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Does anyone else despise Xander?

PaulParmar1

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Sineya
#1
Imo Xander Harris was one of the worst characters on Buffy. In S1 I tolerated him for the most part but right from S2 he got so annoying. He was constantly jealous of Angel and Spike. He was whiny throughout the seasons and held double standards to women when he had a "god complex" especially in later seasons. I would've gladly had him leave over many characters.
Am I the only one who feels this way?
 
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#2
I found Xander annoying when I first watched the series and then I read season 8 and it really made me consider how he had matured through the show. I'm currently on my third watch of the series and have found that S8 Xander has really changed how I view the character and I'm enjoying/appreciating him a lot more. His family background is really a major part of the character that affects him and how he views relationships, but how he strives and succeeds is really interesting considering that. I really love how he branches out into work life whilst his friends take a different direction. That would be a really tough situation but we eventually see his confidence grow as he gains a certainty finally in how he supports and strengthens the group. His progress through the series is like an extended version of The Zeppo perhaps. From where he started in the early seasons, so conscious of how he compared to others and didn't meet images/expectations of a successful guy in his mind, his development which gets him to the guy who talks to Dawn about her value in S7 is great. I think a lot of us go through that from adolescence to adulthood, finding a 'real' slot for ourselves that fits.
 
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#3
I don't see how people can only see that side of him, and I love his character. Though perhaps I should say I see him (like all the other characters, including Buffy) as being flawed. This doesn't make me hate them. (What would make me hate them as characters is being too perfect, the Mary Sues/Gary Stus).

But you're not alone.

'Course all the characters have haters (not to be confused with those who hate the STORY as opposed to the character). I even read an article on how Tara was an evil and malicious gaslighter, and really put her character under a microscope. I sometimes think the hate (for any character) comes from past experiences, that is the character in question (be it Xander, Tara, Willow, Cordelia, Giles, Joyce, Angel, Spike, etc) is because it reminds us of someone we know or once knew in which we harbor a deep resentment or some other negative feeling, and so some hate gets misdirected at the character that reminds the viewer of the hated person. Alternately, they may remind us of our own flaws that we'd rather not acknowledge. Other times I think it's just more simple like they get in the way of a ship the viewer prefers or just don't like the looks of him (it's well known that being hot and sexy--male or female--excuses a multitude of sins).
 

PaulParmar1

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Sineya
#4
I found Xander annoying when I first watched the series and then I read season 8 and it really made me consider how he had matured through the show. I'm currently on my third watch of the series and have found that S8 Xander has really changed how I view the character and I'm enjoying/appreciating him a lot more. His family background is really a major part of the character that affects him and how he views relationships, but how he strives and succeeds is really interesting considering that. I really love how he branches out into work life whilst his friends take a different direction. That would be a really tough situation but we eventually see his confidence grow as he gains a certainty finally in how he supports and strengthens the group. His progress through the series is like an extended version of The Zeppo perhaps. From where he started in the early seasons, so conscious of how he compared to others and didn't meet images/expectations of a successful guy in his mind, his development which gets him to the guy who talks to Dawn about her value in S7 is great. I think a lot of us go through that from adolescence to adulthood, finding a 'real' slot for ourselves that fits.
I agree that he has some better qualities in the 7th and 8th seasons but overall he's just annoyed me throughout. On my 2nd re watch and just can't do it with his character.
 

Puppet

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Black Thorn
#5
To be honest, it always surprises me to learn how much some fans hate Xander. That's not to say that I can't, in some ways, understand it, but I just...I love him. He's one of my favorite characters on the show. Part of it is what @thrasherpix said, about him being flawed; I love that in fiction, the more flaws, the more chance I'll root for them. Also, for me, Xander's flaws help to elevate the times when he's not an ass, the times when he's heroic, or selfless, or just plain nice, like The Zeppo, or his WWBD speech in The Freshman, his words to Dawn in Potential, stopping Willow from ending the world in Grave, etc. I feel like we wouldn't be able to appreciate those moments to their full extent, if he had always been that heroic; his flaws make those moments what they are, imo.
 

flow

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#6
Xander is often underrated and he doesn`t deserve it.

You have to remeber, that he is the only Scoobie without any superpowers. Yet he goes into every fight without hesitating. He backs up Buffy on so many occasions. He has guts. He really has. I know, there is a line from him, where he says, he laughs in the face of evil and than he runs away. But that is actually not true. He never runs away.

