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How do you reconcile perceived OOC character behaviour?

EarthLogic

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When a character's behaviour takes a noticeably different/odd turn, how do you process this change? Do you find a way to make it make sense in line with their previous characterisation or do you find yourself taken out of the story and forced to see it simply as terrible writing?

For me, the most overt example is Angel in the comics. I’ve seen many readers/fans regard his behaviour as Twilight as entirely consistent with his character, a view which I personally find baffling. I found the arc a gross exaggeration where a few traits were seized upon and made to stand for his whole character. As a result I cannot even hate him as many fans did/do, because to me that just isn’t the same person I watched for 8 seasons. In order for me to hate or be disappointed in a character’s actions, I still have to find them believable and psychologically consistent.

The fact that this happened in the comics makes it easier to disregard though, as you can make a good argument for them not being canon (imo precisely because of the bizzaro writing). In-show changes are trickier to dismiss altogether because they’re part of the original self-contained narrative. S7 Giles for example: if you didn’t like him then, is it because you accept he became a less admirable person and so judge him accordingly, or do you feel like it was just a writing fail?

Where do you draw the line when it comes to assessing characters?
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

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Speaking of the TV show, I usually accept the writers vision of the characters. I think they do a a good job of keeping them consistent. For example, I never felt anyone acted OOC in S6.
S7 Giles for example: if you didn’t like him then, is it because you accept he became a less admirable person and so judge him accordingly, or do you feel like it was just a writing fail?
I never found Giles to be an admirable person. I don't understand why people have such a particular problem with him in S7.
 

RomanticSoul

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The fact that this happened in the comics makes it easier to disregard though, as you can make a good argument for them not being canon (imo precisely because of the bizzaro writing).
Since a lot of things in the comics are written by people who work from an outline of the characters given by Joss, or who only watched one show but not the other. Or only watched them once. I don't see why anyone would take the comics seriously. This would be like someone asking me to write a comic for a show I have never watched (like say Vampire Diaries) just based on the most basic knowledge given to me and then asking fans to accept whatever I write as canon. That's just nonsense.

Where do you draw the line when it comes to assessing characters?
Since I regard the Dawnverse as a new universe and unconnected from the characters of the first 4 Seasons, whatever OOC-ness and retcons come after S4 I just explain away with 'monks'. These are not my characters, they can't be. As to pre-monk, there is very little OOC stuff in the first 4 Seasons that doesn't have an in-story reason. And what OOC there is, which mostly starts in S4 (Buffy's altered relationship behavior, the non-staking of Spike), there are meta reasons for that. Sadly it's hard to reconcile those but I just disengage the logical part of brain.
 

EarthLogic

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I should be clear that I'm just giving Twangel and Giles as examples. Twangel is extreme, though, and I'm actually more interested in fans' reactions to what happens on the actual shows. There are lots of diverging opinions about whether certain things are in-character or not and I'm just trying to get an idea of how fans approach these moments and what their tipping points are as viewers.

I never found Giles to be an admirable person. I don't understand why people have such a particular problem with him in S7.
Yes I don't think 'admirable' is quite the right word, but I wasn't sure what word would best describe the more positive feelings towards his character held by many fans before S6/7. I think the problem people have with him in S7 is to do with him functioning more as a metaphor for the Watchers' Council at the expense of anything else about him. Much of the nuance and rounded personality of the previous Giles is gone or at least dampened. As for myself, I'm on the fence with this. I can see the consistencies in his character and his symbolic role as the benevolent final pillar of patriarchy which Buffy overcome makes sense, but there is also something lacking about him as a 'full' character this season which just feels off and is rather dissapointing (though I suppose if you've never liked him it wouldn't matter to you). I still haven't decided whether I can bring myself to accept this Giles as he is or attribute his characterisation to a bit of flawed writing. It's a tricky one.

Buffy's altered relationship behavior,
What altered relationship behaviour?

I must say RS I do think you're awfully harsh on the 'Dawnverse' as you call it. I think we could have used a tad more introspection from the characters about what the memory tampering means and a perhaps a storyline where the original memories are restored and co-exist with the fabricated ones would have been cool. However I don't see how they, and Buffy in particular, are so drastically different as to be less compelling or consistent as characters just because of what the monks did.
 

RomanticSoul

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What altered relationship behaviour?
The way she diminishes herself constantly in her relationship with Riley. Something she didn't do with Angel. Also her speech to Willow in the beginning of Something Blue makes me want to hit something, preferably Whedon's face.

