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Over on Tumblr, there is an interesting discussion going on:

Why isn’t the Buffy/Xander pairing more popular?

There is another discussion about how much people miss LiveJournal and how it's incredibly difficult to follow discussions on Tumblr. Even the interesting ones.

So, if anybody would like to weigh in the above question here on LJ, feel free! The original post by ilikemyshipsnotyours is linked above.

This entry was originally posted at http://rebcake.dreamwidth.org/39598.html. Please comment here or there using OpenID.


( 66 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 27th, 2015 02:44 pm (UTC)
My opinion: Buffy never shows any romantic interest in Xander. Well, when she's under a spell, she does. But otherwise, she pretty explicitly says, "Nope". And why shouldn't she? When they meet he's pleasant enough, but just a dumb boy at his core. He's helpful and hurtful in turn. By the time he grows up a little, their filial connection is firmly in place.

Edited at 2015-07-27 05:44 pm (UTC)
Jul. 28th, 2015 05:32 am (UTC)
I confess it was painful to watch Xander asking Buffy out at the end of S1 (which was actually the last of the first five seasons I saw in completion); even to the point of me feeling a little sorry for him, even though I thought him a bit of a dick for the way he treated Willow; being perfectly aware of how she felt about him.

There was an element of revenge about the way he lied about Willow told Buffy to do to Angel at the end of S2.

The Pack showed that he could; given the right triggers be an effective bully but, as I know myself, he proved that just because you are abused you don't have to become an abuser. He wasn't always on the right side, but he tried to be, and usually was.

He came, I think, to realise that both he and Buffy were always better as friends something, in season one, he simply wasn't mature enough to even conceive.
(no subject) - rebcake - Jul. 28th, 2015 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 27th, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
Hee, the first link kinda illustrates the point of the second =) There are some excellent answers in Buffy/Xander discussion (like the ones by drusillathekiller, apprenticebard and rahirah), but it's such pain to hunt them down...
Also, looks like that question initiated unofficial Buffy/Xander week, because there is this thread on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/buffy/comments/3ek2cp/should_buffy_and_xander_have_ended_up_together/
And it's probably echoing on other Buffy boards, too...

Edited at 2015-07-27 06:06 pm (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2015 03:33 pm (UTC)
Yep. It's a perfect example of how Tumblr is not suited to all things. There is great stuff over there, but actually having a multi-person conversation is nigh on impossible.

It's great that people are thinking about new possibilities. Let's see if it turns into plausible fic or other fanworks
Jul. 27th, 2015 03:15 pm (UTC)
Tumblr is beyond me. I have no idea how to read it, so they'll have to do without my input (which I'm sure won't bother them at all). ;)

I agree that Buffy never shows any romantic interest in Xander (unless you count the comics, and even there, she doesn't seem to see him as romance material until she realises he's with Dawn). David Greenwalt seems to hint at that being the long-term plan in his commentary for Reptile Boy,/i>, but I for one am glad Joss decided not to go the obvious route (girl has lots of romantic misadventures before deciding the man for her is the nice, dependable one who has been beside her all along etc etc). Buffy and Xander are much better as friends.
Jul. 27th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
Well, she showed interest of a sort in "When She Was Bad", but it didn't seem awfully sincere. On the other side we have "The Witch", "The Pack", and "Prophecy Girl" in S1 were she puts him firmly in the friendzone...which IMO is not a terrible place to be.

I wonder if S7 would have skewed more toward Buffy/Xander if NB had not been having so many problems?
(no subject) - rahirah - Jul. 27th, 2015 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shapinglight - Jul. 27th, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 27th, 2015 03:41 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting question. I guess I'd never really thought about *why* the Buffy/Xander ship leaves me with NOPE feelings. Maybe it's because Xander is pretty much my least favorite character, and I never thought that they had much chemistry.
Jul. 27th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC)
Of the core four, I ultimately have more issues with Willow, perhaps because she misuses her considerable power. Xander hasn't got any, really, so his crimes are fairly minor. To me. "Not that awful" isn't enough of a reason to make me ship him with my girl, though. Chemistry is definitely an issue.

That said, when Xander goes into confident/slash evil mode, as in "The Pack", "Halloween", and "The Wish" he is not unhot. I wonder what that says about me? Lalalalalalalala!

Edited at 2015-07-27 07:14 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - enigmaticblues - Jul. 27th, 2015 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rebcake - Jul. 27th, 2015 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - baudown - Jul. 27th, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 27th, 2015 04:23 pm (UTC)
Like I said, the main reason for me is that

A) I just don't see any sparkage there. Buffy only shows any non-spell-induced interest in Xander when she's trying to make Angel jealous (show), or when he's absolutely, positively unavailable (comics.) I think that whole bit was ridiculous anyway -- Buffy behaves pretty dubiously in many ways in S8, but trying to steal her sister's boyfriend is a new low. The only way I can fanwank it at all is that Buffy never expected Xander to take her up on it. I sometimes suspect it was just a sop thrown to the Xander fans, a "See? Xander gets to reject Buffy this time!"

