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Thread: The show from Buffy’s POV

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    I think this illustrates the issue. We don't really know why Willow stands Buffy up, because we never see her making that decision. As a Willow fan, I chose to take her at her words when she says, "This isn't easy Buffy." I think Willow needed to tell Buffy how betrayed she felt when Buffy bailed. Think about it. You wake up from a coma and your first thought is how to help your best friend, but said friend does not drop by to even check if you are all right.
    I have a lot of sympathy for Willow, and Xander, and can understand their upset that Buffy just left. But Willow tells Buffy how she feels, so standing her up is just unnecessary. Neither girl can really see the others pov, and it would have all been much easier if Buffy could have bought herself to tell them that Angel had returned, Willow's spell had worked, but it was too late and she had to kill him anyway. But that was too traumatic for Buffy to speak of, and Willow never asked the right questions.

    When Buffy returns from her holiday in When She Was Bad, neither Xander nor Willow confront her about how her behaviour makes them feel. I think this is a recurring problem. Buffy is the dominant member of the group and the others are often afraid to speak up, so things are left unsaid and festering, until it suddenly blows up.
    I have never though Xander or Willow were ever afraid to speak up to Buffy. When it comes to slaying, Buffy is in charge, but when it comes to their friendship I think they are all pretty equal. All of them, at one time or anther, have over stepped the line when it comes to their friends personal life, but I guess most people are the moral arbiters of their friends love lives. Xander hated Angel, Willow hated Anya, Willow and Buffy disliked Cordy etc. etc. none of them kept their thoughts to themselves

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosa lola View Post
    Listening to Still Pretty's School Hard and they kinda touch on the subject of the show being Buffy's POV when discussing Joyce, they also talk about one of my pet peeves of the show which is the need to make Buffy suffer by making another character awful in an over the top way.

    Lani: "We have these scenes where we need Buffy to really feel terrible. We just need to make her miserable, so we make Joyce awful. But we don't want Joyce to be unlikable or truly awful, so in the next scene we go and make her great. I always read this as we're so deep into Buffy's POV that even though that's not what Joyce is actually saying, that's what Buffy hears."
    One thing I have noticed from listening to so many podcasts is that Joyce is criticised for being a bad mother, with a lot of podcasters hating on her mercilessly. Yet when it comes to Giles, his poor 'parenting' is blamed on the writers. Recently in a podcast on Reptile Boy, the podcaster said 'Yes, Giles is being too harsh on Buffy, but we've seen this all before, the writers are going backwards with this characterisation and this isn't really Giles' and in the same podcast they refer to Joyce as just a terrible absent parent, forgetting that is the way she's been written because she doesn't know the full story.

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    I've never understood why Joyce is so hated by fans. For instance, what is so detestable about her behaviour in Schoolhard? I mean, call me by naive, but when your kid has a history of bad behaviour (including burning down a high school gymnasium and being expelled from school!) is it really so farfetched that Joyce would, initially, at least, take the word of Principle Snyder? It's perfectly reasonable for Joyce to assume that a) Principle Snyder isn't an "impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu" and b) that he isn't waging a secret vendetta against her daughter. It all sounds exactly like something your troubled kid *would* say when accusing teachers of "picking on them" as a defence for their poor grades or questionable behaviour. And it doesn't help that Buffy is being transparently cagey about Parent Teacher Night at the beginning of the episode and acting like she has something to hide, which Joyce clearly picks up on.

    Once Spike's gang attacks the high school Joyce immediately sees through Snyder and puts her faith in Buffy instead. She also displays unconditional motherly love/instinct when not only does she go back into the high school to protect her daughter (and may have well saved her life) but earlier in the episode she selflessly tells Buffy to escape and leave her there and tries to reassure her that she'll be alright (despite probably not really believing this herself). And then the episode ends with Joyce telling Buffy how proud she is of her and how resourceful, brave and efficient she perceives her to be.

