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Angel : I don't want a bad girl. (Real life metaphors)

AngelBuffy

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Episode: Earshots

One of the reoccurring themes of Buffy is how the show tends to use the fantasy for real life metaphors. I find that angel line a lot more real than most of the metaphors on the show.
In case some don't remember the line, Angel says this to buffy when buffy is still feeling insecure about faith and angel kissing. buffy said she understands why faith may be appealing because faith has the bad girl thing going on. Angel says, he does not want a bad girl and he has had bad girls like faith in the past.

I think that line explains a lot about life but also about the gender intellects of boys and girls or men and women.

a lot of men both real and fictional never seem to be into bad girls in the long run. many men may flirt , date or sleep with bad girls but when it is time to settle down they mostly prefer to have a good girl who is more stable. Angel is a good example of this, he even tells the mayor that the reason he chose buffy over faith was because faith is insane which angered faith to the point of almost slitting willow's neck.

Part of the reason Angel did break up with Buffy was because he wanted buffy to be with a good stable guy. Yes, Angel knew he was good but because of the Angelus soul issue, he was not stable. I also think, this is where the writers partially failed Riley. They could have done more with Riley after the initiative.

So what is with with girls and women? if men are not into bad girls why are woman so into bad boys, not trying to make this into another bangel vs spuffy debate but we all know the major appeal of spike was the bad boy attitude and we know, most of the spike fan base were girls who fantasied about him. this is a pattern seen in other ficion like Damon (vampire diaries), Chuck Bass (gossip girl) and Draco Malfoy (harry potter).

Also, this is another reason why I liked angel and buffy better as a couple. I like to believe a more real world were I know, good boys and good girls can be happy doing good things at the pure goodness of their heart. this is a more true real life metaphor that works in the world. i rather invest in that since i know in the real world, bad boys don't get very far, they mostly self destruct and bring everyone down around them. I have never fully understood why fiction loves to make a good fantasy of bad boy characters where they get happy ending even getting the girl, that does not reflect real life and buffy was meant to be all about real life metaphors? right?

In real life I think the writers should have took more challenge at writing buffy and riley a lot better. not going for the cliche trope of the bad boy chasing after the girl.
 

Athene

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I think it's something girls are taught when they're young like on the playground if a boy comes over and pulls a girl's hair or teases her they'll be told it's because he secretly likes her. So girls are basically told to piece together a boy's abuse as love. This is where we get the 'they abuse each other because they love each other' thing which is rarely true and oversimplifies so much. I also think it's a self destructive thing sometimes because if a girl's mistreated by guys enough they'll just want those guys more to either punish themselves or because it's a compulsive fantasy of theirs to find something loving in that relationship when it's really just hate- to cope with how they've been mistreated.
 

thrasherpix

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Actually, there is reason to think many men are into bad girls as women are into bad boys. It usually doesn't work out in the end, though the girls spend more effort to tame the bad boy as happens in the romance genre with disturbing frequency, while men are much more likely to be crass about describing their relationship with a bad girl. (Likewise, people are typically drawn to narcissistic and downright bad people as leaders just as they are with lovers, and the reasons for it may be very similar.)

I came across this as a study when I was looking into the nature of humanity, and I know I saved the article somewhere so could probably find it again (assuming the article still exists). But observations also make it appear so to me.

I'm actually surprised by the number of shows (including foreign) I've seen lately in which neither side of a romantic pairing is bad, and can even be wholesome. It's said that those are boring, and perhaps they are, but given how little I've seen of it (and how I may roll my eyes as I resist diabetic shock at times--still better than the aggravation of one trying to reform the other for lifelong romantic bliss), it's also quite refreshing to me.
 

