Friday, April 5, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 27

Day 27: Cutest Moment

So many things in Buffy are adorable.  But somehow I knew I was going to pick something from "Chosen", because somehow it feels mandatory.

The Buffy and Angel "Cookie" Exchange in "Chosen"

BUFFY (cont'd)
I'm well aware of my stellar history
with guys, and no, I don't see fat
grandchildren in the offing with
Spike, but... I don't think that
matters right now.
(thinks a moment)
You know, in the midst of all this...
insanity, couple things are actually
starting to make sense. And the guy
He joins her, also leaning on the crypt.

BUFFY (cont'd)
You know, I've always figured there
was something wrong with me, 'cause
I never made it work. But maybe I'm
not supposed to. ANGEL
Because you're the Slayer?
Because... okay, I'm cookie dough,
Yet another curveball...
I'm not done baking yet. I'm not
finished becoming... whoever the hell
it is I'm gonna turn out to be. I've
been looking for someone to make me
feel whole, and maybe I just need to
be whole. I make it through this,
and the next thing, and the next...
maybe one day I turn around and
realize I'm ready. I'm cookies. And
then if I want someone to eat m --
or, to enjoy warm delicious cookie-
me, then that's fine. That'll be
then. When I'm done.
Any thoughts on who might enjoy... do
I have to go with the cookie analogy?
I don't really think that far ahead.
That's kind of the point.
I get it.
A beat, and he hands her the amulet.

ANGEL (cont'd)
I'll start working on a second front.
Make sure I don't have to use it.
A beat, his hands on hers, and he starts off.

Angel. I do. Sometimes... think
that far ahead.
He stops, smiles a bit.

BUFFY (cont'd)
We both have our lives, but...
sometimes... ANGEL
Sometimes is something.
It'd be a long time coming. Years,
if ever.
He walks backwards into the dark, smiling at her.

I ain't gettin' any older.
He disappears into shadow. She watches him go

This is adorable for a number of reasons. 

First of all, I've written here before about how I hate pretty much all of Buffy's relationships throughout the series.  This whole conversation is an acknowledgement of how terrible Buffy's romantic history is.  She even takes Angel's idealism down a peg.  I think in some way, in his very haughty way, Angel thinks he was supposed to come save the world with her and then sweep her off her feet.  He's so territorial when they talk about Spike that you'd think they hadn't actually been broken up for FOUR YEARS.   

Also, I feel like this is kind of owning her mistakes and realizing that she doesn't need to repeat them because she doesn't need someone else.  Being single isn't necessarily a feminist choice, but recognizing that it's okay to be single when you feel it's the best choice for you definitely is.  And Angel acknowledges here that he's pretty cool with this.  

Buffy has a lot of inner strength and she's finally kind of coming into her own, truly, here.  And the cookies metaphor is really adorable. Angel's reaction to it, for as broody and haughty and full of himself as it is, is also pretty adorable.

My blog hit 5000 pageviews today, which is like nothing in Internet numbers, but you guys are all awesome and I appreciate everyone who reads even a post on here.  Thank you!  

Monday, April 1, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 26

Day 26: Favorite Scooby Gang Configuration 

Yikes.  It's tough with this one because in almost every configuration there's either a favorite of mine missing or someone I don't like in the gang.  So, this one surprised me, too.

Season 5: Buffy, Willow, Xander, Tara, Anya, Giles, and Spike (kind of)

I guess this is early Season 5, before Dawn really got clued into everything and was actively working with the gang.   As much as Dawn has grown on me as a character, I still find her an ineffective member of the gang all the way through the series, mostly because I cannot tolerate the sound of her screaming constantly. 

I like Oz a lot, and think he added a lot of levity and fun to the gang.  I also like Cordelia because watching her develop as a character in seasons 2 and 3 was really interesting.  But I also think their replacements were effective improvements, at least as far as the fighting aspects go.  Anya and Tara both bring with them talent that we didn't get to see before, Tara through magic and Anya through her extensive knowledge that is often not found in the seemingly thousands of books Giles has in stock.  The beginning of Season 5 also saw a distinct dropoff in Riley's involvement in fighting, thank God.  I only have a couple more days until I get to write about Riley and I'm really excited for it.

