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  • Parents in the Buffyverse.

    There are some issues with parents in BtVS and Ats. I mean, the only normal, sweet parents are Joyce and the parents of Fred. You can say that Angel tried to be a good father but failed because of all the problems. But in the end, I don't want Angel as my father. *hugs her own father*

    Why are parents evil in the buffyverse? Is that something to make life harder for our heroes or is it a statement?
    The father of Wesley was a fantastic watcher, fought a lot of evil ... but he was the worst father of all. Is that a warning? You can't fight evil and be a good parent?


  • #2
    Originally posted by Nina View Post
    There are some issues with parents in BtVS and Ats. I mean, the only normal, sweet parents are Joyce and the parents of Fred. You can say that Angel tried to be a good father but failed because of all the problems. But in the end, I don't want Angel as my father. *hugs her own father*

    Why are parents evil in the buffyverse? Is that something to make life harder for our heroes or is it a statement?
    The father of Wesley was a fantastic watcher, fought a lot of evil ... but he was the worst father of all. Is that a warning? You can't fight evil and be a good parent?
    I don't think there is some kind of evil vendetta against parents or anything. Joss has always liked the idea of 'family' and evidently wanted to create that kind of bond with our characters who weren't biologically related. In order to do that I think making some of the parents less than ideal was a side effect of such a decision. If the Scoobies were all deeply close to their family they probably wouldn't have been as close as they were with each other.

    Joss' moto seems to be that family is more of a choice than a life sentence. You don't have to be biologically related to be a family.

    Like you said we had great parents like Joyce and though Angel wasn't the best dad ever he clearly loved his son dearly. Joss always spoke of his mother being an incredible woman, so yeah don't think he thinks parents are evil.

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    • #3
      There are a ton of reasons, I suppose -- you could argue that people with conflicts with their parents are easier to tell stories about. Why it would be so pervasive, though? Writers all bring their own pathos to their work, is a possibility. Or, if not their own personal trauma, their own personal fascination with the human condition. Joss appears to be fascinated with bad parents, particularly fathers. Marti Noxon's "bad dad" contribution is the 'all men are animals' themes in many of her episodes, as well as her two seasons as showrunner.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
        There are a ton of reasons, I suppose -- you could argue that people with conflicts with their parents are easier to tell stories about. Why it would be so pervasive, though? Writers all bring their own pathos to their work, is a possibility. Or, if not their own personal trauma, their own personal fascination with the human condition. Joss appears to be fascinated with bad parents, particularly fathers. Marti Noxon's "bad dad" contribution is the 'all men are animals' themes in many of her episodes, as well as her two seasons as showrunner.
        I wouldn't say that Joss is fascinated with bad fathers. Fred had a very good father, Angel tried his hardest to be a good father in exceptional circumstances, Liam IMO was seen more negetively than his own father and Willow doesn't seem to hold anything particularly bad against her own.

        Buffy's father turned out to be someone who was interested in a new life rather than his old which included his daughters, but that is pretty realistic and IMO served the purpose rather well. Wes and his father didn't get a long by any means, nor Tara and hers but that had to do with her whole family rather than just any daddy issues, likewise for Xander.

        I think it is a pretty even mix really.

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        • #5
          I don?t think that he views parents in the Buffyverse as evil, really. What he tries to point out the most is how most of the times, family doesn?t have anything to do with biological parents, it?s more about the people you see or work with everyday. The people who are there for you in your good or bad moments. That is how he views family.

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          • #6
            I'd have to agree that it was mainly fathers who were portrayed badly

            Liam's father: domineering
            Wes' Father: Need I comment?
            Bethany Chaulk's dad:
            Willow's dad: Not bad as such but not even seen
            Buffy's Dad: Demoted from kind of negletful to deadbeat in a couple of seasons
            Xander's Dad: Somewhat abusive. His mother is not great but dad seems worse.
            Mayor: Father figure?
            Virginia's dad: Tried to sacrifice his daughter
            Tara's dad: controlling bastard.
            Cordy's dad: Tax evader but mother wasn't mentioned.

            So I suppose there is a mix but the fathers seem to get the worst press.

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            • #7
              The punchline to Angel's dad is that... he was a good father, from all outward indications. He was *right* to be disappointed and scolding and demanding of his 25+ year old (in the 16th century!) unmarried (!), unemployed (!!) jackass of a kid.