AngelBuffy

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Wonder how many bad girls angel dated. i can only think he dated many of them as Liam before he got changed by Darla into a vampire. Angel obviously does not want all that baggage. he wanted a good stable do goody girl like Buffy. good for him.But for me it was very telling how Angel not for once found Faith appealing in a romantic way and no its not just because he had a thing for Buffy.

its also interesting that some people who hated angel but loved spike always said Angel was boring. i guess that is the point of fiction. people can live out a fantasy of toxic relationships but a smooth relationship without any toxicity is called boring and bland but in the real world it is more seen as sane, stable and lasting.

it is also disappointing how the writers never gave buffy a full chance to be happy with a supposly good guys, riley, scott, wood or even paker before he was revelaed to be a jerk due to the myth that only bad boys characters can be intresting.

Riley to me was the biggest let down. its like he only existed for the initiative plot. it would have been very nice if he and buffy got back together in season 6 after he got over his insecurities, but no he has to be married.

I think Buffy and Riley had a chance of been a great love story if he came back to help Buffy and they tried again. maybe make a surprise appearance in The Gift to help her fight Glory. he was afterall around when Glory first showed up and he knew she was the new big bad Buffy had to fight post Adam.
 

AngelBuffy

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Yeah... until he is a jerk to you too 😂😂. Every girl think they are THE ONE that will make the guy change..
usually he is always a jerk to the girl also as much as he can be seen as a help, this is why spuffy was so toxic in season 6. spike will tell her she belongs in the darkness with him then after, tell her she should quit her job because he can get money, then attempt rape after she tries to break things up.

chuck and blair is even just as bad, one minute he will tell her nothing can come between them, throw cool parties for her and the next try to sell her off like a pimp pimping his hook girl to get his hotel business back

What i find scary funny is how some girls, think this is the definition of a complex and adult relationship.
 

DeadlyDuo

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You know a lot of people find entertaining a relationship in television that they woudn’t Want to live in reality.
I think this is pretty much the crux of the matter. Fictional bad boys/girl offer a safe space to enjoy that "danger" element without there being real world consequences. A bad boy might be a criminal but the police aren't going to be turning up at your front door.

Also there's the I can change/tame him or her for the better.
 
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What i find scary funny is how some girls, think this is the definition of a complex and adult relationship.
Except that (and this is just an example) the majority of Spuffy shippers don't think the abuse is what makes it complex or adult - it's everything else; going from enemies to something more, great chemistry, the sweet moments, the issues that keep them apart, and so much more.

Regarding Angel's line, I do find it a bit interesting, because someone with his past would clearly be done with girls like Faith if he wants to stay on the redemptive path and not be tempted to stray. I do wonder, though, if he counts Darla in that group of past bad girls or if she stands alone as something more unique.
 

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I'm not a fan of labelling girls bad or good, it feels a bit anti-feminist to me. There are often far more complex things going on that we may not see or understand. Plus the definition of what's considered good or bad moves through time. I also find Angel's line pretty sexist, as in Halloween when he says he didn't like 'the girls back then, simpering morons the lot of them', with no understand that the system at the time meant that women had to behave in a certain way or they would be completely ruined, ostracised and/or abandoned, and they themselves didn't have the facilities or a system in place to be other then they were expected to be.

Angel want's Buffy to be a 'good girl', but also remain exciting and interesting, but also have a 'normal life' (whatever that means). Angel is a product of his time, so it's understandable he'd have these views, and I think they add layers to his character.
 

TriBel

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One of the reoccurring themes of Buffy is how the show tends to use the fantasy for real life metaphors.
I think that's true only of the early seasons. From S6 onward the notion of real life being anything other than "a reality" is problematic. What S6 introduces is the the idea that the reality we mistake for the real is based on phantasy. It's there in Life Serial when they discuss "The Social Construction of Reality". S7 is about representation and representation (essentially language) creates a gap between world and word. In a sense, everything is metaphor because language stands in for the real. It's why S6/7 Spike/Buffy struggle with what things mean; why the seasons lack clarity and why the series ends with her silence and a ruddy great hole in the world.
So what is with with girls and women?
Aahh...the eternal question. Freud: “The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?” Speaking as a woman (and not a "raging feminist" - I'm too lazy to be a raging feminist), society has always been patriarchal. At its most simple, until very recently, most novels, poems, artworks, films were made by men. Most philosophers were men. Most historians were men. Most leaders of Governments were men. The church was run by men. These are the discourses through which we understand the world...that create our "reality". Because of this, and I'm using a current term that I hate, what it is to be a women has always been "mansplained". BtVS knows this. There are no records of the Slayers except those written by the Watchers (mostly men and a patriarchal institution). The Guardian gives Buffy a potted alternative Slayer history and a weapon and is then promptly dispatched by...a father...a patriarch. For most feminist philosophers (particularly those associated with Continental philosophy), women's time is yet to come (and may prove impossible). Again, BtVS knows this.