The characters who have been around all along have also grown into themselves by this point.  Buffy has come to a new point of accepting her responsibility as a Slayer, even embracing it.  Giles has both realized that Buffy doesn't need him anymore and that she does WANT him around.  Xander is still....Xander...well, oh well.  Willow is at a point where she is able to do powerful magic but has not hit the addiction point with it.  And Spike is in an interesting transition period, starting to accept that he's not able to be evil anymore but not yet realizing his affection for Buffy. 

From a feminist perspective, we're at an interesting point in the series where the female characters are almost universally more useful than the male ones here.  This is, to an extent, always the case.  But it's especially obvious here.  In fact, all of the three male characters are sort of in transition--Xander trying to figure out who he is and what is relationship is with Anya, and the aforementioned identity crises of Giles and Spike--while the four female characters have grown into their strengths and have confidence in them. 

Plus, the magic shop is the best Scooby home base post-Sunnydale High. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Days 24-25

Day 24: Favorite Example Of 90s Special Effects
Day 25: Favorite Buffyverse Saying

These two are so small and pointless to expound upon so I'm going to just combine them.  So here we go, this is a short one, folks.

The Mayor's Ascension
Honorable Mentions go to Oz's werewolf transformations or any example of "vamp face".  

I mean the way his face just gets weirdly elongated and then he turns into a GIANT FREAKING SNAKE.  And everyone's reaction to it is hilarious, as well as...understandably alarmed.  I love "vamp face", though.  It's so absurd.  And no actor ever, ever pulls it off convincingly.

Looks like the Hellmouth is
officially closed for business.

There is another one in Cleveland.
Not to spoil the moment... 

 I don't really have a favorite recurring Buffy phrase--everyone picks "bored now"--but I like the Cleveland as another Hellmouth joke for two reasons.  One, it's an example of good writing because it can be subtly traced through the seasons up until this piece of dialogue that comes at the very end of the series finale "Chosen".  Two, I'm a PITTSBURGH girl.  Any hating on Cleveland is cool in my book.  

Wouldn't surprise me if it was a Hellmouth.

I'm going to replace Day 25 with another question that was in another one of the 30 Days of Buffy memes I found, so I'll get right on that today. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 23

Day 23: Two Characters You Wanted To Get Together But Never Did

Yeah, all of my favorite pairings are just completely out there.  Then again, this show put so many weird couples together that I don't think ANY pairing could really be "out there".  So here we go.  Flame away.

Giles and Anya
Honorable mention goes to Spike and Faith (oh come on, how hot would that be?)

I feel like Giles and Anya are the two most intelligent characters on this show.  Plus, they're my two favorites, so I'm a little biased.  But I honestly think they'd be adorable together.  Giles definitely appears to admire Anya's abilities when it comes to knowledge of the supernatural and often looks to her for expertise.  He also realizes her business acumen pretty much immediately.  For her part, Anya seems to take a genuine liking to Giles.  And I can't really say the age difference would be a difficult one to manage here--after all, Anya is over a thousand years old.

I mean, come on, Giles seems to be destined for perpetual romantic misery, and Xander and Anya didn't exactly work out because, mostly, he was too immature for her. And while Giles can often be made uncomfortable or joke about Anya's lack of social graces, he also appreciates her skills and knowledge in a way that Xander never really does.

Also, there are these things, from the season six finale "Grave":

What did you do? GILES
Contained her and her powers within
a binding field. It puts her in a
kind of stasis for the time--
You've cut your hair.
Buffy slides her arms around Giles. God, she's glad to see him. They hold each other for a moment, as Anya watches, longingly.

I'm blonde!
Giles peeks over at her. Huh?

ANYA (cont'd)
I colored my hair. Again. I'm
Giles recognizes her desire for attention.

Yes. I noticed.
And later:
ANYA (cont'd)
Giles? Giles. Don't die. Not yet.
I... There are... I need to tell
(tears start to flow)
Thanks a lot for coming. I mean, it
was nice of you to teleport all this

ANYA (cont'd)
Though, in retrospect, it might have
been better if you hadn't come and
given her all that magic that made
her ten times more powerful... that
would have been a plus.
She GASPS when Giles' hand comes up and touches hers. She looks at him and sees his eyes are slightly open and looking at her with affection.

(barely a whisper)
It's not over.
Yeeeah, sorry, I really love these two.  And I wish they would have gotten together.  they both definitely deserved better than they got.  
Feel free to disagree, I would love to hear all of my readers' wacky pairings as well!



