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  • Outsiders

    Can we really call Tara and Anya outsiders? I've been reading some fans stating that they are, that the inner circle is just Buffy, Xander, Willow and Giles, but why would Tara and Anya be outsiders? They were welcomed to every research gathering, birthday parties and Scooby activities. Actually, Buffy, Xander and Willow are spending way less time with each other since Tara and Anya came to the picture. So why do some fans call them outsiders and blame the original Scoobies for it?

    When Xander's relationship with Anya started as nothing but sex, he still brought her over to Scooby meetings, Thanksgiving, and was never ashamed of showing up with her. It's not his fault that her tactless attitude bothers his friends a little. And even when it does, they keep their discomfort to themselves and act as polite as possible.

    Willow's hesitance in the beginning to show up with Tara was more because of her newfound gayness ?how her friends will take it- than her being ashamed of Tara, and she started bringing Tara over to Scooby meetings before she officially came out. Tara's outsider feelings in Real Me were ridiculous because it was never about Willow not letting her in, it was about Tara being afraid to be in (considering her "demon-ness" and her fear that she would be discovered.) Tara was the one who held back, where poor Willow was actually pushing her in, trying her hardest to make Tara feel like one of the Scoobies.

    So why would some fans think that Tara and Anya are outsiders? Is it because Buffy, Xander and Willow have a much more special relationship? Well, duh, they were friends since high school. Of course, they'll be tighter with each other.
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    Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life. Teenage Dirtbag

  • #2
    I think that you can compare the scoobies to a molecule; Buffy/Willow/Xander are the core ... Dawn & Giles are the elektrons outside the core but still very close ... the lovers of the core 4 are in next layer, in the layer after that you get the other people.

    There are some reasons for this;
    1. The choice that the core 3 won't die ... the people around them can be potential dead characters.

    2. Not enough conversations between the characters. There aren't many conversations between Oz & Cordelia, Xander & Tara, Anya & Buffy .... etc.

    3. They are part of the team because of thir lovers. Not because they are needed or because they made the choice to fight and joined the team for their fight.

    4. Primeval, in that episode the scoobies find out that they 4 are the important 4. The other characters are just something extra.

    5. Lack of story for Anya & Tara (also Oz, Riley, Cordelia etc.)

    6. In the last seasons (the Tara & Anya seasons) the show was not much longer about the core 4, but more about Buffy. Anya and Tara had not much to do with Buffy, and it felt like they were not really part of the story.

    I think that these things can give people the vibe that the characters are outsiders.

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    • #3
      Mere participation doesn't cover it -- it's just as much how they perceive themselves and how others perceive them. There's no question Anya and Tara were played as 'outsiders' for all of Season 4 and much of Season 5. In 4.20 "The Yoko Factor" they even remove themselves from the argument. Tara makes her feeling of her status explicit in both 5.02 "Real Me" and 5.06 "Family", and it's really embraced until then. Anya is still subject to bitter hostility from Buffy in 5.10 "Into the Woods" (when she insists to Xander that she's just a convenience) and Willow in 5.11 "Triangle". Indeed, Anya *never* truly comes out of 'outsider' status at least in Buffy's eyes -- I think that was made crystal clear in 7.19 "Empty Places".
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nina View Post
        1. The choice that the core 3 won't die ... the people around them can be potential dead characters.
        I guess this one is because the show started with Buffy, Xander and Willow, plus it depends on how popular the character is. Spike was only killed to be put on Angel, if he wasn't, then he'd be with Buffy. Therefore, he won't be at Angel, the only verse of the two continuing. I think this is mostly a writer's fault than actually blaming the characters for it.

        2. Not enough conversations between the characters. There aren't many conversations between Oz & Cordelia, Xander & Tara, Anya & Buffy .... etc.
        I agree. This one is quite annoying. For Xander-Tara I can see that they have conversations off screen, seeing how Tara thinks that Xander is a sweetie and Xander includes Tara to the circle of his favorite girls in Triangle.

        3. They are part of the team because of thir lovers. Not because they are needed or because they made the choice to fight and joined the team for their fight.
        I guess this one is right. Anya wouldn't have wanted to join the Scoobies if she wasn't romantically interested in Xander, same goes for Tara. But that doesn't reflect on the core four, they had accepted Tara into their Scooby meetings before they knew she was Willow's girlfriend. Which, unlike some fans think, means that they're not apposed to having new members.

        4. Primeval, in that episode the scoobies find out that they 4 are the important 4. The other characters are just something extra.
        That's because S4's arc was about the core four growing apart and then coming back together by the end of the season.

