankfully it doesn't make me feel old(except when I think that it came on when I was 17, which feels like a lifetime ago)

Gilmore Girls" (you should see the row fans are having over what is happening this season).

Ugh, don't even get me started. Ptooey, we shall speak of it no more!
I really liked the movie. Thats what started me watching the show. Come on, Paul Ruebens death scene?
The movie was lightweight but very funny.

Now the show was even funnier but far from lightweight. Thats what makes it an obsession rather than just entertainment.

I have to admit though that season 7 definitely was not my favorite. I lost my previous love for Buffy, Xander, Giles and Dawn, was never a Faith fan, rolled my eyes at the non-corporeal first evil, and found Caleb more annoying than scary.

And although DB Woodside was excellent in Lies My Parents Told Me, I think the romances with Buffy and Faith were a waste of time. It would have been enough for him to be Principal and the slayer's son. The Kennedy Willow romance also burnt up a lot of time. Considering it was the last season the show spent too much time on people I didn't care about, and made people I did care about into people I didn't care about anymore.

I still wish the show hadn't ended. I still want a Spike movie or spin-off. I am pretty sure I'm not going to get it but that doesn't stop me from wanting it.
I saw the movie when it first came out on vid and liked it enough to look forward to the series when it premiered. I re-watched the movie last spring and oh my God! it was so bad! But now I can pick out the Jossisms in it - pretty accurately I think after 3 series and half a dozen movies. It feels like two tedious hours spent panning for gold, with only a few nuggets to show for it.
Am I the only one who loved the title? My main concern was that the writer, whoever that was, had not actually written the title to be ironic and impertinent, that it was an accident of sorts. I did not watch the movie because it was a horror movie and I avoid horror, even funny horror. I watched the first episode of the series to see if it was what I hoped it would be. I don't remember much about that first viewing now except a sense of satisfaction that they had gotten it right when Giles said "The world is doomed." as they all walked off.

It is really unfortunate that I did not get a chance to watch the show regularly after that until it had been off the air for 9 months, but life sometimes gets in the way of television viewing. With my son having been born almost exactly a year before BtVS went on the air, it was almost impossible to watch regularly, so I did not know what I was missing. I managed to see School Hard and thought Spike and Drucilla were a great direction to go. I know I caught Band Candy because I loved Willow's question about kissing rocks. I seem to remember not being interested in Faith and thinking the show had gone downhill when I got a glimpse of Adam. The next episode I remember seeing was Hells Bells. It was the worst episode I could have watched at that moment in my life and depressed me so much I did not watch another episode until I caught the beginning of Chosen. At that pint I remember thinking "Spike is her boyfriend? Wasn't he the bad guy from back when?" as well as feeling like somebody had reached into my head with the exchange,

Angel: "Everybody's got a soul now. I started it."
Buffy: "What, are you twelve?"

9 months later I started watching reruns while making breakfast and lunch in the morning. It was season 6 that made me start taping them and understanding what an extrodinary series it had become. Soon I was totally obsessed.

" Just two minor details connected to the 10th anniversary above, and me realizing the effect Buffy still has:
Willow made the librarian remark, not Buffy. And Cordelia called Xander the Zeppo, then he proved her wrong. I really should not remenber this, or hear their voices in my head saing this!"


As long as you brought it up, didn't they get the whole timeline with Giles and Wesley wrong? I just read it through quickly, but Wesley was brought in after Giles had tried to do the 18th birthday test, not before...
As long as you brought it up, didn't they get the whole timeline with Giles and Wesley wrong? I just read it through quickly, but Wesley was brought in after Giles had tried to do the 18th birthday test, not before...

Yes. Giles got fired in "Helpless" and Wesley showed up two weeks later in "Bad Girls".
Left, right, or center, I only know that I miss joss in television.
There's probably every opinion on the planet condensed in this article, a great read - so thanks.

One thing I noticed was the lerv for Jonathon episodes (superstar, eashot). And, of course, the line

Giles. Giles, Giles, Giles. Did I mention Giles?

which should appear more often in teh intertubes, IMHO.


Saje: Didn't see too much love for Season 3 which is my personal fave

But there was quite a bit of Faith respect and it's almost the same thing. Also, Big Bad's seemed to come in for a lot of crit, but nobody seemed to mention their favourite.
Saje,
I'm glad to see someone else making that point. I noticed Xander's bravery, right from the start - along with the fact that he has frequently been the one who saved the day. One of the things I really dislike about the Zeppo even though it's funny, is that it suggests that Xander is both a coward and pretty much useless up until he finally faces down the zombie, when nothing is farther from the truth.

Xander is the one who goes to help Buffy in the pilot, he's the one who forces Angel (who's too afraid to go on his own initiative!) to follow and save her from the Master in the season finale. In the Pack he throws himself at the Zoo guy holding the knife to Willow's throat. In Inca Mummy Girl he puts himself between Willow and Ampata, risking her killing him in order to protect Willow. In Reptile Boy he's the one who goes to the Frat house to check up on Buffy. There's the great rescue in Some Assembly Required when he literally goes through the flames in order to save Cordelia (at least Cordelia in that episode acknowledged that what he did was really brave.)

