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Did anyone think was positive character moment of Xander not taking advantage of Buffy in bewitched bothered and bewildered?

Benz

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Did anyone think was positive character moment of Xander not taking advantage of Buffy in bewitched bothered and bewildered?.
 

Faded90

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The actual act of turning her down? No because it’s what every decent person should do

His words however make it good development and show his deep respect for her as well as the ‘Buffy’s so hot and awesome!’ Stuff
 

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Was it a positive character moment that Xander didn't take advantage of Buffy under the spell? Of course. It would've been regardless of which character it was. And it has been in the past when it was other characters. Imo, the only reasons fans make a big deal out of it, is because it's Xander and if we take away some fans excuse for hating him, they find other reasons instead.
 
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He shouldn't get props for not taking advantage of someone. So yes - it's not a negative but I don't think it can be lauded as 'positive'. Not taking advantage of people is neutral - or at least it should be. It should be default behaviour. And acting like someone deserves a sticker and a cookie just for acting like a decent human being only works to prevent it becoming default behaviour. We shouldn't act like men behaving decently are going over and above. Especially if they are the ones that caused the problem in the first place and all they're doing is clearing up their own mess.

I really dislike what he says when he turns her down though: If I thought you had one clue what it would mean to me. But you don't. So I can't.

Um... No, Xander. That's not why you're turning her down. It's not about you and how this isn't the way you want it and she doesn't understand what it will mean to you. It's because you've accidentally roofied her and you're not going to finish the job and rape her because that would be wrong. Get your reasons right.

I don't dislike Xander at all, I love him and I disagree with a lot of the hate he gets from the fandom. At worst he's a self centred, entitled hypocrite ... yeah, he's not perfect. No one is. Everyone can be self centred and entitled and hypocritical and yet he is treated within the fandom as if he is the worst person on the show, the most unforgivable and that just isn't true. He's just a young man who makes mistakes, has moments where he is infuriating and moments whee he is wonderful. But this particular moment is not a 'positive' one for him. It's just not a negative one either.
 

Mr Trick

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It was the right thing to do. Another reading of why he turned Buffy down might have been his love for Cordy. Like ultimately she'd the girl he loved and wanted to be with. It at least showed a sense of moreality from him.
 

thetopher

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It's a pretty low bar as far as morality goes but Xander hurdles it cleanly.

The whole episode is Xander paying for being a petty, jealous teen. And though, yes, he and Cordelia get back together at the end, that's more to do with Cordelia and her choice, not Xander turning down a mind-controlled Buffy.
 
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ous teen. And though, yes, he and Cordelia get back together at the end, that's more to do with Cordelia and her choice, not Xander turning down a mind-controlled Buffy.

It bugs me that she thinks he did the love spell in order to win her back. She never finds out he did it in order to take revenge. had she known that her reaction may have been different (or it should have been!). I do like Xander but ultimately he gets rewarded for bad behaviour in this episode and on top of that given points for just not raping his friend. The bar for Xander is sometimes too low and this episode is one of those times.
 

Priceless

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Actually yes I do. It's a depressing thought but I expect a high percentage of boys in that situation would have taken advantage, so I do think it was a positive character moment for Xander. I like to think he still felt guilty about his actions in The Pack.
 

thetopher

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I do like Xander but ultimately he gets rewarded for bad behaviour in this episode and on top of that given points for just not raping his friend.

I don't really agree, although this is a 'Xander' episode its also about Cordelia and her choices before and after the spell. Xander is 'rewarded' not for his bad behavior but is credited for his decent reactions; he saved Cordelia from a mob of terrifying school girls and tried to keep her safe/with him until the spell had worn off.

I agree that Cordelia's opinion of him may've been altered a little bit if she'd known about the love spell's true intent but I'm not sure by how much. The 'casting a love spell' on someone is pretty bad all on its own, as we see.

Anyway, Cordelia makes her choice separate from Xander's response to housecoat-wearing Buffy, so its not really a reward. No cause and effect.
At the end of the episode Xander was content to just go back to being single and getting jeered at by most of the school, but then Cordelia picks him over her crappy friends. I think its important character development for her as well.
 