Why doesn't Angel want a bad girl? Because he feels guilty about killing his sister and his sister was a good girl...in effect he, unconsciously, wants her restored. A11 tells us this (there's a "curse" of sorts that predates the Romany curse). I think there's a way of reading A11 that suggests Buffy wasn't his moment of true happiness and he could have been with her in B12 but, by that time, he'd moved onto Frillyria (a condensation of both the god-like father and the good girl sister - win-win).
its also interesting that some people who hated angel but loved spike always said Angel was boring. i guess that is the point of fiction. people can live out a fantasy of toxic relationships but a smooth relationship without any toxicity is called boring and bland but in the real world it is more seen as sane, stable and lasting.
So this is a Bangel/Spuffy thing? To paraphrase Spike in the IDW comics "On a scale of 1-10, Angel is so noble it's coma inducing". Bangel isn't boring - or indeed dead, it's kinda in suspended animation. If there's a heaven Bangel will be together. Spuffy isn't toxic...it explores the fundamental toxicity of existing psycho-social structures and intimates a way forward. It's both poison and cure (isn't that the logic of the Glarghk Guhl Kashmas'nik demon in Normal?). The point of fiction? Not all fiction has the same point or purpose. Some types (even within the same genre) perpetuate existing ideologies; others question and explore new ways of being. I think BtVS falls into the latter category.

a lot of men both real and fictional never seem to be into bad girls in the long run
'Cos most men marry their mother? The deep structures of BtVS are heavily indebted to both myth and psychoanalysis. Whedon was a film theorist before he was a film practioner and you can't get away from psychoanalysis in film theory. He's also acknowledged the influence of Joseph Campbell and Campbell draws on both Freud and Jung. Noxon's on record as saying she was trying to develop a female gaze in the later seasons. You can't do this without knowledge of psychoanalysis. At the heart of psychoanalysis is the Oedipal complex and the imaginary rendering of both a good and a bad father; the child's relationship with the mother is far more complicated but broadly speaking you could say there's also a good/bad mother. In BtVS it's this that provides the basis for the relationship between characters and it's desire for, or identification with these maternal/paternal imagos that provides the dynamic.
You know a lot of people find entertaining a relationship in television that they woudn’t Want to live in reality.
There's some truth in that - in fact, it's been argued that it's the reason for the popularity of, attraction to, horror film.
if men are not into bad girls why are woman so into bad boys,
Are they? Some women marry serial killers; most don't. :)
I'm not a fan of labelling girls bad or good, it feels a bit anti-feminist to me.
LOL! I'm laughing at the "bit".
they themselves didn't have the facilities or a system in place to be other then they were expected to be.
I'm always torn between sympathy and admiration for Darla.
 

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I'm always torn between sympathy and admiration for Darla.
The thing with Darla is, was she a prostituted woman or did she consciously choose to prostitute herself, and even if she did, we never learn the reason for it. But she certainly made the best of it once she was vamped.
 

