Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER

Lisin

Xander

Recommended Posts

Here's your place to talk about this character. If you have a fun name for it let me know in the comments and I can change it. 

Share this post


Link to post

So I guess I'm the first one?  Alrighty then.

 

I honestly can't stand Xander.  Never have, never will.  It would have gone a long way if, after everything with Anya, Xander had taken Buffy aside and told her he now understood that she couldn't help still loving Angel after everything he had done and that he wished he had been a better friend about it.   But he didn't.  The one time Buffy brought it up in "Selfless" Xander just brushes it off with the old "That's different" excuse.

 

There are other examples of Xander being an ass in the show, but I think the hypocrisy is his biggest character failing.

Share this post


Link to post

I love Xander. When he is pissed at Buffy he is usually saying things I think need to be said and I appreciate that. Xander and Willow is one my very favourite TV friendships and I am still pissed it went into the background after S3.

 

And I think the hypocrisy accusations are exaggerated. Sure, Xander was a total hypocrite in regards to Anya. But everyone in the show treated her like nuisance at worst when she was dating him, nobody considered her what she actually was - an unrepentant serial killer. As much as I think Selfless is a silly episode, I think Xander is right when he said it was different - after all eventually Anya's victims were brought back to life and she did stop killing. And of course, both he and Buffy are morons for ignoring the Anyanka problem all summer long.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

I love Xander too. Sometimes Buffy needed someone who would unflinchingly question her judgement, which could be incredibly hit or miss. As for the Anya thing in Selfless, I think *Buffy's* hypocrisy is the bigger problem, since Lady Hacks Away ( D'Hoffryn) was so willing to kill Anya, and yet spare Spike once it's revealed that he killed people under the thrall of the First. Either there's one standard of justice or there isn't, IMO, and if there isn't then that's ting that Xander should have brought to Buffy's attention.

Share this post


Link to post

I frequently loved Xander...and sometimes couldn't stand him. But that's actually a credit to how well this character was written and acted: He was (IMO, of course!) in many ways the most carefully and richly defined character on the show, a relatable and surprisingly consistent mixture of admirable strengths and a whole bunch of cringe-inducing flaws. Even if they hadn't made him as the only core character without supernatural powers and of (gasp!) average intelligence, I think Xander is the character who would have always felt the most deeply human to me. He was often bitter and rude and awkward and outspoken and illogical and unfair, but he was also kind, loyal, courageous, generous, self-aware enough to be self-deprecating and loving.

 

That said, I did hate his relationship with Anya, which for me went on far too long and seemed based on little more than hey-wow-a-pretty-girl-wants-to-sleep-with-me rather than two people who had a genuinely strong emotional connection or truly "got" each other. And while I completely get why Xander was mortified by much of what Anya said and did, showing him perpetually embarrassed by and even borderline ashamed of his own girlfriend didn't reflect particularly well on his character. 

  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post

Xander was the "every guy" and I liked him.  It's a shame they didn't give him as much to do in some of the later seasons.  I remember reading an interview where the actor expressed that disappointment.  

Share this post


Link to post

It's a shame they didn't give him as much to do in some of the later seasons.  I remember reading an interview where the actor expressed that disappointment.

 

I wonder if his personal problems were the reason why he didn't get to do as much in the last seasons.  

 

Thus said, I have a love/hate relationship with Xander (especially during the last few season, where I feel his character languished).  But I loved him seasons 1-3, and I loved his relationship with Anya.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

Supposedly, Nicholas Brendon and Sarah Michelle Gellar went to Joss at some point and asked him to put Buffy and Xander together romantically. I *think* it was before season seven started, but I don't remember any actual interviews about it. Joss, in his wisdom, (*snort*) thought that it would be much more riveting television to do a season long "Will they or won't they?" with Buffy and Spike, and Xander was pretty much relegated to being wallpaper.

 

Yep, still bitter.

  • Love 3

Share this post


Link to post

 

Thus said, I have a love/hate relationship with Xander (especially during the last few season, where I feel his character languished).  But I loved him seasons 1-3, and I loved his relationship with Anya.

For me it's the opposite. I liked Xander and found him funny in the later seasons (which I watched first) and then when I watched S1-3 I was appalled by how awful he could be. And I always felt that he was very rarely really called on that. Sure, they teased him a lot on some stuff, but he could be downright cruel and a raging hypocrite not to mention extremely judgemental and nobody ever said anything about that. Buffy got away with some stuff, but sometimes when she acted out she was punished like hell by the other characters, Xander never got that kind of treatment.

 

His obsessive hatred of Angel bugged me especially, because it came across as being due to jealousy and bitterness that Angel had gotten Buffy at a time when Xander liked her. I don't even think Xander really wanted Buffy at that point anymore, but Angel was still the dead guy who she had preferred over him. And I have to say, I didn't even care for Angel all that much. Like I said, I watched the later seasons first so I had no specific affiliations, I just saw him as Buffy's first show boyfriend, not her epic love or something. But Xander's burning desire to see Angel dead dead dead (soul or no soul) was off-putting. Hell, Giles was more reasonable, and he had a lot more reason to hate him.

 

I'm really glad they never put Xander and Buffy together. One, because I would never have bought the main trio as friends again after that, and their friendship was one of the truly great things about the series, Two because Buffy just never showed any interest in Xander and he just didn't seem like her type, and Three because Xander could veer into Nice Guy territory and I hate the trope that if you just pine long enough eventually your crush will fall for you. They nicely subverted that with the Xander/Willow thing (though I also hated that storyline, but at least I knew it wouldn't go anywhere). 

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

 

Sure, they teased him a lot on some stuff, but he could be downright cruel and a raging hypocrite not to mention extremely judgemental and nobody ever said anything about that.

 

The way I recall it, each and every time Buffy and Xander quarreled she gave as good as she got. It's not like he had a habit of yelling at her and she just accepted that. Dead Man's Party, Becoming, Revelations, Selfless, The Yoko Factor all have the two of them butting heads, with both saying things they probably later regretted. Giles (rightfully) scolded Xander in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and other occasions, Cordelia and Anya were always more than ready to tell him how wrong he is.

 

More importantly, Xander's actions could do little more than hurt people's feelings. Buffy's often decisions decided people's fates. It's hardly surprising she might get more criticism when it's about things like whether to forgive a murderer or whether it's okay to let the whole universe burn so that your (fake) sister could live a few more minutes (an action for which she got less flack as Xander got in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, by the way). I really don't think Buffy got nearly as much in the way of negative reactions as her actions merited in many cases. She let Angel go which resulted in Jenny's death and yet Giles wasn't angry at her for even a minute. It's a show where many main characters literally got away with murder. I really don't see Xander as nearly the worst example of not being punished enough for his transgressions.

  • Love 5

Share this post


Link to post

 

Sure, they teased him a lot on some stuff, but he could be downright cruel and a raging hypocrite not to mention extremely judgemental and nobody ever said anything about that.

I remember what Jack Shaftoe remembers, that every time Xander and Buffy had an argument she yelled right back at him. The implication that he could be cruel always suggests that he would start shouting and Buffy would just dissolve into tears or something, and that never happened. And really, considering the behavior Buffy was trying to defend (running away to L.A. for an entire summer without a word, concealing Angel's presence once he returned from hell, sneaking around behind everyone's backs to mack on said recovering vampire) I found it much easier to be on his side than hers. If it comes to a choice between hurting someone's feelings a little or potentially letting them engage in behavior they *know* could be disastrous, I'll take the hurt feelings every time.

 

As for the Angel business, Xander's attitude never bothered me. What teenaged boy wouldn't be kind of jealous if some apparently college-aged dude with a bad haircut was loitering around a high school acting like a creeper with the girl they liked? He asked Buffy to go out on a date once, she said no, and he never asked her again for the remainder of the series. That's not what Nice Guys do. (Hi, Spike!) And then Angel turned out to be a vampire, and *then* Buffy slept with him* and he turned into a psychopathic monster who was trying to kill all of them and end the world, and Xander's supposed to be all 'Whatevs!' when he finds out she's helping Captain Forehead get better behind their backs? He did the responsible thing by alerting Giles about the situation. If he was really this out-of-control jealous whatever, wouldn't he have confronted her right that second when he saw her almost attaching her lips to Angel's?

