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Willow & Xander Further Ed

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  • #16
    There was a post-show theory that ME might have been considering writing Xander out of the show and might have used the post-graduation road trip as an in-universe explanation for how and why he could have just "disappeared" from the cast. The period from "the Lie" ("OMG, he lied to Buffy about the curse!") to some time after the end of Season 3 ("OMFG, he actually got away with lying to Buffy about the curse instead of getting found out and punished for it!?!") and everything in-between (Dead Man's Party, the Clothes Fluke, Revelations, the Rebar, not trying hard enough to get either Willow or Cordelia back to satisfy shippers, the initially very mixed reaction to The Zeppo) could arguably have been called the First Great Sustained Audience Backlash Against Xander. We know that said backlash had a direct impact on how Joss approached writing Xander because he said so himself. Didn't somebody once claim that the WB once wanted Joss to get rid of Xander (or was it NB?), and that it took both Joss and SMG stepping up to bat to keep him on the show? Either way, at some point one has to wonder if ME considered the possibility of just dropping such an apparently unpopular character.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Skippcomet View Post
      There was a post-show theory that ME might have been considering writing Xander out of the show and might have used the post-graduation road trip as an in-universe explanation for how and why he could have just "disappeared" from the cast. The period from "the Lie" ("OMG, he lied to Buffy about the curse!") to some time after the end of Season 3 ("OMFG, he actually got away with lying to Buffy about the curse instead of getting found out and punished for it!?!") and everything in-between (Dead Man's Party, the Clothes Fluke, Revelations, the Rebar, not trying hard enough to get either Willow or Cordelia back to satisfy shippers, the initially very mixed reaction to The Zeppo) could arguably have been called the First Great Sustained Audience Backlash Against Xander. We know that said backlash had a direct impact on how Joss approached writing Xander because he said so himself. Didn't somebody once claim that the WB once wanted Joss to get rid of Xander (or was it NB?), and that it took both Joss and SMG stepping up to bat to keep him on the show? Either way, at some point one has to wonder if ME considered the possibility of just dropping such an apparently unpopular character.
      Interesting. IMO, Xander fits less and less comfortably into the world of BtVS, the more it strays from its original coming-of-age themes. While I don't necessarily wish his character out of existence, I feel like the degree to which he quits growing would've made him a better fit for Angel, with its themes of being stuck in time. He wouldn't've been objectively any more or less justified, but his cynicism would have stood out less. If anything, Xander is to Angel as Angel is to most demons he encounters, which would've made for some interesting parallels.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Skippcomet View Post
        There was a post-show theory that ME might have been considering writing Xander out of the show and might have used the post-graduation road trip as an in-universe explanation for how and why he could have just "disappeared" from the cast. The period from "the Lie" ("OMG, he lied to Buffy about the curse!") to some time after the end of Season 3 ("OMFG, he actually got away with lying to Buffy about the curse instead of getting found out and punished for it!?!") and everything in-between (Dead Man's Party, the Clothes Fluke, Revelations, the Rebar, not trying hard enough to get either Willow or Cordelia back to satisfy shippers, the initially very mixed reaction to The Zeppo) could arguably have been called the First Great Sustained Audience Backlash Against Xander. We know that said backlash had a direct impact on how Joss approached writing Xander because he said so himself. Didn't somebody once claim that the WB once wanted Joss to get rid of Xander (or was it NB?), and that it took both Joss and SMG stepping up to bat to keep him on the show? Either way, at some point one has to wonder if ME considered the possibility of just dropping such an apparently unpopular character.
        I never heard this before, that's some amazing information.

        I also never encountered this one:

        "For as many near death experiences that Xander went through over the course of the entire series, there were a couple instances where he actually almost was killed off by the writers. In one instance, during season five, writers flirted with the idea of making Xander Glory's alter ego, revealing that Glory's memory glitch spell had been affecting the entire audience this whole time, much like how it affected the characters in the wake of Dawn's presence.

        Had this happened, we likely would have seen Xander die along with Glory. Or, least likely, Glory and Xander would have split from each other in two separate bodies. Ultimately, these discussions never amounted to anything more than discussions and Ben turned out to be Glory's alter ego."

        Anyone else has some more information like this?
        My underachieving self has yet to earn banner privileges.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by StateOfSiege97 View Post
          Yes—

          That was what I was trying, in part, to say above:

          That, as well as that even before college, his
          familial forces prevented him from doing well
          enough in high school to make college a possibility...
          And yet his family was wealthy enough to pay for a lavish wedding.

          I think Xander is just not academic, and that's fine. College is not the answer to everything much as it is seen as the only road for success. I think trade school would have been a decent possibility had he wanted more education. I say this as a former teacher - some kids don't really care all that much about higher education and that's fine. In reality some have arts they wish to explore, family they prefer to spend time with, a disdain for the toys that measure success and a society that markets them as the cure for all displeasure, just overall different life related values.

