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Thread: Stuff on Buffy that doesn't hold up now

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by a thing of evil View Post
    Xander. Just Xander, OK?
    I wouldn't say Xander as a whole is dated. I mean, is a guy who tells his scared geeky friend, "Don't worry. Buffy is a superhero" really dated? We're talking about a guy who follows the lead of a woman from the very first episode. A guy who called that woman his hero and role model. A guy who elected another woman to be the leader after the death of the previous female leader.

    Yes, Xander says gross comments, especially during the high school years, but so do the other characters. Buffy believing Xander must be sexually experienced is also bad. Cordelia calling Xander a woman because he's a wuss is also bad. Buffy and Willow giggling because Xander was not "man enough" to standing up to a bully is also bad.

    I'd say gender expectations in some scenes are dated, but I wouldn't call a whole character dated, especially a male character whose storyline is about breaking out of the gender norms and accepting his role as the supportive sidekick with the power of saving the world with love - a role that used to be reserved for women.
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    Saying "Xander, just Xander, Ok?" is nothing but virtue-signaling, an intellectually cheap and lazy way of trying to assert how "woke" a thing of evil is. Wouldn't want to run the risk of actually examining the character and acknowledge anything that doesn't support the conclusion that he/she came to first, would we?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skippcomet View Post
    Saying "Xander, just Xander, Ok?" is nothing but virtue-signaling, an intellectually cheap and lazy way of trying to assert how "woke" a thing of evil is. Wouldn't want to run the risk of actually examining the character and acknowledge anything that doesn't support the conclusion that he/she came to first, would we?
    You're right but so are half the posts in this thread.

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    How many characters like Xander are there on modern TV? How many characters are known for their Xander-like brand of humor? If Xander (as a trope, character type etc) is not dated then where are all the other Xanders? Can you name at least one made in the last 5 years, Sosa?

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    Quote Originally Posted by a thing of evil View Post
    How many characters like Xander are there on modern TV? How many characters are known for their Xander-like brand of humor? If Xander (as a trope, character type etc) is not dated then where are all the other Xanders? Can you name at least one made in the last 5 years, Sosa?

    Actually, you seemed to say that Xander was outdated because he's a horndog who makes inappropriate comments about sex and inappropriate remarks to women but we're expected to find him lovable and funny even because of that. There are still a bunch of those characters in the last few years. Barney Stinson (HIMYM), Jason Mendoza (The Good Place), Tyrion and Bronn (Game of Thrones), basically every guy on Silicon Valley, Tom Haverford (Parks and Rec), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Phil (Modern Family), Troy/Jeff (Community). Sure, there are some differences. Game of Thrones is set in medieval times so characters like Tyrion come out ahead by not raping women, even if he makes sexist remarks. I'm pretty sure we're supposed to find Barney or Larry or the Silicon Valley guys lovable but they're lovable more in "edginess" and certainly not heroic. Troy, Phil, and Jason are so silly that they're somewhat devoid of Xander's edge and ability to get angry. However, just writing the list makes me think that there's always going to be a guy inappropriately hitting on women or making horndog jokes/sexist remarks bad enough to elicit a glare from the ladies around them but not bad enough to get kicked out of the social group or be considered actually bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick View Post
    Actually, you seemed to say that Xander was outdated because he's a horndog who makes inappropriate comments about sex and inappropriate remarks to women but we're expected to find him lovable and funny even because of that. There are still a bunch of those characters in the last few years. Barney Stinson (HIMYM), Jason Mendoza (The Good Place), Tyrion and Bronn (Game of Thrones), basically every guy on Silicon Valley, Tom Haverford (Parks and Rec), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Phil (Modern Family), Troy/Jeff (Community). Sure, there are some differences. Game of Thrones is set in medieval times so characters like Tyrion come out ahead by not raping women, even if he makes sexist remarks. I'm pretty sure we're supposed to find Barney or Larry or the Silicon Valley guys lovable but they're lovable more in "edginess" and certainly not heroic. Troy, Phil, and Jason are so silly that they're somewhat devoid of Xander's edge and ability to get angry. However, just writing the list makes me think that there's always going to be a guy inappropriately hitting on women or making horndog jokes/sexist remarks bad enough to elicit a glare from the ladies around them but not bad enough to get kicked out of the social group or be considered actually bad.
    Now this makes me angry and sad... Whyyyyyyy!!!!

