This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Who is this Hilton girl? It doesn't matter on a lot of levels."
11976 members | you are not logged in | 26 February 2020


June 24 2015

The old, old question. Angel or Spike treated with rather more balance than usual.

An exploration of which vampire might win in a number of categories with remarkably little character-bashing of any sort.

I disagree with their assessment of Spike as "not very romantic." Just... him with Dru... yeah. I'll be in my bunk.
I'm probably going further with this than the author intended but here goes...

Maybe it's just the Angel fan in me, but this still seems pretty unbalanced to me. First of all, there is very little discussion of the characters' development or growth, the way they are used as symbols, or their roles within the story. Why are looks, style, and brooding even categories? What is the distinction they are making between character and personality? Why do they just write Angel off as boring? I happen to find him an utterly fascinating character. What does Connor's mental health have to do with diminishing the poignancy of Angel's sacrifice? If anything, I think it makes it more significant.

To quote from my blog: "You might... be able to make a decent argument that Spike is a better person than Angel at his core, but I don’t think it’s a logical leap to say that therefore Spike is more deserving or more admirable than Angel. For me, it is not a question of “Who are they” as much as “Who do they become?” (or perhaps not “how do they get their souls?” but “what do they do with them?”) The man that Angel becomes is far nobler, gives far more, and cares far more than Spike, which is all the more impressive if he doesn’t have the same quality of raw material (so to speak) that Spike does. Angel actively fights to be a better person, whereas Spike just evolves."

I'm not necessarily saying that Angel is a better character than Spike, just that this article doesn't really address the issue in any meaningful way.
Angel had over a hundred ensouled years, Spike had two. I love them both (just Spike a little more.)

[ edited by redeem147 on 2015-06-24 21:47 ]
Well, I am a true fan and I can't pick either one of them, definitively as what, better then the other? It's such an unfair assessment and expectation. I say this after just having finished watching Season 7 of Buffy on Pivot and my DVDs since Pivot didn't finish it up.

Spike was thick Guinness with a twist of lemon and a teaspoon of sugar. IMO, he was sort of made to run the gamut of what a character could be put through; he's been the personification of evil, simply annoying, envious, a clod, a fool, clownish, a sex god, self-serving, devious, conniving, cruel, brilliantly funny, bitter, Dawn's protector/mentor, sarcastic, sweet, abusive, goes-to-the-ends-of-the-earth-to-get-a-soul-for-Buffy grandiose/romantic, and finally, in Season 7, a champion. And he was ping-ponged back and forth between those qualities during different seasons, which made him inconsistent no matter how brilliantly James Marsters played him. It even felt a bit like "Oh, we need this here. Let's get James to do it", because they knew how good he was.

And Angel is like the Heathcliff of vampires. He's summer love, first love, with the black cloud of his crimes hanging over him 24/7. He is consistent when it comes to character identification and there aren't a whole lot of surprises. He's obviously less colorful than Spike, he doesn't bring the humor in the same way, and yet his self-deprecation is often delightful.

So, I don't care who seems better at what. It comes down to how they have made me feel when I watch both shows. They're both flawed, they both suffered, they both grew (though with Spike, I really think it was a lot less organic), and to me, equally fascinating. And Angel liked Spike's poetry, which says a lot...
I wouldn't call this a balanced article. The authors called themselves team Spike and biased so this list doesn't bring anything except comforting their own opinions.

[ edited by 7lovelyangel on 2015-06-24 23:39 ]
I agree with a lot of what you say Tonya except that Spike's arc was incredibly coherent. He just has different sides to his personality that can go to extremes depending upon how much he is emotionally invested in a topic. So he can have tunnel-visioned determination and go and get a soul, or he can be too impatient to wait a few days and end up storming parent-teacher night. Sure they tweak characterisation here and there for humour or plot purposes but most characters suffered that at some point. Spike's general characterisation and his personal motivations steering his choices were shown to be pretty consistent. I love how organic and coherent his arc is.

Anyway, the piece was very light-hearted and if it was taken as anything other all it does is prove how daft it is to try and 'definitively' do this because they are so different. And it is so subjective about what you 'like' and even what categories you would choose. I mean, if you are comparing the romantic notions of a soulless vampire to a souled one it isn't going to be a workable comparison. I really like Angel's character and think he is attractive but I don't think he is even half as good looking as Spike. Totally subjective. At the end of the day for me Spike is my favourite character so I prefer him in most ways you could list, but that is personal preference. I don't need to not appreciate Angel's story to love Spike so much.
I think I just needed to say some of that for a very long time after seeing, Lord Love A Duck, how many rounds of "Who's Your Favorite(s)" list, "Who's Sexier?", "Who's ____________ (fill in the blank)". And this was a really good opportunity.
>> Aside from Spike’s pre-vamp poet days, he’s not very romantic.
Handcuffs and housing destruction aren't very romantic?
I'm with Tonya. Love both vamps in all their messed up glory, don't make me choose! Although, like Stoney, I see a little more coherence in Spike's arc (or can fanwank it anyway). Cute article anyway.
>>Handcuffs and housing destruction aren't very romantic?
Ha, well torturing her into liking you again isn't very either, but a necklace is more romantic in human terms than nailing puppies to things or presenting people with torn out hearts, which would be giving them an equivalent comparison. Some things you can't fairly compare across souled/soulless divides.

I don't mind polls etc on favourites, everyone has them, but unless you are considering best at... something, where you can objectively consider pertinent abilities/character traits, then any general sense of 'best' you can't objectively solve, it is just automatically full of subjective judgements.

[ edited by Stoney on 2015-06-25 09:30 ]
I thought the age old question was caveman or astronaut.
It all tastes like Mountain Dew to me ...
Since neither Angel nor Spike were my "type" - I don't go in for Brooders or Bad Boys - I don't have anything invested in this argument. I enjoyed the article as a light-hearted reminder of the series, and agree that the *actual* argument is caveman vs. astronaut.
This was a very fun read. It was (openly) skewed in Spike's favor by the writers' biases, but I really appreciated that there was no bashing - it all seemed fun and in good humor to me.

Also, I was almost sold on Angel being more romantic, but then I remembered that he broke up with Buffy in a sewer. Not sure either of them win that one :)
>> thought the age old question was caveman or astronaut.
Ah yes, I went with the architect.
That was a fun bit of fangirling! And I don't care what anybody says, I say you CAN have both! Or have all of them -- Spike, Angel, caveman and astronaut.
Good for you, punkinpuss! Why the heck not?

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home