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Headscratchers: Buffyverse
Headscratchers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spoilers abound.

Click here to return to the main Headscratchers page.

For Headscratchers entries about vampire rules, click here.

For Headscratchers entries about slayer rules, click here.


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    Souls And Stuff 
  • So what exactly does having a soul mean in this universe? The ability to feel guilt? It's certainly not affection or love, as soulless demons do that constantly. When the show first started, it was quite clear that because vampires don't have the souls, "You're not looking at your friend anymore, you're looking at the thing that killed him." Clean-cut, end of story: a vampire is a demon that has the memories of the human whose body it's using, but no conscience. Personalities are generally on a limited spectrum, and the only emotions that are really expressed are self-serving ones. Then comes Spike. Oh, Spike. For two seasons and change he's an immoral badass, a vamp like any other but with a stronger personality. Then he starts to go through a long and nuanced series of character developments. A chip in his head gives him space to interact with people without trying to kill them, until he gets to the point where he actually cares about Buffy and Dawn in his own way, taking pain and risking death so as not to betray them, ALL WITHOUT A SOUL. This is where it really goes into "Wtf?" territory. People keep saying "He has no soul!" when I'm just sitting there wondering what functional difference it even makes at this point. In season 7, he gets his soul back, goes a little crazy or a few months (in part aided by The First) and is then pretty much just like he was before. You even find out that back when he FIRST GOT TURNED, the time above all others where a vampire is just a bloodthirsty monster, he sired his mother so he could still take care of her and be together in the afterlife. Full on "WTF?!" territory. And Spike isn't even the only one who shows glimpses of this, but he's center-stage for sure. Would Angelus have eventually become Angel if someone had put a similar chip in his brain?
    • While Spike did start off with more empathy than most vampires, fans often make too big a deal about how he changed after getting the chip. All the chip did was put Spike on an electric collar. Yes, he started doing heroic things and treating the Scoobies like a reluctant nakama. But we also saw what happened when Drusilla briefly helped him overcome the chip, and then later when Buffy "came back wrong" and he assumed the chip was broken. He ran right out and killed (or in the latter case, tried to kill) the nearest woman. Without a soul, Spike can't resist his vampiric instincts. The chip's forcing him into a situation where he has to ignore them and develop emotional attachments to people, but without a soul, all of that falls apart the moment the chip's not holding him back anymore. Think about it: after all the character development he went through in Season 5, working with the Scoobies, protecting Dawn, grieving for Buffy and then having her come back to life, Spike still tried to kill an innocent person as soon as he thought he was capable of doing so. Without either a soul or the threat of painful shocks, he simply can't not be a monster. And he knew it, which is why he got himself re-ensouled. To answer your last question, if Angelus had been chipped, he might well have gradually started being heroic and thinking of the Scoobies the same way he used to think of Darla, Dru and Spike, as his nakama. But he would have gone right back to his old self the moment the chip got turned off.
      • So all a soul means is whether or not you kill innocent people you don't know? Eh. I can accept that the meaning of it changed throughout the series, but it feels like how important a soul is in making a person who they are was wildly warped depending on whether the plot needed it or not. Is there any other vampire we know of who didn't kill or try to kill, or want to kill, their parents and friends right after turning? But suddenly Spike turns out to have been so soft-hearted that even freshly turned, he still cared about her. Le shrug.
      • Gunn's sister Alonna in Angel wanted to turn him too, so while vampires still caring for their loved ones is rare, it does seem to happen every now and then (probably when the host was especially compassionate, since William and Alonna had that in common). They've said the vampire is a demonic copy of the person, so on the surface, it'd seem like it's the same person: they have the same memories, the same quirks, and in some cases even the same loyalties. But without a soul (or the chip constantly doing its thing), that residual personality's still dominated by its vampirism. As far as I know, the one constant with soulless vampires is that, though they might seem to have complicated personalities and relationships, they never have any compunctions about killing humans (to the point of comical dissonance with their personalities, like Mr. Trick in the drive-through). It seems to take a soul to overpower those predatory instincts and pull off a permanent, free-will Heel-Face Turn. Chipped Spike actually managed some impressive character development in deciding he'd gone as far as the chip could take him and needed his soul to finish the job.
    • Speaking of fans often making a big deal of how much he changed after the chip, Spike WAS an immoral badass in the first two seasons plus change, but he ALWAYS had a poet's soul, metaphorically speaking. Go back to the very first episode he ever appeared in, way back in School Hard, and watch him lightswitch immediately from Immoral Badass to Caring, Hopeless Romantic the SECOND Drusilla walks into the room. As Spike himself phrased it in Lover's Walk, he is, and always has been, Love's Bitch. His character is defined by his emotional attachments, he just replaced Drusilla with the Scoobies and, later, Buffy specifically in later seasons.
  • What is a soul anyway (in this universe)? Souls are considered to be the part of human beings—the essence of their personality—that transcends the destruction of their body. After "The Gift", Buffy's consciousness was clearly elsewhere while her actual body was rotting in the ground. So if a soul is one's consciousness, what happens to a vampire's soul? We're told they lose it, but vampires are still conscious. How does that work? Furthermore, if a personís soul was their very essence, then obviously their soul would be unique to them. How, then, is it possible for Spike (in the comic spin-off series) to receive a soul that literally belongs to someone else and yet still remain himself?
    • Becoming a vampire isn't a simple process of "you lose your soul". There's also the part of "a demon goes into you". Buffyverse defines a soul as a human soul, specifically; whatever a demon's essence, consciousness, etc. is, the series discounts as a "soul", but it is still there. In essence, becoming a vampire is a process of "You die, and the vampire gives birth to a new vampire demon inside your body, which develops a personality based on the memories and knowledge downloaded from your mind, but is not you." Ensouling a vampire causes the original human soul to come to inhabit the body simultaneously with the demon spirit, resulting in a person who is not necessarily either. Angel, for example, is an amalgam creature of one part Liam and one part Angelus, taking things like his conscience and his capacity for friendship from Liam, while also taking other things like his clever ability to manipulate, his (usually repressed, but sometimes plainly exposed) lust for violence, and his passion for art from Angelus. Spike is a special case in that he's more or less repressed his human soul. It's there, and it helps to guide him, but he leads with his demon. As a result, having a different soul inside him doesn't actually affect him overmuch, because his demon is still a good 80-90% of his personality.
  • So the gypsies have the power to restore a vampire's soul. They're really pissed at Angel for turning Drusilla, who they love, into a soulless vampire...wouldn't it have made more sense to restore Drusilla's soul? Or both of them, if they have two of the orb thingies? For that matter, why don't the Scoobies do it to Spike and Drusilla after they learn how? It wouldn't have screwed with the plot too hard most of their important enemies after second season aren't vampires anyway.
    • Screwing with magic tends to bring out much more horrible things. Just look at Xander. The poor idiot really never learned not to mess with magic spells. It almost got him married to a demon.
    • Drusilla had nothing to do with the gypsies. They punished Angelus with a soul because he killed a gypsy girl who was particularly popular/important with the clan, and that girl was not Drusilla or remotely related to her. As for why the Scoobies don't do it, the show pretty explicitly states that it's one heck of a nasty thing to do. And doing it to Drusilla would be about the worst thing I could think of. Angelus did a nasty job to her; she was already irreperably insane before he sired her. Getting her soul back might not give her any remorse, and if it did, the grief would probably drive her to suicide in days.
      • Of course, being "a heck of a nasty thing to do" doesn't stop them from doing it again to Angel, even though he'll have a whole lot of new atrocities to feel horrible about, and apparently expecting everybody to think they've done him (and Buffy) a favor. Originally the reason for the re-ensouling in Season 2 was as a backup in case Buffy didn't manage to kill Angel - it wasn't meant to be doing him a favour, just another option to contain him - but that seemed to be forgotten.
      • That was the stated reason, but there was still the underlying motive of, as Xander so eloquently put it, "You want to forget all about Ms. Calendar's murder so you can get your boyfriend back." This IS why Xander didn't tell Buffy about Willow reattempting the re-insouling after promising he would; he wanted her to fight and kill Angelus, rather than holding on and waiting for Willow to give Angel back to her.
    • The soul curse did a number on Willow, it nearly killed her, hence why they don't just spam the spell all over the place every time they meet a vampire. Also, giving somebody a soul doesn't always give them instant remorse and cause them to immediately start doing the right thing. Angelus kept on killing even after he got his soul, and Darla was slow to react as well. Drusilla would indeed kill herself, after all look at the sane vampires who got souls. Angelus and Spike both temporarily went insane after getting their souls for the first time, imagine what it would do someone who was already insane. It's not a gift, it's a curse.
      • I'm a trifle fuzzy on why Drusilla killing herself would be a bad thing.
      • Because, she'd only be pushed off the edge to kill herself if she had a soul, and if she had a soul she'd be essentially a good person, or at least human enough that her dying would be bad. It'd be like killing Angel or ensouled Spike out of cold blood.
      • "Angelus kept on killing even after he got his soul", inaccurate. He was only killing bad people, and Darla called him out on it. When she tried to get him to eat a baby, he couldn't do it.
      • Because being eaten is an appropriate sentence for anything shy of rape or murder. For Darla clearly the soul in her wasn't functioning the way every other soul we've seen does. This one instead
    • On the note of soul restoring, When they restore Angel's soul on one of the many occasions, why don't they leave out the part about him losing it when he achieves perfect happiness? I guess I can understand the first time it was Willow's first spell and that might have been beyond her but later on when she repeats the spell on Angel she's basically achieved her peak magic ability and brought Buffy back to life so performing it then doesn't seem beyond reason.
      • Possibly no such spell exists.
      • I'm inclined to blame Real Life Writes the Plot here. If Angel hadn't been spun off, and his character had thus been around Sunnydale, Willow would probably have developed a better version of that curse in a few seasons. As it was, in-universe we have "out of sight, out of mind", combined with the assumption that Angel's destiny will take care of everything. Realistically, once the actor is working with another network, we need to make it very clear that Angel and Buffy have no chance of being a happy couple.
      • Because Willow doesn't know of any such spell. Ensouling a vampire is, by all accounts, unprecedented in the Buffyverse before Angel. The demon shaman Spike visited could do an ensouling without a vengeance curse, but it was this is because it's basically a wish-granting machine for people who can survive its trials. Apart from that, the gypsy vengeance curse is the only spell we've ever seen that can put a soul into a vampire, and Willow can't edit it to remove the Perfect Happiness breakdown for the same reason she couldn't, say, edit it to add "Also, Angel turns into a human" or anything else you can name; because spells are not modular.
    • What I want to know is why the Gypsies never told Angel about the Curse Escape Clause. When you think about their agenda of making Angel Suffer, it actually works in their favor: First, now Angel would know that if he ever experiences happiness, he become souless again, which would make definitely make him suffer more, and secondly, it would have saved many more lives, because he would have been even less likely to become Angelus ever again. I mean, I know they were only interested in Revenge, but it would has really worked in everyone's best interest, not just Angel.
      • Fanwank: They couldn't assume he'd stop killing immediately upon getting the soul, or that the soul would be enough to stop him from taking vengeance on those responsible, so they would have steered clear. Angel was capable of serious violence towards humans when pushed far enough; having a couple of gypsies come up to him and say "ha ha, it's even worse than you realize" might well have been enough of a push.
      • Plus, if Angel knew there was an escape clause that'd remove his soul again, he might have actually taken it and turned back into Angelus. He did continue the Angelus role at first, and tried to cover up the change so that Darla, Spike and Dru wouldn't know it (he couldn't get any closer than being a Serial-Killer Killer and flunking Darla's If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten test, though). And in the series Angel, he actually did try to deliberately lose his soul after hitting his Despair Event Horizon. It flopped, because he was too busy being in despair to lose himself to "perfect happiness", but he did try, and the gypsies couldn't take the risk of Angel trying the same thing a hundred years earlier and possibly succeeding.
  • Why did the gypsies give the curse that escape clause, anyway? If Angel feels he has done enough good to be forgiven (and thus probably won't want to do any more harm for which he will need to atone), he gets turned into a monster who won't care about atonement. If his soul doesn't work well enough to make him feel remorse every waking second, and every dreaming second, he gets turned into a monster. If he gets distracted by something pure, he gets turned into a monster. It kind of defeats the purpose that whether he is a philanthropist or a murderous rapist sadist while he has a soul, if he is ever happy (being nice to people or being Angelus at people), he turns into a murderous rapist sadist with no soul. Wouldn't they prefer that he have no out built into the spell, and have to use another spell to get it out of him? If it needed a loophole to work, why not make the loophole something more specific, difficult, and/or unpleasant to achieve, such as "if he ever achieves pure pleasure from causing an innocent (by the usual mystical definition) pain, he loses his soul, and his brain turns to head cheese"? Did they think that anyone would have too much more trouble to put down a murderous, rapist, sadist vampire with a soul than they would a murderous, rapist, sadist vampire with no soul? Kendra canonically wouldn't have.
    • Rare or expensive material spell components?
    • The point of the curse is for him to spend the rest of his days in a state of constant misery. If he experiences a moment of perfect happiness, then the curse has no point, the magic stops binding his soul to him, and it goes bye-bye again.
      • Yes, I understand that that was the point of the spell. But as outlined above, there are many reasons that Angelus would be better with a soul and potentially happy than without a soul and potentially happy. If he loses his soul, for any reason, he won't care about not having been nice to people unless he gets a new soul. Liam was a vicious brute, and they couldn't have expected him to turn into Angel after knowing what he was like before being vamped, but a vampire with a soul is certainly better for the people around them than a vampire without a soul, no? Was the spell charm just an Idiot Ball?
      • The thing is, the gypsies were royal jerkasses. Jenny even called her uncle and the rest of the clan out on it when they refused to restore Angel's soul even with Angelus running wild. The rest of the clan just doesn't care what happens to other people. They don't care if ensouled Angel redeems himself or becomes an even worse monster than Angelus, and they don't even care about the damage Angelus will cause if the curse is ever broken. All they care about is that Angelus suffers, and the best way they could think to do that was to trap Angelus inside a human soul and force him to endure everything Angel feels. Even that shows how completely amoral they are: they dragged Liam's soul out of the afterlife just to be the instrument of Angelus's And I Must Scream torment. The reason the curse's escape clause makes no sense as a strategy for reforming Angel or for containing Angelus is that the gypsies didn't intend for it to do either. Their only reason for cursing Angelus is to make him suffer, and once he stops suffering, the curse has run its course. If that sounds twisted, myopic and incredibly petty, well, it is, which is Jenny chewed out her uncle for it and refused to keep playing by those rules.
      • The problem is that Angel wasn't done suffering. He'd just stopped for a second. By phrasing their spell in such a way that his soul would be dismissed if he ever got happy for a second, it meant that he would be done suffering, since there would be nothing left to suffer. Even if it was "vengeance" rather than "justice," it was damn stupid.
      • No, I'm pretty sure he was done suffering, at least above and beyond what anyone suffers as part of life. The curse doesn't activate when Angel's happy in an everyday sort of way. He's had plenty of happy, even giddy, moments in both series without turning into Angelus. It takes "perfect happiness" to do it, and the times it happened in each show, it happened because he'd reached some sort of emotional closure and fulfillment. Had he not lost his soul in Season 2, he almost surely wouldn't have remained constantly brooding and haunted about his past after he and Buffy consumated their relationship, and the same goes for the illusory super-happy ending the shaman gave him in S5 Angel. The curse kicks in whenever Angel's just about to overcome his guilt once and for all.
    • It's possible that they didn't write it as an escape clause; instead, it may just be a result of the nature of the curse, that if the curse ceases to function, then the curse ceases to exist. It is, after all, a curse; by its nature, it is malicious and intended to cause harm. If it is no longer causing harm, then the curse is no longer functioning, and simply ceases to be. Not something written into the curse itself, but an unfortunate effect of its fundamental nature.
      • I just have to say, I really like this idea in terms of Occam's Razor. Rather than a complicated escape clause deliberately written into the spell, maybe the curse simply works that way because it was designed as a curse. The moment his soul's presence is no longer a curse on Angel, it vanishes simply because the curse is broken. That'd also help explain why Willow didn't try to change the spell: it's not just a matter of removing a few "but he loses his soul if he's happy" lines at the end, but of inventing a completely new ensouling spell from scratch that has the same effect as the gypsy curse, except without being a curse.
    • Besides the fact that "cursed until you find true happiness/love" is one of The Oldest Ones Inthe Book, you can also think of it as a two-part curse. First, Angelus is cursed with a soul to spend eternity struggling with guilt and remorse for his crimes. Second, should he ever actually be able to move beyond his guilt and achieve true happiness, his soul is revoked, he reverts to Angelus, and any chance he has at maintaining that happiness is forever destroyed. As stated above the gypsies that cursed Angelus were not nice people; the curse was never necessarily about reforming or containing Angelus. It was about vengeance.
      • I think a soul is just a restraining mechanism, its your conscience. Before being a vamp you hold back, if you love someone but they don't love you you pine and move on. After, you just take them and force it. Look at Spikes mom, before hand she couldn't bear to hurt her son, after her conscience is removed who cares.
    • They actually do explain it in such a way that makes sense in the show. The curse is not just for Angelus, it is for Angel too. Angel has his soul back, YAY! But should he ever be perfectly happy, he loses it and becomes the monster again. He was a drunk, ass, but he was not really a true monster before being turned into a vampire. After becoming ensouled again, Angel knows all the horror he caused and does not want to return to the monster. So he must actively avoid any event that might make him "perfectly happy" or become the monster he once was. It is torture for him on a whole new level of cruel as any happiness he might achieve is going to end his having a soul and Angel wants his soul. So he avoids that moment of true happiness as much as he can and continues to brood and think about all his wrongs hoping against hope that fixing things and being "good" will allow him to keep his soul with no strings attached. This is why the events in season 2 exist in their context. Angel did not even see his impending doom because he was becoming happy with Buffy. So the gypsies did their cloak and dagger stuff to keep him from continuing his course. This troper is of the opinion that had they just outright told him that if he continued his path with Buffy he would lose his soul, he would have broken it off with her right away and gone back to broody-man. But of course that would not have served the story. And the reason for the second time it happened was all just a dream. My big question is why did the "bliss" drug work even if only temporary? In fact, if it worked at all, shouldn't even a drug induced "perfect happiness" count as cancelling the curse permanently?