At the end of season 2, he again goes to back up Buffy at the factory, even though he knows its going to be filled with murderous vamps and admits that he's nothing more than "a scared guy with a rock." Okay, he lies to her about the spell, which is a major bad thing, but that's also a part of who Xander is - a less admirable part.

In a way, Xander's character seems to me to be a lot like Lois Lane. Both of them are the unpowered sidekick who is popularly seen as having to be constantly rescued by the superhero. But at least in the period when I read Superman, in my long ago misspent youth, Lois Lane was also "crazy brave" totally willing to risk everything for a good story, and more often than not, the one getting Supes out of a jam rather than the other way around. It's another interesting gender-twist that Xander has that role in BtVS.
I did not think The Zeppo was portraying Xander as cowardly or useless. Part of the joke was that his friends were trying to keep him safe but being on his own he ended up in even more dangerous situations...which he handled on his own, because he had to. Apparently the gang felt he needed to sit things out because he had been throwing himself into battles that were too much for him and getting hurt. Cordy said he was useless, but she was trying to make him feel awful about himself, the others didn't.

I always thought Xander was physically brave, but I cannot say I liked a few of his other traits much. I thought his character was great for the show though, and NB did a wonderful job.
"Xander is the one who goes to help Buffy in the pilot, he's the one who forces Angel (who's too afraid to go on his own initiative!) to follow and save her from the Master in the season finale. In the Pack he throws himself at the Zoo guy holding the knife to Willow's throat. In Inca Mummy Girl he puts himself between Willow and Ampata, risking her killing him in order to protect Willow. In Reptile Boy he's the one who goes to the Frat house to check up on Buffy. There's the great rescue in Some Assembly Required when he literally goes through the flames in order to save Cordelia (at least Cordelia in that episode acknowledged that what he did was really brave.)"

Anytime Xander love is spoken, its like a call through the wind, that becons me to read and basque. I love Buffy, I really do, but my favorite character was always Xander for many of the great reasons you mention barboo, but for me, the definining moment of Xander's character occurs twice. Once in Prophecy Girl and the other in Killed By Death, in Prophecy Girl Xander knows he isnt supposed to win, he knows that he cant beat The Master, but he doesnt care because his friend is in trouble. For Xander, he doesnt care about prophecy, he is the one to say screw prophecy lets go save Buffy, and the same goes for Killed By Death. He knows that in a fight, he will lose to Angelus but he also knows that he is the only thing standing between Angelus and Buffy, and I guarantee that the only thing that is going to move Xander from that spot is his death. Thats an incredible friend, an incredibly loyal and brave person, and the character I most enjoy throughout the series. Love me the Xander, well said Barboo..

Ive read some interpretations of The Zeppo that it was meant to be seen through Xander's eyes, that his friends are exagerated versions of themselves because its Xander's perspective on things, its the reason that Buffy and Angel are so over the top melodramatic in the episode, and in that sense, I think that if you subscribe to that idea it does explain the episode more fully. Im not sure I buy that however because though it makes the episode make much more sense, it really isnt brought forth in the episode itself. Who knows...

"Er....since when did Joss ever cave to fan pressure. What we need not what we want remember. If he'd caved to fan pressure Tara would still be alive, Kennedy would have met with a firey end and someone, anyone, would have shown the slightest bit of interest in a soulless demon actively seeking to win his soul back. But no. So like I said, since when."

I think there are alot of ways that an argument can be made where ME caved to fan pressure, but in many different ways. Chosen is rife with examples as is the commentary, but I think thats a debate for other days.
I have to say that it was always my belief that if Xand had not lied to Buffy, she would have not faught her hardest. She would have hesitated to much, hoping everytime he faultered or twitch Angel was coming back to her. In the end , the lie is what makes Buffy have the strength to survive.

I have always loved Xander. He is the bravest, purest and most deddicted Scooby there is. Xand failed many times, but he always stood back up. And when it mattered and no one else was there ,he always had Buffy's back. For no other reason then it was the right thing to do. Like Angel once told Faith, that is what is so amazing about these people.

I loved the Zeppo, becasue in the end Xand saw himself not as useless, but as someone with their own hidden strengths and secrets. He might not have Buffy's strength, Willow's magic, Giles brains or Faith skills, but in the end he did not need them. He found out he had enough to save the day in his own way and that was just as important as every other day saved with the special skills.
I have to say that it was always my belief that if Xand had not lied to Buffy, she would have not faught her hardest.

That may be true Donna Troy but as much as I like Xander I have to say that's totally not why he did it. He did it out of spite and jealousy and (partly justified) resentment of what Angelus (and to Xander's mind, therefore, Angel) had done to them all. Not exactly the Xand-man's finest hour.

Agreed though, he was the everyman character and as such exemplified all of humanity's good (and sometimes bad) qualities as waxed on by Angel, Anya and others at various times.
I am not sure you can say Xander thought about lying to Buffy for those reasons. Yes,they may have been in the back of his mind,but when Willow sent him and he ran out to tell Buffy, it was TO tell her. He was waiting for her. He did not need to even go there to help. But he did. And it was a split moment choice that made him not tell Buffy what will really said, not a thought out planned plan.

Xander showed again in season three that he could get over his pettiness and dislike of Angel to help when Buffy needed him. In Amends, he put everything aside to help her for Angel. He was not trying to be with her then or do anything but be her friend, even if he did not like her choices.

