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Should the AR have been between Anya and Xander?

DeadlyDuo

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We know what went down in Seeing Red between Spike and Buffy. Even though there was an inevitability about it due to the lack of boundaries in their "relationship", in my view it was an odd choice of storytelling since the writers were relying on the audience feeling sympathy for Spike in the next season and the AR could have completely scuppered that. There were other ways of pushing him to get a soul without resorting to the AR. Now the AR was based on Marti Noxon's experience where she was essentially the perpetrator and tried to have sex with an ex-boyfriend so having a female perpetrator might be a bit too close to home for her, especially if the audience reacted as negatively to it as they did, hence why the genders were flipped.

However, I think in some ways it would be "better" (for lack of a better word) to have the AR between Anya and Xander:

Firstly, Anya has a history of associating sex with love. She initially thought having sex with Xander one last time in THLOD would help her get over him but it didn't, then in WTWTA she fears that Xander wants to break up with her because they've not had sex in two days. Therefore, for Anya, having sex with Xander is a sign that he loves her.

Secondly, I dislike the notion that because Anya had sex with Spike, that was her "revenge" on Xander. Anya didn't sleep with Spike for revenge, they both sought comfort in each other. Xander had no right to act like he did since he was the one who broke up with Anya. In my view he lost all right to be upset about her sleeping with someone else when he ditched her at the altar.

But let's just think about that for a moment. The whole thing that led to the Spuffy AR was that Spike interpreted Buffy's reaction to him sleeping with Anya as a sign that she still cared about him. So it stands to reason that Anya might also interpret Xander's reaction as that he still cares about her. So what if Anya then decided to "prove" it? As a vengeance demon, she would be stronger than Xander plus she has a history of associating how much sex she and Xander are having with how much he loves her.

Male rape is a taboo subject, even today, so it would've been a really bold subject choice to actually acknowledge (and not sweep under the carpet unlike Faith's rape of Riley). Plus given the way that Anya gets unceremoniously killed off, that could be seen as her "comeuppance". As I said, having a female perpetrator may have been to close t home for MN particularly as the scene would be portrayed in a negative light. Season 7 could also then give Xander some screen time as he tries to deal with what happened and with Anya now around again.

Thoughts?
 

Anyanka Bunny Slayer

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Black Thorn
We know what went down in Seeing Red between Spike and Buffy. Even though there was an inevitability about it due to the lack of boundaries in their "relationship", in my view it was an odd choice of storytelling since the writers were relying on the audience feeling sympathy for Spike in the next season and the AR could have completely scuppered that. There were other ways of pushing him to get a soul without resorting to the AR. Now the AR was based on Marti Noxon's experience where she was essentially the perpetrator and tried to have sex with an ex-boyfriend so having a female perpetrator might be a bit too close to home for her, especially if the audience reacted as negatively to it as they did, hence why the genders were flipped.

However, I think in some ways it would be "better" (for lack of a better word) to have the AR between Anya and Xander:

Firstly, Anya has a history of associating sex with love. She initially thought having sex with Xander one last time in THLOD would help her get over him but it didn't, then in WTWTA she fears that Xander wants to break up with her because they've not had sex in two days. Therefore, for Anya, having sex with Xander is a sign that he loves her.

Secondly, I dislike the notion that because Anya had sex with Spike, that was her "revenge" on Xander. Anya didn't sleep with Spike for revenge, they both sought comfort in each other. Xander had no right to act like he did since he was the one who broke up with Anya. In my view he lost all right to be upset about her sleeping with someone else when he ditched her at the altar.

But let's just think about that for a moment. The whole thing that led to the Spuffy AR was that Spike interpreted Buffy's reaction to him sleeping with Anya as a sign that she still cared about him. So it stands to reason that Anya might also interpret Xander's reaction as that he still cares about her. So what if Anya then decided to "prove" it? As a vengeance demon, she would be stronger than Xander plus she has a history of associating how much sex she and Xander are having with how much he loves her.

Male rape is a taboo subject, even today, so it would've been a really bold subject choice to actually acknowledge (and not sweep under the carpet unlike Faith's rape of Riley). Plus given the way that Anya gets unceremoniously killed off, that could be seen as her "comeuppance". As I said, having a female perpetrator may have been to close t home for MN particularly as the scene would be portrayed in a negative light. Season 7 could also then give Xander some screen time as he tries to deal with what happened and with Anya now around again.

Thoughts?
Good God, that's a long post. 😅😜
 
DeadlyDuo
DeadlyDuo
I've made longer posts in the past :P

nightshade

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No, I don't think they would have had time to properly give the story justice if they had done that, and I don't think Anya could have stayed around afterwards either.
 