    Girl Power 
  • Something I find ironic in Buffy is that the whole "Girl Power" type stuff are all based on characters with super powers that don't exist in real life. So Buffy is inherently gifted to be stronger than any normal human, and Willow has abilities that can warp reality, but a more 'real' character like Joyce dies off arbitrarily.
    • Yes, it's called metaphor, and the show's full of them.
      • I know, but it still bugs me.
    • Buffy is repeatedly stated in the early seasons to have had to "grow up fast". Her powers put her into incredibly traumatic situations which no normal person (and indeed, few Slayers) would have to deal with, including her own death and being dragged out of Heaven, but she is ultimately able to power through and continue to care for others and do the right thing. She never gives up, and never stops fighting. Willow has much the same deal, except that she had to earn her powers. However, even before she had them, she possessed a great inner strength which allowed her to provide help and support to Buffy, maintain her loving relationship with Oz in spite of the dangers and difficulties, and was willing to stand up against evil in order to do what is right and help people (take note of her awesome Breaking Speech to Faith in "Choices", in a situation where she was otherwise helpless). Even Joyce shows (more subtle) strength when she learns Buffy's secret, disregarding her own feelings about the situation to continue being a loving, supporting, stable figure of normality in Buffy's life (the same goes when she learns about Dawn, who she never for a moment stops treating like her daughter). There is more than one kind of power, you know, and the women in this show display it in spades.
    • More important than any physical presence is the way in which the female characters develop their identities separate from any male characters. When they do start to behave dependently, it ends badly for them, usually in the same episode (e.g., Buffy's college dating experiences). The female characters are very self-possessed, without being commitment-phobic (until Buffy gets fed up).
    • The main character has superpowers because that's just the story. Said character is a girl because there's no reason why not, and deliberately subverting the Valley Girl stereotype seemed like a fun thing to do. Hence, due to the nature of our society, we have something resembling feminism.
    • It's also worth noting that the creators address this question directly in an episode where Buffy is deprived of her powers. She herself was shown at one point feeling as if without her powers she'd be nothing, but when they're actually removed, it's her resourcefulness, strategic planning ability and emotional strength and let her kick the bad guy's ass anyway.
    • The fact that the two Badass Normals are men but most of the female Scoobies have some kind of magic power makes it come off as "Men can fight supernatural evils just fine without special powers but the only way for a woman to be strong enough to fight evil is through supernatural intervention."
      • I wouldn't say that at all. Who's the other Badass Normal? Giles? Oz? Oz is a werewolf and Giles has intimate and personal knowledge of demons and majicks. He even took on Dark!Willow, albeit with some outsider (female!!) help. Xander, while definitely a Badass Normal, isn't badass because of any kind of actual "masculine" strength - his essentialness to the group is more emotional and practical, a kind of surrogate parent for a lot of the Scoobies. He's aware of his (many) limitations and while that occasionally frustrates him, he is still very much the "heart" of the group. His willingness to sit in the sidelines and just Watch even gives Dawn hope, and provides a cheeky peer into his fate at the beginning of Season 8.
      • Almost every case of Badass Normal in Buffy is very arguable, so the previous poster is being very unclear, but I'd guess the two he/she meant are Wood and Xander. Wood's been training for a lifetime to be able to take on vamps, and Xander is constantly shown to be a less good fighter than the others to the point that at times he's told to just go and sit in the corner while the grownups sort things out (still deserves coolpoints for being the only long-term character who constantly puts himself on the front line without any special powers at all, though).
  • Okay, here's one from The Movie: Lothos is Buffy's nemesis in the most literal sense of the word. She cannot defeat him (at least not at first) and he seems to be everywhere, including inside her own head. Not to nitpick or point out the obvious, but the whole damn point of the movie - the one question we all want answered - is whether Buffy will finally be able to put this old bastard out of her life once and for all. In a scene that's pretty much clear as mud, the dying Merrick tells Buffy that "when the music stops," everything will radically change and she'll know what to do. When the penultimate confrontation in the school's boiler room comes, Buffy is confronted by Lothos just as she is killing Amilyn. He quotes Scripture to her for no real reason, and she responds by letting on that she is no longer afraid and essentially tells him: "Let's do this." And then....I'm sorry, but what the bloody hell was supposed to happen next? Buffy simply sits down and allows Lothos to slink up beside her. What the hell was that about? Buffy could certainly hear the heavy metal music off in the distance, and perhaps (if only subconsciously) sensed that that was the "music" Merrick had been referring to. She must have divined that as long as that music was going, she was screwed. But....But....couldn't she have just stalled for time? Tried to run, distracted Lothos, something?! Even if this dumbfounding scene had not all but negated the "girl power" theme of the movie (Buffy needs Pike to get her out of this jam), it's still a wall banger that desperately cries out for explanation.

    Totally Radical 
  • What's with all the Star Wars references?
    • Up to date geek references don't age well. Referencing Monty Python and Star Wars, you're good and don't seem Totally Radical... however the then-current Anime references Andrew makes in Season 7 stick out like a sore thumb.
      • It's tricky because those things have lasted, so a modern geek would make some references to them... but having lots of them and few modern references I'd say is Totally Radical. It screams out "this is what someone the age of the writers, not the characters, liked as a kid". This goes double if more modern references are used to show that a character (Andrew) is uncool even by geeky standards. (And I missed the current references anyway. What were they?)
      • How precisely is the show going to make references to itself? It was the up-to-date geek reference at the time.
    • Oh, come on. There were plenty of things other than itself. Harry Potter. Any manga. Dragon Ball. Babylon 5. Hercules and Xena. Magic the Gathering. Everquest, Final Fantasy, and modern video games. Some of these were actually mentioned... but very occasionally, out of proportion to Star Wars and anything else the age of the writers.
      • Harry Potter was mentioned... by Dawn. Manga was still very much a niche market, Hercules and Xena were old-school (and Xena is, in many minds, the only one of the two that made it to classic status) and more than the few Xena references they made would have seemed like an unsubtle lampshading of the idea that Buffy could be seen as an unsubtle Xena ripoff. Xander made a few Babylon 5 references (at least I think they were Babylon 5, they could have been Battlestar Galactica or Battlefield Earth references), but nobody in-universe got them, whereas they did get the Star Wars references, so he kept making them. As for Magic: The Gathering, I have no idea (maybe Xander just wasn't into collectible card games, as many people weren't and aren't), but Xander really seemed like an old-school:general preference and modern:FPS fan without much time or money(<-important) for games and up-to-date system. Buffy didn't have much time for entertainment (so she tended to stick to the must-sees, b-movies, and new stuff that came through the Sunnydale theater), Xander was mostly into the sort of things the others didn't bother with, Willow is a reader/studyist, and everyone else is between forty and three hundred years old (the latter of whom can't exactly go to the matinee). Oz is really the only main character who would intentionally make the sort of references that only he and/or Xander would get, and they did have a few back-and-forths, and he also made references that would be popular at the time and music references that nobody else would get, but he wasn't on for two thirds of the series and the writers didn't feel comfortable using him for anything but things with gravitas.
      • The issue isn't that there weren't no new references at all, but that they were vastly outnumbered by old ones. And a lot of those explanations are reaching, most of them being explanations of why characters wouldn't know any references at all, not explanations of why they would know old ones but not new ones. (Okay, Buffy didn't have time. But watching an old show takes as much time as watching a new show.) And saying "nobody in-universe got the references" just restates the problem: why are the writers writing characters who get references from the writers' childhood instead of contemporary ones? Also, manga was indeed big at the time. The series went up to 2003 and manga was big starting in 2000 or so.
      • I covered that. When you're not seeing much, the "everyone's seen them" classics take precedence. Name one thing other than Harry Potter, Twilight, and Buffy that's more pervasive in current culture than Star Wars, even limiting it to people who were under twenty or 25 during the run of Buffy. Especially since Star Wars is more widely known (across the world) than at least Buffy and Twilight, and probably Harry Potter as well. And by 2000, they were nineteen and twenty (again, with age groups ramging as high as two hundred), in college or working, and had the whole world-saving thing going on. I bet that Anya and Spike (and Cordelia, if you count characters who moved to Angel) were the only people with the time and money to even get started with anime and manga aside from watching the occasional show on television, and none of them are really the type to bother with it (I would love to see Spike's reaction to Hellsing, though). The last point is emphasized by Andrew's contrast, because he's supposed to be a geek even compared to Xander (even compared to what Xander used to be like), and didn't really have much going on for him aside from a part-time super-villain job and all the cash he could keep Warren and Jonathan from calling dibs on.
      • You're still saying that since they don't have the time they wouldn't watch new series, but would somehow watch the classics. It's not literally true that "everyone's seen them"; everyone with the time to see them has seen them. "They don't have the time" may be a reason why they watch few things at all, but it can't be an explanation for why they watch few new things compared to old ones. Old series still take just as much time to watch. The same goes for not having the money. And the answer to your question depends on what time period you are talking about. For now, I'd say that Naruto or Halo or Final Fantasy are more pervasive than Buffy. For back then there are plenty of things as pervasive including the ones I already listed. Heck, Pokemon and Power Rangers would be in both periods; they're kids' series, so the characters might not currently be watching them, but they should be aware of them to the extent that as geeks they'd make references.
      • I think the idea is that they watched all the old stuff before the show began, so that's why they had time for it. Xander and Willow have talked about their movie festivals and how they're old sci-fi buffs, and I'm guessing that's how they know their obscure Star Wars, Star Trek and Monty Python references - they're citing the stuff they grew up watching as children, on television marathons that don't cost anything. Ever since Buffy arrived, they haven't been keeping up with the pop cultural lexicon because they're too busy and they don't really have the money. Andrew, on the other hand, had been living a rather dull, adventure-free life until the Trio began, and he's kept up with otaku culture a lot more. Hence he was throwing out references to Dragon Ball and Homestar Runner that left everyone else just blinking in confusion. In reality, it's all because of Author Appeal and Joss Whedon and other similarly aged writers on the show sticking with what they know culturally (which was, in their defense, probably a safer bet than trying to be up-to-the-minute and falling into real Totally Radical territory), but in-universe, I don't think it's too implausible: Xander and Willow are the main source for pop-culture references, and they're just not into the current stuff, that's all.
      • It also occurs to me that Joss did mention this, kinda indirectly, during the first season commentary. He pointed out that in the first few episodes, Buffy actually does use Valley Girl slang and she makes references to current shows like The X Files. He said it just didn't feel right, and he gradually phased out the attempts to sound current. It's debatable whether that was a good idea, but it shows that he was aware of the problem and tried to fix it, but decided it only made things worse.
      • I don't think that "they watched the old stuff before the show started" solves it. The things that were on when they were kids still aren't the same things that were on when the writers were kids, and should have included a lot of new stuff as well as classics. Buffy started in 1997. X-Files started in 1993. Babylon 5 started in 1994 (with the pilot in 1993). Star Trek: Deep Space 9 was 1993. Sailor Moon was 1995. Power Rangers was 1993. Hercules was 1994 and Xena 1995. Valiant Comics' biggest year was 1992 (and if you were into comics at all, Valiant Comics really was huge). And that's not even getting into video game references. Of course, Author Appeal is the correct answer, but it and Totally Radical aren't mutually exclusive, and having things that are out of date because they are from the writers' own childhood is a big part of Totally Radical.
      • You know, there comes a point where you're just going to have to repeat the MST3K Mantra or at least just settle for grumbling how it sucks. Your mind apparently isn't going to change no matter what anyone says, and it seems to me like you've moved from a valid Headscratchers to just being willfully stubborn. Lots of people don't keep up with any of that stuff and I think you're overestimating how important any of it is to two small-town kids who aren't specifically into those things (I was into comics in the The Nineties, I had friends who were even more into them, and I've never even heard of Valiant Comics ...oh, so The Other Wiki says they're the Turok/Shadowman publishers. That's still incredibly obscure compared to Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, Wildstorm and so on). Not every teenager is into the latest pop-cultural trends. Some are oblivious to them. Willow and Xander are most likely making Star Wars references because they liked the movies as children, not because they're particularly immersed in the sci-fi genre as teenagers. If that explanation doesn't work for you, then I don't know what else you're looking for, apart from other people saying "yeah it sucks". Other people are conceding that there's a Doylist reason behind it, but you're not willing to give a single Watsonian inch, so there doesn't seem to be much point to the discussion.
      • This debate may be thoroughly dead, but I'm roughly the same age as the main characters — within six months of the birth dates given for Buffy and Tara — and grew up with Star Wars, Monty Python and the other things they make references to. You don't have to have been a kid in 1977 for Star Wars to be something you grew up very familiar with.
      • I'm probably an annoying asshole adding my pointless personal experience here... but just going to say that I'm six years younger than the characters and even I grew up with Star Wars, Monty Python and most of the other ones as well. Hell, I made Star Wars references all through my teens and I still do. My favourite band as a young teen was The Beatles and I wasn't the only one either. The thing about classics is that they stay relevant and they are the most widely known so when you're with people who don't necessarily share your exact interests, classics are a good middle ground.
    • The Matrix was heavily referenced in Superstar. I can also remember refences to Spider-Man and The Simpsons.
    • As tempting as it is to assume as much, not character who makes references to Star Wars is supposed to be stereotypical geek who's into every stereotypically geeky thing. Xander probably comes off as most geeky of the bunch, but his interests can just as easilly be explained by saying that he's a slacker who watches too much television, including movies that are rerun endlessly on basic cable (like Star Wars, and for that matter, Apocalypse Now). Keep in mind these characters grew up in the 80s and 90s, before the rise of the internet and instant netflix and tv-on-demand. Back in ye olde days of terrestrial broadcast, reruns and movie channels meant most people's reference pools extended backward for more than five minutes.
    • As many above posters have noted, referencing Star Wars and Monty Python is not a matter of age bias or Writer's being old so much as it is just referencing massively popular franchises that get referenced in real life every day. I think it keeps the show a little more timeless as well and in the end may have been an absolutely conscious decision to reference only those things that would also remain as timeless as possible. And lest we not forget that in May of 1999 Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace was released and a renewed interest in the new movies as well as old was sparked in the media. What is really surprising is that no references to Lord of the Rings were made in a show that dealt with supernatural forces, magic and people using ''not guns'' on a regular basis. I guess the modern slayer and scoobies just don't have time to make it to the movies.

    Faith's Age 
  • Why did they make Faith older than Buffy? Okay, it hasn't been confirmed in the core canon, but pretty much everyone seems to accept the spin-off novels. Quite aside from the fact that Faith looked and acted a lot younger than Buffy, having Cruciamentum fixed as the Slayer's 18th birthday when she could get Called at age seventeen and two-thirds would increase the habitual stupidity of the Watcher's Council to jaw-dropping proportions. Not to mention you'd think the show would have at least nodded to the fact that Faith should have had it first, if she was supposed to be older.
    • Canon says that the girl is "usually" between 15 and 18 at the time of her choosing but the selection is random. That they normally don't live PAST the age of 18 is the sticking point. Buffy and Faith are huge exceptions. I think Whedon and Co. made the character of Faith older so they didn't have to worry about the character being limited by being in school although they never explained her frequent presence in the school library. (What's REALLY funny is that Sarah Michelle Gellar is 3 years older than Eliza Dushku.)
      • Seems to me that as long as nobody's heads are flying off their bodies, weirdness is ignored. A strange girl in the library is nothing compared to what has happened before. And questioning weirdness tends to get people eaten.
      • Besides, what's weirder — a strange girl in the library, or a strange adult male in the library who doesn't work for the school and develops a romantic fixation on a student?
    • Yeah, but it wasn't Whedon who made Faith older, it was some guy called Robert Joseph Levy. Up until that random spin-off pretty much everything about Faith, from her desperate search for a parental figure (Joyce, Gwendolyn Post, the Mayor, even Angel) to her desperate attempts to get in with Buffy and her friends, right down to her over-use of make-up and her choice of reading material (and yes, I read comics as an adult. But still) seemed to be calculated to make her seem child-like. And then it's suddenly 'oh, by the way, she's actually the older sister in this relationship'. Even before you add in the Cruciamentum thing, it bugs the hell out of me.
    • Argh. Yes! This annoys me so much, so I'm thankful it's not actually canon. Fortunately, most fans seem to follow the more logical Faith as little sister Slayer theory. There are so many signs in the show that suggest Faith is younger than Buffy as mentioned above, particularly the fact that Buffy calls her something along the lines of "my new bestest little sister" in Faith's first episode. And to comment on the school issue, Faith wasn't limited to school because she was old enough to be out of it, she wasn't limited to it because she dropped out.
      • Faith came to Sunnydale AFTER Buffy did, so of course she's the "little" sister.
    • I don't know if it's canon, but it seemed to me that the Cruciamentum fits in with the idea of keeping the Slayer from becoming too powerful, and treating each individual Slayer as expendable. While the Watchers are supposed to believe this is a difficult but purposeful test, it might only be a method to stop any Slayer from reaching adulthood. In the rare case a Slayer lives to the age of accountability, the Cruciamentum ensures she'll be killed and another Slayer will be activated.
    • Sure, but one of the slayers Spike was shown to have killed was a mom in her thirties. It's pretty clear that the Slayer doesn't have to be a teenager, that just tends to be the case. Their shortened life expectancy is generally chalked up to the whole "Being the Slayer" business, as opposed to some arbitrary death date, so it can be assumed that a Slayer called at 17 isn't always expected to die by the time they are 18, and a Slayer called at a very young age might be expected to die well before then.
      • No, she was a mother played by a woman in her 20s. In the show, most teenagers were played by people in their 20s. Nikki's age was never specified, so she could have been anything from late teens to mid 20s when she died — 25 was given, quite specifically, as the cut-off age on at least one occasion.
      • Wasn't that just the Watchers' cut-off age? She could have been well over 25 thanks to a lot of luck and a little not letting anyone know where she was at the end of term if she wasn't killed or executed or anything.
      • Nikki was 22.
      • And her age can easily be justified by saying she probably just survived her Cruciamentum. As we saw with Buffy herself, just because the Cruciamentum is INTENDED to kill off a Slayer before she reaches adulthood, doesn't mean it has a 100% success rate in doing so.
      • Nikki Wood's age was never confirmed onscreen (not sure if this was narrowed down in Season 8+). The fact that she had a son implies she was one of the rare Slayers that survived past her teens.
  • The Cruciamentum was intended as a measure of control over the Slayer and as a means to test her actual skill. It was also a handy way of getting rid of her if she proved a little too rebellious or didn't toe the Watchers' line - a replacement was always instantly created. Over the years the old reasons for the test were clouded a little and conducting the Cruciamentum was more important than the question 'why are we actually doing this?' As the 'results' of the test show, it is also a way of secretly testing the Slayer's Watcher as well as his charge.
  • Faith is only about a month older then Buffy according to the age D.O.B given in 'Go Ask Malice'. The fact that she acts more immature then Buffy is because she's immature.

    Cops Are Useless 
  • Why hasn't the government done something to investigate the astronomical death rate in Sunnydale? A routine check to identify trouble spots should have flagged Sunnydale a long time ago. "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" implies that the feds may be aware, but what about the state government?
    • Isn't that what the Initiative was for?
    • Principal Snyder and some cops had at least some idea that vampires and such were real given his statement "What would you prefer, the truth?" when pressed about brushing vampires as being gangs on PCP. Presumably, there are those in power who know that demons walk the earth, but they know there's nothing they can really do about it. The existence of the Initiative also implies they know. The failure of the Initiative also implies they know not to mess around with that stuff anymore.
    • Sunnydale was deliberately founded by a man with a demonic pact to be a place demons could freely feed. For the 100 years Sunnydale existed and that man was alive, he was mayor of the city, and is strongly implied to have been in complete control of the local civil service. All major civil servant jobs would have gone to people who were both loyal to Wilkins and knew full well about the demonic nature of the town. Wilkins would have ensured that any information that would have allowed Sunnydale's demon population to be interfered with would be repressed, and would presumably have ensured a constant influx of new citizens to keep the demons sated. Within months of his death, a government project to investigate and possibly control demonic activity is sent to Sunnydale. After the project turns out to be a disaster, the government immediately pulls out (with the implication that they realise that Buffy is doing a better job than they ever could).
  • On the subject of the Initiative, the government learns of demons and so forth preying on the US population, sets out to study and control it, but it goes wrong and proves the demons and so forth are more dangerous than they thought. And then they do nothing. No more investigation, just cover it up and try and forget and hope like hell it doesn't come out, that nothing like Graduation Day happens live on national or international television? I call bullshit, having their asses handed to them in the way that the Initiative imploded would not make any even half sane government back off and leave it up to the mystical slayer, let alone a government as paranoid and controlling as the US. They'd come back with more firepower, bigger facilities, better facilities and a lot more security.
    • Who's to say they didn't? If security does their job right, you would never know they're there. Despite withdrawing from Sunnydale, they were still able to appear out of nowhere when Riley needed help as simply as Buffy talking into a phone with a dial tone, when Riley was pursuing that demon, and again when Spike needed his chip removed.
    • I always figured the government said "Okay, so these things have existed for eons and we're all still here, they can't be that big of a threat." Certainly it seemed like trying to scramble to get rid of them did NOT work.
    • I got the impression that the feds who were running the Initiative didn't care about the people dying; after all, the project was never about stopping demons, despite what the troops were told. Walsh was in charge because the real purpose was always harnessing the supernatural, whether through putting chips in demon brains or going full-on frankenmonster. The fed's monster squad was a whole 'nother group... the folks Graham (and later Riley) signed on with, post Initiative.

