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Instances of "Scavonian Dissonance" in the show

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  • #21
    Originally posted by flow View Post
    Xander:

    I dunno. I watched the show very late - in 2017 - but I was already an adult when it aired. So, I was around in the late nineties, and early aughts. I definitely would have thought back then and still think today that Xander is actually a good guy. Okay, he has some lame jokes. Okay, he sometimes clearly oversteps some boundaries. But I feel his flaws are being way overblown nowadays. This is the guy who has thrown himself into the fight again and again and again with no superpowers at all. He isn't a superhero but he for sure is a hero.

    He lied to Buffy in Becoming Part II because he was afraid Buffy might hold back in the fight against Angelus. That would not only have gotten her killed but also ended the world (including Xander). He had to make a split-second decision that involved him and the world just as it involved Buffy. I don't know if I'd have made the same decision but I can see his point.

    Getting a pass for the spell in BB&B is not different from the many passes Willow gets for spells that have gone awry. Or for example the pass Jonathan gets for the Superstar spell. In The Pack I find Giles' behaviour much more problematic than Xander's because he more or less endorsed the lie.
    OOWF is a tough nut. I give you that. I have a personal headcanon that tells me Xander summoned Sweet accidentally because he was still a demon magnet (and was cleaning the amulet, I think) and he only confessed to it in order to save Dawn. He actually (and falsely) thought Dawn summoned Sweet and didn't want her to have to marry Sweet. I know this is very far-fetched and I am not trying to sell it but it's may way of dealing with the fall-out of OOMWF.

    Cordy has many mean quips directed at Xander (and also Buffy and Willow) but we don't see that as problematic. On the contrary. Cordelia is nowadays seen as a heroine who has been treated really badly by the writers.
    As HardlyThere said, it's more the lack of consequences for his actions that tend to be grating. Again, I actually like Xander, but I like him even better when there is some acknowledgement that he is being unfairly petty/judgmental/whatever flaw he may have. This is why I tend to like him better in later seasons, because the writers seem slightly more aware of and willing to deal with his darker aspects when they manifest.
    I agree that Giles' reaction is also quite disturbing, though he is less aware of the specifics, so I wouldn't say it's worse or even as bad.

    As for Cordelia I completely agree that there is an annoying tendency from the fandom recently to hail her as a can do no wrong (pop, neoliberal) feminist icon when a lot of the time she is just being unjustifiably mean. That said, I wouldn't call it scavonian dissonance, because the writers do depict her as being mean and don't pretend she isn't. Also she is seen as being treated badly by the writers in Ats S4, after she became a much nicer person (for better or for worse).
    Finally, she is mean to Xander, but Xander gives as good as he gets, and often worse. He calls her a slut or some equivalent multiple times (so do Buffy & Willow, btw), and says stuff like "At least you don't have to pretend to be interested in her vapid chit-chat just so you can get some touch", which imo is grosser and more demeaning than anything she ever said to him or about him.
    What a challenge, honesty
    What a struggle to learn to speak
    Who would've thought that pretending was easier

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