I must say RS I do think you're awfully harsh on the 'Dawnverse' as you call it. I think we could have used a tad more introspection from the characters about what the memory tampering means and a perhaps a storyline where the original memories are restored and co-exist with the fabricated ones would have been cool. However I don't see how they, and Buffy in particular, are so drastically different as to be less compelling or consistent as characters just because of what the monks did.
I think I'm not being harsh enough on it. :p

You can't have it both ways, either life was different with Dawn in the picture, in which case all these characters and their relationships are different, or nothing changed. The show wanted to often have it both ways. And whenever the OOC-ness and retcons came, there was no explanation for it. Which invites people to think 'well monks'. You can't essentially take Willow out of Buffy's life as her best friend and replace her with Dawn retroactively, and then not change the dynamic among Xander/Willow/Buffy. You can't continue to pay lipservice to 'family' in S5 while at the same time not have one B/W/X scene the whole freaking Season. If Dawn has/had Willow's role, the whole group dynamic changes.

IMO the whole Dawn crap comes down to feelings vs logic. People who are more guided by their feelings while watching something, tend to be the ones who have no problem with the insertion of Dawn. They just roll with it and love it. People who are more prone to be less emotionally engaged have issues with it. I just happen to be the latter category. Nothing needs to make perfect sense for me to be emotionally engaged but if it leaves me utterly baffled because nothing makes sense, my brain is too busy thinking this is all stupid so there won't be any emotional engagement on my end. Which is why S5 doesn't work for me and I feel personally offended by 'The Gift' (which is the best episode for a lot of people) because there is so much stupid in that episode that it's baffling. So the only emotion I'm able to feel is anger 'for gods sake, just stop talking and jump off that freaking tower already so I can be relieved from this nonsense episode'. That's just S5 but everything follows from there and my belief that Canon!Buffy (aka S1-4) would never let Spike touch her, no matter how depressed she is. But monk changed Buffy, well she seems weaker in every way.
 

Cheese Slices

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The way she diminishes herself constantly in her relationship with Riley. Something she didn't do with Angel.
Except that she kinda did (Bad Eggs, Halloween, Helpless, the Prom, Graduation Day,...) though not nearly as often or as cringely (is that a word) as with Riley, I'll grant you that.

To answer the OP : There are very few instances that I would consider OOC on the show (I don't read the comics). When it happens, I analyze it from both a watsonian and doylist perspective and maintain them well separated : 99.9% of the time, I can find a reasonable explanation within the former, but I'll still keep the possible doylist explanations in mind.
 
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RomanticSoul

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Except that she kinda did (Bad Eggs, Halloween, Helpless, the Prom, Graduation Day,...)
You'd have to be more specific there. I'm drawing a blank, haven't watched BTVS in a while.

though not nearly as often or as cringely (is that a word) as with Riley, I'll grant you that.
Please, Riley is nothing compared to Spike. Nothing diminished her more than wiping the butt off, defend and accept victim blaming by the guy who abused her and tried to rape her. Or hell, if you want to use the soul argument, lets not even touch S6 where she both diminished herself and allowed him to diminish her. But that's all I'm going to say on the subject because it's off-topic. And I rather not waste more time on yest another lenghty argument about the abomination that is Spuffy. So back on topic please... as my original post was.
 

EarthLogic

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The way she diminishes herself constantly in her relationship with Riley. Something she didn't do with Angel.
She had no reason to do that when she was with Angel, but after it makes sense that she's more cautious and a bit more insecure considering how much that relationship burned her, and how Parker was basically a less murderous repeat of the Angelus experience. Buffy's tendency to blame herself even when she has no reason to is frustrating but entirely consistent throughout the series and well within character.

You can't essentially take Willow out of Buffy's life as her best friend and replace her with Dawn retroactively, and then not change the dynamic among Xander/Willow/Buffy.
When did this happen? When Dawn is introduced she is clearly the 'kid sister'. There's no sense that she has replaced Willow as Buffy's BFF.

Except that she kinda did (Bad Eggs, Halloween, Helpless, the Prom, Graduation Day,...)
She displays some brief insecurities in Halloween and Earshot, but I don't see any self-diminishing in Bad Eggs, The Prom or Graduation Day...:confused: In Helpless, it's more to do with the loss of her powers and her identity as a Slayer rather than simply whether she's attractive enough to Angel.
 

Cheese Slices

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You'd have to be more specific there. I'm drawing a blank, haven't watched BTVS in a while.


