I’ve been thinking about the character of Xander Harris today. I know the series talks about how loyal he is (sometimes to a fault, sometimes to the point of making his friends’ decisions for them - case in point “kick his ass”), how brave, how witty. Xander is the heart of the group and we all know that.
But I was thinking today what a gift Joss Whedon and the rest of the writers gave us in this character. You watch the show and have no doubt in your mind that Xander is a smart guy. He struggles in school and makes pretty silly decisions sometimes (“Does this mean I have to… be your queen?”), but he is unquestionably intelligent. After high school graduation, he works a few odd jobs before finding a career in construction. He learns the technical aspects of carpentry early and easily and expands his knowledge from there. He advances to a supervisory position, which pays him well enough to afford a pretty sweet apartment, honestly.
Joss Whedon and the writers never look down on him for his chosen trade, or the fact that he didn’t do well in school. They give him many opportunities to display just how clever he is in his work. They show a character who finds success and can support himself despite an American education system that made him feel like a failure instead of teaching him to play to his strengths.
I just think that’s a really great gift, and so valuable for teenagers especially to see. Joss Whedon: praising intelligence of all kinds since 1997.
So glad other people recognize this!! People mock him, and give him crap, but by the middle of the 6th season (where I’m at), he’s one of two younger characters with a job, he’s got an apartment where he keeps up with rent and bills, and he is still able to help with slaying. He makes mistakes, I know, but that’s something they all have done, and he never came as close to destroying the world as others did. Basically, loving the Xander love <3