    Sergeant Xander 
  • Why did Xander never consider a career in the military? "Innocence" makes it clear that there is a military base in the area, and while his military skills did fade, he still would have been better qualified than 90% of the US population. He could have done his training over the summer and gotten a posting to the base?
    • While the regular military is out, as the odds of his being assigned to his hometown would beggar probability, you'd think he could still go for the National Guard. If nothing else, it would have made sneaking out the next rocket launcher from the local NG armory a lot easier. Not to mention periodic weapons refresher training, et al.
    • Judging from his reaction to Spike's mocking claim in late season 4 that a military career was "all he was good for," it seems more than plausible that Xander really didn't want to join the army. Can't say I blame him.
    • Joining the military makes it very difficult to control your own time, and there's a good chance he'd end up on active duty at some point. Xander's not cowardly but I don't think that being separated from Buffy and Willow for months on end would work for him.

  • On a related note, why didn't Xander ever obtain a gun? His soldier period would have given him the knowledge to operate at least a couple of firearms. He lives in America, where guns are stupidly easy to legally obtain. While guns won't kill vampires, Darla shows that they do cause incredible pain, so a gun would still be useful on patrol to incapacitate a vampire from a distance before moving in for the staking. Also, as was shown when Buffy blew up The Judge and Wesley killed Skip, guns are entirely capable of killing various demons.
    • Two quick things: A) Rocket launcher and gun are vastly different and B) Skip wasn't a demon. As to your point, yes guns are useful but within the context of Buffy the villains are mostly expected to be vampires and vampires aren't terribly affected by guns. A good example of this is the first episode of Angel where he is shot multiple times and jumps from the second floor of a building without sustaining any real damage. Yeah a gun could've killed some demons, but a crossbow makes far more sense given what he usually comes across.
      • Not to mention that the few times a gun is used, it always seems to go badly for one of the scoobies or people they know. Rocket Launchers are cool ways to end epic yarns. Guns are used to kill people in tragic ways. Plus Joss hates guns.
      • Skip was a demon.

    Seasonal Rot 
  • So, seasons 6 and 7 sucked and were rightly panned by fans and critics. Season 8 sucks, containing out of character moments, retroactive erasing of character development, gratuitous cameos even if they don't make sense, and terrible pacing, and fans and critics love it. What's the deal?
    • This troper hates it...
    • Let's be more specific: While I don't actually mind Season 8 (I mean, it's alright, I guess), the "Lesbian Buffy" subplot of issues #12-#15 was just plain ridiculous. Now admitted, my knowledge of the intricacies of bi/homosexuality are next to nil, but despite having shown no interest in the female gender for the whole series, Buffy is suddenly shown engaging in an extended tryst with another girl cause...why? Oh, and according to Whedon both Spike and Angel have also shagged in the past because: they knew each other for a while and "they're open-minded guys. They may be evil but, you know, they're not bigoted or closed-minded". Mmm hmm.
      • Indeed, it would appear you are not all that familiar with bi/homosexuality, or perhaps even sexuality in general.
      • Unlike as it is portrayed in most media, there are very few 100% straight OR gay people in the real world. Most people fall in the spectrum somewhere in between. It doesn't mean that everyone would do someone of the same sex, but most perople have SOME attraction to their own sex. In Buffy's case, her best friend's is gay (actually what we've seen on screen is she's bi but that's an other discussion all together), so there would arise a natural curiousity as to what being with a woman would be like. Most people would not act on it, but she had been going through a lot and was depressed. This coupled with the fact that she states she is NOT gay lead me to assume that she just gave in to curiousity in the heat of the moment. It's not what most people would do, but it does happen. As for Angel and Spike, it has been shown that vampires have very different opinions on what is taboo than what normal humans do. So while I don't need to see that scene I can imagine it happened without to much suspension of disbelief.
      • Look, it can't go both ways. Either sexual preference is a Kinsey sliding scale subject to curiosity and restraint, and the fundy claim of "curing" gays is actually possible, or it's something that we're born and hardwired with, which means that both sides are equally hardwired. It's a contradiction to say that gay people can't choose to be straight, but that straight people could be bi if they'd just be more "open minded" about it. Personally, this troper tends to think it's hardwired, and that Buffy suddenly having a lesbian affair is just pandering to the Hollywood popularity of female bi "experimentation" (it's interesting how male bi behavior isn't equally vogue: imagine how the public would react if it was Shia LeBeouf crossing gender lines, instead of the usual hot, rebellious girl like Kate Perry or Lindsey Lohan?)
      • Either sexual preference is fixed as strictly straight or gay in everyone, or else it's infinitely malleable and any person's sexual preference is subject to manipulation? Those are the only two possibilities? Because, um, no offense, but that's completely stupid.
      • Why couldn't different people be born at different points along the Kinsey scale? Buffy could have been born a 1 or 2, so she has to by chance run into the right people to go for a lesbian experience.
      • Screw Hollywood. Also, I support the theory that all humans are born bi, and are then forced into roles by society. So, that explains everything.
      • Um, what? "You can discover new things about your sexuality / your sexuality can change over time" does NOT equal "you can choose what you want your sexuality to be".
      • Sexual preference is indeed hardwired. However most people in the real world are bisexual, not gay or straight. And there are also different levels of bisexuality. Human sexuality is a lot more complicated than people usually think it is. Also this troper knows a girl who had this exact thing happen to her, so it cant be all that unrealistic.
      • Okay, this troper is becoming increasingly annoyed that this is devolving into an argument on sexuality. Sexuality is partially hardwired, partially learned preference, like pretty much anything else in the world. You can be born with a huge affinity to sweets, but if you eat nothing but sweets for a year straight (no pun intended) you might get vomit-inducing sick thinking about sweets. As for Buffy having an experimental phase, that does indeed happen in real life. Sexuality is what you identify as, it's not some codified aspect of your personality. You can identify as being gay and only have sex with the opposite gender. You can be straight and be in a threesome with a member of the same sex and it doesn't turn you gay. If it really bothers you that much, call Buffy heteroflexible and get on with your day.
      • I think the writers of Buffy are just gay for gay couples. Like Jane Esperon thinks that Giles and Ethan had a sexual relationship in the past. Which is not a vibe I get from Giles. At all. Not even a little bit.
      • But is it a vibe you get from Ripper?
      • Games, pranks, dares, and bets with sexual results and penalties that would sometimes be between between Ripper and one (or more) of his mates, yes. Sexual relationship, no.
      • I know people harp a lot on that whole Satsu thing, but I see many more things wrong with season 8 than that. Buffy not only stealing money to finance their operation, but doing it gleefully as well, the same Buffy who was so worried about abusing her powers in season 3. We have Willow's claim that when Buffy was brought back, the violence came back, but it never stopped. The BuffyBot was the only reason demons hadn't torn Sunnydale apart, and Willow claims they were happy, yet the opening of season six showed her to be very determined to bring Buffy back, and I got the impression she had been like that the whole time, but the comic seems to think that she was happier with her best friend dead and lover alive than she was with both alive. They throw out all of Faith's character development, and instead of wanting to make up for what she's done, she wants to just cut and run because it's too hard. She's made crazier than she was before, stabbing Giles in the arm just for touching her shoulder. And remember how they said early on that Dawn wasn't as strong proportionally as she was large? I like how they forget that just so Dawn can fight a giant mech. Because that's not totally out of place. This is only a partial list of things I find wrong with Season 8. I apologize, I know that It Headscratchers is for actual questions, not just complaining, but I'm honestly baffled as to why I see so little criticism of Season 8, since to me, the flaws are blatant.
      • It's not Buffy who keeps Sunnydale safe, it's the demons' and the vampires' much larger than life image of her (especially with the beating a Hellgod thing).
      • Most of those 'flaws' are just you misunderstanding (or not paying attention). Willow: It stated, not that she was happier, but that she feels that she CHOSE Buffy over Tara. That if she hadn't brought Buffy back, Warren would never have gone after them, and Tara wouldn't have been killed. She's determined not to let that happen again. Not to be put in a situation where she has to chose between her lover and her best friend. She wants Buffy in her life, but she is never going to be forced to choose again, if she can help it. As to Buffy's robbing the bank, it's obvious that it is something that's going to come back to bite them in the ass in the future. And Faith DIDN'T "cut and run because it was too hard". She left because Buffy wouldn't give her a chance to make up for what had happened. It does seem they may have made a mistake with the whole Dawn thing, though.
      • Incorrect. You glossed over several points. Willow DID say she was happy, and that the violence stopped, neither of which are shown to be true. The bank robbery, the point isn't that it happened, it's that it was out of character in the first place. It doesn't matter whether they'll pay for it or not, it still contradicts Buffy's character development. You also didn't pay attention during the Faith arc. The arc STARTS with her trying to pack her bags and go away before Giles catches her, and Buffy isn't said to have anything to do with it. Ironically, if all fans are willing to resort to weak justifications like that, it answers my question as to why it's popular despite its flaws.
      • This troper also just wants to point out that Buffy's been lonely for a good, long while. The only male influences in her life right now are enemies, Xander (too much history there), Giles (squick), and Andrew (a whopping hell no). She mentioned in the first issue how much she missed sex. She's lonely, horny, and surrounded by an almost entirely female population. She can be forgiven a bit of sexual experimentation in the complete absence of males.
    • I rather resent the flat stating of "Season 6, 7 and 8 sucked." That's an opinion, not a fact. I loved season 6 and 7. I haven't read 8, but if I didn't like it I still wouldn't state that as fact.
      • Agreed here. While they weren't the best of seasons, they certainly could've done worse. As for season 8... I dunno. Maybe Adaptation Decay but at the same time Fan Wank because so many fans wanted a season 8 that they're willing to make excuses for it anyway? Haven't read Season 8, so I wouldn't know, but that's my guess.
      • I also liked 6 and 7. Not as good as the others, but shows get like that late in their run. You have to try and make a foe that's even bigger and badder than the last, and topping a god ain't easy. I also quite enjoy 8 (I haven't finished it yet) The lesbian sex is okay, giant Dawn is okay, trusting Andrew is okay, and all the other weird shit is okay. I was just glad that there was more Buffy, and I got to see the continuing adventures of my favorite TV show.
      • Some people found Buffy and Faith's interaction in season three to be at least slightly romantic, so that would do away with the problem of never interested in any women. Also Dawn was shown having enhanced strength. She was able to mess up the portion of the castle she hit. She just messed herself up to. Extra strength not extra durability. Considering the Buffyverse isn't exactly a place where Mecha are everywhere perhaps the MechaDawn (damn that was ridiculous) wasn't the most durable thing out there either.
      • In addition to Buffy and Faith's interaction, Buffy has very close interactions with Willow all throughout the series (and, on some occasions, Dawn). She is both open-minded and a highly touchy-feely person where certain female characters are involved; it's not unbelievable that this combination might result in some experimenting, especially in the near-complete absence of a male gender.
    • Um, hello. Just because Dawn's strength wasn't proportional to her size doesn't mean she wasn't stronger. If her strength had remained the same as it was when she was a hundred times smaller, her body wouldn't have worked at all. She would have been crippled and completely unable to move. It's just like how an ant is able to carry ten times it's bodyweight, and while a human is able to carry much more we can't carry ten times our bodyweight. That just means Giant Dawn is unable to carry things as large as she used to when measured comparatively to her body.
    • Also, if she wasn't somewhat stronger, smashing a stone wall would have shattered her hand, not torn her knuckles.

    Buffy and Angel's "Love" 
  • Why exactly do Buffy and Angel think they're in love when all they do is bring out the worst in each other? I used to hate Angel until I saw his spinoff and found out that he's a pretty relaxed and even funny character when Buffy's not around (in fact, he tenses right back up again in the episode I saw where Buffy guested). And when Angel's around all Buffy does is moon over him and ignore her friends. I know love is a complicated thing and all that, but come on! Ultimately being in love, in spite of the difficulties and complications, tends to make people happy. Buffy and Angel are never happy when they're Buffy-and-Angel.
    • One of the more realistic aspects of this show is that it's never shied away from the fact that teenagers do dumb things. They're controlled by their hormones, and that often makes them stupid. Buffy is a case in point — she finds this (much) older guy stalking her, but he's pretty so it's romantic. And because she's sixteen she decides that her attraction must be True Love (not to mention Epic Love). Eventually she grew out of this (and a lot of fans were upset about this, because OMG Stalking Is So Romantic).
      Angel? Well, he's got a history of stalking young women and becoming dangerously fixated on them. If Drusilla's backstory had a point, it was that Angel's relationship with Buffy was not coming from a healthy place on his end. Remember, he had been stalking her since she was 15.
      • He even showed hints of this in one of the flashbacks before he turned vampire, when he was spying on his family's only servant for a few minutes before he tried to convince her to goof off with him.
      • I agree with much of what's said here, but as far as the stalking is concerned, remember that Angel wasn't stalking Buffy until he was told he should/had to by Whistler. It became his job, and one of the first steps of his attempts at redemption. So...it's definitely still a bit creepy, but at least it's for a somewhat "noble" reason. I think it could be argued that unlike with Drusilla, the love (or attraction, or lust, or whatever you want to call it) develops as he's keeping an eye on her for protection/help, rather than being the reason he begins following her.
    • Slightly more Bangel-friendly reasoning: the early part of season 2. The bit where they're actually happy and sweet.
    • Just throwing this in here, it seems to me that loving someone who brings out the worst in her is Buffy's human flaw. Probably a trait inherited from her mother. (After all, she's divorced the man of HER dreams. It must be a trait of the Summers' women...what exactly IS Joyce's maiden name? Is it ever mentioned in the show?)
    • Little point, but important: If you have really never fallen for someone who made you miserable in some way at some point, I envy you.
    • You seem to suffer from what I like to call "The Twilight Delusion" where you think love is a beautiful thing that always brings out the best in people and makes them happy. This is a completely untrue view of love. Love, like any other emotion, can be a bad thing. Some women who are beaten love their abusers, a stalker loves the object of his/her affection, etc. Just because two people are in love doesn't mean they are right for each other. And also, Buffy and Angel have a pretty unique situation. Under different circumstances, they might be able to make each other happy.
      • Let's let Spike sum it up: You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood, blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.
    • They don't always bring out the worst in each other - or no more than many of the other characters do when they fall in love. Eg: Xander and Cordelia, Xander and Anya, Spike and ANYONE he loves, and so on. I think Buffy and Angel's love was always complicated by the fact that they had sexual tension up to their eyeballs and no way to relieve it, and the way Angel was aware he was never going to be able to have her on a long-term basis. In Season 1 Angel had a Guilt Complex and Buffy was kind of immature, they were happy for a while in Season 2, but then when Angel went evil for a while both must have known that their relationship was a ticking bomb. It was complicated and difficult and was hurting them both intensely, so it's really no surprise that their love at that time was never going to work out. However, as Buffy says in S7, in the future... :)
      • Which isn't the point Buffy was making at all. Angel took the Cookie Dough speech to mean "Give me time and then we'll be together" when the point of it was that things change, people change, and there's no way of knowing who she'll be in the future or who she'll be with when she's become the person she's going to be as an adult. It was Angel that pushed the, "Who's going to enjoy cookie Buffy?" question, which Buffy answered with "I haven't really thought that far ahead."
  • I feel that the fact that Angel 'fell in love with her heart' when he first saw a fifteen year old Buffy sitting on her school steps in a little girl outfit and sucking a lolipop sums up a lot about this relationship.
    • Go back and watch "becoming: Part 1: Again. He doesn't fall in love with her at that point. He decideds to help because a little girl is going to be thrown into a dangerous situation and will need his help. There is very little at the beginning of season 1 to suggest that Angel is attracted to her. Seems to me he fell in love with her from working with her. Although, considering that in the time Angel is from Buffy would have already been married off to a guy 2-3 times her age by the time she was 15 it's not particularly pervy either way.