          It's our society that deems the cashier, the shelf stocker, the call center worker, the library clerk, and the restaurant server as lesser beings than college graduates - not just less successful but unable or unwilling to even attempt success. I swear that class difference is harder to deal with race and religion combined. The pervasive prejudice against people who live below the middle class is searing. The message of "It's your own fault - you could have done better is overwhelming." Talk about class warfare!

          Maybe let's separate Xander's feelings about himself from the perspective that glorifies education over work done with the hands because that particular bigotry is a huge social issue. I tend to see Xander's story as much about societal expectations as it is about his insecurities. The two feed each other. Even here we regard him as a failure of some sort, despite the fact that Xander is actually the only truly successful scoobie.


          Originally posted by Josh View Post
          Yes, but he talked about it with much significance and made a big deal of it... It felt like he was trying to compensate for not taking the same path as his friends.
          I think he was worried about being dropped by his friends, but that's not the same as insecurity about not taking the same path. He had no interest in college and wanted to find his own thing. As for a car breakdown being poor planning...really?
          Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by bespangled View Post



            I think he was worried about being dropped by his friends, but that's not the same as insecurity about not taking the same path. He had no interest in college and wanted to find his own thing. As for a car breakdown being poor planning...really?
            I was referring to the in-joke about driving to all 50 states.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by bespangled View Post
              And yet his family was wealthy enough to pay for a lavish wedding.
              That can easily be explained by "Xander's father is lying or exaggerating" - as suggested by the viewers of Pop Culture Role Call - It was clear as the sun that Xander's financial situation in the high school years wasn't as good as Buffy and Willow's, especially with info like Xander's father being unemployed and Xander's mother working at the drive-through, and the times we are shown that Xander couldn't afford certain things like getting a limo or paying for an entire Halloween costume like his friends could.

              We also learn that Giles paid for the flowers from a cut scene, and Dawn mentions how Xander and Anya couldn't afford getting flowers for the wedding, so perhaps Xander and Anya were paying for the wedding as well, and maybe some of Anya's demon friends helped out, too.

              Another theory that fanfic writers, like the amazing "Cuckoo in the Nest" by Liz-Marcs, explained that Tony Harris' luck improved after Xander left the nest and he was able to land a good job with a good income.

              I also think what StateOfSiege97 meant was that the environment where he lived at home wasn't healthy enough for him to do well in school, with parents fighting all the time, too drunk to acknowledge him, perhaps emotionally and physically abusive, it's no wonder he couldn't work up a desire to study, even though he never misses a day of school or even cuts a class as far as I know unless it was Scooby-related business.

              Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post
              I was referring to the in-joke about driving to all 50 states.
              He was clearly talking big in front of his friends. I don't think he was able to save a lot of money for a road trip that'll cover 50 states, not to mention that he had to "dip into my road trip fund to procure a shiny new tux" and also pay for Cordelia's dress.
              Made by Trickyboxes
              Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life. Teenage Dirtbag

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Sosa lola View Post
                That can easily be explained by "Xander's father is lying or exaggerating" - as suggested by the viewers of Pop Culture Role Call - It was clear as the sun that Xander's financial situation in the high school years wasn't as good as Buffy and Willow's, especially with info like Xander's father being unemployed and Xander's mother working at the drive-through, and the times we are shown that Xander couldn't afford certain things like getting a limo or paying for an entire Halloween costume like his friends could.

                We also learn that Giles paid for the flowers from a cut scene, and Dawn mentions how Xander and Anya couldn't afford getting flowers for the wedding, so perhaps Xander and Anya were paying for the wedding as well, and maybe some of Anya's demon friends helped out, too.

                Another theory that fanfic writers, like the amazing "Cuckoo in the Nest" by Liz-Marcs, explained that Tony Harris' luck improved after Xander left the nest and he was able to land a good job with a good income.

                I also think what StateOfSiege97 meant was that the environment where he lived at home wasn't healthy enough for him to do well in school, with parents fighting all the time, too drunk to acknowledge him, perhaps emotionally and physically abusive, it's no wonder he couldn't work up a desire to study, even though he never misses a day of school or even cuts a class as far as I know unless it was Scooby-related business.



                He was clearly talking big in front of his friends. I don't think he was able to save a lot of money for a road trip that'll cover 50 states, not to mention that he had to "dip into my road trip fund to procure a shiny new tux" and also pay for Cordelia's dress.
                I have no disagreements with anything here.

