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Buffy Relationships (A polite, and civil place to discuss Buffy ship opinions!)

BuffyNvrForgets

Slayerette
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
163
Part of the reason I joined these Boards, is because I had so many complex thoughts and opinions about this show! One of my most complex are my Ship opinions.

This can be a heated topic, so I wanted to set some groundrules for this thread, not only because I want this be a fun, comfortable place to discuss this freely, but I also want to prevent this from becoming a full on nightmare for our wonderful Staff members.

1: These are all opinions about a show. DO NOT make fun of, or personally attack those whose opinions you don't agree with. Sure! Provide a counter point, or a reason why you personally don't agree, but if what you say has to do with the PERSON, you are doing this wrong.
2: If you don't have something kind or constructive to say, don't say it. Again, feel free to counter point, but if you are writing it angrily, or bashing a character someone clearly likes, please think twice.

that's basically it. Just be kind. ;)

Also, I intend this mostly to be about specifically Buffy's ships, but hey, if you want to debate someone else's, please do!

Now,

My Personal Opinion on Buffy's ships:

I actually think Buffy shouldn't end up with any of her proposed ships in the show. I know right? weird. here's why.

She and Riley weren't well matched. Sure, he was a nice, stable guy. But he wasn't comfortable with a girlfriend with such a strong personality and set of skills. Does that make him bad? No. Just not right for Buffy. She wasn't comfortable being super open with him either, so that was that.

Spike? To me, Spike was a nightmare. Their relationship was born from the fact that he grew obsessed with her. He stalked her. He stole things from her house, he watched her sleep. (Which, By the way, that's happened a few times...evil vampires watch her sleep...Buffy, close and bolt your window maybe???)
He literally kidnapped her, chained her up and tried to force her to say she loved him.
Then, she died, and was clearly severely traumatized. And depressed. Just all in all, not doing too well. He continually sought her out, or caught her when she was alone, and told her she was "different", and "wrong". He filled her head with the fact that she's dark and broken now, and her friends won't be able to handle it. He is the only one who understands her. Soooo, on a bad day, she (*cough, cough* Keeping it PG) "is" with him. And regrets it. She is clearly afraid of him. There is a shot where she's sitting, curled up on her bed, garlic across her window and bed, waiting for him all night with a stake. She was terrified of him. Not to mention her breakdown when Tara says there is nothing wrong with her. (BTW, way to go Tara in "Older and Far Away". She was super awsome, roasting Spike at every opportunity and defending Willow. One of her best episodes.)
(almost) Every single encounter they have after that starts with Buffy saying "No". That alone is concerning. and then...Well, again trying to keep it PG, I'll just say "Seeing Red" happens.
He's horrified, justly so, and goes off to earn a soul. I actually support this! As must as I wanted never to forgive him, he works hard. I think he should have come back in search of redemption, and she shoud have grown to forgive him (Instead of just randomly being fine wiht everything he did. Geez, Buffy! You'd think there would have been some lasting issues???) His sacrifice at the end also meant a lot. I'm always going to support someone seeking redemption. Everyone deserves it.
But then, he goes onto Angel, and he becomes basically the same self serving jerk he was before. At least he's funny again though. Boy, I had missed funny Spike.

Out of all three "Long term" relationships, I actually support Angel the most. I think he truly cared about her. And she truly cared about him. Yeah, their relationship was kinda Shakespearean at times, but I personally kinda enjoyed that. Also, they got an awesome love theme, which is one of the best pieces of score in the show. So, that's pretty cool.
One of the selling points for me, was that, because they could never be "together", their relationship was completely and totally built on actual love and compassion. Not lust. It's almost a direct opposite to Spike. Spike claims to "love" her, but earlier on in the series, he defines "love" (One of the times being in "Lover's Walk", I believe) but he, in truth, defines lust.
Angel isn't like this. He doesn't love her because he wants "her". He truly loves the person she is. The claddagh ring is a beautiful symbol of this. The friendship and loyalty, and the belonging of their relationship.

But, in the end, I don't think she should end up, even with Angel. Too complicated.

think about it. Through the whole series, Buffy, while accepting and having at least some pride in her calling, longs for a normal life. She wants a normal boyfriend. She wants a house, and a husband, and a family. (When she's ready, of course!)
So she should be with Riley?
No. No she should not. Yes he's not an immortal vampire, but again, he's not right for her.
She needs to meet someone who is a normal LIVING human. one who knows about her slayer life, and one who supports it. Not just is okay with it, but one who might even help. One who loves her, and isn't afraid to be with her though she's totally capable of taking care of herself. Someone who she can love and suport as well.

Has she met him yet? No, I don't think so. But she's 22 at the end of the series. She has time!