B) Xander and Buffy are very much alike in many ways. They have the same strengths and weaknesses in many respects. I prefer pairings where the characters' strengths and weaknesses complement each other.

C) There's a familial vibe between them, and I'm not into shipping that.

And then certain outspoken B/X shippers back in the day kind of soured me on the whole concept. I got such schadenfreude when Ozymandaeus was exposed as a big ol' plagiarist...
Jul. 27th, 2015 05:09 pm (UTC)
There's a familial vibe between them, and I'm not into shipping that.

Big YES to that. For me, Buffy/Giles and even Buffy/Willow are also off the table for this reason.

I didn't know about the Ozy thing, but it's making me a little happy even from this distance.

I do agree that Buffy and Xander have some distinct similarities and that's not terribly interesting in a romance. Jack Sprat and his wife, the dish and the spoon, the owl and the pussycat: those are iconic and memorable for a reason! It's also why Spike/Xander can sometimes work for me.

Edited at 2015-07-27 09:13 pm (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2015 05:51 pm (UTC)
Because he's been friend zoned since 1997 +/- ?
Jul. 27th, 2015 06:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, pretty much.

And may I just point out that nobody here so far has argued that Xander does or doesn't deserve Buffy's love? LJ for the win!
(no subject) - gillo - Jul. 27th, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rebcake - Jul. 27th, 2015 09:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kerkevik_2014 - Jul. 28th, 2015 05:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rebcake - Jul. 28th, 2015 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 27th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
I would never want him with Buffy either, but it has nothing to do with any anti-Xander sentiment, because I love him very much. It's true that there's definitely a familial vibe between them, which would make a romantic relationship kinda ick. But also, I like seeing depictions of non-sexual, non-romantic love between men and women. I like them as lifelong, loyal, loving friends.

Edited at 2015-07-27 09:09 pm (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC)
I like seeing depictions of non-sexual, non-romantic love between men and women

Good point! For all that BtVS excels in depicting a variety of relationships between women, if the writers had chosen to go the romance route with Buffy and Xander, we'd have lost an important example of this kind of friendship. The show is stronger for it, I think.
Jul. 27th, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC)
how much people miss LiveJournal and how it's incredibly difficult to follow discussions on Tumblr.

LJ is still here. Silly, silly people.

As for the Xander thing, I just don't see it. At times he seems to have that 'I'm a good person so I deserve you' thing going, which annoys me. At others he's just so judgemental of her choices. Two minutes together and he'd be trying to run her life, for her own good. Like Angel but without the whole mysterious, broody vamp thing. (It's just possible I find him hottest as a vamp in The Wish.)
Jul. 27th, 2015 11:16 pm (UTC)
Heh. There's some entitlement going on in his brain, especially early on. I think he gets better with age, as do we all. At least, I hope we do. He becomes less Nice Guy and more Good Guy, but not before he has a stint as Really Terrible Guy.

Vampire!Xander is a fantastic character and his hotness makes me feel terrible about myself. Tsk.
Jul. 27th, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)
Xander has that "nice guy" sense of entitlement in S1, and gets all pissy when Buffy rejects him because she's into "undead guys" instead. I disliked him from that moment on. I didn't start to like him until after he got together with Anya - mostly because she can make anyone or anything fun.

Edited at 2015-07-28 01:12 am (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2015 11:26 pm (UTC)
I go back and forth with him. He's just so real. I get really angry with him, but then he'll do something brave and open-hearted and I'll get over it...until next time.

Anya is delightful, but I thought Cordelia made him look pretty good, too. Neither of them deserved the bad treatment they got from him, though. In the words of my daughter, "Boys are stupid." I can never come up with a good counter argument, you know?
Jul. 27th, 2015 10:33 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with enigmaticblues The reason Buffy and Xander isn't a popular ship is because Xander is a popular character, way too many people dislike him.

I also totally agree with gillo LJ is still here. Silly, silly people
Jul. 27th, 2015 11:43 pm (UTC)
way too many people dislike him

There are many who don't, but the second most popular BtVS pairing (on AO3) is Spike/Xander. In fact, he is either the second or third most ficced character, depending on how accurate the tags are over there. That seems to indicate that lots of people like him, at least under certain circumstances. They just don't so much like him paired with Buffy. I'd say, well, it's not a canon pairing so naturally that must be it. But then there's that pesky Spander thing again, showing that canon isn't everything.
(no subject) - kerkevik_2014 - Jul. 28th, 2015 05:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rebcake - Jul. 28th, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lusciousxander - Jul. 30th, 2015 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 28th, 2015 11:51 am (UTC)
To me the main problem is that Buffy is the Slayer and Xander an ordinary guy not even trained in martial arts like Riley Finn. Yes she dated other ordinary men but was only romantically involved with males who could keep up with her so to speak like Angel, Spike and Riley and once Riley went off those drugs he also became normal and the relationship withered away. As the show was about Buffy the creators centered on her and Xander was left with just bits and pieces of characterization. He can be a terrific character in various fanfics (I'm a huge fan of Spander) but that's because the authors can concentrate on him and build on the snippets of info we were given about his life.

