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. 

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