And with that, what do YOU think?
Let the debate begin!
 

Nearwild

Townie
Joined
Jul 8, 2021
Messages
68
Age
37
I decided to do my latest rewatch 'all in' for Bangel. I always found it meh before but I thought it would be fun to pretend for the sake of the story. And yes, there are romantic parts with the ring, and the prom, but really in order to accept it you need to believe in love at first sight, soulmates, or true love etc, otherwise it's just 2 kids being dumb and overdramatic with their feelings over the course of a few months. Which, tbf, weren't we all at 16.

I like Buffy's relationship with Spike better in terms of the evolution of their alliance- yes it's messy, but by the end they don't need to be 'together' in order to have a mutally supportive friendship, and I like watching that unfold. Timeline-wise it's more believable for me.

Riley is a big ol' mess of red flags and I find him tedious and frustrating to watch. The fact that he throws down an ultimatum when he was the one 'cheating' means he should just get in the bin imo.

The thing that mostly bothers me in the show is the idea that love in terms of being in the relationship for ever and ever is held up as the highest standard. All the ships presume that this is the last and best love, when Buffy is still so young. Like you say, she's 22- I think she deserves better than to be crammed into a life-defining relationship so young.

But then, maybe I'm just bitter and cynical these days lol.
 
BuffyNvrForgets
BuffyNvrForgets
No, I don’t think you are cynical, you make some really fantastic points. I think you are right about Angel. He is her first love! Yeah, it’s a little overblown. I totally agree with you. I loved her “cookie dough” thing. She’s not done baking!

Priceless

Scooby
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Messages
9,011
Location
UK
As a viewer I much preferred Spike and Buffy together. Their relationship was fun to watch, yes it was messy but it was an entertaining messy in which both characters could be at their absolute worst and still be enjoyable to watch. I loved their individual characters and seeing them together just doubled my viewing pleasure 🙂 They are my favourite couple in any tv show ever and I've never seen this sort of story done so well, over so many years with so much growth and change. It's beautiful to me.

I don't mind Bangel, but to me it's quite dull viewing. It's instant love, but based on what? How cute the girl is and how handsome the boy? I guess it's because they're both fighting the same war, but even that doesn't work for me because of Angel's behaviour in the first few episodes. He's so laconic and remote, he feels kind of empty and withholding.

I don't mind Riley either. I don't believe he was ever meant to be the replacement for Angel in Buffy's affections, he was just the transition guy, to help her move on. He was also quite dull viewing, but unlike Angel he didn't improve at all. I feel sorry for him because he put so much pressure on himself to be someone he wasn't.

Special mention for Owen, who I did not hate and who I thought would be a good match for Buffy before she realised vampires 'got her hot'. He was into poetry, he was thoughtful and seemed sweet natured, but he was also into the fighting.
 

Faded90

Scooby
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
913
Age
64
I’ll try my best to stay polite 😉

Buffy/Angel - honestly of Buffy’s canon relationships I think this is by far her best. I actually think they have the best communication of ANY Buffyverse couple. Despite the melodramatic ness they have at times they have an incredibly mature way of talking through their issues and reassuring each other. They play occasional games with each other before they get together but it’s always resolved with a mature discussion. They try to make each other jealous with Xander and Cordy early S2, they both acknowledge what they were doing and that they felt jealous and they agree not to play games like that. Halloween Angel reassures Buffy she has no reason to feel insecure because he likes her for herself. Or Earshot when Buffy talks to him after the Faith/Angelus stuff he again reassured her and tells her she doesn’t need to play games, Buffy is even insanely fair when she quietly says she’d understand if he had a thing for Faith - for a teen I think this is incredibly mature and fair . Sanctuary is obviously a low point but once again when they’ve cooled down they end up having a mature conversation about it and refuse to let the other take full blame but also agree that they shouldn’t have spoken to each other like that. Buffy/Angel there is a lot of valid criticisms but I think they actually trump a lot of other Buffyverse couple in their maturity in dealing with their issues. I don’t see it as endgame (mostly because I think The Mayor’s speech and Buffy’s
Reaction is a clear indication that a vampire relationship will never be anything other than miserable for her long term) but I think of all Buffy’s ex’s they are the ones who will always stay friends and in touch for as long as they need each other for support. I don’t see that ever going away. Forever I think is a clear indication of the supportive friendship they have, Angel doesn’t push and isn’t gagging for her to cry (I’ll come on to HIM next 😉) he provides gentle support. She isn’t breaking down and being raw and yet Angel completely respects that this is the way Buffy deals with her trauma and grief

