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Top 5 poorly-handled things from the Buffyverse shows

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It's important to be able to critique what you love, so here we go. What are the moments, decisions, or general stuff happening throughout BtvS and AtS that you believe could have been written and/or approached in a better manner? What bothered you the most in the Buffyverse?

My list includes:

1. Not exploring the AR from Buffy's perspective. Bonus point for not having any conversation between her and Spike about it in season 7.

2. The treatment of the female leads on AtS, most notably Cordelia's arc. There's much to be said about the turn that her character's story took, but even leaving that aside for a moment the fact that I have to refer to her using the term mystical pregnancies, as in plural, is irksome in itself. There's also Fred and how the focus stopped being on her journey of adapting, growing, and learning to live with all the trauma, and shifted instead to her being the common object of affection for two guys. And, of course, they made the love triangle all about them, not her.

3. The execution of Empty Places. This is one of the most controversial episodes of the show and I think part of the reason for that is that the characters have legitimate complaints regarding Buffy's attitude, but the way in which everything plays out isn't organic (Dawn kicking Buffy out of the house is still something I find hard to believe) and it ends up feeling contrived. It should be an opportunity for Buffy to confront her wrongs and learn from them for the finale, which she does nonetheless, but everyone's terrible behaviour and their extreme, thoughtless solution distract from that. The characters saying, thinking, and acting awfully towards each other without ever truly geting a resolution on that, since the show is ending, is a sad way in which to leave them after all these years. It also doesn't help how so much of the season was focused on the Potentials instead of the core group, including the mutiny itself for which they are the catalysts.

4. The slight overlook of Angel's development and history throughout his show in episodes such as the last two in Buffy and in parts of the 5th season of AtS.

5. Reducing the richer, more nuanced conflict between Spike and Angel to girl-drama. I'm looking at you, Destiny. Somewhat related to that, I'm also not a fan of how they turn into petty, entitled children in episodes such as Chosen and The Girl in Question. I know it's mostly played for laughs, but I wish they adressed that properly since every single guy that had feelings for Buffy exhibits this toxic attitude. *Xander and Riley joined the chat*

Honorable mention:

Lying and deliberately misleading the audience, creating unecessary confusion in the process. Spike's journey at the end of the 6th season and the writer's comments accompanying it are explicit in that sense. But there are also small moments, such as Dawn's robotic weirdness in No Place Like Home when she is alone with Joyce, a scene that exists for the sole purpose of building up artificial tension. I'm also a bit conflicted regarding the withhold of information at the end of AtS and the avalanche that follows in a short stretch of time, but I also kind of like it so we'll leave it at that. Oh and I have to give a shout out to a special variation of this issue, unfortunately deserving of its own category given the frequency with which one encounters it in the Whedonverse:

The emotional manipulation of suddenly putting people together after a long anticipation (Fred's rushed, yet perfectly timed reciprocation of Wesley's feelings for her, anyone?) and showing them being happy just to maximise the impact of the death of one of them. Bonus point for adding Tara in the intro of Seeing Red.
 

Puppet

Actual size.
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Black Thorn
  1. Connor - I want nothing more than to meet the writers of Angel S4 and ask them why none of them - not a single one of them - gave Connor any character advancement whatsoever. And why, whenever he got remotely close to some character growth, they reset him to his 'I hate Angel and Holtz is my real dad and all demons are evil' setting. Ugh!
  2. AR - You want to have Spike go get a soul? Fine. But come up with a reason that isn't completely OOC or go back several episodes and put in stuff that makes it believable on a re-watch. Literally, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever that that was something that Spike would do, at that point, or for those 'reasons'. And agree with your number one point, too, Bitca.
  3. Bangel - Because the writers didn't want to alienate a chunk of the viewers, they didn't let Buffy and Angel move fully on from one another, even though they also, at the same time, tried to have them move on. Every time Angel has shown up in Buffy post-S3, or anytime Buffy shows up in Angel, they both are regressed and the writers completely ignore canon stuff and character growth just to please the shippers. Angel shows up in Forever to comfort Buffy? Fine, let's forget that he very recently boned his dead ex/Sire and went through a huge thing because he's cuter when he's pining for his Slayer ex. Ugh!
  4. Dawn - The writers clearly weren't expecting to have a S6 when they wrote S5, because they had no clue what to do with Dawn once the Glory/Key storyline was over with. By the time the comics came out, they had some good ideas, but for two whole seasons, she was just kind of there. And that's coming from someone who adores the character!
  5. Cordelia - At the end because this is a popular complaint. I'd rather she be killed off - or never return from ascending - than what happened to her, regardless of how good of an episode You're Welcome is.
 
B
Btvs fan
Even Vincent Karthiser agrees with. Hes been very public with how his views on his character failed

Cheese Slices

A Bidet of Evil
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France
1. I'll echo Ats' treatment of its female character and just the general weird masculinity on steroids that sometimes is displayed on the show. It's sometimes hard to believe it came from the same people who'd made Buffy.