    Christian God in Buffyverse? 
  • So, is there a Christian God in the Buffyverse? I would think not, given Joss Whedon's views on the "Sky Bully," and also the crap-sack nature of most of the multiverse. But if there's no Christian god... why does the crucifix repel or harm vampires?
    • From what I hear, they always did. Christianity was a very anti-vampire religion, so whatever damaged vampires was deigned holy, rather than the other way around.
      • And it's specifically Christian crosses. There was some episode where Willow made a reference to having to hide the crosses from her Jewish family, so obviously non-Christian symbols don't have the same effect. And it seems (unless Plot deems otherwise) that only crosses specifically invoked as a defensive measure worked (otherwise vampires would definitely not be hanging around graveyards, Christian crosses are all over the place).
      • Unlikely. Spike seems to be harmed by a cross in a church in season 7, after he's resouled. I doubt that cross was put there for defensive purposes (although with Sunnydale, you never know).
      • I'm guessing that the "Christianity appropriated pre-existing anti-vampire rites and artifacts" view is most likely correct. Crosses in general and Crucifixions in specific predated Christ by a good deal, so maybe someone noticed that vampires never tried to turn anyone on a cross and decided to run with it.
      • Vampires pre-date Christianity by quite some way (Vampires were created by the Old One Maloker at the end of the demonic age or 'Primordium Age' as Wesley once called it) - as long as there have been humans, there have been Vampires. The tools to hurt vampires did so long before they became part of an organised religion. It fits with Whedon's antipathy/ambiguity towards God that Christians simply appropriated things that were already useful. It also fits with what is known about Christianity historically - appropriating certain festivals and rituals and their new Christian ones just happening to occur at exactly the same times. This explanation avoids any comment on whose 'version' of God is 'correct' - in the Buffyverse it simply can't be confirmed or denied if any of the religions practiced around the world are 'real'. In some cases, certain deities and pantheons would turn out to be demons/vampires/supernaturals and they quite rightly didn't touch it with a barge pole.
      • This Just Bugs Me. If Christianity is/was so dedicated to fighting vampires, why are so many denominations, Catholicism in particular, obssessed with burying bodies intact, when burning/staking/decapitating corpses would be an excellent method of preventing a loved one from rising as a vampire?
    • Well, the devil exists. (He built a robot, remember?) I would assume god must also, as it seems weird for a show to say the devil does and god doesn't.
      • But how do we know he's the Devil? Any sufficiently advanced demon could claim to be the devil, and in the cosmology of the show (which, let's not forget, includes Egyptian and Roman deities as forces that can be summoned and entreatied) we'd have no way of knowing he was lying.
      • Wesley confirmed that the devil had, indeed, created a robot. Wesley isn't the kind who would state that if it wasn't known for sure the devil had built it.
      • The same problem exists. How does Wesley know it's the Devil and not just a sufficiently advanced demon? Let's not forget the Watcher's Council is based in Britain, where they have more than 1,000 years of accepting Christian cosmology as fact — the older accounts of the Watcher's Council probably attribute everything supernatural to "the Devil" without examining the details too closely.
      • The Watcher's council isn't a religious group. They are the direct descendants of the group that created the Slayer. They are (and always have been) truth seekers. The first thing you learn as a Watcher is to separate fantasy and reality, remember? So when a Watcher says something was created by the devil, I'll take them at face value on it. If it was made by an advanced demon, Wesley's response wouldn't be, "Yes, El Diablo Robotico," it would be "Yes, an advanced demon claiming to be the devil did indeed make a robot."
      • Just to be clear... this is the same Watcher's Council that had Spike's age listed as "barely 200", right? Clearly they know everything there is to know about demons in general, including the exact truth about those notable for lying a lot.
      • That was due to Spike's backstory not being at all developed in his first appearance. Angel has a lot of inconsistency in his age as well. That's a writing problem, not a Watcher's council problem. But again, if Wesley didn't know for sure that it was the devil his respone would be "A demon claiming to be the devil built a robot." not "yes, the devil built a robot." (not exact quotes but I think you get the point)
    • You're arguing from a false premise. The existence of the Devil doesn't prove the existence of any God, much less the Christian version.
      • It's a perfectly valid premise. The Christian god created the devil, so if the devil exists his creator must as well. That's like saying that arguing my mom must have lived because I'm alive is a arguing a false premise because my existence doesn't prove my mom's. And that would just be nutty.
      • Not the same thing. To use your example — your existence proves that you had a mother. It doesn't prove that the woman you assume to be your mother is your mother — that would take a DNA test, or an eyewitness who was present at your birth and can be fairly certain you weren't switched with someone else at a later date.
        The problem with this "proof" is that the only evidence that the Judaeo-Christian God created the Devil is Judaeo-Christian religious writings. Which can only be assumed to be true if the existence of God — and therefore their divine provenance — is already accepted as fact. Which it can't be without evidence. In other words, the existence of the Devil (assuming Wesley was right — and he's often been wrong) only proves the existence of God if you accept the existence of God as already proven. As it is, for all we know the Devil could have invented God himself, and fooled everybody with the fiction that there's some benevolent higher power who created him when he was actually created by, for example, the First Evil.
      • I'm just going to start by saying I'm an atheist and have been arguing just from an IU perspective. But this is The Devil. A character that originally comes from Christian mythology. In other words the only proof the devil exists is from judaeo-christian writings. Even if you don't think his existence proves beyond a doubt the existence of the christian god in the buffy verse, it goes a long way to show that he does exist. If there is no god but there is the devil that means there is ultimate evil without an ultimate good to balance it, and the balance between good and evil was a major theme of Angel.
      • The only evidence in our world is Judaeo-Christian writings. In the Buffyverse — well, there's a bunch of luchadores who claim to have fought a robot built by the Devil (or possibly a devil — their use of the definite article could have been due to familiarity with this individual). At the risk of repeating myself — a being either claiming to be the Devil or assumed by the luchadores to be the Devil has made its presence known. You can only extrapolate the existence of God from that event if you accept Judaeo-Christian theology as fact.
      • But the watchers were aware of this robot as well and also used the definite article. it's the only time the question has ever been directly dealt with in the show itself. (Once someone [I think Tara] asked and Buffy just said that there was no evidence either way). But you do have a point. Perhaps YHWH was one of the powers.
      • In support of the hypothesis that the Devil that built the robot need not be the Christian Devil, it's worth noting that one of the members of the Council of the Black Thorn is Izzerial the Devil, who seems to be just a demon of sorts and not a force of ultimate evil or anything like that.
      • If I'm remembering correctly, the only real discussion of this occurs when Angel asks if Wesley ever "heard of" a robot built by the devil. Wesley's respose is "El Robotico Diablo? Why?". That doesn't confirm the existence of a robot built by the devil — just that Wes has heard a story of the devil building a robot before.
    • To get back to second part the original question, I believe that Word of God states that only Christian objects harm vampires because Christianity has a long history of fighting vampires, though I can't find where I read that. However, I once read a fan fic that explained the weakness to crosses was because crosses have an association with the sun and that holy water works because the act of blessing it is actually a spell that imbues it with anti-vampire properties, an explanation which makes a lot more sense.
    • Didn't the psychologist-vampire that analyzed Buffy in "Conversations with Dead People" ask about just that, and Buffy said that there was no proof against it and none for it? So basically the same as it is in our world.
      • Yep, her exact words were "nothing solid". Which makes sense, given that, as said, although Christian rites and beliefs have power in the Buffyverse, so do lots of other rites and beliefs. And her experience in Heaven was so vague and fuzzy that it's hard to say what it proves. Still, there's nothing to say that God doesn't exist in the Buffyverse. The characters themselves just can't be sure, because there's so much crazy supernatural stuff going on that it's hard to sort it all out. The snow scene at the end of "Amends", or Angel being allowed to break the no-entry rule to save Detective Lockley, were both taken by the characters as a sign from above - though again, figuring out whether any apparent miracle is God, the Powers that Be or some Chessmaster demon at work is part of the problem. The First claimed to be the one who saved Angel from the hell dimension, but that was never confirmed, and everything else the First said to Angel was a lie. Maybe it was God? Or the Powers that Be? Or Jasmine? Or Wolfram & Hart? Or a freak metaphysical accident? Or maybe it just plain was the First after all. Those are the sort of problems the Scoobies face in trying to answer the religion question, and it's not much different from the debates people have in the real world.
    • The Christian god is, by definition, unique. So, if there's another god in the buffyverse, the Christian god can't exist. Isn't Glory defined as a god? (E.g. at the very end of "Checkpoint")
      • There are henotheistic elements in Judeo-Christianity, which is why God's given the Old Testament title "God of Gods". That's also how a lot of fantasy series (Xena and Hercules come to mind) manage to squeeze Christianity into a pantheistic setting. There are gods, and then there's God.
  • There is a theory that vampires are repelled by whatever symbols were holy to them before they were turned. Since most of the vampires we see come from a predominantly Christian culture, that's typically the cross. (You could argue that this is contradicted by the behavior of Vamp Willow, but there's probably room for debate. First, although people are shown confronting Vamp Willow with crosses and she uses it as an excuse for the Master at one point, she's also never shown recoiling from them or being hurt by them — in Doppelgangland, she bats a cross out of Good Willow's hand, and when Wesley confronts her with a cross, she doesn't retreat until he pulls out the Holy Water too. Also, it could have to do with what's viewed as sacred in the culture that surrounds you, and Willow, while Jewish, stil grew up in a Christian culture.)
  • It's possilbe that it's not the cross that repells but the belief that it will. Vampire myths mainly came from Europe which had a strong christian history. People believed that the symbol of their Lord and Saviour would protect them and so it did. If Willow, or any other Jewish person, really believed that a Star of David would protect them then maybe it would. As for the likes of (Xena and Hercules squeezing in Christianity it was most likely to avoid offending the extreme Christians
  • After 7 seasons of Buffy and 5 seasons of Angel I was under the impression that the questions of religion and who's god (or devil) was right or wrong could be answered only by H. P. Lovecraft. If you start to look at ALL the demons and supernaturals of the buffyverse as more "outsiders" or "things from beyond" (not just in the sense of space creatures or dimensions, but beyond our understanding of the universe as we understand it) then it almost makes more sense as well. I do not think God or Satan exist in the Buffverse. And if they do, they are just another form of creature from beyond that is more powerful than man.

    Is Oz Dangerous? 
  • Why is Oz considered dangerous in werewolf form? He never actually hurt an innocent/ally (apart from superficial scratches), despite lots of opportunities. The only one he seriously hurt was Veruca, and she was trying to kill Willow at the time.
    • He tried repeatedly. On at least two occasions he had to be shot with tranquiliser darts to prevent him from attacking people. On his first night out, he attacked the Bronze.
      • He also turned on Willow after ripping out Veruca's throat, and Buffy tackling him and pumping him full of tranqs was the only thing shown stopping him from continuing his attack. Buffy explicitly states that Willow would have died if Buffy had been held up by the run-in with the Initiative even a few seconds longer, and Oz (what with having no memory from wolfing out) is in no position to argue, and in fact does not.
      • Of course, there was also that time - during the day, no less - when he tried to kill Tara.
    • He also ate Jack O'Toole. Who, granted, was evil, but he wasn't attacking anybody at the time or anything. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bam. Werewolf treats.

    Why the Season 6 and 7 Hatred? 
  • I am wondering, why is it that people seem to dislike season six and seven? I found them quite interesting, and do not understand why there is so much negativity towards those seasons?
    • For this troper, seasons six and seven sucked because IMO, the Scoobies had turned into nasty jerks at that point. They had become overly judgmental assholes who thought they were better than everyone else. And they started out as the dorks! I felt way more sympathy for Anya, Spike, Faith, and pretty much every other demon/vamp/what have you by the time season six was over. The only character who always stayed true to form for me was Giles. Loved him just as much as I did when the show started.
    • Season six was a good idea executed poorly. Willow becoming addicted to power: good idea. Willow taking magical hits from a magic drug dealer: lame in an after-school special way. But season six still had a number of wonderful episodes. Season seven is widely disliked for several reasons. At the beginning of the season, the writers were trying to make the Scoobies quippy and fun, just like they were in earlier seasons. However, they weren't the same people anymore, and the dialogue just made them sound blithe and callous. As many tropers above noticed, people who do bad things got off lightly - Willow in "The Killer and Me" never expresses regret for killing Warren, Andrew becomes one of the gang (he goes from Spike S4 to Spike S6 in the course of five episodes), and Buffy says she'll let Spike KILL Wood just because Wood wanted revenge for his mom. And then the biggest problem is Spike - he's kind of insane early in the season, but even after he mostly gets his mind back, he still just acts like a whiny baby. He never talks about his guilt, and in the one scene that the writers were planning on making him do just that, Joss came in and rewrote it to be about how Buffy used him in the previous season(!) Really, the show becomes all about Buffy and Spike - she repeatedly says he's the strongest one the Scoobies have got, which seems slightly ridiculous since every time they've clashed with him, he's never won, and their soapy scenes just have not been earned. Not to mention all the major plot hole in the ending - Buffy's plan, by itself, would've gotten everyone killed, if not for the MacGuffin that Angel delivers to them. (On the DVD Commentary, Joss all but says outright he didn't really have a great idea to end the show, since he used his series finale at the end of season five.)
      • The problem with complaining about the writers having to include a to power Maguffin in the plot for the plan to work is that the only reason there was an enemy that powerful was because the writers created them. Writer fiat works on both sides.
      • They are fighting a war. You can't have infighting in a war. The only threat that they could use was death, so she used it. Also, I thought they sounded fine, and like I said elsewhere in this page, if you regret killing a murderer, you should be tortured to the brink of death, revived, and have this done to you until you die of old age. Oh, and if Spike turned on them, think of someone who is already Caleb level strong, and then give him a power boost. Game over. Also, Andrew only really became part of the gang at the end, they still treated him like shit most of the time. Oh, and the Scoobies ARE better than everyone else. They are the ONLY people who can prevent the end of the world. That INSTANTLY makes them better than everyone else. I still agree with Faith's Want, Take, Have idea, as the law shouldn't matter when you are trying to prevent the end of the world (again).
      • Buffy was a terrible commander though! They where completely right in ousting her, she was obviously not able to handle the situation and many of her command decisions had gotten people killed. She was also so poor at keeping up morale that her troops where literally killing themselves because of the hopelessness of the situation. In a case like this she probably should have been replaced, although instead of Faith Willow would have probably been the best candidate because of the previous aptitude for tactical thinking she had shown at the start of season six.
      • I found Season 6 and 7 got better as I got older. I came to Buffy late, and watched all the episodes when I was about 16-18, and much more enjoyed the high school seasons, when the characters were 16-18. Now that I'm approaching 20, I suddenly understand the later season much more. Having had a minor substance problem, I don't even see Willow's storyline as being Narmic anymore, because the experience is Narmic in reality, and I hated Willow's storyline originally. The schizophrenic nature of Season 4, the sense of lack of place of Season 5 and 6, now all make a lot more sense now I'm older, and I like them almost as much as the earlier season.
      • I also came to Buffy late (I was 20 by the time I started watching), and I found that season 6 was really very good. Maybe it also benefits from marathon viewing instead of waiting a week between episodes, I'm not sure. But I felt that the themes and ideas of season 6 really worked for me. No, it isn't the best season (an honor I would assign to season 5), but it was definitely not terrible, either. Season 7 was deeply flawed and there were a lot of times I felt the writers had just entirely forgotten what the characters were like (the mutiny being a massive wall banger for me), but I still don't think it was the worst season. I'd say the first season was the worst, not because it was bad, but because it hadn't yet found its footing or uncovered the depth the series would later develop.
    • My take. I quite like Season 6. As noted above, it should have been "power corrupts", not "drugs are bad", and it certainly isn't the *best* season, but a lot of it is quite good. Season 7 is just bad. There's almost nothing worth watching in it- the only episodes with any merit at all are "Same Time, Same Place" and "Conversations with Dead People" (and the latter solely for the Buffy/Holden bits). Why? Mostly I think because the writers forgot the series was supposed to be light-hearted and not take itself too seriously and tried to make everything much too dark. The focus on the potentials (most of whom are not well-acted) and Buffy herself (who has always been one of the weakest characters) at the expense of the rest of the main cast didn't help. Buffy's endless pointless speeches are a particular sore point. The plot is also stupid- actually not the main problem, I don't think, but it doesn't help. The First was a stupid idea for an adversary from the beginning. The ubervamps were not scary and completely dull. And if we're nitpicking, how about the idea that you could spend days in a crowded house with someone and not notice they were *** incorporeal*** !!!! (used *twice*, please).
    • For this troper, aside from considering "The Gift" to be the perfect season finale, I didn't like Season 6 because it didn't make any sense compared to the previous seasons. Just using the most obvious examples: everyone was disproportionately concerned with the most mundane of things (Xander and Anya's issues, Buffy and Spike's hate-fucking, Buffy's employment, Dawn shoplifting, etcetera) despite enduring multiple Apocalyses and endless instances of murder and mayhem (Giles bursting into laughter near the end of the season summarises my thoughts on the matter), and despite previously pounding the crap out of a literal Physical God Buffy has trouble with three idiots who had no idea what they were doing (The Sorting Algorithm of Evil may be annoying sometimes, but it exists for a reason). The season isn't necessary bad, it is simply a bad Buffy season. Season 7, however, was just a mess in every way.
      • I feel that Season 6 is great because it focused on the characters. The thing is is that apocalypses are old and boring to them. They're used to them, they're a part of everyday life for them. Which means they don't worry about them. The the reason the Trio does so well is because they not only have the upper hand of everyone else in the show being an emotional train wreck but, despite being a bit on the dim side, they have the advantage of some pretty cunning plans (like the cameras, that was brilliant).
      • One of the producers — might have been Joss, might have been Marti Noxon — said the basic concept for Season 6 was that the Big Bad would be life itself. This makes a lot of sense from a storytelling perspective — when you've spent five years building up more and more badass villains to fight, and made your protagonists pretty damned powerful in the process, you need some fresh twist that's going to challenge them in a new way.
    • I'll jump on board and say that I hated season 6 and 7. I still hate them. Time heals all wounds, and it's true, but I am still unable to be rational about my feelings about those seasons. I feel like the quality of the writing started to deteriorate in Season 4 and just kept on getting worse until it really felt like the show runners were deliberately attempting to provoke me. I know that some people like to add exceptions (like "Once More With Feeling") but I hate those exceptions (I have enjoyed nearly every single musical episode of any show I've watched....except for this one, which I hated). I haven't returned to those seasons since their original run (the few times I've tried I've had to stop or else kill people, and since I like not being a murderer....), so specific examples are tough to find, but in general I felt they played fast and loose with continuity, with characterisation, and with tone. What I've learned is that people watch TV for a lot of different reasons. For me, the large "structural" parts of plot and character development are critical, they are a part of the craft of writing. Other people enjoy good one-liners, inside jokes, attractive people, good special effects, melodrama, "surprises" and "twists" (in quotes because for something to be a surprise or a twist, there has to be a reason to expect something other than the surprise: without background consistency, EVERYTHING is a surprise or a twist, which means that nothing is). Seasons 6 and 7 may have gotten really good at some things, but in the process became much, much, MUCH worse at others, and for me those "others" were deal breakers. The reason why I (and I assume others) get so angry about it is because the show had a real big place in my heart. Seasons 1-3 of Buffy were written and produced exactly the way I want TV to be made - it was like falling in love with a person and then finding out halfway through that they were lying to me the whole time about everything. Luckily, I've been able to keep myself from lashing out too much, because really when it comes to TV, subjectivity is huge, and if I want the right to have my opinions, I've gotta respect your right to have yours (even if I really, really disagree).
    • To add my 2 cents on the season 6 and 7 hate it really stems I think from the feeling that they were an unnecessary add on. Joss had planned on 5 seasons, and those five seasons all play into each other, the planning if you look back on it is very evident. He ended his series with the gift and kinda did an "ok, now what" when they weren't cancelled and moved to UPN. You've had buffy fight a god, and sort of win, enough for a tear jerker ending, but dammit, now what? So season six ended up being about how much life sucks sometimes as you're getting older and as a 30something fan, I can totally agree but when the subject matter is about suckage you're going to get people who don't get that it;s intentional, or get it and not care. And then season seven was an ill conceived way of trying to top the angst of season 5's biggest bad while ending the show yet again WITHOUT killing buffy off this time. In a big way, the series would have been better off if it had ended outright after season 5 - the overall plotline was better in a variety of ways, not the least of which was that it was simply better planned. However, if they'd done that there'd have been no musical and a massive number of great moments from season 6 and 7 that I do like, plus 2 years less of buffy to geek out over. So what I'm getting at is that season 6 and 7 simply suffer from not being well planned and feeling like an addendum.
    • So, I've watched all seven seasons in the past two-three months, which I'll admit, gives me a sort of television-tunnel vision. But here's my take. I like Seasons Six and Seven. I recognize the faults. I recognize the cliches. I'm wish they'd handled the characters differently at some points, but still, I like them. Buffy is still one of the best shows I've seen and it's not because it's flawless, but because of its feel. The show is just enjoyable, by nature, inherently. It's fun, and clever, and puts the viewer in the proper mindset. And after all I'd seen, I loved the characters, for all their faults. And come on. It's not like they were any Scrubs season Nine, am I right?
    • I agree with this. I have never understood all the S6/S7 hate myself, because for all their faults (and I DO reconize both seasons have numerous flaws) both Seasons stayed relatively true to what I've loved about the series all along. Plus, season 7 had Mal, even if he was an evil priest demon dude. You don't get much more win than that!
    • BTW, are you really saying "It just bugs me" that other people don't like something as much as I do? Fine. Why *I* don't like S6/7. In general, the writing was pretty bad, although for different reasons.
Season 6- There was no really interesting overall plot arc, it was all just character development, or in my opinion, character derailment. Season 5 ended with a lot of the characters reaching a higher place- Buffy ends up becoming responsible for another person and then sacrificing herself for her, Xander becomes a responsible adult with gainful, fulfilling employment and proposes marriage. Anya finds a place in the world for herself, Willow manages to take care of and defend Tara, Giles ends up becoming a successful business owner, even Spike has reached a kind of self-esteem plateau. And then, season 6 ruins the characters all for the sake of drama. They stated that "Real Life" was supposed to be the Big Bad, but honestly the other seasons had about the same amount of bad real life stuff happening as well(Joyce dying?). A more apt description would be "Real life sucks when you're selfish, dysfunctional and self-destructive". So, the entire season was basically spent making the characters from season 1-5 seriously flawed. That's about it. Season 7- Things seem to start off well enough, with an obvious big arc plot and final big bad that looks to be an epic final season.....and goes nowhere. One of the problems of having an omniscient and all-powerful villain is that you have to pull stuff out of your butt to explain why the heroes aren't easily defeated and that's pretty much what happens here. Despite all of the dire warnings, the 1st Evil never actually does a whole lot and only seems to know what the heroes are planning when the plot demands it. So, despite a somewhat promising beginning, almost nothing happens and it seems the 1st Evil's big plot is really just to screw with Buffy without actually accomplishing anything.
  • Well they did accomplish something. IMO, it's a huge crowning moment of awesome when Buffy basically tells the shadow men to screw it and (with the help of her friends) changes the whole order of the Slayer thing. She not only stops being the slave of her fate but actively becomes the master of it. Also, Dawn matures and becomes Badass Normal. Willow goes through fire and emerges stronger and wiser than ever. Spike finds ultimate redemption and overcomes the trauma his mother gave him. Faith reconciles with Buffy and learns responsibility. Anya finally gives up being a demon for good, in favour of humanity. Xander... well, okay, Xander kind of gets the short straw here. Anyway, I admit that I didn't much like the final seasons myself and there are plenty of definite flaws there, but there are good things too. And it is a special kind of closure as the Hellmouth which was, in a way, the ultimate "Big Bad" of the whole TV series (being the whole reason Buffy came to Sunnydale in the first place in the beginning of the show) is finally gone. And on the symbolical level it's not such a huge Ass Pull either, when you think about it. The Hellmouth is destroyed by two vampires with souls, redeemed demons, Angel who gives Buffy the amulet and Spike who uses it. There's a poetic justice to it, don't you think? After all, light destroys darkness and the light, in this case, is the soul, the ultimate weapon against evil. The way it goes back to Buffy is that neither of them would have done it without her.
  • Season Six is, I believe, an acquired taste. With some exceptions, I found the respective plights of the characters believable and, in some cases, refreshing to see on television. Buffy's character arc of post-death trauma was a solid Deconstruction of the entire concept of character resurrection, shining a spotlight on the often-ignored aspect of raising the dead: where the soul was before you shoved it back into its corpse. Willow's arc took a major detour when the magic-as-drugs subtext became explicit text, but her overreliance and dependency on it had been a consistent plot element as far back as when she tried to magic away her and Xander's feelings for each other way back in season 3, and the dangers she eventually wound up embracing have been foreshadowed as far back as season 2, when Giles warned her that channeling Angel's ensouling spell "will open a door you may never be able to close"; this was the culmination of Willow's series-long character arc. Dawn's shoplifting cry for attention was, I feel, justified; not the shoplifting itself, but the emotion behind it. The social worker we meet for an episode was not wrong in declaring Buffy an unfit legal guardian for Dawn; not because of the dark character turns that was taken in season six, but because Buffy has to be the Slayer. She can be an amazing sister, and she can love Dawn as much as humanly possible, but Mom is a full-time job that Buffy does not have the time for, especially when her extracurricular activities mean that she has a high likelihood of dying a horrible, violent death every day. Xander and Anya's arc really tied into the overall theme for the season: living in the world you saved. It was a great romantic gesture for Xander to propose to Anya at the climax of the fifth season, but that's all it was. Marriage isn't just a wonderful happy ending that closes the story; it's a massive responsibility and a huge, life-changing decision. Xander is, at this point in time, 20. He's still growing into the adult world. Anya, even moreso, because she's only really been living in the human world for three years now. Spike's arc is really the one that got derailed hard, and that was more or less because the writers couldn't agree on what they wanted him to be, resulting in half-hearted attempts to reset him to Evil Mode that ultimately ended up sending the mixed message, "Spike is really inherently, irredeemably evil inside and will automatically resort to doing evil for the lulz at any given opportunity, but when he does, it's a half-assed effort because he just really sucks at being evil," a statement that is equally offensive to fans of Good!Spike and Evil!Spike. This is where I think the biggest weakness of the season comes through; Spike's strongest time in the season is right at the start of it, doing double duty as both the Buffyless Scoobies' heavy gun and Dawn's surrogate father. Had more focus been laid on Spike and Dawn's relationship and how Spike and Buffy's sexual relationship affected it, all three of their arcs would have been stronger for it, both in terms of character and thematically. Long story short: season six has its ups and downs, and overall is a story about world-saving characters struggling to live in the world after they saved it. If this sounds like an interesting concept, you might like it. If it doesn't, you're probably better off ending at five.
Percieved male-bashing throughout season 6 might have been a strong turn-off for a lot the fan base, especially for guys like this male troper. For five seasons BTVS managed to be a feminist show — without ever suggesting that all men suck. That's rare enough in TV nowadays, and was rarer still when the show premered in 1997. The first five seasons of Buffy proved that with clever writing and interesting characters, a female protaganist could reliably teach sexists and misogynists a lesson (try to count the number of sexist 'ha, you're just a girl' vampires and humans that Buffy gets the better of in those seasons)— while still unashamedly relying on her friends - including her male friends to back her up. Buffy was always a Girl Power show but always had room for the males to contribute to the forces of good. The fact that Giles, Xander, Good Angel, Oz and yes, even Riley were always there for her, and almost unconditionally supportive of her — without ever upstaging her, was a strength of the show. Every one of the Scoobies was realisticly written, and we believed that although they'd sometime disagree, and every so often quarrel, when Buffy was going into battle the rest of the Scoobies had her back.
  • Enter season Six, and two of the three remaining male characters (Xander, Giles, Spike) completely jump the rails. Giles abandons her for a very weakly explained in-universe reason, and Xander leaves Anya at the altar. Spike, (usually evil anyway) crosses the Moral Event Horizon by attempting to rape Buffy. In season 6 the entire slate of hitherto "good guys" visit three of the worst traumas and betrayals on Buffy and her female friends that any women can get from men. Although it's true that Giles and Xander both redeem themselves at the tail end of S6, a lot of damage has already been done. Riley's innocent in season six, but ends up accidently hurting Buffy anyway with a fine new job, and fine new wife while Buffy's life is in the crapper. His visit equalls more pain for Buffy at the hands of them men in her life. ....
  • ... and that's before we even discuss the Troika of Doom as the Big Bad.. Three nerds with massive chips on their shoulders because of their inabilities with women, who see females as commodities to be earned through the abuse of magic, technology, ... or the money one can steal through abusing magic and technology. There's probably nothing wrong with any of these individual story elements - but to heap them all in the same season very possibly prompted a lot of men to double check to see whether or not their favorite show had been hijacked by the Lifetime channel. It truly seemed for most of S6 that men-even men who had proven themselves as heroic in the past- were not capable of goodness.
  • For me, the whole problem with Season 6, is that every story line should have been used much earlier, Buffy wanting to have sex with the big bad vampire who likes it dangerous, that seems like it could have been taken care of right after Angel left, or before that, something to make Angel jealous, it just didn't fit where Buffy had made huge strides in being in an adult relationship. Willow is abusing magic, the same Willow who for years has been reliable, studious and fairly respectful about magic and the balance of nature, how was this 3 years in the making, this is definitely a Season 3 or 4 story line maybe in between time of Oz and Tara or like right after Willow starts using magic it could have, like when she wouldn't care about the balance of nature because she's a teenager. Xander fearing that he would turn into his parents, maybe that makes sense when he was like them, y'know, no job, living in squalor but by Season 6 he has a great job, he's not a drunk, he has his own apartment, and he is completely in love with Anya, so he is as far from being like his father as you can be, and he picks this time to worry about it.
    • Plus it's attempted use of previous events as foreshadowing, like the UST between Buffy and Spike from Season 5, just because it was there doesn't mean it foreshadowed anything for Season 6, you can't call it foreshadowing if it wasn't supposed to lead to anything and you made your self right, Spike and Buffy never had to happen, and if it didn't then all that crap from Season 5 becomes a joke, a one-liner that can be used to make fun of Spike later on.Same goes for Willow, all of her previous indiscretions with magic are treated like they all had to lead up to here, when the truth of the matter is, if Willow had never gone off the rails with the magic usage, and Dark Willow had never shown up, all her less than valiant spells would have stayed in the context they were used and would probably have been used as a joke, like "Hey remember that time I tried to use that spell so we weren't attracted to each other, do you think that has something to do with me being gay" they all exchange horrified looks then they laugh. Xander's home life was never anything more than to show how different Xander was from them, and occasionally letting Cordelia get a pointed comment in. In Season 6 Xander became so irrationally scared of being like them he ran out on his wedding, and it was tried to make it look like that's what they were doing all along.
      • See - All the comments from before season 4 that allude to Willow being gay, it wasn't foreshadowing, or Buffy's ""Funny Aneurysm" Moment" just because Joyce died from one doesn't mean that when the line was written they were planning on killing her off then, until a future writer takes off with one of these things they're just throw away lines or basic plot points that were in the story for no other reason than the characters needed to do something.
      • So you have all the characters acting completely out of sync with their character development, plot lines which should have been used years earlier, and the connecting of events that actually did happen years earlier to events that are happening now using logic that you have to use a flow chart to understand. In my opinion its not Seasonal Rot as most people say, it's that the majority of things that happened in Season 6 belongs in Season 4, wanting a bad boy, doing drugs, fear of turning out like your parents, fear that your significant other isn't committed to you(Tara), these are a teenagers problem. Seriously take out the last four episodes of Season 6, put in the last 4 of Season 4 and they're at the same level of maturity. Dawson Casting might have made everything worse as well, considering these characters were acting mature well beyond their years in Season 1, it seems stupid to think that these actors now, who now look like fully grown adults mid to late 20s are now acting like teenagers.
      • And while it may come from Wordof God that Life was the Big Bad of Season 6 and that you cant always tie up everything in a pretty little bow in 44 minutes of television, that's such a cop out of bad writing, if you cant fit everything in, then you edit, or you rewrite to take out the filler or you use" to be continued", you don't just say that because this is a complicated problem it cant be solved in 3 episodes that's retarded just because your episodes air weekly doesn't mean that only 3 weeks has to have taken place, it's a lousy excuse because they couldn't come up with a good enough villain. For it to even make sense your saying that life sucks so hard, it causes random bullets to enter your bedroom window kill the love of your life, make you go crazy, then make you try to blow up the world, now life is hard for plenty of people but damn. This is only WMG but I honestly think that the "Trio" were the intended Big Bad but the writers had no endgame but then Dark Willow showed up, and there was no chance of her catching a case of death, so they came up with this Life shenanigans to justify never having thought out a competent villain.

