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Thread: High School Xander

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    Default High School Xander

    I'm probably one of the few who prefers High School Xander over Later Seasons Xander. I love Xander in every shape and every form, but I enjoy High School Xander the most, especially S2 Xander.

    High School Xander is simply charming. He’s witty, he’s clever, he’s brave, he’s outgoing, he’s a leader and most importantly, he’s very integral to the plot.



    Reasons to love Xander in the high school seasons:



    1) There's more range to Xander in the high school seasons (especially S2). He was a natural leader, he was smart, he was aggressive, he was funny... I'll be quoting Andrew S from an old post, "When I said Xander was most complex during Season 2, I meant in terms of the range he showed. Season 2-Xander was consistently hilarious, infuriating, heartwarming and heroic, being able to bring a variety of reactions out of me, often during the same episodes. In "When She Was Bad" for instance, Xander was funny ("A bitca?"), sympathetic (when Buffy did the sexy dance of torture), infuriating ("If they hurt Willow, I'll kill you!") and sensitive (knowing Buffy needed to smash The Master's bones to get over her trauma, saving her a seat with him and Willow). There are so many episodes that season where Xander gets a hell out of a lot to do. Same to a lesser extent in Season 3. But in Seasons 5-7, his screen time was reduced and he was more just the goofy comic relief than anything else, with only the occasional heartwarming or frustrating moment."

    2) Willow ranks #1 in his heart:





    3) He's a badass! But not your usual boring nothing can stop me I'm so cool I have an iron fist badass! Xander is a badass with a frail fist - like most of our fists. When he punches someone, his hand hurts as much as the other person's jaw does.



    4) He's so good with words! So witty, they should have given him a column in the high school newspaper.




    5) He knows how to break a melodramatic moment and make us laugh. I'm not just talking about the Bangel melodramatic moment in The Zeppo.





    6) He used to be smart and insightful (something he lost when he became an adult - I'm blaming the Anya sex). He used to engage in literary discussions in class in high school, he knew Buffy needed to smash the Master's bones to feel safe, he came up with the way to defeat The Judge, he realized that the coach used to beat Billy and quickly grabbed him before he made with the escape.







    7) He used to be a leader (Innocence and summer between S2 and S3).

    8) He does a lot of saving! What the hell is Cordelia talking about in The Zeppo??? He saved Buffy's life in The Harvest, Prophecy Girl, Phases, Killed by Death, Go Fish, and Willow in Inca the Mummy Girl, Innocence and Cordelia in Some Assembly Required, Becoming Part 1 ... etc.






    9) For a loser who gets beaten and bullied, Xander doesn’t shy away from throwing comebacks at the bullies/monsters. Like Larry in Halloween, the bully by the vending machine in Go Fish, and of course Angelus in Killed By Death. Makes it so weird that he's shiver and tremble in front of Jack in The Zeppo, but I've always thought that the middle of S3 is where the shift in Xander's character happens. He used to be more confident and braver in S1/S2/early S3 than the rest of the show.

    10) People tend to remember Xander's fights with Buffy or his jealousy of Angel, and forget the million times he was a good friend to Buffy:





    Also read my recent post about Buffy/Xander in this thread.

    11) His storyline parallels Buffy's, most obviously in Halloween. If Buffy’s journey is about a girl who is struggling with her calling and how it affects her femininity and life as a “regular” girl, then Xander’s journey parallels Buffy’s. It’s about a boy who struggles to fulfill society’s expectations of men: be an athlete, lose his virginity at an early age, save the girl, get the girl, be violent… etc.

    In Halloween, both Buffy and Xander want to be people they were not because they weren't satisfied with who they are. But by the end of the episode, they're both glad to be back to themselves, even though their journey to their true selves (Buffy=the hero, Xander=the supporter) isn't done yet.