Monday, March 25, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 22

Day 22: Character You Like That Everyone Else Hates

I thought about this for a really long time before I realized that the answer was incredibly obvious.  I did not want to get through this meme without writing about one character who I think exemplifies the anti-feminist tendencies of this show, at least from a female perspective.


I honestly believe that Faith is the most complex and interesting character in Buffy.  Sadly, her story arc doesn't get nearly as much time as it should on this show.  Faith as a person is a perfectly feminist character, but once again it's about framing.  So let's take a look.

Faith shows up at the beginning of Season 3 as the Slayer that was called after Kendra was killed.  She is instantly everything Buffy is not--dark-colored clothing to Buffy's cutesy little outfits, dark hair to Buffy's innocent blonde, and sexually promiscuous where Buffy has at this point been put in her place for having a sense of sexuality.  Even more, Faith ENJOYS slaying in a way that Buffy also does but refuses to admit it.  Faith is the Whore to Buffy's Madonna, so naturally she has to turn evil--her aggression and sexuality have to turn into something bad.

It's hinted that Faith has kind of a bad past, not knowing her father and having an abusive, alcoholic mother.  So, naturally, she dealt with this through being delinquent...and highly sexual.  Sex is not exactly a good thing on Buffy.

So Faith goes to work for the Mayor--she was SO DESPERATE for that replacement father figure that she needed to go be evil about it--and, long story short, ends up in a coma.  When she wakes up she finds a spell to take over Buffy's body, because she obviously should so desperately WANT to be the good girl. But let's save that for a minute.

When Faith does come back in the Season 4 episode "This Year's Girl", she finds Buffy and talks to her.  Faith points out that Buffy tried to kill her for Angel, over a guy that Buffy had seen as "the love of her life."  But when Faith came back, Angel was long gone and Buffy was with Riley, an entirely different guy.  Then Willow calls Faith a bitch a few times, which is always charming.

In Season 3, the turning point of Faith into "evil" territory is when she accidentally kills a man that she thought was a vampire.  The whole Scooby Gang frets over her, pointing out that she must feel completely different now that she's taken a human life.  And it's clear that Faith does change--she's more lost than ever but deal with it in an unhealthy way.  In this she quickly becomes the Bad Guy.  Something that was clearly going to happen from Day 1 of her appearance because the good, sweet, nearly-virginal heroine of the show was put off by her aggressive, frank, sexual ways.

In "This Year's Girl", Faith takes over Buffy's body.  In the second part of the two-part episode, "Who Are You", we see her imitate Buffy in private, mocking Buffy's sense of right and wrong.  She even does it to Spike here (keep in mind, the dialogue is tagged as "Faith" but it's Faith in Buffy's body):

Gah! You know why I really hate
you, Summers?

I'm a stuck up tight-ass with no
sense of fun?
He's sort of stopped by that one…

Wuh-yeah, that… covers a lot of it…

'Cause I could do anything I want
and instead I just pout and whine
and feel the burden of slayerness? I
mean, I could be rich, I could be
famous, I could have anything.
(her tone becomes
intimate, hypnotic)
Even you, Spike. I could ride you at
a gallop till your legs buckled and
your eyes rolled up, I've got muscles
you've never even dreamed of, I could
squeeze you till you popped like warm
champagne and you'd beg me to hurt
you just a little bit more and you
know why I don't?
Spike, as aroused as he is confused, takes a moment. Before he can answer:

FAITH (cont'd)
(mock serious)
Because it's wrong.
Later in this episode, Faith rapes Riley.  Yes, I realize "rapes" is a surprisingly strong word, but it's true: she is not the person he consents to have sex with, Buffy is, but it's Faith in her body pulling the strings.  And Riley reacts in a way that would imply he felt violated by it as well.  But before they have sex, Faith asks Riley this:
What do you want to do with this

