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Does anyone else despise Xander?

r2dh2

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You can read for yourself all the logical and undeniable points NOT in Xander's favor here:

Least Favourite Characters Awards: Xander Harris is Terrible
I read this article and mmmhh… ok, everything that she says is technically true, but I think that she misses the context and that gives a very partial and biased view of Xander. The first time I watched BtVS, I was terribly annoyed with him (before S7). I still hate the way he passes judgment in other people’s lives (well, mostly on Buffy, Angel and Spike) and I dislike the way he treats Cordelia and Anya as partners —regardless of whether they are annoying themselves or not, it is not right.

But tbh, he is like my male friends in high school. A big hormonal dork with a huge heart and annoying habits that reflect his insecurities and a difficult personal life. I no longer dislike him as I did at first, I still feel annoyed at times, but I tune it out (all of them have many flaws). I also think that it is good to have him as a character. I get the argument that a feminist show should do better and blah blah blah… but I think it does pretty well. There is no malice in Xander’s actions as misguided as they might seem at times. He’s immature but his intention is never to harm. I think the takeaway shouldn’t be “we need better feminist male characters,” it should be: “what does he reflect from our society that is wrong and should be addressed? He belongs to a period where ‘boys will be boys’ was the mantra and he comes from a dysfunctional family, so he’s the product of his environment and the culture of the time period. If we feel annoyed by him and his actions, it suggests that as society, we were doing something wrong and maybe we still are.”

Last year, there was a very interesting article in The Atlantic about masculinity in the USA and the pressure to fit in among high-school and college male students. Sadly, it seems that there’s still a lot of work to be done, they are still pressured to show a lot of the problematic behaviors that we keep discussing about Xander.
 
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
If everything in it is "technically true" then that's an improvement from most Xander bashing articles! I've lost the patience for them, especially as many twist or lie outright.

thrasherpix

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Xander does struggle with his toxic masculinity, though it saves Buffy's life in the second episode. Sadly, it's not only his family that pushes this on him (how I'd love to see his family experience Hyena Xander, because if anyone deserved that it was them), but also some of the female characters promote toxic masculinity in him (though not Buffy or Willow). And that was pretty accurate of the time (and it sounds to me like it's still active today, though I don't feel I can gauge it that well for teens).

I know someone who is watching Buffy for the first time since he saw it on TV (so about 20 years!) and just got through season 2. We're talking about this now, and wondering if (had the TV executives allowed it) it would've been better for Xander to be gay (essentially a lesser example of Larry). This would clear up a lot of disturbing implications of Willow being 100% lesbian, and would be measured differently today. Maybe it would avoid another Bury Your Gays trope (unlike Larry), especially if Xander never taps his warlock potential to avenge a dead lover.
 
r2dh2
r2dh2
Well, it is technically true but it is twisty.

darkspook

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I read this article and mmmhh… ok, everything that she says is technically true, but I think that she misses the context and that gives a very partial and biased view of Xander. The first time I watched BtVS, I was terribly annoyed with him (before S7). I still hate the way he passes judgment in other people’s lives (well, mostly on Buffy, Angel and Spike) and I dislike the way he treats Cordelia and Anya as partners —regardless of whether they are annoying themselves or not, it is not right.

But tbh, he is like my male friends in high school. A big hormonal dork with a huge heart and annoying habits that reflect his insecurities and a difficult personal life. I no longer dislike him as I did at first, I still feel annoyed at times, but I tune it out (all of them have many flaws). I also think that it is good to have him as a character. I get the argument that a feminist show should do better and blah blah blah… but I think it does pretty well. There is no malice in Xander’s actions as misguided as they might seem at times. He’s immature but his intention is never to harm. I think the takeaway shouldn’t be “we need better feminist male characters,” it should be: “what does he reflect from our society that is wrong and should be addressed? He belongs to a period where ‘boys will be boys’ was the mantra and he comes from a dysfunctional family, so he’s the product of his environment and the culture of the time period. If we feel annoyed by him and his actions, it suggests that as society, we were doing something wrong and maybe we still are.”