2. I want to say almost all of Anya's storyline ? She had a lot of potential but they made her the comedy mule instead and gave her intermitent development. Her gleefully recounting her vengeance days without any remorse for 2 seasons and the Scoobies not batting an eye also causes some serious double standards issues (mainly Angel and Spike).

3. The Willow goes dark storyline was one hair's breadth away from being one of the greatest storylines of the show : the writers actually (mostly) understood what they were talking about and where they were going, but the execution was poorly handled.

4. The general lack of follow up re. sexual assault (the Pack, Consequences, Go Fish,...) When the AR is the one for which the consequences are handled the best, you should ask yourself some questions.

5. Gotta agree with @Puppet . The writers pretty much pissed on what they were trying to convey during the first three(ish) seasons. I know part of the B/A soulmate fantasy is fanon, but the writers definitely fanned the flames to avoid discontent and their story got less interesting (to me) as a result
 

DeadlyDuo

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1. The AR- Though there is an inevitability to it given Spuffy's lack of boundaries and the fact that Buffy was very inconsistent on saying no and meaning it (this isn't victim blaming but it is hard to ignore when she tells Spike she doesn't want to sleep with him then the next minute she's seeking him out for sex), from a story point stepping stone, it doesn't make sense. The writers want to a) push Spike into getting a soul and b) elicit sympathy from the viewers for him in Season 7. There are other ways to push him to get a soul eg he tries to get revenge on Buffy and Dawn (who we've seen Spike care about) is the one who ends up getting seriously hurt. Also the "rape is a special kind of evil" trope is often used to show that a character has crossed the "moral event horizon" and is past the point of no return. Why should the viewers care about Spike when he almost raped Buffy? It's a testament to JM's acting that Spike maintains any likeability after that scene.

2. The soul canon- A soul is either the worst thing that can be inflicted on a vampire (hence why the gypsies cursed Angelus with one) or getting one is a noble and romantic gesture, It can't be both. Either the gypsies were giving Angelus the opportunity to be a better man, or Spike basically seriously self-harmed in an attempt to be considered "acceptable" by Buffy.

3. Faith raping Riley- It's not even acknowledged as such and Faith suffers no consequences.

4. Spuffy- There are times where you can see why people would ship Spuffy, but the way Spike was reduced to Buffy's lapdog, the way Season 6 went down and the way they retconned the Sprusilla break up so that it was all about Spuffy does not endear the ship to me.

5. Kennedy- Whoever thought she was a good idea was very very wrong. There are so many problems with Kennedy.
 
Puppet
Puppet
I also forgot to add how they make Riley out to be a good guy, but he totally isn't.
Cheese Slices
Cheese Slices
forgot about Faith/Riley when bringing up sexual assault...that's how not dealt with it was
B
Btvs fan
Agree with you 100% about Faith/Riley
GreyWalker1958
GreyWalker1958
I'd say the Faith and Riley bit did creep up in A&F S10 with Faith still regretting it while around Sam to rescue him

spikenbuffy

"Why can't I stay"
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1 Xander 's betray in Becoming : It had to wait until S7 to finally heard what Xander had done.
2 Spike's realisation of feelings for Buffy by having a sex dream in S5.
3 Anya : Xander is perceived as a hypocrite for being in couple with remorseless girlfriend who says to him how she killed some of her victims with irony.
4 AR
5 Buffy getting back together with Angel in S3 ; Buffy decided to get away from Angel because "what she wants from him she can never have". After S2, she seemed to have understood that with the soul cursed, their love is impossible and yet in Helpless she got back together with him without an explanation. I get that Angel was supposed to go in L.A for ATS and it finally didn't happened until the end of S3.
Now don't get me wrong, I love Bangel in S3 because it's less melodramatic and Bangel is like partners in this season.


HM : Cordelia forgetting all about her feeling betrayed by Angel in Disharmony in receiving clothes.
 
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Puppet
Puppet
Agree about 5, not to mention their on-again/off-again relationship in that season, like we're watching a sitcom!

Athene

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Sineya
1. Spuffy s7
It was completely inappropriate to have Spike return with a soul and have Buffy spend the season defending him, choosing him over everyone else and just generally being his biggest fan after what had happened in season 6. Spike and Buffy just spend the season being each other's enablers and there were so many ways to bring Spike back into the show that wouldn't have felt so insulting.
Bring Spike back with a soul, but then he should have taken his place as a friend in Buffy's life instead of always being beaten up or tortured in some way (or dying) just so we can have scenes of Buffy fawning over him so that people can ship them ☹

2. Anya's status as mass murderer being ignored or made into a joke. One episode after 4 seasons of this character does not make up for it.