    What exactly is so detestable about Joyce in this episode? I mean, I don't even get the sense that *Buffy* feels like Joyce is being unfair towards her. It's horrible for Buffy that her Slaying has come at such a price and that Snyder is giving her such a hard time but I get the impression that Buffy understands why Joyce acts the way she does. Joyce doesn't know the truth and Buffy - deliberately - keeps it from her.

    The only episode where I think Joyce is written poorly pre-Becoming II is probably Bad Eggs. Once again, I get why Joyce is so mad at Buffy. She catches her sixteen year old daughter trying to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night (unbeknownst to her Buffy had actually just returned from sneaking out) so *of course* she's going to ground her. What exactly do people expect a mother to do in that situation? And I've seen a couple of Youtube reactors take offence to Joyce telling Giles that children (aka Buffy) can be such a "burden" sometimes, but, truth be told, I imagine a lot of parents have these feelings at one point or another and Joyce feels more fleshed out to me for admitting it. However, I do think they go overboard by having Joyce berate Buffy after the "gas leak" for not being in the library when that would have been a perfectly valid reason for her to break Joyce's rules for her own personal safety. I thought that was a tad ridiculous and it did make Joyce look annoying and unfair.

    I feel a lot of people despise Joyce for disbelieving Buffy in Ted when she says that Ted slapped her. And I get that initially because it is horrible. But I get the impression that a lot of people miss the fact that Joyce was eating Ted's cooking throughout this scene and is actually drugged throughout her entire conversation with Buffy.

    Honestly, there's an entire campaign by Buffy, her friends, and Giles, to lie to Joyce and hide the truth from her throughout Season 1-2. I'll never quite understand the resentment people seem to have towards her for not paying much attention to when Buffy, on three occasions in two years, once when she was delirious and sick, making flippant remarks about vampires as if anyone in Joyce's position is meant to take that remotely seriously. It sounds absurd and the writer's poke fun at the show's own premise all the time.

    The only time I dislike Joyce is in Dead Man's Party. I think she's awful when she drunkenly attacks and humiliates her daughter in front of everybody. I also think there's something disconcerting about her comments in Gingerbread when under the influence of the Hansel & Gretal demon ("I wanted a normal daughter and instead I got a Slayer") as I feel there's probably some truth in that. So funnily enough my problems with Joyce all stem more from *after* she learns Buffy is the Slayer which seems to be the polar opposite to everyone else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosa lola View Post
    The show is Buffy's show, so all the storylines must serve hers, and that's why it reads to me as her POV. There were so many storylines I would have liked to see especially in regards to Xander and Willow's home lives, but those stories had nothing to do with Buffy's story.

    It is my headcanon that the show is told from Buffy's prospective.
    I really hate the word headcanon. It is one of the terms often used in fandom that I can't stand. It seems to privilege certain "fact-based" theories above more "speculative" theories. All theories exist inside the head, but they all also try to understand or make sense of some subject matter. Some theories are mere fabulations, but as long as a theory or an interpretation has a strong argument behind it, it should be treated seriously.

    It would be hard to imagine a true first person narrative in a TV show, but I think you could easily argue that BtVS's narrative is decidedly buffycentric, even if there are moments were the audience is allowed to know things Buffy does not know and see part of the story mediated through another character.

    Considering all the little hints we get about Will and Xander's home life, it is downright criminal how little time is actually spent exploring those issues. Buffy, Xander, Willow, Oz, Cordelia and Tara come from wildly different househoulds, but we know so little about most of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    I have a lot of sympathy for Willow, and Xander, and can understand their upset that Buffy just left. But Willow tells Buffy how she feels, so standing her up is just unnecessary. Neither girl can really see the others pov, and it would have all been much easier if Buffy could have bought herself to tell them that Angel had returned, Willow's spell had worked, but it was too late and she had to kill him anyway. But that was too traumatic for Buffy to speak of, and Willow never asked the right questions.
    Well, Willow hasn't spoken her mind prior to standing Buffy up. See, I do not think Willow decided to punish Buffy by standing her up. I think Willow found she was unable to face Buffy in a one-on-one situation, and so she made an excuse not to come.