 

The thing with Faith might be kind of harder to defend, but again, Angel had just dropped out of a portal after being tortured for the equivalent of a hundred years or something. That's why Buffy was fishing for information from Giles as to whether or not someone could recover from that. If you watch the scene where Faith runs into Xander while he's shooting pool at the Bronze, he isn't even looking at her while he's grumbling about Angel being back, and she's the one who says she's going to arm up and kill Angel. When they find Unconscious!Giles at the library, Xander throttles down immediately and says that it isn't Angel's MO to do something like that, but Faith ignores that and leaves without him. What should he have done, try to body-check the super-powered girl who was sliding off the rails herself? So while his "burning desire" to see Angel filling up a dustpan might have been a little unseemly, it was a momentary thing that faded once he came to his senses.

 

*While there was obviously no way Buffy could have known about the curse before she and Angel slept together, IMO the *last* thing she should have been thinking about was illicit smoochies once he got back. It wasn't the sex that made his soul fly away, it was the love. If I had been Xander, I'd have been extremely angry that she was putting everyone at risk again, and beyond that I have this thing that says human>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>vampire. And the fact that she tries to turn it around and blame Xander for "spying" on her just makes my mouth drop open every time due to her gall. I'd have screamed at her too. YMMV.

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

 

He asked Buffy to go out on a date once, she said no, and he never asked her again for the remainder of the series. That's not what Nice Guys do.

 

He said "I guess a guy's got to be dead to make time with you" in response, therefore making it her fault for turning him down, like there was something wrong with her instead of of her just, you know, not being into Xander. That's exactly what Nice Guys do. 

 

I saw the Faith thing as pretty straightforward. And also as proof that Xander either didn't trust Buffy (despite the fact that Buffy personally had killed Angel last time around - yes, she wavered at first to murder the guy who was her first great love, but she later showed full willingness to make sure he could never harm anyone ever again, including sacrificing him to save the planet or whatever) or just didn't care. He could have asked Buffy what happened, Angel clearly wasn't showing Angelus behaviour if Buffy was willing to be around him and hiding him, last he knew Angel was killed and sucked into a hell dimension and he didn't think for a second, hey, wonder what happened there? No his first impulse was to blab to Faith and make sure she knew exactly how dangerous Angel could be. Of course she'd go and try killing him.

 

It WAS the sex that made things happen. Now, I don't necessarily think that this makes a ton of sense as the "moment of true happiness" or whatever, but love alone didn't turn Angel and he loved Buffy (and made out with her plenty) before they had sex. She wasn't risking squat by kissing Angel. Especially now that he knew what could happen I'm not even sure I buy he could even experience a moment of true happiness with Buffy anymore because he would have always worried about losing his soul again.

 

I was pretty much on Buffy's side when she ran away. The girl was 16 and had been thoroughly traumatised including having to murder her ex-boyfriend who didn't even know what has happening when she rammed a sword through him. Even without knowing that, the amount of flack she got was over the top IMO. Especially since instead of just talking to her immediately and calling her out directly, everyone acted passive agressive as hell, pretending that everything was fine and then giving her the cold shoulder. 

  • Love 6

Share this post


Link to post

He said "I guess a guy's got to be dead to make time with you" in response, therefore making it her fault for turning him down, like there was something wrong with her instead of of her just, you know, not being into Xander. That's exactly what Nice Guys do.

 

To be fair, though, he wasn't entirely wrong, at least if we're supposed to take Spike's later remarks about Buffy "needing a little monster in her man", or whatever self-serving crap he poured into Riley's ear, seriously. Whether or not something was wrong with Buffy for not being specifically into Xander is up for debate, but considering who she *was* into, I'd say her taste is just the tiniest bit questionable. Does that make me a Nice Guy too?

 

And maybe Xander dd "blab" to Faith, but you don't say what he should have done once he realizes it couldn't have been Angel who left Giles knocked out in the library without killing him, and yet Faith just sneered at him about growing a pair, then armed up and took off. How should he have stopped her? He tried to use his words, which were pretty much all he had since he couldn't possibly have over-powered her. If Buffy had not been keeping everyone deliberately in the dark, it wouldn't have been this sooper sekrit thing that Angel was back. Given that Giles was the only one Angelus really hurt, first by murdering Jenny and then by torturing him to get the information about Acathla, Buffy must have thought that he was going to instantly break out the pitchforks and torches since she didn't inform him that Forehead had come back from hell. Since all that actually happened was that she got the "you don't respect me" lecture, which IMO was absolutely the least she deserved, its bizarre that it's somehow Xander's fault for revealing information that she herself should already have shared.  Her relief at Giles sending everyone out of the library during the intervention is really unseemly to me, like she thinks he's doing her a favor because he should want to give her a break.

 

And we disagree about the reason Angel lost his soul, since he is able to have sex without becoming Angelus once he gets his own show. For all Xander knew, the loophole of the curse could have changed, since no one ever bothers to research the terms of it once they know Angel is back. *I* would think that they would have wanted to prevent even the possibility of a return, up to and including avoiding illicit smoochies.What was supposed to be so tragic about Bangel is that Buffy was simultaneously Angel's salvation *and* his undoing, and that was why they could never be together. Again, if I was Xander, I would not be inclined to put Buffy's feelings first if there was the chance that a monster like Angelus would resurface. But MMV.

Share this post


Link to post

And maybe Xander dd "blab" to Faith, but you don't say what he should have done once he realizes it couldn't have been Angel who left Giles knocked out in the library without killing him, and yet Faith just sneered at him about growing a pair, then armed up and took off. How should he have stopped her? He tried to use his words, which were pretty much all he had since he couldn't possibly have over-powered her.And maybe Xander dd "blab" to Faith, but you don't say what he should have done once he realizes it couldn't have been Angel who left Giles knocked out in the library without killing him, and yet Faith just sneered at him about growing a pair, then armed up and took off. How should he have stopped her? He tried to use his words, which were pretty much all he had since he couldn't possibly have over-powered her.

 

 

Yes, but then when Buffy showed up, he acted like a snot, saying "looks like your boyfriend isn't as cured as you thought" and "Faith's a big girl, she could figure it out by herself."  And this after seconds ago realizing that Angel probably didn't do it.  Jerk.

 

He said "I guess a guy's got to be dead to make time with you" in response, therefore making it her fault for turning him down, like there was something wrong with her instead of of her just, you know, not being into Xander. That's exactly what Nice Guys do.He said "I guess a guy's got to be dead to make time with you" in response, therefore making it her fault for turning him down, like there was something wrong with her instead of of her just, you know, not being into Xander. That's exactly what Nice Guys do.

 

 

Yes.  Exactly.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

The thing about Angel's curse is that all characters failed Logic 101. Just because it was triggered by one thing the previous time doesn't mean it won't be triggered by something else the next. For all they knew he might have experienced a moment of true happiness if his favourite sports team happened to win a championship or if he saw naked pictures of his favourite Victoria's Secret model. So I can't really blame Xander that in a rare moment of clarity he realized that even if Angel didn't get any ever he might still lose soul.

 

 

Yes, but then when Buffy showed up, he acted like a snot, saying "looks like your boyfriend isn't as cured as you thought" and "Faith's a big girl, she could figure it out by herself."

 

He did (and this for me is one false note in this superb episode) but this was the perfect opportunity for Xander to get rid of Angel and he didn't take it - he could have simply not told Buffy what Faith was up to.