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    Scooby Gang Willow from Buffy's Avatar
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    Does any of this change after high school, though? I feel I could amass just as good a collection of post-high school Xander gifs if I had the time and gif-making skills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willow from Buffy View Post
    Does any of this change after high school, though? I feel I could amass just as good a collection of post-high school Xander gifs if I had the time and gif-making skills.
    I love Xander after high school. I can happily do a collection of post-high school Xander's greatest moments gifs, as well as comic seasons from S8 to S11. My point with this post is to show that even in high school Xander was a good guy, because popular belief nowadays is that Xander is the worst during the high school seasons with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and only gets better after he graduates.

    And yes, he does change after high school. He kinda becomes more of a comic relief than he used to be in high school, he's more in the background, he's less sarcastic/witty and more goofy funny, he actually matures and that makes him lose his spark and outgoing personality, he becomes a supporter rather than take charge when Buffy isn't around, and he gets dumbed down a bit with less insightful moments and less ideas to help the team, he's more responsible, by S7 he's more calm and reflective, and has this quiet maturity going for him.

    He becomes a great guy, I just enjoy immature Xander more. Kinda like Spike fans who enjoy him more when he was soulless.
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    Objectively speaking, I think Season 2 is easily Xander's best season of the show even if I personally find him most likeable in Season 4. I think in Season 2 he does a lot of things which piss me off (though the beginning of Season 3 is when he annoys me the worst, tbh) but that's partially because he's very central to the story and is generally taken more seriously as a character.

    There's moments in Season 2 where he's written Homer Simpson-esque ("A bitca?" "They're going to cook her dinner!?") but especially towards the end of Season 2, he's written fairly seriously and he's integral to the plot. His Big Lie in "Becoming II" is of course infamous but he also stands up to Angelus in "Killed By Death" and has the big blowout with Buffy in "Becoming I." I think the fact that he'd had such a hostile relationship with Angel pre-"Innocence" made it that he was more relevant to the Big Bad and seasonal arc then he is much of the time after this season. Xander pretty much has no connection whatsoever with, say Glory, and barely has any interaction with her at all etc.

    He's certainly treated more seriously as a combatant too. He still gets knocked around a fair bunch and he can't compete with the supernatural characters, but he does sort of act as Buffy's backup muscle in Season 2 and he isn't portrayed as so cartoonishly incompetent as he is in later seasons. The gif of the library scene in "Becoming I" is a classic example of that.

    My personal favourite Xander season is Season 4 because I have copious amounts of sympathy for him that season and whilst he's certainly portrayed as a joke at times, he does have an arc and it's one that I find really sympathetic and relatable. I pretty much love Xander from start to finish that year and his introduction in "The Freshman" is not only one of, if not my favourite, Xander scenes of the series, but one of my favourite scenes, period.

    I can understand why people like him in Season 7 because he does appear to have grown a bunch and is overall more crowd-pleasing. However, he has so few lines and things to do that season that it could never be my favourite for him. So Season 4 definitely wins out with Season 2 following a close second.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    (though the beginning of Season 3 is when he annoys me the worst, tbh)
    Xander was such an ******* in the first few episodes of S3, I liked Maggie's Notes on Buffy from her livejournal for the episode Anne. I think they hit the nail with what's wrong with Xander's attitude.

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    There's moments in Season 2 where he's written Homer Simpson-esque ("A bitca?" "They're going to cook her dinner!?")
    I don't mind the occasional moments of idiocy when you get way more moments of insight and seriousness. For example in When She Was Bad, where the quotes you posted are from, we have different other facades of Xander. That serious moment when he threatens to kill Buffy if something happens to Willow, the pain and humiliation of being used by Buffy was treated seriously, that moment of insight when Willow says, "It's over," and Xander replies, "No, it's not," because Buffy needs to smash the bones of the Master.

    Compare that with S6 episodes like Tabula Rasa and Doublemeat Palace where you've got nothing but Homer Simpson-esque Xander.