    The fact that Buffy spent five years being bitter about a lie Willow didn't know about is so tragic. It is surprising that Buffy would even believe it, considering that Willow was the only one really pushing for saving Angel, but that is neither here nor there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    I have never though Xander or Willow were ever afraid to speak up to Buffy. When it comes to slaying, Buffy is in charge, but when it comes to their friendship I think they are all pretty equal. All of them, at one time or anther, have over stepped the line when it comes to their friends personal life, but I guess most people are the moral arbiters of their friends love lives. Xander hated Angel, Willow hated Anya, Willow and Buffy disliked Cordy etc. etc. none of them kept their thoughts to themselves
    I think Willow has an unfortunate habit of only really speaking her mind when she is angry or upset. Think about all the times Willow gets angry about something she has probably been harbouring for months.

    Anya is a good example. If had spoken to Xander about her many misgivings about Anya, it may have avoided so much passive aggressiveness, snarky jibes and angry outbursts. To be fair to Willow, Xander was her longtime crush, he dates two women who are wildly different from Willow, one of which was Willow's bully, the other tried to kill her and technically succeeded once by turning Will and Xander both into vampires.

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    I really hate the word headcanon. It is one of the terms often used in fandom that I can't stand. It seems to privilege certain "fact-based" theories above more "speculative" theories. All theories exist inside the head, but they all also try to understand or make sense of some subject matter. Some theories are mere fabulations, but as long as a theory or an interpretation has a strong argument behind it, it should be treated seriously.
    Me too. If the show doesn't tell you something, then you can think anything you want to fill in the space. No one theory is better then anyone's elses, and we must accept that all theories are based on ones own biases and we are all biased. Everything is up for grabs. I also think that in episodes like Restless, all interpretations are acceptable, because we all see different things.

    Considering all the little hints we get about Will and Xander's home life, it is downright criminal how little time is actually spent exploring those issues. Buffy, Xander, Willow, Oz, Cordelia and Tara come from wildly different househoulds, but we know so little about most of them.
    But I like this. I don't want every little thing about a character spelt out for me by the writers. I think it's one of the reasons BtVS is still so popular, that so much is left unknown and ambiguous. The scope for discussion, theory, fanfic etc. is so wide because of it. If every one of our questions were answered within the show, well how dull would that be, and what would be left for the audience to add?

    The fact that Buffy spent five years being bitter about a lie Willow didn't know about is so tragic. It is surprising that Buffy would even believe it, considering that Willow was the only one really pushing for saving Angel, but that is neither here nor there.
    Do you really think Buffy spent five years dwelling on Willow saying kick his ass? I think as soon as Buffy killed Angel, anything else went out of her head. She must have known Willow had done the spell and it had worked, so the kick his ass comment meant nothing. I think it was only bought up in S7 as a form of fan service as the fans had dwelt on it for so long and the show was coming to an end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    But I like this. I don't want every little thing about a character spelt out for me by the writers. I think it's one of the reasons BtVS is still so popular, that so much is left unknown and ambiguous. The scope for discussion, theory, fanfic etc. is so wide because of it. If every one of our questions were answered within the show, well how dull would that be, and what would be left for the audience to add?
    You make a good point. It is just that, the central issues of BtVS - usually Buffy's issues - are spelt out in minute detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Do you really think Buffy spent five years dwelling on Willow saying kick his ass? I think as soon as Buffy killed Angel, anything else went out of her head. She must have known Willow had done the spell and it had worked, so the kick his ass comment meant nothing. I think it was only bought up in S7 as a form of fan service as the fans had dwelt on it for so long and the show was coming to an end.
    Weeell... After high school, little rifts start appearing in Buffy and Willow's friendship. By the time Buffy brings up Xander's lie, Willow is basically a pariah in the group, and she has to find out that the moment when she really had Buffy's back had been misconstrued this whole time. It feels so cruel. I know Willow can't be justified by her past, but to have that past taken away like that...