body? What nasty little desire have
you been itching to try out? Am I a
bad girl? Do you wanna hurt me?
 This is two things: One, she's trying to soil Buffy's body in some way, as well as trying to screw with Buffy for screwing with her whole life.  Second, I think we're supposed to see Faith as having low self-esteem that is manifested by her aggressive sexuality.  I don't necessarily see this as the case--Faith may be misguided and emotionally stunted but I take umbrage at the notion that all women who choose to be promiscuous are doing it out of some phantom lack of self-esteem.  
Faith shows up on Angel and some truly interesting things happen there, but I'm going to save that for when I actually cover that series.  She comes back to Sunnydale in season 7 of Buffy to fight The First Evil and, while she is still Buffy's foil, she is "reformed" now.  
Faith got the short end of the stick in a lot of ways.  He character arc should have gotten more time to develop and I have always had a hard time seeing her as a real villain--just a complex person with a lot of weight on her shoulders.  My frustrations with Faith never stemmed from disliking her, I realized upon rewatch.  My frustrations came from the lack of exploration her character was allowed that made it APPEAR we were supposed to dislike her in a black-or-white, good-and-evil kind of way.  She scorns Buffy's good-girl nature in a way that she legitimately should, and her jealousy stems from the fact that Buffy is continuously rewarded while Faith cannot find a proper place in the world no matter her methodology or morals.  
In the end, I ended up liking Faith a lot more than a lot of the characters you're actually supposed to like.  She feels like a whole person, someone with real issues who never gets to truly bring them to the surface unless she's fighting.  It's easy to identify with Faith--except for, you know, the murders and stuff--because everyone knows a person like her, to some degree.  
I've got another couple hard prompts coming up so be prepared for some out-of-left-field posts.  That's all I can say.      

Friday, March 22, 2013

The MRAs Invaded My Blog!

Happy Return-From-Spring-Break everyone!  Tomorrow I will be returning to 30 Days of Buffy but for right now I figured we'd have some extra fun!

So on my last post a comment was posted by a guy who proclaimed he was BOYCOTTING AMERICAN WOMEN because of how awful they are.  I'll invite you to go look at that comment because, hey, no one will ever accuse me of deleting discussion from the opposition!  But he did post a list of "facts" that I'd like to debunk one by one, because a lot of them regard things I would have liked to talk about anyway.

Before anything else I guess I should explain what MRAs are. They are Men's Rights Activists, men who believe that now that women have apparently taken over the world, men must fight back to reclaim their rights.  I would hate to direct you, my wonderful readers, to anything that will really make your head explode.  So I will follow this link (to the bowels of Reddit Hell) with these two fun links.  This one is to the topics page about MRAs.  This one is to an awesome site making fun of MRAs.

Okay, now to the meat of this post. 

1. False rape accusations (it has been proven that up to 80 percent of rape accusations are FALSE)

Oh man, we're really starting off with a doozy!  Remember, he's saying that this is one of the reasons he will never date American women.  Because they all like to lie about rape.  This is especially important to remember after the verdict of the Steubenville rape case came down last Sunday.  Now LET ME TELL YOU HOW NOT TRUE THIS IS.

These statistics are coming from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

Now, those stats may seem irrelevant to this question but let me put them in context.  After attempting to research the actual rate of false reports of rape, many realize there is no actual number.  This is because--as you can see in this depressing infographic--the rate of rapes that are even investigated is so frighteningly low it's hard to know whether or not claims are false.  And while the FBI reports that about 8% of rapes claims are "unfounded", that does not mean the same thing as falsified--it means that not sufficient evidence could be found one way or another.  And, considering how terribly rape is investigated, that is not surprising.  Still, after looking around at a few reputable sources in America, no estimate is even remotely close to 80%.

Now here's why this is misogynistic (as if I have to explain this):  You see that graph up there?  Yeah, guys like this are the reason that graph looks that way.  It assumes that women are all liars and whores, and completely dismisses the experience of rape survivors.  And yes, this is misogynistic--there are male victims of rape but rape is a VERY gendered crime, if not in reality then at least as far as our culture is concerned.  Assuming that every woman who claims she has been raped is constantly lying is a form of victim-blaming, and it's not okay.  But holy shit, 80%.  This guy really doesn't want to be taken seriously!

2. False domestic violence (DV) charges (same as above, and up to 40 percent of domestic violence victims are MALE, with their female partners INITIATING the violence)
 Hey, I saw this one just a couple weeks ago while researching my Domestic Violence post!  On an MRA web site!  Okay, let's break this down, because the way this was written literally makes no sense.

The rate of fake domestic violence charges is (apparently) as high as fake rape charges, thus 80%
Up to 40% of DV victims are male, with their female partners initiating the violence.

Okay.  First of all, THERE ARE A LOT OF MALE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.  In fact, many sources corroborate that statistic.  That, in itself, is not misogynistic--women can also be terrible people.  However, there is no indication in any of the many studies I read that those 40% were all assaulted by female partners.  Just as the statistics for women do not take into account their female intimate partners.