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    My personal favourite Xander season is Season 4 because I have copious amounts of sympathy for him that season and whilst he's certainly portrayed as a joke at times, he does have an arc and it's one that I find really sympathetic and relatable. I pretty much love Xander from start to finish that year and his introduction in "The Freshman" is not only one of, if not my favourite, Xander scenes of the series, but one of my favourite scenes, period.
    S4 is WillowFromBuffy's favorite Xander season as well. I adore Xander's storyline that season, except I enjoy it more in fanfiction where more focus is placed on him, and his problems are treated more seriously and not in a comic relief fashion. One of my favorite moments in S4 was when Xander was blasted by electricity and none of his friends noticed, I wish more was done with that. It was such a fleeting moment that I doubt the audience noticed. Xander doesn't have a centric episode in S4. Where the Wild Things Are is more of a Xanya episode. I wish there was a Xander episode, because his arc in S4 is very relatable and something a lot of kids go through after high school. I would have also enjoyed seeing him interact with his parents.

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    I can understand why people like him in Season 7 because he does appear to have grown a bunch and is overall more crowd-pleasing. However, he has so few lines and things to do that season that it could never be my favourite for him. So Season 4 definitely wins out with Season 2 following a close second.
    People who love mature Xander of S7 are not Xander's fans. Most of Xander's fans, myself included, enjoy him more in the early seasons because he's very central to the story.

    S7 Xander actually has a lot of lines but they have nothing to do with the actual plot, most of them are jokes. People tend to compare Xander and Spike's presence in S7, arguing that Xander has more lines than Spike, but lines don't actually matter when one doesn't have an well-defined arc. Xander's arc in S7 is very subtle and unnoticeable, even NB didn't know about it until it was pointed out to him in the Dirty Girls Commentary.

    I doubt the lack of Xander story is related to NB's alcohol addiction, because Joss was planning to have him as the face of the First, and First Date is supposed to be a Xander episode to my dismay - of all the Xander unresolved issues, they wasted their only Xander episode on the tired and overused "demon-magnet"!! Still bitter about that. Plus there are characters who got the shaft and they didn't have NB's problems, like Dawn and Giles for example. S7's problem is having too many characters and too many ideas and far less focus, Buffy and Spike were the only ones saved from that chaos.
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    The way Xander matures and progresses is what I love the most about his character, but then that's always my focus, progression. It wasn't actually until S8 that I realised how I saw him and thought of him had shifted and then when I rewatched the show and discussed it on the rewatch here I started to appreciate him in the early seasons more from understanding where he went to. His bravery and loyalty always stand out to me far more when I watch now than the more childish petty moments that he has at times. Plus I do feel that he's young and hormonal and I think some of the results from that are often overly vilified and held against him. I actually had more issues with his/Willow's fling, and with both of them for that, than Xander's jealousy and pining for Buffy stage.

    His transition in S4 and how he handles being separated from the education setting his closest friends are still part of, finding a job now instead and looking to carve out a new role/purpose for himself is really great to see. That it sits against Giles doing the same thing works so well for underlining that these challenges are ones that many people face repeatedly and his inability to alight immediately on what he could do isn't unusual or unreasonable. What impressed me with Xander was his willingness to keep trying and I loved that this persistence was eventually rewarded. Seeing his motivation for breaking away and gaining independence, how it links to his upbringing and how that then later still plagues him in the underlying fears that pulls down some of what he'd achieved in S6 I think just makes him really interesting as he goes on. I can see that he does lose some of his humour and energy and can see why that could be likened to how some people preferred Spike at the earlier stages we had for him. But where the characters go on to and how it builds coherently together is what I love most about the show. Although it's always going to be later seasons Xander for me, I can understand loving him for those early seasons and seeing where he started too. It is what gives the depth and layers to what we get later of course.
    Last edited by Stoney; 24-06-19 at 03:28 PM.