Xander may of not always made the best choices, but who on the show did. One thing you can always say about Xander is that he made them with his heart and out of loyality for those he loved. I mean look at why he went to help Faith, the second time.

[ edited by Donna Troy on 2006-11-04 02:32 ]
I really enjoyed the discussion.

I'm a fan who has been there since the beginning and never thought there was a drop in quality in the latter seasons. Each year was different, had it's own tone and themes, but every season was wondeful, imo.
"That may be true Donna Troy but as much as I like Xander I have to say that's totally not why he did it. He did it out of spite and jealousy and (partly justified) resentment of what Angelus (and to Xander's mind, therefore, Angel) had done to them all. Not exactly the Xand-man's finest hour."

Didnt Whedon say nearly exactly what Donna did about how it was a strategic decision and nothing more? I tend to think thats what it was, but there is no doubt that he was jealous of Angel.
"One thing you can always say about Xander is that he made them with his heart and out of loyality for those he loved."

As I said, I think Xander was physically brave, but he was no paragon. None of them were. That is one of the things that made it all work. IMO, Xander was an extremely flawed extremely male human being (of the fictional variety) who like everyone else n the show was a great tool to use in telling stories about human frailty.

I'm with Saje on his lying to Buffy out of "spite and jealousy and (partly justified) resentment of what Angelus (and to Xander's mind, therefore, Angel) had done to them all." It does not have to be a planned, thought out decision to be the reason someone is doing something. If it was a strategic decision, then he was sending Buffy into battle to risk her life with incomplete information. Maybe Buffy would have fought differently if she had all the information, but I do not see why we, or Xander should assume that she will fight better without knowing what was really going on. To me that is condescension, not a pretty trait in a friend.

His sudden interest in Willow and jealousy of her relationship with Oz being allowed to turn physical was selfish and certainly not an indication of loyalty. The way he dismissed any opinion of Buffy's as being unreliable when it concerned a man she had feelings for was not great, especially considering how often he allowed his own emotions to rule his actions and make him lose all perspective. His emotional cowardice when it came to his dealings with Anya, was especially horrible.

As some of you may have noticed, I've been thinking about Hells Bells in the last few days. Xander was supposedly terrified of what he would do to Anya if they got married. So he decided unilaterally to save her by abandoning her, on the basis they he was afraid of who he would become. So as it turned out, what did he end up saving her from? One year plus of marriage, sometimes known as the honeymoon period. Instead of that, they got a little more than a year of heartache and grief before Anya was dead and Xander had to move on. I've seen the same thing played out in real life when certain guys were scared of an emotional commitment. They get very noble and decide to sacrifice the woman in their life. (I have no doubt some women do the same thing, but I have not had the same view for that show. ;-) ) To me that does not make him noble.

I like Xander a lot of the time, but were he part of my group, I would not trust him.
Of all of them, in the end it would be Xander or Faith I would always trust. Like Faith, once you have his loyality, you have it for life.

You have to look at Xander's family life and how his friends treated him to protect him. In his teenage years he was raised by Buffy and the group. And their way of loving Xand and keeping him safe was to leave him out of everything. To always try and keep him safe by not telling him what was happening or preparing him for the fight. His parents litterly only acknowledged him when it was needed. So his experiences were to keep somone safe by pushing them away and getting them as far from his family dynamic as possible. It may not have been noble, but it was understandable. Again a choice that was made by every character on the show in one way or another.

Will's sudden intrest in Xander was the same as his. It did not have anything to do with disloyality or selfishness. It, IMO,had to do with teenage hormones. Because when it was found out,and the lust spell was over, both wanted to be with the person they had lost. It was stupid, but very in line with their age and maturity at the time.

Yes, I do remember Joss saying that. I love B/A, but I always saw what and why Xander did what he did. And respected him for it. Buffy didn't need to know Wills was trying again. She needed to stop Angelus and free Giles. Getting Angel back was not part of the plan. A bonus for her, but not neccessary for victory. She has everything she needed to do that. I think the viewers and Xander had been very clearly shown that when Angel was involved, Buffy did react and behave differently. She took alot less risks and tend to not always be in the fight, if his welfair was at stake. I don't see how wanting Buffy to make it out of a fight is petty. She made enough choices for everyone else that were not her's to make.

[ edited by Donna Troy on 2006-11-04 08:14 ]
At the end of the series, Buffy is the only one of them that I would trust, were they members of my group. The same can be said of Angel on ATS.
IMO, Buffy and Angel were the same two people we started the long journey with. Different in the way of growing and learning from mistakes made, certainly. Different in the way of invasion of the body snatchers? Not these two.

Nice round table discussion. I agreed with several things that several of the participants said.
and Xander....Xander had his issues but I never felt that I lost him during the journey. He was one of Buffy's biggest strengths from day one til the end.
I don't want to debate right now so I will leave it. As I said, I don't think any of them were perfect and I like them that way.

One thing that I did want to point out that I did not say before, however, was that IMO Willow and Xander were not on a level playing field. Willow had been in love with Xander for a long time and had made physical overtures which Xander had rebuffed. It was only when Willow moved on to someone else that he suddenly started showing interest. Yes Willow was in there kissing right along with Xander, but if it had been up to Willow they would have been boyfriend and girlfriend before either of them had ever thought of getting involved with Oz and Cordelia.To me that puts extra responsibility on the one who did not want a relationship back when they were both free.

