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April 20 2012

The worst heroic lead characters. Buffy and Dollhouse both mentioned in this AV Club article about the worst heroic leads in otherwise good shows.

I agree about Eliza Dushku in Dollhouse, but Buffy? Blasphemy.
No, I get the Buffy thing. Personally, I love that character and I probably always will... But out of all the characters on that show, I think Buffy would be one I wouldn't like if I met someone like her in real life.
I have never liked Buffy and only kept watching because of Spike, but the only show I have gotten my DVDs out more to watch is SPN. In fact I have 2 sets of Buffy and Angel and one is usually loaned out. The only show I have really liked Eliza in was Tru Calling.
I disagree pasionately with their assement of Buffy and Sarah Michelle Gellar. IMO both the character and the actress were absolutely brilliant througout the shows run. I also disagree strongly about Harry Potter, Jeff Winger, Ted Mosby, so I guess I just have a wildly different taste (though I do agree with the authors that all these characters were surrounded by brilliant ensemble casts).

What's SPN rehabber? Sports Night?
Probably "Supernatural".

Column seems like a contrivance to rag on characters/actors that those commenting in it don't like. I think Dollhouse's biggest problem was Dollhouse, not Eliza Dushku.

The whole premise is something I've seen a lot before and I think might ultimately require it's own trope -- Protagonist Backlash. "Lost", "Heroes", "Vampire Diaries", "Buffy", "Dollhouse"... seems like every genre show that lasts more than a season sees its fanbase form an anti-protagonist faction.
The only one I really agree with is Ted from HIMYM; he's not terrible, but he's totally boring. He's actually become a bit more interesting this season.
I think Buffy's only real problem was that, despite definitively being the lead, she was almost invariably outshone by her spectacular ensemble.

And Dollhouse's main problem was that the lead character was a different person every week. How does an audience connect with that? The great episodes almost invariably focus on someone else - until she finally became a character in her own right.

[ edited by daylight on 2012-04-20 15:11 ]
I feel sort of bad for Eliza Dushku. Not just in this article have I seen and heard people knock her acting ability. I personally think her best role has been Faith, but I think she does an excellent job with Echo whether it's being all tabula rasa'd, one of the personalities, or Echo with the combined personalities. I will agree that some of the other actors had a few more memorable turns as programmed dolls, but I definitely don't think Eliza brought the show down in any way.
I think the biggest problem with Dollhouse was Fox.

In addition to Buffy and Dollhouse, I've also seen some of the movies that Eliza has made (just watched Nobel Son last night, for instance)- and she's convincingly played characters that were nothing like Faith or Echo. Her acting was not the problem.
The female protagonist almost always gets a bad rap. It's a shame.
I seem to remember some people ragging on Amy Acker, but that was quelled by "The Girl in Question", which reminded some people that maybe Amy isn't anything like Fred or Illyria in real life.

It's always confusing if these type of questions are asking about: a good actor with a boring character, a bad actor (which drags down the role), or a good actor with an interesting character but the character is deliberately despicable.
Yeah, a lot of fans hated Amy Acker during her early stint in Angel. Funny thing; not only is she one of the sweetest people alive, she's also a bloody great actress.
I sat in while a friend watched Dollhouse for the first time the other week, I told him to skip 3, 4 and 5 and I was so impressed at how much identity the show had when those eps were ignored. Eliza is pretty good throughout when those are ignored too.
I shamefully admit I didn't like Amy at first, because I felt like the character was forced into the show. I actually started liking Fred in season four, specially after Supersymmetry. Of course, now Amy is one of my favorite actresses.

As for Eliza, she is awesome anytime anywhere. And the only time I didn't like Buffy as a character was during season seven, mostly because I never got why on Earth she'd be all friendly with Spike, except for the obvious reason that he was a popular character and there needed to be a reason to keep him around.
I'm noticing more and more that Buffy (the character) gets a really bad rap among a lot of fans. Honestly, I don't get it. I find her to be the most developed and understood character on the show. Buffy's also my favorite character, and I can probably give a thousand reasons why (although it might take me a while).
I think that Buffy is a well developed character and I can totally understand why people love her, but I am not one of them. I can't relate to her, I don't care about the things she cares about, and because of that I find her to be frequently annoying and selfish. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the character or the acting, she's just not my thing.
I get where the article is coming from. In a lot of cases, the main character in a series (book or TV) is the one who has to be the "Everyman", the most normal person, therefore the least interesting to watch. The fan favorites almost always tend to be side characters, who have more freedom to be funny or zany or complex or dark or conflicted, depending on the material.

With that said, I love Ted Mosby. =P And I love Buffy, though she isn't among my top three characters on her show. I do agree that Eliza Dushku, while she was amazing as Faith, didn't have the range for Echo at first. But once Echo became more of an amalgam of personalities, once her own personality was supposed to be more consistent, Eliza was excellent. I didn't feel like she brought down the show at all.
Yeah I get a lot of these characters being not-popular.

I mean Jack from lost, sheesh, he was one of the main factors on me giving up halfway through series 2. I mean wow, a handsome, privileged white male who automatically assumes leadership because, well, he's a privileged white male! Wow. Fascinating shit.

I understand the Buffy hate but I don't think it matters to me that I wouldn't want to be friends with her, I just respect the hell out of the character. I never really thought she was meant to be the most likeable! I have to disagree about SMGs acting though, I can think of maybe one bit of bad acting past season 1. I think she was really consistently a good actor on Buffy.
Kind of on topic. My wife and I were discussing complex Tv characters. Don't know why. But we both agreed on Dexter Morgan, Brenda Chenowith (SIX FEET UNDER), Gaius Baltar, and Buffy Summers. I personally would add Wesley.
SMG was never weak as an actress except maybe in "Gone".
@ntertanedangel: I don't 'relate' to Buffy in any traditional sense, and I don't share most of her interests and experiences, but the show does such a fabulous job of displaying her inner self to the point that I wholly understanding why she's the way she is; her strengths and her weaknesses. I love the kind of person she is, and how she so frequently gives of herself for others despite how unfair or difficult the situation is for her. :)

Buffy, like any human being (and every character on the show), occasionally indulges in a bout of selfishness or self-pity. A thorough reading of her development and history, though, has her emerging, for me, as one of the least selfish characters I've ever witnessed in fiction. I'm always quite puzzled with people labeling her as overly selfish. To see her as overly selfish would almost necessitate not putting yourself in her shoes and trying to see the world through her perspective. In a lot of shows, doing this can be difficult, bur Buffy is a rare show that provides the tools for really delving into each major characters' psyche. The question is, are we brave enough to set aside our own perceptions long enough to explore them?

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