Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thirty Days of Buffy, Day 18: Character Who Didn't Get Enough Screen Time

This really is kind of a dead giveaway, since I already kind of hinted at this with Day 12's Least Favorite Episode, but oh, well.
I know that this is from "Family," but I love her makeup here. Amber Benson is my favorite. 
This character was supposed to be a "core member" of the Scooby Gang, but even Anya, the oddball who never really fits in because she's Anya, has her own story that comes to its conclusion - albeit an unsatisfactory one, in my opinion - at the end of the series. Tara never gets that. We never get to see any of her backstory, beyond her family being a bunch of misogynists, and we only get glimpses as to what she does while she's separated from Willow (following the latter's horrible treatment of her). She hangs out with Dawn sometimes, and she provides Buffy some type of closure when she thinks she came back from the dead "wrong." And when she dies, after reconciling with Willow, her death is all part of Willow's story, not her own. 
Amber Benson is so purty.
From the beginning, Tara was an object that the creators wanted to use to round out Willow's character, which is fine, but the character deserved more. And honestly, yes, I understand why Amber Benson didn't want Tara's image to be used to fuck with Willow, but I really think the First would have gone there. If they wanted to screw with Willow even more than they did, they would have used Tara's image. Willow's whole arc in the seventh season (well, it was hinted at and didn't really come into play too much, even though they totally should have because that would have been interesting, and this might have redeemed Willow more realistically) was that she was forced to face her actions in Season Six, and to bring Tara back, even in First form, would have really smacked her in the face.
You'd think they'd really want to fuck with Willow, but instead they use Cassie, a character she'd never met before to be Tara's "voice." That always seemed like a weird choice to me.
But see, even in this way, Tara doesn't have any agency of her own beyond what the character can do for the other "more important" characters on Buffy, and this makes me really sad, particularly since Tara spent most of her life (at least, from what we were shown) being incredibly meek and self-sacrificing. Like Anya, she deserved to have a life outside of the Scooby Gang where she could really find a direction that didn't necessarily have to include others for her to be complete. But instead, she got shot in the chest by a stray bullet. Because ... story-telling, or something.

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