Please, Riley is nothing compared to Spike. Nothing diminished her more than wiping the butt off, defend and accept victim blaming by the guy who abused her and tried to rape her. Or hell, if you want to use the soul argument, lets not even touch S6 where she both diminished herself and allowed him to diminish her. But that's all I'm going to say on the subject because it's off-topic. And I rather not waste more time on yest another lenghty argument about the abomination that is Spuffy. So back on topic please... as my original post was.
You sure about that ? You do seem to love talking about it.

And I did reply to OP, though I'm sorry for derailing the topic further.

@EarthLogic I'm not sure it's wise to go further down this road (unless someone wants to start a new thread). Again, I don't think it's a prominent element of their relationship, but I do believe it happened in more than one occasion, which is IC and expected at this point in Buffy's journey.
 

EarthLogic

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To answer the OP : There are very few instances that I would consider OOC on the show (I don't read the comics). When it happens, I analyze it from both a watsonian and doylist perspective and maintain them well separated : 99.9% of the time, I can find a reasonable explanation within the former, but I'll still keep the possible doylist explanations in mind.
So what are those moments for you?

I try to stay Watsonian for the most part, but there are times when only a Doylist explanation will do. Twangel was a 'nope - I give up' moment for me. Like I said above I'm conflicted on S7 Giles. Cordy's transformation to saintliness in Angel S3 is another one where I have to look at the writing circumstances more so than an in-verse explanation because it's so cringey. The only other time I have to write off what the show gives us completely the way I do with the comics is TGIQ, because ....gah!
 

RomanticSoul

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When did this happen? When Dawn is introduced she is clearly the 'kid sister'. There's no sense that she has replaced Willow as Buffy's BFF.
Because Dawn fullfills all the roles previously played by Willow. Hence Willow replacement.

You sure about that ? You do seem to love talking about it.
I expanded on it because the OP directly asked me about what I meant, not because I like talking about it. You usually do that when someone asks you a direct question. You answer. So tone it down.
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

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I am not sure I understand specifically what part of Giles's behaviour in S7 people find strange. He may have gone behind Buffy's back to try to have Spike killed, but he had good reason, and he previously went behind Buffy's back to kill Ben, again with good reason, but with seemingly very little remorse.

The only Scooby Giles ever seemed to have any kind of feelings for is Buffy, so it makes sense that he would become resentful if she started to push him away. He has been jealous about her before.
You can't essentially take Willow out of Buffy's life as her best friend and replace her with Dawn retroactively, and then not change the dynamic among Xander/Willow/Buffy.
Buffy and Dawn aren't at all close in their fake memories.
 

Cheese Slices

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So what are those moments for you?

I try to stay Watsonian for the most part, but there are times when only a Doylist explanation will do. Twangel was a 'nope - I give up' moment for me. Like I said above I'm conflicted on S7 Giles. Cordy's transformation to saintliness in Angel S3 is another one where I have to look at the writing circumstances more so than an in-verse explanation because it's so cringey. The only other time I have to write off what the show gives us completely the way I do with the comics is TGIQ, because ....gah!
Like you I struggle with Giles throughout most of S7, though to me it's less a matter of OOC ness as a lack of clarity/time alloted to this side of the character. I can totally buy his doing the things he does and why he does them, but I wish it were better executed and developed.

If Ats is included, then basically 80% of Spike in S5. The watsonian for this would be : Angel brings out the worst in him, he's feeling out of place and vulnerable. But all I can think of is : they wanted Spike because he's charismatic and funny, but don't want to spend too much time properly developping his character, so they just have him regress to S4 wacky neighbor Spike, but much less enjoyable. And I am so with you on TGIQ *shudders*.

Angel in Chosen can be considered OOC considering what's going on in his life at the moment, but I understand that they had to cater to the Buffy only viewers and the limited screentime for DB (also I wouldn't have wanted the final episode of Buffy be about Angel the series). In-universe explanation ? I guess Angel compartimentalize a lot of his emotions ?
 
BuffyBot22
BuffyBot22
Angel has always done that, so I'm comfortable with that explanation!