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he saved Cordelia from a mob of terrifying school girls and tried to keep her safe/with him until the spell had worn off.

But she's only in danger because of his actions. This is still giving him credit for just clearing up his own mess. A mess which included putting Cordelia's life in danger. The appropriate response isn't 'thank you for protecting me' it's 'wtf were you doing putting me in that danger? stay away from me.'


Anyway, Cordelia makes her choice separate from Xander's response to housecoat-wearing Buffy, so its not really a reward. No cause and effect.

I mean the episode overall rewards him by having him win back Cordelia. Cordelia is explicitly moved by the discovery that the spell was for her - as if it was some great romantic gesture. Her 'choice' to go back to him is predicated on this misunderstanding - and the show glosses over that whole part. Not raping Buffy is the bit he gets the added cookie for, when she tells him he really came through ... by not raping her.
 

thrasherpix

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It does show he's a good person deep down beneath the insecurities (and not a toxic Nice Guy who would relish vengeance against "femoids" that "take advantage" of him as he can't see a woman as a person, but rather something closer to a vending machine that should put out in exchange for basic decency), but it's also not like a redemption. As he came to realize he did something dumb and petty and he was worried for more than himself.

Now what I DO see a positive character moment is when Cordelia is about to be ripped apart by a mob, and Xander saves her at great risk to his own life. (I really should run a counter on how many lives he directly saves on a 1:1 scale, ignoring saving the world, and see how it compares to the other characters, even if in this case Cordelia was endangered in the first place because of him--it's still not the first time he's saved Cordelia from a gruesome fate.)

It's kinda like when Cordelia saved Buffy from Gorch by pretending to be Faith despite all the fighting (including Buffy calling her a "vapid whore") and that they were in competition. It just warms my heart that they can put aside the pain and show compassion for the other.


I'll spare you my thoughts on an AU of Xander being visited by a vengeance demon instead other than to say it would've turned out far more tragic for Xander and Cordelia both. (And what a tortured self-hating soul Joss must have for the things he says about vengeance demons, among other things he has said or portrayed.)
 
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It does show he's a good person deep down beneath the insecurities (and not a toxic Nice Guy who would relish vengeance against "femoids" that "take advantage" of him as he can't see a woman as a person, but rather something closer to a vending machine that should put out in exchange for basic decency), but it's also not like a redemption. As he came to realize he did something dumb and petty and he was worried for more than himself.

It's such a depressingly low bar though isn't it? He's a good person because he doesn't think women are sub human f*** holes with no purpose other than to service men? THAT'S NOT BEING A GOOD PERSON! Recognising the humanity of 50% of the population is dead neutral. It should be a given. And the fact that some men are so awful they cannot recognise women's humanity doesn't mean we should act like the ones who can do it are anything special. We are so quick to fawn over men who manage basic decency. So desperately, pathetically grateful for any crumb. We really need to start raising our expectations - because when they get cookies for dead neutral they are never going to raise their standards.

Now what I DO see a positive character moment is when Cordelia is about to be ripped apart by a mob, and Xander saves her at great risk to his own life.

I don't think Cordelia's life is in great danger in the hallway, she's getting beaten up - but things aren't that far along with Harmony yet. And certainly Xander isn't in any danger from that small group of Cordettes - as shown by the fact that he walks in, picks her up and walks off again.
The real danger starts with Willow and the axe and the mob at her back. The women are only a danger to Xander once their numbers are so great he can't fight them all off at once. And once they have weapons. But at that point he isn't protecting or saving Cordy - they're both running away.
 

thrasherpix

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It's such a depressingly low bar though isn't it? He's a good person because he doesn't think women are sub human f*** holes with no purpose other than to service men? THAT'S NOT BEING A GOOD PERSON! Recognising the humanity of 50% of the population is dead neutral. It should be a given. And the fact that some men are so awful they cannot recognise women's humanity doesn't mean we should act like the ones who can do it are anything special. We are so quick to fawn over men who manage basic decency. So desperately, pathetically grateful for any crumb. We really need to start raising our expectations - because when they get cookies for dead neutral they are never going to raise their standards.