 

Moreover, I object to the whole "Buffy should decide Angel's faith" notion that seems to drive the discussions about what losers Xander and Faith were in that episode (mostly Xander for some reason, despite Faith being more willing to dust Angel than he was). Faith is a Slayer, so if that's the required qualification, she was way less biased than Buffy and she should have made that call. Lots of people would have been saved if Kendra had been allowed to do just that back in S2. If not Faith then why not the Council? Sure, they were always portrayed as corrupt, incompetent, pricks but still, as far as we know none of them was in love with the accused party. If we put it in real life terms it was basically a judge issuing a verdict deciding the fate of her lover. Let's face it, they were all vigilantes and the only "authority" Buffy had was the fact that she could punch stronger than anyone else. Don't get me wrong, she was generally a fabulous Slayer in the early seasons but the whole "judge, jury and executioner" thing is unfair to her when it comes to people she is fond of and a recipe for disaster to boot. Sending Vamp Willow back to the Wishverse comes to mind too. Sure, kind of funny from a meta perspective but Buffy couldn't know that Vamp Willow wouldn't kill hundreds of people in that alternate universe.

 

 

As for the Angel business, Xander's attitude never bothered me. What teenaged boy wouldn't be kind of jealous if some apparently college-aged dude with a bad haircut was loitering around a high school acting like a creeper with the girl they liked?

 

Yes, if Angel were a human male aged say 46, I doubt many viewers would say Xander (or Joyce) would be out of line to think he should stay away from Buffy. Yet somehow him being several times older than that and undead makes it romantic, not creepy, to many a fan. I don't get it. Okay, I get the accepting the ship as romantic - different strokes for different folks and all, but I don't get expecting every character in the show to think it's okay to date vampires. Or vengeance demons for that matter.

 

That said, of course, Xander went out of line sometimes with jealousy and with nasty comments about Buffy's dating habits. But for my money, the show rarely supported this attitude of his and usually portrayed him as wrong.

  • Love 3

Share this post


Link to post

Kat Way. I so agree with you.  Xander was a self involved douche in the early seasons. Any time Buffy turned him down, it was all about his feelings.  If Buffy was going off to fight and didn't need his help, it was all about Xander's manhood.  Xander almost always managed to make any situation about himself.

 

I just recently rewatched season 1.  "The Pack" episode pissed me off and really reinforced my Xander hate.  When Xander was a hyena, he tried to rape Buffy.  Now, I get it, he was possessed, so not really Xander. However, at the end, rather than show remorse, he pretends that he did not remember it.  That is not a nice guy.  Even when he admits to remembering, he still does not look all that upset.  It was about protecting himself, not about what he put Buffy through.  Of course, the writing also made it look like it was no biggie to Buffy, either. So, writing fail.

  • Love 3

Share this post


Link to post

 

When Xander was a hyena, he tried to rape Buffy.  Now, I get it, he was possessed, so not really Xander. However, at the end, rather than show remorse, he pretends that he did not remember it.  That is not a nice guy.  Even when he admits to remembering, he still does not look all that upset.  It was about protecting himself, not about what he put Buffy through.

Since Xander was supposedly the one who sees, hence Caleb gouging out his eye, maybe he saw the future and knew that Buffy wouldn't care when Spike tried to rape her either. Hyena spirit? No soul? Eh, bygones.

Share this post


Link to post

 

Since Xander was supposedly the one who sees, hence Caleb gouging out his eye, maybe he saw the future and knew that Buffy wouldn't care when Spike tried to rape her either. Hyena spirit? No soul? Eh, bygones.

 

Like I said, writing fail.  But, at least they showed Spike remorseful and the group turned on him.  Xander?  No biggie, and it was never discussed again. Xander went back to being the "nice guy".

 

He just struck me as one of those guys who whines because, he's such a nice guy and girls don't like nice guys.  Boo-hoo.  Maybe, just maybe, you aren't as nice as you think you are.  But, of course, it's the women's fault, not any type of failing with the guy.

Edited by CatMomma
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

 

Even when he admits to remembering, he still does not look all that upset.  It was about protecting himself, not about what he put Buffy through.  Of course, the writing also made it look like it was no biggie to Buffy, either. So, writing fail.

 

It wasn't a big deal for Buffy because Xander had as much chance of actually raping her as I have of defeating the current heavy-weight boxing champion. Might as well wonder why Buffy isn't traumatized by fighting to the death on a daily basis - even the weakest vampire is more of a danger to her than Xander the Hyena Boy.

 

And "the group" didn't "turn on Spike". I don't recall Willow and Giles even learning about the attempted rape, let alone getting pissed at Spike and they are like half the group. Buffy wanted to have Spike babysit Dawn about ten minutes after the incident. Granted, Dawn and Xander paying lip service to the idea that Spike's actions weren't that marvelous after all was more of a consequence than most heinous acts committed by the main characters in those seasons but that's not saying much.

Edited by Jack Shaftoe
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

 

It wasn't a big deal for Buffy because Xander had as much chance of actually raping her as I have of defeating the current heavy-weight boxing champion. Might as well wonder why Buffy isn't traumatized by fighting to the death on a daily basis - even the weakest vampire is more of a danger to her than Xander the Hyena Boy.

 

So, because he couldn't have raped her, he shouldn't feel guilt? As long as the girl can overpower her rapist, then no big whoop?

 

That's my point.  Xander didn't seem to feel any guilt over what he did.  This isn't about Buffy strength, it is about Xander's attitude.  He remembered the attempted rape, hid it from her, yet he continued to pursue her.  He never considered that she might, maybe, find him a bit icky after that? 

Share this post


Link to post

I don't didn't anything about Xander's guilt or lack thereof. The strength differential between him and Buffy explains (IMO, at least) why she doesn't consider his assault on her a big deal. As for him, it's all speculation since the show didn't explore it, but if I am to guess, the fact that he was basically possessed and nobody got hurt was probably enough to assuage any feelings of guilt. 

Share this post


Link to post

 

As for him, it's all speculation since the show didn't explore it, but if I am to guess, the fact that he was basically possessed and nobody got hurt was probably enough to assuage any feelings of guilt.

 

Exactly. But, wouldn't that also apply to Spike and Angel?  Yet, the writers went out of their way to paint Xander as the heart of the Scooby gang. Spike and Angel felt guilt.  Xander? Not so much. He continued to whine about the fact that Buffy wasn't interested in him. In the next episode.  After, he, ya know, tried to rape her.

Share this post


Link to post

Whoa, I forgot about that hyena episode!

 

And yes, this is another example of how whenever Xander screws up everyone instantly forgives and forgets while others don't get the same treatment (especially by Xander).  Say what you want about Anya and Cordelia, but at least they held Xander accountable for his own actions.

 

Speaking about this icky subject matter, let's not forget that Xander was all set to slut-shame Buffy when he thought she and Spike had another tryst until he found about that it was an attempted rape.  Even if he did apologize for it later, it was still a dick move.  I really don't understand why Buffy stayed friends with him for so long.

Edited by Spartan Girl
  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post

Probably for the same reason Xander stayed friends with Buffy for so long. I don't hate her or anything, but conversely I don't think I'd have liked her as much as I did if it hadn't been for the buffering presences of Xander and Willow. And considering that she openly belittled his relationships with both Anya and Cordelia, girls who actually *did* want to be with him, IMO that's a form of slut-shaming. She didn't approve, and maybe for good reason given Cordelia's treatment of her and Anya's being, well, Anya. But the other side of the "Xander needs to shut up about Buffy's romantic choices" coin goes for her as well IMO. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for her.

Edited by Cobalt Stargazer

Share this post


Link to post

 

And yes, this is another example of how whenever Xander screws up everyone instantly forgives and forgets while others don't get the same treatment (especially by Xander).  Say what you want about Anya and Cordelia, but at least they held Xander accountable for his own actions.

 

Don't these two sentences sort of contradict each other? Because one of Anya or Cordelia was in almost every episode, so not "everyone" forgave Xander apparently.

 

More importantly, pretty much every time a situation like the hyena spirit possession occurred the victim was not blamed for any harm they might have done when "under the influence". I don't see how Xander is the exception somehow.  Buffy was planning to kill her friends in Normal Again, Tara spilled the beans about Dawn when she was brain-sucked, Joyce and Sheila came very close to burning their own daughters at the stake, etc. None of them suffered any reproach and rightly so.

 

Angel and Spike...first their crimes are many orders of magnitude worse than the above listed examples. Second, they were still vampires. Third, they were given a million and one chances to reform, so it's not like the Scoobies forgave everyone else but kept "discriminating" against the poor persecuted serial killers...

