Monday, October 30, 2006

"Love makes you do the wacky." --Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Too right you are, Buffy, especially when the love in question is for two dead guys. Today, as part of the brilliantly-themed Vampire Blog-a-thon, sponsored by Nathaniel of The Film Experience, I will tackle the age-old question that has tormented academics and fangirls alike: Angel or Spike? (Or, if you prefer, Tall, Dark, and Forehead or Captain Peroxide?)



I'd just like to see [Angel] grow. Honestly, everything he's done so far I've enjoyed, so there's not really one thing. Maybe, like, golfing or something." --David Boreanaz
There's nothing I love better than one of these completely insane one-liners. Unfortch, Angel the character lacked much of Boreanaz's off-the-wall charisma. In my mind, Angel didn't grow much on Buffy. He had two wildly different states of being, yes: guilt-plagued, brooding good guy and nasty, rage-filled bad guy. The most he could do was flip-flop between those two and occasionally make Buffy cry. Perhaps the problem is that Angel was too much a part of Buffy's central metaphor that became the show's framework in the first few seasons. That is, High School Is Hell. Sometimes you sleep with a guy and he becomes a totally different peson. We all knew Buffy and Angel's relationship was doomed from day one, because so much was set in stone. If Buffy sleeps with Angel, giving him one moment of true contentment, he will revert to the evil Angelus. And in the Buffyverse, as in our world, there's not much hope for a partnership with those kind of sexual high stakes. Once Angel goes from a mopey repenter to Angelus, we've seen everything he can do. (That is, until his spin-off.)

"The truth is, I like this world. You’ve got – the dog racing, Manchester United, and you’ve got people: billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs." --Spike
Spike, however, remained an unpredictable presence for much of the series. Unlike Angel, he didn't have a split personality - no soulless doppelganger. Soulless Spike was not very different from Soul-Having Spike, so there were much fewer rules dictating his behavior. We saw from the beginning that he was a different sort of vampire, cut from a more romantic, Anne Rice-ish mold. The Judge told Spike and his highly irritating girlfriend, Drusilla, that they had too much humanity in them. "Yeah, what of it?" Spike said. Spike never seemed evil so much as a juvenile delinquent in arrested development. He took a manic glee in creating havoc for havoc's sake and had some of the best one-liners ever uttered on television. Unlike Angelus, who was a by-the-book villain, Spike was much more self-aware; he turned the bad guy cliches on their head. He also was incredibly sensitive, even without a soul: see season five's "Fool For Love" to see how quickly Buffy breaks the guy who has "always been bad."

"I love syphilis more than you." --Spike
Sigh. It's no surprise that Buffy should fall for either of these cradle-robbing creatures of the night, despite Angel's massive forehead or the fact that Spike's hair makes his head look like a Q-tip. But Angel is ultimately a eunuch, or the forbidden fruit if you prefer something less emasculating. Angel will always be Buffy's first love, but their relationship is a dead end.

In season four, Spike is rendered impotent by a microchip the Initiative places in his brain; in one episode, in which Buffy and Faith switch bodies, Faith-as-Buffy humiliates him sexually with some vivid dialogue. (I seem to remember "make you pop like champagne" being said at some point.) In season 5, Spike has an epiphany after having an erotic dream about Buffy. Turns out, all that fighting they've done is kind of like third base for Spike. And so begins some of the most perverse sex ever aired on network television. We all thank you, Spike.

Her relationship with Angel forces Buffy to become independent. She discovers when she must kill Angel, that at the end of the day she has only herself to rely on. Spike, on the other hand, forces Buffy into more existential dilemmas about herself, the nature of her job, her baser wants and instincts. And I don't know about you all, but exploring those baser wants and instincts were far more fun than watching Buffy swoon in Angel's arms.

Advantage: Spike.

12 comments:

Diviya said...

Spike wins hands down!

The Great Swifty said...

Yup, Spike, definitely. Angel was never cool until he had his own series.

Alanna said...

And my favorite part about Angel the series is that almost the entire run was spent making fun of Angel.

Anonymous said...

who in their right mind would pick angel?

spike is dead sexy

Anonymous said...

Spike's a hottie, and definitely the one I'd choose for me, but for Buffy there never will be anyone but Angel. She never loved anyone else the way she loved him. (And they're so well suited, with their mopey, whiney, oh-the-burden-of-my-existence complexes.)

Alanna said...

It's true, they both had highly annoying savior complexes. It's like, look guys, you have cool super powers and hot bodies. Stop bitching.

Anonymous said...

spike is so funny.

Anonymous said...

I think Buffy loved Angel more but she was a helluva lot more attracted to Spike. dead sexy, i vote spike.

Anonymous said...

Pft fuck spike. the hell with him. god you people are soo flat out stupid. and YES i do mean that to offend you. And i don't take it back either. deal with it. Besides, buffy never loved spike that way. It's true that she loved him, but she was never IN love with him. Get that fact straight you boneheads. There's a difference. There was never that infatuation or intense chemistry and impulsive but very intimate romance of which buffy and angel shared. It kept their relationship interesting and their love strong making viewers (such as myself) WANT TO enclose ourselves by it. See, spike and buffy never had that. The one-sided love thing with spike and buffy, surely was not compelling to me. All that was there was sex and understanding. Nothing romantic about it AT ALL. I can't believe half of you people prefers and would choose the violent relationship that buffy and spike had over what buffy and angel had. How ironic. Seriously, all you people ever think about is SEX. That’s probably why you enjoyed watching buffy and spike together so much. Nothing personal. Just saying what I think. Like yeah, there’s really nothing sexy about sex. It’s human nature. People do it everyday. GET OVER IT. My vote OBVIOUSLY goes to angel. Spike is a moron. It was wrong for him to have fallen in love with buffy, they were suppose to be enemies. He was supposedly to be with Drusilla.

Anonymous said...

Angel is cuter.
Huge Teen Tits

Anonymous said...

well spike is hot and he loves buffy more also he was supposed to love buffy not drusilla get it right god. also i like buffy and spike in season seven not so much in number 6 so really not about the sex and i only cried once at a buffy and angel moment. I cried 6 times in the buffy spike realationship. Buffy and spike definatley! god get real!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so for a quick shag I'd choose Spike. Why? He's damn hot. But same thing could be said for Angelus. Anyone remember that scene with Faith where she's straddling him and she asks him, "Do you want to listen? Or do you want to die?" "While you're there I mainly just want you to wriggle..." See? Angelus is just as kinky as Spike, probably much worse.

But good guy Angel is just irresistable. There's something about being less overtly sexual that makes him so much more desirable. So for that (and the Angelus thing), Angel wins, hands down.