  • I think that saying Season 6 and 7 sucked (or didn't) is A: A matter of opinion (and really should not be in the headscratchers in this tropers opinion) and B: Is not taking into account the other seasons. Since this has become a discussion of opinions, I would like to say that as a whole every Odd Numbered Season was good and every Even Numbered Season was not so good. If you are willing to read more I will elaborate. Every Odd Numbered Season had a resolution at the end that was such that if the show was not picked up for another season then it would be okay because it was "wrapped up". Keep in mind this is a generalization, not a statement of fact on my part. Just an observation. The Even Numbered Seasons on the other hand ended in such a way that there was always a cliffhanger or a plot point that did not sit well. Season 4 was really bad with this considering they directly hinted about Dawn's arrival in the next season. In the Odd Numbered Seasons the writers seemed to have focus and a clear path of where they were going with the overall story arches and endings, while the Even Numbered Seasons seemed at best to be chaotic messes and at worst flying by the seat of their pants. That being said, there were bad episodes and story points as well as good in all the seasons. And for the most part, the Even Numbered Seasons always seemed to bring everything together in the latter half of the season as the big bad was revealed and the plot started to coalesce into something interesting. As for why "season 6 and 7 sucked" in a lot of peoples minds? It was never intended. Word of God is that the show was going to be canceled on UPN as of season 5, so they wrote the entire season with the intent on ending the show completely (and what a great ending it would have made), then The WB (new to the network race at the time) needing something established and fan fave, offered Joss and crew a ton of cash and an offer of a new season (or two) and they took it because, well, money. Season 6 and 7 came out of an attempt to revive a show that had lost it's main character and needed an all new reason to continue, so the first season clearly sucked because of ass pull writing and then season 7 sucked because they got canceled again and needed to wrap up the story with something bigger than killing a god. The best part about each of the Odd Numbered Seasons is that if you did not like the direction of the show after them, just pretend that there was no more show and end it in your mind at your favorite season! (1, 3, 5, or 7 all with very valid and resolved endings). That is what I did with the last season of Scrubs and The X-Files. THERE IS NO SEASON 9! (emphasis because of ALL CAPS of course)
  • Though I actually loved season 6- I thought it was full of great moments and I loved the increased focus on the characters- the whole Murphy's Law thing kind of bothered me. Like one of the above tropers, I hate how they took minor plot points and retroactively turned them into foreshadowing. Like Willow relies too much on magic and could be corrupted by her power, so she has to become a MAGIC JUNKIE who goes to seedy MAGIC DEN with a MAGIC DEALER to get stoned off MAGIC (the "Dark Willow trying to destroy the world" thing probably counts as well, but I thought that was pretty fucking cool). Xander is insecure about himself and his relationship, so of course he has to LEAVE HIS FIANC… AT THE ALTER, he was from kind of a rough background with unhappy parents, so of course he now came from an abusive household and he's so terrified he'll be like them he was to back out of his marriage. Giles was worried about Buffy not being self-sufficient, so of course he has to abandon her completely while she's struggling with money and raising a teenager and fighting vampires every night... um, how about Giles just handles the finances and helps out with Dawn while Buffy handles the hordes of monstrous vampires that infest the town. Oh and Buffy is angsty so she has to become suicidally depressed. And through all of this, nobody helped each other, and in Willow's case, they actively treated her like shit, which I found particularly baffling because there's no way they could have predicted that her using her super power as a mundane utility would have ended with her becoming a junky and trying to destroy the world (and if they did I'm very impressed), it would be like if Buffy made money by entering arm wrestling contests and they're all like "you are using too much slayer strength, shame on you!"
  • Season 6 was a low point for the series. As mentioned above, they'd used their ultimate tear-jerking, season-and-show-ending finale in Season 5 and were casting about for what to do next when it wasn't the last season. Most of the metaphors (such as Magic = Drugs) were poorly handled and heavy-handed. Dawn (a shoe-horned character) was given a lot of focus that became VERY irritating. The cast became very male-light. Spike became Buffy's lover, an arc that got way too much screen time and seemed like glorified slash fiction. There was no villain to speak of, just the Trio who were also supremely irritating. The (admittedly awesome) musical episode was done simply because Whedon thought it was cool. The ONLY thing that saved it, its only moments of awesome were Willow's turn to the dark side and the last four episodes - the whole season treads water until that point. There was even an episode (Normal Again) where they completely lampshade the lack of any better villain than three geeks after Buffy has defeated a HELLGOD. Season 7 was much better, but Whedon and the writers betrayed what goodwill was left by only sticking to the 'Back to the Beginning' theme of returning to the High School for about 8 episodes. After that, it devolved into the First/Potentials plot and a dragging series of episodes that seem to have a Buffy speech in every one. The First was a good villain but the overall plot was handled very poorly, Willow's redemption wasn't really given any facetime and by the time the mutiny against Buffy occurs, I was actually WISHING that it would happen, so Buffy's 'I'm the Slayer, that makes me a good leader' attitude could finally be crammed back down her throat. The writers quite consistently established that Buffy is actually not a very good leader at all, that she NEEDS the backup and guidance that Giles and the others provide. It's pointed out as early as Season 2 by Angelus (of all people) that Buffy is ridiculously easy to manipulate, fool and otherwise lure into traps - especially if she is particularly stressed or emotional, which she is for most of Season 7. That's what's wrong with the two seasons, but they don't completely suck, there is great stuff in there.

    Angel and Angelus—Which When? 
  • Why oh why do fans refer to the evil Angel as Angelus? It's one thing in conversation when the two must be differentiated between, or when discussing his past, when he did go by that name, but it shows up online in episode descriptions, even cast lists. He IS Angel. The Scoobies and Spike and Dru only call him Angel. He flat out says that he is Angel in "Innocence". Why all the "Angelus"?
    • Because his name is Angelus. The demon with an angel's face. Angel is just a shortening of the name Angelus. If you look into the flashback sequences of his history, he was always Angelus after he ceased to be Liam; it's only this modern Angelus with a soul that is considered "Angel".
      • But that directly contradicts the show. When Buffy tells him he's not Angel, he insists that he is. He is only referred to as Angel after that. The only people that call him Angelus are people that knew him way back when, and then they usually stop. The de-souled Angel is only ever referred to as "Angel". Therefore, the only time Angelus should be used is when referring to his past actions.
      • It's a question of semantics. There isn't a correct or incorrect name for him, whether it's Liam, Angelus, Angel, The Magnificent Poof, etc. When Buffy tells him that he isn't Angel and he insists that he is, they're not arguing a case of what name she should call him, they're talking about the person that name represents. A name is, ultimately, just that: a name. Spike refers to him as Angelus a few times while he still has his soul; it doesn't mean he IS Angelus while he has a soul, it's just a name, and with the exception of Jasmine, names don't hold any power over the individual wearing them. Ultimately, fans refer to the evil Angel as Angelus because it just makes it easier to differentiate between the two. The show also started doing this after Angel's series picked up; you never heard Angelus referred to as Angel on his spinoff. There isn't any right or wrong reason for it; it's just simpler than "The Good Angel" and "The Evil Angel who wasn't Angelus because he lost his soul after he had regained it but was basically Angelus going by the name Angel".
    • 'Cause it's just easier that way!
    • Interesting side note: Drusilla refers to Angel as "Angelus" when he has a soul, and "Angel" after he becomes evil.
      • Dru's insane. Also, the reason for it is because it's how it's done in Angel.

    Angel's Responsibility for Angelus' Actions 
  • The way I understand it, a Buffyverse vampire is essentially a demon possessing a human corpse. This would imply that Angel and Angelus are two completely different beings. So why does everyone act as though the reensouled Angel is responsible for Angelus' crimes? I'm thinking in particular of Giles's attitude after Angel returned in season three and Angel's own periodic bouts of intense guilt.
    • Living body plus soul: Liam. Corpse plus demon: Angelus. Corpse plus demon plus soul: Angel. The motive force for Angel and Angelus is the same demon, so they're sort of the same person. Or at least that's how it's usually described. At any rate, Angel can feel responsible for anything Angelus did post-curse because Angel could've prevented it by killing himself rather than risk happiness.
      • But he didn't know about the happiness clause in the curse, did he?
      • Since when has logic ever stood in the way of Angel (or any character on the show, for that matter) feeling guilty?
      • Everything that Angelus became is a direct consequence of a conscious choice that Liam made. Darla offered to make him a vampire. He wasn't mislead, he wasn't taken by force, the choice was laid squarely in his lap and he said, of his own free will and his own volition, "Show me your world." Liam may not be Angelus, but everything that Angelus has ever done is because Liam chose to become Angelus.
      • Darla never said anything about vampirism. How could Liam have possibly known? Boy just thought he was going to get laid.
    • There's a bit of dialog between Holtz and Wesley in Angel S3 "Loyalty" that gets at some of the question nicely.
    • Angelus killed Giles' girlfriend and tried to kill most of the Scoobies. Interlectually they might know that Angelus and Angel are different people, but emotionally they still see the monster. Same for Angel's guilt. He might know that it wasn't really him doing all those terrible things, but it still feels like it was him.
      Wesley: If it's a sacrifice you require, take me. Angel's no more responsible for the crimes of Angelus than I am.
      Holtz: Really?
      Wesley: Yes.
      Holtz: And was it your hands that held down my beloved Caroline as she was violated and murdered? That wrapped themselves around my son's neck and snapped it like kindling? Were yours hands that clutched at my daughter as she was turned into a creature damned for all eternity?
    • In a major aspect Wesley is right, the modern Angel is disconnected from the entity that performed atrocities. Yet there's also a lot of common links, material and psychological. Plus, people that have been profoundly hurt by Angelus aren't always rational. It's like the same problem of seeing a friend/lover turned evil except in reverse.
      • In a way, it'd be even more frustrating, finding out that the vampire who tortured, raped and killed the people you love is now an innocent, good man. You're denied justice forever, you're not even allowed to hate him anymore because now he's a different person. I can see how some sufficiently enraged victims would just shift their rage onto Angel instead and keep going. And since we know from "Orpheus" that Angelus is conscious and trapped inside Angel all the time, torturing Angel and making him suffer does make Angelus suffer too. It's just that such vengeance requires torturing the innocent human soul in the way (something Holtz, at least, had no problem with).
    • In a major way, it's similar to feeling guilty over things one does if one is drunk and/or on drugs. There's a difference here, in that drunks and drug addicts chose to start whatever they do, but the principle is still the same. Your mind and heart may not have been behind it, but you still did it.
      • I'd imagine Angel does feel exactly that kind of guilt, since his vampirism began with being tempted by Darla into the alley. He probably asks himself every day why he had to be in the pub that fateful night, why he followed Darla instead of realizing something's wrong and backing off, why he was living a life that crossed their paths at all.
    • Buffy doesn't hold him responsible at all. This is partially influenced by her love for Angel, but she was also the first to understand the difference between Angel and Angelus. She knew Angel better than anyone, and while what Angelus did in the bedroom scene was evil, most of the emotional agony Buffy went through was the result of learning that her lover had been replaced by a psychotic killer, and that she was responsible for that.
      • Buffy isn't always right. She was willing to let the whole world die if it meant protecting Dawn, she refused to stake Spike in seasons four and five on the grounds that he's harmless despite him repeatedly and consistently proving otherwise on several occasions, she unchained ensouled Spike as a demonstration of her trust in him season seven despite the First's trigger for him to go berserk and kill everyone having not yet been disabled, she pursued Faith to L.A. on a pure vengeance kick and gave Angel hell for daring to try and save her, she has a consistent personal tendency to, when under the influence of a spell affecting multiple persons, believe that she's been unaffected due to some mystical Slayer immunity to magic that doesn't actually exist (see: "Something Blue", "Him"), Buffy has been wrong or done the wrong thing on countless occasions. She's not a perfect, flawless hero, and her opinion on a matter is not an absolute truth. It's true that Buffy, personally, doesn't hold Angel at all responsible for anything Angelus ever did, but there's no reason to assume that just because Buffy believes it, it's right. Angel DOES hold Angel responsible for everything Angelus did, and I think he knows Angel better than Buffy does.
      • No one is always right. "X isn't always right" followed by a list of things x did wrong isn't an argument against x being right in this instance. Also, Angel holding himself responsible for Angelus's actions doesn't mean he actually is responsible. After all, is someone who has survivors guilt after their family is killed in a random electrical fire responsible for their family's deaths? One of the the recurring themes with the character is blaming himself. To believe he actually is responsible is to miss one of the character's central arcs throughout both shows.
      • In Angel's case, he explicitly states that, even though he has his human soul back, the demon half of him is still inside of him and his current persona is an amalgam of the two. Liam may be the dominant half, but Angelus is still in there and still active. He DID do all the things he was blamed for and enjoyed every moment of it, but getting Liam back gave him back his guilt and inhibitions. As shown in the episode with the starlet that tried to reverse vampire date rape him, he's capable of cheerfully performing Angelus style acts if his inhibitions are removed, soul or no soul.
      • Liam is not a ďdominant half,Ē and while Iím at it I want to express my dissatisfaction with the way that Angel portrayed Liam, Angel and Angelus as separate personalities. Liam was your basic Jerkass; Angelus was Liam sans humanity with a superdose of serious evil. Angel is a product of Character Development. Being granted a soul didnít transform Angelus into, well, an angel. Angel is souled!Angelus after the extensive time and angst that went into sorting his unlife out. Angelus is undead and held back only by a conscience.
      • It's perhaps most clearly shown in S4 Angel when Faith is in Angel/Angelus' mind - after he got a soul, he still drank innocent blood at least once. Maybe, since people with souls can be evil too, Angel has an darker side, and simply assumes that that's Angelus - so when he feels like doing something wrong, he thinks it's because he's still part-Angelus and what Angelus did was because of the darker part of himself. Because vampires are basically the worst of us, Angel probably thinks that must mean he was (and is) a worse person than everybody else in order to do those things.
    • Angel, at least, feels responsible for Angelus's actions because he remembers doing them. Worse, he remembers just how much fun Angelus had doing them. Those memories of the century he spent bringing pain and death to everyone he met? Those memories still bring a song to his lips. So yeah, he feels responsible for them.
      • Also why Angel has a bigger problem than Spike about being ensouled. Spike remembers the atrocities he committed as a vampire, but recovers quickly, while Angel seems to hate himself forever. Reason being is that Spike has a normal person's memory and can move on. Angel however, is gifted with a photographic memory, and will remember forever.