He goes down into the sewers with Buffy, to rescue Jesse. Even Angel is not ready to do that at this point. He is ready to back up Buffy in the fight against Angelus in the mansion. He doesn`t do in the end on Buffys request, because she wants him to rescue Giles. But he would have picked up a sword and he would have fought. He fights all on his own in The Zeppo and never even mentions it, let alone brag about it. He alone is stands up against Dark Willow. He is on the team, when they take down the Initiative....I could go on and on and on.

He is such a brave character. He has a tough patch, when he can`t go on to college and has to deliver pizza instead. But he finds his path and in S7 he has build himself a career in life (without any help from anybody by the way) and he is has grown more mature and has become more of an adult than any other of the Scoobies.

In the meantime he constantly fixes the Summer`s house, lets Spike live at his place when he has nowhere else to go twice, comforts Dawn and is overall just the nicest guy in the Buffyverse.

Oh, and of course he has saved Buffy life by CPR.

Tell me again, what you find annoying about him ;-)

As for hating Spike and Angel - his very first expierence with a vampire was when his friend Jesse was turned and became a soulless evil monster. I find it very understandable, that he can`t believe, Spike or Angel are different, when his best friend, whom he has known from his childhood days, had nothing good or human left in him.

flow
 
Stoney
Stoney
Yes, Xander's bravery really does stand out from the get-go.
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Sineya
#7
I think most people would go along with the consensus that Xander is loyal, brave and a nice guy if it wasn't for "Dead Man's Party":

1. XANDER
Mad? 'Cause you ran away and
abandoned your post and your friends
and your mother and made him lie
awake every night worrying about you?
(to the others)
Maybe we should wait out here.

2. XANDER
And what would we talk about at a
"gathering" anyway? "So Buffy - run
into any nice pimps on your travels?
And by the by, thanks for ruining our
lives for the past three months..."

3. BUFFY
Punish you? I didn't do this to
punish you-

XANDER
Well you did. You should have seen
what it did to her.

4. XANDER
Maybe you don't want to hear it, Buffy.
But taking off like that was selfish
and stupid-

5. XANDER
Look - I'm sorry your honey was a
demon, but most girls don't hop a
Greyhound over boy trouble!

6. XANDER
Let her finish! You owe her that at least!

BUFFY
(to Xander)
God, Xander! Do you think you could
stick to annoying me on your own behalf?!

XANDER
Fine. You stop acting like an idiot -
I'll stop annoying you!

BUFFY
Let's talk acting like an idiot -
"Nighthawk"!

I would have staked him after how he behaved here. He had been good in"Go Fish" and he does great in "The Zeppo" but it is not until "The Replacement" where he is split into loser Xander and successful Xander then gets rejoined and the successful Xander remains in the ascendant and becomes the worthwhile person most people see him as.
 

Living Dead Boy

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Black Thorn
#8
I agree with @thrasherpix in that a lot of the hate that we give to fictional characters is due to finding flaws in them that we see in real life people. So, while I might not be the biggest fan of Xander, he definitely isn't without his good qualities. I just see so much of him in people I know in real life, that I absolutely wouldn't bother to be around if I didn't know their backstory, like Xander. His rough upbringing is what endears me to him, which is why I can still love him like an annoying big brother, but sometimes, the things he says can get on my nerves. He lies in order to get what he wants (the "kick his ass" comment in Becoming was completely out of line and unacceptable, and it honestly could've spared Buffy a world of pain, but that's for another thread), he has an unhealthy jealous streak, he treats Anya like crap most of the time, and he has one too many misogynistic quotes under his belt for me to call him one of my favorite characters. He does grow from it apparently during season 7, but by then it's honestly too late. So, I don't hate him, I just don't...care for him that much.
 

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Black Thorn
#9
I disliked Xander a great deal in the early seasons 1-3 but he was entirely essential to the cast and plot. What I mean is though I found him annoying, I thought he provided the comedic relief, the funny side kick, part of the trio that we needed and he was a good balance to Willow's sweeter/softer personality. There were tons of lines that were delivered by Xander that I feel very strongly against and on re-watch I find myself scoffing a great deal at the things he says and does to Buffy and willow. In Seasons 4-6 I found him pretty inconsequential to the plot and to the narrative. I think by then Spike was funnier and a much better side kick and provided all the things that Xander used to provide. I never liked Xander and Anya together (were we even supposed to like them together?). I found Xander slightly more likeable in Season 7, when he gives the speech to Dawn that was sweet, and he gives the speech about Buffy (God - Season 7 was just a long string of speeches amiright?), and then I really liked Xander when he lost an eye. Give the characters something meaningful to go through I never really found that to be the case with Xander until Season 7.
 
