Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thirty Days of Buffy, Day 19: Character I Love That Everyone Else Hates

Let the screaming begin.
Best. GIF. Ever.
Okay, okay, okay. I get that people hated Dawn. I never really got that, particularly since, well, when you were 14 - 16, you were way more annoying than Dawn ever was. I was just as shocked as the next person, when at the end of "Buffy vs. Dracula" (UGH HATE YOU), spunky Michelle Trachtenberg popped up and called Joyce "Mom," but I was intrigued. I enjoyed the idea that Whedon and Co. were trying to give Buffy someone other than a boyfriend to care about, and for the most part, it worked. It seemed a bit forced at times, but I just wasn't used to seeing overprotective Buffy after four seasons of her being a single child.
Awwww, look, she even has Buffy's hair from Season One!
Yes, Season Six brought out the worst in Dawn. I admit this, but hear me out. First, her mom is dead. Second, her sister died, was ripped from heaven and is now depressed (rightfully so), so she's a little absent. Third, her other mother-type figure Willow is going through her addiction (bleargh) to drugs magic and nearly gets Dawn killed. Fourth, she has hormones and doesn't have anyone to talk to about them, save her classmates, and we all know how smart our classmates were in middle/high school. Add to that, she's fifteen and has yet to develop the capacity to properly handle all of these things without any parental guidance, so yes, she's going to be hard to handle. But the thing is, she matures and becomes a sort of Watcher Junior in Season Seven, basically without a lot of help from Buffy and her friends.
Her reaction to Tara and Willow getting back together is just priceless.
Dawn was actually my second choice for Character Who Deserved More Screen Time, but since that title only really applied to Seven, I chose Tara. But Season Seven really is where Dawn is kind of shoved out of the way for the other characters, and if those had been successfully done, I probably wouldn't have minded as much as I did. I've already discussed my issues with Season Seven, so I'm not going to rehash them here. Even Whedon said that he didn't necessarily think that anyone would want to watch a "Dawn goes on a date" episode, but I think that's kind of a cop out. I mean, despite the bonkers shitshow the comics continuation that Season Eight ended up being, I actually enjoyed Dawn's storyline of losing her virginity and going through her multiple incarnations after she was curse. And all of this was going on at the same time Buffy was doing her thing, which yes, did include having sex with Angel while flying through the air. But I digress.
Even Dawn thinks that was ridiculous.
Now, on her controversial ousting of Buffy from their house. I think her choice was spot on, and I don't think that Dawn did it because she was pissed with her sister. Dawn was shown to be one of the smarter characters - I mean, she became fluent in reading Sumerian, guys, like as an extracurricular - and she was also deeply connected to Buffy in ways that no other character was. She understood that Buffy needed time to recuperate and that she couldn't do that while under the constant strain of leadership. But she was also the only person who could have forced Buffy out of the house. Not even Giles, whose relationship with Buffy was already on the rocks after his handling of Spike, could have made that decision. It was a painful choice that Dawn had to make, but like most of Season Seven, she was strong and did what had to be done.
Dawn, always with the adages. 
So yeah, bitch about her "getoutgetoutgetout" all you want, but Dawn was the same age as Buffy was when the series began, and by GOD, the bitch is much stronger and smarter than Buffy ever was and has handled a lot of her issues with much more grace and maturity than Buffy ever did. Maybe it's the younger child syndrome, where you watch your older sibling go through hell (literally and figuratively in Dawn's case), but I give the character much more credit. She deserves it.
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