    Willow—Bisexual, Lesbian, Queer? 
  • Why is it that Willow seems to completely forget her sexual attraction to men? Now, I liked Willow/Tara very much, but this bisexual troper is annoyed by this oversight. (Also, Oz was cool. Way better than Kennedy, way more alive than Tara in Season 7 and later. But this is aside the point.)
    • This troper thinks that she was still attracted to men, only she was in denial about it. Witness her reaction to Giles singing in "Where The Wild Things Are", and to Dracula.
      • Because she's a lesbian, not bisexual. Plenty of gay and lesbian people have been in relationships with people of the opposite sex before realising their true orientation, especially early in their life. Willow is a lesbian. End of story
      • Willow is not a lesbian, she is bisexual. In fact, she is one of the most prominent and popular bisexual characters seen on any TV show. As a character - and as others have noted - Willow is deeply insecure in herself, from "Welcome to the Hellmouth" through to "Chosen", constantly adopting new labels and identities: geek, Jewish, scooby, slayerette, Wiccan, lesbian - all are attempts by her to define herself, rather than herself doing the defining. With her insecurity, she desires others to accept her, she uses these various labels to do so and often brings it up an attempt to placate others; note, the only real times she actively defines herself as lesbian are when she's trying to reason with others: her fight with Buffy and Xander in season 4, her fight with Tara in season 5, her argument with Anya in season 6. And she didn't just 'experiment' with guys, she was actively in love with Xander for several years, from before the show started until late season 3. She was also deeply in love with Oz and in his last appearance in season 4 even stated that she always would be.
    • This is a textbook example of No Bisexuals. My theory is that the writers are afraid of accidentally implying that Willow's lesbianism was just a phase if they have her start dating men again.
    • Willow also seemed insecure about identifying as a lesbian. Remember when she flipped at Tara, sarcastically apologizing for not having as much "lesbian cred" or something like that? (I think this was in season 5, but I'm not sure.) Willow seemed to identify as lesbian because the women she was involved with needed the assurance that she wouldn't leave them for a guy - bisexuals get that a LOT, as stupid as it sounds. So it was an image thing for her.
  • All of Willow's attractions to males were when she had no sexual experience and was in a heterocentric mindset. She checked out men because she'd been raised to believe that's what she was supposed to do and in doing so found positive traits in the group she was watching. Once Willow actually jumps on the woman love train she never gets off it. Her attraction to Xander was justa first crush and her enjoyment of it being realized died very quickly. She loved Oz for being Oz and, seeng as her was her first lover ever and sex still feels good she'd have no way of knowing if she'd prefer it with a woman yet. She remains fully in he woman camp even once Tara is gone, under a spell forcing her to become obsessed with a guy (she'll work around the penis and wanted change him into a woman) and every other instance. Even Vamp Willow seemed to enjoy women more than men, with the exception of Xander (though all vampirsare functionally bisexual, being without any reason to not act on any impulse).
    • Not completely true. She's fine with said penis till Anya reminds Willow that she's a 'lesbian' and only then does she get the bright idea of the sex change spell. Also on the Vamp Will point, we saw her getting off on torturing "the Puppy" (Angel) in The Wish. Personally I'd describe her relationship with Vamp Xand from what we've seen as 'stable, but open'.
    • The fact that she didn't go for guys after Tara's death doesn't necessarily mean anything. Perhaps Willow got in her head exactly what the writers were afraid of: that if she were with a man after Tara's death, it would look disrespectful or as if she were admitting her lesbian attractions were only a phase. Perhaps she was bisexual and in denial about the fact. She wouldn't be the first bisexual girl to convince herself she was a lesbian by far. Sometimes there has to be a whole new realization/coming out process because of it.
    • Willow has a thing about labels. It's part of her insecurity; she grabs a label that only slightly applies to her, and then hangs onto it for dear life and will defend it to the death. She does this with "lesbian", she does this with "Wiccan", hell, even Dark Willow does this when she says, "Now I'm the Slayer." It's the teen insecurities that, as we see in Restless, she never actually got over; she just buried it under a mountain of labels saying "Hey, look at me, I'm in the Lesbian Crowd now, isn't that cool?"
  • Maybe Oz was Willows If I Ts You Its Okay?
    • No, she also demonstrated an attraction to Xander before Oz, and even as far as season seven, when under the influence of a love spell, she only tried to make the spell's target female after Anya reminded her that she's supposed to be gay. The evidence suggests that Willow is a closeted bisexual who clings to the "lesbian" term because she likes to define herself by labels.
      • Okay lets play that game: Xander was her first and only best friend, and she liked him more than anything since she was five. As she grew up she learned that women was supposed to like men, and she uncounsly answered that rule with being attrackted to Xander. She focusted everything she "was supposed to feel" unto Xander. He was safe since he loved her as a friend sice forever and was later utterly devoted to Buffy
      • Then she met Oz, who she actually liked alot and who she actually dated without any second-guesses.
      • But then the unimaginable happened: Xander liked her back. And she was again forced to be with the person that she had as of then forced to be the person that she tried to prove to herself that she was. And she The answer was that after five mimutes of kissing him she didn't give a shit. Unfortulatly that was to late, as everyone that was meant to be hurt because of that indiscreaton was there (That would be Cordelia, Oz and in a way Willow and Ox).
      • But then Oz took her back, and she liked him because she genunilt liked Oz.. But then he left her (as far as he knew) forever; and he moved on.
      • To a woman, named Tara, who she loved her with all her hearth.
      • I'm sorry, "five minutes of kissing"? Xander and Willow were secretly making out for several episodes, despite multiple attempts to stop. Willow finally turned to trying to craft an anti-love potion because she couldn't restrain herself from making out with Xander. Xander even calls her out on turning to the black arts to keep their hormones in check. Where do you get, "after five minutes of kissing him she didn't give a shit"?
    • The impression I get is that Willow probably is bisexual, rather than gay, but downplays it for Tara's sake. Remember, Tara was shown to be a bit insecure about their relationship, fearing that Willow was just going through a college phase. So, Willow might have just denied her attraction to guys so Tara would feel more sure about their relationship. Remember how concerned Tara was when Willow offhandedly admitted that she found Dracula sexy, and Willow quickly denying it?

    Occult Books in a Public, Vamp-Accessible Building 
  • Speaking of which: Giles cover is his librarian job at the Sunnydale school. That's fine. However, since the school is a public building, vampires can enter it (and the library) whenever they damn well please, and do so repeatedly, whether it's to steal Giles' books, attack the Scoobies and what have you. Why does Giles keep his occult books there instead of his own vamp proof house, and why don't the Scoobies hold their briefing and research sessions there either? It's like they want to be raided.
    • Let's see... Kids spend a lot of time in the school library: Yay, education is working! Kids spend a lot of time at the house of an unmarried teacher: Kind of suspicious.
      • Except the raids happen at night, by definition. When the secret sessions also happen. Kids spend a lot of nighttime in the library with the weird English guy with his weird books (that he orders through the school system, apparently)? Nooot suspicious at all ;)
    • Giles doesn't have a house, he has an apartment. That didn't look large enough to hold all the books. As for anybody noticing the timing of the sessions in the school library, the laxity and Selective Obliviousness of the Sunnydale authorities and school system is legendary. This only gets even more pronounced during season 3, after Giles has intimidated Principal Snyder into their arrangement of 'You give me what I want and pay no attention to what I'm doing, and I don't beat the living shit out of you.'

    Angel's Curse 
  • Why didn't the gypsies who cursed Angel do more to keep him from being happy? It seems to me that for all their supposed hatred of Angelus that they do very little to keep him unhappy- the only gypsy who makes any attempt at all to keep Buffy and Angel apart is Jenny, and her 'efforts' amount to convincing everyone that Angel should be the one to take the Judge's hand to wherever he was taking it, keeping Buffy and Angel apart for a few months at the most.. Also, why didn't anyone tell Jenny about the clause in the curse until after it was too late? Talk about closing the barn door after the horses have bolted! And if keeping Angelus unhappy and cursed was that important, why do we never hear from the gypsies again after Angel lost his soul? No attempts to kill/recurse Angel (unless you count Jenny's actions, which seemed to be more as something she did of her own volition than something the gypsies told her to do. And after Jenny died that was it from the gypsies; never heard from or saw them again for the rest of the series. What's up with that?
    • I think the gypsies that originally cursed Angelus were massacred by his vamp family, and when Angel went under the radar they lost track of him for a long time.
    • Yeah, Darla led a wholesale massacre against them once she found out what happened to Angelus. Also, a present-day elder woman sensed that Angel's pain was lessening (which sent Jenny's uncle rushing to Sunnydale to find out what's going on), so they had mystical ways of keeping track of him from afar.
      • The Gypsies being dead didn't prevent them from sending Jenny nor her Uncle and it was heavily implied if never stated that the owner of the Magic Box during Season 2 was also part of her tribe. Clearly some of them managed to avoid Darla's wrath. As for why they didn't do more to keep him unhappy the easiest answer is that the Gypsies probably didn't really have the resources to do much more than they did. If other fictional works (Stephen King's Thinner, Sam Raimi's Drag me to Hell) are any example Gypsies are dicks and they curse A LOT of people. They probably only kept up with Angel to the extent that they did because he's immortal and could very well have come after them. When first Jenny, her Uncle and the Shopkeep all ended up dead in a single year they likely backed off and regardless after that Angel never sought them out. As unlikely as it sounds it seems that the gypsies were content to let bygones be bygones after more than a century. Either that or as Jenny mentioned the soul spell was lost and they didn't have anything else that would be effective against a vampire.
  • Why were the gypsies still so invested in making Angel suffer? Darla screwed them over far worse than Angel did and they apparently did nothing to them. And no matter how much of a beloved princess that girl that Angel killed (after Darla, again, kidnapped her) was, it was an entire century ago. How can they still be this personally peeved at Angel for her death that they have to be invested in keeping Angel miserable forever and yet don't appear to try to do anything but tattle to Dracula to deal with the much more serious crime of the massacre?

    Spike's Beauty Regimen 
  • How is Spike's hair so peroxide blonde? I mean, can you imagine him going into a hairdresser's to get it bleached? Or taking the time to do it himself?
    • I can picture him kidnapping a hairdresser to get it done, and before he was chipped/souled then eating her of course. However doing it yourself must be hellishly hard seeing as he can't exactly use a mirror.
    • I have more trouble picturing him painting his nails.
      • We see him painting his own nails once.
      • Non-relevant, but *person who painted their Spike Action Figure's nails*
    • Maybe he only bleached it once, on a lark, when he was really, really bored, like how he let Harmony draw on him, but didn't think ahead to realize that it wouldn't grow out and/or liked it enough that he never bothered to re-dye it.
      • It does grow out - when he was all crazy in the basement, he had some serious roots, in a "you've really let yourself go" kind of way. I think he just likes it. He probably does an occasional run to the all-night drug store for peroxide and nail polish.
    • Spike is repeatedly shown to be pretty vain. And, y'know, no one ever said there weren't vampire hairdressers.
    • This troper is more concerned about Angel's beauty regimen, considering he apparently spends all of his spare time brooding yet finds time for hair gel.
    • I was always bothered more by the perfect makeup seen on female vampires (as well as Spike and Angelus sometimes). Bleaching your entire head without a mirror is plausible. Especially if you can heal chemical burns quickly. But applying perfect smokey eyes and lipstick?
      • Perhaps they have someone do it for them or it's an instinct thing.
      • Enhanced vampire dexterity?
      • It's established that vampires show up on camera, so maybe they use a small one, maybe a webcam and a screen as a mirror.
      • Most vampires aren't exactly shown as being at home with technology, though.
    • He might also have someone else do it for him - Spike's a fairly social vampire and usually has at least one companion, and I can easily see either Dru or Harmony happily fussing over Spike's hair.
    • Both Spike and Angel are incredibly vain creatures, the latter more subtly than the former. Spike is a simple explanation; the man watches Passions, paints his nails, spends unholy amounts of time practicing picking up Buffy (complete with box of chocolates), and according to Angel's testimony, continued to write and recite poetry even after becoming a vampire. Badass he may be, but there's no reason to assume he wouldn't spend several hours fussing over hair care. Angel is easier to miss, especially if you never saw his own series, but he's actually VERY fixated on his image, to the point of actively arguing about charging money for his business with Cordelia and Doyle because it clashes with the Dark Avenger image he wants to present. He catches flack CONSTANTLY from other characters for the manufactured image he goes out of his way to try and present himself as, and his hair and clothes are a part of that.
  • Here's an easy answer for you. Lot of pratice. If I can dye and fix my hair and put eyeliner, eyeshadow and lipstick without a mirror if for some reasons I can't use one, I don't see why vampires couldn't do that. They had many more years of pratice... And yeah, both of them are pretty vain, like Dracula and most of females vampires so there's nothing weird about that.

    Angel's Lack of Accent 
  • Angelus' Irish accent and Angel's lack of said accent has always bugged me. Why doesn't he still have an accent, when Spike and Dru still have theirs'?
    • All of his Angelus scenes have an Irish accent, so maybe he deliberately lost it to try to disconnect himself from that life.
      • Modern Angelus doesn't. Really it's just because DB sucks at it.
    • It's implied that it's something physical rather than psychological. In the Angel season 4 episode "Spin the Bottle" we see Liam wondering where his accent has gone. He came to the US between 1900 and 1929 and has never been seen to leave it.
    • Spike doesn't have his accent anymore. The accent he has in the series proper is an affectation. When he was alive he had a different accent. He just thinks the one he uses now makes him more badass. I wouldn't be surprised if his normal mode of speech was an American accent just like Angel.
      • It's not. In "Tabula Rasa," when everyone loses their memories, Spike speaks in a British accentóin fact, it's a major plot point, since he discovers he's British, which leads him to believe he is Giles's son (and Hilarity Ensues). If he were consciously affecting his accent, he wouldn't have spoken with a British accent (since they all forgot everything, including Spike/"Randy" not realizing he was a vampire). As for Angel's lack of accent, it makes sense. Angel is older then Spike, probably has been in America for longer, and possibly wanted to pick up a more American sounding accent to avoid attracting attention (whereas Spike loves attention, as shown in Season 2).
      • Spike speaks with a British accent. Specifically the one living William spoke with in "Fool for Love." It's a subtle but noticable difference.
    • Maybe he's changed his pattern of speech so as not to attract attention to himself. Having an accent can be very inconvenient at times, so changing his manner of speech may have rid him of unwanted curiosity.
    • Segregation of the story itself and the creation of said story. There's no real explanation. If the writers had gotten rid of Spike's accent, it would've been too much a change of the character. Angel started with an American accent when he first appeared, and then they added the Irish backstory. Also, Angel's Irish accent really, really sucked, so the less we hear, the better.

    No Protective Spells 
  • Why doesn't everyone who's in the know and have the proper materials do the protective spell against the vampires to their workplace and other vulnerable spots they often visit in? Such as Giles to his library?
    • The school wouldn't work. A season two episode has Angelus explicitly state the schools motto invites anybody in. It also doesn't work on public places, as you don't technically own them. If you mean the magical protection spells Willow uses occasionally, they take a sustained effort against force (one was beaten down in season 7)
    • One was beaten down on purpose in Season 7. She let it fail to draw the potentials to that little Buffy show.

