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What are your issues with Riley?

Discussion in 'Season 4' started by Merrick, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Merrick

    Merrick 'Charles Gunn. Two N's.'

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    I've just re-watched As You Were and it got me thinking about the Finnster. I think we can all agree he's one of the weakest characters in the series, but what exactly is it that MAKES him so bad?

    I personally don't hate Riley, I just find him boring and kinda annoying, but to my mind he could have been quite an interesting character, he was just underdeveloped.

    I definitely think he's a victim of bad writing. Even in the show they take the piss out of it, calling him Captain Cardboard etc. But it's true! I was disappointed because I did want to like Riley - and there were some episodes/interactions where he was alright.

    I think with him I had 3 main issues: 1. The way Marc Blucas chose to portray him, 2. The fact of him being underwritten - even in season 4 when he's meant to play a major role in Buffy's life/development, he is glazed over in favour of Spike, or Twillow, or Xandya (yeah, that's mine - deal with it! :p) 3. He wasn't Angel - a lot of people had a problem with him purely because he was Buffy's new beau, but wasn't Angel. I'm not sure if this was fair to our Riley.

    Anyway, what do you guys think?
     
  2. Blaze

    Blaze Let it Burn

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    Black Thorn
    I wanna like Riley, I really do. And I also like Marc Blucas (even if he was a bit wooden at times), but I just can't get myself to like Riley. I have a few issues, first you're right, he was way underwritten. Aside from that, well I couldn't care less that he's not Angel, and actually I think that Riley is probably the best boyfriend Buffy had, that is until he screwed up a "cheated". For what I do not like:

    -we do not share the same values, he's a conservative, I am not
    -the whole cheating metaphor, well I hate cheaters
    -in some episode he is just very thick and judgemental, but sometimes he at least makes up for it, so I do like that about him
    -he's a yes-man, I'm not a fan of the whole "no questions asked" in his career, I get that he has to follow order, but he doesn't even know who he works for
    -he was a huge coward in s5, leaving the way he did was not acceptable in my opinion
    -his whole "Buffy doesn't love me" is crap. It's not for him to decide her feelings, and I do think she showed him love. Maybe it wasn't enough for him, but that's something to discuss with Buffy, not others
    -he didn't fit very well with the group, I guess I can't really blame him too much but he took away from the dynamic. Which is interesting considering Xander hated Angel but the gang seemed more cohesive yet Xander and Riley have such a bromance but the group feels more broken. Again, maybe it wasn't Riley's fault, but I don't think he helped either

    There are things that I like about him though. I love his bromance with Xander, and for the most part I like his relationship with Buffy (minus the last few episodes of them together). He's a pretty sweet guy overall, he's just not entirely my cup of tea. Every time I rewatch I try to like him, but he's just one of those characters that I don't really connect with, and yes, some of it is due to bad writing. I think Mark did good with the material he had.
     
    Aimee: All of that
    AnthonyCordova likes this.
  3. Merrick

    Merrick 'Charles Gunn. Two N's.'

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    Yeah I like his chemistry with Xander/Nicky a lot and I think if more had been done with this then perhaps he'd have ended up more likeable.

    And I do get what you mean - it seemed he basically broke up with Buffy because of the whole 'I can't handle the fact my girl is stronger than me... even though that's illogical because I KNOW my girl is the Slayer. But I'm still gonna mope about it.'

    Wind your neck in Riley!
     
  4. Lyri

    Lyri Buckle Up Tight

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    Sineya
    I have no issues with Riley - I happen to like Riley a lot, I just think there are a lot of things that lead to him being seen as a bad or boring character.

    The main reason, though, is that I think he was introduced too quickly. He was brought in on the first ep of S4, when people were still mourning Angel, and it was obvious from his first scene with Buffy that he was going to be her new love interest. There was no time for people to get used to Buffy being without Angel - there was just an instant set up for a new relationship. Parker was brought in to make Riley look better, but it didn't work. Riley still came about at the exact wrong time.

    Yes, Buffy had a whole summer to get over Angel's departure, but it was a summer we didn't see and we don't know how Buffy dealt with Angel's leaving. If Riley had been kept until the middle of the season, or at the very least, the same ep that she slept with Parker, I think he might have had a better shot of being giving a shot.