But let's throw that all out the window, because this:

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:
  • Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
  • 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
 I cannot dispute the claims about false accusations of domestic violence, but I can say that 1 in 4 women are likely to be the victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes and that is another one of the most underreported crimes out there.  So take from that what you will.

 3. False sexual harassment charges
There is no context to this.  The only thing that I can say is that SEXUAL HARASSMENT EXISTS.  Sorry that you can't slap your female coworkers' asses allll daaay loooong these days, dudes, but them's the breaks.  You thinking the ladies are being uptight bitches doesn't make you being gross okay.

4. Financial destruction of men in divorce courts through alimony and support payments (women get up to 95 percent of their ex-husband's income and savings, as well as the house, car, etc)
I'm not going to look up stats for this one because, frankly, I partially agree with it.  Because it's sexist!

Alimony is one of those things that is a gift with a price.  Women receive alimony because men are seen as the breadwinners in married couples' households, thus divorce women are assumed incapable of taking care of themselves.  In a world where women still make less money than men that is not entirely untrue, but it is still objectionable that the default is to give the woman a bunch of money because clearly she is incapable of making it herself.  Child custody is another thing that gets kind of screwed up in the process of being well-meaning.  Women are EXPECTED to take care of their children, so they very frequently end up with full custody.  Which, again, is doing a disservice to both women and men because gender roles exist.  Unfortunately, child support kind of is a different story.

No, you probably shouldn't have to support your spouse after a divorce because of some antiquated notion that they have become reliant on you for income.  However, a child is a whole different story--the parent who does not spend as much time/money with the child is still responsible for its wellbeing, and thus SHOULD contribute to that.  It's not to say that the support-paying parent should be the father, because we're working under the ideal model of the mother not being the default parent.

So, while you're right in theory, Mr. MRA Douche, it's not for the reasons you think.

5. Emotional destruction of men by ex-wives who have stolen their children from them and forbidden the fathers from having custody or contact with their own children
If anyone can actually explain to me that this happens legally I will gladly respond to it.  Until then...WUT?

 6. Divorced dads who commit suicide as a result
There's no number here to prove or disprove so I will say this: this probably does happen.  I read a few articles, and they concluded that divorce and middle age are frequent causes of suicide for men.  However, there are no stats on what is being presented here at all.

-25 percent of American women take psychiatric drugs for mental illnesses. 
This one just pisses me off.  So this is a reason to avoid them?  Anyway, it's bullshit and misleading--about half of the U.S. population will, at some point in their lifetimes, exhibit symptoms that would qualify them for a DSM diagnosis of some kind.  And while women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression (not necessarily BE depressed, but be DIAGNOSED with depression), men are far more likely to have schizophrenia and substance abuse problems.

And it saddens me that any population--women, men, any race, any class--should be "boycotted" because of general statistics about that group's mental health.  Being medicated for mental health issues or even just HAVING them does not make a person bad, or crazy--it's INCREDIBLY common.

-25 percent of women under the age of 30 have at least one STD. 
There are a million reasons for this.  First of all, that rate ain't all that different for men--in fact, one in two adults (regardless of gender) will contract an STD at some point.  Second, us ladies?  We get tested for HPV.  The fellas don't.  Thirdly, it is anatomically easier for women to contract STDs than it is for men.  Also, we are more likely to be screened for STDs than men are.  Since there is no context here (about men vs. women) it's a pretty easy stat to knock down.

-85 percent of divorces in America are INITIATED by women, thus women are responsible for the vast majority of divorces. 

Uhhh, that is a faulty syllogism, dude.  Women being the first person to say "I want a divorce" or being the first ones to fill out legal documents does not mean the divorce is their fault.  It takes two to tango, right?  Like, women aren't all out of the blue saying "I want a divorce!" because they realize every problem in their marriage is their fault.  Also, according to this here paper, about two thirds of initial filings are by women, not 85%.  Still, this shows a lack of personal responsibility.  Divorce really sucks, don't get me wrong, but you have to at least admit that if you're in an equal marriage you both have some fault for "causing" a divorce, right?

-70 percent of criminals in America were raised by single mothers, thus feminism is responsible for most crime in America. 
Two things about this made me laugh:  One, that is an even faultier syllogism than the last one.  And two, when you type "criminals raised by single mothers" into Google, the first results are all headlines about Ann Coulter, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney planting foot firmly in mouth by blaming single mothers for crime in America.  I'm not going to say anymore about this because this article says it better than I ever could.  Also, feminism does not advocate single motherhood exclusively, just that single motherhood should be an option for women.  So wrong on all counts.