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The thing with Darla is, was she a prostituted woman or did she consciously choose to prostitute herself, and even if she did, we never learn the reason for it. But she certainly made the best of it once she was vamped.
I don't know. I was thinking she reminded me of the prostitutes in Deadwood who were there for all sorts of reasons. As you say, it goes back to choice. Her options would be limited. Starvation or prostitution? Alternatively, she enjoyed sex. Similarly with Anne. She looks wealthy but is it her house or William's (I think there was a Married Woman's Property Act in 1882 - not sure what the situation was before)? Is she a mother who clings to her only child or a women with very few options? Anne has no identity outside her relationship to William. And Nikki, does she leave Robin with Crowley in his best interests or abandon him because being a slayer is more interesting than being a mother (I can sympathies with this. I'm sharpening my stakes)? Doesn't Robin say in the comics that she could have quit? But where does her identity come from if she's not a Slayer? How will society cast her as a single black woman with a mixed heritage child?* As a "bad girl" for living off the state and having a kid out of wedlock? Or as a good girl who's given her career up for her child? We never hear from Nikki. It's society that define these women.

*I read Tales of the Vampires. If the guy she's with is Robin's dad then Robin's half Asian. Nikki's an activist (there's a picture of Malcolm X on the wall). And she's riding a pre-historic demon that looks like that huge bat in the Boom Buffy series.
 

AngelBuffy

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Except that (and this is just an example) the majority of Spuffy shippers don't think the abuse is what makes it complex or adult - it's everything else; going from enemies to something more, great chemistry, the sweet moments, the issues that keep them apart, and so much more.

Regarding Angel's line, I do find it a bit interesting, because someone with his past would clearly be done with girls like Faith if he wants to stay on the redemptive path and not be tempted to stray. I do wonder, though, if he counts Darla in that group of past bad girls or if she stands alone as something more unique.
yes, i think darla was more unique, so was drusilla to spike. both women were their sires so they were also as more of a mother figure to them as a lover.

Except that (and this is just an example) the majority of Spuffy shippers don't think the abuse is what makes it complex or adult - it's everything else; going from enemies to something more, great chemistry, the sweet moments, the issues that keep them apart, and so much more.

Regarding Angel's line, I do find it a bit interesting, because someone with his past would clearly be done with girls like Faith if he wants to stay on the redemptive path and not be tempted to stray. I do wonder, though, if he counts Darla in that group of past bad girls or if she stands alone as something more unique.
its part of the bad boy trope is the only story that comes from that. they start of as haters, freenimes, firends and lovers. that is the only story they can tell.

also i reject the chemistry argument, a lot of bad boy stories, the chemistry alwyas have to invovlve the physicial act of sex. which is not necessary the way to define chemistry.

its ironic that buffy and angel are not just the most iconic couple of the buffyverse but one of the most iconic couples of all time and they only showed them having sex once or twice and a lot of their sex was more about sensual love making.

Episodes = Innocence and Amends.
 

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its part of the bad boy trope is the only story that comes from that. they start of as haters, freenimes, firends and lovers. that is the only story they can tell.
And you could say the same of the Angel/Buffy relationship and all of its own intended cliches, but as this was not meant to be a ship-war thread, I'll leave it at that.
also i reject the chemistry argument, a lot of bad boy stories, the chemistry alwyas have to invovlve the physicial act of sex. which is not necessary the way to define chemistry.
Maybe that would be true if Spuffy only existed in S6; it doesn't. And I personally prefer anything but their sexual encounters over their sexual encounters.
its ironic that buffy and angel are not just the most iconic couple of the buffyverse but one of the most iconic couples of all time and they only showed them having sex once or twice and a lot of their sex was more about sensual love making.
Not sure where you see the irony in it, plenty of iconic couples don't have many sex scenes, simply because it's network TV.

Look, if we take out the ship-war element, forget for a moment that I'm a Spuffy shipper (because that actually has nothing to do with why I don't like Bangel) then you have to understand that, when we call Bangel or Angel boring, we don't mean because 'their relationship is too healthy' or 'there's not enough drama to keep my attention'. Boring literally just means boring; on BtVS Angel is a character made of cardboard, we know next to nothing about him because he's not there to be anything other than a way to further Buffy's arc. He starts getting slightly more stuff (and him being evil doesn't count, that's not Angel, right?) in S3, but that's because they were already setting up for the spin-off by then.