3. Willow being suddenly 'gay'.
I'm fine with Willow being gay and accept that she is but I feel that as an audience we were owed at least an explanation of sorts for her relationship with Oz and crush on Xander. The problem is that for all intents and purposes the character of Willow in the beginning was straight. Willow was written and performed as straight so to say she was 'always gay' is just technically not true.

4. Angel's visit in 'The Yoko Factor'.

5. Xander's hate for Angel and Spike deserved more nuance and attention.
 
HowiMetdaSlayer
HowiMetdaSlayer
I think Willow's bi or pan
B
Btvs fan
Agreed about Anya

Btvs fan

Scooby
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Other posters have already said many of my picks but I'd add

Angel/Buffy Lolita scene in Becoming. Joss obviously thought he was clever doing this but If your gonna market it as a Teen romance , make no mistake B/A was marketed huge at the time, this is not clever its just gross.

The Angel crew joining Wolfram and Hart. I get Angel doing it and even Wesley but the show never gives a reason why Fred (whose character was shown to be very judgemental) or Lorne or Gunn do so.

Those Lawyers were gonna die anyway line. Urghh this was a pure cop out line for Angel's actions 😐

Buffy committing attempted murder. Joss says he didn't have Faith Die because he didn't want Buffy a murderer. Well news flash Attempted murder is not ok either but apparently it is if your Buffy.

Hank Summers being retconned into a deadbeat Dad because the plot needed him too.

Writers views of Riley- seriously what the hell did they see in him 🤷‍♂️

Glory not following through on her threat in Checkpoint. It just makes her look pathetic.

Killing off Maggie Walsh and replacing her with Adam .... yikes ☹
 
DeadlyDuo
DeadlyDuo
Completely agree about Hank.

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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  1. Season 7 Spuffy - I could write whole essays about how badly handled the "relationship" is in Season 7 but my biggest gripe is the way Buffy was forced to coddle and prop up Spike after everything he put her through the previous season, not to mention she got zero focus after the AR, with the show completely ignoring her trauma in order to "redeem" Spike. He should either never have returned in Season 7 or they should have been nothing more than friends - and even that's pushing it.
  2. Connor - as others have pointed out, Connor's arc was very badly handled, which is a shame, because all the potential was there, the show just never capitalized on it. I think they handle the character best during his few appearances in Season 5, but it's a pity that it took so long to get there.
  3. Willow's Sexuality - I'm well aware that the 90s/2000s were a different time and LGBT characters weren't allowed the same type of freedom they are on TV today, but the sudden "Gay now!" portrayal of Willow's sexuality was clumsy and is the reason why there's still so much debate over whether she's gay or bisexual.
  4. Cordelia's Seasons 3/4 Arc - Poor Cordy. AtS did such a great job with her character in Seasons 1 and 2 and then the slow assassination of her character took over. Season 4 is just a mess in general, but her characterisation in Season 3 is also really poor, especially since they changed her character mostly to be a "suitable" Love Interest for Angel, which was really grating.
  5. Fresley/Funn - This should never have been a triangle and was inserted purely for drama. After building up Fred and Gunn for the latter half of Season 3 and developing it into such a beautiful and equal pairing, there was no reason to decimate it for a ship with very little development. Then there was the horrible handling of Fred/Wes in Season 5, and the way in which Fred was shot, held hostage, violated and murdered purely so that Wesley could evolve as a character. Also decimating a loving and equal interracial relationship for a white dude's story? Little uncomfortable.
 
Puppet
Puppet
Total agreement, all around!

katmobile

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1) Whedonverse so white - California is ethically diverse Sunnydale not so much - also we have bad Jamaican accents, bad hair care puns, in Rona and Forrest two of the most loathsome characters in the Buffyverse. Why couldn't Gram have been black instead.

2) Erasure of Xander assault by Faith - people like bang on about Spuffy but at least were shown Buffy getting a psychotic flashback and her clearly in the early episodes torn between pity, realisation he's trying combined with a desire to keep distance. It annoys me generally Faith's abusive behaviour isn't held against her in the same way but what is bad in context that the trauma Xander suffered in almost being either raped or murdered or both is never mentioned and Faith even jokes about having him first. It's not more excusable if he doesn't happen to the main character m'kay.

3) ironically considering number two Xander the chavanistic hodini - there is stuff he says and does in the first two seasons he gets away with which should have been called out on.

4) Rudeness towards fans - people had a right to be annoyed and upset by the events of Seeing Red. Yes Joss they didn't experience death IRL but you're not part of the minority banging up against shitty writing tropes. You don't know what it is to see the people who represent you killed off. Also if you don't want people to sympathise with a character don't make them sympathetic. If you want people to like a character make them likeable and interesting - don't make fans feel shitty if they don't see things your way.