Beddy bye time. 'night all.
Must confess i'm with Donna Troy on the hormones thing. To me it always came across as something they both knew they shouldn't be doing but just couldn't help themselves.

Not casting aspersions about anyone here, just observing in passing, that there's sometimes this idea that the man should somehow be more in control of his urges or feelings so that he can 'do the decent thing' if necessary. Not really fair to my mind (especially where teenagers are concerned). Should he have resisted ? Of course and the way he actually dealt with it was, similar to 'Hells Bells', a terrible mistake, partly born out of his upbringing, partly his immaturity but as newcj mentions it's because none of them were perfect that they were so real and interesting.

Hadn't heard that about Joss' take on Xander's 'Kick his ass' though if I may say, to me that's not how Nick Brendon played it at all (as i've mentioned before I don't consider the creator's opinion to be necessarily definitive in these things) and within the text I think the 'bad Xander' reading is every bit as justifiable as the other since Xander also has a history of reacting differently, especially jealously, where Angel's concerned (he never once tries to explain himself ? Or justify his, on the face of it, deplorable action ? I sure would if i'd done it for the very noblest of reasons).

And i'd trust Faith in a heartbeat (post 'Chosen' I mean). Girl was a straight-shooter, I don't think she knew how to be anything else. And probably Xander, flaws and all. He's a regular guy, he's gonna make mistakes but then so are all friends, s'just the way of things. Buffy's still mission oriented, Giles is a little too calculating and Willow doesn't quite trust herself yet (though when she does, I would).
I can deffinatly see where you are coming from in reguards to the"lie". I have always heard the arguement Xander was horrible because he lied to Buffy and it cost her Angel. I never saw it cut and dry. And for me at least,whatver immaturity he may or may not have shown then, he more then made up for it in Amends, when he help Buffy for the sake of someone he hated.

Wills may have loved him, but I never really got that it was love more then a crush. She never looked at Xand the way she looked at Oz or Tara. I think it came down for Wills, that he was hers. Like she said in "Bad Girls" she has problems with any touching her people. She was happy with Oz, love doz, but suddenly could play out her fantasy. Yet, when it was over she went back to Oz withous second thoughts. Xander was in this great relationship with Cordy, who really didn't need him. Wanted him, but didn't need him. Xander above all else will always need to be needed. Suddenly Willow needed him.

Yeah, Faith was always a strait shooter. That is why she scared everyone. But once she trusted you, like Angel, she always had your back. She would never have believed the W&H gossip about Angel. I am very curious to where she was during this, as she would have been on the first plane to help Angel or fred, no matter who ordered her to stay.

I think Giles is calulating in the way all parents are when they percieve thier child threatened. They believe they know best and do whatever it takes in the boundries of their world to make sure nothing harms their charge.
Oh definitely Donna Troy, Giles did pretty much everything he did for the best of reasons, usually out of love or at least duty but i'm always sceptical of people doing things 'for my own good' and I think he'd always feel that temptation (as do all parents I guess).

I agree about Faith too, she'd have been there in a blink (if she knew about it) so it'll be interesting to see if Joss explains that in the comics or if it's just left as one of those regrettable times when real world schedules, contracts, actor's choices etc. just didn't mesh with Buffyworld story needs.

(and I don't see Xander as a horrible person though I do think 'kick his ass' was one of those times when he let the nastier aspects of his character overrule the - numerous - nice ones. Not a horrible person then, just a person. But the variety of opinions is partly what makes the 'verse so interesting and I can also understand your interpretation too)
Faith has earned some my trust during events of Ats 4 and Btvs 7 seasons. But before that I would not call her a "straight shooter". Secretly working for the Mayor, shooting Angel with a poisonous arrow, pretending to be Buffy in season 4 - are these actions of a "straight shooter"? If she were one, she would openly say to Buffy and Scoobies "Sorry, I do not like (trust) you. I got a better offer from the Mayor. See you in the battle". IMHO, of course.

The only character that I has always trusted throughout the series is Buffy.

[ edited by Lince on 2006-11-04 12:21 ]

[ edited by Lince on 2006-11-04 12:41 ]
Yep, true Lince, hence my "(post 'Chosen' I mean)" comment. She wasn't trustworthy before she redeemed herself (though i'd argue she wasn't particularly dishonest in her expression of her opinion either, even when playing both sides, which is what 'straight-shooter' means to me).

The only character that I has always trusted throughout the series is Buffy.

Even when she was an autocratic bully near the end of season 7 ? That really surprises me but each to their own, of course ;). Personally, there wasn't anyone I trusted all the way through.
"She wasn't trustworthy before she redeemed herself"

Faith redeemed herself? Really? After all she did, all it takes is beating Angelus and fighting on the side of good in one fight? If thats the case, Angel should have lasted maybe a season...