Taake

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I feel like it would have been an interesting way to take the story, and it could've worked maybe. I don't think it would've packed the same emotional punch though, partly because they're "sidekicks", but also because it feels like it would lack that element of violence which makes the AR truly disturbing (and realistic) as Spike almost overpowers Buffy. It's hard to see Anya really overpowering Xander in that way, though I suppose physically she could, so I feel like the story would require more build up of relentless behavior, rather than one violent act. Also, if she really can overpower Xander, how would he fight her off? I'm not sure where the scene would go if they literally tried to make it AR-y.

I'm also not sure it would serve the characters stories well. Anya equates sex with love, but it feels like her forcing herself on Xander would be out of character. Because she's, bottom line, kind of traumatized by rejection it seems unlikely that she would force herself on the person who rejected her. She became a vengeance demon and engaged in violence aimed at men, yes, but it never seemed to be of a sexual nature. Her power trip seems more intent on demasculating or ridiculing her victims in a sense. There's a grim sort of humor in the punishments she inflicts, it gives her a kind of distance from what she's doing, the very opposite of sexual violence which is very up close and personal, intimate if you will.

I'm not sure Anya's psychology really allows for that type of storyline, at least not without some serious build up first, which they didn't have time for.
 
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Black Thorn
I think the issue was more the writers overestimated how understanding the audience would be to Spike's position. Most people do not tolerate sexual assault at all (and quite rightly so), so I think changing it to Anya and Xander wouldn't have done much as Anya would still be trying to rape Xander. And Anya doesn't have the luxury of being soulless so there is no way she could come back from that. Anya likes sex definitely, but I don't think that's what she sees love in its entirety, going back to being a vengeance demon is a more believable response anyway.
Anyway, Xander is also pretty big compared to Anya so probably a lot stronger, whereas Spike and Buffy are a similar size and strength so I doubt it would have ever gotten as far as it did with Spike and Buffy.
 

white avenger

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Personally, I don't think that the AR should have happened at all, regardless of which couple was involved. It's only real purpose was to provide a catalyst that would convince Spike that he should do the unthinkable and actually fight for the right to have his soul returned. (That's canon, affirmed by Joss himself, Spike from the very beginning intended to get his soul. False leads fan wank, and plot twists to the contrary, SPIKE ALWAYS INTENDED TO GET HIS SOUL) I have no problem with the end result, Spike's soul, but I did then, do now, and always will believe that a better reason for his quest could have been found that trying to rape Buffy.It could have been simply a direct aftermath of "As You Were," based on Buffy's suddenly seeing Spike once more as an evil, soulless monster, rather than the friend and ally (okay, and lover) that he had become. Her statement, "I can't love you, and it's killing me..." not "I don't," but the somewhat more ambiguous "I can't," could have led him to believe that, if Buffy could love ensouled Angel, but couldn't love soulless Spike, the deciding factor was the soul. That simple, and that extreme. That, or any one of probably a dozen alternatives that Joss and the writers could have come up with would have worked better than what we saw in that episode.
 
one eyed chicklet
one eyed chicklet
If they managed to make it so Spike got rid of the chip and tried to kill one of the scoobies for whatever reason, it would have been so much better than the AR scene.

DeadlyDuo

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Personally, I don't think that the AR should have happened at all, regardless of which couple was involved. It's only real purpose was to provide a catalyst that would convince Spike that he should do the unthinkable and actually fight for the right to have his soul returned.
I agree about the AR shouldn't have happened. They could've had Spike do something which backfired and seriously hurt Dawn (who he cares about) to drive him to get a soul. I would've preferred Spike to stay soulless but if he had to get a soul then any other way than the AR would've sufficed.
 

Stephan

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I agree about the AR shouldn't have happened. They could've had Spike do something which backfired and seriously hurt Dawn (who he cares about) to drive him to get a soul. I would've preferred Spike to stay soulless but if he had to get a soul then any other way than the AR would've sufficed.
I still cannot understand how on earth they went ahead with this plot. They got lucky that JM was so popular and charismatic that he managed to get Spike kinda recover from that scene - but he did lose a lot of fans.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I still cannot understand how on earth they went ahead with this plot. They got lucky that JM was so popular and charismatic that he managed to get Spike kinda recover from that scene - but he did lose a lot of fans.
JM is the main reason Spike remains so popular because the writing in the later seasons did the character no favours. The AR could've backfired spectacularly if the audience had decided it was a step too far and that Spike was now irredeemable, especially as the writers were relying on the audience having sympathy for Spike in the following season as the First used him as a sleeper agent. "Rape is a special kind of evil" is a trope used in film and television and is often used to separate your real bad guys from your ones who are either "punch clock villains" or a about to pull a "heel face turn." It also goes hand in hand with "even evil has standards" and "crossing the moral event horizon". Essentially what it means is that a villain can murder a ton of red shirts and still be redeemable to the audience but the moment they rape, that's it, they're then irredeemable.