        5. Lack of story for Anya & Tara (also Oz, Riley, Cordelia etc.)
        I'll include Xander into that mix, and Dawn after S5. Actually, Riley had way more of a story than Xander ever did. Anya, Tara and Oz had their own stories, but like Xander and Dawn, were played for their specific time and then there was no more.

        6. In the last seasons (the Tara & Anya seasons) the show was not much longer about the core 4, but more about Buffy. Anya and Tara had not much to do with Buffy, and it felt like they were not really part of the story.
        Actually, Anya and Tara's involvement with the Scoobies and the story increased more in S6, because the season was about all the characters screwing up and paying for the consequences. In S7, Anya had more story than Xander did.
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        • #5
          I think the only reason Anya and Tara were classed as "Outsiders" was because they hadn't been around since the beginning, that's also the reason why Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles are classed as the Core 4 for the reason that they have been there for the beginning.

          If you look at it, all of the other characters could be classed as outsiders, even Giles in seasons 6 and 7 because they left at some point or another. In that respect I'd class characters such as Oz and Cordelia as "Outsiders" too.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
            Indeed, Anya *never* truly comes out of 'outsider' status at least in Buffy's eyes -- I think that was made crystal clear in 7.19 "Empty Places".
            Why do you think that? What happened in Empty Places to show Anya as an outsider? Her opinion was valued as everyone else's.

            Matt, so you're saying that they're outsiders from a viewer's point of view rather than from characters' view?
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            • #7
              I always thought of the Scoobies as the Core 4, Buffy, Xander, Willow, and R. Giles rather than just the first three. I include Giles because he had the slayer-watcher relationship with Buffy from the very beginning.

              I agree that Anya and Tara were not quite in the innermost group, and Tara clearly felt that acutely. Not just in the stories of S5 "Real Me" and "Family", but also in the way she never stopped politely addressing R. Giles as "Mr. Giles". And she seemed to have a special understanding Dawn in Seasons 5 & 6 because they shared the status of not being part of that inner circle (the one that had gone through the trials of Sunnydale High School together!) As for Anya, it seemed to me that throughout Seasons 4-7 she couldn't care less if she was part of the "inner circle" or not.

              So I've always thought of the "Extended Scooby Gang" in Seasons 5 & 6 as being Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Anya, and Tara, with Spike, Riley, and Dawn playing important roles at times at the edges this of this extended group. They had their greatest moment of glory, appropriately enough, fighting Glory together in "The Gift". It was this group along with Dawn and Spike who gave us OMWF. Thereafter I saw a major part of Season 6 as the story of how the group broke apart.

              Interestingly, when Buffy was dead between Seasons 5 & 6 and also the beginning of Season 6 there was a temporary situation when the "inner group" was Willow, Xander, Tara, and Anya, and which excluded Giles. A main reason was certainly the plan to bring Buffy back which Willow in particular didn't want to have Giles in on. But also it was due to factors that with Buffy gone so was the old slayer-watcher tie and also the fact that he was going to leave them at that point and return to England.

              One of the most believable human-emotion side stories in this part of the series was how both Spike and Giles reacted with anger when Buffy was brought back without their knowledge. Buffy was so important to both of them, I can perfectly well believe they would have wanted to know about the foursome's plan to bring her back.

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              • #8
                Sosa, I said in Buffy's eyes -- and I actually was thinking of the wrong exchange. 7.15 "Get It Done" is where Buffy draws a bright line between her friends, whose purpose in being around her is not subject to question, even if she doesn't think they are doing their jobs, and Anya, who she dropped the basic "why are you even here?" on.

                7.19 is simply a callback to that when Anya is probably the harshest to open fire on Buffy by questioning her legitimacy, by basically telling her that some watery tart threw a sword at her and she became Queen of all England.