    And then 'Something Blue' happened, before Buffy and Riley had even kissed, and the Spuffies shippers were born or were reborn, and people bypassed Riley for the more (at the time) unattainable option.

    I liked Riley's arc a lot, especially in S5, though I don't agree with his stance, I do see where he's coming from and how it might be difficult to make the switch back to civilian life - we see it happening in the real world all the time.

    The only slight problem I have with Riley is Sam. For all that he said he was in love with Buffy and the way he acted like she was the best thing that ever happened to him, Riley met and married Sam in less than a year after he left Sunnydale. I think that's just a real slap in the face and made me wonder if Riley really loved Buffy at all or if Sam was just a rebound. I would have been happier if Sam was just a girlfriend who was then his wife in the comics. Much more believable to me, but, then again, I have issues with things like that, lol.
     
    Aimee: Lots of good points!
  5. white avenger

    white avenger white avenger

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    My problem with Riley is that I think of him as such a totally underwhelming character. He's supposed to be some kind of combination Iowa farm boy and chip powered super soldier, combined with all the charm of a frat boy, and I just can't see it.
     
    AnthonyCordova: good point
    GoSpuffy likes this.
  6. AnthonyCordova

    AnthonyCordova Apocalypse Engine

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    Sineya
    I don't agree with the idea that he was poorly written. The quality of the writing doesn't get worse suddenly when he speaks (compared to everything else). I also don't believe the idea that he was a poor actor. He might not have excelled, but I definitely don't think he was bad. I don't think he was any worse than Angel, whose acting also occasionally is cardboard material (early on especially), so to speak. But in the final analysis I think DB is fine as Angel (and he grows over time and I like the character, what can I say?) and so is MB as Riley.

    I'm ultimately indifferent about Riley. Maybe I like him a little more than that sometimes. But I'm basically indifferent.

    Other than that, I agree with everything Blaze said. Many of his character qualities that Blaze pointed out were not to my liking. But I understand that created characters must be different from one another, and that means occasionally a character will come around that is very different and not completely to my liking. I'm okay with that. He is what he is. But most of all I agree with Blaze that the way he left the show was pretty cowardly. I was disappointed in him when he up and left like that.

    He's not Angel, and I get the feeling that many Buffy fans could never accept that. Maybe. It seems that way. It might also have something to do with the fact that he is not attractive to the female fans(?) I don't know, and it's unfair, but I can't help but think that might have a little something to do with it. For some people. I don't know though, I'm just speculating.
     
  7. brinkster130

    brinkster130 Riley's BFF Staff Member

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    Sineya
    :eek: WHAT?! I love the Finnster. :)




    I've always felt like Riley gets more had than the character really deserves. His character has lots of integrity and I admire the way he has been able to challenge his beliefs. I can see how he gets handed the boring card when he is sandwiched between Angel and Spike but I thought he was a nice contrast to the vampires. I mean, I really don't understand why people think his character is so bad.

    Plus, the character was written knowing that people were going to hate him just because he wasn't Angel. Poor character really didn't stand a chance.
     
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  8. Blaze

    Blaze Let it Burn

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    Black Thorn
    I think this is pretty accurate among the casual fans. Around here, with people that are umm, slightly more obsessed with the show, I think this is not as much of a factor. Sure that during a first watch you might dislike him based on the fact that he was the middle guy between Angel and Spike, but when you've seen the series so often and you are past the initial impression, I do believe that the reason for people disliking him runs deeper than just "he's not Angel".

    Or maybe I'm just the exception, I actually like him more on my first watch than I do now lol.
     
  9. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    If you want to see what a real Teaching Assistant in Psychology would be like, check out Holden Webster in "Conversations with Dead People 7ABB07" where Holden is interested in what makes people tick and shows insight and perceptiveness in dealing with Buffy.

    Riley shows none of that. He is unable to delve into Buffy's personality and elicit the right information and has an inferiority complex that makes him think Buffy has no use for him. He then wanders off to the vampire den because they "need" him more than Buffy. He would never be able to cope with having a girlfriend or wife who is professionally competent, let alone stronger than him.

