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How old was Fred?

thrasherpix

Scooby
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Mar 13, 2016
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Unless she got an early start (not implausible...though Texas in our world will sometimes drug test you even before being allowed on the Honor Roll so playing her as a stoner in Spin the Bottle would suggest this is not the case for her), then she'd be close to 30.

That's okay, as a rule of thumb for those living in some Hollywood show is that old people tend to look much younger than their age (it's very rare when someone who is real being portrayed is allowed to play themselves due to things like "too old" and "not thin enough"), while high schoolers tend to look like models in their mid-20s...minimum. (One reason the "relationship" between I think a 13-year-old foster child in about the year 2000 with an old man who had fought in Vietnam, now dating Astrid's foster mother, didn't seem so weird to many viewers is because the actual actor and actress that played the characters were only a few years apart in age--while the actress playing the foster mother was significantly older than both of them--which not even Hollywood can change without computer imaging, And Nicole Kidman was only 12 years older than the actor playing her son in Aquaman. And so on.)



Though as for her behavior...hard to say given what's shown as a teen, but as a rule of thumb, people learn to act like those around them. The brain isn't a factory made model that determines these things from birth, but is shaped by the environment (and the brain of someone in their 50s that becomes a cab driver will show accelerated growth in what stores memories, for example, and the most successful prison reforms includes placing convicts among very different people in very different parts of society). Smart, quiet, mousy, and a bit insane with a sudden violent and sadistic streak would've been what she lived for years, and would take her time to come out of once rescued (though regression is also possible).

And the way I see it, the professor was surprised at how she was when he tried to send her to another dimension yet again because he didn't take into account what such an experience would do to her personality...and since she wasn't Xena, he grossly underestimated her, thinking her still an eager to please student with a lot of curiosity (which is just part of her template, she developed some new traits while in Pylea that weren't going to completely go away after a few nights rest, even if she learned to hide it somewhat to function in society).
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Her mental age isn't the question. Our first introduction to Demon dimensions was about humans being broken, robbed of their identity, and worked to near death, only to be sent back to the surprisingly white part of LA, because if theirs anything Demons love, it's ham fisted social commentary. Fred was a cow when we met her. She had to rebuild herself from the ground up.

Something I hadn't considered, the laws of physics work differently in Hell. Humans may age at a slower rate, or even in reverse. Pylea may not even be part of hell, it may be better understood as Faere, the Perilous realm. Humans change there, maybe Fred really was devolving into a cow?
 
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The show itself really messes around with Fred's educational history, so there can be no real definitive answer. We can see from 'Spin the Bottle' that - no she wasn't an early prodigy taking college classes in her mid teens, she is 'in' high school - she tells Cordelia so.
And in 'Hole in the world' we see her head off to grad school ready to learn everything they know and then figure out some stuff they don't know. She specifically says it's the graduate physics programme that's she's joining - which would make her 21/22 when she's leaving.
But in 'supersymmetry' she says she was going to be a history major until she took Professor Seidel's class. Professor Seidel being the man who sent her to Pylea, so she knew him from UCLA. Which would suggest she was an undergrad... and that she hadn't gone there to specifically study physics Which is just ... *sigh* there are some continuity wrinkles that we just can't headcanon our way out of.

However, unless the last piece of information we're given is truly ridiculous, I always take the path of considering the final piece of information the one that is canon - as it is the one that never gets contradicted. And as, up until 'Supersymmetry' I had always assumed she was in grad school (though I'm not entirely sure where I got that impression, if it's ever stated or I just assumed - though I don't know why I would assume that, so maybe it is stated) the 'Hole in the world' version of events seems more consistent than the Supersymmetry one (especially when the whole Professor Seidel subplot is a huge and stupid retcon in and of itself).

So - if she was 21 when she went to L.A and was sent to Pylea reasonably quickly, then her return is five years after that. Although clearly 'five years' is a vague and convenient phrasing on the time. It's not like she was sent away on May 21st 1996 and returned precisely on May 21st 2001 - she could be rounding up (or down). So probably she is 26 at the start of the season 3, but turning 27 that year. Though if she was 22 turning 23 when she left home she would be 27 turning 28 at the beginning of season 3.

As for the people who mentioned Doyle - he finds out he's a demon when he is 21 and him and Harri have been separated for four years when she turns back up. Again - it won't be literally four years, could be longer or shorter and we don't know how late into his 21st year he discovered he was a demon or how quickly after that discovery Harri left him. So the youngest he can be in the beginning of s1 is just turned 25, and the oldest he can be -if he didn't find out until he was nearly 22 and Harri stuck around for about six months to a year or so afterwards is 27. Or you could split the difference and call him 26.
Allowing for the 2 years between s1 and s3 - he's definitely in the same age bracket as Fred, give or take a year.

Wesley ... Alexis Denisof is obviously much older than Amy Acker, but is also older than Charisma Carpenter and Glenn Quinn and he does have a more grown up quality to him, so I don't find him believable as a man in his early twenties in s3 of Buffy when, months later, we will meet the younger seeming Doyle who is a man in his mid twenties (though of course CC is much older than Cordy, so how old she looks compared to everyone else has to be taken with a pinch of salt - we can't use her to try and age other characters).
But, as Giles went to Oxford it's safe to assume Wesley went somewhere similar and he would have graduated at 21. He might have taken a postgrad degree (Giles must have one to be a librarian - you need a masters for that) - which could bump him to 22 (25 if he took a phd, though I suspect if he was a doctor of something, early Wesley would have made sure everyone knew about it). And then he would have been working at the watcher's council, certainly he knows his books when he turns up - even if he's incompetent in the field - and we know he's spent time training to be a watcher because he talks about having faced vampires in controlled conditions. So, it seems unlikely he'd be younger than 25 when he came to Sunnydale and possibly a bit older. (especially as, if he was 22/ 23 and Cordy's 18 there's not anything wrong with him liking her - he doesn't actually work at the school, so has no duty of care towards her and lots of 18 year old girls have boyfriends in their early 20s. The fact that he mistakes her for a teacher and is immediately horrified when she's a student suggest he's mid- late twenties and feels the age difference more acutely).
So if he was 25 in s3 of Buffy, then he'd be 28 in s3 of Angel - so exactly the same age as Fred. I suspect, considering the much larger age gap between the two actors, Wesley is supposed to be at least a little bit older than that.

Gunn we have a clearer age on - he must be 24 in s3 of Angel, because he sold his truck seven years ago when he was 17. So if Fred's on the younger end of her age range, there's only a couple of years difference between them.
 
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