As all Buffy fans know, the the Vampire Slayer herself is an amazing role model for girls who feel like they are dealing with adversity. Her witchy friend Willow is the ideal lady that nerdy kids should look up to. But lest ye forget, one of the most important members of the Scooby Gang is not even a gal. And no, I'm not talking about Spike (for once). I'm talking about Xander Harris, the often-ignored good guy of the group. It's easy to forget his importance, but if there were no Xander, Buffy, Willow, Giles, and the rest of the characters would have not only died many a time, but also not have been such a successful group. Basically, Xander is the real hero of Buffy , even if many fans might not have realized it at the time of the show's airing.
When viewers first meet Xander, he's an awkward, skinny teenager with a huge crush on the new girl, Buffy. He makes dad jokes, he often trips, and no girl loves him (except poor Willow). Throughout the series, he grows into a confident, funny adult set on finding justice and being a good friend. Xander manages to finagle his way into some of the most dangerous situations, but he always manages to come out on top. Eyeless, maybe (dammit, Caleb), but on top. He is the heart of the Scooby Gang and keeps them all in check. Yet he's still so under-appreciated by fans, which is why I present the following list of examples of Xander awesomeness as a testament to this unsung hero.
1. That Time Buffy Dies
In Season 1, a prophesy says Buffy is going to die at the hands of the Master. When said baddie drowns Buffy and everyone thinks hope is lost, Xander proves them wrong. Without any form of magic, he saves Buffy's life by simply administering CPR. Good thinking, Xander!
2. When He Saves The World And Nobody Notices
In a rare Xander-driven episode, "The Zeppo", the gang is worried about Xander's weaknesses in the face of danger and tells him to scram. He instead gets involved in some serious drama and saves the school from some undead naughties. The best part is he never tells anyone.
3. When He Saves The World And Everybody Notices
The image of Willow sobbing into Xander's chest after she was about to bring about the world's end is forever ingrained in my memory. Forever. This gif actually made me tear up.
4. When He Goes All Army Commando
In this great holiday-themed episode titled "Halloween", everybody's costumes turn them into whatever they're wearing. This renders a dress-wearing Buffy as a helpless socialite, so a military-clad Xander has to take over (with the help of Willow). From then on, Xander knows a lot about the Army, which is kind of odd because neither Willow or Buffy seem to keep their characteristics, but I digress — Xander, once again, saves the day.
5. When He Fixes Things, Constantly
Xander gets a job as a carpenter and proceeds to use his skills to benefit the gang. Saving the world causes a lot of structural damage so thank goodness Xander knows how to fix windows. Which then break again immediately afterwards, but hey, he tries.
6. When He Keeps The Gang In Check
With all that power flying around, someone needs to keep a cool and level head. Xander always does that. A perfect example of this is when Buffy gets a little too power-hungry and holier than thou in the last season and Xander aids in her abdication as leader. It's one thing to have an amazing power, and another to be able to control it. Xander understands this.
7. When He's Just A Normal Guy
Possibly the most hero-esque thing about Xander is how insanely normal he is. He doesn't need special powers to help his friends or save the world. He just needs to stay true to himself.
Xander's mentality makes him one of the best role models in Buffy. He doesn't have a lot of knowledge, or witchcraft, or super strength. He's not a key to the universe (thank goodness, as Dawn is enough key for any series). But he brings his own magic to the table, and for that I will always appreciate him. Thanks, Xander, and sorry you got smallpox and were also once possessed by the spirits of hyenas.
No, Xander. You're the hero.
Images: 20th Century Fox (2), Giphy