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Why Spike and Xander? A Comparison of Similarities

by Djinanna

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*WHY* Spike and Xander? I've seen that question (or really rude comments that *imply* that question) so many times.

So, there's lots of reasons. They're the pretty Buffy-boys of choice for this slash fan. They make a pretty picture, one all compact and pale and blond, the other all tall and tanned and dark. Their personalities are such an interesting contrast, one all BigBad and fangy/*grrr* and evil-corrupt-vampire, the other all WhiteHat and protective and (relatively) naive-innocent. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And, yeah, all those are good. But I've got another alternative for your consideration.

Because they're more alike than you think. There are many parallels between them. Many places where their personal development as (fictional) people have run parallel, sometimes remaining parallel and sometimes diverging sharply from one another in intriguing ways. And because they both have The Appeal of the Underdog.[tm] The "underdog" or the "outsider" or the "misfit" or the "Zeppo"...

Check out my compare'n'contrast table here, and see if you don't get some little moments of deja vu from it. [see notes at end of entry]

XanderSpike, aka William the Bloody-Awful-Poet
Xander is canonically not always the best judge of himselfSpike *is* the geek-cum-outsider that Xander sometimes *thinks* he is
he's loyal, loving, truthful within normal human parameters, amazingly intuitive under pressure, generally a good guy, and has a ton of other good qualitieshe is loyal, loving (but obsessively so), as amazingly intuitive about others as he is clueless about his own behaviors, dangerous and focused under pressure
he's kinda grown up past his original massive inferiority complex, what with the Responsible Adult Holding a Job and Has a Car and His Own Apartment gig, plus learning how to be healthily assertive, but he *still* has times when the old inferiority complex rears its nasty headhe hasn't so much grown out of his original massive inferiority complex as repressed it and then covered it over with massive amounts of attitude and aggression
he's got no special powers or special role within the Scoobies (beyond being Dependable Guy, which he doesn't acknowledge)he started out as "bottom of the barrel" guy within his vampiric family, not really useful or necessary except in his role as Dependable Guy assigned to babysit Dru
he's an outsider even within his "peer group", aka the Scoobies, the only guy within a "chick pack" (if this were RL, he'd be the girls' gay sidekick/mascot; as it is... :::ehem:::)he's an outsider even within his "peer group", aka vampires'n'demons
he's the only Scoobie who hasn't attended college, even the others' Significant Others are or were attending college ... and since Anya, Xander's own (ex-)SO, was also not attending college while they were a couple, this isolated the pair of them from the others; also, during seasons 4 & 5, this also physically separated him from the center of the actionafter the accident that put him (temporarily) in a wheelchair, he was treated as an outsider in his peer group/vampiric family, and the physical limitations of getting around in a wheelchair also physically separated him from the center of the action
a major underachiever academically, he's the only one of the Scoobies who *doesn't* have massive book learnin' (and his street smarts aren't of the highest caliber either, at least in comparison to "Ripper" Giles...)hides any academic achievement behind a street-smart facade and overcompensates for his poetry-writing, sensitive-guy past by trying to be the Biggest, Bad-est Big Bad out there ("Kiddies...")
he's "just" a regular guyeven at the height of his Big Bad period, he was judged too emotional -- in other words, as too *human*
he was a misfit in high school (Trekkie, geek, what-have-you)as a human, he started off as a geek (poetry geek) and a spaz
he's not a jock (um, but Xander -- Speedo? Remember?)as a human, not a jock, uh-uh, nope, no way
never the guy the girls want -- unless the girl is a demon-monster-whatever (or, hey Willow, a latent lesbian...)except for his Dru period, he has awful luck with women -- and his Dru period was arguably controlled by Dru and her needs
he even "failed" at being class clownalways a bit of a spaz, with the behavior-mod chip in place, he goes from predator to punch-line
has blown up every romantic relationship he's every been in through one fuck-up or anotherhe's the epitome of "loves not wisely but too well" - even as a demon
had lousy home-life and less-said-the-better parents who, if not physically/sexually abusive (neither of which actually seems likely, though both are certainly *possible*), *were* negligent and emotionally abusive just by the fact of their alcohol-and-screaming behaviorsAngelus ... Darla ... Drusilla -- this "vampire family" is so far beyond mere text-book "dysfunctional" family dynamics, it's -- well, it's given the dark!fic writers *years* of evil fanged plot-bunnies to play with

Notes ... I'm not gonna claim that the above is a complete and definitive examination of either character. I'm sure I missed stuff. I'm sure I was (unknowingly) influenced by fanon from time to time. I bow to the detail-junkies and canon experts for that kinda stuff. This is just my own Gestalt-Girl overview, "intended for entertainment" and all. I thought it was nifty, how many parallels I could draw without even reaching. Cause, yeah, I coulda kept going, but it would have required some reaching at that point and, hey, I was tired. Besides, there's like 14 points of comparison here already (unless my count was off). Um, I think there was something else, but I forget.

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For additional discussion on this essay, you might want to check out Djinanna's Livejournal Post on the subject.
~ MP

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