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June 23 2012

"On Wesley and Fred". An article defending the relationship between Wesley and Fred, as well as Fred herself.

I normally do not like to post individual blog posts myself, but I felt this one was a fantastic read and I wanted to share it. That said, I understand if it is removed.
And on the topic of the post, I had no idea there was any exceptional level of animosity towards Fred nor her relationship with Wesley. It has always been one of the most important parts of Angel the Series for me, if not the most important.
Spoiler tags for Angel aren't needed anymore.
I didn't know we needed to defend Wesley and Fred. As far as I'm concerned, they were the backbone of the show for me. I don't understand why there would be any animosity surrounding their relationship. Color me confused.
I think my biggest problem with the Wesley/Fred relationship in Season 5 is how sudden it feels. It seems as though Fred spent most of the season with no interest in Wes until suddenly she did, conveniently enough just in time for tragedy.
The "damsel in distress" angle makes sense, I just never thought about it outside the context of the Angel-Fred relationship ("Handsome man saves me from the monsters"...enough said). Of course, it's VERY Joss to give your characters happiness, hope, romantic opportunity, wish fulfillment, RIGHT before you axe them. Wesley and Fred got to be together for 1 episode. Between that, Cordy and Doyle in "Hero", and Angel and Buffy's time-reversal in "I Will Remember You", it seems like AtS was the platform for a lot of romantic almosts.

Of course, Wesley and Fred's most intense moment, IMHO, was in Season 4 when Angelus gets to Wesley and he's upstairs alone with Fred in the office and he just starts making out with her. "There's nothing wrong with it." "Yes there is." Damn.
@monsterpopcorn, @Sigfodr agreed, I was a little irritated that they needed defending. Fred and Wes both individually and as a couple are some of the things I love most about Angel.
They Wesley/Fred relationship was a crowning event in Angel; but I'm probably jaded because I thought Wesley was the best developed character in the entire Buffyverse [and kudos to Alexis Denisof for his amazing portrayal of the character]. He came so far...
I love Wesley. His character is probably my favorite part of Angel, which is one of my favorite shows ever, but Fred/Wesley does nothing for me. The article was very well written and a great read, but even after reading this, I am not convinced.

The problem here probably lies in Fred, in that her characterization was flawed from mid-season 3 on. We never saw anything from her perspective, she is always just the object of these two men's desires. And then she suddenly goes to Wesley at the end of "Smile Time" after pretty much ignoring him for a season. What should arguably be the most rewarding moment of their relationship just comes off as cheap to me because Joss wants to put them together at the perfect moment, so he can kill her in the next episode. It doesn't ring true IMO.

The other thing that is missing from this article is the fighting between Wesley and Gunn in season 4. A lot of the scenes with Wesley & Fred in season 4 are of Wes and Gunn fighting for her. The way it is written portrays Fred as an object, as the prize for Wes and Gunn's grudge match.
Why does their relationship even need defending? That's ridiculous. Anyway, they've always been my favorite.
Always liked Fred. Never imagined anyone wouldn't. It says people hate her for being weak. When was she weak?
benboy606- We did see things from Fred's perspective. Waiting in the Wings, The House Always Wins, and Supersymmetry are the episodes that immediately spring to mind, but there were other moments. And I think that there is evidence that Fred starts thinking of Wes as a romantic interest as early as Soulless, and starts pursuing him as such by around Lineage.

You are right that Wes and Gunn occasionally treat Fred as an object (Gunn especially, I think), but that doesn't mean that the story treats her that way, or that she puts up with it.

That's my interpretation, anyways.
Wait, there are people hating on Wes and Fred??? HOW? I love Wes, I love Fred, and I love Wes/Fred! Between Joss and Alexis, Wes is one of the most compelling characters in Jossiverse, as far as I'm concerned. And Fred -- such a blend of frailty and strength, awkwardness and grace, intelligence and naivite...