  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post
Now, I get it, he was possessed, so not really Xander. However, at the end, rather than show remorse, he pretends that he did not remember it.

 

And Giles, who knows Xander's lying, backs him up and keeps the secret, for the very logical reason that being around a Xander who remembered stalking, assaulting, mocking, and psychologically tormenting them would have been very difficult for Buffy and Willow, would probably have deprived them of a friendship both girls treasured, and might well have gotten Buffy deader than she otherwise would have been, without Xander there to help her out.  I'm sure there's an argument that this makes Giles just as controlling and patriarchal and an Evil Penis-Having Person as Xander is…but OTOH, there's also the argument that both Xander and Giles care about Buffy and Willow, and they made a good call here.  Just possible, I'm saying.

 

(Also, given that if Buffy writes Xander out of her life due to the events of The Pack, then Xander isn't around to resuscitate her in Prophecy Girl and the world literally ends, I'd say very much "good call, Giles".  But to be fair, he could hardly have predicted that.)

 

Phases unfortunately plays Xander's accidentally slipping about his "amnesia" for yuks, but ASH does give a wonderful look of concern in the background when NB goes "I said I didn't remember that".  Great continuity acting.

 

(And Buffy actually was in danger of "felony sexual assault" at Hyena!Xander's hands.  The Pack increase in strength [but fortunately decrease in intelligence] throughout the episode; by Act 4, Giles says that they are stronger than Buffy.  As it was, she was unable to kick him off and had to hit him with a desk.)

 

But take away the Hyena and you just have plain old Xander;  he doesn't spend every day going around "Man, I wish I could rape Buffy."  Whereas stick Spike with The Shittiest Soul on the Planet, and he's still Spike; the demon didn't go anywhere. The Angel that snapped Jenny's neck was the same one who saved her life, twice, previously;  it's just that the restraints had been removed.  And could easily be again, as noted upthread—so I can hardly blame Xander for IMO correctly noting that Buffy "wants to forget all about Ms. Calendar's murder so [she] can have [her] boyfriend back."  

 

Indeed, given that in Revelations, Buffy actually hauls out "But you guys have to believe me, I would never put you in any danger. (Insert shot of Giles looking ill and tightening his jaw) If I thought for a second that Angel was going to hurt anyone—", I'd say that Xander looks downright psychic on this front.  Hmm, maybe Father Talkypants was right about that "seeing" thing, after all.

Edited by DAngelus
  • Love 3

Share this post


Link to post

 

at least they showed Spike remorseful

Disagree. They have a couple of micro-seconds where the AR comes up in season seven. One is where Spike touches Buffy on the shoulder and she flinches away from him, and one is where she actually says "You tried to rape me" and he more or less blows it off. IMO the big drama queen draping himself on a cross wasn't so much remorse as it was typical theatrics. For all of his early contempt for Angelus' hoity-toity ways, later-series Spike did an awful lot of playing to the rafters himself.

 

As for Xander, like DAngelus says, once the hyena spirit was dealt with, he went back to his normal self. And his normal self was not a rapist. Hell, if he had even wanted just sex, Willow was *right there*, but until the Evening Wear Fiasco, he didn't see her that way. And that's a different peeve for a different time. He loses his virginity to Faith, and it's *Buffy* who "helpfully" says that Faith thinks of sex as a game. It's irrelevant to me whether she was right or not. Couldn't she have let the guy have his delusion for a few minutes? Why was he supposed to not make comments about her shitty taste in boyfriends when she could never resist opening her mouth about *his* relationships?

Share this post


Link to post

Ya know, it's weird. This is the Xander thread, yet when he is criticized, the other characters are compared to him.  None of the other male characters on Buffy are portrayed as the emo "good guy".  Xander? Meh? He has faults but he's a good guy. The hyena attempted rape? He was possessed, and besides he told Giles, so it's not that bad.  Gosh, his conscience should be clear.

 

Xander was the most judgmental character on the show.  The entire time he was with Cordelia he consistently resorted to slut shaming and insulted her intelligence. He did the same to Anya.

 

Guys like Xander are very common. I just wish the writers understood that he was an asshole.

 

Too bad Xander and Harmony never hooked up. That would be a great spin-off

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

Xander was the most judgmental character on the show.  The entire time he was with Cordelia he consistently resorted to slut shaming and insulted her intelligence.

 

Well, I love me some Cordelia, but most of the time, she's the one who throws the first insult.  Take her cameo in Angel, for example:

XANDER:  Hey, Annie! (sees her boyfriend) Dino, just leaving!

(He backs away and bumps into Cordelia.)

CORDELIA:  Ouch! Please get your extreme oafishness off my two-hundred-dollar shoes!

XANDER:  I'm sorry, I was just...

CORDELIA:  ...getting off the dance floor before Annie Vega's boyfriend squashes you like a bug?

XANDER:  Oh, so you noticed.

CORDELIA:  Uh-huh.

XANDER:  Yeah, thanks for being so understanding.

CORDELIA:  Sure.

XANDER:  Y'know, hey, I don't know what everyone's talking about. That outfit doesn't make you look like a hooker! (laughs)

 

So before he gets around to "slut-shaming" her, she has already called him clumsy, implied she's socially above him due to the price of her clothes, pointed out that he can't get a girlfriend of his own, called him a coward and a physical weakling.  That's 5-for-1, by my count.  To be fair, he did step on her feet, but still, she was being "a breath of vile air" long before he talked about her clothing choices.

 

Truth be told, I don't mind the X/C exchanges so much, as i think they both enjoy it.  (The fact that it sparks the romance almost classes it as foreplay, IMO.)  Anya constantly belittling him and making him silently cringe is a different matter, though.

Edited by DAngelus
  • Love 3

Share this post


Link to post

 

Ya know, it's weird. This is the Xander thread, yet when he is criticized, the other characters are compared to him.

FWIW, no one who's taking up for Xander, including me, is saying that you or anyone else can't criticize him. However, that doesn't mean that other points of view don't count. I think it's very much worth noting that in the early days of the series, what drew the most heat for the character was that he dared to disapprove of Bangel, which IMO led to the more rabid portion of the fanbase to look for any reason to excoriate him. Xander quirks an eyebrow when Angel's name is mentioned? He must eat live babies. He doesn't drop into Willow's lap like an obedient puppy? What an asshole. He insults Cordelia after she relentlessly trashes him? Yeah,. he's a real douchebag. As Giles once said, "The horror. He's become a teenaged boy. Of course you'll have to kill him."

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

My point was that in the Xander thread, 

 

 

Angel and Spike...first their crimes are many orders of magnitude worse than the above listed examples. Second, they were still vampires. Third, they were given a million and one chances to reform, so it's not like the Scoobies forgave everyone else but kept "discriminating" against the poor persecuted serial killers...

 

Wah?  This is what I'm talking about.  Boy bad, but other boys more bad.

 

Is this the Xander thread?  Just checking

Share this post


Link to post

 

So before he gets around to "slut-shaming" her, she has already called him clumsy, implied she's socially above him due to the price of her clothes, pointed out that he can't get a girlfriend of his own, called him a coward and a physical weakling.  That's 5-for-1, by my count.  To be fair, he did step on her feet, but still, she was being "a breath of vile air" long before he talked about her clothing choices.

Poor Xander. He just stood there and took it.  Cordelia pushed him to the breaking point. He had to slut shame her. Never mind that he's the good guy. Right?

 

And, every time Buffy tried to tell "poor Xander" she wasn't interested, "poor Xander" still made it about himself. Please, the first two seasons were all about how the nice guy never gets the girl.  Except, speaking as a girl, he wasn't a nice guy. At all.

Edited by CatMomma
  • Love 3

Share this post


Link to post

I'm going to say this kind of gently.

 

 



Poor Xander. He just stood there and took it.  Cordelia pushed him to the breaking point. He had to slut shame her. Never mind that he's the good guy. Right?