Last year, there was a very interesting article in The Atlantic about masculinity in the USA and the pressure to fit in among high-school and college male students. Sadly, it seems that there’s still a lot of work to be done, they are still pressured to show a lot of the problematic behaviors that we keep discussing about Xander.
If I were to surf the web and I do often I am sure I can come across similar negative articles about Willow, Spike, Angel and even Buffy herself. It's a matter of view I understand and everyone has the right to one. However the article rather glaringly omits key points and facts from the show. Like the fact that Xander risked his all to save Buffy at the end of S1 half dragging Angel with him, his reaction to Buffy's rejection was immature (however his line "I guess a guy’s gotta be undead to make time with you." becomes harshly true in years to come as it describes her two long term love interests!) but Willow had a similar reaction to seeing him and Cordelia.

But most glaringly it doesn't even attack Spike on the fact he tried to rape Buffy. I mean if the article is talking about toxic masculinity then I think addressing that little piece of canon might be top on the list. Surely having a male character force himself onto a female character go unpunished indeed be rewarded with a soul (ie a get out of jail free card) and have the same female character tell him she loves him is a clear example of toxic masculinity?!
 
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
That's another one, many (including humans) get away with far worse with no comment from passionate Xander-haters (but would if Xander made the "skanky ho" or "vapid whore" comment instead of others). But all get bashed by haters, even Tara and Oz!

r2dh2

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But most glaringly it doesn't even attack Spike on the fact he tried to rape Buffy. I mean if the article is talking about toxic masculinity then I think addressing that little piece of canon might be top on the list. Surely having a male character force himself onto a female character go unpunished indeed be rewarded with a soul (ie a get out of jail free card) and have the same female character tell him she loves him is a clear example of toxic masculinity?!
Well, I'm not going to jump into the Spike discussion bc I'm really busy, but I wouldn't classify it as toxic masculinity because Spike is not a man, he is a soulless demon acting as a soulless demon. One of the goals of the scene is to remind the audience that as much good as he has done and could continue to do, he still lacks moral compass and he is still evil. The scene is meant to shock Buffy, Spike and us. For them, it sets them into the path of the light instead of pushing them further into the darkness (for Spike getting his soul and for Buffy as an additional push to recover from her depression and from the shame that she feels for having a "relationship" with soulless Spike)... and for us, especially the Spuffy fans (I am one), Joss is telling us that we're still missing what's wrong with them together pre-souled Spike.

And I think it has beed widely established that the soul is not a reward, the "Soul's not all about moonbeams and pennywhistles, luv. It's about self-loathing." That's why Angel was cursed with one, instead of being "rewarded" for his 150 years of murder and rape. But I get it, it is easy to forget that they are soulless demons when they act with so much humanity as it happens with Spike in general, and with Cordelia and Harmony in "Disharmony" in AtS.
 
Reason: clarify
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katmobile

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Also I hate the idea that Spike's soul is an underseved get out of jail free card when as Buffy put he risked everything' to gain however "selfish' his motives it wasn't an easy option. Xander hasn't done anything that bad but in some ways I think one of the most moving things he did was buy Cordy the dress she wanted for the prom because it him doing something nice for her after he'd hurt her with Willow. He didn't do it to atone but I still like that he did something nice for her and I think she forgives him after that.

What I'm trying to say that is that if you do show you care even after you've done something bad that should account for something - I know real life doesn't work like that but you can't have a guarantee that someone is sorry and had changed like them so obviously and irreversibly changing themselves like becoming ensouled irl.
 

r2dh2

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Also I hate the idea that Spike's soul is an underseved get out of jail free card when as Buffy put he risked everything' to gain however "selfish' his motives it wasn't an easy option. Xander hasn't done anything that bad but in some ways I think one of the most moving things he did was buy Cordy the dress she wanted for the prom because it him doing something nice for her after he'd hurt her with Willow. He didn't do it to atone but I still like that he did something nice for her and I think she forgives him after that.