Rant follows that isnt directed at saje or anyone, just something Ive been thinking about:

Not to sound trite but redemption has to be more than simply doing whats expected, you dont get special credit for doing the right thing when your entire life is based on doing the wrong thing, you dont get special credit for going to jail when you SHOULD go to jail, and you certainly cant be redeemed by fighting the good fight for a little while. IMO, the redemption arcs of both Spike and Faith fail miserably for one reason: they get credit for doing things that you and I do everyday. Its in Spike's nature to kill so when he doesnt, hey lets throw him a parade, and its in Faith's nature to violently reach out for help, so when she doesnt use violence hey lets make Buffy look like an ass so that when Faith turns herself in to the police, it somehow means more than it should. You arent redeemed by doing whats right, you arent redeemed by choosing not to kill when in other situations you have, you are redeemed by going beyond that and seeking to make things right with those whom you hurt along the way, and even then, its got to be more than simply seeking out forgiveness.

To me, redemption is meaningless unless you both want to achieve it and seek the victims of the crimes you committed, but more than that Ive often wondered where the moral outrage is when it comes to Faith. People tell me all the time, well Faith was crying out for help in seasons 3 and 4, and though thats correct, where is the moral outrage at what she does? She nearly helps The Mayor destroy the world, nearly kills Angel, almost tortures Buffy for the hell of it and to steal her boyfriend, she steals Buffy's body and rapes it twice, nearly kills and rapes Xander, and yet all I hear is that she was crying out for help. Where's the moral outrage? Where are the people who are wondering how Buffy or Xander feel about being raped and nearly being raped and killed? Dont get me wrong, redemption is a great thing, I think everyone can be redeemed (though some will fail), but it cant be at the drop of a hat and it cant be at the expense of the victim either because if we claim that it was just a cry for help, then it doesnt matter because Faith wasnt really to blame. She was just flawed, she was just broken, so nobody is really responsible, nobody actually did anything wrong except poor Xander who had the gaul to try and help her in the first place. See, without the moral outrage why should we care? Why should we even seek redemption? If its as easy as doing whats expected, if its as easy as turning yourself into the police, and if Faith's actions were simply a product of a confused and broken person, then why should Faith's redemption matter at all? IMO, cry me a river Faith. We all have problems and not everyone goes out and hurts people as spectacularly as you do, but more than that you didnt do those things because you wanted help, you did them because you were a bad person. Because in the end, its what separates the good people with problems and the bad people with problems.

Thats why I will never understand this verse's conception of redemption because if its that easy does it really mean anything? I once railed about the definition of a hero:

Ive never understood the fascination most have in being normal. Never. In a lot of ways, Im like House, Im cynical about the doctor who works abroad to save the less fortunate because they dont do it out of some good-natured altruism, they do it for two reasons. To get rid of that tiny little knot inside them known as liberal guilt and to give their life a purpose beyond being another faceless doctor in the crowd because when you solve the world's problems you are a hero. Right? Dont get me wrong mind you, I do believe in heroes, I just think that we sometimes too broadly define the term. For me, I think of life in the circle. For most people, they get to draw this nice little circle, everyone who is within the circle is normal and everyone outside the circle is abnormal, and its those people that need to be broken and fixed such that they can be integrated into the circle. For the unfortunate few who cant be fixed, thats what we have mental institutions and prisons for, but more than that these people are usually the ones which do change the world for the better. Whats the saying, the line between genius and insanity is measured only by results? When I think of the doctor, the reason Im cynical about what she does is simple: she is in the circle, she is normal, she wants to help others, but in so doing she gets to be a card carrying hero to those within the circle, she gets to hold herself up to those like her as someone we should aspire too, and its all because she selflessly gives up a part of her life. My only question is this: why wouldnt you want to distinguish yourself, why wouldnt you want to be a hero? Hell, its easy to be a hero if you reside in the circle, you just have to be the tiniest bit different. In a world of normalcy, the doctor isnt a hero, the hero is the person outside of the circle, the hero is Buffy who does her job not because of some liberal guilt or because she wants to be normal but because she knows that she can save them. Not from themselves mind you, but from the circle itself. When Buffy gets the plastic umbrella in The Prom it truly is the ultimate point of contact, the acknowledgement of the people within the school and within the circle that though she may never be a member of the club, they love and respect her for doing what they cant. And isnt that what a hero is supposed to do in the first place?

If life in the circle means that doctors who fly around the world saving the less fortunate are heroes, then Ill have to politely pass. To maintain that these people are heroes is to devalue what is a true hero, someone who doesnt want to be one but does so not for themselves but for others who cannot do it for themselves. The hero is one who is abnormal, one who resides outside of the circle, and in that sense, I dont want to ever fix them. I want to wave to them as they jump off towers and weep for them when they sacrifice themselves for me and those I love, but more than that I dont want to break them or try to fix them. Because in the end, Im probably the one who needs fixing...

It cannot be that easy to be a hero nor can it be that easy to be redeemed. Redemption is something you have to achieve and it has to be something beyond simply doing whats right because if its not, then the journey means nothing. In the end, it cant be a hill that you climb, it has to be mountain, it has to be treacherous and it has to be worth something, other people have to fail, and victims cant be footholds. Because really, if everyone is a hero then nobody is a hero and if everyone can easily be redeemed then nobody can.

Apparently, my name is cynicism tonight. LOL sorry for the rant, Ive held that in for a while though.