 

And, every time Buffy tried to tell "poor Xander" she wasn't interested, "poor Xander" still made it about himself. Please, the first two seasons were all about how the nice guy never gets the girl.  Except, speaking as a girl, he wasn't a nice guy. At all.

What exactly should Xander have done when Cordelia started tearing into him? Why is he not allowed to have any kind of reaction when she's climbing up his ass with pretty much zero provocation? Yes, he stepped on her feet, and she immediately ripped him several new ones.. Is he supposed to smile and thank her? I'm being serious. Why is she allowed to go for his throat, but if he snaps back at her, he's a sociopath or something? If you've never lost your temper or even said something snarky to someone, you're a better person than I am. I hate to imagine what you'd think of me.

 

As for Buffy, Xander asked her out once, and he never did it again. Yes, he did complain that "I guess a guy has to be undead to make time with you", but really, if you look at Buffy's track record, he wasn't entirely wrong, was he? Apparently having an IMO normal teenaged boy reaction to the girl you like rejecting you in favor of the creepster with too much gel in his hair, who later just happens to be a hundred and fifty year old walking corpse, means that you're the devil. Because God forbid that he didn't think Captain Forehead and Bleach Boy were the absolute best that Buffy could do.

Edited by Cobalt Stargazer
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

As Cobalt took up for me, I should probably repay the favor.  With regard to CatMomma's repeated complaint:

 

My point was that in the Xander thread,

Angel and Spike...first their crimes are many orders of magnitude worse than the above listed examples. Second, they were still vampires. Third, they were given a million and one chances to reform, so it's not like the Scoobies forgave everyone else but kept "discriminating" against the poor persecuted serial killers...
Wah?  This is what I'm talking about.  Boy bad, but other boys more bad.

 

First of all, I think fixating on this one comparative comment of Jack Shaftoe's and using it to imply that all every pro-Xander poster does is hide behind Angel/Spike bashing is simply false.  I certainly find it a bit offensive, since I've been an advocate for Xander and I haven't done anything of the sort. I agree that Xander can well be defended and appreciated on his own merits and so derisive remarks such as

 

Ya know, it's weird. This is the Xander thread, yet when he is criticized, the other characters are compared to him.

 

and

 

Is this the Xander thread?  Just checking

 

are something that I personally don't find productive.  

 

Secondly, if you look at the actual chronology of "Xander versus the vampires" comparisons, you'll find that Xander's relationship with and reactions to Angel were first cited by an anti-Xander poster, KatWay, who wrote that

 

[Xander]'s obsessive hatred of Angel bugged me especially

 

which led to Cobalt's writing that Xander had a perfect right to dislike Angel.  So Angel was not brought up as a defense to other criticisms of Xander; Xander was being criticized specifically in regard to his reactions to Angel, and what Xander thinks of Angel is not only appropriate for that discussion, it is the very basis of said discussion.

 

Spike comes into this a bit later, when Cobalt made a joke that perhaps Hyena!Xander knows that Buffy won't mind a little rape because he's already seen Season 6.  (Or as I like to describe Villains:  "Buffy misses her attempted rapist, tries to take her 15-year-old virginal sister to him for 'safekeeping', and pouts when she finds he's left town.")  Was the joke in the best possible taste?  Perhaps not.  But I personally don't see it as "using Spike to excuse Xander's crimes" or anything like that.

 

However it did spark several Spike-vs-Xander comparisons from, ironically, CatMomma, your stated disdain for such comparisons apparently aside:

 

at least they showed Spike remorseful and the group turned on him.  Xander?  No biggie, and it was never discussed again. Xander went back to being the "nice guy".

 

and 

 

But, wouldn't that also apply to Spike and Angel?  Yet, the writers went out of their way to paint Xander as the heart of the Scooby gang. Spike and Angel felt guilt.  Xander? Not so much. He continued to whine about the fact that Buffy wasn't interested in him. In the next episode.  After, he, ya know, tried to rape her.

 

Both of these comments, I should specify, came before Jack Shaftoe made the "Angel and Spike" comment to which you have taken objection.

 

(By the way, I really wish the posts were numbered here, as they had been at TWoP.  It would make citing specific posts much easier.)

 

So IMO an analysis of the posts would indicate that placing Xander in a context relative to a certain pair of "heroic" serial killers has not, in fact, been initiated by pro-Xander posters, but rather by the anti-Xander faction.  So perhaps the critique for the alleged employment of this defense is misdirected?  That's my opinion, anyhow.

 

ETA:  Apologies for my having to post this first and edit it on the fly;  I had problems getting rid of some unwanted formatting.  It's (hopefully) readable now.

 

And with regard to Villains, I can never forget that Buffy's insistence on having Spike "protect" Dawn from Warren (who, in fact, has absolutely zero interest in attacking Dawn and is running away at the very moment Buffy's having this brain cramp ) has two pretty big flaws.  One, Warren has Spike's crypt under video surveillance and Buffy knows this.  And two, Warren is human and Spike has a chip.  Spike couldn't do a blasted thing to Warren if he did show up to attack Dawn; Dawn would be more help defending Spike than vice versa.  So this is at least one "Xander versus Buffy's fondness for the vampires" argument where I have to think X is absolutely, completely correct.

 

Okay, I pretty much think that in every argument he has with Buffy about Broody and Jackass, it's true.  I'm just saying that I think the evidence was particularly strong in that case. But JMO.

Edited by DAngelus
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

'Brain crap.' snerk I must now work that into my everyday conversation, @DAngelus.

 

Re: Villains, because it relates to Xander, it grates my cheese that even more vitriol was slung his way because he said, "Yeah, Spike's great when he's not trying to rape your sister." to Dawn when the little idiot starts waxing poetic about how Helmet Head would stand and fight against Warren and the other two Stooges. Is it appropriate to tell a fifteen year old that their older sister was nearly violated in their own home? Maybe not. But when the little moron was swooning over Mr. Sad Ass Wanna Be Rapist, I think a dose of reality was exactly what she needed. But somehow that's a black mark against Xander because it hurts Spike's delicate widdle feewings. He is such a thethitive demon, dontcha know.

Edited by Cobalt Stargazer

Share this post


Link to post

you have to admit that whenever Xander screwed up (with the love spell, cheating on Cordy with Willow, leaving Anya at the altar, etc) Buffy never came off to me as judgmental towards him. at least as far as I could see.

Actually....

 

Having illicit smoochies with Willow more or less costs Xander his friendship with her, since they were never as close after she gets back together with Oz. She's the one who tells him that she can't even touch his hand anymore, that 'all of my stuff has to be for Oz.' Meanwhile, she skates almost completely, since once Oz is actually ready to talk, they make progress and he forgives her. Not that he shouldn't have forgiven her, and not that Cordy had to forgive Xander, but he wasn't the only cheater involved, so why did Willow face almost no lasting consequences?

 

As for Buffy's being judgmental, isn't it kind of not her place to pass judgement on Xander's actions when he's supposed to keep his mouth shut when she screws up?

Share this post


Link to post

 

Not that he shouldn't have forgiven her, and not that Cordy had to forgive Xander, but he wasn't the only cheater involved, so why did Willow face almost no lasting consequences?

 

Is it Willow's fault that she was dating someone more forgiving than Cordelia?  And it's mostly on Xander that the fluke-fallout took the path it did; he's the one who insisted on defining the "fluke" as being disloyal to Oz and says "it's a clothes fluke and there'll be no more fluking!'.  He's the one who left "sixty…seventy" messages on Cordelia's answering machine before Willow has even talked to Oz.  He's the one who said the Lovers Walk kiss was "positively the last time we were ever gonna kiss" to Buffy in Willow's presence.  If he'd made the decision to try and convince Willow to choose him, he might have succeeded (remember, he's known about her feelings for years, but the only time he opened up to her about his feelings, she was in a coma), but instead he acts as if her getting back with Dear Old Plastic Werewolf is the only possible choice.  Should he then be surprised that she thinks their being casually touchy-feely might not be the smartest idea?

 

I'm certainly not looking to "blame" either party here, but IMO Willow deserves less of the non-blame than Xander does.