    Of course, then Willow saves Anya's life despite it all. That's my girl

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    I definitely feel that "kick his ass" was something that Buffy dwelled on throughout early Season 3, at least. Buffy sounds pretty resentful when she tells Willow that she "wouldn't understand [what she was going through]" in Dead Man's Party. And I suspect that it's also part of the reason Buffy freaks out and doesn't feel like she can tell Willow about Angel's return in Beauty and the Beasts. There's a noticeable shift from Season 2 & 3 wherein Buffy no longer feels comfortable discussing Angel with Willow as she had done right up until Becoming I.

    Gradually throughout Season 3 Buffy will come to confide in Willow about Angel again but that's well after Season 2 has passed and the gang have accepted Angel once more. It's all about pretty standard boyfriend stuff (her concerns about Faith in Enemies and Angel leaving her in Prom both immediately come to mind) as opposed to Angelus-y issues which after Season 2 Buffy keeps very close to the chest. I suspect that she very much took it to heart that Willow "supposedly" knew her so little that she thought what Buffy needed to hear was "kick his ass" and that it convinced Buffy that Willow was absolutely not someone she could confide in about her heartache over killing Angel and felt estranged and a little betrayed by her.

    I don't know if I'd go as far to say that Buffy necessarily spent the next 5 years "dwelling" on this but when she brings it up in Selfless you hear the pain, resentment and anger in her voice. Yes, it was fanservice, but that's a Doylist POV, whereas the Watsonian interpretation would have to suggest that a part of Buffy was still pretty raw about this. I don't think it's something she'd have thought about on a day-to-day basis but under the right circumstances, such as the Anya situation, I think it probably resurfaced some unresolved issues.

    It's pretty tragic, really. I'll always find it really heartbreaking that there's this unspoken issue between them that was based on a lie. I think things may have played out pretty differently in Season 3, if not even at the end of Season 2, if Buffy hadn't believed Willow had said this. I'd even go as far to speculate that it may have potentially prevented Buffy from running away.
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    Weeell... After high school, little rifts start appearing in Buffy and Willow's friendship. By the time Buffy brings up Xander's lie, Willow is basically a pariah in the group, and she has to find out that the moment when she really had Buffy's back had been misconstrued this whole time. It feels so cruel. I know Willow can't be justified by her past, but to have that past taken away like that...
    This is definitely one reading of Willow Kick his ass was said in S2, yet Buffy and Willow were still best friends through high school, and Willow decides to go to the same college as Buffy partly because of their friendship. I would argue that it was more Willow's growing ego and changing character that forced a rift between them, though of course Buffy played a part in that - Buffy was a little jealous at Willow fitting in so well at college and she put Riley and the Initiative before her friends, but they weren't kids anymore ,they were all growing and changing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    This is definitely one reading of Willow Kick his ass was said in S2, yet Buffy and Willow were still best friends through high school, and Willow decides to go to the same college as Buffy partly because of their friendship. I would argue that it was more Willow's growing ego and changing character that forced a rift between them, though of course Buffy played a part in that - Buffy was a little jealous at Willow fitting in so well at college and she put Riley and the Initiative before her friends, but they weren't kids anymore ,they were all growing and changing.
    Sorry. I was being unclear, because I was really mixing two points. First, Buffy's belief that Willow did not care about Angel may have had an affect on their relationship. Second, Willow learns about this misunderstanding at the time when her confidence and standing within the group are at their lowest. By S7, there are a lot of reasons for Buffy to be angry with and mistrustful of Willow. Still, Willow saved Angel's soul for Buffy's sake. For Willow to learn that Buffy completely misinterpreted this action must have been harsh, because at this point, Willow only has the past to hold on to.

    Without Willow, we would not have AtS or BtVS S6-7, but both of these actions earn her nothing but spite Tough gig!
    Last edited by Willow from Buffy; 17-09-18 at 04:28 PM.