What I'm trying to say that is that if you do show you care even after you've done something bad that should account for something - I know real life doesn't work like that but you can't have a guarantee that someone is sorry and had changed like them so obviously and irreversibly changing themselves like becoming ensouled irl.
I see your point. It does send a bad message, though. Many abusers feel regret after the fact but that doesn’t change the abuse. And I know that many of us give brownie points to Spike for seeking redemption. But as weird as it sounds, that’s why I emphasize the point that he is evil. At his core he lacks morality, the AR is a very clear message in this respect… he can try very hard to be good, but he’ll slip again in the future if he still lacks moral compass. But this is precisely why I give him brownie points for, he fights his evil nature, but in principle, we shouldn’t expect him to fight it or to seek changing it.

However, for me, this is very different from Xander’s behavior and mistakes. Yes, Xander does not do anything as bad as that, but he is meant to be able to clearly distinguish right from wrong. And he is meant to be able to make the “right” choices. That’s why I think that comparing Spike to Xander or labeling soulless Spike as part of the toxic masculinity group is not appropriate, we are comparing apples to pears.

Now, I know that there are a lot of different opinions and contradictions among the fans when it comes to the role of the soul and vampires. But we only have two observations in our sample: Angel and Spike. Angel is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but Spike has layers and more humanity since introduced. Personally, I don’t believe that the monster and the man are separate entities, I think that they coexist inside Angel and Spike. Without a soul, the demon dominates. But that is a very different discussion that’s why I leave it as saying that I cannot classify Spike as the epitome of toxic masculinity, because he isn’t a man, he's a soulless demon (but yes, he goes against his very nature and that's why he get's redemption in S7).

And I am truly busy, but this is a very interesting topic for discussion :(:eek:😅.
 

darkspook

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I see your point. It does send a bad message, though. Many abusers feel regret after the fact but that doesn’t change the abuse. And I know that many of us give brownie points to Spike for seeking redemption. But as weird as it sounds, that’s why I emphasize the point that he is evil. At his core he lacks morality, the AR is a very clear message in this respect… he can try very hard to be good, but he’ll slip again in the future if he still lacks moral compass. But this is precisely why I give him brownie points for, he fights his evil nature, but in principle, we shouldn’t expect him to fight it or to seek changing it.

However, for me, this is very different from Xander’s behavior and mistakes. Yes, Xander does not do anything as bad as that, but he is meant to be able to clearly distinguish right from wrong. And he is meant to be able to make the “right” choices. That’s why I think that comparing Spike to Xander or labeling soulless Spike as part of the toxic masculinity group is not appropriate, we are comparing apples to pears.

Now, I know that there are a lot of different opinions and contradictions among the fans when it comes to the role of the soul and vampires. But we only have two observations in our sample: Angel and Spike. Angel is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but Spike has layers and more humanity since introduced. Personally, I don’t believe that the monster and the man are separate entities, I think that they coexist inside Angel and Spike. Without a soul, the demon dominates. But that is a very different discussion that’s why I leave it as saying that I cannot classify Spike as the epitome of toxic masculinity, because he isn’t a man, he's a soulless demon (but yes, he goes against his very nature and that's why he get's redemption in S7).

And I am truly busy, but this is a very interesting topic for discussion :(:eek:😅.
You see it’s difficult for me to buy the Spike is just a soulless demon arguement when both fandom and I argue the writers presented him as something more.

Vampires on the show are usually presented as two types: growling stunt vampire basically zombies for Buffy to stake or evil talkie vampire who want to kill and rule the world aka The Master.

But Spike was very much presented from the off as different. We saw examples of him doing evil: ‘School Hard’, ‘Halloween’, ‘Out of my Mind’ etc but even without a soul he was capable of doing acts of love: removing his game face when seeing Dru enter in ‘School Hard’, bringing Joyce flowers with no name card, falling deeply in love with Buffy. The start of season 6 I feel is the apex of this: with Buffy dead he could on gone ‘bugger who cares about her friends and bratty sister’ but instead he fought alongside them honouring her death. He could be using the Buffybot for sex but he uneasy around her presence.