What I thought the author should have included, as I always considered it to be what tore them apart, was how Gunn, as Fred's first love (and we know how pesky those can be...), took away her power by killing Siedel. Even though he had/thought he had the best of intentions -- saving her from doing something that could never be undone -- he ultimately disempowered her. Plus, it made him a murderer, and I for one hate it when people make huge sacrifices for me against my will.

Wes (much like Spike in the case of Buffy, in my humble opinion) (ducks for cover), was a much more mature and suitable partner, in that he realized Fred had to follow her own path, and was willing to support her no matter what.

I need to watch Buffy and Angel again.
I have some problems with Fred's characterization and Wesley/Fred as a relationship. I like what Fred could have been - a character who was strong and brave and smart enough to survive on her own in Pylea - but not what she became - a woman who did not get the chance to do much on her own but functioned as an object for men to deal with. As for Wesley, though I love his character development across both shows, he always idealized Fred and put her up on a pedestal. He wanted a relationship with the perfect Fred he thought existed, and honestly it was kind of gross. She deserved better. Here's a link to someone who also does not like Fred (for legitimate reasons), and here's a link to his thoughts on Wesley in which he talks a little bit about their relationship as well.
While I understand the author's impulse, I don't understand why their relationship on the show has to be defended, to anyone.

Furthermore, Fred/Wesley has ALWAYS been berated as being one-sided and based purely on Wesley’s idealism. Not fond of blanket statements. I never thought this. They both grew up through their relationships with other people, slowing circling until they realized they were "the one" for the other. And much like real life, it took awhile because of fears, doubts, insecurities. I never thought Fred was dark. She was the light who drew Wes back with her, for a short while. I think that's why he was so sanguine when he died in Illyria's arms as she "became" Fred for him one last time. Sometimes deep love is only realized for a short time. It was a lovely time watching that couple coming together; a favorite part of Angel for me.
I love Fred, hands down. I thought she and Wes had a lot in common so I shipped her and Wes until she chose Gunn. I enjoyed Fred and Gunn together. I thought maybe Fred and Wes would work again in Season 5 until she asked "What do you think about Knox?" Fred was clearly not interested in him, until she suddenly, inexplicably was. It felt manipulative to me. Didn't like it. Didn't buy it, not at that point.

I would have bought Fred/Spike first at that point.

[ edited by Xane on 2012-06-23 23:47 ]
I'm in the camp that had no idea people didn't like Fred. Weak? She survived in Pylea for years on her own. Sure, she went a bit peculiar, but who wouldn't? And then she comes back and she chooses a life aiding in the fight against monsters over going back to her parents. She's not weak. She's got very strong principles and is incredibly brave and kind. I thought this was obvious.
Love Fred, don't love them together. Not a big Wesley fan, though I'm sure Alexis is lovely.
Xane, I took "What do you think about Knox?" to be Fred having (what turned out to be justifiable) uneasiness about Knox. Also, it seemed like Fred was open to Wesley, but he had to make the first move.
I'm glad I hadn't participated in fan sites very much when "Angel" was still on. The Wesley/Fred relationship was one of the most poignant aspects of the series. It was a crucial part of Wesley's evolution from the goofy comic relief character to the dark, tortured, sad, complex character he became.
@ntertanedangel, oh no I agree that Fred doesn't really put up with being treated as a prize by Wesley & Gunn. And I don't say that I think that they treat her like that as a knock on the show, it's just my interpretation on what the show was trying to accomplish. Not a knock on any character, just saying that from that perspective, Wesley/Fred aren't the most stable and happy and wonderful relationship that "A Hole in the World" makes them out to be.

I find their relationship to be fairly dark but not in the way the article proposes. I don't think it is a matter of accepting each other's darkness, I think it is more about futile idealism. In the end, the relationship acted mostly as a way to further Wesley's development and eventually push him into the destruction that he causes post-AHITW. Which isn't a bad thing necessarily, because Wes is probably my favorite thing on either show, it just sometimes comes at a cost of Fred's characterization and own story. but again, just my opinion.

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