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    Sorry. I was being unclear, because I was really mixing two points. First, Buffy's belief that Willow did not care about Angel may have had an affect on their relationship.
    It is possible that Buffy felt that Willow didn't care about Angel, but surely the fact that Angel's soul is returned porves that isn't the case. Even if Willow had said kick his ass, which Buffy totally accepted at the time when Xander said it, it actually meant nothing because Willow returned Angel's soul. Does that make sense? It's not about what anyone says, it's about the actions they take. That's why kick his ass is so unimportant and forgotten about for five years.

    Second, Willow learns about this misunderstanding at the time when her confidence and standing within the group are at their lowest.
    Willow's confidence is low, yes, but her standing within the group is what it always was, she is Buffy and Xander's best friend, as they are hers. They love her. Xander put his life on the line at the end of S6 because of his love for Willow. Buffy shared her slayer powers with Willow when she'd been hurt by Gnarl. They are trying to show her how loved she is.

    Even when Willow finally learns about Xander's lie, she doesn't get incredibly angry, shout at him, walk out etc. She just says 'I didn't say that'. And Buffy only brings it up because it bears relevance to the situation she's in with Anya and she wants Xander to understand her predicament.

    The lie was important at the time, it gave us an insight into Xander's thinking and it may have hardened Buffy's heart even more, which is what was needed. But after Buffy had to kill Angel, she took all the guilt and misery into herself, she didn't blame anyone else and the lie became meaningless. Accept maybe for Xander.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    I think that the series naturally spends more time exploring Buffy's POV and psyche but I wouldn't go as far to say that the series is from Buffy's perspective.
    The majority of the series is from Buffy's perspective. Dreams of other characters are naturally from their POV, but the rest is Buffy's view on things. Like I said before, even The Zeppo had scenes that Xander knew nothing about so clearly the episode isn't just his POV.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosa lola View Post
    The majority of the series is from Buffy's perspective. Dreams of other characters are naturally from their POV, but the rest is Buffy's view on things. Like I said before, even The Zeppo had scenes that Xander knew nothing about so clearly the episode isn't just his POV.
    I think the series spends more time exploring how Buffy thinks or feels which in turn makes viewers understand her better (and perhaps the other characters less) but that’s not the same thing as it being from her perspective. You feel that way because more time is spent on Buffy and thus you feel you understand her better, not because you’re seeing the characters through her eyes
    or characters are being moulded into versions of how she feels about them. Certainly not in the sense that Buffy is an “unreliable narrator” or anything of the sort because Buffy simply isn’t the narrator of the story. Too many plots in the show revolve around Buffy not even knowing about them for that to make any kind of sense.

    For that podcast to suggest that the versions of the characters we see are not accurate or real versions but rather are twisted and unreliable versions based on how Buffy perceived them, is entirely dependant on the idea that we only see the story through Buffy’s eyes and that she is the narrator of this story. But who’s perception are we in whenever she’s not in a scene? When she’s dead? Willows? Xanders? Spikes? Angels? Who’s to say? The idea falls apart when under scrutiny.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 17-09-18 at 06:26 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    I think the series spends more time exploring how Buffy thinks or feels which in turn makes viewers understand her better (and perhaps the other characters less) but that’s not the same thing as it being from her perspective. You feel that way because more time is spent on Buffy and thus you feel you understand her better, not because you’re seeing the characters through her eyes
    or characters are being moulded into versions of how she feels about them. Certainly not in the sense that Buffy is an “unreliable narrator” or anything of the sort because Buffy simply isn’t the narrator of the story. Too many plots in the show revolve around Buffy not even knowing about them for that to make any kind of sense.

