*Looks up and then back* Yes I’m aware it’s not my most creative title, but to be fair it get’s it’s point across fairly well. Xander is very annoying, and I’ve only recently figured out exactly why he is so spectacularly annoying… he isn’t a real character.
Confused? Well I’ll try to explain… hmm where to start? Well I suppose the very beginning, all the other characters had a real point. They had a role to play, Buffy was the plucky Heroine, Giles was the wise mentor, Willow was the foil and Xander… well he evened up the genders.
Think about it, if Buffy only had girl friends then the show would have been too… girly. I know it’s not very feminist to say that but it’s true, if the only male main character is your surrogate father figure you’ve got a show directed at girls. So I can understand they didn’t want to ostracize half their demographic.
But then again that’s also the problem, Xander wasn’t put in to fill a role in the narrative like the others, he was put in to fill a role in the marketing. Of course this is a theory of my own design and I’ve never read any thing confirming it, but it really makes sense.
He’s not giving as much character development as the others because he really doesn’t have a proper place in the story, he didn’t really have a place to start from. All the others as the seasons progressed struggled, questioned and even attempted to rebel against the roles they were assigned at the start of the series.
Buffy struggles with her role as the hero and paragon that the others force upon her while coping with her *would be down right depressing if this wasn’t a show about vampires* personal life. *Ooh sorry your mother’s just dropped dead of a brain tumor and you now have custody of your traumatized and annoying teenage sister Buffy, but your boyfriend’s been kinda cheating on you because he felt neglected. And if you don’t instantly forgive him you’re a horrible person.*
Willow’s Foil aspects of her personality seemed to fall by the road side as she grows more comfortable with her self, her magic, her new sexual identity, and relationship with Girlfriend Tara.
Giles struggles with inadequacy with his role as mentor as Buffy and Willow both start to surpass him in both wisdom and knowledge. Season 4 especially delves into his feelings of uselessness as he is seemly replaced by Maggie Walsh. In fact it’s only Buffy herself who is able to reassure him.
Xander’s original role was well… to have a penis. That’s not something you really struggle against, well unless you’re a transsexual. That would have made the show so much better, but ah lass for the sake of this post we must remain in the land of reality.
Perhaps that is why the character seems so embittered to the rest, deep with in his very core he knows that his entire worth as an entity rides on control groups. He’s not a character, he’s a demographic.