I'm not fawning over him, just saying not the evil POS many make him out to be. And answering the question, strange as I find that it's being asked in the first place.

Other than that, I agree with what you say, though not all of what you've said elsewhere that would tie into that.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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If I recall, Xander is a Protestant, so no. Joss was big on moral choice, so there’s really no such thing as moral cruise control. So, I would say he learned his lesson, and then took actions to repair the damage he caused.
 

KaitKat

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I mean in this episode he blackmails a witch to cast a love spell so he can break up with Cordelia and it backfires. By the end of the episode he gets the girl, Cordelia who publicly admits to being with him, and Buffy praises him for essentially not rapping her. The bar is set disturbingly low. I also want to point out that Cordelia wasn’t aware of the fact that Xander had the spell cast so that he could break up with her when she made her decision so his “development” doesn’t feel earned.
 

Nearwild

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Casting a love spell to break up with someone seems less worse than casting one to have them under your thrall, maybe? I don't know, the bar is on the floor here and it still feels like he's kicking it to see if there's any wiggle room underneath. He makes the decision to do the magic in an emotional state, but by the time Buffy propositions him he has gained a bit more perspective and makes a moral choice rather than a selfish one. I think that is positive, but only barely.
 

thrasherpix

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It may be our western vocabulary isn't up for this.

Xander is a good person who did something spiteful after being having his heart broken, but he wasn't truly evil. Nor was a he a misogynist or Nice Guy because he didn't see Buffy as an object, but a as a person with free will, and thus could not exploit the misfiring spell to do what someone like Warren (possibly even Willow, she comes close to that territory in season 6) would've done. And since misogyny is a contempt for, hatred of, or at the very least pure objectification of women (as opposed to not possessing pure sainthood) then Xander isn't a misogynist.

While I'll bring this (and a lot else) up with those who call Xander a misogynist and a Nice Guy, it just means he's not the POS they make him out to be, but that's not the same as saying Xander is some great role model (not for that anyway).
 

Tome

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Let's just say that if I'm trying to come up with good examples of great things Xander has done in the story, I'll think of many other actions before this one. Like saving the entire world by confronting Dark Willow or saving the world (again) by winning a battle of wills against a psychopath. You see, I wouldn't expect that from most individuals. Those were heroic actions.

Meanwhile, this particular moment was just your run-of-the-mill being a good person and respecting another human being's free will. I'd expect anyone to do this.
 

thetopher

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But she's only in danger because of his actions. This is still giving him credit for just clearing up his own mess. A mess which included putting Cordelia's life in danger. The appropriate response isn't 'thank you for protecting me' it's 'wtf were you doing putting me in that danger? stay away from me.'

But Xander's actions were not intentional, and intention matters when it comes to 'putting somebody's life in danger'; also Cordelia neither thanks or praises Xander for rescuing her so its kind of a moot point.

Cordelia is explicitly moved by the discovery that the spell was for her - as if it was some great romantic gesture.

This is because Cordelia is a narcissist, of course she is moved by being the subject of a love spell. We're not talking about whether you or I would be moved by it but whether Cordelia would be. It's perfectly in character.

And its still not why she gets back together with Xander, she gets back together with Xander because she realizes its not worth throwing away something nice for the approval of a bunch of sheep that she is way better than.

Not raping Buffy is the bit he gets the added cookie for, when she tells him he really came through ... by not raping her.

Well, simply put that's not all of what Buffy was thanking Xander for. Buffy came on to him, Xander articulates why he can't reciprocate (which Buffy states that she remembered) and then she got angry. Angry Buffy is scary and certainly a significant threat to Xander's health and yet he held his nerve long enough for Buffy to get herself mouse-ified.
It's not as simple as 'he didn't do this horrible thing, thanks', its how he went about it, what he risked and what he went through.
 
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