              As for Hank -- he wasn't retconned from 'neglectful' to deadbeat, he was retconned from nearly Alpha-divorce dad status to deadbeat. Just inexcusable, to me, especially when Dean Butler played the role so well.

              Another Bad Dad on the show is Kate Lockley's dad.
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              • #8
                I wouldn't say that categorically but yes, in any repect he didn't have a good relationship with him. I'm not saying Liam's innocent but his way of parenting simply didn't work. Liam as a son gave him the clues but his father was too much about controling his son through disapproval hence Liam's implied "Daddy can't you say you love me" line in The Prodigal. This is why Angel says it all the time to Connor. Both his father and Liam got it wrong.

                And I somwhat agree with the Hank thing it seemed sort of gradual to me in a sense. There was a definite difference from Season 2 to 3 but then onwards it got silly.

                Trevor Lockley was similar to Liam's dad in way but in all his actions to try and provide for her he ended up alienating himself from her which is what was hurting her most (and if she understood the scope of what he was doing it would have hurt more based upon why she became a cop.

                Interestingly from what we see in Spin the Bottle Liam was a little like Angel in a way. Quiet, a little awkward, kind of charming in a way. Not excusing Liam but part of the way he acts is as response of his father's treatment. Liam wasn't initially a bad kid who warranted punishment. His father was simply very hard on him . Rather than being supportive and loving, he was colrd and autocratic, not to mention hypocritical. Again, I'm not excusing Liam's actions as he has full responsibilty for them however, he didn't start out that way, it was a response to his father's behaviour.

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                • #9
                  other parents in the buffyverse

                  I was just thinking of a few more bad parents from the "verse:

                  Cordelia's parents------failed to pay their taxes, got caught, left Cordelia penniless in her senior year in high school. This meant she could not attend any of the good colleges that had accepted her. They aren't mentioned again but presumably they went to prison. Remember her horrible apartment at the beginning of Angel?

                  Willow's mother---------she sees her daughter's sexual orientation as a political statement to be proud of, but just barely meets Tara.

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                  • #10
                    cordelia's mother was mentioned in band candy as going in her closet.

                    btw, cordelia's parents are in photographs seen in season 4 ats. the dad is david greenwalt. lol.

                    "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
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                    • #11
                      I actually had to do an essay on a test for Beowulf the other day; it was about why the writers chose Grendel's Mother instead of his father and how the story might have changed if it had been his father - I think I can relate that to this.

                      Most of the time - not saying all - but most of the time women, mothers are referred to as the more protective of the two parents; more gentle. I'm not saying everyone's family, nor mother is perfect, however fathers always seem to get a bit more overlooked than the mothers because of this. In my case, I despise my father for reasons I won't mention here, but I think it also had a lot to do with the character's history.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                        The punchline to Angel's dad is that... he was a good father, from all outward indications. He was *right* to be disappointed and scolding and demanding of his 25+ year old (in the 16th century!) unmarried (!), unemployed (!!) jackass of a kid.
                        I wouldn't go as far to say he was a good father. He was angry and had a reason to be but literally backhanding your son across the face isn't a sign of a good father IMO. I also got the impression it wasn't the first time he'd physically abused Liam either.

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                        • #13
                          Liam became a self forfilling prophecy. I definitely don't think Liam started out as a drunken womenising jerk. I think it was a response to his father never approving of him.

                          I think Liam's dad did try to be good father but finding fault in everything he did, led Liam to become what he thought he wanted: a failure.

                          I don't think physical abuse was out of picture but I think his father's words were most damaging. It stayed with him for centuries.

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                          • #14
                            In the case of Liam and his father, wasn't physical punishment considered quite standard for the day? A slap across the face is far differant to being beaten bloody with a belt for example, which is what would have happened to a servant or something for talking back.

                            As for the representation of parents, if I look at the people I went to school with and how they interacted with their folks, the families in BtVS and AtS aren't too far off from reality. I knew very few kids who had decent parents. It was either a father or mother over compensating for the faults of the other. Or both being completely inept at parenting.

                            Please don't forget Amy's parents. Her dad sounds wonderful, her mother was the horrible crackpot. And I agree with the above posters, the message I got from the series is that family are the people who care about you, who you have in your life, the ones you care about. DNA has so little to do with it.
                            Last edited by Naia; 23-12-07, 02:42 AM.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NileQT87 View Post
                              btw, cordelia's parents are in photographs seen in season 4 ats. the dad is david greenwalt. lol.
                              I didn't realize that! I didn't think it was possible to David Greenwalt more than I did.