5) Season four Cordy arc - you ruined a character who up to that point you developed nicely - golf clap.
 

thrasherpix

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Okay, so skipping what I'd change in general, and also skipping season 7 for the most (since I'd be here all day if I included that season--and as just a brief example off the top of my head, the "drowning Spike" goes to show how tired of the show the writers were that they couldn't even remember their own basics about vampire physiology, just contrived drama, and I bet even the vast majority of fanfic writers wouldn't make mistakes such as that, with that scene not at all unique to season 7, nor is it the primary reason why I loathe the season since the odd glitch here and there, like Sunnydale a coastal town in at least one episode and implied in others while surrounded by desert in others happens in other seasons, it just reaches new levels of not caring about continuity and consistency this season worse than all the other seasons combined), and speaking on what I saw as the series handling badly...(though much could've been fixed if they had a series Bible beforehand rather than letting multiple writers, each with a different idea on even the most basic things, worked or defined, write so that we got all these inconsistencies in the first place. But "drowning Spike" is a new low on that, if perhaps their own view on "going with what's cool and dramatic than what is established.")



The AR. It was executed in a way unlike before. It was long, it had no music, it was under harsh lights, it had Buffy crying and acting like a victim. In short, they rubbed our faces in it.

At first I thought it was gratuitous meant to be "edgy" through shock value, though since then heard an interview in saying that they felt they had to rub it in our faces how toxic the Spuffy of this season was because too many were sighing wistfully over it, loving it rather than disturbed by it. Unfortunately, this not only still failed for many, but made it so that not everyone can watch it (it put James Marsters into therapy, imagine what it can do with those that this was too real for). I can barely watch it. I'm glad I started with season 1 because if I'd started with season 6 (as I almost did, invited to watch it with others when it was airing) I doubt I'd have ever given the show a chance.

(Also, the keeping it a secret, which if the writers were trying to show how toxic Spuffy had become this season then Buffy keeping secrets should've been dealt with more. In real life, those who experience such things are encouraged to come forward and seek help, and certainly not expose others to danger or to romanticize it, and yet not only does Buffy get away with doing this, but many will defend her doing so, and forget that she knew how to talk to others and warn them when Angelus became a problem, though with difficulty--it was romances she kept hidden when others would react badly, not evil. I hope Buffy Studies in colleges consider the audience as much as the material as it's worth exploring and might give interesting insights into our society and why it is the way it is.)

On top of that it's incongruous with say The Pack where it wasn't rubbed in our faces and Buffy was glib about the entire thing as she's a superhero who was literally more scared for Xander than herself, or in Go Fish where any such attempt was quickly aborted...at least if one doesn't count the fish-jocks on the coach (which I personally didn't understand until others pointed it out and even then didn't believe it--some people just see sex and rape everywhere because their own minds are obsessed with it--though after a rewatch of the constant juvenile humor I do think that the gang rape of the coach heard but not seen was the joke/crap they got past the radar, in which case, that was a remarkably blasé reaction on Buffy and Xander's part, and that can be included on my list of where the show really messed up).

Still, I'd go with the AR as it showcases that Spike is still a soulless monster. It's just if they had to go there, it SHOULD have been dealt with more in the following season, but it wasn't. Well, IMO, having a brief flashback or two (if they were even that) does NOT count. Instead, it's Spike's journey (and nothing wrong with including that, but it should've been more about Buffy's journey.)


About the only thing I will say about season 7 is connected to that. While Spike was downgraded from psychopath to jerk, I really couldn't tell much difference between him and chipped Spike of season 5 (plus...nope, won't go there, I'll be here all day, though I will say Spike seems to forget--or maybe he's twisting the truth along with the knife, which would be a demon Spike thing to do--that he hunted Nikki down, not that Nikki was still out patrolling, sometimes even taking her child along with her). Which is ironic, because Spike should be different and yet he was far too familiar--while the rest of the cast were like strangers to me (and for the first time I disliked Buffy as a character). If that was character growth then growth is not always a good thing (Xander was the only one who benefited from it).

I've said before how they could've changed this for me and won't again here, especially as there's just too much to disentangle in season 7 anyway. (I did finally see Spike as a truly ensoulled being in Angel season 5, but even then it took awhile.)



I will add my own headcanon for why Spike wasn't dusted after what he pulled in Out of My Mind: long story short, monk mind control of them all with Spike as a brilliant backup plan on the monk's part. However, upon my first viewing of season 5 I kept wondering why Spike was still walking around for so many episodes after that (it was a similar WTF feeling as when the werewolf is about to pounce on Willow, but at the last moment catches the whiff of something and wanders off, leaving Willow free to run away, it was a feeling much like that which just didn't feel right for me over and over and over again), and giving SOME rationale (at least admitting they don't know why, should they be worried?) could've smoothed that over for me.