Share this post


Link to post

If he'd made the decision to try and convince Willow to choose him, he might have succeeded (remember, he's known about her feelings for years, but the only time he opened up to her about his feelings, she was in a coma), but instead he acts as if her getting back with Dear Old Plastic Werewolf is the only possible choice.  Should he then be surprised that she thinks their being casually touchy-feely might not be the smartest idea?

I'm not trying to dump blame on Willow's head, @DAngelus . Conversely, I do think it's worth noting that there was a time when Willow could have actually said to Xander, "I like you as more than a friend. Why don't we try going out on a date and see what happens?" That's what Xander did when he asked Buffy out, he took a risk. Sure, he probably would have said no, because IMO his lack of acknowledging her feelings meant he didn't feel the same way, but she never found out if he would have said yes either because she didn't try. Instead, she snots at him about dating Cordy by saying, "You'd rather be with someone you hate than be with me." If she had actually put herself out there, would it have been different?

Share this post


Link to post

As for Buffy's being judgmental, isn't it kind of not her place to pass judgement on Xander's actions when he's supposed to keep his mouth shut when she screws up?

 

 

But that's my point, Xander DOESN'T keep his mouth shut.  He almost always makes his opinion very clear.  But when he screws up, Buffy usually feels like it's not her place to judge.  The only time she ever really brings up his shortcomings is when he rips into her and she goes on to the defensive.  But other than that, she usually tries to be sympathetic.

Edited by Spartan Girl
  • Love 3

Share this post


Link to post
But that's my point, Xander DOESN'T keep his mouth shut.  He almost always makes his opinion very clear.  But when he screws up, Buffy usually feels like it's not her place to judge.  The only time she ever really brings up his shortcomings is when he rips into her and she goes on to the defensive.  But other than that, she usually tries to be sympathetic.

Actually, that's not entirely true. Xander wasn't ripping into Buffy when she criticized him for dating Cordelia*, and she wasn't on the defensive when she scoffed at the idea that he and Faith had a connection after he lost his virginity to her. How is it not bringing up his shortcomings when she's snorting at the very idea that Faith might actually like him?** And in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, its Buffy who calls the spell "a magical roofie", which IMO sounds pretty judgmental when you consider what roofies are normally used for. I'm sure I could find several more examples if I really picked apart the whole series, and that's before Buffy's the inadvertent cause of Xander losing his eye. The times he criticized her relationship choices kind of pale in comparison when you stack them up against permanent maiming, IMO.

 

*Yes, Cordelia was mean to Buffy and Willow, but as a self-diagnosed former Mean Girl herself, I'm sure that at one point Buffy had a Willow that she wasn't so nice to. So what exactly was she criticizing in Cordy's behavior other than something she didn't like about herself?

 

**The fact that Buffy was correct about early Faith treating sex like a game isn't relevant to me. Would it have hurt her somehow to let Xander have his delusion for a few minutes, then [ii]gently[/i] let him know the truth? It's kind of ironic that, once again, it's Angel who saves Xander's life, since thanks to Giles (and Buffy) he ends up going to Faith's motel room alone to try and talk her down. I can't recall right off the top of my head if that was before or after Bangel's idiotic plan to pretend that Angelus was back or not.

Share this post


Link to post

^Im sure it was before the Angelus plan, because Faith stayed part of the team after trying to kill Xander, she was official with the Mayor after their failed attempts to bring Angelus back.

Share this post


Link to post

 

there was a time when Willow could have actually said to Xander, "I like you as more than a friend. Why don't we try going out on a date and see what happens?"

 

Sure, making a formal request might have been nice.  But he certainly seems aware of her feelings as early as The Pack, when Hyena!Xander uses them first to torment Willow and then to try and trick her into letting him out of the cage.  And once we get to When She Was Bad, where she's waiting for the kiss he can't quite bring himself to complete, does she really need to say anything more?

 

I mean, it's nice that in Inca Mummy Girl, Buffy tells Xander that she can't stop thinking about Willow's lips…er, pardon the femslashing, I meant Buffy expresses disbelief that someone could know Willow and not think about her lips, but Xander pretty firmly puts his alleged disinterest out there and Willow hears it, so that's pretty much the it, I'm thinking.  (I also think he's in denial [it hasn't been that long since WSWB, after all] and we get a nice build throughout the season to his confession in Becoming, Part 2, but that's not relevant to this issue.)  Yeah, Willow tended to be a shrinking violet because of the whole "no, no, no speaking up. Speaking up leads to madness…and sweaty palms" thing, but I don't really think Xander was stumbling around in the dark.  However oblique Willow was in making her feelings known, IMO he was more aware of her love for him (which she even declares in BB&B and which Buffy affirms as genuine in the tag) than she ever was of his more-hidden reciprocal feelings.  So I do think the "fluke" went off-course more because of him than her.

 

But even if I didn't, I might object to this characterization:

 

she snots at him about dating Cordy by saying, "You'd rather be with someone you hate than be with me."

 

"snots", really?  Aside from the part where she's a sobbing wreck and deeply in shock, neither of which seems particularly conducive to snotty behavior (although the crying might produce actual snot, it's true), it's not as though he's acted particularly proud of his affair, either.  He's been lying to Willow, his supposed best friend, for almost two months now.  And he's kept on ragging on Cordelia to the rest of gang, even telling this rather obnoxious joke the night before:

 

GILES:  Only a creature of pure evil can stand against [the Judge]

XANDER:  So what's the problem?  We send Cordy to fight this guy and we go for pizza!

 

Yeah, I know she's your first girlfriend ever, Xan, but that's a little over the line.  Just saying.  So Willow's "somebody you hate" characterization seems believable to her, because that's the picture Xander's been painting for her.

 

Still, while I'm a bit pro-Willow in these W/X conflicts, I'm by no means anti-Xander.  I completely agree that Buffy handled the "I think we have a connection" news quite poorly, even if you spin it as "Buffy knows that Willow is going to be hurt by this, so she's trying to protect Willow's feelings by dismissing X/F", which I really only believe about two days a week, anyhow.  Giles, much as I don't like his ignoring of Faith for much of Consequences, at least has the sense to realize that Willow is about to crack, keeps his eyes on Willow and gets the meeting over with as soon as possible so Will can beat a semi-dignified retreat, which is a lot better way to treat the news than going into a dissertation about how sex doesn't mean that much to Faith, you silly boy.  

 

(Of course, Buffy doesn't mention that Faith was just sniffing around asking if she [buffy] had ever had sex with Xander, only a couple of nights ago.  That might seem to indicate at least the possibility of further interest, but I guess Buffy just dismisses that idea because she's sure that she knows Faith inside and out.  Which is why she's all certain she got through to Faith at the end of this episode and…oh, wait.)

 

But I don't really think Buffy is thinking of Willow here; she's thinking about what Faith might be going through and she's convinced herself that only she knows what it's like to be a Slayer, so only she can get through to Faith, and if Xander's feelings get hurt, well, too bad.  The part where, the year before, Buffy ended up sobbing into her pillows because she was told that her first time was a joke seems to have slipped her mind, however implausible that seems.  A pity, IMO; Buffy's much more appealing when she realizes other people have feelings, too.  Sigh.

Share this post


Link to post

A few points, @DAngelus, because I want to clarify my thoughts.

 

Yes, there was the almost-kiss When She Was Bad, in direct contrast to how shabbily Buffy treats both Xander and Willow, by the way, but you yourself admit that its a kiss he can't quite bring himself to make happen. Why not? If he was in denial or sublimating his thoughts about Willow's lips, why turn away when they were only an inch or two away from his own? Why was he macking on Cordy is supply closets when he could have had Willow-kissage?

 

Let's say for the sake of argument, though, that he knew she felt something for him other than friendship and that she shouldn't have had to tell him so. Does that mean he's somehow obligated to date her so her feelings don't get hurt? If he had romantic feelings for her, which I don't necessarily buy despite the Clothes Fluke, wouldn't he have twigged to them before she was with Oz and he was with Cordelia? Xander's a lot of things, but his head is not made out of solid bone (hi, Angel!) And even if he was romantically inclined towards her, he's still wasn't obligated to do anything about it. It is actually completely possible for a teenaged boy to not want to jump on everything that moves.

