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30 Days of Buffy Meme — Day 6

Day 1: Favorite Season
Day 2: Favorite Episode
Day 3: Favorite Song Used In An Episode
Day 4: Favorite Female Character
Day 5: Least Favorite Female Character
Day 6: Favorite Male Character

Day 7: Least Favorite Male Character
Day 8: Favorite Friendship
Day 9: Favorite Romance
Day 10: Least Favorite Season
Day 11: Least Favorite Romance
Day 12: Least Favorite Episode
Day 13: Favorite Potential Slayer
Day 14: Favorite Female Villain
Day 15: Favorite Male Villain
Day 16: Episode You Like That Everyone Else Hates
Day 17: Character You Relate To The Most
Day 18: Character Who Didn’t Get Enough Screen Time
Day 19: Character You Like That Everyone Else Hates
Day 20: Best Spike-centric Episode
Day 21: Best Willow-centric Episode
Day 22: Best Xander-centric Episode
Day 23: Two Characters You Wanted To Get Together That Never Did
Day 24: Hottest scene
Day 25: Favorite Buffyverse Saying
Day 26: Favorite Scooby Moment
Day 27: Cutest Moment
Day 28: Character You Love To Hate
Day 29: Episode You Hate That Everyone Else Loves
Day 30: What You Think Made Buffy So Great

Favorite Male Character:

Spike. This turned out to be a hard one, and not because it's hard to pick a favorite. It's just hard to come up with something to say that will encompass all of why he's a favorite without just echoing things that have been said better by a heckuva lot of people.

So many facets! He's loyal, funny, smart, inventive, observant, emotionally fluent, and interested in sex. He likes to dance. He gets along better with women than with men. He has a heaping truckload of "manly" defense mechanisms to keep other (usually male) people from seeing his perceived weakness. Like many other BtVs characters, he loves language and has an enormous amount of fun playing with it.

Most of those features fit Xander as well, however, so I don't feel I've really put my finger on what makes Spike unique.

Um, he fears very little, aside from bears. He's up for a challenge. He's pugnacious and stirs up trouble for fun. If he doesn't care about something, he really doesn't care about it. Conversely, if he cares, he cares a lot. He's got buckets of joie de un-vivre. He's gleeful, bless 'im.

Lest we forget, he's also a notorious vampire, a killer, a predator, and an unrepentant (until much later), violent criminal.

Okay. So here's something I've been musing on for a while and it's bound to come out wrong, but here goes: Spike works as a sort of metaphor for awful people, a window, if you will. Here in the USA, we have an increasing tendency to respond to horrible, terrible behavior with, "That's inhuman! What a monster!" But really, the scariest thing is that it is humans that are responsible for all those things we wish to call "inhuman". By demonizing the perpetrators, we give ourselves a convenient, but inaccurate, narrative that "we" are nothing like "them". But if you dig a little, you'll find that most of these "monsters" loved their mamas, or their dogs, or Bach, or they were really good at parcheesi, or something. It's not easy to accept that horrible people are, well, people. So much easier to write them off. Spike, started off as a terrifying, dangerous threat and then developed into a complex person, eventually becoming a hero vital to the good of humanity. His is a fun story, but also a tremendously deep, complicated, and thought-provoking one.


Went to see the Afro-Cuban All Stars perform at SF Jazz on the weekend. Once the gals in the band kicked off their heels, the party really got started!

Coming up: the Frameline LGBTQ Film Festival leading up to Gay Pride Weekend at the end of the month. There are five films I want to see this Saturday, many of them in conflicting time slots. Talk about first world problems...

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Jun. 20th, 2014 08:32 pm (UTC)
I think the different between Spike and Xander is that Spike never believes he's a good guy. . . or, dare I say it? A nice guy. Xander thinks he's good and nice. He thinks he doesn't do anything morally wrong, but Spike owns up to his moral wrongness and wears it as a badge. I love characters who are unabashedly not nice people (usually male characters, but I'm loving Sarah's moral ambiguity on Orphan Black), and I always find them more likable than the morally righteous Other Guy.
Jun. 20th, 2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
Moral ambiguity is one of my favorite things in a story setting.

I do think there are differences between Xander and Spike besides their morality. For me one of the key things is the way Spike is so committed. He throws himself into things completely. Xander is brave in battle, but also very fearful in his personal life, which tends to come out in inappropriate ways. I do think Xander is a fairly accurate portrayal of a very young, but generally good guy, who still has a lot to learn.
Jun. 21st, 2014 12:59 pm (UTC)
They both are not nice persons to have around in real life. But Spike's "not nice" traits are mostly from him being the vampire, and therefore could be dismissed as something not real. Xander, on the other hand, is just (sometimes) acting like a regular jerk, and that's more disturbing than any 'fictional' murders Spike had ever committed.
Jun. 21st, 2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
Xander is definitely a more realistic character. I'm pretty sure we all know somebody like him. I do feel he showed some growth over the course of the show, but after Empty Places it's hard to have much sympathy for any of the Scoobies.

That said, I just rewatched the first two seasons, and Xander was really hard to take in places. But then he really comes through in others. I'm interested in the "hard to take" parts, because I'm wondering if "acceptable" behavior has really changed in the time since the show aired and that's why his "nice guy" act grates so much, or if it's because I'm seeing it from the viewpoint of the parent of a teen girl, now. ;-)