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Xander's Family


Slash, and specifically S/X fanon, often portrays Xander's parents -- and occasionally Uncle Rory -- as emotionally, physically, and/or sexually abusive. It's an oft-used storyline, and one which can be done well, or not, just like any other plot, but it's not canon. That is, it *could* be true, but it hasn't been shown to be.

Many of the Xander-as-abused stories seem to have been inspired by the Fourth Season finale, "Restless," in which Xander's father (we assume, although it *could* be another relative) is seen to be overbearing and finally rips out Xander's heart. But it happens in a dream-- and Freud would be the first to tell us that we have our parents do all sorts of things and act all sorts of ways in dreams that they would never do or act in real life.

The Real Deal

None of Xander's family was ever shown onscreen -- except for his dream of his father at the end of Season 4 -- until "Hell's Bells," in Season Six: Xander's failed wedding to Anya. His parents' names were also unknown until this episode. His mother's voice was heard from upstairs in Season Four's "The Initiative," offering fruit punch to Giles and Xander, who were in the basement.

Tony HarrisTony Harris
Drinks heavily, at least at social events. Occupation unknown, possibly blue-collar. Thinks that without his wife, he wouldn't drink so much, but at least marriage probably saved him from a dose of the clap. A real charmer.
Jessica HarrisJessica Harris
Occupation unknown, if any. Doesn't cook, doesn't necessarily recognize Xander's voice when he calls home. On the other hand, she's hospitable to both Giles and Anya on different occasions, and does seem to care about her son, when she remembers he exists.
Uncle RoryUncle Rory
Former taxidermist. Drinks peppermint schnapps, and has been known to drive drunk, hence Xander being able to rent his classic 57 Chevy in "The Zeppo." Once known for being stodgy by day and a partier by night, by the time of Xander's wedding, Rory seems more pathetic than womanizing; even the catering woman appears to be humouring him.

As far as the show has presented, they (and other relatives) get drunk on Christmas, and Uncle Rory drinks more. Anya referred to them as "his drunken parents" in "The Replacement," and Xander said "Those people are scary," in "Forever."

They argue with each other and throw things, and Xander dreamt in "Restless" that his father accused him of upsetting his mother by never going upstairs once he'd moved into the basement. In the same dream, his father accused him of thinking himself better than he really was.

In "Hell's Bells" Xander's father -- Tony -- drank heavily, and was generally insulting towards his mother -- Jessica -- (as well as everyone else). Jessica seems to be long-suffering and a bit neurotic. Xander's Uncle Rory came on to one of the caterers (female) and made disturbing jokes about stuffing moose heads. All in all, an unpleasantly dysfunctional family.

Xander was not, as far as we've been told, abused by his parents. It can be guessed that he was neglected and/or subject to emotional abuse, but we've never seen or heard him refer to any abuse.

James note-- Xander doesn't act like someone who has been physically or sexually abused, but that's just an evaluation.

MP note-- His behavior when he finds out about the boy in "Nightmares" who has been physically abused by his Kiddie League coach, is upset, but doesn't seem to show any personal trauma, beyond the general disgust that anybody would beat up a child.

Other relatives:

Cousin Carol and KarenCousin Carol and her daughter, Karen.
A single mom with an asthmatic child, Carol seems friendly, if a bit scatterbrained and needy. She hit it off with one of Anya's demon friends, Krelvin, before and during the wedding. Who knows; the Harrises may have demons in the family even if Xander and Anya don't get back together.

Mentioned but never seen: Cousin Rigby, who lent Xander his tux for "Homecoming" -- a member of the only branch of the family who has any money. Uncle Dave, the plumber, "The grownup who sees the world through {his} job." Somebody Xander doesn't want to turn into, like most of his family.

Images from Just Imagine.

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