He was constantly jealous of Angel and Spike.
Gotta say, I don't remember him being jealous of Spike... can you give me examples? I'm curious.
 
Last edited:

PaulParmar1

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Sineya
#10
To be honest, it always surprises me to learn how much some fans hate Xander. That's not to say that I can't, in some ways, understand it, but I just...I love him. He's one of my favorite characters on the show. Part of it is what @thrasherpix said, about him being flawed; I love that in fiction, the more flaws, the more chance I'll root for them. Also, for me, Xander's flaws help to elevate the times when he's not an ass, the times when he's heroic, or selfless, or just plain nice, like The Zeppo, or his WWBD speech in The Freshman, his words to Dawn in Potential, stopping Willow from ending the world in Grave, etc. I feel like we wouldn't be able to appreciate those moments to their full extent, if he had always been that heroic; his flaws make those moments what they are, imo.
Fair enough haha.
I just find him overall to be a flawed character and just not likeable.
Also he had a comedic element in the early seasons which lacked later on when Anya came in my opinion.
 
I disliked Xander a great deal in the early seasons 1-3 but he was entirely essential to the cast and plot. What I mean is though I found him annoying, I thought he provided the comedic relief, the funny side kick, part of the trio that we needed and he was a good balance to Willow's sweeter/softer personality. There were tons of lines that were delivered by Xander that I feel very strongly against and on re-watch I find myself scoffing a great deal at the things he says and does to Buffy and willow. In Seasons 4-6 I found him pretty inconsequential to the plot and to the narrative. I think by then Spike was funnier and a much better side kick and provided all the things that Xander used to provide. I never liked Xander and Anya together (were we even supposed to like them together?). I found Xander slightly more likeable in Season 7, when he gives the speech to Dawn that was sweet, and he gives the speech about Buffy (God - Season 7 was just a long string of speeches amiright?), and then I really liked Xander when he lost an eye. Give the characters something meaningful to go through I never really found that to be the case with Xander until Season 7.
 


Gotta say, I don't remember him being jealous of Spike... can you give me examples? I'm curious.
Largely it was the way Xander acted in my opinion towards Spike. Also I felt he constantly was not in favour of the Spike/Buffy relationship which is what annoyed me.
 

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Black Thorn
#11
Largely it was the way Xander acted in my opinion towards Spike. Also I felt he constantly was not in favour of the Spike/Buffy relationship which is what annoyed me.
Yeah I'll give you that he was not a big fan of the two together. Not many/any of the Scoobies were back in the TV show days.
 
Puppet
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Mrs Gordo

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Black Thorn
#13
Agreed but it was just largely his personality that irks me.
I know he has a lot of fans so I'm open to anyone's opinions haha.
I'm really not a Xander fan lol. See above re Xander. I was just curious on your thoughts were on his *jealousy* of Spike. Peaked my interest ! :)
 

PaulParmar1

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Sineya
#14
I'm really not a Xander fan lol. See above re Xander. I was just curious on your thoughts were on his *jealousy* of Spike. Peaked my interest ! :)
Haha I just felt he didn't treat vampires well who got too close to Buffy.
But moreso his jealousy of Angel was got me to originally hate him.
 

Fool for Buffy

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Sineya
#15
Xander got so much better in the later seasons. He was actually a pretty stereotypical teenager in the early seasons, (uses humor as a deflection, insecure about everything, constantly horny and jealous) but it's pretty hard to like stereotypical teenagers. Most of them are complete dumbasses. Xander grows up a ton as his relationship with Anya matures, and, despite a couple bad moments, really is a great character in seasons 5-7. I never hated him but he certainly bothered me early on. But acting like most guys his age would and growing up a lot faster than everyone else should not give him the reputation of being a terrible character.
 
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#16
Imo Xander Harris was one of the worst characters on Buffy. In S1 I tolerated him for the most part but right from S2 he got so annoying. He was constantly jealous of Angel and Spike. He was whiny throughout the seasons and held double standards to women when he had a "god complex" especially in later seasons. I would've gladly had him leave over many characters.
Am I the only one who feels this way?
No, you are definitely not the only one who feels this way. I don't despise Xander, but I'm certainly not crazy about him. He's a problematic character, deeply flawed - I could see why you despise him. All I can say is that you need to remember that all the characters have done awful things to each other - what's admirable is their apparent endless capability to forgive each other.
 

