So, you remember way back in April you and Roommate said there was A Thing with people shipping Angel vs Spike with Buffy, and you had a theory that it was affected by whether they watched it as it aired or later in rapid succession? What was it again? Spike is getting his creeper on in season 5, and I can't see how people, at least at this point, were all for his obsession-crush.
Okay, so here is my theory….
People who watched Buffy as it aired had a 7 year relationship with that show and the characters. There was three years of Buffy and Angel in a relationship, and lets just be honest Buffy was still hung up on Angel for most of season 4. So when Spike entered the picture with confusing lovey feelings for Buffy, a lot of fans reacted poorly because :
1) They were emotionally invested in Buffy being with Angel
2) Spike’s crush was never particularly healthy for a lot of reasons
3) And in their view, Buffy was a ‘good’ girl, a hero
4) and hence Joss and Co were tarnishing that by having her be with Spike.
Now there were always people who liked Buffy and Spike together as it aired — I was one of them because I think the two actors have amazing chemistry. But just because I liked the ship didn’t mean that I thought it was super healthy. A lot of fans at the time also romanticized the Buffy/Angel ship and ignored that Angel also had his own share of problematic creepiness (the paternalism, the inability to have sex with her, general noncomunicativeness, etc). Because they romanticized the ship so much and Buffy as a character so much they had her up on a VERY high pedestal. It didn’t help that one of the writers, David Fury, was active in promoting that view of hero=good girl=/=wanting a bad boy=bad girl. He antagonized the shit out of a lot of people.
And then Season 6 came and Joss and Co knocked her off that pedestal with a wrecking ball. I won’t spoil it for you if you’re only in 5, but sufficient to say Buffy is working on a LOT in Season 6 emotionally and does not always make good choices. LOTS of Buffy fans back in the day LOATHED Season 6. VIOLENTLY. The fandom was very polarized and people were Very Angry.
But here is my theory…… people who watch the show on dvd/netflix later don’t have all that bullshit ^
Because they watch the show all in a row, they don’t have years of investment. They don’t have Buffy on as high of a pedestal and they are not as super invested in Buffy being with Angel. So when Spike comes into the picture, they are usually supportive of that plot point (again, not saying it’s healthy, but they are not throwing hissy fits or quitting the show over it or saying that ship violates the entire purpose of the show).
I’ve found that most people who watch it now really like Season 6. It’s not always everyone’s favorite, but it doesn’t inspire a level of vitriol and it isn’t as polarizing as it is when it first aired. And hence people who watch it now are not so violently opposed to the Buffy/Spike ship as people were when it aired.
Let me know what you think of Spike by the end of The Gift. It’s one of my favorite episodes and I’ve easily seen it 100X