RomanticSoul

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Buffy and Dawn aren't at all close in their fake memories.
Not really what I'm talking about. Chosen family got replaced with familial obligations, the latter of which is utter crap for me due to forced adoption. That's what I loved about the Core Four. They were for their own reasons (crappy home life in the case of X/W/B) a family that chose to come together. Willow was someone who Buffy chose to care about. Willow symbolized everything Buffy was fighting for. The innocent, the good people, humanity. Those Buffy would die for (PG) and kill for (Becoming). However for me, in the re-written world, Joyce's job demands don't change. Which means the onus on taking care of and watching Dawn falls on Buffy. Coupled with her slaying, it automatically leave less room for her to socialize herself. So the B/W/X friendship has to be different. Also Joyce clearly behaved even worse in the Dawnverse, between sticking her daughter in an asylum and blaming Buffy for Dawn's screw-ups or blaming Buffy for being a slayer and bringing all that darkness into their lives. No wonder Buffy committed suicide, this new realty was even worse for her than the pre-monks one, hence she is weaker. Anyone would be screwed up for life after a stint in a padded room.

That's what I hate about Dawn because there is no choice involved. Buffy was literally programmed with familial obligation and IMO an overriding 'command' of 'Dawn above all else'. Hence her willingness to kill her friends and let the world die just so her sister can live a few minutes longer despite knowing she would die anyway. That behavior makes no sense.
 

RomanticSoul

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I would argue Buffy chooses to adopt Dawn as a sister. Buffy does not seem to care all that much for Dawn before she learns the full truth about who she is.
Monk fail safe.

The reason I can be right and you wrong about that, or vice versa, is exactly why this story doesn't work for me. There is no definitive proof to me that Buffy really chose, of her own volition. Her re-written memories play a part (even when she knows they are fake) and so does Joyce's death and so does whatever fail safes the monks put in place (like no one wanting their original memories back which defies human nature). The reason why is simple, Whedon just though it would be another cool thing to do, and damn the consequences. To me, you do something as world changing as that, you better cover all your bases.
 

brinkster130

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Gentle reminder: no need to tell others what they like discussing or get snippy with members. Going slightly off topic happens naturally as discussions happen and that's not a big issue, just try and bring it back on topic before you go too far off; and making new threads if needed is encouraged.
 

BuffyBot22

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Monk fail safe.

The reason I can be right and you wrong about that, or vice versa, is exactly why this story doesn't work for me. There is no definitive proof to me that Buffy really chose, of her own volition. Her re-written memories play a part (even when she knows they are fake) and so does Joyce's death and so does whatever fail safes the monks put in place (like no one wanting their original memories back which defies human nature). The reason why is simple, Whedon just though it would be another cool thing to do, and damn the consequences. To me, you do something as world changing as that, you better cover all your bases.
This is why Dawn should have been the one that died at the end of s5. This way it could have been just a cool thing Whedon did.
Or the other alternative let the show end here with Buffy accepting that death is her gift.
Either of those options solve the Dawn problem while still allowing s5 to actually happen

But really the monks are idiots. If they were smart they would have made the key like a trashcan or a random door knob. Glory would have never figured that out.
Making the key into a human with emotions was ridiculous.
Buffy would have protected the trashcan too if it meant not leaking hell on earth, they didn't need to make the key her sister for her to protect the key and the world.
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As for OOC behavior, it depends on how far it goes.
I can explain away most of Buffy's OOC behavior in s6 due to her dealing with coming back from the dead. So really, this behavior of hers is now in character.
I try really hard to explain away Cordy's saintliness, but it is really hard for me because it was so utterly contrived in order to try to make Cangel happen. But, luckily a lot of this can be explained away by Jazmine, if you just say she has been pulling the strings for much longer than just s4, which technically she had.

Now s7 Giles doesn't bother me. I feel like he is in character and I still like him. I have trouble with s6 Giles. I have no explanation for why he thought it was a good idea to leave a mentally unstable back from the dead slayer with no mother and a ton of financial issues. This is my breaking point for Giles. In character Giles would never do this, unless something huge was happening behind the scenes that he was desperately needed in England. And that is literally all Whedon had to write in to save his character in my eyes, but instead he made Giles one of the biggest jerks for doing this and it's hard for me to look past it.

Now, there are some other shows where the characters are just ruined beyond repair and I actively cannot stand them anymore, I'm looking at you Elena Gilbert on TVD. What a self-righteous little hypocrite she became, from the selfless good person she was in the first 3 seasons. I never thought a show could actually take my favorite character on the show and turn her into my least favorite & wanting the writers to just kill her off is how much I ended up despising this character. I know it was terrible writing, but when all of the other characters are still acting like their normal selves, I have to evaluate her for what she has become and that is a very terrible person.
 
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RomanticSoul
RomanticSoul
The monks knew it was going to be a 'blood ritual', so of course they did the smart thing and transformed the key into something that can bleed.
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