So to say that we cannot judge him on his deeds such as AR for me like a feels weak excuse (no offence). On the subject of toxic-masculinity Spike in season 6 can see Buffy is hurting, damaged, struggling and alienated but doesn’t care one bit. He pushes her to become more alienated and darker... sounds pretty toxic to me. ‘Oh but he didn’t have a soul!’ One might cry okay but then why should I accept such a relationship as a relationship if I am already making excuses for some of what I see in it? Also how do I take the moments of love and care he shows to Buffy seriously if I am saying ‘soulless demon’ to myself at other times?

Back on subject of Xander. We see Willow fall hard and be corrupted by magic. You can trace the corruption back to S3 long before S6. Willow always presented as smarter and more mature than Xander who again is able to tell right from wrong. But she argues with any attempt to show her how focused she is on magic even from Tara. My point is does fandom crucify her as much as Xander... no where near!
 

r2dh2

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You see it’s difficult for me to buy the Spike is just a soulless demon arguement when both fandom and I argue the writers presented him as something more.

Vampires on the show are usually presented as two types: growling stunt vampire basically zombies for Buffy to stake or evil talkie vampire who want to kill and rule the world aka The Master.

But Spike was very much presented from the off as different. We saw examples of him doing evil: ‘School Hard’, ‘Halloween’, ‘Out of my Mind’ etc but even without a soul he was capable of doing acts of love: removing his game face when seeing Dru enter in ‘School Hard’, bringing Joyce flowers with no name card, falling deeply in love with Buffy. The start of season 6 I feel is the apex of this: with Buffy dead he could on gone ‘bugger who cares about her friends and bratty sister’ but instead he fought alongside them honouring her death. He could be using the Buffybot for sex but he uneasy around her presence.

So to say that we cannot judge him on his deeds such as AR for me like a feels weak excuse (no offence). On the subject of toxic-masculinity Spike in season 6 can see Buffy is hurting, damaged, struggling and alienated but doesn’t care one bit. He pushes her to become more alienated and darker... sounds pretty toxic to me. ‘Oh but he didn’t have a soul!’ One might cry okay but then why should I accept such a relationship as a relationship if I am already making excuses for some of what I see in it? Also how do I take the moments of love and care he shows to Buffy seriously if I am saying ‘soulless demon’ to myself at other times?

Back on subject of Xander. We see Willow fall hard and be corrupted by magic. You can trace the corruption back to S3 long before S6. Willow always presented as smarter and more mature than Xander who again is able to tell right from wrong. But she argues with any attempt to show her how focused she is on magic even from Tara. My point is does fandom crucify her as much as Xander... no where near!
I think that you are misunderstanding me. I’m not excusing Spike; I’m only stating the mythology of show, which was established with Angel in S1 to S3. People might like it or might not, but that’s something very different.

For me, it is a fantasy show and I treat it as such, they’ve told me since the first episode that vampires are not people, that they are soulless demons who kill to live and, in some cases, revel in pain, chaos and destruction. But they also retain human-like behaviors, with the caveat that they take them to the extreme: obsessive unhealthy and toxic love (Spike and Dru, Spike and his love for Buffy), creating families among themselves (Darla, Angel, Dru, Spike), feeling lost and alienated (Harmony), caring about each other all the evilness of their un-beating hearts (Dru “saving” Darla in AtS), and so on.

And yes, he is dragging Buffy into the darkness and he’s very toxic, but the point of S6, all characters are reaching rock bottom. And I love that, I enjoy the story of these flawed characters, their journey, their growth, their bitterness, their mistakes and lessons, their unpredictable and dark behaviors…

Just to be clear, I am not trying to convince anyone that they should accept their relationship, or that they have to like it, or that they have to give a pass to Spike because he’s soulless pre-S7. I’m merely stating a fact previously established and accepted: soulless --> no moral --> evil --> evil --> loving Dru --> evil --> unhealthy love obsession mixed with gentle selfless love here and there --> evil --> kitten poker --> mourning Joyce --> evil -->...

But I agree that part of the confusion comes from how different Spike was built by the writers, especially relative to Angel. They also created a lot of ambiguity that was never fully resolved.
 

darkspook

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I think that you are misunderstanding me. I’m not excusing Spike; I’m only stating the mythology of show, which was established with Angel in S1 to S3. People might like it or might not, but that’s something very different.