 -The majority of child molestation, child abuse, and child murder in America is done by WOMEN.
"The majority" is a very vague estimation, so let's just go in with the assumption that this guy is talking the bare minimum, meaning 51%.  The APA can go ahead and rule out women committing the majority of sexual abuse right off the bat--according to them, women are the perpetrators in about 14% of cases of sexual abuse in boys and about 6% of sexual abuse in girls.  It is very hard to find statistics on child murder in the U.S., at least child murder stats that are isolated to victims whose parents killed them, so I can't refute that. 

Over 50 percent of American women are single, without a boyfriend or husband; so the fact is most American men no longer want to marry American women. Let these worthless American women grow old living alone with their 10 cats.
I'm not sure how you could know this at any given time, seeing as people are going into and breaking up relationships every day.  According to this handy chart in 2010 over half of women were married, so...I'm not sure how this could be true.  It does not give statistics on whether people have unmarried partners.  Also, it's important to add that men's numbers were higher in the "Never Married" category and lower in the "Married" category.

And Chaz and I intend on having our ten cats together.  And one hedgehog.

This guy wraps up by saying how prejudiced it is when he gets shouted down for telling men to marry East Asian women/.  This fetishization of different cultures because the women within them are stereotypically--not in reality!--subservient is pretty gross.  Marry whomever you want, but if your qualification for marrying them is that they are of a specific race, that's pretty gross, dude.

So in conclusion, you're misogynistic and gross.  I don't think American women--or really any women--enjoy those qualities, so...your boycott may be externally imposed.
Also this:

Back to Buffy later today!  Yay!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 21

First of all, I want to thank the folks at for including my posts in their roundup of Buffy stuff around the Web.  I am in some amazing company!  You should check out their front page for tons of great links to fanfic, fandom discussion and news.  Welcome all of you that came from there!  

Day 21: Favorite Xander-Centric Episode

You guys realize how much it pains me to write anything that has the word "Favorite" and "Xander" right next to each other, right?

Okay.  I can do this.  Favorite Xander episode.

"Hell's Bells"
No honorable mentions because I hate Xander.  I realize that I just scared SO many readers away, but you can refer to this post to understand.

This is the episode where Xander leaves Anya at the altar.  And you know what?  It's one of the few times that I really feel for Xander.  I also hate him because he is an ass here, too, but at least I understand why.

So, quick plot summary.  Before he can go to wait for Anya at the altar, Xander is accosted by a man who claims to be an older version of him from the future. Xander-from-the-future shows Present Xander a bunch of visions of him making Anya's life and their future kids' lives miserable after he marries her.  When they get back to present Xander runs off and Anya finds out, finding the man who claimed to be Future Xander.  Future Xander then reveals himself to be a man Anya(nka) turned into a demon during her vengeance days--and this is his revenge on her.  Willow finds Xander and brings him back, and Anya tells him over and over again that it was a trick and the future visions weren't real.  But Xander, despite knowing this, tells her he can't marry her.  And that's that.

I used to hate Xander for not marrying Anya. But I do think this was probably the bravest he ever was--he ADR an adult decision. Should he have made it before he even proposed? Yes. But the realization that he would save them pain in the long run if he hurt her in the short run is a surprisingly mature one.

I also like that this episode gives even more of a sense of Xander's background. We see his crazy, alcoholic father, his guilt-tripping mother and the rest of his dysfunctional family. For once, in comparison, Xander looks like the good guy.

I think I like this episode too because we see the rest of the Scoobies' affection for Anya. None of them were really good friends with her--they don't act like it anyway--but they seem truly supportive of her, both in the good moments and the bad moments of the wedding.

Xander is still an asshole. He's an asshole for doing this, too. But at least he is, for once, a contrite asshole. I like that the writers leave it up to the audience to decide just how horrible Xander is here--he is framed as being a coward but also being responsible at the same time.

There are also great Spike/Buffy and Willow/Tara exchanges in this episode that I really like...

Okay, this was pretty disjointed, but it was hard enough to write so give me some credit.

On a slightly related more, Pandora has been shockingly intuitive while I write these posts. For example, while I was writing the Spike post the other day "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails came on. Today it was "Best Thing I Never Had" by Beyonce. Weird!

I apparently skipped a prompt accidentally so I'm going to do that one next. Have a lovely Saturday!