                My problem is simply conflating Xander not going to college and his insecurities as both coming from his socioeconomic status. Abuse, neglect, alcoholism, drug use, and similar issues are in no way related to socioeconomic status. The idea of success necessarily including a college education and a career is kinda toxic in that it requires that those without that college education and career be seen as not successful. The urban is lesser than the suburban, and the working class is lesser than their more educated superiors. These myths define our lives, and they define his.

                Xander's insecurities clearly come from a terrible home life. He complains about his family life, and he complains about his own life. both for good reason. Other than him occasionally trying to steer his friends from expensive options, I don't recall him complaining about money. Most of all there's nothing that I see in canon that leads me to believe he wants to go to college and can't afford it, or that he wants to go to college at all.

                What he wants is to be with his friends and not left behind or forgotten.

                Classism bothers me because it is woven throughout the worldview that underlies our perception of reality. It's damaging to those who believe in those myths. That is part of the insecurity crippling Xander - the idea that he is lesser. He imagines that his friends judge him. He imagines that his jobs are not worthy of him, and at the same time that he's incapable of doing them. By saying college and a worthy career are the only answer is kinda like saying the real answer to racism is make everyone white.

                Part of Xander's story is his need to overcome these exact prejudices. There's nothing wrong in driving an ice cream truck. It's not a dead end job - it's a chance to drive an air conditioned vehicle around summer streets and make children happy. It has intrinsic value. The jobs Xander had didn't suit him, but they weren't in and of themselves a dead end. A lot of people with similar jobs find their life passion elsewhere - making music, computer art, fandom, even mastering a craft like fine woodworking.

                I'm sorry if I come across as harsh. I don't mean to. But I can't ignore this anymore than I can ignore racism. This worldview is at the base of class warfare. Buying into it is why some people feel free to scream at cashiers and not tip wait staff - they feel at that moment that they are in fact superior to someone with such a dead end job. Buying into it is part of Xander's season 4 problems as well as Giles's.
                Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by bespangled View Post
                  Most of all there's nothing that I see in canon that leads me to believe he wants to go to college and can't afford it, or that he wants to go to college at all.
                  I don't know about the lack of affording, since he was not accepted into any of the colleges he'd applied to. Xander did want to go to college, but it wasn't because he was thriving for higher learning, he just wanted to be with his friends or experience what they're experiencing (applying to colleges and receiving letters of acceptance or rejection) just so he wouldn't be left out.

                  Xander didn't go to college because he didn't have the grades. Not because he didn't want to go there. No college has accepted him. I'm pretty sure if he was accepted into UC Sunnydale, he'd go there just because he wants to be with his friends and nothing more. He's a very directionless kid, doesn't know what he wants to do with his life, doesn't even have a talent - that he knows of - or an interest other than movies, music and comic books - he could have found a career in that area if he had the suitable talent, but he didn't, and I'm pretty sure he didn't even think about it.

                  Now one can argue on why he couldn't get good grades, is it lack of motivation or lack of interest? We know he's slow in math, but he could have succeeded in other areas. Parents do play a role in children's academic achievements. A parent who encourages their child to do better and helps out with homework isn't like a drunken parent who didn't bother.


                  Originally posted by bespangled View Post
                  Buying into it is why some people feel free to scream at cashiers and not tip wait staff - they feel at that moment that they are in fact superior to someone with such a dead end job. Buying into it is part of Xander's season 4 problems as well as Giles's.
                  The episode Beer Bad dealt with something like that, when the frat boys were making fun of Xander the bartender.
                  Made by Trickyboxes
                  Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life. Teenage Dirtbag

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Sosa lola View Post
                    Another theory that fanfic writers, like the amazing "Cuckoo in the Nest" by Liz-Marcs, explained that Tony Harris' luck improved after Xander left the nest and he was able to land a good job with a good income.
                    Funny you mention Liz-Marcs, Sosa, as she was the first person to put forth the "Were ME going to write Xander out of the show after Season 3?" theory. Except she wasn't presenting it as a theory so much as confessing that when Season 3 was first airing, that's what she legitimately thought was going to happen to Xander, and went on to explain why. It certainly made a lot of sense, especially when it came to rationalizing the change in-between Seasons 3 and 4 in how Xander was handled as a character from there on out.

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                    • #25
                      Sosa - when does Xander talk about wanting to go to college when it's not about being with his friends? Just curious. Willow loves to learn, and Buffy is starting to blossom in college. Xander has never shown any academic interest from what I recall. This isn't a put down. Some people love academics. Some love working with their hands. Some have to stumble into what they love.

                      Yes, Xander is floundering. That's normal when you join the work force. And since Xander is doing professional quality wood work for Giles by the start of season 5, I'd say he found what he loves during that time of floundering.

                      Also curious - do you really think college is the only path? Xander labels himself a failure - do you buy into that? Is he a failure?
                      Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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