I fully agree that healthy does not equal boring in TV, but there's a fine line between boring and bland, imo.
 

Priceless

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I don't know. I was thinking she reminded me of the prostitutes in Deadwood who were there for all sorts of reasons. As you say, it goes back to choice. Her options would be limited. Starvation or prostitution? Alternatively, she enjoyed sex. Similarly with Anne. She looks wealthy but is it her house or William's (I think there was a Married Woman's Property Act in 1882 - not sure what the situation was before)? Is she a mother who clings to her only child or a women with very few options? Anne has no identity outside her relationship to William. And Nikki, does she leave Robin with Crowley in his best interests or abandon him because being a slayer is more interesting than being a mother (I can sympathies with this. I'm sharpening my stakes)? Doesn't Robin say in the comics that she could have quit? But where does her identity come from if she's not a Slayer? How will society cast her as a single black woman with a mixed heritage child?* As a "bad girl" for living off the state and having a kid out of wedlock? Or as a good girl who's given her career up for her child? We never hear from Nikki. It's society that define these women.

*I read Tales of the Vampires. If the guy she's with is Robin's dad then Robin's half Asian. Nikki's an activist (there's a picture of Malcolm X on the wall). And she's riding a pre-historic demon that looks like that huge bat in the Boom Buffy series.
Enjoying sex is not the same as selling your body and having to have sex with anyone who can pay and having to do whatever they want, living under the constant fear of violence. One of my pet hates is the 'happy hooker' as seen in so many tv shows. Starvation is still not a 'good reason' to prostitute yourself, it's horrible that a woman has to sell herself to survive, that somehow it's an acceptable route for a woman to take to earn money. We cannot say we don't like the objectification of women and applaud women for turning themselves into objects, which doesn't help women as a class. (You know I'm no libfem!)
Personally I think Anne has a better like than Darla, though Darla has the better death. :)

I know Darla was attracted to Angel, and slept with the Immortal, but did she ever comment on how much she'd enjoyed sex?
 

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You can try to psychoanalyze the male reaction to a bad girl but I believe it is very simple. What can you expect if you hook up with a bad girl like Faith?

1. Lack of commitment to a relationship. The "want take have" attitude may apply to any other man she meets. She may be an alley cat in sexual encounters and if you want to divorce her, you lose half of what you own and have to pay alimony as well. And you may end up raising someone else's child. Faith got horny after a kill and chose the first available male, in the case we saw, Xander as her target.

2. Spendthrift ways. A lot of men are bankrupted by a wife's spending. Faith didn't have much but if she had seen a payday in it, she would have hooked up with anybody - she certainly sold out any principles for the Mayor's attention.

3. Criminality. She may end up in prison for whatever crimes she commits. In Faith's case, people talk about redemption but I identify with Professor Worth. So what if she follows some redemption arc, I'm just as dead as if she hadn't. She also killed the courier who gave her the box of Gavrok. She also broke into the sporting goods store and tried to steal merchandise and also got Buffy arrested. She tried to frame Buffy for the murder of Allan Finch.

4. Abuse. There is a Violence Against Women act in the US but no corresponding Violence Against Men act even though women initiate about half of the violence. The deck is stacked against a man in court. When Xander went back to Faith's place a second time, she almost strangled him.

5. General unreliability. I went around with a girl for a year who was almost impossible to get on the phone and this was in the days when there was no caller ID. She was an X-ray technician at a local hospital and she would let the phone ring a number of times until it stopped. She had signed up to be on call but reneged on actually doing it as much as possible. If she was going to make an agreement like that then disregard it, I figured she was going to be the same after she got married and renege on that also.

You may favour a psychological analysis based on Oedipus but "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar". If she's a bad girl, she is very likely to be an unsatisfactory addition to your life when there are other prospects that would be much better.
 
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