Thursday, February 3, 2011

Once more, with feeling.

As a loyal follower of Kristina Horner's internet endeavors, I was pretty stoked when she filled out a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Survey. I hadn't finished the seventh season yet when she originally posted it, but now I finally feel qualified to give fair and honest answers. Here goes!

(This will include spoilers from the entire series. You've been warned.)

1. The first character I fell in love with: Prepare to hear a lot about Willow, because she was my favorite character throughout the series. It began with love at first sight; she was just so awkward, and I wanted to kick Cordelia's ass in that first episode for the manner in which she treated Willow. While in high school, she was so adorable with her overalls and her eskimo costume... plus she was brilliant and not afraid to show it. I also loved the way that she managed to never take out her unrequited love for Xander on Buffy, even though that must have been such a painful situation. Basically, she was the first character that I fell in love with because, well, I don't understand how anyone could help themselves. :P (I absolutely fell in love with Buffy as well, but then again, I fell in love with everyone.)

2. The character I never expected to love as much as I do now: I feel like Anya and Andrew are going to be two characters that come to mind for most fans. It's pretty much inevitable. 

With Anya, it honestly surprised me that she returned after her first appearance as the main antagonist of an episode. She then proceeded to drive me crazy, with her pushiness and her offensiveness and just ugggghhhhh. But then, somehow, she managed to grow into this hilarious character that provided insight into every situation through her blunt honesty. She just could not help but give a running commentary, which I grew to love. I had never thought they would develop her character as much as they did, but as my view of her increased in complexity, she became one of my favorite characters. Though she did not understand why her friends insisted on sticking around for first row seats to every apocalypse that came to town, her love for them caused her to stay by their sides. That is a beautiful thing. Her fear of bunnies was something that never failed to crack me up, and I was a little sad when they replaced her rabbit costume in the opening credits. Also, it would be a crime if I didn't mention the episode that made me recognize how much I had grown to love Anya: "The Body". Her speech moved me to tears in a way that was unexpected from Anya. 

Oh, Andrew... he was another character that I thought would appear in a couple of episodes, but never grow to be prominent enough to be a favorite. I despised his relationship with Warren (my flood of hatred for Warren must have spilled over to encompass Andrew as well), and when Willow was attacking the Trio, I seriously wanted her to kill off Andrew just to get him to shut up. He didn't deserve to be Jonathan's friend, and it's not even like I hold Jonathan in the highest regard. These feelings all began to change when Andrew was taken hostage, and he grew to be nothing but hilarious in my eyes. I laughed much harder at his little remarks and references than was probably necessary, and I adored his attempt at vlogging. In the last few episodes, Andrew managed to join the ranks of my favorite characters, a feat more impressive when I consider that he didn't even have time for his character to truly develop. 

My love for both Anya and Andrew was reinforced by their interactions with each other in the final couple of episodes. They provided much comic relief in a very intense time, which I could not help but adore.

3. The character everyone else loves that I don’t: Why the fuck did Angel deserve his own spin-off series? I'll probably end up watching it at some point, but seriously. He had no real personality. Honestly, I liked him a lot more as Angelus, because at least he had character traits! The only word that comes to mind to describe Angel is "bland". Wearing dark clothing does not make you brooding and mysterious, I'm sorry. I needed a little bit more to work with to appreciate his character, and much as I love Boreanaz, he just didn't deliver. Considering his lack of personality, I had trouble respecting his relationship with Buffy. What exactly was it that she fell in love with? His jacket?

4. The character I love that everyone else hates: I feel like I would need to know more about who everyone else hates to answer this question... I get the impression that people have a lot of disrespect for Dawn, which I find really unfair. At fourteen, she found out that a.) her family wasn't her family, b.) she wasn't human, c.) someone seemingly too powerful for Buffy to stop was trying to kill her, and d.) if she died, the rest of the world would basically follow shortly afterward. Her mother died, and then her sister sacrificed herself. As if this wasn't enough for a young teenager to deal with, her sister was resurrected but then seemed to wish she was dead. If Dawn held felt alone when Buffy was dead, it must have seemed so much worse when Buffy was alive but would rather be underground than with her sister. But apparently throughout all of this, she was too whiny for people to handle? Come on guys, let's try to be a little more understanding. :P

I also love Dawn's presence because she keeps Buffy grounded. As an only child, Buffy was always thinking about saving the world in general, but in a lot of ways she was selfish in the risks that she took. This contrasted deeply with her role as an older sibling, because she found out that love could override her sense of duty. She needed to be safe for Dawn, and I thought their dynamic was really interesting. Plus, the way that Spike cared for Dawn after Buffy's death really reinforced his love for her. Basically, I just think that Dawn was a great way to highlight traits that other characters possessed. 