    Snyder's Hate of Buffy and the Scoobies 
  • In the first three (high school) seasons: Principal Snyder absolutely hates Buffy and seems to dislike Willow and Xander. While disliking Xander might be justified, since Willow is one of the top students in the school, it doesn't make a ton of sense for Snyder to hate her (then again, Snyder does hate everyone, and he is supposed to be a Headscratchers type of character). Further, since Willow and Xander (and later Cordelia) are arguably just as involved in slaying as Buffy, why is it that none of their grades/reputations suffer? Willow seems to stay a straight A student, despite Snyder mentioning on more then one occasion that all three of them cut half of their classes in a given day, and neither Xander not Cordelia are shown having anywhere near as much trouble with their grades or (academic, not social) reputations, despite the suggestions that Buffy is smarter then either of them.
    • Buffy had the attention of the Mayor, and Snyder was terrified of the Mayor. If he could find an excuse to expel her, she, and by extension the Mayor, would be somebody else's problem.
    • Cordelia's actually quite clever. She just hides it. Xander perhaps not, but I don't remember it being suggested that Buffy is necessarily cleverer than him - at least not until later, when they all get their SAT results.
      • Xander was always a slacker in school; he didn't have an untarnished academic reputation to start with. It's just that since the whole Buffy thing started, his actual slacking time was curtailed by various slay-related activities.
    • Snyder seems, by the end, to be specifically under orders to persecute Buffy.
      • He seemed that way from the beginning. Which is funny when you think just slightly outside the box and realize that in season two for example Snyder should have been front and center defending Buffy from the police and making up an alibi and perhaps even I saw these strange people running away! I can't see how the world getting sucked into Hell would be a win for Mayor Wilkins. Fast forward to season 3 and you've got the Mayor's plans about to culminate and what's the genius plan? Expel Buffy. That'll keep her too busy to thwart my. . .you mean that'll give her a lot more spare time to maybe stumble onto my plan? Doh!
  • Personally, I think Snyder's just a little bitch who thinks because he's a high school principle he's better than all the students and can treat them like crap.
    • He says as much:
      Snyder: A lot of educators tell their students, 'Think of your principal as your pal'. I say, think of me as your judge, jury, and executioner.
    • Buffy's the Slayer. Snyder seems to be aware of what that means at least to some extent, given that he answers to the Mayor and deliberately invents excuses about vampire activities. Whether under orders to persecute Buffy or simply out of sheer dislike, Snyder probably just wants the Slayer gone from Sunnydale. As to whether he should have been helping her at the end of season two, why would he? Yes, Acathla being awakened would have been bad for Wilkins' goals, but Snyder didn't know about Acathla. He just saw his chance to kick the Slayer out and seized upon it. Buffy is a teenage girl; she has to go to high school somewhere. If she can't find one in Sunnydale to attend (and Snyder could easily discourage other schools from taking her in simply by being honest about her school history), she has to move somewhere else and never be in the Mayor's town again. As to the topic of the Scoobies' grades, while it's true that they were all involved in Slayer activities, it's a matter of quantity. Yes, Willow, Xander, and Cordelia were all doing extracurricular Slayer stuff, but not to the same extent. We see a LOT of Buffy training with Giles until ungodly hours of the night, then going out alone to do solo patrols. This is her day to day routine. Xander and Willow help out here and there when something big is going down and might come along when they have the time, but there's a lot of Solo!Buffy, Buffy&Giles, and Buffy&Angel patrols and hunts during time the rest of the Scoobies have to do their homework and make up for any missed assignments.
      • It's flat out stated in Lover's Walk that the Mayor was actively covering up for Spike's antics. Granted Acathla wasn't Spike's antics it was Angelus but one must assume the two are close enough to the same that he was included. Its possible that he didn't know specifically about Acathla but common sense still suggests that leaving Buffy alone is the smart move.
    • Perhaps his dislike of Willow can be explained in Season 2 episodes like "Becoming: Part 1" (where he sees her sitting on Oz's lap) and "Go Fish" (with Willow's reluctance to excuse one of the school's top athletes, academically). While Willow was far from a slacker, Snyder must have sensed that she was unlikely to subside to his influence, and that Buffy would remain a domineering presence in her activities.
    • About Willow's academic record (and everyone else's): in an AU fanfic where Buffy never came to LA (the Normal-verse) Willow was a college graduate from MIT by age 18. From what we see in canon, (and her reaction to Oz staying back a year) Willow clearly could be farther along (she's teaching the computer class, for god's sake), but just stays where she is for the sake of her friends, and because she spends a fair bit of time tutoring them (as we see, especially with Xander in Season One) and on Slay-related activities. Basically, if Willow was separated from the Scoobies, she would have had a Doctorate by age twenty and both Xander and may have been held back (although Giles is tutoring Buffy a bit).

    Author Tract, Wish Fulfillment, Positive Discrimination, and other stuff 
  • Is it just me or does Joss Whedon want to be a little girl with superpowers? Just look at River Tam from Firefly plus Buffy, Faith and Willow. Does he truly believe women are surperior or is he trying to veil a warrior woman fetish? The anti-military author tracts, just why? The Initiative is less of a Strawman Political and more of a Windmill Political. Magic beats science? Does not compute! Magic has been shown to turn a sweet, wide-eyed college girl (Willow) into an apocalyptic sorceress, while science created Adam, who was easily beaten via an Ass Pull. Someone explain this to me.
    • It's just you. A male author can, in fact, write about girls who kick ass without having a fetish or wanting to be a little girl. (Also, there's already two threads on the treatment of military/initiative above. Feel free to continue to be bugged under the existing headings.)
    • Joss himself pretty much nailed this one:
    Reporter: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
    Joss Whedon: Because you're still asking me that question.
    • Further proof that Joss is just amazing.
    • Also, it's easy to take things like these for granted when they already exist.

     Problems in the Bedroom 
  • What exactly is the show's problem with sex? Every time sex is explicitly important or a plot point, it's treated as disastrous and/or a very bad idea. "Surprise", "The Harsh Light Of Day", "Who Are You", "Where The Wild Things Are", "Smashed"/"Wrecked", "Seeing Red", the list goes on. Only Anya and Xander get away with it, and even that's portrayed comically.
    • Law of conservation of detail. If it doesn't serve the plot, why show it? And this is a comedy/horror/drama show, so if the sex isn't feeding into the horror, the drama or the comedy, it's not worth mentioning.
    • Buffy and Riley spend basically half their time together having lots and lots of sex. It gets them into trouble sometimes, but as they are in college, and therefore horny, screwin' happens a lot. Xander having sex with Faith in "The Zeppo" didn't exactly cost him. Furthermore, Willow sleeping with Oz before the Apocalypse-of-the-Week was obviously a healthy and natural progression of their relationship (he refused to until they were both ready), Willow sleeping with Tara was almost always portrayed positively (it would've been a bit off to try to claim to be so progressive by showing lesbians as main characters if their sex consistently led to disaster — and before you mention it, the sex in "Seeing Red" wasn't what drove Willow off the edge, it was Tara, y'know, dying), and Willow sleeping with Kennedy had no negative consequences (other than Kennedy being there). In summation, when Buffy has sex it's tragic and/or dramatic, when Xander has sex it's funny, and when Willow has sex it's romantic. Considering the characters and their roles in the show, it fits.
      • "Willow sleeping with Kennedy had no negative consequences (other than Kennedy being there)." Kennedy being there is a huge negative consequence.
      • Above troper is on the ball. Really, the show doesn't have a problem with sex. It sometimes explores problems (plural) that are related to sex, but those are specific: "Surprise" is about sleeping with someone and then realizing they weren't who you thought they were. "Smashed" and "Wrecked" use violent sex as visual metaphor for a mutually destructive relationship. "Seeing Red" includes the fallout from Anya and Spike's tryst, which is treated as an affair since both were emotionally commited elsewhere. "Where The Wild Things Are" is actually about the consequences of sexual repression. The only general take the show seems to have on sex is that it can make easy things complicated, which makes perfect sense given that this is a series about coming of age. (Also, in Buffyland, it's impossible for anything to be shown as complicated or serious without a body count ensuing, so please keep this in mind and adjust the consequences of people's actions accordingly.)
      • To add to this sex = bad trend, over on [[Series/Angel Angel]], though it's reasonably assumed that Fred and Gunn had a previously healthy non-consequential sex life, the one time they're actually ever shown on screen having sex they proceed to commit murder afterwards.
      • Add the above examples to the list of on-screen versus off-screen sex between characters. If it is on-screen (not in a porn way obviously) then there is a reason and that reason is usually related to the drama or comedy of the plot. So there may not be any direct examples of just sex (other than the innuendo surrounding any given couple of the season) that doesn't end badly or comically, but it happens all the time.

     Ineffectual Villains 
  • It bugs me that Buffy villains are just so ineffectual.
    • Angelus: This super evil and sadistic vampire can enter the Slayer's house. Oh my god, what's the worst thing that could happen? Will she die? Buffy doesn't do the reasonable thing she could do (moving to someone else's place, someone who didnt invite Angel in), but that's totally OK, because the most evil thing our sadistic super-strong villain could come up with was to draw her while she slept. Furthermore, Angel lost his soul right after he slept with Buffy. And she was still there when he came back. He had an opportunity to kill her, instead, what did this sadistic, devoid of humanity, killing machine do? He behaved like a jerk!
      • Remember that for all his talk and pompous show, Angelus has never actually had to deal with a Slayer before. His behaviour regarding the Slayer in Spike's flashbacks shows that he had the same respect and fear towards the Slayer that most vampires who've lived for hundreds of years have learned to cultivate. He talks a good game, giving speeches about how you have to love her in order to kill her to "I axed two Slayers while you were poncing around crying into your rats" Spike, but the most likely explanation for Angelus's less than stellar behaviour is that he was still afraid of her. He just doesn't show it, because this is Angelus we're talking about; he doesn't show fear.
      • Alternately, he wasn't afraid of her but, as noted, he's still never handled a Slayer before; he may have expected his standard psychological torture tactics to work because that's just how he operates. Direct tactics aren't Angelus's bag.
      • You just aren't thinking like a sadistic 200-year-old vampire with a quasi-romantic obsession. Angel's plans did include killing Buffy eventually, but torturing her psychologically wasn't a just means to an end. It was his idea of fun. If he rushed to close the deal, then he'd have to go find something else to do for next few weeks/months/years. If Acathla hadn't come along and changed his plans, he'd probably have slowly escalated his tactics until Buffy was driven madder than Drusilla and then killed her, unless she dusted him first. A girl like Buffy only comes along once a lifetime. You kill her right.
      • Moreover, let's say that he did kill Buffy while he was planning to destroy the world. Buffy would go to Heaven and be spared Acathla's return. That's basically losing, as far as Angelus is concerned. Before he'd decided to destroy the world, he was planning to drive Buffy mad. He was toying with her and her friends and reminding her every day in dozens of ways that she was in love with him and he was going to kill her when he was good and ready. Angelus isn't a scrapper like Spike, he's a torture artist.
    • The Mayor: Once you are invincible, why leave the job to your killable reckless, arrogant surrogate daughter? Why not do it yourself while you're invincible and can therefore not be killed?
      • Old habits die hard. The mayor's a politician, and doesn't like to get her hands dirty. Besides which, while unkillable, he was no more effective in a hand-to-hand fight than the next untrained, not particularly fit, human politician. An attempt to kill Buffy would probably result in a prolonged stalemate, culminating in her chaining him up, tying on some weights, and dropping him into Crystal Lake.
      • This is a popular one. People assume that immortality or even invulnerability automatically equates to winning every fight. It doesn't. There are a LOT of ways to incapacitate someone, temporarily OR permanently, without actually killing or, in some cases, even harming them. The Mayor's a regenerator. That's the only ability he has. Under controlled circumstances, Xander could probably kick his ass. Under the far more likely uncontrolled circumstances, he's still no match for the Slayer, or probably even Giles.
    • Adam: This one is especially baffling. Adam seemed to just sit there in his cave, waiting for Buffy. He's Nigh Invulnerable, why can't he just go to Buffy's house and kill everyone before they figure out a way to kill him? What is he afraid of? The Agoraphobia circuits keeps him from doing this? What could be more important that getting rid of the main threat to his world domination plans?
      • Adam's weakness was precisely the opposite — he wasn't afraid. Not of Buffy, not (apparently) of anything. Since he'd beaten her in a fight she wasn't a threat to him. What she was was an important factor in his plan to have all the factions in Sunnydale slaughter one another. Also, Adam was kind of lame.
      • Adam didn't kill Buffy because he didn't want Buffy dead. It's as simple as that. She was a piece he needed in play, and she couldn't hurt him. And let's be honest, if they hadn't found the Captain Planet spell, she wouldn't have. He had no reason to kill her.
    • Glory. Partly justified, as she's insane, doesn't have full control over her body, and doesn't know who or even what the Key is. Still, once she's tortured Spike without results, why didn't she try someone else? Couldn't she get her mooks to abduct someone else among the Slayer friends until she gets the information she wants?
      • Glory DID try someone else. IMMEDIATELY after that episode, she went after Tara. This prompted Willow's counterattack, prompting Glory's counter-counterattack, and kicking off the final sequence of events.
    • The Master: Apparently, you couldn't care less about making sure that once the slayer's dead, she stays dead.
      • Hey, there was a prophecy. Not like they ever have loopholes or anything, right? Right?
      • ...he just KILLED the Slayer and was excited to be free for the first time in centuries. You expect him to sit around in his prison and watch the body for a while to make sure none of the friends that Slayers don't have ever show up to revive her? He thought she was dead and, let's be honest, an ancient vampire probably isn't very learned on the respiratory system.
    • Warren: Why did he have to come up with all sorts o'wacky plans to get rid of the slayer, instead of doing what he, you know, ended up doing anyway? Why, if he couldn't just shoot her didn't he build some sort of killingbot, which he was perfectly able to do?
      • Because he didn't want to kill Buffy so much as he wanted to be a comic-book supervillain. That meant coming up with whacky schemes, and never repeating yourself. He'd done robots; he wasn't going to show such unoriginality as to try that again.
      • Just like Adam, he didn't actually WANT to kill her. His plan wasn't "Kill Buffy". The only times Warren targeted Buffy, it was either, "Long as the situation's optimal, might as well let her die," like the invisibility ray, or targeting Buffy was just part of a different objective, like sending the demon after her to get it out of his hair, or framing her for Katrina's murder so he wouldn't be a suspect. Until he walked into her yard with a gun out of anger and desperation, he wasn't explicitly TRYING to kill her.
      • Willow could wipe out an army of Buffybots all day every day. Warren was the technology arm of the Trio's technology, demonology, and sorcery trifecta; Willow had all three.
    • Darth Willow: Your lover's dead and you've become an Ax-Crazy Łber-witch on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. You want to kill everything and everyone and then, you don't, thanks to the Power of Friendship. Actually, this makes the most sense: rage can make people do stupid things, love too, so the love-induced wrath of a powerful witch oughta be devastating, and it's not uncommon to calm down and realise you can think things over.
      • Like you noted, rage makes people do stupid things. Love touched off Willow's rage, and love ended it. Like many, many things in this show, Darth Willow was a metaphor. In this case, for the pain of losing someone you love, and the stupid, reckless things people do to deal with that pain. And it took the intervention of the love of someone close to her, someone she HASN'T lost, to pull her back from rock bottom so that the healing could begin.
      • Willow wasn't trying to kill Buffy. She didn't mind if Buffy died but her goal originally was to kill the Trio and the attacks she flings at her buddies are the equivalent of you shoving your girlfriend to punch someone. Sure she might hit her head something and die but that wasn't your goal. Likewise Buffy was just the thing between Willow and what Willow wanted. Honestly Buffy could have gone home and made a sandwich told Giles not to worry and two dead nerds later season 7 would happen almost exactly the same way.
      • The Master trusted tradition and prophesy too much for his own good. Angel was obsessed with Buffy and ruled by passion.note  The Mayor's affection for his surrogate daughter lead him to make stupid mistakes. Adam was arrogant; Glory was crazy; Warren was immature.note  All of these characters had real human, emotional weaknesses at the core of their character which lead to their downfall. Stupid mistakes were made largely because they were people.
      • Basically this. Every villain had a motivation. Only a select few of those motivations were explicitly "Kill Buffy". The Master wanted to rise, The Mayor wanted to become a giant snake, Adam wanted his war, Glory wanted The Key, and Warren wanted to be Lex Luthor. The only one that explicitly wanted Buffy to die was Angelus, and he's never fought a Slayer before.
      • Exactly. Remember that killing Buffy would summon another Slayer, and so would have only temporary gain for each villain, if any. They all have their own motives and all of them very nearly succeednote , except Warren, who is only dangerous when he completely changes his motivation (from "being a supervillain would be AWESOME" to "Grr!"). They all make mistakes because of established character flaws, they are not Villain Sues.

    Maintaining the Masquerade 
  • Related to the above, why did it take so long for The Masquerade to finally be broken? How many lives could have been saved if everyone knew not to go certain places at night or let strangers into their houses or bury people without a little decapitation? All The Scoobies had to do was capture some vampires (if the laughably incompetent Watchers could do it, they could), put them in cages and demonstrate to a large crowd (with recordings) what happens to a vampire when staked or exposed to sunlight, explaining everything about them. If no-one believes them, do it again and again and again until they do. With no bodies the worst that could legally happen to them is being called crazy, but even if only some people believe them it would have been better than nothing.
    • In the Buffyverse, the human psyche is to a certain extent weirdness resistant. Often, people who have clearly witnessed supernatural events which can't be explained rationally will simply misremember what they've seen. This effect is somewhat unpredictable, but it's enough to suggest that a deliberate attempt to unmask the world would be complicated: If 100% of the population of Sunnydale got to see the informative Vampire Safety video but only 10% where capable of processing that information, violent mass hysteria might very well be the end result. Buffy's take on the matter, anyway, seems to be that having incomplete knowledge of the vampiric threat is more dangerous than having none at all; in the series premiere, Willow asks if the police should be involved with any of this, and Buffy says that cops "would just come with guns" and get themselves killed. Four seasons later, the Initiative more or less proves her point, coming in with guns and getting themselves (and others) killed horribly.
      • That's certainly an...interesting take on the Initiative. What got them killed horribly had nothing to do with their weapons being useless; if anything, the Initiative was too effective. That's how Adam was able to set up his trap. Their weapons also demonstrated on a number of occasions throughout the season to be as effective, and in some cases, more effective than Buffy's. Their failure had nothing to do with "Guns are useless" and everything to do with being manipulated, first by Maggie, then by Adam.
      • I never said guns were useless. They're just not enough all by themselves, as any cop dispatched to the scene of a vampire attack would quickly discover. The Initiative's guns and technology were shown to be quite handy, but ultimately, the Initiative itself was overconfident in the superiority of its methods and fairly closed-minded about the mystical side of what they were dealing with. Buffy was happy to learn from the Initiative, but the Iniative failed to learn anything from Buffy, and lots of people got killed because of the whole not-listening thing. As with the cop, it's not a guns-are-bad issue, it's a knowledge-without-wisdom issue.
      • Still seems to me that lots of people got killed less because of not learning about magic and more because of a very effective trap. Even if they had an entire deaprtment studying witchcraft and learning about the Slayer line, Adam's trap still would have killed everyone.
      • Because the way that Buffy defeated Adam wasn't by contacting her ancestor spirit with a magic gourd?
      • Defeated him, personally? Yes. Stopped the massacre and saved all the lives? No. Everyone still died, magic gourd or no magic gourd, and defeating Adam after he'd already sprung the trap does nothing to stop that no matter how you do it. Also, as a counterpoint to "modern weapons are useless and magic is everything," who here remembers the Judge, whom no weapon forged could harm?
      • And as a counterpoint to your argument, I contend that ducks are not mammals because they are birds.note 
      • Yes, it is about hubris: the hubris of Maggie Walsh, not the entire Initiative. And that's irrelevent to the original point, which was that the Initiative was, quote, "coming in with guns and getting themselves killed". The reason we are having this discussion is because of the suggestion that trying to use guns to fight demons is what killed the Initiative.
      • But I didn't suggest that and as far as I can tell neither did the show. "They came in with guns and got themselves killed" does not automatically imply "their death was caused by their use of guns specifically". The original quote from the pilot merely implies that some random muggle cop (who knows nothing about vampires and would probably expect them to die when shot) would not be helpful in a vampire-related crisis. The problem isn't the guns, it's the lack of knowledge implied. My point was that the comment in some ways resembles the Initiative plotline, in which an organization with limited understanding of the supernaturalnote  unwisely rushes in to fight demons and violent death ensues. Guns were not the point — and I guess my communication skills must really be on the fritz this week, 'cause this is my third attempt at clarifying how not-about-guns it was. It wasn't even that much of point to begin with.)
    • Also, the existing power structures come to mind. Pretty much everyone had reasons to keep the Masquerade up. The Watchers (the old ones, at least) had to avoid attention because of their not-so-faultless methods and not-so-limited assets (courtesy the aforementioned methods). A certain Mayor was native in the Masquerade and planned to stay that way. A big evil law firm actually thrived on supporting the Masquerade and would find legal loopholes in the public dusting actions. And then there are friendly neighbourhood monsters like Harmony, who illustrated how not to perform the unmasking by making the vamps and demons look like the victims. And then everyone with a secret Apocalypse scheduled would move the timetable. And so on. And with wierdness censores on, one of those would take care of the talkative party before the message comes through. *because if they even tried to unmask the goings on the Feds would come (aka Invisible Girl) and then Buffy and the SG would be sitting in some holding facility waiting for a lobotomy.
    • I had this feeling that maybe Buffy initially felt a subconscious need to keep up the Masquerade just because that's what every Slayer had done before and what the Watchers kept doing (and that's what superheroes always do in fiction!). Possibly it was even her need to keep up the feeling of normality in at least a part of her life. And perhaps she just wasn't ready to make such a huge effort to make sure people got the message. Later on there was the fact that she possibly didn't have time to think about things like that or she was just too disillusioned with the world to trust people to do the right thing given the knowledge. In short, it might not have been the best choice but it was a very understandable one because she is just a human and a young one at that.
  • Perhaps it has to do with keeping the world and by extension the multiple dimensions "safe" from us. Humans seem to rank a lot higher on the scale of what's bad ass in the Buffyverse than we like to think. Considering that we have one slayer for most of human history, one Drogan, the Watcher's Council and presumably a few other major organizations or heroes floating around we seem to do just fine. Can you imagine how much more dangerous the world would be if instead of Buffy and Drogan having to deal with the occasional Glory or even Illirya level threat if guys even as "weak" as Ethan Rayne were common enough to be having super hero brawls? On the same point granted part of this is budget and story obviously but how long do you think it would take the US military to conquer Pylea if they wanted it? Quar'toth is supposedly as bad as it gets but an old man (admittedly a bad ass old man) and a toddler survived there. Acid Air is the only thing that would stop us from taking over Jasmine's bug planet.

