Sunday, December 4, 2011

Willow- Changing the "Side Kick" Stereotype

As a big Buffy fan, I've always really connected with Willow, as I think we are supposed to. I always had an issue with many "best friend" characters because that was all they were, just the sidekick. But even though Willow started out that way, it isn't who she really is.

In the beginning of the third season, the audience gets a sense that Willow is more that just a sidekick because she doesn't let all the attention be focused on Buffy, even though that is probably what most sidekicks would do. Instead, when Buffy gets back after running away for the summer because of what happened with Angel at the end of Season 2, she doesn't just welcome Buffy back as though nothing happened. She realizes that Buffy has been through a lot and wants to be there for her, making her a good friend, but she also realizes that she "know[s] you're going through stuff but so am I." Buffy thinks this just means that Willow is worried about her, but Willow knows that her life is equally as important as Buffy's and shouldn't be overlooked just because she isn't as powerful as Buffy.

This is an idea that isn't seen as much as I would like it to. Most "sidekicks" or "best friends" to the main character on almost every other television show are basically pushed to the side or get an episode about them every now and then. But in Buffy, they realize the importance of the best friends and I feel as though this keeps the show from seeming to boring and focused on Buffy. Its all the other small characters that really make the difference.

Watching this when I was younger, the scene I described earlier, although seemingly not that important in the long run, was when I really began to like Willows character. I saw that she could be kind, nice and supportive, but that didn't mean she could be forgotten or that her life wasn't as important.


  1. I agree. Willow has always been portrayed as a whole another important character in Buffy series because her personality and issues that she goes through are so different from Buffy's, and this allowed Whedon to devote some of the episodes on Willow and only Willow. In season 6, she moves on to a whole another level as a main character as she becomes the main villain.The episodes before she becomes a villain focus on her side of the story, where she falls in love with Tara and loses herself when her lover dies. Oftentimes, stories only focus on telling the story of the mani protagonist; however, Buffy series do tell stories of Willow, the "side kick," and it makes "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" more complete as a show.

  2. Good point. I also think Buffy doesn't want a sidekick. She never wants anyone close to her to get hurt or risk their lives for her. If Willow acted more like a sidekick, I don't think Buffy would even like it.

  3. I feel like her portrayal as a sidekick was relevant to her transformation. If she would've been just any average friend the audiences wouldn't have reacted so extremely like they did as her being a sidekick. I really like how she challenges her in the last episode of the sixth season she throws everything in Buffy's face. Im not saying its cool but I love how powerful she proved to be at that point without having to resource to physical violence or magic.


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