The retcon of magic through the series. It doesn't make sense when put side by side. (And I just can't resist pointing out that if magic = drugs, then the "empowering" message of season 7 includes that an addict doing her drug of choice can not only save the day, but also the world... :D )

I've heard it said that the original plan was to have Willow corrupted by her own power (so hubris, like Faith in s3) but she felt the audience wouldn't forgive her character (though they did Faith). That's too bad, IMO. And I'll break with my "not saying how I'd change it" here by saying IF they were going to go down the magic = drugs then it should've been a literal drug that slowly changed Willow (starting in the first ep where she "took a little something to help my magic" and, like drugs, created dependency on it so that the more she took, the more she needed it for even the simplest magicks, which would create a personality crisis in her), rather than the Reefer Madness BS that, to me, felt almost like a parody of afterschool specials where a hit of a magic crack has her wondering the back alleys (and with that way of speaking...) stealing cars and laughing like a loon over it. (I'll also point out that even many who consider drug abuse and addiction a serious problem also consider Reefer Madness an embarrassment to their cause.)



As I'm tired now I'll just say the romances (especially how they start). Since it's hardly unique, it may be a trope taught in the film schools, and perhaps it does work for most people. It makes me think people are just obsessed with sex and that "the end of the world" or whatever is just another excuse for it, though I know heavy anxiety doesn't put ME in the mood (and it makes me morbidly curious how romance works for Joss and the writers, male and female, in real life). Going to the bars to get laid doesn't work for me (and seems ridiculous to assume one would find Mr. Right there), and I say this not to look down on those who do (I dare say I'm less inhibited than many of them, actually, though I don't feel the compulsions many do and can control them when I do), but that I'm different enough from a great many people that what works for them on TV in this regard isn't likely to work on me.

For the most part, the start of the romances produce the most cringe from me--be it Angel or Spike falling for Buffy or Cordy & Xander, and others--but again, I've seen the same and worse on plenty of other popular shows. Maybe I just diverge enough for the norm for it to not to appeal to me.

But that said, there ARE romances on other shows and movies that do appeal to me greatly, including in how they develop into a thing in the first place, so it's not that I just don't like romance/sex. It's that I don't like much of it on Buffy and Angel, tolerating it rather than enjoying it for the most part. (But kudos on where the writers themselves did make fun of it, like in the Zeppo as shown from Xander's POV, or when Cordy and Wes mock Bangel to explain it to Fred in that Angel episode.)

Also: bisexuality should be a thing, not that a person is straight until they're gay and then there's no going back. I'm sure that a reboot wouldn't have this problem, at least.

Final word: for me anyway, Cangel ruined Cordelia for me (and brought Angel down a little bit in my eyes as well, but I suppose love and jealousy making him highly irrational and borderline insane is in character for him), though it's complicated by the Jasmine factor. It's not that I'd be against the ship, mind you, but I did not like who Cordelia became. I liked that she became a better person late in season 1 and continuing through season 2, and for understandable reasons to me. But season 3 and especially 4 Cordelia...she wasn't the Cordelia I loved from the first 2 seasons even before Jasmine assumed direct control in season 4. But I guess that's a quibble. At least I'm not in a minority here (though maybe my own personal reasons for not liking it might be).
 
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Altoz

Potential
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1. AR: This was gratuitous and completely unnecessary. I wanted to stake Spike at the end of that scene and it killed any residual sympathy I had for the character.
2. Spuffy S7: And yet Buffy defends him throughout that season??!!
3 The Watchers Council: In any other organisation, Quentin Travers would be been overthrown in a coup long before Season 7, when he finally got his comeuppance.

4. Dawn's lack of character development after S6.
5. Riley, Kennedy: Lack of character development, resulting in absence of POV empathy with them and in Riley's case, rapid series exit.
6. Buffy's lack of African-American, Hispanic or Native American characters. In the case of Nikki Wood, a fascinating character in her own right, this was criminal. Seriously, she deserved at least a television movie of her own, expanding on what her life and times were like. And of course, Principal Wood just had to be her son. While it was good to see a professional African-American character, Wood suffered from being shoehorned into Season 7 and not having enough character development of his own. Angel did a little better when they introduced Gunn and made him a mostly likeable and believable character. Who never had any significant romantic interest after Fred. And for a series set in California, where are the Hispanic characters?
7. Connor's lack of character development in Season 4. I hate and want to kill my father may all be very oedipal, but it is no substitute for significant movement in that character's life. Which explains his sidelining.
8. Let's Kill Lindsey: Not Fade Away gave no motive for the execution of Lindsey MacDonald, or context for his abrupt disposal.
9. Nina: Why was the character introduced? What was her background? How did she become a werewolf? Why is she involved with Angel? Talk about shoehorning.
10. Xander's absence of response to Anya's death: Hello? Earth to carpenter stud! Andrew is more grief-stricken about your girlfriend and ex-fiancee's death than you are, bozo! At least break down or show that she actually meant something to you! Look at how Buffy reacted to Angel;'s assumed death, or Willow's transformation into Darkwillow. X-man's reaction is as wooden as his construction material.
 