Jul. 28th, 2015 02:00 pm (UTC)
While I have to give the writers credit for giving such good characterization to loads of less-than-lead characters, I think you are right: Buffy is larger than life and Xander is just exactly life-sized. There's no compelling reason to smush them together.

I say this as a someone who has a soft spot for equally power-imbalanced Spander in fic, though. *sigh*
(no subject) - shakatany - Jul. 28th, 2015 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rebcake - Jul. 28th, 2015 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 28th, 2015 02:13 pm (UTC)
As a huge Xander fan, and someone who loves Buffy a lot, I don't think I'll ever ship them during the high school years. Both of them, especially Xander, are far too immature for my taste. I prefer them as friends and think they work so well that way.

However, I did read some lovely Xander/Buffy fics set during S7 and beyond and I can see it work when both of them have grown up and matured. But all and all, I like them much better as friends than a couple.

Speaking of Tumblr, the whole system isn't built for a meaningful discussion. I can barely keep up with those comments. IMO, LJ and fan forums are much better suited for any type of discussions. Tumblr should just stick to posting gifs and pictures.
Jul. 28th, 2015 02:26 pm (UTC)
I have read fic that can make me believe all kinds of things for the duration of the story. It's magical! I mean, the entire Spander oeuvre is made from fans' imaginations and it's a rich one, indeed.

I like the pretty pictures on Tumblr, but it'll never feel homey to me. I like the words. Honestly, I also like to be able to lay down my (very sage) wisdom without having to think about it too much. ;-)

Edited at 2015-07-28 08:02 pm (UTC)
Jul. 28th, 2015 03:00 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I don't think she ever saw him as anything more than a friend.

And considering her relationship history, do we really want them to go there?
Jul. 28th, 2015 05:24 pm (UTC)
I don't think it would go well for either of them. But then, "not going well" is a fanfic staple. "Not going anywhere" is more the case with Buffy/Xander.
Jul. 28th, 2015 11:31 pm (UTC)
Wow - How did I miss this? I'm so late to the party. TBH, I did not read anything on Tumblr. It was giving me a headache just trying to. And if they miss LJ.... Hello? Are you being held prisoner over there on that annoying site?

Ah, Xander, Xander. A good guy whose flaws sometimes get in the way of his good guyness. He's actually pretty layered, so you can focus on one aspect of his character and make him a hero or a villain. Or you can make him the complicated guy he is.

I can write him (and have) with Spike - although I rarely read any Spander any more. As someone pointed out - Spike can have chemistry with anybody. And often does....

Alas, that is not true of Xander. And he and Buffy don't have it and never have. It would, IMHO, have been a disaster if they'd try to put him together with Buffy. I'm a big fan of loving relationships that have nothing to do with sex - Giles and Buffy, Spike and Dawn, Willow and Xander (took a while to work that one out), Spike and Joyce, Xander and Buffy. If I see them as loving friends, putting them together romantically just squicks me out. I suspect I'm not alone in thinking that....
Jul. 29th, 2015 12:11 am (UTC)
You definitely are not alone!

Xander is a complicated guy, but you're right that you can focus on the good or less good aspects and still be in the ballpark. Of course, like any other character, when the story takes place is going to influence things a lot. Are you writing Xander before, during or after "The Pack"? How about "Halloween"? "Lovers Walk?" He has a lot of turning points. None of them seem to lead to Buffy romance, though.
Jul. 29th, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
They're just too much too much like family to me, I always thought that Buffy viewed him almost as a brother, and by the time of Restless Xander was starting to accept that. Popular non-canon ships generally take off because people see untapped potential there, but it's hard to do that when the character has very firmly repeatedly turned the character down as "one of the girls" and "I just don't think of you that way". Writing fic after that would need to pretty much erase Buffy's feelings, B/X as a ship gives me the vibe that Buffy should learn to love Xander because he's the best guy for her
Jul. 29th, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC)
It's really not fair to Buffy, is it? It seems to assume that she doesn't know her own heart. Which, I guess I get, because all those times she tells Spike she doesn't/will never/could never love him, I don't buy it for a minute. The shipper's mind is a strange place.
(no subject) - frelling_tralk - Jul. 30th, 2015 08:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rebcake - Jul. 30th, 2015 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
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