    I don't know where they would get an elite soldier who is still young enough to pose as a student. He screws up every mission then walks out on his unit but for some reason, they want him back. That's just not the way it works. The armed services does not operate like a bromance where people can walk out or return with all the drama of a soap opera. The writing has definitely jumped the shark here - if he was an undercover agent working alone or with a few confederates in the season, say an FBI agent, it would have been a bit more believable but as a military man, the writing just doesn't work.

    I have seen Marc Blucas on other shows and he is basically the same personality with no ability to play someone who is not like himself. He can stand on his marks and recite his lines and that is about the extent of it - you can never get absorbed in his character because you are always aware that he is at his limits as an actor.
     
    Aimee: Holden Webster > Riley Finn (accept that I want to strangle the guy cause all I see is Knox)
    Slay me likes this.
  10. Fuffy Baith

    Fuffy Baith 2017 (and 2016) Cutest BB member

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    Sineya
    I don't have a problem with Riley, I like the good guy thing. Marc Blucas was Joss' first choice and I don't think it's his acting. There just isn't a lot of character development and they don't give him much to do. I think Marc Blucas does a good job when he has something to do and plays the boy next door thing well. My problem is that other than being Buffy's boyfriend and conflicted about being a soldier, he doesn't contribute much more to the group and I don't really care for what he does do. But I'm not hating on Riley like most people do. Sometimes he's Captain Cardboard but not always.
     
  11. RoxySilver

    RoxySilver Fan student

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    Black Thorn
    I actually really like Riley, and I was happy to see Buffy interested in someone else than Angel, simply because I don't really like Angel and Buffy together.

    I agree that Riley was introduced to soon, we weren't ready and Buffy wasn't ready.
    He gave a taste of what could have been normal to Buffy, and she needed that. I love how he challenged his beliefs for her, and how he tried to understand her world.
    I thought he could handle Buffy being stronger than him, but couldn't handle not being needed. I feel for him and I think he was never given a chance.
    Seriously, I don't think Buffy loved him. She cared for him and she was happy to think she was in love, because she thougt she could never feel that again after Angel.
    But she never tells him she loves him, not once.

    However, I think he pulled some stupid moves after when coming back to the civilian life and when he went to the vampires. But I understand what he feels when he sas they need him. Unfortunately for him, Buffy can't afford to need someone that bad and that's good for her.

    Finally, I wish he wasn't married when he comes back. It's been barely a year for heaven's sake! It makes his feelings for Buffy a little irrelevent and not as strong as they wanted us to believe...

    Oh, and I love his friendship with Xander and how he cares for Dawn (oh, that conversation between Dawn and Riley in the park breaks my heart...).
     
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  12. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Riley was the nice, good guy. His main crimes were that he was boring and that wasn't Angel, I don't care about that last part, but its easy to dislike a character who's meant to have no flaws, especially on a show like Buffy.
    (Btw, I think the character has a bunch of flaws, but the writers tried to make him too likable and it backfired- e.g- being oh, so sensitive, punching out Parker, his cutsey courtship of Buffy. I found it all so manipulative. :rolleyes:)

    Riley was linked to the Intiative storyline, if you didn't like the Intiative, garanteed you weren't going to like Riley. (This is my cheif reason btw, but not the only one.)
    Marc Blucas was...kinda wooden. His dialogue is fine, but the reading is a little...stale.
    I agree that his acting improved when he was off the show (I've seen his guest star in a couple of series recently and he's a lot better)

    There are lots of other reasons I don't particularly like Riley, but I don't hate him, and I do think he was good for Buffy (better than the next guy anyway... :()
     
  13. Merrick

    Merrick 'Charles Gunn. Two N's.'

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    Whilst I do agree with you in principal I think the problem with Briley was that they were never going to work precisely because Riley was normal.

    That's no slight on the Rister, I don't think Buffy would have been able to hold down a relationship with anyone normal.

    ---------- Post added at 12:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:02 PM ----------



    Totally agree with this. I like my characters to be flawed. Maybe it's cos I'm a writer? I just find flawed characters much more interesting. That ambiguity you get with them - not just with heroes, I think villains (who are obviously flawed) need some kind of redemptive speck, or a least something about their personality that is likeable.