For me, it is a fantasy show and I treat it as such, they’ve told me since the first episode that vampires are not people, that they are soulless demons who kill to live and, in some cases, revel in pain, chaos and destruction. But they also retain human-like behaviors, with the caveat that they take them to the extreme: obsessive unhealthy and toxic love (Spike and Dru, Spike and his love for Buffy), creating families among themselves (Darla, Angel, Dru, Spike), feeling lost and alienated (Harmony), caring about each other all the evilness of their un-beating hearts (Dru “saving” Darla in AtS), and so on.

And yes, he is dragging Buffy into the darkness and he’s very toxic, but the point of S6, all characters are reaching rock bottom. And I love that, I enjoy the story of these flawed characters, their journey, their growth, their bitterness, their mistakes and lessons, their unpredictable and dark behaviors…

Just to be clear, I am not trying to convince anyone that they should accept their relationship, or that they have to like it, or that they have to give a pass to Spike because he’s soulless pre-S7. I’m merely stating a fact previously established and accepted: soulless --> no moral --> evil --> evil --> loving Dru --> evil --> unhealthy love obsession mixed with gentle selfless love here and there --> evil --> kitten poker --> mourning Joyce --> evil -->...

But I agree that part of the confusion comes from how different Spike was built by the writers, especially relative to Angel. They also created a lot of ambiguity that was never fully resolved.
I think like all fantasy shows the mythology of the show is bent and altered pending the writer's will and mood. Lost is a great example of this were the writers were clearly changing and backstepping on mythology they had previously established. Buffy too suffered from this issue. One example is the Turok-Han: established in the show that the Turok-Han possessed the conventional powers of vampires, though to a considerably higher level and described as '...primordial, ferociously powerful killing machines, as single-minded as animals. They are the vampires that vampires fear'. Indeed we see Buffy struggle and nearly be killed by one... yet come the finale everyone human is killing them like they are stormtroopers! Whedon openly admits that the continuity issue with the Turok-Han's powers was dropped or ignored as the story or message he wanted to get across to viewers was more important than the continuity or mythology of the show.

So again I don't take the show 100% seriously despite what some of my posts may seem like. I don't defend the use of robots on the show giving the setting but rather shrug and say 'its a fantasy show!' I enjoy watching flawed characters engage and struggle onscreen as I feel it is a more valid representaition of life. I just struggle with Spike and Spuffy as I feel for me at least it is not healthy in many ways, suffered from repetitive and flawed writing and yet is considered by many as her greatest love interest on the show.
 

katmobile

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You see it’s difficult for me to buy the Spike is just a soulless demon arguement when both fandom and I argue the writers presented him as something more.

Vampires on the show are usually presented as two types: growling stunt vampire basically zombies for Buffy to stake or evil talkie vampire who want to kill and rule the world aka The Master.

But Spike was very much presented from the off as different. We saw examples of him doing evil: ‘School Hard’, ‘Halloween’, ‘Out of my Mind’ etc but even without a soul he was capable of doing acts of love: removing his game face when seeing Dru enter in ‘School Hard’, bringing Joyce flowers with no name card, falling deeply in love with Buffy. The start of season 6 I feel is the apex of this: with Buffy dead he could on gone ‘bugger who cares about her friends and bratty sister’ but instead he fought alongside them honouring her death. He could be using the Buffybot for sex but he uneasy around her presence.

So to say that we cannot judge him on his deeds such as AR for me like a feels weak excuse (no offence). On the subject of toxic-masculinity Spike in season 6 can see Buffy is hurting, damaged, struggling and alienated but doesn’t care one bit. He pushes her to become more alienated and darker... sounds pretty toxic to me. ‘Oh but he didn’t have a soul!’ One might cry okay but then why should I accept such a relationship as a relationship if I am already making excuses for some of what I see in it? Also how do I take the moments of love and care he shows to Buffy seriously if I am saying ‘soulless demon’ to myself at other times?

