4 Ways 'Teen Wolf's Malia Is 'Buffy's Anya

by Alanna Bennett

Last season on Teen Wolf shook some things up. Some big people died, some big people came back from the dead — if you've ever seen a supernatural drama aimed at young people you pretty much know the deal. Among the changes was the addition of a young woman named Malia Tate to the ensemble. Going into Teen Wolf 's fourth season, particularly the most recent episode ("Muted"), it's become clear that Malia isn't going anywhere any time soon. So let's take a look.

For those schooled in the ways of the teen supernatural drama, Malia Tate seems vaguely familiar. That's because, for better or for worse — and definitely for comedy — Malia Tate is definitely, 100 percent, without a doubt this show's Anya Jenkins.

For those not schooled in Anya Jenkins, a regular on iconic teen supernatural drama Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just stick with us here. Her influence on Teen Wolf's Malia is clear as day. Here are four reasons they're similar, and one glaring reason why they're not.

Their predicaments

Anya Jenkins was an ancient vengeance demon who, through some complications, got stuck as a teenager in Sunnydale, CA. Malia spent eight years as a coyote and now has to live life as a human, amongst humans, also in high school. Oh, and both their main friend groups spend a lot of their time trying to save their town/selected individuals/the world from utter destruction.

Their means of social interaction

Malia has yet to express a rabid (but hilarious) interest in capitalism like Anya does, and Malia's instincts tend more towards physical (coyote-like) violence than Anya's did, but it's clear as day that Malia's inclination towards the overly literal are pulled from Anya. The same goes for their initial lack of loyalty: Just as Anya ran away from the apocalypse during our first season of knowing her, Anya would leave Lydia or any myriad of other pack members behind in a second — for now.

Their love interests

You can draw a direct line between Xander Harris and Stiles Stilinski. Stiles may have more swoony fans devoted to him in the audience than Xander did, but they serve relatively similar purposes within their respective shows: That of the spazzy but hot sidekick with back luck with the ladies. They also both have multiple years of pining under their belt aimed at unattainable women they remain close friends with. And, when it comes to Anya and Malia respectively, they are diverted from that pining by the presence of a socially awkward woman who could use help navigating social cues.

Their sexual proclivities

This goes hand-in-hand with the love interest part, but it's a persistent enough part of both of them to stand on its own. Stiles has already talked this season about Malia climbing into bed with him, and we saw more of that in "Muted." Anya, too, was very frank and forward about sex — it was never something to be ashamed of or to be hidden, and that makes sense with both of these characters in a lot of ways.

Of course, it also brings us to the awkward part, which is where we point out the big way they're different:

Anya is built off of experience, Malia is built off of childhood

I'm on board with the addition of Malia — she's winning me over so far. But one thing's been nagging me, and it's based in where these women are coming from. Anya existed for thousands of years before she landed in Sunnydale with the Buffy scoobies and was stuck in high school. She saw virtually everything as a vengeance demon, and she caused the downfall of more than a few societies/people/governments.

Malia, on the other hand, spent her life as a coyote between roughly the ages of eight and sixteen. You'd think she'd need years (decades) of therapy for just the very basics, but within a few short months she's having sex, is thrust back into high school (and algebra!), is in a relationship, and is expected to behave like any other young adult, or at least pretend like she can.Anya Jenkins is a beloved character. Malia Tate could be one, too, maybe, if she and her show play their cards right. But sometimes it's hard to tell what card game they're even playing.

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