    For that podcast to suggest that the versions of the characters we see are not accurate or real versions but rather are twisted and unreliable versions based on how Buffy perceived them, is entirely dependant on the idea that we only see the story through Buffy’s eyes and that she is the narrator of this story. But who’s perception are we in whenever she’s not in a scene? When she’s dead? Willows? Xanders? Spikes? Angels? Who’s to say? The idea falls apart when under scrutiny.
    Almost all TV are told in the third person, because we experience the action from the disembodied god-view perspective of the camera, but despite the paradox, it is still possible achieve perspective and unreliable narration from what really should be a third person narration. In some novels, like Joyce's Ulysses, the story is always narrated by a third person, but the style of narration changes drastically depending on which character is in focus. We can see a similar technique used on BtVS. In The Zeppo, the presentation of the other characters changes. Everyone except Xander is a caricature of themselves. In The Living Conditions, they use close ups and slow motion to portray Buffy's emotional state. In Who Are You? and Sanctuary, we see murder fantasies that exists entirely in Faith's head. in Helpless, the show uses horror technique to convey Buffy's sense of vulnerability and ... helplessness. Storyteller plays with delusion, fantasies and lies.

    I am sure a cleverer person could find many subtle ways the show privileges Buffy's experience, as the ones I have listed are the more obvious ones. One of the many cons of TV is the impression of neutrality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    It is possible that Buffy felt that Willow didn't care about Angel, but surely the fact that Angel's soul is returned porves that isn't the case. Even if Willow had said kick his ass, which Buffy totally accepted at the time when Xander said it, it actually meant nothing because Willow returned Angel's soul. Does that make sense? It's not about what anyone says, it's about the actions they take. That's why kick his ass is so unimportant and forgotten about for five years.
    You'd think so, but Buffy obviously still feels betrayed by it. Perhaps Buffy thought Willow's intention was merely to save Buffy and the world, but Willow clearly did not want Angel to die or Buffy to have to loose him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Willow's confidence is low, yes, but her standing within the group is what it always was, she is Buffy and Xander's best friend, as they are hers. They love her. Xander put his life on the line at the end of S6 because of his love for Willow. Buffy shared her slayer powers with Willow when she'd been hurt by Gnarl. They are trying to show her how loved she is.

    Even when Willow finally learns about Xander's lie, she doesn't get incredibly angry, shout at him, walk out etc. She just says 'I didn't say that'. And Buffy only brings it up because it bears relevance to the situation she's in with Anya and she wants Xander to understand her predicament.

    The lie was important at the time, it gave us an insight into Xander's thinking and it may have hardened Buffy's heart even more, which is what was needed. But after Buffy had to kill Angel, she took all the guilt and misery into herself, she didn't blame anyone else and the lie became meaningless. Accept maybe for Xander.
    I guess Willow is still loved, especially by Xander, but she is not Buffy's big gun anymore. Since Wrecked, she has probably felt more like a charity case than a best friend.

    Maybe you're right, though. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Thinking about Selfless makes me happy. It is such a great Willow episode. I love the look Willow makes when Buffy tells Xander that Willow was different, because she is not a demon.

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    You'd think so, but Buffy obviously still feels betrayed by it. Perhaps Buffy thought Willow's intention was merely to save Buffy and the world, but Willow clearly did not want Angel to die or Buffy to have to loose him.
    It's hard for me to say exactly what Willow wanted. Does she ever say? I think she wants to help Buffy, and she definitely wants to do a big important spell, but whether she wanted specifically to save Angel, I'm not so sure. This was the vampire that killed Jenny, someone Willow seemed to admire greatly and perhaps model herself on (which I wonder goes back to her feelings for Giles )

    I guess Willow is still loved, especially by Xander, but she is not Buffy's big gun anymore. Since Wrecked, she has probably felt more like a charity case than a best friend.

    Maybe you're right, though. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Thinking about Selfless makes me happy. It is such a great Willow episode. I love the look Willow makes when Buffy tells Xander that Willow was different, because she is not a demon.
    I guess one of the side effects of Willow's magic (power) addiction is that she can't see what's really going on. From her pov she probably does feel less part of the group then she used to, although I don't think that's the truth of it. Buffy and Xander were both dealing with their own issues, so Willow's problems aren't as central as perhaps they should've been.

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