PaulParmar1

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#17
No, you are definitely not the only one who feels this way. I don't despise Xander, but I'm certainly not crazy about him. He's a problematic character, deeply flawed - I could see why you despise him. All I can say is that you need to remember that all the characters have done awful things to each other - what's admirable is their apparent endless capability to forgive each other.
Yes Joan I agree. I've just met too many people like Xander in real life who I don't get along with which is a big reason for my feelings on him.
 

Taaroko

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#18
I don't think I really formed an opinion about Xander until the most recent rewatch, during which, more often than not, I found myself extremely irritated with him in the first few seasons. He wasn't lying about not handling rejection well. It feels like the entire time Buffy is with Angel, Xander has this simmering resentment over being the guy she didn't pick (even though Angel had nothing to do with why she didn't pick Xander) and it takes very little for him to act like a major jerk about it. Which is especially uncool given the way he handles Willow's crush on him and his own track record with falling for demon chicks. Huge hypocrite. It didn't have to be this way. Xander's behavior could have stayed almost exactly the same, but if his hatred of Angel had been an extension of his grief for Jesse instead of his jealousy, it would've been much more sympathetic.

I also found him kinda underdeveloped. He is most definitely brave, yes, and he's good with the jokes, but what are his interests? Hobbies? What is it about him that Willow likes enough to have harbored this crush for most of her life? If he's so keen to help Buffy in her fight, then why isn't he training in martial arts or boxing or something? Why does Buffy call him her strength when he's generally pretty bad at supporting her emotionally?

Admittedly, he's not the only character with this issue. We don't even know what any of the main kids' favorite subject was in high school, or what Willow, Buffy, or Tara's major was in college. That just seems weird to me. And pretty much none of the Scoobies (except Dawn, somehow) ever train in combat, which makes no sense at all.

I liked Xander better in the later seasons (there's kind of an inverse relationship with how much I like Xander compared to how much I like Willow at any given point, except in S7, when I like them both okay) largely because his relationship with Anya was committed enough for him to stop being friendzone guy with Buffy and start being a more genuine friend (though the absence of Angel helped too), and because his construction/carpentry career gave him discernible skills and purpose in his ordinary life stuff.
 
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
For me, I was irritated with him on the first watch, but realized how amazing he was on the rewatch
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#19
I also found him kinda underdeveloped. He is most definitely brave, yes, and he's good with the jokes, but what are his interests? Hobbies?
He's clearly addicted to popular entertainment. He enjoys a variety of TV shows and music, as well as comic books. His sense of humor relies heavily on pop culture references. He hates math! We're told in The Zeppo that he's slow when it comes to math, which explains why he constantly needs Willow's help tutoring him.

We see him with a skateboard in episode one, but he never uses it again. Headcanon: it was a present from Jesse and skateboarding would be painful after Jesse's death.

He's interested in women who are stronger than him (I've read meta and essays which point out that Xander is attracted to stronger women because he subconsciously fear he's gonna hurt them in the long run the way his father hurts his mother, a stronger woman would be able to defend herself.) Xander also strives to be a stereotype macho man because that's what society demands of him and that's, what he assumes, women want in a man. He wants to be the hero, lies about losing his virginity, he wants to be respected even though he's not an athlete.

What is it about him that Willow likes enough to have harbored this crush for most of her life?
He's cute and funny, he stands up for her against Cordelia and other bullies, they share the same interests in TV shows and cartoons, he invites her to his house on Christmas to watch Charlie Brown.

If he's so keen to help Buffy in her fight, then why isn't he training in martial arts or boxing or something?
He can throw a good punch or two and he's good with an arrow. Sadly, the show is more interested in the whole "Buffy is alone" theme to develop the Scoobies fighting skills.

Why does Buffy call him her strength when he's generally pretty bad at supporting her emotionally?
I disagree. Watch: Prophecy Girl, Phases, Graduation Part 1, The Freshman, I Was Made to Love You, Beneath You, Dirty Girls... etc. I can't list all the episodes where Xander is emotionally supportive of Buffy, not to mention all the comic issues where he's extra emotionally supportive.
 
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#20
Xander is incredibly irritating throughout the show. It's only with S7 that we see a real level of maturity. He becomes a decent guy who no longer seems so judgemental. I've just watched Restless, and just when you're thinking Xander is just a terrible human being, you see him facing his angry abusive father, and then my heart breaks for him. I hate the man-child he is, but I have complete sympathy for why he is the way he is and I forgive him for a while.
 
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