                As Buffy goes, so goes "insider" or "outsider" status, IMO. She subscribed to Xander/Anya, but never to Anya as such. Not the way she did to Tara in 5.06 "Family". Buffy has no real friendship with Anya -- did "Hell's Bells" ever address whether Buffy or Tara was maid of honor? Regardless, it was Tara and "Best Man" Willow that were helping Anya with her dress. Buffy was awkward at best in "Entropy" when Anya wanted to complain about Xander, and wasn't invited into the house for that conversation, apparently -- Buffy came out on the porch to talk to her. It sounds pretty unconvincing when Buffy refers to Anya as a "friend" in "Him", she is just there to circle the wagons of any possible ally.
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                • #9
                  Another point to consider is that by the last three seasons, the audience had changed enough so that many had not either seen the show from the beginning, or had considered the first few seasons "childish" or at least uninteresting, and had started watching because of their interest in the latter seasons' relationships which included Spike, Tara, and Anya. I can't count how many times I've seen later-season fans complain about how "the core four" were somehow treated more favorably than their lovers -- especially since the format of Season Six seemed to be "Watch the Scoobies treat their lovers badly" -- when they often liked the Scoobies' lovers better than the Scoobies themselves, and especially when they were pissed that Season Seven wasn't devoted to having the Scoobies redeem themselves enough for their behavior in Season Six. There were also those who thought that the continued bond between Buffy, Willow, and Xander was artificial and thought they should have permanently drifted apart and found new friends...or at least wanted to see Willow and Xander written out of the show.

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                  • #10
                    I think Tara was a spiritual scooby before she died, and fans remember her as such. In Family ,Tara had used an irresponsible spell that put everybody in danger, yet Buffy and the others rallied around her without thinking much about it. I find this highly significant. It is as if they "knew" that Tara belonged to them. Later Tara grows in stature when she walks out on Willow, thus saving her friend from self destruction. Most crucially of all, Buffy confides in Tara. This is the decisive test of true scoobyness.

                    Anya was never a candidate. She did not have the values or the intuitive empathy. When she says to Buffy in Empty Places "You are not better than other people, just luckier"--it is the most obscenely vicious remark in the entire series. She never lacked courage,however, and courage redeemed her. She would never be a scooby,however. Nor would she want to be.

                    Faith is interesting in this connection. When she turned up in Season 3 she wanted to to be in the gang, and Willow and Xander found her exciting. But Buffy, very obviously, did not welcome another Slayer hanging out in Sunnydale. She nearly provokes a fight with Faith. True, she stops Faith from running away from Kakistos and helps to save her life, but the earlier intuitive rejection had registered. The fight with Kakistos came hours too late, with tragic consequences that are still unraveling. There is a Biblical flavor to the story of Buffy and Faith.

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                    • #11
                      I think the Scoobies accepted Tara and Anya as part of the team, especially considering that both Tara and Anya only started to hang out with them because they were romantically involved with Xander and Willow. If they weren't, they wouldn't have considered joining the Scoobies.

                      Family is a great example that shows how Tara is in. Anya was cursing men around in S7 and it took Buffy months to decide to kill her because Anya was their friend. If she weren't, Buffy wouldn't have waited to kill her all that time.


                      Originally posted by Skippcomet View Post
                      Another point to consider is that by the last three seasons, the audience had changed enough so that many had not either seen the show from the beginning, or had considered the first few seasons "childish" or at least uninteresting, and had started watching because of their interest in the latter seasons' relationships which included Spike, Tara, and Anya. I can't count how many times I've seen later-season fans complain about how "the core four" were somehow treated more favorably than their lovers -- especially since the format of Season Six seemed to be "Watch the Scoobies treat their lovers badly" -- when they often liked the Scoobies' lovers better than the Scoobies themselves, and especially when they were pissed that Season Seven wasn't devoted to having the Scoobies redeem themselves enough for their behavior in Season Six. There were also those who thought that the continued bond between Buffy, Willow, and Xander was artificial and thought they should have permanently drifted apart and found new friends...or at least wanted to see Willow and Xander written out of the show.
                      I know some fans like that. They are annoying, aren't they?
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                      • #12
                        There's a different dynamic in the conflicts between Xander, Willow and Buffy than in the conflicts between, say, Willow and Tara and Anya and Xander.

                        When Willow/Xander/Buffy fight with each other it seems to be down to the individual trying or needing to leave the group, or to go their own way for a while. The resoluation is dependent on all of them coming to a compromise and understanding each other, whereas with Anya and Tara the conflicts are all about leaving or breaking up.

                        I see the conflicts as being like fight or flight, for the established characters they are often fight, because the writers don't want to lose then, but for the secondary characters they are often flight, to see the reaction of the main character to not having them around.

                        I think that's why they often seem to be outsiders, because the drama comes from whether they will stick around or not.

                        IMO.
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                        • #13
                          Another point to consider is that by the last three seasons, the audience had changed enough so that many had not either seen the show from the beginning, or had considered the first few seasons "childish" or at least uninteresting, and had started watching because of their interest in the latter seasons' relationships which included Spike, Tara, and Anya. I can't count how many times I've seen later-season fans complain about how "the core four" were somehow treated more favorably than their lovers -- especially since the format of Season Six seemed to be "Watch the Scoobies treat their lovers badly" -- when they often liked the Scoobies' lovers better than the Scoobies themselves,
                          Yep, you can count me in on being part of that bunch. Oh there's a surprise I know!

