Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Tara Maclay

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

The death of a beloved character often feels like a death in our own families. We watch these shows for years, become entangled in lives of these characters and when they die, it feels like a deeply personal loss.

Tara Maclay (Amber Benson) was introduced as a new character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 4th season. Like Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Tara is also a witch who is just beginning to develop her powers. But unlike Willow, Tara’s skills are more developed.  Their relationship soon grows from friendship to a romantic relationship.

Like all relationships, the roles within the relationships change as things change. As Willow becomes more confident and powerful as a witch, Tara become the “damsel in distress”, needing to be rescued by her girlfriend. Tara also becomes a surrogate parent to Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) after she and Willow move in with the Summers following the death of Dawn’s mother.

When Willow becomes addicted to magic, Tara supports her girlfriend as she tries to come clean, but Willow’s addiction nearly breaks up their relationship. When Tara is killed by The Trio, her death triggers Willow’s grief and anger, pulling her to the dark side.

To sum it up: Though Tara was not on on BVTS for the entire run of the show, her character was still a significant one. Willow and Tara were one of the first major female LGBTQ relationships on television. It felt real and normal. Tara was as beloved as both Willow’s girlfriend and as an individual character. Her death was a blow to the audience and to the characters who grew to love her as much as Willow did.

To this day, BVTS fans still mourn Tara. We mourn her not just because of her unexpected passing, but because of the impact that she left on us. From this writer’s perspective, that is the mark of a great character.


Throwback Thursday-The View (1997-Present)

It’s boring when we are around the same people who have the same beliefs. Life is much more interesting when we are around people whose beliefs and viewpoints are different from ours.

The View premiered on ABC in 1997 and since then, has become a staple of the network’s morning schedule. Created by journalism legend Barbara Walters, the premise of the show was to bring in five different women of varying ages, backgrounds and opinions to discuss the latest headlines and interview prominent figures. Joining Barbara at the table for the first few years was Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Debbie Matenopoulos. Over the years, the women around the table have changed (except for Behar), but the voices of the diverse women coming together remains the same.

I’m not a fan of Daytime TV. I find it sometimes to be rather boring. But, on the rare occasion when I am home on a weekday, I will watch The View. I find the conversation to be interesting and the differing perspectives of the hosts a refreshing take on the us vs. them mentality that has become part of our national discourse.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-House Hunters Renovation (2012-Present)

The process of looking for a new home is hard enough. Adding a complete renovation to the process is almost akin to asking for a major headache on top of the home buying process.

This is the premise of the HGTV program, House Hunters Renovation (2012-Present). The first half of the episode follows the homeowners as they choose from one of three possible new homes to purchase. The second half of the episode continues to follow the new homeowners as their home is renovated.

I enjoy watching House Hunters Renovation. Unlike other reality shows, I feel like I am learning something. It’s also groan inducing to watch the homeowners as they deal with the pitfalls of renovating their new home.

I recommend it.

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