Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thirty Days of Buffy, Day 5: Favorite Male Character

My love for Tony Head is well-known among friends and family. He's the reason I was like, "Guys my age? Are you kidding? Where's my sexy older guy?" Everyone else was swooning over goofy (ick) Xander and Angel (broody much?), but it was always Giles for me.
But in all seriousness, I love the depth of the character, although I was a little disappointed that he was kind of swept aside closer to the end of the series. I know it was getting harder to incorporate him into the storyline, but come ON. He was the last living Watcher*, like fucking Luke Skywalker to Quentin's Yoda. There had to be something there they could have played on.
I'm just going to post hot pictures of Tony Head, regardless of context. You have been warned.

In the beginning, he plays that adult role in a teen show, where he does awesome things like comfort Buffy when she makes a hard decision and where he provides the exposition because they're children and are like wait vampires what? But then comes Season Two, and we see Ripper.
This one is both in context and for your viewing pleasure. 
This is quite possibly the best thing that Joss ever did for this character. He's like a sexier Warf from Star Trek, where he hides his primal urges which are incredibly violent and unpredictable. At first, it's the two sides of Giles that never exist together, but as time goes on, Giles melds his two halves together, creating this whole human being that knows there is a time and place for light and dark. This is best shown when he kills Ben at the end of Season Five; he has to keep Buffy in the Pure Hero mode but can't allow a vessel of a hell god to continue to exist. This is why I wish he hadn't been relegated to almost guest star status, because this was a huge plot line that I think was wasted. What does Giles do now that he's established a sort of yin-yang for himself? Oh, I know! Go back to England and then show up to help defeat Willow! And then be sort of inconsequential in Season Seven! Bah. Again, Joss, you disappoint me with your inadequate use of awesome characters and actors.
To cleanse my hater palette. 
Moving on before I explode.
You are KILLING me, Tony. 
As someone who's moving out of her twenties this year, the idea of transitioning into a completely different role than the one I've had for so long (quasi-adult) is terrifying. Giles got used to the idea of being a surrogate father to Buffy, for which he was fired from the Watcher Council, and then realized what every father finds out eventually: you can only parent for so long. With that role gone, he has to forge a new one for himself, a plot line of Season Four that I adore. "Gentleman of Leisure" is exactly what a man like Tony Head should be, anyway, but I like seeing other parts of Giles' life. Instead, he becomes a mentor and friend to the Scooby Gang, and not just with Buffy. His relationship with Willow is very familial, which is why it's so painful to watch them fight in Season Six. He and Tara, who have a duet in "Once More with Feeling," definitely are the masculine and feminine halves of the center of the group. Xander still annoys the hell out of Giles, but he respects how far the young man has come from his high school years (although I still think it's too little too late). His paternal love for Buffy was transferred to Dawn, since she's still young enough to need that sort of guidance. In short, he becomes so much more complex after he gives up his title as Boss Man.
You can be the boss of me. Just sayin'. 
Even though Joss technically created the idea of the character that would become a fantasy boyfriend of mine, the majority of the credit really has to go to Anthony Stewart Head. He is just a brilliant actor** and poured so much of himself into Giles, even letting the crew film on his own land for Season Seven when Willow is in England after her stint as the villain in Season Six. The guy really is sex on a fucking stick.
How classy is this guy? GAH. 
Although I don't necessarily agree with how Whedon & Co. chose to write all of Giles, the character is still a very well-rounded one, who matured (albeit from and into a different stage of his life - I don't believe anyone ever just stops "growing up") along with the children he cared about. While originally put there to provide Buffy a sort of sounding board and an authority figure that understood her, he developed into a character for whom we felt (his reaction to Jenny's death is so on point for his character arc) and at whom we could get angry, even if he was doing what he thought was right (ugh, trying to get Spike killed, ugghhhhh). He was a flawed human but also one that had a dedication to keeping the world safe from vampires.
* I know there are other Watchers elsewhere in the world, but let me go with this. Otherwise the metaphor doesn't work.
** His accent is actually closer to his Ripper personality than to that of Giles, which I find incredibly interesting.
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