Riley - the absolute epitome of toxic masculinity. Just a crazy amount of red flags. The way Riley judges her feelings about him in the way she deals with an extreme situation with her Mother is just appalling. Like the levels of self involvedness is just insane. The worst thing is that the narrative tells us he’s right. But he isn’t. We get told Buffy isn’t there for him, but this is completely ignoring the support she offered throughout S4, we get told she isn’t communicating with him but she is - it’s just not the way HE wants. Like the scene where he stands outside her Mother’s room like a puppy upset that she didn’t break down - except she very clearly communicated with him why she couldn’t do that ‘they need me. If I start now I might never be able to stop’ Buffy is being incredibly vulnerable and open in this moment the problem is it doesn’t make Riley feel like a big strong man. Or in Into The Woods when she admits she’s had a little cry by herself cue Riley puppy face, does he ask if she’s ok or how much she’s been struggling? No he doesn’t because Riley only cares about what he’ll get out of her trauma. Again Buffy is being open about how she’s been feeling but it just isn’t the way Riley wants it. The way the show tells us ‘poor Riley’ about him apparently having to cheat is terrible, Into the Woods is one of those episodes where I just can’t agree with the writers intention at all. It’s terrible the way he gaslights her. It’s a hard no from me

Spike - because this is a polite discussion I’ll keep it short 😉 I just don’t like it. At least S6 acknowledges it’s toxic, S7 you had Joss describing it as ‘healthy and mature’ except it’s not. It’s two people who look riddled with PTSD who can barely look at each other never mind carry off an actual conversation (this is marginally better late S7 but even then they don’t resolve anything really) . It’s two damaged people clinging to each other out of codependency and familiarity. Their communication with each other is so terrible they don’t even seem to know where they stand with each other by Chosen. We get scenes like ‘I’m tired of wierd mixed signals….. does it have to mean anything?’ So again even a ‘let’s put everything on the table here’ ends with them agreeing to just carry on like nothings particularly happened. Plus then there’s the ‘I’d rather she thought of me as a dead hero even if she’s grieving’ signalling that Spike cares about his own ego than Buffy’s feelings

Hard no on any of them as endgame but I can appreciate the growth they all offer her. I’ll always be Team Cookie Dough and think this is one of her best moments when she finally acknowledges it’s ok to still be working things out and that she might not ever settle down and that’ll be ok. Stopping blaming herself entirely for toxic relationships. Yep Team Cookie Dough all the way

Although I also think post Chosen her and Faith have the platform to have a really great relationship and this is also my headcanon ending. I could write for an obnoxiously long time as to why I think it would be great for both of them
 

KaitKat

Potential
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
263
Age
29
I like you believe that non of the relationships in the show should be the person/vampire Buffy ends up with. In new TV shows ships seem to be simple, but a popular couple together or set them up with someone short term as part of a process to create friction or a slow burn with the more popular ship. Buffy on the other hand doesn’t do any of this, her relationships even the ones that were always meant to be short term were all introduced for her growth as the show is her journey, it’s honestly one of my favorite things about the show.

Buffy/Angel I like Angel as a character and while these two seem to always consider each other their soulmates, probably because they didn’t grow apart they had circumstances like a gypsy curse that helped break them up they didn’t get real closure, to me though they seemed more like a high school obsessive love. She loved him more than she ever loved anyone but I don’t know that she ever really knew him, I can remember the episode when Buffy tells Angel that she loves him and my thought was “When did this happen? Did it happen off screen?” She begins to completely lose herself in this love to the point where she needs to let him go.

Buffy/Riley It’s nice for Buffy to see that not all relationships need to be doom and gloom but Buffy and Riley have no chemistry, however I still think the relationship is important and she learns something from it. I will start by saying Riley’s behavior in Into the Woods is disgusting but his feelings about not being needed are valid, Buffy doesn’t let him in the only time she says she loves him is when she is rubbing Angel’s nose in it. Xander was out of line with some of what he said but Buffy needed to hear some of it so that when she had her next chance at love she could find a balance between losing herself in the relationship and not letting them in. For the record I do not want Buffy to catch the helicopter and apologize I want her to use these lesions on someone worthy.

Buffy/Spike This relationship can be toxic but at the end of Chosen when Buffy tells Spike she loves him that’s the first time she says it since Angel left. I never thought that was healthy to have your heart belong to your ex to the point where you can’t tell the person you’re with that you love them. If nothing else this gave me hope that Buffy can move forward.

I don’t want Buffy to end up with a vampire, I love the Mayer’s speech in choices. I also loved Buffy’s cookie dough speech in Chosen it showed a very real maturity.
 
BuffyNvrForgets
BuffyNvrForgets
We have a lot of team Cookie Dough over here! High fives, all around! Everyone is putting so much thought into this, it's so awesome.
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