5. The character I used to love but don’t any longer: I really need to stop agreeing with Kristina's answers, but I just can't help it. Amy was fascinating in the beginning, because the show first began to delve into the world of witchcraft through her. She was able to turn both herself and others into animals, which was awesome, but I found her personality even more interesting in the fact that she shape-shifted into a rat without knowing how to turn herself back from that form. Though it was an incredibly stupid thing to do, she took action to save her own life, something that demands some respect. The whole time she was a rat, I felt sympathy for her... well, the kind of sympathy that you feel when someone brought something terrible onto themselves. Whatever, the point is, I spent so much time waiting for something to happen with her character. I was just itching for Willow to turn Amy back, if only for plot continuation; I would have been so pissed if the series had expected fans to simply forget about her. Well, I thought I would be pissed; in retrospect, I wish they had kept her as a rat. Every minute she spent as a renewed human was a minute too long.

6. The character I would shag anytime: It would be nice to be unique and say something insightful or whatever, but I just can't bring myself to name anyone but Spike. Once they began developing his character, there was no one but Spike. He's so sexy, and yet when they showed the flashbacks of everyone who rejected him, this whole new pitiful layer was revealed. Would I want to be added to the list of women who hurt his pride? No. No I would not.

7. The character I’d want to be like: If I'm being completely honest, I would not want to be like any of them. I have such an intense level of love for most of the characters, but I don't envy any of their lives. I suppose if I could pick and choose traits as opposed to taking the whole package, I would want Buffy's ability to follow her instincts and Tara's overall loveliness.

8. The character I’d slap: OH GOD THERE ARE TOO MANY...

- Xander, when he lies to Buffy about Willow restoring Angel's soul. I'd also slap him over the whole Anya thing; I understand the realization that he didn't want to get married, but he handled it so poorly. Plus, making that decision based on fear of being a lousy husband or an alcoholic? Grow a pair, and actively avoid realizing those fears. Seriously. 

- Spike, when he attempts to rape Buffy. The whole situation was just too awful. 

- Drusilla and Harmony, in any situation. 

- Angel, just for being ridiculously cliche. 

- Andrew when he kills Jonathan. 

- Warren. Need I even give a reason?

I'll just stop there, but I have wanted to slap everyone at some point... except maybe Tara.

9. A pairing that I love: I adore Willow's relationship with basically everyone but Kennedy. 

- Willow/Tara: Oh my god. When Glory sucked the energy out of Tara's mind or whatever, Willow's handling of the situation was so beautiful. I will never forget the scene where Willow is feeding Tara, and she says that even if Tara never recovers, she will always be in love with her. "She's my girl." SO GOOD. Despite Willow's magic addiction and the way that it tore them apart, they could never stop being my favorite couple after that moment. They were so perfect for each other, and their love could not be affected by any tough circumstances. I found their relationship to be the most lovely, pure, and fitting of any on the show. 

- Willow/Oz: Though I don't see what they had in common, I adored the time before Oz left. All of the "Who is that girl?" scenes before they met were indescribably cute. Finally, someone could appreciate all of the quirky things there were to love about Willow. Plus, I believe Oz was detrimental to Willow developing self confidence and really discovering her true self. He also was the catalyst for Willow and Tara at last admitting their feelings for each other, which I see as a positive (obviously not for their romantic relationship, but for their friendship overall). 

- Willow/Xander: When Xander stops Willow at the end of season six, I just found it to be such a perfect scene. It really showed how pure their friendship was... in fact, Xander's entire speech was so touching and flat out spectacular. I also loved how the fact that they were truly best friends in a way that Buffy could never touch was subtly reinforced. A good example of this was when Xander lost his eye; Buffy had to be cold as the Slayer who had to make touch decisions, but Willow could just be Xander's friend. 

I'll stop there, but I essentially love Willow with everyone (again, except for Kennedy).

