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Date Posted: 08:57:05 07/24/06 Mon
Author: Celebaelin
Subject: Adult flaws
In reply to: Darby 's message, "There may be a pattern, though." on 09:45:25 07/23/06 Sun

Darby wrote

There may be a corollary in that Joss' most successful flawed characters are largely flawed with aspects of immaturity. He writes good youthful foibles,

Is maturity necessarily synonymous with a lack of flaws? I would certainly agree that the inexperience of youth can lead to faulty judgement and irresponsible behaviour and that these traits are flaws which we hope to eradicate through a greater familiarity with the workings of the world. Surely though there are aspects of each of us which are a part of our personalities which are arguably, or perhaps undoubtedly, flaws but which we can do nothing to change. They may in fact form the basis for a strength of will which empowers us with, say, enormous confidence (Buffy) or great compassion (Tara).

From another perspective a flaw might just be that but none the less difficult to address because it forms part of a psychological safety valve. For a guy who's a couple of hundred years old Angel displays remarkably childish attitudes upon occasion and irrespective of the reason (showing vulnerability from the 'within the series' perspective, humour from the viewers perspective) the suggestion that without that aspect excessive brooding or sudden violence would result is not an unreasonable one.

but I'm having trouble coming up with a good example of more adult flaws. The Mayor, maybe-? Doesn't seem so. Later Angelus? Could be.

Given that there seems to be an emphasis in your argument that adults be devoid of any kind of human weakness then aren't you pre-determining that flawed characters are not adults?

Sophist and I have had similar thoughts in this regard.

True enough, though that may be inevitable in the sense that most flaws of adulthood are aspects of the failure to grow up. It's important not to carry this too far, though, since it risks being tautological at some point.

Given that then the sort of undesirable characteristics displayed by adults that we will observe will be of the variety which will lead them to take control in the time honoured "Let's trigger the apocalypse then" manner. I think I prefer children!

Then there's

GILES Can you forgive me?
BUFFY: For what?
GILES: I should never have left.
BUFFY: No. You were right to leave. We're just ... stupid.
GILES: I know you're all stupid. (Buffy smiling) I should never have abandoned you.
BUFFY: No. Giles, you were right about everything. It is time I was an adult.
GILES: Sometimes the most adult thing you can do is ... ask for help when you need it.
BUFFY: Now you tell me.


Which, while it was dictated by ASH's movements, is still relevant. Stubbornness, pride, arrogance and exploitation are all flaws; even though they may have positive effects on self-determination. Willow displayed all of these facets as her power developed and since they were not part of her persona previously I don't think we can call them childish, not in Willow at any rate, the flaws are a reflection of her seeking out her adult identity and independence. They are also a reaction to those around her she sees as rivalling her adult position of influence. Willow never argued with Xander; she didn't have to because her position of authority was unchallenged by him - until the 'crayon-breaky' speech in Grave that is - but never again after that really, even though subsequent to that, and perhaps consequent to it, Xander was gaining his own position of responsibility.

Hacker Willow I have to say I hadn't considered greatly. Giles shrugs it off at an early stage by refusing to understand that it was illegal; I guess I did too. I don't recall her ever doing it for her own purposes although it was clearly a part of the process of self-aggrandisement that she embarked upon as it became apparent to her just how clever she was compared to her elders, not just her contemporaries. I suppose there's an argument that this is the progression of a childish attitude although I prefer to see it as the beginnings of a determination to make her presence felt and to contribute.

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