Angelus has raped but the reason why Angel isn't held to account is because they are treated as two separate characters when souled or unsouled. Spike doesn't get that distinction, so the AR was a risky move and, as you said, it's thanks to JM that Spike was able to recover from that scene.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Joss never learned from this. Rumour has it that if Firefly had lasted another season, reavers would have gang-raped Inara but she had either an infection they would get that they could not survive or a toxin that would kill them in short order, much like Faith's fight against Angelus - she got beaten badly but managed to poison him. in "Orpheus". Joss seems to think that rape scenes are OK because they are a great dramatic effect but he seems unaware that large numbers of his audience have been raped and they would utterly reject this.

I think the story between Anya and Xander played out as best it could. I don't see Anya repeating what Faith had done to Xander as being anything more than been there, done that and Xander was not traumatized by losing his virginity. I doubt anyone would understand what was going on if Anya raped Xander. Would he object? She had sex with him many times before. Would he think that he had been forgiven? It could be interpreted that way. I don't think you could make the story work because people would have all kinds of different interpretations of what was going on and those who were wrong would feel annoyed, just like those who think Spike went to Africa to get his chip out were annoyed.

The AR between Spike and Buffy was the fruition of a well-developed plot that had Buffy ashamed of herself for being caught with Spike in "As You Were", telling Spike goodbye, more to convince herself that she hadn't fallen that far and Spike assuming that this was just a momentary result of social unacceptability and they would be back together after a few days. A great lead-up to the AR but a lot of people would dismiss Spike as garbage after that.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Would he object? She had sex with him many times before.
But then the same could be said of Buffy and Spike. In fact Buffy has said no to Spike before but then sought him out to have sex with him of her own volition. Just because there was a previous sexual relationship doesn't mean it's not AR. Why should it be considered different just because the perpetrator is female and the victim male?

Would he think that he had been forgiven? It could be interpreted that way.
So Anya raping Xander should be taken as a sign that she forgives him for his "transgression" against her and that means everything is okay?

That would be an extremely problematic interpretation of events and falls under the misconception that men can't be raped by women. Perhaps that is what the writers believe, hence why MN is so blasé about what she tried to do to an ex-boyfriend and why Faith's rape of Riley (and by extension Buffy) is simply brushed under the carpet.
 
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No. The writers have never put as much servicing into a character as they have with Spike. They went into the AR knowing they would then continue to write Spike in the most favourable way they possible could. And they did. I don't believe that James is as good an actor as a lot of others think. Spike had great writing from the get go. It makes a huge difference in how people see a character.

If it was any other characters doing an AR scene, the villain would never have been turned into the victim in S7 and that was the whole point for Spike and AR.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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Because she's, bottom line, kind of traumatized by rejection it seems unlikely that she would force herself on the person who rejected her. She became a vengeance demon and engaged in violence aimed at men, yes, but it never seemed to be of a sexual nature. Her power trip seems more intent on demasculating or ridiculing her victims in a sense. There's a grim sort of humor in the punishments she inflicts, it gives her a kind of distance from what she's doing, the very opposite of sexual violence which is very up close and personal, intimate if you will.
I think this is on point. Becoming a vengeance demon was a way for Anya to transcend from being a human, which is why humanity feels so alien to her after a thousand years of holding herself above it.

Spike inflicts violence upon the objects of his love, but the aim is always to make them love him again. Whenever he fails, he mopes for a bit, and then he tries again. His methods are varied. He tries seduction, he offers gifts, he tries to make himself impressive and sometimes he resorts to brute force.

Love rarely makes Spike happy. He is quite miserable for most of the show, both with Drusilla and with Buffy. But misery and humiliation do not deter him in the least. He is hooked on those intermittent moments of reinforcing validation.

When Anya becomes human again, she is kinda like a child, much like Angel is. She very carefully dips her toe before going in. Her armour rarely comes down. Her final wedding vow speech tells of how much she has changed since meeting Xander. After he betrays her, she escapes right back into her self.

I don't think the vengeance demons think much about what made them become demons to being with. With the centuries, it just becomes a job. Anya's hatred of men in S3 feels quite forced compared to S7 when it is more fresh. "Men are evil. Do you want to go with the prom with me?" sounds like someone who's been repeating the company line so many times it has lost its meaning.

Does Halfrek still remember or care about the thing that made her swear vengeance on parents and the guardians of children? Or did she forget along the way?

Bottom line: Making Anya sexually assault Xander would just have been cruel and senseless storytelling, and removing Spike's assault of Buffy would have unraveled the entire season.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I don't believe that James is as good an actor as a lot of others think. Spike had great writing from the get go. It makes a huge difference in how people see a character.
Good writing is only half the formula. A good actor can elevate a bad script whilst a bad one can drag a good script down. JM is a good actor who managed to turn what was meant to be a half-season recurring role into a 5 Season regular role (Buffy Seasons 4-7 and Angel Season 5). Spike was supposed to be killed off during Season 2 but proved so popular with the audience that he was kept around. That's thanks to JM's performance.

