“Whoa! Giles has a TV! Everybody… Giles has a TV, he’s shallow like us!” – Xander Harris
There is so much to say about the marvelous Xander Harris. He’s such an important part of BTVS. Not only does he provided much needed comic relief through out the series, but he is the heart of the Scoobie Gang. He, (along with Dawn & Principal Wood) are the only members of the gang that do not ever develop any kind of special or supernatural talent. Yet, Xander proves to always be an important member to the gang.
Xander never really goes through a huge dramatic plot. Nothing nearly as intense as Willow, Buffy or even Spike, but he is always involved with every thing. In my mind Xander is the glue that holds everyone and their sanity together. He is the guy who is always there for his friends, no matter what the situation. He has a unique insite to the group because he is often on the outside even though he is on the inside also.
Xander: They’ll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn’t chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody’s watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You’re not special. You’re extraordinary.
Dawn: Maybe that’s your power.
Dawn: Seeing, knowing.
Xander: Maybe it is… Maybe I should get a cape.
Xander’s relationships are also key points to his plot in the show. Beginning with his relationship with Cordelia Chase. The significance of their relationship was that it broke down some social boundaries, making it remotely acceptable for a social nerd (Xander) to date a queen bee (Cordelia). Their relationship also began to soffen up Cordy, which is more promptly shown in later episodes, but mostly in the spin-off series Angel.
This relationship didn’t really alter Xander’s personality, the only thing that could be argued is that he developed a little more confidence and jumped slightly in social ranking. Compared to Xander’s next relationship with Anya, his short time with Cordy is really unimportant.
Xander and Anya are the longest lasting couple on BTVS. With their first date (Prom) in season 3, lasting all the way until the very end of the series, only truly ending because Anya died. Yes, although one may argue that their relationship ended when their wedding was called off in Hell’s Bells towards the end of season 6. But they do get back together towards the middle-end of season 7. Without question, Anya and Xander’s relationship is very abnormal, mainly on Anya’s part. Neither of Xander’s relationships truly changed his character. That is not to say that Xander has not changed, but rather that he did it on his own, by helping others and observing their reactions.
Xander’s costume choices in various Halloween episodes show the audience his desire for macho credence: he comes, variously, as a cowboy, a soldier and as James Bond. As a soldier, he was in fact magically turned into his costume, and got to retain his macho status along with the useful military knowledge. Following this incident, his choice of costume represents explicitly whom he would like to actually become. Various episodes highlight Xander’s intense bravery; for example, he faces down evil Angelus at Buffy’s hospital door in the episode “Killed By Death”, and he offers his life in place of Willow’s in “Inca Mummy Girl”. When Buffy prepares to face Angelus in the season two finale, he arrives with a rock in hand saying “Cavalry’s here. Cavalry’s a frightened guy with a rock, but it’s here.” Stephens argues that this makes up the essence of Xander’s character; though powerless, he is always both loyal and brave. As his relationship with Dawn in “Potential” and his support of Buffy show, Xander finds that his real calling seems to be in his role as the “eternal supporter”. One journalist describes the character as a modern-day Greek Chorus, always an outsider looking in, and a version of Joss Whedon himself. One author writes that the focus of Xander’s character development has always been his quest for maturity. Joss Whedon has often commented that many aspects of Xander were based upon himself. Nicholas Brendon (who plays Xander) often jokes that that is why Xander ‘always got the best lines’.
With Buffy and Willow i have mentioned how important casting was. As fantastic as Nicholas Brendon was, i don’t believe casting was as important. Believe it or not, Ryan Reynolds was originally offered the job, but later turned it down for another project. Danny Strong (Jonathan) also had auditioned for the role. Joss Whedon loved his enthusiasm, and when he was casting for Jonathan, he called Danny for the role.
In the DVD commentary for the episode “Dirty Girls”, writer Goddard mentions there was talk of killing off Xander towards the end of Season Seven and having the First assume Xander’s appearance when conversing with Buffy for the remainder of the season. This was ultimately rejected since Xander was thought to be too important to the series, and his death occurring so late in the season would leave little time to deal with it correctly, and that throughout the series’ run, Xander was the one character who never wavered, and to punish that characteristic with death would send a message the staff wasn’t trying to convey. Instead of killing Xander, he was blinded in one eye.
Which one is Nicholas Brendon? 😉
For the episode ‘The Replacement’ Nicholas’ identical twin brother, Kelly Donovan (Brendon and Donovan are the twins’ middle names, Schultz is their real last name.) played the other half of Xander. Donovan played the clean-cut Xander, while Brendon played the sloppy, ill-mannered Xander. Donovan is also his brothers stunt double, whenever needed. (Not that Xander gets involved with many fights.)
Xander Harris; Funny, observational; (kinda hot 😉 )
“Google.” Google. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2012. <https://www.google.com/search?num=10>.
Whedon, Joss, and Marti Noxon. Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Los Angles, California, 1997-2003. Television.