                          I think it's more the fact that some found themselves identifying/being interested in the 'so called' outsider characters more then the 'core four' (god I hate that expression) and so some were bound to more then a little unimpressed with how things went.

                          I look at it this way. In the beginning the 'core four' were portrayed as very much being the 'outsiders' in their lives. At school, with their loves lives etc, and folks identified with that.

                          Then as the years rolled on and other characters joined this group dynamic changed and it appeared that the Scoobies were now the 'norm', the face of 'authority so to speak, and characters such as Tara, Anya and Spike become the outsiders and so their roles were reversed and because of that some of the audience found they preferred them rather then the characters Joss obviously was intending us to identify with.

                          There's nothing wrong in that of course, so to have a section of the fans shouting 'foul' is a little sad to say the least.

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                          • #14
                            They involve themselves in the group but in a way they are outsiders. They don?t have a very special relationship with the rest of the group. For example, in "Family" nobody gets Tara?s jokes or even feel very comfortable with her. They say she?s family, but she?s still distant from them. Maybe we can relate this to our own families. There are always those related to you (oncles, cousins), but with whom you don?t have a very close and special relationship. Maybe Tara and Anya are viewed as very distant cousins.

                            btw, this is my 500th post!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sosa lola View Post
                              Matt, so you're saying that they're outsiders from a viewer's point of view rather than from characters' view?
                              In a way, yes, I'm saying that when you talk about the main characters, it's always Buffy, Xander, Willow and Giles because of their longevity in the group, the Core 4, if you like, but when you're talking about the Scoobies as a whole, it's generally everybody who's classed as part of the group at that time, for example in season 3 it was Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Faith, Oz, Angel and Cordelia.

                              Although, in terms of the actual show, I think it's fair to say that at some points the characters may have been treated or felt like outsiders, for example Tara as she expressed in Real Me and Buffy's comment toward Anya in Empty Places.
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                              • #16
                                I do think Tara was, well, in the 'outer circle' in Season 5 and early Season 6. She was on the way to becoming a Core Scooby in later Season 6, before she got shot. Anya, I think, never really got beyond the outer circle.

                                The way to look at it is a modified form of the Bechdel-Wallace test. Do the characters have conversations or sub-plots or emotional involvement with people other than their lovers?

                                In her early seasons, Tara was Willow's Girlfriend, and that's how she was treated: she was liked, she was accepted at Scooby meetings, but she was still Willow's Girlfriend. But in S6, Tara also evolved into new roles that had nothing to do with Willow. She was effectively Dawn's mother. She was Buffy's confidante, the only person she could talk to about her issues with Spike.

                                Anya, on the other hand, never really moved beyond the role of Xander's Girlfriend/Fianc?e/Vengeful Ex-Fianc?e. She was Willow's rival, but even that was inspired by rivalry for Xander's friendship. There was a chance she could have moved beyond that in Seson 7, but none of the other characters really sought her out for an emotional connection - just the occasional bit of practical help.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by sueworld View Post
                                  Yep, you can count me in on being part of that bunch. Oh there's a surprise I know!

                                  I think it's more the fact that some found themselves identifying/being interested in the 'so called' outsider characters more then the 'core four' (god I hate that expression) and so some were bound to more then a little unimpressed with how things went.

                                  I look at it this way. In the beginning the 'core four' were portrayed as very much being the 'outsiders' in their lives. At school, with their loves lives etc, and folks identified with that.

                                  Then as the years rolled on and other characters joined this group dynamic changed and it appeared that the Scoobies were now the 'norm', the face of 'authority so to speak, and characters such as Tara, Anya and Spike become the outsiders and so their roles were reversed and because of that some of the audience found they preferred them rather then the characters Joss obviously was intending us to identify with.

                                  There's nothing wrong in that of course, so to have a section of the fans shouting 'foul' is a little sad to say the least.
                                  I'd say that the Scoobies were always outsiders to the real world and insiders to the demon world. High school years or adult years. As they grow older, they get separated from each other and get to know new friends: Xander (from work) Willow and Tara (from college), but those said friends are not insiders when it comes to the demon world.