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the same folks who complain about Xander being a "Nice Guy", etc., usually end up hating on the lead character, Ted, for much the same reasons as they tend to lump Xander, Ross from "Friends," etc., together? And it was Neil Patrick Harris as Barney who was regarded as the break-out "fan favorite" despite being the horn-dog who was constantly hitting on women, etc.?

    Honestly, it's always seemed to me that no matter how much various groups of people will claim to hate this or that behavior (and consequently, also the character doing that behavior and sometimes even the actor playing the character), those same people will literally overlook and forgive a character ANYTHING as long as that character is played by an actor they find "hot," "sexy," or "charismatic," especially if there's another actor they find to be less "hot," etc., that they feel is safer to heap hate upon.

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    Actually, you seemed to say that Xander was outdated because he's a horndog who makes inappropriate comments about sex and inappropriate remarks to women but we're expected to find him lovable and funny even because of that.
    What? I never said that. And it's not one particular thing that makes Xander dated, it's the entire 90s AF package.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skippcomet View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the same folks who complain about Xander being a "Nice Guy", etc., usually end up hating on the lead character, Ted, for much the same reasons as they tend to lump Xander, Ross from "Friends," etc., together? And it was Neil Patrick Harris as Barney who was regarded as the break-out "fan favorite" despite being the horn-dog who was constantly hitting on women, etc.?

    Honestly, it's always seemed to me that no matter how much various groups of people will claim to hate this or that behavior (and consequently, also the character doing that behavior and sometimes even the actor playing the character), those same people will literally overlook and forgive a character ANYTHING as long as that character is played by an actor they find "hot," "sexy," or "charismatic," especially if there's another actor they find to be less "hot," etc., that they feel is safer to heap hate upon.
    It's always been that way, though. The dude who played the antagonist on You saw a whole surge in popularity despite being pretty much the epitome of every bad thing current groups rant about.

    The idea that people are over Xander-type characters just seems like something born out of echo chamber than much else.

    At the end of the day, though, it's fiction. It's a whole other discussion, but I think this sort of things rubs up that people seem to judge things based on social politic rather than entertainment. Which is funny because the same people doing it laughed at the religious nutters badmouthing the show because it promoted paganism and witchcraft.

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    I'm perfectly willing to admit that I might be biased because he's one of my favorites and I relate to him a good deal, but I don't think Xander is dated at all. He's an insecure teenage boy who says a lot of dumb shit (as teenage boys -- and teenagers in general - do), but over time, he mostly grows out of it as he matures and finds his place in the world. Xander is the realest character this show ever produced. There were plenty of guys like him in the '90s and there are plenty like him now. It seems that the reason that some fans hate him so much is because he reminds them of guys they know in real-life. His character is pretty timeless.

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    The whole Xander thing is exaggerated. I feel that there's far more people moaning about people being offended by Xander than there actually are people offended by Xander. Look at all the people currently reacting to Buffy on Youtube. How many of them hate Xander on principle because he's "not PC" or because he's offensive? None of them. Sure, there'll be times he pisses certain reactors off, but they don't hate him or write him off completely. Most of them find him loveable and endearing and laugh at his jokes and all the reactors I watch are younger than me by probably at least 8-10 years.

    The vast majority of complaints people have about Xander in 2019 are the same complaints that they had about him in 1999. Occasionally they may be given new names over time ("Nice Guy Syndrome" etc) but almost none of it's new. This idea that Xander is suddenly hated and vilified in this 'PC era' by kids too easily offended is both paranoia and untrue. I've been actively participating in fandom since 2005 but I started regularly browsing message boards since 2001 and even at that age I can distinctly remember fans hating Xander for being "sexist" or "misogynistic." I could rattle off the names of several posters who used to be active on this very forum who were calling Xander sexist back in the mid 2000s. We're talking just 1-2 years after the show went off the air and it was opinions they had held throughout when the show was still airing.