 

As for "snots", I was going to say she "passive-aggressived", but since the internet conveys tone for shit it probably would have come out sounding like "snots" anyway. I know Willow was very upset, and I'm not unsympathetic, but IMO there's an implication to a statement like "You'd rather be with someone you hate than be with me." Kind of the way some people find an implication in "I guess a guy has to be undead to make time with you." If it's good enough for Xander, it's good enough for Willow.

 

As for Cordy herself, it isn't like she was letting the "I Love Xander" flag fly, at least not that I can recall. Hell, she dumped him on Valentine's Day because her moronic 'friends' weren't letting her play reindeer games with them or some crap. So it isn't as if she was trailing after him like a puppy while he ragged on her to the Scoobies. That was the entire point of Xander and Cordy's relationship, that they snarked at each other and then made out in a closet.  OMMV..

Share this post


Link to post
If he was in denial or sublimating his thoughts about Willow's lips, why turn away when they were only an inch or two away from his own?

 

Because he doesn't think he's good enough for her. He's placed himself as Willow's protector, and now he can't deal with the idea of their being in a relationship, since he has a deep-seated fear of turning into Tony Harris and being abusive to his "Jessica".  

 

(As seen in the "vision" that Fake!Future!Xander shows him in Hell's Bells. [And, even if that really was the demonic Stewart Burns in disguise, I think it's fair to say that all the visions were in fact Xander's own fears:  being discarded by Buffy after he get hurt trying to help her, having Anya cheat on him and having to raise that child as his own, and ultimately becoming violent towards Anya.]  His fears inform his actions, specifically the non-marriage, so i think it's fair to say that's a fear he really does have.  And there's no reason he can't have had it for a while; his vision of Tony ripping his heart out in Restless indicates that Xander's been in physical fear of his father for some time, perhaps even going back to the incident with the clown on his sixth birthday. [Referred to in Nightmares.])

 

That's why he seeks out sarcasm machines like Cordelia and Anya (oh, they don't even have hearts, he can't really hurt them) and why Slayers (bar stuttery Kendra) are a dream come true (since he really can't hurt them).  This is unfair to almost every woman involved…but it's also unfair to "poor, sweet" Willow, who gets Xander almost recoiling out of fear from her, when she can probably handle herself with him just as well as any of the others could.

 

Let's say for the sake of argument, though, that he knew she felt something for him other than friendship and that she shouldn't have had to tell him so. Does that mean he's somehow obligated to date her so her feelings don't get hurt?

 

 

Of course not; I never said so.  I'm just saying that Willow is less "to blame" for W/X's failure to turn the "fluke" into a real relationship because he knows her feelings (even before she outright says it in BB&B; not only does Buffy confirm this in the tag ["she loved you long before you invoked the Great Roofie Spirit"] but IMO Xander's easy acceptance of Buffy's declaration and his own acknowledgement that Willow will require extended "groveling" because of her feelings would seem to indicate that Willow and Buffy's statements have come as absolutely no surprise) whereas, again, she really does think it's just hormones, because the one time he could put his feelings into words, she was in a coma and thought it was her boyfriend telling her he loved her.  (Understandable assumption, but unfortunate. If Oz is, like, five seconds later entering the room with his "I'm here, baby", maybe Will eventually puts the pieces together.  But as it is, she heard "I love you", she saw Oz, she thinks Oz said it.)

 

If he had romantic feelings for her, which I don't necessarily buy despite the Clothes Fluke, wouldn't he have twigged to them before she was with Oz and he was with Cordelia?

 

Nah, it's not as if there's a timer on "realizing your feelings".  Look how long it took Willow to admit she kind of liked girls.  (And even longer for Buffy to do the same.) Look at the twelve years Xander and Cordelia spent arguing before they channelled that energy elsewhere.

 

Xander's in denial and Buffy (and later Cordelia) make fine distractions.  Going back to When She Was Bad, once Buffy returns, look how easlly he's able to ignore Willow's attempt to recreate the "ice cream on the nose" moment (oh, Willow!) with a bland "Got something on your nose."  But, on the other hand, if the interest had never been there to begin with, then why wouldn't the first time Will had the ice cream on the nose have ended just as innocently, instead of Xander coming oh-so-close to making Willow's dreams come true?  Something had to bring him close to that moment, even if he was able to stop himself and later focus his attentions elsewhere.

 

(It also doesn't help that Willow is pretty passive at this point;  in WSWB she simply waits to receive the kiss that never comes, but in Homecoming she meets him halfway.  It's a lot easier for him to take the step when she does that…but that doesn't mean that the feelings weren't there before.  Since, as noted, he did get close, previously.)

 

Sometimes it takes a catalyst for feelings to come to the surface.  (Buffy and Riley don't kiss until their other lines of [poor] communication are shut off by the silence in Hush;  Xander and Cordelia's first kiss came about in a panic-fueled emotional state, and Xander's first sex was driven by post-combat adrenaline.)  And Willow in that hospital bed makes a pretty good catalyst, IMO; heck, even Cordelia is having a guilt-a-palooza about running away (even though it was the best thing for her to do, and she did it on Xander's order) and it's not as though she and Willow are BFFs.  Buffy certainly seems affected by Willow's coma (avoids femslashy tangent…) and she was only in the room for a few minutes; is it any wonder that Xander, spending an extended period of time trying to communicate with his "best friend" was finally able to break down his walls and reach his true feelings?  (Backed up, as I recall, by a script note that he 'takes the hit" when Willow calls Oz's name instead of his.)

 

As for Cordy herself, it isn't like she was letting the "I Love Xander" flag fly, at least not that I can recall. Hell, she dumped him on Valentine's Day because her moronic 'friends' weren't letting her play reindeer games with them or some crap. So it isn't as if she was trailing after him like a puppy while he ragged on her to the Scoobies. That was the entire point of Xander and Cordy's relationship, that they snarked at each other and then made out in a closet.

 

Your chronology is a little off here;  Bewitched Bothered & Bewildered comes after Surprise, where Xander jokingly describes CC as a "creature of pure evil" to Willow (and also after Innocence, where Willow catches X/C in the stacks and has the "someone you hate" reaction we're discussing). So Xander hasn't been dumped at all when he makes that "joke"; indeed, earlier in the episode (the Monday before the Tuesday which takes up most of Surprise), he'd been trying to get Cordelia to "come out of the utility closet" and date him openly.  

 

Perhaps his being rejected on that front is why he makes the "creature of pure evil" joke on Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, but IMO it's still a bit over the line.  And a perfectly good reason why a hurt Willow would feel justified in characterizing Cordy as "someone you hate" when she finds Xander locking lips with  Cordelia in the stacks about 18 hours after that, on Wednesday night.  But JMO.

Edited by DAngelus

Share this post


Link to post

Without trying to put words onto your keyboard, @DAngelus, it really sounds like Xander is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If he gives in to his fears about not being good enough for Willow and thus not acting on whatever feelings he might have, he's not being fair to her. If he gets involved with someone else, he's not being fair to them because they're 'distractions' from the fact that he's (supposedly) in denial about Willow. If no matter what he does he's going to be wrong, shouldn't he at least choose what IMO is more his type, a 'sarcasm machine' like Cordelia or Anya?

 

I'm still wondering a bit as to why Willow shouldn't have spoken up. I'm not sure that that was what you said, so maybe I manufactured that idea on my own, but if Xander's fear of turning an abuser like his father was as potent as you say, a little obvious receptiveness might have turned the tide in Willow's favor. Like I said in my previous post, he wasn't stupid, but he wasn't a mind reader either. Communication is key in any relationship, which is why I'm so critical of Buffy after she comes back from running away in season three. If she had actually sat down and talked to these people, it would have gone a lot easier, but she didn't do that, and so it exploded into a big argument in Dead Man's Party.

 

And thanks for the correction about the chronology. I'm kind of rusty on what happened when unless its a really pivotal event in the series. All I really recall is that Cordelia was also keeping the relationship under wraps because of said moronic 'friends'.