                              I think the lack of parents and good parenting was a deliberate technique of the show to create an element of individualness and aloneness in the world.

                              The show was about seeing the world through the young adults. By limiting the parental figures, only the youth's perspective is conveyed. By S3, I found it funny that parents were only conceived by the kids statements of them...or when mystically motivated and therefore obtuse versions of themselves.

                              And on that note, perhaps some of the parents weren't nearly as bad as the children made them out to be. Teenagedom is a time to rebel and find embarrassment and disappointment in all that your parents do. Perhaps on some part, the failure was in the children recognizing their parents loved them. That the kids felt so different that they couldn't reach out and communicate with their parents. Just throwing a different idea out there.

                              Also, I have to say I was always disappointed in how Buffy's dad went from just absent father to really heartless deadbeat. I'm still relatively astonished that Buffy got guardianship over Dawn. You would have thought if those Monks rewrote history to include Dawn that they could have at least included some damn good child support from Dad for her.

                              Lydia made the punch!

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                                Also, I have to say I was always disappointed in how Buffy's dad went from just absent father to really heartless deadbeat. I'm still relatively astonished that Buffy got guardianship over Dawn. You would have thought if those Monks rewrote history to include Dawn that they could have at least included some damn good child support from Dad for her.
                                I agree, I think just one scene after Joyce's funeral between Buffy, Dawn, and Hank would have answered so many of the "Dawn staying with Buffy after Joyce died" questions. They could of had him offer to take Dawn with him, with her refusing, asking to stay with Buffy. By that point, Dawn knew she was the Key so it'd be interesting because it could have shown Dawn feeling like her father was a stranger, since, in all reality, they never really met.

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                                • #17
                                  I never really saw it as trying to make the parents seem evil. I think the fact that Joyce was involved so intimately clearly shows that the writers were not trying to take parents out of the equation altogether. Even Joyce had her moments of 'bad parenting'. Becoming, anyone?

                                  When we watch Buffy we relate to that time in our lives, the time of rebellion and what-not. The time of wishing our parents to have less influence in our lives. And considering the show was *mostly* about Buffy, shouldn't her parent(s) be the ones we see most often?

                                  True, Xander truly had a bad living situation, I believe. But it seems like Willow, for the most part, was a pretty well rounded girl. (She probably got that from her father.) Xander had two 'bad' parents, Willow's mother was not involved in her life, and Hank started distancing himself back in S2. This will sometimes happen after a divorce. Cordy's parents, for the most part, seemed okay in the actual parenting department. Okay, they spoiled her, but that goes on today. The fact that they didn't pay their taxes doesn't necessarily make them bad parent, just bad citizens. Now Tara, she truly had a bad father, but that whole family was messed up!

                                  It's true that in the TV world you most often see nurturing mothers and disciplinary fathers. However, I think the Buffyverse depiction of parents was pretty accurate to what goes on in the real world. I've seen the Buffy situation happening in my neice's life, recently. I just feel that it was a pretty life-like portrayal of the different parenting styles out there. His goal was to make the show realistic, and everyone having two doting parents would have ruined the 'real-ness' he brought to the show. Unfortunately, as also happens in real life, the negative is usually focus on more as that is usually what affects us on a deeper level.
                                  It's blood...It's just like mine.
                                  It doesn't matter where you came from or how you got here.

                                  You are my sister.

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                                  • #18
                                    What about Fred?s parents? They weren?t bad at all, they were very sweet and endearing. They clearly loved their daughter.

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                                    • #19
                                      Fred's parent were (and Joyce of course), the only good and normal parents in the 'verse. I loved them, they were so normal but openminded enough to accept their daughters new life. And in TGIQ when they decided that Wesley was the perfect son-in-law was cute, it was harsh because Fred was dead ... but if she wasn't it would be a real parent thing.

                                      Oh, And the new parents of Connor are nice.

                                      Tigger96, did you count Ats too?
                                      Because in Ats it's clear that Wesley's father abused Wesley and Angel's father was hitting Angel. And maybe the time in which they lived plays a part in it, but Angel has real daddy-issue's because his father was unable to say nice things to Liam. And the mothers of both didn't do much to help their sons ... at least that is the feeling I have.
                                      Lorne's mother (and family) is awful, Gunn's parents we never met ... but he had to take care of his little sister at a young age ... maybe they were dead but maybe there just worthless.
                                      Cordy's parents destroyed her future with their stupid crimes. Cordelia was alone without money at an age of 18 years. Maybe they didn't hit her or left her ... but they screwed up her life.
                                      And Connor, I have a lot of sympathy for Angel ... but he wasn't a good father. Although I think that is more to blame to everything what happened ... Angel tried to be the best father ever ... but he wasn't.