                                  I think you, and those who are more pro-lovers anti-core four, resent the writers' way of giving the spot light to Buffy, Xander and Willow (seeing as they were the ones who started the show in the first place) while treating Spike, Anya and Tara as nothing but "the lovers". I can see that as being annoying. But for me it went the opposite way: I hated that Spike, Anya and Tara's center focus was only on how they please their lovers. It's like they have no life outside of their lovers. That's why I don't relate much to them. While Buffy, Xander and Willow have other interests or let's say 'a life' that does not include their lovers. I relate more to that. I love my boyfriend, but I also have other things to worry about.

                                  I was actually glad to see Spike playing cards with demons, because the way the writers portrayed him was usually him sitting in his crypt thinking about Buffy. Anya only thinks, talks and sings about Xander, and that's also annoying, even with the Magic Box, she doesn't seem to have an identity separated from Xander. She only started to get interesting after Xander left her at the altar. Same goes for Tara who can't see any fault to her perfect Willow until she was bit in the ass, and had to stand up on her two feet without the help of Willow.

                                  I still don't see Anya and Tara as outsiders. They were included in, but I guess they never worked their way to be in. Except for Tara in S6. Anya and Tara only joined the Scoobies to be with their lovers, not for the fight. It was in S7 when Anya decided to have the Scoobies as some sort of family.
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                                  • #18
                                    Okay lets see if I can actually explain my point. here we go.

                                    Tara I don't think was an 'outsider' as such. Buffy did choice her to confide in so in Buffys eyes at least she was part of the gang. In 'Family' the group stick for her, making her feel at least she was liked for more then who her girlfriend was. Tara wanted to be considered an 'insider'.

                                    Anya, unlike Tara, didn't really want to be thought of as part of the scoobies. I feel she was just there for Xanders sake when they were together. And she hung around after the break up because 1)There is safety in numbers and having a Slayer on your side is never a bad thing. And 2) It had become part of her routine more or less when she become human.

                                    I also think Dawn was an outsider til season 7. This was because Buffy thought it was the right thing to do. It wasn't until Buffy saw her potential at the end of Season 6 that that changed. yes she had a major role in the show but not when it came to the scoobies.

                                    Also Faith - She was rejected by Buffy first, then when Buffy excepted her, Willow rejected her. I feel at first, Faith (in season 3) always wanted to be part of the group, hence why she handle the rejection so badly.

                                    Well thats my views
                                    ANGEL: You just like stabbing me.

                                    SPIKE: I?I'm shocked, SHOCKED that you'd say that. I much prefer hitting you with blunt instruments.

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                                    • #19
                                      I think you, and those who are more pro-lovers anti-core four,
                                      Oh I'm not 'anti core four' I just found that my attention became less focussed on them as the years went on.

                                      It's like they have no life outside of their lovers. That's why I don't relate much to them. While Buffy, Xander and Willow have other interests or let's say 'a life' that does not include their lovers. I relate more to that. I love my boyfriend, but I also have other things to worry about.
                                      Well to be fair, thats the nature of being a supporting player in a series. Characters such as Anya and Spike aren't mainline characters, they are there to serve the main characters arcs and thats about it, so you aren't going to see them do much except whatever needed to drive the main story forward.
                                      I more then understand that, but I sometimes wonder If the writers realized that a part of their audience was 'changing focus' so to speak as time went on.
                                      Last edited by sueworld; 25-09-08, 04:27 PM.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by sueworld View Post
                                        Characters such as Anya and Spike aren't mainline characters
                                        Well I would argue that somewhere in season 5 Spike overtook Xander as a main character... about halfway through season 6 he was bigger than Dawn, and Willow for a time (the writers not being sure how to write her character without magic, and just getting bored) before she had the Dark plotline... after which she then receded behind him for season 7. Sure he didn't have any real plotline outside of his love for Buffy, but that just makes him a main focus without depth.

                                        But then, the dominance of Spike is not exactly a shock because Angel was the other main character in season 2.

                                        As to the point of the topic I would say I agree with KingofCretins about Anya... she was never really accepted outside of the fact that Xander loved her and she could be helpful sometimes. Even in season 7 when she started to live with them and help train the Potentials, she was more involved with Andrew, the true outsider of that group (and rightly so), than anyone else.

                                        Tara on the other hand was much more readily accepted into the group. She had a whole episode about it, in "Family". While her breakup with Willow caused this to wane, you could still see she was a part of the family as much as she could be. She babysat Dawn (I believe there's a reference in "Wrecked"? or perhaps another episode), she supported Buffy in "Dead Things", she attended Buffy's birthday party, she tried to save the day in "Normal Again", etc. Even given the fact that she couldn't be around often because Willow lived there, she did her best to be a part of the gang.

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