For all we know, Kennedy could've been written with the intention of being a sassy, take no nonsense character (in her earlier episodes). However, the actress' performance turned her into a whiny self-entitled brat which the writers then had to acknowledge. They probably thought they were writing a great new character to be Willow's new love interest after Tara, yet Kennedy is easily one of the most disliked characters in the Buffyverse.

A similar situation occurs with MT and Dawn. Initially Dawn was written to be younger before MT was cast so as a result the earlier episodes show Dawn eating ice cream like a moron before the character was written a little more age appropriate. However, MT's performance keeps Dawn on the right side of likeable when she so easily could've been really irritating with the wrong actress.

You find it with kid characters in movies and tv show. Some child actors keep their characters on the right side of naïve, others just come across as stupid which makes them dislikeable.

Love rarely makes Spike happy. He is quite miserable for most of the show, both with Drusilla and with Buffy.
I agree about Buffy but disagree about Dru since Sprusilla are shown to be quite happy together until Angelus shows up on the scene. However there are other issues going on there, the point is that Dru never ditches Spike for Angelus (since she is sleeping with both men), and things only fall apart between them after Spike's alliance with Buffy because it is played as a betrayal eg "I told her it didn't mean anything, that I was thinking of her the whole time" (which is actually kind of true).
 
S
Stephan
JM is an excellent actor, he managed to become the champion of the story, not a small accomplishment. Of course, people will always argue that it was the writing, but a good line can fall flat or become iconic depending on who (and how) says it.

WillowFromBuffy

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I agree about Buffy but disagree about Dru since Sprusilla are shown to be quite happy together until Angelus shows up on the scene. However there are other issues going on there, the point is that Dru never ditches Spike for Angelus (since she is sleeping with both men), and things only fall apart between them after Spike's alliance with Buffy because it is played as a betrayal eg "I told her it didn't mean anything, that I was thinking of her the whole time" (which is actually kind of true).
It is simple mathematics. There are more scenes of Angel cuckolding Spike than there are sweet scenes of Spike and Dru together. And Spike is clearly not happy getting "pity access" and having to watch Angel be the man-pire of the house. Spike wants Dru all to herself.

We can assume that Spike and Drusilla were quite happy together from the Boxer Rebellion and until they arrive in Sunnydale, but we never get to see them together during this time. When we see Spike, he is usually unhappy, and it is mostly because Dru or Buffy aren't given him enough attention.
 

DeadlyDuo

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It is simple mathematics. There are more scenes of Angel cuckolding Spike than there are sweet scenes of Spike and Dru together. And Spike is clearly not happy getting "pity access" and having to watch Angel be the man-pire of the house. Spike wants Dru all to herself.

We can assume that Spike and Drusilla were quite happy together from the Boxer Rebellion and until they arrive in Sunnydale, but we never get to see them together during this time. When we see Spike, he is usually unhappy, and it is mostly because Dru or Buffy aren't given him enough attention.
It is Angelus who refers to it as "pity access". The point is that Dru still CHOOSES to sleep with Spike of her own volition despite Angelus being on the scene. Angelus doesn't have "exclusive access" to her despite being the alpha vampire. Now Spike isn't happy with Angelus sleeping with Dru, but given the underlying issues surrounding the Angelus/Dru dynamic, that might not all be down to jealousy (even if part of it is).

I think your "mathematics" is flawed. By that logic, we could say that Willow and Tara didn't kiss until Forever despite being in a relationship for over a year because we didn't see them kiss between Hush and then. They didn't have sex until OMWF because we didn't see them either before or after the act where it is made clear that is what they're going to do/have done. Sure, the magic sessions in Season 4 were a metaphor for their blossoming relationship but it was still just magic.

Just because screen time is devoted to a certain aspect in relation to the story, doesn't mean that is all there is to it.

@Stephan AH got the role of Willow because of how she delivered a particular line in her audition. The scene was the discussion of the flushed Barbie where Buffy asks if Willow got it back. AH said "most of it" in an upbeat voice which the writers liked. Another actress could've delivered the line in a downbeat voice. Same line ergo same writing, but different performance.
 
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FaithLehane16

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No because I highly doubt that either Anya or Xander would be up for that. Xander was trying to keep his distance and was feeling sorry for what he did, even though he thought he was doing the right thing. It would also be so unlikely for Anya because she went back to the vengeance fold, and had her pride. Plus we never seen Anya or Xander say no to having sex to each other, but end up doing it like the way Buffy has been giving Spike mixed signals.
 
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