Day 4: The Good Guys aren’t always the Best Guys

My definitive analysis of Buffy’s taste in men.

AngelAngel. The Epic Love Guy.

I know that Angel is widely considered Buffy’s great love, but looking at it rationally, I beg to disagree. Angel as a human was a spoiled, drunken frat boy who was looking to get as much as he could with as little effort as possible. Angel as a vampire was a manipulative sociopath. He got his jollies from the torture of his obsessions because he found death to be less than poetic. His only redeeming quality is a soul that was thrust upon him as a curse for all of the horrible things that he had done. True he is the definition of tall, dark and brooding but without a soul he is running around tormenting Buffy and killing her friends. A sleaze in life and a monster in death? Pass.

ScottScott Hope. The Wholesome High Schooler Guy.

Scott’s brief moment in the light came immediately after Buffy had to KILL Angel in season two. He had the unfortunate job of picking up the Buffy/Angel pieces. First, high school love tends to be overly dramatic – and high school love with a vampire you can never actually be with – well that just sets standards that the next guy could never live up to. Second, he’s mortal… boring. Third, she’s forcing it the whole time. Fourth, the moment Angel comes back… Scott who? Poor guy never even stood a chance.

ParkerParker Abrams. The He’s-Too-Sexy-To-Be-Into-Me-But-Somehow-He-Is Guy.

Buffy’s first dalliance into college romance. Those who have already lived through college saw this coming a mile away. The super sexy guy shows interest. He invites you to a party. He spends the whole night spouting off about all these existential views on the world. He talks about living for the now and seizing the day. Suddenly, you are all too ready to jump into bed with the smooth talker. And through it all he has convinced you that it was all YOUR idea. Imagine your, and Buffy’s, surprise when in the light of a new day, this creep crawls back under the rock he came from never to return your phone calls again. NEXT.

RileyRiley Finn. The Good on Paper Guy.

This is Buffy’s only long-term relationship with a normal guy. Although Riley was part of a secret government initiative that fed him enough drugs to turn him into a super soldier. Eventually he became the somewhat kittenish regular guy who was just too regular for Buffy. He was good looking, loyal, successful and he loved her. And Buffy loved him. They were a good team. Well paired to fight off evil and government forces. But in the end it didn’t matter how on paper they were so well matched. When it came down to it, she never let him in and he couldn’t handle a strong woman. She became distant when things got tough and he became self-destructive when he couldn’t get close to her. It is a sad but surprisingly normal story line.

SpikeSpike. The Hooker with the Heart of Gold Guy.

Full disclosure, I am biased here. I’d bring home Spike in a red hot second. But I like my guys rough around the edges. I like a little monster in them. That said, Spike as a human was a whiny, pathetic shell of a man. Becoming a vampire turned his pining into passion. Spike was focused on love in his human life and it was just as much a focus in his vampire after-life. We know this because even as an evil vampire he loved Drusilla. Even without a soul he loved Buffy. But evil love is really a fancy cover up for unrestrained lust. Which is where Spike faltered in his attempted rape on Buffy. Here is where things change. Spike is so disgusted with himself and what he has done that he sets out to change. He endures terrible and painful challenges so that he could get the one thing that could make him a man worthy of Buffy’s love: his soul. He seeks out the very thing that Angel had cursed upon him. Spike did it for her. That’s love.

But in the end, she was alone. They may have been good guys or good for her in one way or another but none of them was good enough to be the best. And that’s not a bad thing.

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