                                      If you count those stupid parents too, there are a lot of 'evil' parents.
                                      Last edited by Nina; 22-01-08, 02:36 PM.

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                                      • #20
                                        Nina, I wasn't really including AtS because I am not as intimately familiar w/ those eps and it's been a long time since I've seen anything from Seasons 3-5. However:

                                        Welsley's father, yes, was neglectful toward him. I don't know what context of 'abuse' you are using, but yes, he was also verbally abusive. And in the 'proper' England, his mother probably didn't feel she was in a position to intervene. We don't have any idea what Wes' relationship with his mother really was, though.

                                        Liam's father: I don't remember if anything was shown when Liam was young, but from what I saw, Liam was a lazy, self-involved, young adult who had no regard for anyone other than himself. His father was disgusted by what his son had become. I don't say that warrented abuse, but I think at the age of 25 Liam was deliberately pusing buttons to get his father to go off on him. And the women of this time were expected to be submissive -- what the man of the house says, goes. She was in no position, really, to defend Liam.

                                        Lorne: Do you remember what Pylea was like? This was a completely different world and not subject to our 'rules' of what a good parent is, so I don't think they should really be involved in this discussion. However, we have no idea what his mother was like before he left Pylea, so how can we know if she was really a bad mother or just reacting to seeing him again after so many years. And this is the only family we see in this mixed-up, crazy world...how do we know they're not all like that?

                                        Cordy's parents: In my opinion, their issues with the IRS and the loss of everything did not screw up Cordy's life but actually helped her. She was a spoiled, self-involved person who thought she was above everyone else. Don't get me wrong, I love Cordy, always have, but I believe the loss of everything helped her become the person she was in the end and someone we could actually see with Angel. If she had not gone through that phase in her life she would never have grown. Her parents didn't destroy her future -- what kind of future did she have anyway. I envision her continuing to live off Daddy until he cut her off, which would probably have never happened. Her parents may have messed up, but again, that doesn't make them 'evil' parents, but bad citizens. Their loss actually helped Cordy more than hurt her.

                                        Gunn: We no nothing about Gunn's family outside of his sister, so I don't think it's really fair to bring them into this.

                                        Connor: Considering what happened and the way he reacted toward his father, how can we include Angel in the list of 'evil' parents. He never had a chance with Connor, who was taken away after just a couple of months. From the little we see of Angel w/ Baby Connor, we clearly see that he was a doting father. When Connor returns, Angel tries, but Connor has been brainwashed against him. No, I don't think it's fair at all to add Angel to the list of bad parents.

                                        And while we're at it:
                                        Faith: Her mother was very obviously abusive and neglectful. This is very much the reason Faith turned out the way she did. Yes, bad mother.
                                        Spike: His mother was overly attentive. I believe her form of parenting was just as bad as not being there at all. William never had a chance to find out who he was w/o her.

                                        As I've said before, the negative influences in our lives usually affect us in a deeper, more noticable way, so those are the things we focus on when exploring a person's background or personality make-up. However, we don't really know what the actual, in-home relationships really were with some of these: Liam or Wes w/ their mothers (actually interacting with them), Gunn w/ his parents, Cordy & her parents (she'd mentioned her mother a couple times, and I imagine they were very much alike). Again, I believe that the writers touched on all the various parenting types: good, very good, bad, and very bad. There were only so many people in the shows to focus on and no way to get a clear view of all the family dynamics involved. But this is also the way things are in the real world and, again, I think that the different parenting dynamics shown helped keep the real-ness of the shows. There are a lot of good and bad parents in the world, but the bad are always more interesting. And in a show of such nature of BtVS & AtS, we will tend to focus most commonly on the negatives. I don't think that means that Joss had a problem with parents. We are watching these worlds through the eyes of teenagers and young adults, a dark and confusing time of life, and the negative, again, is going to get more focus. Young people tend to see more of the bad than the good in things...I know I did.
                                        It's blood...It's just like mine.
                                        It doesn't matter where you came from or how you got here.

                                        You are my sister.

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