[ edited by jerryst3161 on 2006-11-04 14:19 ]
Wow, feel better jerryst3161/cynicism ? ;-)

Maybe I should've said 'started to redeem herself' since as Angel says, it never stops for people like them. Why don't you get special credit for transcending your nature and choosing to do the right thing though ? Is it any easier to do just because it's what most other people do ? If a lefty learns to write with their right hand do they deserve no credit for the achievement (OK, not a great example, it's clearly of dubious use ;) because that's what the majority do ?

Here's the thing: in the absence of telepathy and outside of fiction, no-one ever truly knows (ever) why someone else does good deeds. We can sit around and think "well you're only doing that to get credit or fame or because of how you were brought up or maybe to go to heaven when you die, not because you're really heroic" or we can look at the deeds themselves, comparing the state of the world before and after and decide on that basis.

The fact is that in real life most people aren't 'outside the circle', they don't have the luxury of some romantic ideal about what makes a hero, they just have to get on with it. So when a firefighter goes to work, or a doctor helps out at a neighbourhood clinic, hell, even when an honest lawyer does pro bono work to me they are heroes of a sort and though that doesn't mean everyone's a hero, it does mean everyone could be if they chose to be i.e. it's not based on some arbitrary criteria about normalcy or destiny or lone-wolf romanticism, it's based on merit.

(if you're saying that there should be another word for 'lesser heroics' then I don't disagree, in a sense it does devalue heroism to talk about saving the world and holding a door open for someone in the same light. Also, my counter-rant isn't because I took yours personally jerry, I just thought i'd respond since my comment seemed to open the flood gates ;).
Even when she was an autocratic bully near the end of season 7 ?

Even then. We can criticize her methods, but I personally never doubted her motivations.
No time for anything but a comment that directly concerned something I had said. The big issues need big time. ;-)

"... there's sometimes this idea that the man should somehow be more in control of his urges or feelings so that he can 'do the decent thing' if necessary. Not really fair to my mind (especially where teenagers are concerned).

My point had nothing to do with gender. If the roles had been reversed I would be saying the same thing about the female involved. If Buffy, for instance, had suddenly started getting interested in Xander as soon as he got involved with Cordy, I would be saying that she had a greater responsibility in what was going on then Xander.

I see many of Xander's reactions to things as very male, but that does not mean that if a woman was doing the same things, it would be alright.
Jerry...I feel the Faith moral outrage in spades, always have.
Lince...Word! Buffy would give her life to save the world, her friends and a group of "Potential" strangers along the way. Her motivations remained pure through it all.
Jerry3161st you make some good points.

For me, the Faith character became unredeemable when she killed the volcanologist. With pleasure. She seemed to be looking forward to it. Watch the episode.

There was a lot of things I enjoyed about the character but I could never see her as a hero. I can accept a lot of things done out of anger, or desperation, or just temporary insanity, but that wasn't the way I saw that murder.
In contrast Buffy's beating of Spike in Dead Things, I didn't like it but I see it as an aberration, a symptom of her emotional state.

Xander to me in the first Five Seasons really was a hero above and beyond. So many episodes where he was the one who did what had to be done, with no superpowers just the will to do it. He was the embodiment of the expression that true courage is being afraid and doing it anyway. Sometimes it was hard to see his bravery behind his self-deprecating humor but it was there.

I thought this aspect of his character was written out by Season Six. He started to become more of a self-righteous bully. With Anya, Spike and even Buffy. He still showed the old courage in Grave, and seven was slightly better for him than six.

Spike was a hero in Intervention. He had absolutely no logical reason to protect Dawn. He was willing to die to protect her.
He said it, and his actions make me believe him. Even for a souled human that would have been heroic, for a Vampire, it was amazing.
I loved Xander except for a bit during 6. All the characters have flaws, that's why they seem so real to us, but Xander's less pleasant characteristics of being judgmental and holier-than-thou are negative traits that bug me the most in real life.

However, I regained all my former love for him in 7. He really matured as a person during that year.

Jerry, I see your points about Faith but disagree about Spike.

[ edited by Reddygirl on 2006-11-04 18:23 ]
When Faith killed the old man, you could also see as a symptom of her emotional state. She did bad things. Very bad things. She knew right from wrong and decided to do the wrong. No excuses. Before Angel she needed to be helped. But she was young, angry and out of control. Disgusted with her crime of killing the deputy. Spinning ,trying to please the only person in her limited view of love you, who stayed at her side and found her worthy after the filth. Joss created a masterpiece when he he showed the damage Faith had suffered because of Watchers death, the love /loyality she was capable of, a need to be wanted and the horror she locked away at what she did. Faith was not perfect but she was never a cut and dry bad guy and her "pleasure" at killing came at the high price of her soul. Watch more then the ep, whatch the season. It tells the story.

Then when she was in Buffy's body she got a taste of love and because it was the right thing, even if she got caught, she stayed behind and helped those people in the church. She got nothing out of it. When she was beating herself(Buffy) she was showing all the hate and disgust se felt for herself. Calling herself a monster and wishing she was dead. Even Buffy was horrified there was so much pain inside. You don't have that horror and self hatred if you take real pleasure in killing.