Back on subject of Xander. We see Willow fall hard and be corrupted by magic. You can trace the corruption back to S3 long before S6. Willow always presented as smarter and more mature than Xander who again is able to tell right from wrong. But she argues with any attempt to show her how focused she is on magic even from Tara. My point is does fandom crucify her as much as Xander... no where near!
Willow's misdeeds are called out within fandom Xander's often are not. Buffy at the beginning of season three seems to accept all of the blame for running away but some of that is Xander's and Joyce's and they don't accept any of it and are in fact so bloody self righteous during the arguement I want to slap them.

I think all of the vamps are dark versions of the people they were in life. Angelus is more purely evil because Liam wasn't a good or loving man to begin with but defined by rebellion, frustration, adventure and hedonism to begin with William had a romantic and passionate nature that was morally neutral so wasn't destroyed.

I think Spike not doing what was good for Buffy in season six was as much to do with a fundamental lack of understanding as a lack of care. How can you understand someone's soul torturing them if you don't possess one? He tells her as much in Never Leave Me when he admits she tried to tell him and he didn't get it. I find it interesting that both accuse the other of masochism and I attribute that to neither understanding the other's nature only seeing parts of it.

It's not analogous to real life as he didn't understand no as he didn't get the reasons behind it. I can get why some people might not accept that if they have painful real life experiences triggered by that but that's the text and as Still Dead podcast says sometimes I think we need redemption stories for things that wouldn't be forgivable or redeamable irl just to inspire as the Ancient Greeks needed stories about heroes beating up monsters.
 

r2dh2

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I think like all fantasy shows the mythology of the show is bent and altered pending the writer's will and mood. Lost is a great example of this were the writers were clearly changing and backstepping on mythology they had previously established. Buffy too suffered from this issue. One example is the Turok-Han: established in the show that the Turok-Han possessed the conventional powers of vampires, though to a considerably higher level and described as '...primordial, ferociously powerful killing machines, as single-minded as animals. They are the vampires that vampires fear'. Indeed we see Buffy struggle and nearly be killed by one... yet come the finale everyone human is killing them like they are stormtroopers! Whedon openly admits that the continuity issue with the Turok-Han's powers was dropped or ignored as the story or message he wanted to get across to viewers was more important than the continuity or mythology of the show.

So again I don't take the show 100% seriously despite what some of my posts may seem like. I don't defend the use of robots on the show giving the setting but rather shrug and say 'its a fantasy show!' I enjoy watching flawed characters engage and struggle onscreen as I feel it is a more valid representaition of life. I just struggle with Spike and Spuffy as I feel for me at least it is not healthy in many ways, suffered from repetitive and flawed writing and yet is considered by many as her greatest love interest on the show.
And that’s fine because the show was always consistent regarding pre-/post-soul. All I’m saying is that the comparison between Xander and Spike pre-S7 is difficult. Xander has a soul, Spike is soulless. And yes, the show muddled the mythology and created ambiguity, but it always emphasized the self-awareness that the soul brought to the bearer. With the soul, you can choose good or bad, you have the capacity to fully understand the implications of your actions. Without a soul, this self-awareness is murky. In S7, we see Spike finally understanding the gravity of his actions, before that, he tries hard, he kinda gets it at times, but not completely – or, alternatively, we can say that he understands the consequences but doesn’t fully internalize the emotional/moral repercussions that they have. You dislike this, that’s fine, it’s your prerogative. But the explanation as to why people studying the show (or attempting to analyze it) do not put Spike in the category of toxic masculinity, while do it with Xander, is because Spike is a demon and Xander is a human being. A fair comparison is S7 Spike to Xander, or pre-S7 Spike to Vampire Xander. And again, if you don’t like it, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t make it less factual within the show.

As for the rest, of course you’re free to interpret it in any way you want to and to hate it, I’m only explaining my own position, and how I process the topics they present. And this is my last post about the topic.
 

thetopher

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Having seen S1 recently it did strike me that Xander is often made the butt of the joke compared to other characters. Compare 'Teacher's Pet' with 'I Robot, You Jane'. In the former Xander the pathetic virgin is almost raped and its played as a joke, wheras Willow is given plenty of sympathy and pep because the robot-demon lied to her about what he was.
Now I understand that Xander was acting because of hormones (and pheromones) and Willow actually 'bonded' and came to like Malcolm/Molock but the contrast in how they are treated in their respective aftermaths is eye-opening.