RachM
RachM
The episode in which Nina is introduced shows her being bitten by a werewolf, hence how she became one; she became involved with Angel because she liked him and he liked her.
B
Btvs fan
The Anya reason was because he was running over in the script so Joss said he used short hand for them

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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Still, shoehorning was a major problem for plot and character development in the final seasons of both Buffy and Angel.
I don't really feel she was "shoehorned" in. I mean, she only had a handful of appearances and she didn't take up much screen time. Plus, it was kind of nice to see Angel have a light, carefree connection with someone sweet, especially after the soap opera that was Season 4.

But if we're talking general shoehorning, there are definite characters that fit the bill *cough*Potentials*cough*
 

katmobile

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1. AR: This was gratuitous and completely unnecessary. I wanted to stake Spike at the end of that scene and it killed any residual sympathy I had for the character.
2. Spuffy S7: And yet Buffy defends him throughout that season??!!
3 The Watchers Council: In any other organisation, Quentin Travers would be been overthrown in a coup long before Season 7, when he finally got his comeuppance.

4. Dawn's lack of character development after S6.
5. Riley, Kennedy: Lack of character development, resulting in absence of POV empathy with them and in Riley's case, rapid series exit.
6. Buffy's lack of African-American, Hispanic or Native American characters. In the case of Nikki Wood, a fascinating character in her own right, this was criminal. Seriously, she deserved at least a television movie of her own, expanding on what her life and times were like. And of course, Principal Wood just had to be her son. While it was good to see a professional African-American character, Wood suffered from being shoehorned into Season 7 and not having enough character development of his own. Angel did a little better when they introduced Gunn and made him a mostly likeable and believable character. Who never had any significant romantic interest after Fred. And for a series set in California, where are the Hispanic characters?
7. Connor's lack of character development in Season 4. I hate and want to kill my father may all be very oedipal, but it is no substitute for significant movement in that character's life. Which explains his sidelining.
8. Let's Kill Lindsey: Not Fade Away gave no motive for the execution of Lindsey MacDonald, or context for his abrupt disposal.
9. Nina: Why was the character introduced? What was her background? How did she become a werewolf? Why is she involved with Angel? Talk about shoehorning.
10. Xander's absence of response to Anya's death: Hello? Earth to carpenter stud! Andrew is more grief-stricken about your girlfriend and ex-fiancee's death than you are, bozo! At least break down or show that she actually meant something to you! Look at how Buffy reacted to Angel;'s assumed death, or Willow's transformation into Darkwillow. X-man's reaction is as wooden as his construction material.
The water Spike was dunked in was supposed to be holy water originally but the censors said no so no they didn't forget vampire pyschology. even if you don't breathe being water boarded probably still isn't pleasant.
 
TriBel
TriBel
He's trying to be a man...not a monster. It makes sense he'd respond like a man. There's a number of ways the scene can be accommodated. Even holy water fits in with notions of baptism and rebirth - rife throughout 7.

katmobile

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I don't really feel she was "shoehorned" in. I mean, she only had a handful of appearances and she didn't take up much screen time. Plus, it was kind of nice to see Angel have a light, carefree connection with someone sweet, especially after the soap opera that was Season 4.

But if we're talking general shoehorning, there are definite characters that fit the bill *cough*Potentials*cough*
The potentials were there to show Buffy's legacy as the theme of season seven was empowering others. I know people didn't like them I know they have good reasons in some cases but their function was fairly obvious.
 

DeadlyDuo

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(it put James Marsters into therapy, imagine what it can do with those that this was too real for).
It probably felt very real to him which is why it sent him to therapy. He's the one having to pin SMG to the floor, trying to prise her legs apart, ripping the bath robe she's wearing, all whilst she's crying and begging him to stop.

After the scene was done, she was having to reassure him that he didn't actually hurt her. JM is a very nice guy so for him to have to do that to someone, even though it is only acting, was probably deeply troubling for him.

(Also, the keeping it a secret, which if the writers were trying to show how toxic Spuffy had become this season then Buffy keeping secrets should've been dealt with more. In real life, those who experience such things are encouraged to come forward and seek help, and certainly not expose others to danger or to romanticize it, and yet not only does Buffy get away with doing this, but many will defend her doing so, and forget that she knew how to talk to others and warn them when Angelus became a problem, though with difficulty--it was romances she kept hidden when others would react badly, not evil.
My guess is that Angelus was an imminent threat to everyone, he would use them to get to Buffy. Whilst your right that Buffy shouldn't have kept Spuffy a secret, Spike wasn't really a danger to anyone else. The thing is Buffy was ashamed of what she was doing with Spike (even though it made her feel better whilst she was doing it hence why she kept going back) because she feared how the scoobies would react if they found out. The problem is that her fears were proven well founded by how Xander reacted to Anya sleeping with Spike.