She then goes to Angel, yes, to try and kill him. But once again it was more about hurting herself and scratching at her own wounds. Attacking Wes and using him as bait was all so Angel would KILL her, not the other way around. Even Angel figured this out. And he refused. He was the one person who looked at Faith, saw the uglynes andw as not afraid to keep looking. Buffy in some ways was. Faith broke. She wanted to run, but didn't. Again with nothing to gain she joined a fight a stayed by Buffy's side. In the end she put herself in jail and sought the beginning of her journey on her own. Only she kept herself in jail. She never killed inside, even with her powers.

When she broke out to repay the loyality Angel had showed her, that showed she had makings of a hero.It was not the right thing to do. Right thing to do would have been staying in jail. But she choose to follow her heart. She unselfishly took a dangerous drug to save Angel instead of going for the kill. Again not something that was the right thing to do, but what she choose to do to help. She could have died. She went back to face those she hurt,even when she was only semi-wanted and to fight in a battle that no one had even bothered to let her know was happenening. (They should have at least let her know these things were after her) In the end she proved she was ever bit a hero as Buffy or Angel, flaws and all. She, just took a longer, more painful and soulsearching path.

Spike when he attempted to rape Buffy did so knowing right from wrong . That is why his horror at what he did compelled him to go for his soul. He knew he had done somemthing that he could never forgive himself for. He went on his own quest. He and Faith are more alike in their downward paths, redemption quests, loss and loves then anyone else on the shows. The both accepted the oncoming darkness with open arms and both struggled to over come the odds to be hero's. They truelly understand what it was to have fallen so far, to have watched themsleves fall and not be able to stop it, to have one person believe in them when everyone else had left and then to have the inner strength inside to continue that process on their own without that help. It is NOT over. It never will be, but they are very much hero's for falling and choosing to find solutions instead of accepting fate.

I never felt Buffy the show dealt with the who redeeming thing very well. To many short cuts. But Angel was brutal and honest. And in both cases you saw more progress and heroic deeds there , then you saw on Buffy.The moral outrage was there. At least it was always reflected by the other characters and their reactions. But where was it when Buffy chose to go and kill Faith FOR Angel. To get the blood for him, not to save the world. Why did Giles not try and stop her.She was no better or worse a hero when she left Faith to die on the back of truck.The Mayor had to find as none of the scoobies even bother to go recover her. Was she just upset over Angel impeding death and could not think? Or when Buffy was going to kill everyone just to save Dawn, including the knights whom were trying to stop the evil as well. what about when Buffy knew initiative was torturing demons and yet she walked away.Where is it when she is willing to kill Anya, but will let both Angel and Spike walk around because they are now souled men? Where is the real outrage over willow flaying Warren or Giles murdering Ben. Outrage for acts or morailty have to be okay for the main hero's as much as for the struggling ones to.

As for Xander, I never saw him as bully. Ever. Not to Spike, who was a vampire, never treated him with any respect and frankly Xander did not owe an loyality to. Xander will always hate vamps becasue of Jessie. He never bullied Buffy who at that time used him, refused to hear him out and many times took his presence at her side for granted. And he certainly never was a bullie to Anya. He did love her. He just feared losing or hurting her more. He was human. Heroic and flawed, but always with a good heart. Even for his enemies he was there to help. Courage is standing up, even with the odds against you, speaking when no one wants to hear you and standing tall even when you could die. Xander, no matter did not treat anyone any worse then the way he was treated, yet he was always the first one in and the last one out of a battle. The fact that as a human, he faught and nearly died everytime, but kept coming back was courageous enough. But then after the eye injury he still stood there and continued to fight the good fight was as you said amazing.

End my rant and thanks for the great viewpoints!

[ edited by Donna Troy on 2006-11-05 01:37 ]
Word! Buffy would give her life to save the world, her friends and a group of "Potential" strangers along the way. Her motivations remained pure through it all.

Sure, her motivations were pure, terrific, i'm sure Marshall Haig really wanted to protect the free world during WWI, he still callously sent thousands of young men to their needless deaths, just as Buffy was only too willing to do with the Potentials and Scoobs in the second half of S7. Surely it's not about motives, it's about trusting her to only spend lives (in the hypothetical scenario my life, which i've grown quite attached to ;) as a last resort and that's not how she acted in the second half of S7, IMO (and that of everyone else on the show apart from the lovesick Spike) ? I don't question her motives either but it's her methods that would've got me killed and that's why I don't trust her (at that point in S7). Reckon we'll have to agree to disagree on this one ;).

Whether Faith can be redeemed goes to the heart of the Buffyverse, IMO, since if Angel and Spike must strive towards redemption (i.e. if they were responsible for Angelus and Vamp-Spike's crimes) then how can they be redeemable where Faith isn't ? Their crimes were many times worse and more numerous and I think it's pretty safe to assume Angelus enjoyed his crimes (and Spike was at least unrepentant if not necessarily always joyful). Or is it the old double standard about souled and unsouled beings ? In which case why do Spike and Angel have any moral responsibility for their vamp actions at all ? In which case, no Angel the series and no Spike the champion.

Ah, see what you mean newcj. I may have to rewatch those episodes because I really don't remember him 'getting interested in Willow' (in the sense of pursuing her as a sexual partner) apart from when they shared a mutual hormonal attraction which they both knew was wrong and both tried to avoid but couldn't. It's not as if he seduced her (as I recall, like I say I could be mis-remembering). Agreed though, ideally he'd have been a better man (or person ;) and stayed clear.