To a lesser extent that goes for 'The Pack' as well. I do have a twinge of sympathy here as well. Xander has been trapped in the friend zone since 'The Witch' and the first Buffy hears of his attraction to her its during the attempted sexual assault scene.

I think people often focus on what Xander 'gets away with' as opposed to 'what he gets subjected to'.
 
The Bronze
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That guy hated Xander, you and for some reason jam. Good times!

darkspook

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Having seen S1 recently it did strike me that Xander is often made the butt of the joke compared to other characters. Compare 'Teacher's Pet' with 'I Robot, You Jane'. In the former Xander the pathetic virgin is almost raped and its played as a joke, wheras Willow is given plenty of sympathy and pep because the robot-demon lied to her about what he was.
Now I understand that Xander was acting because of hormones (and pheromones) and Willow actually 'bonded' and came to like Malcolm/Molock but the contrast in how they are treated in their respective aftermaths is eye-opening.

To a lesser extent that goes for 'The Pack' as well. I do have a twinge of sympathy here as well. Xander has been trapped in the friend zone since 'The Witch' and the first Buffy hears of his attraction to her its during the attempted sexual assault scene.

I think people often focus on what Xander 'gets away with' as opposed to 'what he gets subjected to'.
Oh totally agree that people focus on what Xander 'gets away with' as opposed to 'what he gets subjected to'. Consequences is a good example of this. Xander admits he slept with Faith, thinks he has a connection with her and Buffy just blurts out that Faith doesn't think much of connections etc. I mean come on not even at least bit sensitive about it or trying to tell him gently. The person is who treated sensitively in that scene is Willow who is upset that her first love has moved on.

Later we see Xander getting strangled to death. Do we see the group's reaction to this? Do we see his tramua over the next few episodes? No we see neither. Meanwhile we see the group's heartbreak at the idea of losing Willow twice in Doppelgangland and in Choices. Later on Xander goes on a roadtrip which I always felt was a missed opportunity for an episode showing him on the road and maybe having an adventure there. Certainly at least some growth... alas it was treated as a punchline: Xander is such a loser he couldn't even make it out of the state!
 

burrunjor

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He annoyed me in S6 the way he treated Spike so badly, whilst being so easy to Anya, and the grief he gave Buffy for sleeping with Spike during her mental breakdown, whilst he had been with a worse monster for the past 3 years.

Other than that though I quite liked the character. I think you need him as he brings a lot of humour, but not confrontational humour like Cordy and Spike. They were funny, but it came from a place of dislike for the others.

He was flawed in seasons 1-4, but his flaws were always called out, so it didn't bother me, IE his jealousy, his cheating on Cordy etc. It was just in season 6 he bugged me because Buffy never brought up "hey Anya's worse!" Still I liked him overall. I think it was a shame he was pushed to the side a bit in the last series, but even then he came off better in S7 than S6.
 

Faded90

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Oh totally agree that people focus on what Xander 'gets away with' as opposed to 'what he gets subjected to'. Consequences is a good example of this. Xander admits he slept with Faith, thinks he has a connection with her and Buffy just blurts out that Faith doesn't think much of connections etc. I mean come on not even at least bit sensitive about it or trying to tell him gently. The person is who treated sensitively in that scene is Willow who is upset that her first love has moved on.