Buffy was already thinking she "came back wrong" (even before she found out Spike could hit her which only re-enforced that belief) which in a way made her feel like she had "permission" to sleep with Spike. Now just imagine what would've happened if Buffy was feeling she came back wrong and then Xander tells her she "disgusts" him because he discovered she was sleeping with Spike.

About the only thing I will say about season 7 is connected to that. While Spike was downgraded from psychopath to jerk, I really couldn't tell much difference between him and chipped Spike of season 5 (plus...nope, won't go there, I'll be here all day, though I will say Spike seems to forget--or maybe he's twisting the truth along with the knife, which would be a demon Spike thing to do--that he hunted Nikki down, not that Nikki was still out patrolling, sometimes even taking her child along with her).
I think Season 7 actually retcons Spike and Nikki's interaction. Season 5 Nikki (the better Nikki) seems like she just happened upon Spike on the train (the fact the train was empty suggests that it's really late so she could've been tailing him) and then they fight and Spike wins. If Spike was in the habit of hunting down slayers, then his slayer kill count would be much higher than two. In Season 2, his reaction towards Buffy is this: School Hard- tries to kill her because that is the deal he made with the annoying one, Halloween- An opportunity arises where Buffy is weak so he takes it, particularly because he's on a deadline to find Dru's cure. Lie to Me- Another opportunity arises to kill Buffy, one that he instantly relinquishes when Buffy threatens Dru. What's my Line Parts 1&2- Spike hires what are supposed to be world class assassins to kill Buffy because he's on a deadline and needs her out of the way.

Spike only goes out of his way to kill Buffy once, the rest were opportunistic, that's not the behaviour of someone who likes to hunt down slayers for sport.

The retcon of magic through the series
. It doesn't make sense when put side by side. (And I just can't resist pointing out that if magic = drugs, then the "empowering" message of season 7 includes that an addict doing her drug of choice can not only save the day, but also the world... :D )
Also it turns Tara into Willow's pusher since she was the one who got her to experiment with stronger magics in the first place.

For the most part, the start of the romances produce the most cringe from me--be it Angel or Spike falling for Buffy or Cordy & Xander, and others--but again, I've seen the same and worse on plenty of other popular shows. Maybe I just diverge enough for the norm for it to not to appeal to me.
I dislike the writers making Spike fall for Buffy. It's the classic "the female lead has to be desired by almost every male on the show."

Also: bisexuality should be a thing, not that a person is straight until they're gay and then there's no going back. I'm sure that a reboot wouldn't have this problem, at least.
Agreed. Though to be fair, they had a hard enough time getting a lesbian couple on screen, it doesn't look good to make Willow go back to being "straight" after Tara. That's why I think they put to much emphasis on Willow going "I'm gay now".

Final word: for me anyway, Cangel ruined Cordelia for me
Agreed. Cordelia would never settle for being second best to Buffy and she KNOWS Angel's heart would always belong to Buffy. She was there to WITNESS Bangel.

The potentials were there to show Buffy's legacy as the theme of season seven was empowering others. I know people didn't like them I know they have good reasons in some cases but their function was fairly obvious.
The potentials showed that only SOME girls get to be empowered because they're SPECIAL, whereas other girls don't get to be empowered because they're not special.
 

fauxindigo

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  1. Dark Willows Season 6 Finale Arc
  2. Death of Jonathan in Season 7 by Andrew
  3. Death of Kendra in Season 2 by Drusilla
  4. The Potential Slayers in Season 7 (including Kennedy)
  5. Connor & "Cordelia"/Jasmine in Angel Season 4
 

TriBel

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Maybe it's the way I read but I have very few problems with, criticisms of, BtVS (and I don't describe myself as someone who "loves" it).

