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Problem with Potentials...

buffy1990

"Every now and then, people surprise you."
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Okay so rewatching S7 this time around, I keep asking myself...where are these people's families??

I mean, we know that a lot of potential slayers are told early on that they have the potential to be the next called, and they are trained by watchers, but there are still quite a handful that have no idea.

It's hard for me to ignore in S7 that all these teenage girls arrive in Sunnydale to stay with Buffy and no one bats an eye. I understand for girls like Kennedy who had a watcher and know about the line, but what about girls like Amanda? She was just a regular high school student. Did she tell her parents what was going on, or did she just go "oh hey I'm gonna stay at my counselors house for an extended time." I can't imagine that happening to a little Buffy with Joyce.

Also, do you think their families are notified when the potentials die? Does Buffy have to make some terrible phone calls to deliver the news? I don't know why but I keep thinking about all these girls and where they come from! I feel like that's part of the larger problem with S7 in that the potentials didn't get enough development time.
 
AnthonyCordova
AnthonyCordova
good point

buffy1990

"Every now and then, people surprise you."
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Oh. My. God. Why did I never think of this before? o_O
Right? It just hit me while I was watching it the other day. I was like...wait...
I think it's because I was watching it with my mom and I swear if I got called to the hellmouth, my mom would be right behind me LOL
 

Puppet

Actual size.
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Right? It just hit me while I was watching it the other day. I was like...wait...
I think it's because I was watching it with my mom and I swear if I got called to the hellmouth, my mom would be right behind me LOL
Weirdest part is, I even wrote a story once that dealt with the parents of a Potential giving her over to a Watcher, and I still never considered it in canon, lol :)
 

caitaintdead

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I have said before that this is one of my biggest issues with the potentials. If you think about how Buffy's life was when she was called could you imagine Joyce letting her go? It's more likely she would call the police if an old man was stealing her 15 year old girl. It's extremely poor writing. There's no excuse for it.

Each potential that was bought in should have had 5-10 minutes dedicated to how they ended up in Sunnydale.
 

TotallySpiked

Slaying
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I also found the potentials really cheapened the whole ‘chosen one’ thing. Every episode more and more of them kept turning up and taking over the house. None of them really had likeable personalities.
They should have had maybe 5 of them at the house and focussed on getting to know them and maybe then it would have developed the potential storyline more.
Considering in season one it was ‘into every generation a Slayer is born...’ whereas season 7 it was basically every 5th girl was a slayer. Didn’t like it.
 
AnthonyCordova
AnthonyCordova
Yeah, totally agree

buffy1990

"Every now and then, people surprise you."
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I also found the potentials really cheapened the whole ‘chosen one’ thing. Every episode more and more of them kept turning up and taking over the house. None of them really had likeable personalities.
They should have had maybe 5 of them at the house and focussed on getting to know them and maybe then it would have developed the potential storyline more.
Considering in season one it was ‘into every generation a Slayer is born...’ whereas season 7 it was basically every 5th girl was a slayer. Didn’t like it.
Yeah I understand the potential idea, but I agree it does make it less special that Buffy and Faith are chosen because it seems to muddle the line of what it means to be a slayer. But I think with more time and story, it would have been much more effective.
 

thrasherpix

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It's just one of the weaknesses of this season.

And trying to think on it...can you imagine if say dead parents haunted them, telling them to kill themselves, or such? (Heck, the "sexy night" could've had dead grandmas show up to ruin the fun, and my mind is currently wondering what the First would have Nikki and Wilkins say to Wood & Faith as they're going at it, and how the 2 would react.)

Alternately, if the parents were alive, then one or more of them could receive visitations from a "guardian angel" (especially a dead loved one now a "guardian angel") that could prove itself to a gullible mortal easily enough and warn of the danger of their kin, citing Buffy and friends (with phone numbers and addresses provided) as a dangerous cult or some such, and trying to involve federal and even international authorities. (While part of me thinks the First was a lot weaker and more vulnerable than it let on...look how easily Lindsey bitch slapped it by making sure the medallion got to Sunnydale...and so wouldn't want to draw government attention to itself, I also think that would be pointless by the time everyone in fleeing the town!)
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Look, by this point in the series, you just accept parents are useless or name their daughter "Fred." Seriously though, upbringing was so important for Buffy, Kendra and Faith, yet it's abandoned for the Potentials.
 

Priceless

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Look, by this point in the series, you just accept parents are useless or name their daughter "Fred." Seriously though, upbringing was so important for Buffy, Kendra and Faith, yet it's abandoned for the Potentials.
I always thought this was deliberate. Season 7 was about going back to the beginning. From what I've heard Joss didn't want any parents on the show in the beginning. Joyce was necessary, but not a great mother in the early seasons. We saw little of Willow or Xander's parents, and what we did see was not good. So I think the potentials having no parents was actually a pretty cool call back to Joss' orginal ideas and in keeping with the S7 theme
 

buffy1990

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I always thought this was deliberate. Season 7 was about going back to the beginning. From what I've heard Joss didn't want any parents on the show in the beginning. Joyce was necessary, but not a great mother in the early seasons. We saw little of Willow or Xander's parents, and what we did see was not good. So I think the potentials having no parents was actually a pretty cool call back to Joss' orginal ideas and in keeping with the S7 theme
I'm okay with the parents not being a presence in S7, if there had been more explanation of how the potentials got there. Even without seeing Willow or Xander's parents we have an understanding of where they came from. I just found the potentials to have appeared and they're in a life or death battle but when one dies...what happens?
 