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    Season 2 is easily the best Xander season. If I had to choose my least-favorite season for Xander -- meaning the season in which I think he was written the weakest -- it would definitely be Season 6. He feels really underwritten for the first two-thirds of it. He only exists to be comic relief and he doesn't really excel in that role because Anya's there and she's funnier, IMO. He's not the heart of the Scooby Gang anymore either because he completely fails at offering emotional support to Buffy or Willow in all the things that they go through in the middle of that season (in fact, in Buffy's case, Xander actively tries *not* to acknowledge her pain - 'I've decided to simplify the whole thing. Me like Buffy. Buffy's alive, so me glad.'). And he's very rarely allowed to affect the plot. Nothing happens with his character until "Hell's Bells", episode SIXTEEN in the season. Meanwhile, think of S2 and how much development Xander had received (particularly in his relationship with Cordelia) in the episodes leading up to "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".

    I like vampmogs' point about how Xander's connection to Angel in S2 helped his relevance to the storyline. I’ve always felt like the writers should have emphasized some sort of connection or dynamic between Xander and Warren in S5-S6, which would have added some more depth to Xander's character in later seasons and made Warren into an even better villain.

    To me, Warren is to Xander what Faith is to Buffy. They have a lot in common. Both were insecure, nerdy guys with terrible tempers who were rejected by girls and mistreated by their peers throughout childhood. Of course, Warren is smarter (especially with technology) than Xander and a lot more hateful in general. But Xander, when pressed, can be just as mean and devious as he is (‘Most girls don’t hop a Greyhound over boy troubles’, conspiring with Faith to kill Angel in “Revelations”) and prone to some genius ideas (using the rocket launcher against the Judge). But what makes those two different and what keeps Xander from ending up like Warren or Tony Harris is the same thing that kept Buffy from ending up like Faith or Sineya - the love of his friends. If it weren’t for his close relationships with Buffy and Willow (two women who he loves and respects, and who love and respect him back), Xander could have very well ended up like Warren - bitter, insecure, and hateful towards women and the world, in general. There should have been more there with those two. I do like their interaction in “Seeing Red”.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    I like vampmogs' point about how Xander's connection to Angel in S2 helped his relevance to the storyline. I’ve always felt like the writers should have emphasized some sort of connection or dynamic between Xander and Warren in S5-S6, which would have added some more depth to Xander's character in later seasons and made Warren into an even better villain.

    To me, Warren is to Xander what Faith is to Buffy. They have a lot in common. Both were insecure, nerdy guys with terrible tempers who were rejected by girls and mistreated by their peers throughout childhood. Of course, Warren is smarter (especially with technology) than Xander and a lot more hateful in general. But Xander, when pressed, can be just as mean and devious as he is (‘Most girls don’t hop a Greyhound over boy troubles’, conspiring with Faith to kill Angel in “Revelations”) and prone to some genius ideas (using the rocket launcher against the Judge). But what makes those two different and what keeps Xander from ending up like Warren or Tony Harris is the same thing that kept Buffy from ending up like Faith or Sineya - the love of his friends. If it weren’t for his close relationships with Buffy and Willow (two women who he loves and respects, and who love and respect him back), Xander could have very well ended up like Warren - bitter, insecure, and hateful towards women and the world, in general. There should have been more there with those two. I do like their interaction in “Seeing Red”.
    Very interesting ideas. I've always felt that Xander's journey is very similar to Buffy's journey, about accepting their role within the group and the fact that Buffy will never be like other girls, just like Xander wasn't like other guys in terms gender expectations. Such a missed opportunity not to play on the connection between Xander and Warren (and the rest of the trio) and the different paths both had taken. The emphasis on friendship and how it shaped Buffy into a better slayer, and Xander into a better man should have been addressed.

    I'm still bitter about the S4 plot of Xander joining the Initiative. I don't know if it was something Joss planned and or just fan rumors, but it would have been interesting to have Xander as an inside man into the Initiative.
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