1. Not exploring the AR from Buffy's perspective. Bonus point for not having any conversation between her and Spike about it in season 7.
I'd go with that. Personally, I think it is explored - "perspective and anamorphosis" are themes throughout S7 but my reasoning is incredibly convoluted and I think it needed to be done more openly and honestly. I don't like the AR but I don't think it's gratuitous. From the moment Buffy's body recomposes, from the moment she sees "her" body ripped apart by the Hellions, from the moment she covers her body as she walks towards Spike, it's clear that her body is significant. Her body's associated with shame. Compare with The Body where she pulls Joyce's skirt down to make her look "decent". That Spike tries to inscribe his own meaning through her body in SR makes sense to me.
2. The execution of Empty Places.
Yeah...I'd go with that - with the same caveat as above. I tend to read S7 at the level of meta...well meta-everything. If theory's your thing, S7 is the place to indulge it - there are so many "empty places" in this episode (Xander's eyesocket, Joyce's house devoid of Joyce, signifiers are empty and meaning's no longer possible blah blah). That said, it makes the season divisive when it needn't be. Alternatively, maybe that's the point. Fans have to pick a side - #Buffy or #Everyone else. This puts the viewer in the position of the Scoobies.
3. Dawn. No pun intended (perhaps it is) when I say her potential is lost. She's The Key FGS! Use her. I think she's better occupied in the comics. However, in S12 they make an issue of her being overlooked so maybe there's a message I'm missing here.
4. The Soul. I can accommodate the contradictions and inconsistencies in the concept of soul and soul mythology but I find it difficult to follow Spike's reasoning in SR. Whedon's sarcastic remark about there being a "twist" pisses me off. Knots have twists in them...it often means you can't unpick them. If by "twist" he's referring to a Mobius loop then I'm fine but that might be giving credit where no credit's due.
5. Anya It's nice to see the Boom comics giving Anya a prominent role. On the surface at least, she's used inconsistently in BtVS. I suspect there could be more coherence in her deep structures, which possibly map changes in psycho-social structures. I don't know because I've never focused on her enough. Xander's response to her death makes sense to me.
 

katmobile

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It probably felt very real to him which is why it sent him to therapy. He's the one having to pin SMG to the floor, trying to prise her legs apart, ripping the bath robe she's wearing, all whilst she's crying and begging him to stop.

After the scene was done, she was having to reassure him that he didn't actually hurt her. JM is a very nice guy so for him to have to do that to someone, even though it is only acting, was probably deeply troubling for him.



My guess is that Angelus was an imminent threat to everyone, he would use them to get to Buffy. Whilst your right that Buffy shouldn't have kept Spuffy a secret, Spike wasn't really a danger to anyone else. The thing is Buffy was ashamed of what she was doing with Spike (even though it made her feel better whilst she was doing it hence why she kept going back) because she feared how the scoobies would react if they found out. The problem is that her fears were proven well founded by how Xander reacted to Anya sleeping with Spike.

Buffy was already thinking she "came back wrong" (even before she found out Spike could hit her which only re-enforced that belief) which in a way made her feel like she had "permission" to sleep with Spike. Now just imagine what would've happened if Buffy was feeling she came back wrong and then Xander tells her she "disgusts" him because he discovered she was sleeping with Spike.



I think Season 7 actually retcons Spike and Nikki's interaction. Season 5 Nikki (the better Nikki) seems like she just happened upon Spike on the train (the fact the train was empty suggests that it's really late so she could've been tailing him) and then they fight and Spike wins. If Spike was in the habit of hunting down slayers, then his slayer kill count would be much higher than two. In Season 2, his reaction towards Buffy is this: School Hard- tries to kill her because that is the deal he made with the annoying one, Halloween- An opportunity arises where Buffy is weak so he takes it, particularly because he's on a deadline to find Dru's cure. Lie to Me- Another opportunity arises to kill Buffy, one that he instantly relinquishes when Buffy threatens Dru. What's my Line Parts 1&2- Spike hires what are supposed to be world class assassins to kill Buffy because he's on a deadline and needs her out of the way.

Spike only goes out of his way to kill Buffy once, the rest were opportunistic, that's not the behaviour of someone who likes to hunt down slayers for sport.



Also it turns Tara into Willow's pusher since she was the one who got her to experiment with stronger magics in the first place.



I dislike the writers making Spike fall for Buffy. It's the classic "the female lead has to be desired by almost every male on the show."



Agreed. Though to be fair, they had a hard enough time getting a lesbian couple on screen, it doesn't look good to make Willow go back to being "straight" after Tara. That's why I think they put to much emphasis on Willow going "I'm gay now".



Agreed. Cordelia would never settle for being second best to Buffy and she KNOWS Angel's heart would always belong to Buffy. She was there to WITNESS Bangel.



The potentials showed that only SOME girls get to be empowered because they're SPECIAL, whereas other girls don't get to be empowered because they're not special.
I'm not saying every girl, girl power but the fact it's not every girl in the world doesn't negate their significance as Buffy's legacy.
Also season seven is about the influence we have on people for good or ill which is ultimately what lasts of us and the final piece in the journey to real adulthood which is why the....but Buffy didn't defeat the big bad herself narrative misses the point. It's the influence she had no everyone else, which included being a big enough person to forgive, which made the difference.
 

katmobile

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I really disliked season seven Anya's bitching and especially her 'luckier than the rest of us' which I wanted to reach through the screen slap her hard and tell her to eff off. The day she has to stab Xander and send him to hell she can say that.

It's funny watching Liam Duke's season five reactions is reminding me that Anya could be very sweet in her attempts to try and make people feel better. They were clumsy but geunine.

I wish they'd made more of her trying to find herself in season seven and less of her being a sarcastic negative vengeful entitled bitch towards Buffy.
 
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