Priceless

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I'm okay with the parents not being a presence in S7, if there had been more explanation of how the potentials got there. Even without seeing Willow or Xander's parents we have an understanding of where they came from. I just found the potentials to have appeared and they're in a life or death battle but when one dies...what happens?
Are you looking for more 'reality' within the show? I'm happy to sacrifice that for the purpose of telling a story. A lot of people want a backstory for them, so they can care for them as individuals. That isn't an issue for me because I see meaning in their lack on individuality. They are both the audience who have been (and will be) empowered by Buffy and the show, and they also function as a Greek chorus, commenting on the show. I don't need them to be individuals to understand who and what they are, and really any backstory would probably bore me.
 

MarlieTheSlayer

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I would have liked to get a small throw away line about how they explained it to their parents. Like maybe they told them they were going on a school trip or something. I don't need a huge backstory (the scoobies already have barely enough screen time), but something would have been nice.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I also found the potentials really cheapened the whole ‘chosen one’ thing. Every episode more and more of them kept turning up and taking over the house. None of them really had likeable personalities.
They should have had maybe 5 of them at the house and focussed on getting to know them and maybe then it would have developed the potential storyline more.
Considering in season one it was ‘into every generation a Slayer is born...’ whereas season 7 it was basically every 5th girl was a slayer. Didn’t like it.
I agree with you. Though I think Faith throws up issues with the "Into every generation a Slayer is born..." because both Buffy, Kendra and Faith are the same generation, so are Buffy and Wood and Kennedy and Amanda etc. Buffy and Joyce are different generations. It makes sense that when a slayer in a generation snuffs it, then another one of that same generation would be called. How old does a generation have to be until the "calling" skips down to the next generation?

I think my biggest issue with the idea of the potentials is that, in the early seasons, it seemed like any girl could've been the slayer eg Willow could've been the slayer or Amy or Cordelia or Harmony etc, and that Buffy just happened to be the unlucky one that was chosen. However, in Season 7, you then get the potentials which suggest that it isn't any girl in the world any more but a select few which the Slayer then gets chosen from. What gives a potential the potential to be a Slayer. How is non-slayer Buffy any different from Willow?
 
caitaintdead
caitaintdead
So many questions! S7 hurts my brain.

buffy1990

"Every now and then, people surprise you."
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Are you looking for more 'reality' within the show? I'm happy to sacrifice that for the purpose of telling a story. A lot of people want a backstory for them, so they can care for them as individuals. That isn't an issue for me because I see meaning in their lack on individuality. They are both the audience who have been (and will be) empowered by Buffy and the show, and they also function as a Greek chorus, commenting on the show. I don't need them to be individuals to understand who and what they are, and really any backstory would probably bore me.
See, I felt that the story was lacking in this case because Buffy usually does a really nice job of not leaving so many things unanswered and I felt like the potentials arriving from all over the globe with no sense of them being anything more than pieces in an army left too much open to ignore. I think it would have been enough just to have one or two mention families or a life outside of this new mission, or even a line from Buffy that someone needs to be notified that a potential has died. It's not a deal-breaker on the season for me, but it would have been nice.
 
caitaintdead
caitaintdead
Agree. I didn't need every single detail spelled out. Just be lead into a semblance of reality.

TotallySpiked

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I agree with you. Though I think Faith throws up issues with the "Into every generation a Slayer is born..." because both Buffy, Kendra and Faith are the same generation, so are Buffy and Wood and Kennedy and Amanda etc. Buffy and Joyce are different generations. It makes sense that when a slayer in a generation snuffs it, then another one of that same generation would be called. How old does a generation have to be until the "calling" skips down to the next generation?

I think my biggest issue with the idea of the potentials is that, in the early seasons, it seemed like any girl could've been the slayer eg Willow could've been the slayer or Amy or Cordelia or Harmony etc, and that Buffy just happened to be the unlucky one that was chosen. However, in Season 7, you then get the potentials which suggest that it isn't any girl in the world any more but a select few which the Slayer then gets chosen from. What gives a potential the potential to be a Slayer. How is non-slayer Buffy any different from Willow?
It definately does make you wonder what the shadow men used as factors for deciding who would be predestined as a slayer or not. I’d also like to know what reasoning there is for which one is called at what time as well; or whether it was just chance.
For the fight against evil it would have logically made more sense for ALL girls to have the potential to be a slayer, not just a select few. Certainly would have made the job on the bringers harder if they were needing to kill all women in the entire world.
 

Priceless

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See, I felt that the story was lacking in this case because Buffy usually does a really nice job of not leaving so many things unanswered and I felt like the potentials arriving from all over the globe with no sense of them being anything more than pieces in an army left too much open to ignore. I think it would have been enough just to have one or two mention families or a life outside of this new mission, or even a line from Buffy that someone needs to be notified that a potential has died. It's not a deal-breaker on the season for me, but it would have been nice.
I think Buffy often leaves thing unanswered. The blood sacrifice in Season 5 being a major one - Dawn opens the portal and Buffy closes it - that's kept a lot of fans on this board occupied for years :) I just accept that for the purposes of a wonderful story there are questions that can never be fully answered/understood and it all comes down to opinion. I don't need to know anything more about the potentials then I already do, but I accept that not everything can work for everyone
 

AnthonyCordova

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Yeah, I also would have tossed out the potentials idea, as well as the First being the big bad. There are so many of them, and they take away so much screen time, that the major characters often take on completely secondary roles. On top of this is the issue that there are so many potentials that none of them can possibly be developed enough to make them relatable or likable. S7 is my least favorite season for these reasons.
 
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