*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.
Every superhero has to have the mortal friend. Sometimes, this friend is a wise ass, always cracking a joke when the tension has reached its highest. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this mortal friend is Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon). Xander is not just one of the Scooby Gang, he is the one who is frequently attacked by the baddie of the week. Like many teenage boys, his romantic life is often hit or miss, especially with crushes on Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter).
Years later, Xander was engaged to the demon in human form Anya (Emma Caulfield Ford). But he broke the engagement out of fear. They had what can only be described as the science fiction version of will they or won’t they, until Anya died during the battle with The First Evil.
To sum it up: Laughter is always the best medicine. Especially when all h*ll is about to break loose. On Buffy, Xander not only provides the laughter, but the humanity to Buffy’s super-strength. A good writer knows where to provide the balance between the drama and the laughter, the humanity and the superhuman. By injecting Xander’s humanity and comedy into Buffy, the show is not just another science fiction/fantasy show. It is a show that underneath the magic and the fantasy, there is a humanity to the narrative and the characters. That is what usually hooks audiences and keeps them coming back for more.