Share this post


Link to post

There's no "damning" involved here.  He's a 16 year old kid who's been (at least verbally) abused by his father for most of his life, of course he's got issues.  And it's not as though any of this is anything but subconscious;  he likes Buffy, Cordelia, Faith, and Anya because they're hot, as well he should.  He's just got Willow in a different place in his mind, both because of "that famous shy girl act all the boys fall for" of Willow's and also because he's known her and been protective of her feelings for so long.  (I mean, since at least the first day of kindergarten and the yellow crayon incident, possibly longer.)  But it's not as if he's ever spent a day in his bed, listening to Patsy Cline and psychoanalyzing why he feels differently about Willow than from other girls, why he has a "don't go there" for her but he'd like to "be treated like a man" by all those women who should appreciate him, but don't, despite the fact that a lot of them are really stupid and annoying.  (Yeah, I think he has some issues with women in general, again due to his home life.)

 

Sure he's being unfair to them, but who is ever purely fair to their partner?  I mean, Cordelia constantly insulted him before they dated (and wanted to hide their early relationship more than he did), Buffy was imperious and uncommunicative and ultimately got him maimed, Anya admitted that the only thing they had in common was that they both liked his penis and couldn't deny that she only dated him "because [he] was there" and tried to get his friends to murder him, and Faith was a free-range psychopath who tried to kill him with her own two hands.  So the idea that Xander's being unfair because he doesn't think of them the way he thinks of Willow?  Not that "damning" of him, relatively speaking,IMO.

 

And I didn't say that Willow shouldn't have spoken up and been all "let's date";  I just said that given that he's clearly clued in about her feelings, she didn't need to do it and shouldn't be condemned for not doing so.  Could she have gotten farther if she'd randomly kissed him like she does to Oz in Phases?  Or heck, just hopped in his bed and said "let's do it", essentially as she does in BB&B, but without the love spell making him wary?  Maybe…after all, just jumping on him seems to have worked pretty well for Cordy, Faith and Anya.  But maybe not…maybe he would have freaked out even more at this behavior coming from his "buddy", Willow. We'll never know.

 

Instead, Willow took her standard passive tactic, both because of her home life (you try living with a mother who doesn't notice your haircut until six fucking months after the fact and can't be bothered to learn your best friend's name…) and because, hey, it kind of works.  Sure, she's alone a lot of the time, but Buffy and Xander and Giles do act protective to her, so that makes her feel good. It's not as if she's making a deliberate choice to put on "the famous shy girl act that all the boys fall for", but she does sometimes get rewarded for her (by now) naturally-passive instincts, and that reinforces them.  So that's why she isn't naturally inclined to be as aggressive as you'd like her to be.

 

Is she perfect?  Of course not.  She's judgmental (there's a whole cut sequence in the Surprise script where X/C try to see how receptive their friends would be to the idea of the couple, and Willow's scorn for Cordelia is presented as a direct parallel to Harmony's contempt for Xander) and she never really gets how much Cordelia wants to be her friend, despite Cordelia telling her to her face that she's hurt by how relatively little she matters to Xander's life.  ("It's always 'Buffy, Buffy! Willow, Willow!"  It's like I don't even exist!")  I think Xander and Willow are both flawed (not Angel-level "I actually really enjoyed being a murdering psychopath and a part of me really wants to do it again" flawed, but still, flawed) and neither does a perfect job of communicating their true feelings.

 

I just feel that with regard to the specific point that led us onto this tangent, the seeming "unfairness" of how Willow "got off easy" after the (IMO nothing resembling a) "fluke", well, Willow went back to her boyfriend for a good and simple reason; Xander never told her how he really felt.  Xander knew Willow's feelings (whatever you think of her passive tactics for communicating them), but not vice versa. So I'd say there's story logic at work, however annoying I find that whole "fluke" story to begin with.

 

And does Xander really "suffer' from the fallout of the "fluke"? Yeah, so he can't be casually handsy with Willow any more…well, that's probably a good idea, not just because it might make Oz jealous, but because it sends Willow mixed signals, and because you could barely keep your hands off of her just the episode before, so maybe "touching digits" wouldn't stay as casual as you claim it would?  Isn't this basically what Spike was telling Buffy and Angel last episode?  Not the juvenile "you'll never be friends because you're doomed to be love's bitch for all eternity" nonsense (people do get over relationships, after all), but on a more practical level, when you're just out of a relationship, maybe you shouldn't be pretending it never happened and you're "just friends" right away.  So Buffy, don't do any "tai chi" at Angel's place for awhile (no matter how hot you look in that low-cut sports bra…) and Xander, keep your hands to yourself.  I mean, really.

 

But aside from that, nobody really is shunning Xander, his guilt about the "illicit smoochies" aside.  Oz is pretty much the same as he ever was, which is why Buffy can barely keep from giggling when Xander's being all neurotic on this front.  And Cordelia throws some insults his way (although she apparently blames Buffy even more for the whole mess…) but come on, he's gotta be used to that by now.  I mean, isn't it basically foreplay for X/C at this point?

 

(And, the more I think about it, Xander probably could have had Cordelia back, if he'd really wanted her.  Drag her into the utility closet after The Zeppo and see what happens.  Well, don't literally "drag" her, but you know what I mean.)

 

And yeah, he was left single and she back together with Oz for most of 1999.  But was that such a bad thing?  While Willow is "knowing the love of a taciturn man" who doesn't tell her when he's going out of town for the weekend and whom she "never know what [he] is thinking", Xander is free to get on with his life.  He gets to have sex (with a girl he'd acknowledged as a sexual fantasy of his, even when dating Cordelia) in January, while she's still waiting for Good Old Oz to decide when's the right time for them to "panic", which doesn't happen until June.  And given that Oz apparently feels Willow owes him one, and that he gets to throw the "fluke" in her face if she catches him stepping out of line (sorry, I know this is Wild at Heart retroactively damaging the character for me, but as Robin eventually says, you can't un-see it), maybe it's all for the best.  Oz will leave Willow a shattered wreck for over a month when he finally gets around to leaving.  Xander, as guilty as he feels about the whole thing (which leads him to "non-Earth logic" defense mechanisms like blaming Oz and Cordelia for the whole situation), is past that now.   Perhaps he's the one who "gets off easy", after all.

 

So, no, I don't really get upset about Xander getting blamed unfairly for the fluke, because I don't think that really happened, not within the story.  Yeah, sure, he got shit upon by some members of the fandom…but those fans are also likely to blame Xander for the sinking of the U.S.S Maine, so whatever.  Sometimes I just decide to let it go.  But that's JMO.

Edited by DAngelus

Share this post


Link to post

Ok gang, I know everyone feels passionate about this one but lets tone it down a bit. This is probably an agree to disagree situation. Thanks! 

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

I've always liked Xander, I think the character is hilarious. I think my favorite Xander quote is from Halloween in season 4. They're trying to track Giles down to help them and he's playing his guitar at some bar/club, and singing Freebird or something, and Xander says, "Can we go back to the haunted house now, because this is really creeping me out." Classic Xander.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

With Xander telling Dawn, it was two things: Being sexually assaulted is a very traumatic personal thing that can be difficult to talk about. Xander telling Buffy's little sister about it before she was ready was a shitty thing to do. And he didn't do it warn Dawn. He was pissed and lashed, And all of these things reflect a pattern of holding his feelings as more important than those of the women in his life and sometimes acting out with malice.

 

So he should have bitten his tongue and listened to Dawn wax poetic about how of course Spike would have stayed and fought Warren, because he was such a big manly hero? In direct contrast to Xander, who'd been told to go with Dawn and get somewhere safe? Because that's what the shiny-haired brat was doing. I think the context of the situation matters, and the context is partly that Dawn was extolling Spike's virtues without knowing that he'd just tried to violate her sister. Why should Xander have left her under the impression that Captain Peroxide was not, in fact, a raging asshole? I don't know that that's what you're saying, but IMO it isn't malice to be pissed when somebody who doesn't know all the facts is slobbering all over some jerk.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Customize font-size