    If people disagree with that, great, in most ways I do too. But it's not a new phenomenon. He hasn't "aged badly" he has always pissed people off. IMO, as AndrewS says, he pisses people off because his flaws are very realistic and are all too familiar for people who grew up with people like Xander. They push people's buttons in a way that objectively 'worse' characters don't because a lot of those character's mistakes/flaws aren't as realistic or relatable as the guy you went to school with.

    To be honest, I think that there are some things they had Xander say or do that probably wouldn't be written now. There's a couple of moments ("Buffy I feel a pre-birthday spanking coming on!" etc) that are a little irksome but I feel that they were a little irksome then too? I watch a lot of 90's television. I don't recall many characters similar to Xander (his role in the show and his relationship to the other characters etc) making the same kind of comments as Xander sometimes did. The line I quoted above always felt really out of place to me, for instance. But new viewers aren't having meltdowns about it. Are some? Maybe. But they were back then too. A lot of people still aren't and I dare say that they're in the majority.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 22-02-19 at 11:18 AM.
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    Oh I dunno, on places like Tumblr they seem to bloody hate the character. I've seen some absolutely unfair and rather foul stuff written about him recently.

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    I'm not saying that the hate doesn't exist but it doesn't mean *all* never viewers hate him or even that the things they hate him for are any different than the things he was hated for 10-20 years ago. Xander has always been a very polarising character.

    As I said above, I distinctly remember having these conversations about Xander back in 2005 when I first joined Buffyworld. And you can go back and probably find archived threads on this forum from 2007-ish of people criticising Xander for the same stuff. It's not as if all these criticisms only started when the Tumblr generation started watching the show.

    I mean, I've seen a lot of people refer to podcasts as examples of how much fans hate Xander and how he's poorly received nowadays. And whilst that's true on some podcasts it's also true that on on some podcasts (such as "Buffering the Vampire Slayer") at least one of the podcasters was an original fan of the show who watched it when it aired. And they didn't like Xander back then either for the same reasons that they still don't like him now. Which is just proof that a lot of the criticisms directed towards Xander are nothing new even if people feel that they're undeserved.

    I'm not saying there's not a lot of Xander hate. I just don't consider it a new phenomenon. And I don't find him to be dated in a way that would prevent anyone from enjoying him now. If that were the case then a lot of these young reactors would be hating him but they're not.
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    What if the show is good and the world hasn't held up?

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    Oh I dunno, there's things about the world I absolutely hate at the moment (mostly how we're sliding back due to hateful reactionary blowback) but as a gay guy I'm pretty thankful of the progress we've made over the last 20 years and how gay characters no longer need to be hidden via innuendo and metaphor (Willow/Tara) or are the source of 'gay panic' jokes however well-intentioned characters like Larry may have been.

    It's sort of like how you'll very rarely see a POC ever say that they wish they could "live in the 50's" or ever express nostalgia for those times a way a lot of white people seem to. Because for them decades like the 50's represented inequality, bigotry and violence and not this rose-tinted idea of 'family values' and prosperity that a lot of people have who've never really had to worry about discrimination.

    I think that for the most part the show really holds up. I also think that some of the things that don't hold up so well were sometimes outside of it's control (like how they had to dance around Willow/Tara for so long due to the WB) but I'm ok with progress and acknowledging the areas where the show hasn't aged so well today. It makes me appreciative of the progress we have made whilst still having an overall positive impression of a series that was considered progressive and was well-intentioned for it's time. Plus I think it's still very entertaining and that the dialogue and stories are far better than a lot of the show's being made currently today. It'll always be my Number 1

    EDIT: Oh and I wouldn't change Buffy being made in the 90's for anything. Whilst some of the social/political issues may not be as progressive as todays standards I absolutely adore the 22 episode format, the lack of texting/phones, the styling, and the overall tone of the writing etc I think writers did a much better job of making characters more likeable and relatable in the 90's then a lot of current shows which favour 'edginess' at the expense of likability.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 22-02-19 at 11:35 PM.
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    I'm not saying there's not a lot of Xander hate. I just don't consider it a new phenomenon. And I don't find him to be dated in a way that would prevent anyone from enjoying him now. If that were the case then a lot of these young reactors would be hating him but they're not.
    Maybe not reactors on youtube, but Tumblr? Christ nearly every day I see rants about how 'toxic' a character he is.