10. A pairing that I despise: Though Buffy and Spike are two of my all-time favorite characters to ever grace the television screen, I have to admit that I hate them together. They were just so impossibly toxic for one another, and their relationship was harmful and abusive. It hurt Spike in every way, and I just cannot bring myself to condone that. I just love their individual characters too much to enjoy watching them cause each other pain... it was too heart-wrenching to be bearable. 

Another pairing I absolutely despised is Willow and Kennedy. Though I mentioned it before, I just want to explain the reason behind my disapproval. Willow and Tara's beautiful relationship was such a positive step for the portrayal of homosexual relationships. I found her and Kennedy to be quite the opposite. It was like, "Oh, my girlfriend died! I'll just fall in love with the next lesbian that happens to be staying at my house." I can't help but feel that way... it was too soon, too rushed, and too convenient. I understand that they wanted to assure everyone that Willow wasn't just going through a phase; she really was attracted to women. After the negative response to Tara's death, I completely get the need to further establish Willow as a lesbian. But seriously? Kennedy was awful. She didn't respect Willow's magic, or the struggle that she was going through as a former addict. I found her pursuit of Willow to be borderline harassment, and then Willow fell for her? While she was still grieving, and despite the fact that the only thing Kennedy could relate to about her was coming out? Please. I may be completely out of line, but that was how their relationship came across to me.

11. Favorite male character (add a quote or favorite line): I wish I could pick someone other than Spike, but he was just too perfect. He was unbelievably hot, hilarious, and pathetic all in one badass vampire casing. Plus, he saved the world even before he was trying to be a hero. I don't even know how to fully articulate my love for him. 

"The torch I bear is scorching me, and Buffy's laughing I've no doubt. I hope she fries. I'm free if that bitch dies! I'd better help her out." - Spike

My favorite quote about him: 
"The only person I can even stand to be around is a neutered vampire who cheats at kitten poker." - Buffy

12. Favorite female character (add a quote or favourite line): A part of me wants to go with Buffy, but if I haven't made it obvious yet, I'd have to pick Willow. I'm too tired to explain... she's just Willow. I love her, even when her magic addiction is hurting her friends. Is that awful? Probably. She is the most fully developed of the characters, aside from Buffy. I think she is my favorite over Buffy because despite season six, I think Willow treats people better than Buffy does. 

My favorite conversation from the series is actually between Willow and Spike:

"I don't understand. This sort of thing's never happened to me before." - Spike
"Maybe you were nervous." - Willow
"I felt alright when I started... let's try again. OW! OH! OW! DAMN IT!" - Spike
"Maybe you're trying too hard. Doesn't this happen to every vampire?" - Willow
"Not to me, it doesn't!" - Spike
"I know I'm not the kind of girl vamps like to sink their teeth into. It's always like, 'Oh, you're like a sister to me' or 'Oh, you're such a good friend'." - Willow
"Don't be ridiculous. I'd bite you in a heartbeat." - Spike
"Really?" - Willow
"Thought about it." - Spike
"When?" - Willow
"Remember last year, you had on that fuzzy pink number with the lilac underneath?" - Spike
"I never would have guessed. You played the blood-lust kinda cool." - Willow
"Mmm, I hate being obvious. All fang-y and 'RRRR!'. Takes the mystery out." - Spike
"But if you could..." - Willow
"If I could, yeah." - Spike
"You know, this doesn't make you any less terrifying." - Willow
"Don't patronize me." - Spike

13. My five favorite characters: Willow, Spike, Buffy, Anya, Andrew.

14. My five least favorite characters: Warren, the Potentials in general (their personalities; the plot was wicked cool), Riley, Angel, Kennedy specifically.

15. Which character I am most like: There are qualities I possess from each of them. I have Buffy's leadership, Willow's nerdiness, Giles's role as the voice of reason, Xander's stupid jokes, Anya's bluntness, and Spike's aversion to groups. Overall I am probably the most like Tara, after her character stopped being solely Willow's stuttering friend. She was loyal, gave advice without being judgmental, was a little awkward as the new member of a group, and was shy in general. I wish I could be as lovely as she turned out to be, which is crazy because I didn't care for her much at first.

16. My deep, dark fandom secret: I waited ten years after the series finale to begin watching the series. That, and my hatred of basically every single Potential... how does everyone else feel about them? I thought the direction Whedon took that plot line was awesome, but their personalities were so disagreeable. Ugh. 

THIS WAS SOOOOO LONG.  Sorry, guys. :P

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