    You have characters without flaws who are perfect and they are boring, unbelievable and antagonising. For a prime example of this let's look at the ultimate perfect character in fiction - Bella Swan - what's her flaw in the books? She's clumsy. That's it. Big whoop. Ok she's whiney as sin too (but that's only from the readers/viewers perspective). All the other characters think she's perfect. She starts a new school, she's instantly the most popular person there, all the women want to be her and all the men are in love with her and zzzzzzzzzzzzzz....... Boring.

    Sooki from True Blood is another perfect character, but I don't wanna get into her. You catch my drift.

    So yeah you're right Riley = too perfect. The writers tried to make him too perfect, too pure, the antithesis of a vampire. But they went too far with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  14. HisMrs

    HisMrs The Walking BED

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    Sineya
    I have and always will love Riley. You can't blame the character for the storyline the writers wrote for him; I think Riley got the short end of the stick. The whole vampire storyline in Season 5 was designed purely to get the viewers pissed at him so Riley leaving would make room for Spike as Buffy's love interest, and that was soooo messed up IMO.
     
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  15. Blaze

    Blaze Let it Burn

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    Black Thorn
    It strikes me as odd that people find Riley too perfect. One of my biggest issue with him was that he acted like a complete a-hole in s5. Yes, for most of his run he's a nice guy, and I actually like him decent when he is, but he can also be quite bigoted at times and disrespectful.
     
    Still a Scoobie: That's my issue with him. And he's so hung up on Buffy being better than him.
  16. The Bronze

    The Bronze Rogue Demon Hunter

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    Black Thorn
    Like a lot of people here I don't hate Riley. I'm just indifferent. So what issues do I have with him? Well the first issue is brilliantly summed up by [MENTION=12171]Ethan Reigns[/MENTION]. He has two jobs/careers on the show and neither of them are very believable. The whole initiative plot is very flawed and Riley is a big part of that.

    My second issue is the awful courtship of Buffy. Some of the lines are just so cringe worthy. I'm currently at this stage in my latest rewatch with my girlfriend and we both found it painful viewing.

    My third issue is Riley and Buffy in general. Their relationship comes hot off the heels of "I Will Remember You". It's pretty hard as a viewer to invest in a relationship when it's made perfectly clear that it's not what one of them really wants.

    I guess the fourth point would that he does come across a little on the dull side. For all the stuff he should have going for him given his jobs he's very meh.

    For some balance though I do enjoy his humour. I think he has some very good lines and funny scenes in general.
     
  17. Still a Scoobie

    Still a Scoobie Nocturnal Lurker

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    I actually prefer him "courting" Buffy (I still can't believe he used the word "courted" in the show, btw, it's such an old person word, kinda makes him sweet and funny though) than when he was with Buffy or afterwards.
     
  18. Robb Stark

    Robb Stark King in the North

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    Sineya
    I think this is really accurate. While I love IWRY, I don't really understand the timing. It takes place right when they're trying to pick up steam with Riley, and after that episode going back to BTVS and seeing Buffy romantically banter with Riley was just really, unbelievably flat. That's not an indictment of the character, it's was just a really curious decision to structure the season like that.
     
  19. CordelliasHeart

    CordelliasHeart Potential

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    Still a newcomer to the Franchise, but He is not Angel, therefore he must die horribly.

    is my sentiment to be honest.
     
  20. Kean

    Kean Professional Bangel

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    Sineya
    I love Riley. I think he was witty, smart, intelligent but had a real sense of self. I think his issues with Buffy were totally valid and not at all to do with some inferiority complex: he wanted someone to value him the way he valued them. I don't see anything wrong with that at all. I think he was/is a great character and I would welcome his return to the verse at any stage. Though I do agree that his story is under written. I want to know more about his military history, his family, how he ended up (I nearly typed "in B613" LMAO) in The Initiative. Given his age and rank, I assume he would possibly have taken part in Yugoslav Wars in some way, though Kosovo does seem too late for the timeline to work out? Whatever the case, there's some meat there.

    [HASHTAG]#TeamFinn[/HASHTAG]
     
    RoxySilver: I never really thought of that but I'm curious now. I wish we knew more about him!
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