(good points about Faith Donna Troy though i'm not sure I agree with all your Spike statements)
This is not a place for ranting btw.
I noticed that this thread had gotten to 45 posts, and I wondered to myself: 'what can they be talking about, has Joss posted?'. I figured it must have devolved to another Spike vs Angel, but apparently people are gettng just as passionate about Xander and Faith!
I can see that Simon doesn't want this turning into a place for ranting, but I have to say that I think it is kind of a tribute to Joss that ten years later people still feel so strongly about all these characters. I've been rewatching BtVS from the beginning with a friend who had never seen any of it, and I am struck again by how wonderful these characters and their stories really are.
I can see that Simon doesn't want this turning into a place for ranting, but I have to say that I think it is kind of a tribute to Joss that ten years later people still feel so strongly about all these characters.


Though it does often feel like one of those American Civil War re-enactment battles. The Buffyverse equivalent gets viewed with resigned bemusement by fans of the show in general, and open mockery from the meta-fans outside the gold fish bowl. I get so tired of the snide comments thrown at my fandom as a result of the hijinks that go on.
Donna, I liked your post but I do disagree with some of it.

Imo, if Spike had truly understood the difference between right and wrong, he would not have needed a soul. He would have been able to redeem himself simply because he had retained inate knowledge of human morality.

All Spike knew was that he had deeply hurt Buffy. The fact that he had crossed a line in general didn't register to him. I don't think he could understand what he tried to do in SR was any different than all the other times the two of them had become violent in their sexplay.

What he did get was the look on Buffy's face. He might have no real concept of right or wrong, he had no moral compass, but whether it be Dru or Buffy, he always knew when he had hurt the girl. When Spike got a bit cranky with Dru and was verbally sharp with her in season 2, he would immediately apoligize and call himself a bad man. So, it's not surprising Spike's redemption journey would begin with his trying to atone for hurting the girl.
"Maybe I should've said 'started to redeem herself' since as Angel says, it never stops for people like them. Why don't you get special credit for transcending your nature and choosing to do the right thing though ? Is it any easier to do just because it's what most other people do ? If a lefty learns to write with their right hand do they deserve no credit for the achievement (OK, not a great example, it's clearly of dubious use ;) because that's what the majority do ?"

Hey rock on Saje. Im all about the counter-argument, as we will soon see.

Do you get special credit for transcending your nature and doing whats right? No. You know why? Because the argument runs like this: six months ago we let Charles Manson out of prison, and he hasnt murdered, maimed, or eaten anyone, isnt he special? No! He isnt special, he isnt this pillar of redemptive power, he did what you and I have done for a long time saje, he didnt kill people when he shouldnt. You dont get special credit for doing what everyone else already does, you get special credit for doing something special. Hence the term. I once heard a Chris Rock special where he was talking about African American guys, and the gist of the part im interested in revolved around African Americans who take care of their kids. Chris posited how he was so tired of hearing these guys say "well I take CARE of my kids" as if that somehow made them special, and Chris' response was a forceful "you're supposed to you dumb mother f----"! LOL, besides being incredibly funny, he has a point. Doesnt he?

"The fact is that in real life most people aren't 'outside the circle', they don't have the luxury of some romantic ideal about what makes a hero, they just have to get on with it. So when a firefighter goes to work, or a doctor helps out at a neighbourhood clinic, hell, even when an honest lawyer does pro bono work to me they are heroes of a sort and though that doesn't mean everyone's a hero, it does mean everyone could be if they chose to be i.e. it's not based on some arbitrary criteria about normalcy or destiny or lone-wolf romanticism, it's based on merit."

I guess my only point is that if everyone is on a pedastal, if everyone is a hero, then doesnt that mean that being a hero is simply useless? We dont have the luxury of a romantic ideal? Of course we do. Its what makes idealism better than realism, its the idea that we can be better, that there are examples that we can try to emulate, that the world can be better, but more than that "we dont have the luxury" is always used to justify the abscence of hope and idealism. I am so tired of that motif, I am so tired of the idea that realistic story-telling means showing the worst of our nature because realistically there are good people who dont fall into the trap of "life sucks". I want just once for a show or movie to come out and say you know what, evil sucks, it is worse than the good of mankind and the love we all share, but those ideals are more powerful and if good people stand up we can defeat evil. Totally. Screw this cynicism that pervades FANTASY movies and tv shows, give us a feel good story that doesnt claim its cutting edge by maintaining what EVERY OTHER sci-fi and fantasy show and movie have claimed in the last 10 years (or most anyway). Cause really, whats idealistic about realism? And whats so wrong with hoping that the best parts of our nature are what define us? In other words, whats so wrong with taking a luxury we all have and being idealistic about who and what we are? For me, Ill never believe that its the worst of us that defines us, I will always believe that its the best of us. Because I do have that luxury.

[ edited by jerryst3161 on 2006-11-05 00:06 ]
I think we're way past the point where people are discussing the article, I suggest you all continue your conversation elsewhere or by e-mail.
I love this Universe and how we all still care so much. Joss is amazing. Someone really needs to write an entire article about that.

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