    Normal Again and epileptic trees 
  • In the season six episode "Normal Again", it is strongly implied towards the end that Buffy is a patient in a mental institution, and that Sunnydale, the whole Slayer mythos, and all her friends (including Dawn) are just figments of her imagination. However, where would this place Angel? She doesn't seem to know anything that happens in the spinoff, so it's not in her imagination.
    • Epileptic Tree(s): She is actually in another reality/dimension. She imagines the spin off, but she imagines herself not knowing about it. {/Epileptic Tree.} What really bugs me about the episode is what brings Buffy back to Sunnydalye (Willow reviving her) since she would have had to hallucinate that while she was still lucid, and that doesn't make any sense to me.
    • Why do people insist that Angel has to exist? If Normal Again was canon, Angel would be one of many Side Story Bonus Art or Omake What If? series (granted, an extremely long one) that show what would be happening in another part of the world where a dream or non-canon sequence takes place. Assuming Normal Again was canon, Buffy could imagine Angel going off to L.A. to do his own thing, then imagine him coming back a few times, and Angel fills in everything that happens where she's not present. Since Buffy the Vampire Slayer is canon, Angel is (intended to be) a depiction of what did happen. I don't see why Buffy needed to imagine everything that happened in Angel if she dreamed the events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Does that mean she also had to dream up the events of the comic spinoffs and True Blood comics?
    • [[Wild Mass Guessing: Angel was actually Normal!Buffy's favorite tv show before she was afflicted with severe schizophrenia, and part of her delusion is that her favorite character was really her lover. ]]
    • Normal Again was a one off episode where The Trio make Buffy hallucinate and believe she had gone crazy. To the best of my knowledge there is no Call Back or continuation of the idea in either show. If there was some merit to the idea that Buffy really is crazy then there would be small hints that something was off as the series progressed, with The Reveal occurring at the end of the sixth or seventh season. As it does not we can ascertain that Buffy recovered...somehow.
  • I understand the original tropers question on this specific episode. The problem is how the episode ends. Not in Buffy-land, but in the institution where Buffy is having her mental breakdown. Last line of the episode is "I'm sorry, she's gone." This is a bad way to end the episode as without some kind of epilogue set in the Buffy-verse it raises the disturbing question that everything we are watching (fun tho it is) is all in some girl's delusional mind. Past and future. It was simply a bad way to end the episode in my opinion and seemed like a very Joss thing to do just to mess with the viewers heads. I did not like the ending of the episode.

    Buffy's Brattitude 
  • My biggest pet peeve about the show was...well...Buffy herself. I never understood why all of the Scoobies were fully expected to coddle the crap out of Buffy whenever she had problems (and the little blonde girl had plenty of nuclear meltdowns—both of us know it). For example, Season 2. So her boyfriend was a twit to her after she finally put out (I get that it was a bit more complicated than that, but that's about all she knew when the meltdown began). It sucks, but that happens to people every day, and they all go on with their lives. Oh, no, not Buffy. I could even be okay with that, but as the series progresses, and the supporting characters develop and start to have problems of their own, if any of them are distracted from the mission by their actual lives, they get chewed out, smacked around, and threatened with death by dear Buffster. I just couldn't stand the giant flag of Double Standard-osity that she was flying for almost the entirety of the series...it Just Bugged Me.
    • Buffy fully admits in the final season that she has a superiority complex, pretty much based on her chosen one-ness. It also has cost her in the past, such as when the Scoobies were kidnapped because she thought she had this deep relationship with the Master or whatever, and the same thing near the end of the 2nd season when Angelous pretty much did the exact same thing. As far as Angel turning, they seemed sympathetic but I didn't feel like they made a super huge big deal about it until everyone knew he was bad. Whats more is that as the seasons progressed she had to take on the role of leader since Giles kinda flaked on that front, so yes she had to knock back into line, since the WORLD was on the line, I would have done the same. Finally, in the last season this attitude comes back around to kick her in the butt when everyone turns on her and kicks her out, rightfully so IMO.
    • For the whole Buffy/Angel thing...remember that Angel's not just an ordinary guy. He's a vampire, and not just a vampire, but one of the most bloodthirsty, cruel, vicious vampires in all of history. So it wasn't that he was just "a twit" to her, he was evil. For a normal person, it's a normal situation and you move on. For Buffy, it leads to weeks of being stalked by a psychotic vampire who tries to psychologically cripple you and puts all your friends and family into danger, eventually leading to said vampire trying to end the world. So yeah, it IS a big deal when Angel switches sides.
    • If it's any consolation, that kind of bugs me too. From the second season premiere "When She Was Bad" on up, Buffy waffles back and forth between her superiority complex and inferiority complex, between her "I'm the Slayer, I stand alone" attitude and realizing that what makes her different from other slayers is having friends and loves ones to keep her grounded. She keeps learning that latter lesson and then slipping right back into the former mindset, and by the time that dance turns into a mad whirling dervish in the seventh season, it's gotten old. The series is the story of Buffy growing up, but after awhile you just want her to be grown up already, to see the mature, confident leader in the fight against evil that we keep getting teased with. The show only goes as far as college age, so the angst of growing up and finding your place in the world never has a chance to give way to a mature equilibrium (which Joss has pretty much said he would've found boring anyway, so it's just as well).
      • I think its part and parcel of the slayer powers, you gain this phenomenal power but eventually no matter how many people your surrounded with you begin to think "I'm fighting alone" if you recall in season 7 Spike said as much.
    • Really? I honestly didn't see this much at all... Maybe when the show itself tended to give Buffy's problems more screen time but even then I felt like it was just because she IS the main character and off screen there would be more consideration to the others' problems. She's shown several times talking with Willow about each of their lives, almost always eager to listen to Willow's issues just as Willow listens to hers, for example. Of course they do it less later on as they grow apart somewhat and Buffy becomes more introverted but even then I felt like she does in fact really care for her friends and worry about them. I have to admit that I don't see your point at all... it's like you're talking about a completely different Buffy.

    Anya's Personality (or lack thereof) 
  • When Anya was first introduced, her personality was defined by the fact that she had been a demon for 1,000 years and thus had very little experience dealing with people. Eventually, as her backstory developed, it was revealed that she was originally human. In order for her bad personality to continue making sense, it was shown that she had always been quite strange, even as a human. The problem with this is that she spent 1,000 years as a vengeance demon, and thus did interact with people quite frequently as a result. You'd think that she would have picked up at least some basic knowledge of human behavior in that time, especially given the nature of her line of work. Compare Angel and Spike, both of whom spent over a century as complete monsters and, perhaps in spite of it, both developed exceptional understandings of the human condition.
    • To be fair, Anya's contact with humans consisted of angry, spurned woman wishing horrible fates on cheating men. That's hardly a good sample pool for normal human behavior. Angel and Spike, on the other hand, still had plenty of contact with humans, and most of the time, their next meal relied on their ability to act human enough to lure a victim out.
    • And Anya only got glimpses of the world whenever she was granting wishes. The middle ages here, colonial America there, the Russian Revolution that other time and so on. Unlike vampires, vengeance demons seem to have their own dimension and apparently spend most of their time there, interacting with each other, when they're not on assignment. Angel and Spike have been living on Earth 24/7 for the past few centuries, so they've had a much broader view of how the world works.
    • The episode "Triangle" implied that Anya actually is aware of how people are supposed to behave in society, she just thinks that "the rules are stupid" and uses being an ex-demon as an excuse not to follow them. This is supported by "Selfless" where we see that, even before she became a demon, Anya was considered odd and off-putting.

    Xander and Vampires 
It sometimes seems like everyone in fandom forgets that Xander had to stake his best friend, and was expressly told at the time that:
Giles:"Jesse is dead! You have to remember that when you see him, you're not looking at your friend. You're looking at the thing that killed him."
Yes, Jesse was pushed onto the stake, but somehow I don't see that making a difference in the emotional impact here. If vampires are capable of love, especially without a soul, then Xander killed his best friend. I think it would be much easier for him to just believe that Giles was right the first time. So please, could everyone (most especially Bangel and Spuffy writers, hell, Spander writers, even), please remember to deal with that before vilifying/vampire-fanclubbing Xander? If' this rant doesn't belong here, I'm happy to move it. Total noob here, and not afraid to admit it. Just let me know and it's gone.
  • The entire "vampires are capable of love without a soul" thing is still open to debate. Many still bounce round theories about infatuation over love and draw attention to the fact that vampire love isn't actual love but a twisted reflection of it. We see from Spike and Dru in series 2 that vampires have their own form of love but I think in the later series' this is crossed with infatuation for the sake of taking a popular character and moving him to the side of good (where he practically resided anyway).
  • That's a perfectly reasonable thing to bring up, and if the writers hadn't shown signs of (almost) completely ignoring Jessie's existence by the point in the show where soulless vampire love existed, it would probably matter as much as you feel it does. However, even then, vampires are explicitly and canonically different people from who they were before they were turned. Liam, Angel, Soulless Angel, and possibly re-ensouled Angel are all different people with different personalities who happen to have the same memory context, and Angel has repeatedly been called out on feeling guilty about the things Liam did (which is the subject of an entirely different and highly controversial Headscratcher). Vampire Jesse remembered being friends with Xander, he just didn't particularly care what that meant. Since you mention it, it would have been nice, and probably interesting, if the writers had brought it up.
  • It really bugged me too that Jesse was never really mentioned again. You'd think that would have been a much bigger deal... Actually, I was disappointed when Jesse died so early on in the series. It would have been interesting if he'd been around as a vampire for the whole first season, giving Xander an extra character arc as he'd have to deal with having his former best friend as an enemy and trying to gather the resolve to kill him despite his feelings. All in all, the whole thing always seemed like a cheap and easy way out.

    The Hellmouth in Cleveland 
Why was it necessary to say that there's another Hellmouth in Cleveland when Angel shows that there's no need for any such thing for demons to inhabit?
  • Not really, but we have been told in other seasons that there are multiple Hellmouths across the world (I think Cleveland's was mentioned as early as season 3) and it's implied that though they aren't the only areas of mystical convergeance, they are the most dangerous. Plus, it's not as though Buffy really knows where else to go. The Watcher's Council is still out of commission and so it can't give vital knowledge and she knows that Angel's in LA so she probably figures that turf is covered.
     The Counsel and Angel and Spike. 
Considering how rediculously detailed the Watcher Diaries seem to be how is it that they have such baffling gaps in their knowledge and attitudes on these two vampires? It seems that the Counsel is completely unaware of Angel's curse but they were aware, at least to some degree, that he wasn't hunting in the Americas. Considering the sheer number of people who die that's an oddly specific entry to have made when the honest assumption should have been been that he was hunting. Two years down the line they must be aware of Angel's curse and should be willing to help him but they aren't for some odd reason. They don't even show any curiousity about the situation which you'd expect. Then when Glory comes around they are obviously aware, apparently via spies since Giles was fired in season three and even if he was still reporting in that feels like a detail he would have omitted, that she's been working with Spike and they don't seem upset about it. At the very least their close enough to OK with it that instead of just chalking it up as a bad mark on her record they take the time out to go interview him. The fact that they came armed but didn't rush in to get an advantage tells us two things. They didn't know about the chip, otherwise no need to be armed at all and they felt safish because they really weren't in a rush to get an advantage.
  • All of this suggests one thing: Angel and Spike are probably not unprecedented in Slayer history. Angel's soul and Spike's chip probably are, but the Council's behavior towards both suggests a certain level of familiarity with the notion of Slayers recruiting vampires. Given that a vampire can go where the Slayer would be overly noticeable, and as we saw with Spike, working with the Slayer is a great way to avoid being killed by the Slayer, there have probably been enough cases of vampires and/or demons working directly with Slayers in the past that the Council doesn't see it as a huge deal that Buffy's recruited two in her time. They know to be careful around Spike because they don't know how his arrangement with Buffy works, but beyond that, they don't really care what demons and vampires she recruits to her cause as long as they're not interfering with it.
  • All well and good except it begs one question. Why are they so bi-polar for a lack of better terms about it? Specifically with Angel? I get that former slayers have have had vampire and demon allies. Given what we learn about demons from Angel it's more likely that they have than that they haven't when you account for the thousands of slayers there must have been. It still seems that curing Angel of his poison would have been if not a priority certainly not something they'd outright reject and capturing Faith would have been sufficiently more important than killing Angel that their first attempt would have been to simply ask him to help. Ultimately it likely would have ended the same way I grant but they made no attempt. My point being they are, in my opinion, the exact wrong kind of okay with this. They aren't friendly enough to be considered happy or even comfortable with either situation yet they aren't hostile enough to be upset and it's not in their nature to be subtle about anything. I mean seriously the female Watcher was a hair shy of begging Spike to ravage her.
     Buffy's Dad 
  • Okay, so just watching the show for the first time (after years of putting it off), and I've reached season 5. And suddenly Buffy's dad has run off with his secretary. Now, in all his appearances so far or mentions of him, it was implied that the break-up between the parents was fairy amicable. What's more, he quite clearly still adored Buffy so why the hell would he just up and leave when he clearly likes spending time with his daughter? He's never been shown to be an asshole before. Is this just supposed to be Hand Waved as an effect of Dawn's sudden appearance?
    • There was some earlier hinting when he couldn't take Buffy to the Ice-capades despite it being their special weekend.Plus, this sort of estrangement is kind of natural in a family that's been through divorce and lives far away from each other.
    • I suspect that once you get to the Dawn era the monks may have simply chosen to "write" him out of the story just to keep things less complicated. While it's true that he couldn't take Buffy to the Ice-Capades once I got the impression that he made it consistently enough that it was a big deal. Frankly I'm much more interested in why he didn't show up for the funeral and left his two daughters hanging if I'm not right and the monks just wrote out any non-combat essential friends and family since even an aunt or uncle would have been damn useful to jobless eighteen year old and her fifteen year old sister.
    • The meta reason appears to be that Whedon wanted Buffy to go through the whole motherhood thing (as part of the show's thing for using her experiences as a fantasy analogy for a normal life), which is why Dawn was brought in - as a sister to serve as a surrogate daughter when Joyce died. This required taking both parents out of the picture, and as killing them both would be fairly hackneyed, they retconned Buffy's dad into such a failure as a parent that he wouldn't even turn up to support his teenage daughters when their mother died. I don't recall them setting this up before season 5; if so, the monks rewriting his personality works as a handwave (or maybe with two daughters to support, his and Joyce's lives had been more stressful, causing their marriage to fall apart in a more damaging way than before). As to the episode where he fails to turn up to see Buffy, this was obviously a problem for the writers because at the time he was still meant to be superdad; they just wanted to do a scene of Buffy asking Giles to take her out on father's day to reinforce his role as her father figure. So they wrote in that her dad genuinely couldn't get out of his commitments.

     Does Joss Whedon hate Buffy? 
  • We all know the man loves his angst, wangst, Deus Angst Machina, whatever. But good god, he puts Buffy and the other characters through the wringer. It's so over the top one has to ask if there's a rule that they are not allowed to be happy, ever. Did Joss have a Sarah Michelle Gellar type as a girlfriend that he's mad at or something because seriously, seriously, it seemed like the more the show went on the worse it was for anyone we found likeable.
    • I'm going to let one of my favorite writers answer this; Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of Daredevil at the time, once stated in an interview, "I get this all the time. They say, "You really hate Daredevil. Look how mean you are to Daredevil." I'm like, "Would you really buy a book about him enjoying a sandwich? 'What a great sandwich. I'm going to eat this for 22 pages, and I'm going to be so happy.'" I may do it just to prove a point. Have Wolverine going, "This is the best bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich I've ever had in my life!"" Essentially, stories must be driven by conflict. That conflict is often unpleasant for the characters having to undergo it. Due to laws of narrative structure, the longer a story runs, the larger and more unpleasant the conflict has to be in order to make for a more powerful arc and stronger climax than the previous, especially in a television medium where every season is a fight for ratings. If every episode of Buffy just had the Scoobies hanging out, shooting the shit, occasionally staking a vampire but otherwise just talking about how great and wonderful their lives were, the story would be very drab and the fanbase would never have reached even half of where it is. An action drama thrives on its conflict, and what sets Buffy apart from a lot of other action dramas that have tried and failed is the fact that Joss Whedon paid attention to and acknowledged the aftershocks of the trauma that every episode puts his characters through, as opposed to the standard "everything returns to normal at the end of the episode" style of writing that was commonplace at the time Buffy was created. Without that conflict and the attention to detail Joss paid to the conflicts he was presenting, we would just have 22 episodes of Buffy eating a sandwich every season.
    • Fair enough. There is the odd light hearted episode. But it can go too far on one direction, I think it can be agreed. A good counter argument can be brought up with the XBOX game. This was set just before The Wish, one of if not the darkest episode in the series, and not long before Faith shows how monsterous she can be. The plot is a little rough, specifically The Master possessing Angel, however it doesn't get to Passions\When She Was Bad heavy. It doesn't touch seasons 6, 7 or some of the comics. Don't get me wrong, I do like some of the conflict that does occur, the Angel episode "Sanctuary" did it right, however sometimes, just sometimes, it would be nice to just have Buffy not have to have quite so much done to her.
    • I don't think he hates the characters. I'm a writer myself, and oddly enough, the more I love my characters, the more I want to make them go through hard times. This might sound sadistic, but it's a good thing in the world of storytelling. If you can't bear to make your characters unhappy, you won't have much of a story.

     Why do people stay in Sunnydale? 
  • Even if there is some kind of Weirdness Censor in place that prevents most people from noticing the supernatural, there's still all the dead people. An abnormal amount of teenagers in Sunnydale High alone show up dead in the school, or missing. Why are people sticking around? Why are they letting their kids go to that school?
    • A couple of reasons. The first is that while we see Sunnydale as extremely dangerous when all is said and done it's probably not nearly as bad as it seems. Certainly never enough that it really gets to be a major turn off for people and the Weirdness Censor is able to keep people in the dark. As we learn from Angel these things happen in Los Angeles, where ever Faith is from at the very least had Kakistos and Mr.Trick. Life in Sunnydale is also quite cheap. Mrs. Summers points out that Sunnydale was the only place they could afford to live with a school that would take Buffy and Giles points out how cheap the Magic Box is despite it's high profit margins and despite a throwaway line by Cordy in the first episode Sunnydale doesn't seem to actually have a bad part of town. It's all quite upper middle class. No gang violence, no crime problem, no drug problem. The worst your kids are going to get into a Frat Party when they're too young to drink. Given many alternatives, see Angel specifically Gunn and his crew, or just read up on inner city LA and things could be much worse for most people.

    Headscratchers/Buffy the Vampire SlayerBuffyverse Vampires

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