    A lot of it is that imo nowadays I think is the manner in which folks express themselves. It seems to be the 'in thing' these days to fly off the handle and only see things in extreme black and whites, rather then realise that there are shades of grey in there.
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    All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.




    * The only thing that doesn't "hold up" is the relatively limited Special Effects (SFX) budget. BtVS was such an important and "hit" show that AtS was greenlit and stayed on the air.

    Battlestar Galactica was nowhere near as popular and it is clear that series was given a relatively hefty SFX budget.

    Firefly has a big SFX budget and the series wasn't even aired in order, had a relatively huge series regular cast, etc.


    - The limits of the SFX budget impacted the canon of the series because of things such as Spike and Drusilla not super-speeding in fights even though they clearly can, Glory not super-speeding more often, etc.



    * The second is the clothing and set and/or location budgets for certain characters: namely Dracula and Glory.



    * Nothing else is dated considering people are aware BtVS was filmed in 1996-2003 A.D. and SFX were both more expensive and less advanced back then and social and political issues weren't as they are today.

    Willow/Tara was the first lesbian kiss on network television. Willow/Tara's portrayal was very important to the gay rights movement.

    "Google" is first used as a verb in the media in BtVS: "Help" (B 7.04). That was a big thing for Google.

    If anything, BtVS was very ahead of its time and introduced or greatly expanded big things to network television and television in general: Big Bads, 'shipping, Season Arcs, serialized storytelling, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    As I said above, I distinctly remember having these conversations about Xander back in 2005 when I first joined Buffyworld. And you can go back and probably find archived threads on this forum from 2007-ish of people criticising Xander for the same stuff. It's not as if all these criticisms only started when the Tumblr generation started watching the show.
    I was around then and I agree that Xander used to be criticized a lot for plenty of things. I think the difference between then and now are the new labels like Nice Guy and Incel and Toxic Masculinity and Problematic.

    And I do feel the sensitivity of the new generation is extremely high. Almost any line Xander utters and any gesture he makes, even the way he sits, is torn to pieces and analyzed to prove that he supports the patriarchy.

    The line "I'm inadequate. That's fine. I'm less than a man." always read to me as a dig at Xander himself and had nothing to do with Buffy being a female leader. Because an hour later, Xander will tell Jesse, "Don't worry. Buffy is a superhero." And he had no problem following Buffy's lead, taking orders from her, and being impressed by her intelligence and skills. Xander's problem is with his own worth, from the beginning of the show to the end. That's his story. His story was never about trying to outshine Buffy.
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    The line "I'm inadequate. That's fine. I'm less than a man." always read to me as a dig at Xander himself and had nothing to do with Buffy being a female leader. Because an hour later, Xander will tell Jesse, "Don't worry. Buffy is a superhero." And he had no problem following Buffy's lead, taking orders from her, and being impressed by her intelligence and skills. Xander's problem is with his own worth, from the beginning of the show to the end. That's his story. His story was never about trying to outshine Buffy.
    People hate that line because it aged incredibly poorly, it's like that one from "Earshot" (Yeah, I mean, who hasn't just idly thought about taking out the whole place with a semi-automatic?) except even worse, because it makes Xander sound like an incel. Seriously, this is exactly the type of crap you will find in Elliot Rodger's quote-unquote manifesto or on incel internet dwellings. Please understand, young people don't remember the time when that line was more or less innocent, they live now, in a world where idiots who spew crap like that shoot up yoga studios and shit. Of course they're more sensitive, obviously, can you blame them?

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