Later we see Xander getting strangled to death. Do we see the group's reaction to this? Do we see his tramua over the next few episodes? No we see neither. Meanwhile we see the group's heartbreak at the idea of losing Willow twice in Doppelgangland and in Choices. Later on Xander goes on a roadtrip which I always felt was a missed opportunity for an episode showing him on the road and maybe having an adventure there. Certainly at least some growth... alas it was treated as a punchline: Xander is such a loser he couldn't even make it out of the state!
To be honest in Consequences I think Buffy IS trying to let him down gently, she’s just not saying it right and making it worse. Buffy is pretty consistently rubbish at being subtle like in Help ‘we just worried you might drink too much and hurt Cassie. That’s all’ and her interrogations in Anne. She knows she’s being hamfisted the way she’s explaining it hence the rushed ‘no offense’

I do agree the strangulation attempt should have been addressed more
 

thetopher

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Oh totally agree that people focus on what Xander 'gets away with' as opposed to 'what he gets subjected to'. Consequences is a good example of this. Xander admits he slept with Faith, thinks he has a connection with her and Buffy just blurts out that Faith doesn't think much of connections
That's in keeping with Buffy's character though. She tends to blurt and isn't really sensitive to Xander's feelings a lot of the time ('Is this a penis metaphor?'). In this case I think she's trying to let him down easy but it just comes out.. a bit wrong.

The person is who treated sensitively in that scene is Willow who is upset that her first love has moved on.
Yeah, I hate this scene. I feel like I shouldn't have to see it. Willow made her choice.

Later we see Xander getting strangled to death. Do we see the group's reaction to this? Do we see his tramua over the next few episodes? No we see neither.
To be fair Willow is very much 'screw Faith the murderer because she used my people' in her attitude.

And I agree that Faith's ill treatment of Xander (to put it mildly) should've been seriously addressed by somebody. If not that season- which is pretty packed with stuff- then how about sometime in S4 or S7? It's really not okay that it wasn't.

Certainly at least some growth... alas it was treated as a punchline: Xander is such a loser he couldn't even make it out of the state!
I mean, a lot of S4 has a 'Xander as the butt of jokes' feel about it. He fails at his crappy jobs, his relationship with Anya is mostly comic relief this season and then there's the slap-fight with Harmony and getting electricuted when nobody's watching. Funny stuff but, yeah, its very much 'laugh at the butt-monkey, Laugh!'
 

darkspook

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That's in keeping with Buffy's character though. She tends to blurt and isn't really sensitive to Xander's feelings a lot of the time ('Is this a penis metaphor?'). In this case I think she's trying to let him down easy but it just comes out.. a bit wrong.



Yeah, I hate this scene. I feel like I shouldn't have to see it. Willow made her choice.



To be fair Willow is very much 'screw Faith the murderer because she used my people' in her attitude.

And I agree that Faith's ill treatment of Xander (to put it mildly) should've been seriously addressed by somebody. If not that season- which is pretty packed with stuff- then how about sometime in S4 or S7? It's really not okay that it wasn't.



I mean, a lot of S4 has a 'Xander as the butt of jokes' feel about it. He fails at his crappy jobs, his relationship with Anya is mostly comic relief this season and then there's the slap-fight with Harmony and getting electricuted when nobody's watching. Funny stuff but, yeah, its very much 'laugh at the butt-monkey, Laugh!'
They would never give Willow a scene where she is electrocuted and nobody notices. By that point little quirks like frog fear or poor fashion sense that some might mock had given way to she is a strong, confident woman... while Xander is just a loser.
 

thrasherpix

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An interesting bit...I've mentioned in recent threads someone rewatching this series since it came out...he hates Xander, but actually liked his speech to Buffy that inspires Buffy to chase after Riley before he gets on the chopper. About the exact opposite of me!

I'm sure this means something, but I'm not sure what. Why would he hate Xander, but love THAT Xander scene? We're using some very different measuring sticks here. I have some guesses but none that feel like they hit the mark. (I've told him this and he can only make guesses as well.)


As for me, I'll reassert that Xander not only faces consequences (even if it's not a bunch of finger waving in his face, though even that happens at times, and he's not treated like Faith who killed people, which I don't think he should), but is kicked around for no reason by both the writers and characters in the story. And his traumas get ignored to a ridiculous degree while his sacrifices (even when it's an important part of the episode) and sometimes even when he's the only one backing Buffy about Spike when no one else is gets ignored.

But then he's not the only one that happens to, though arguably it happens to him the most (he's neck for neck with Buffy on that, difference is, the show--usually, not always--focuses on when it happens to Buffy whereas with Xander it's just swept under the carpet).
 
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