buffy the vampire slayer

The 4 Male Romantic Interest Archetypes from “Buffy,” “Gilmore Girls,” and “The O.C.”

Was there ever a better era for high school dramas than the late ’90s-early ’00s? The answer, of course, is no. As a dedicated student of both “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Gilmore Girls” who is currently watching “The O.C.” for the first time (I know, I know), I can’t help but notice that the female protagonists pretty much have the same 4 guys to choose between. They are:

The tortured bad boy with a soul

Tortured Bad Boy

Spike, Jess, Ryan

Every high school has a bad boy, and if we’ve learned anything from romantic teen dramas, every bad boy secretly has a heart of gold. This boy may have done bad things in his old life before moving into this new town, but he’s trying to make a new start for himself. His outsider status, however, makes it hard for him to fit in, and he can find himself in more fights than he’d want to be involved in. Thankfully, one girl in this new place cares for and believes in him.

The goofy lovesick nerd

Lovesick Nerd

Xander, Marty, Seth

All the drama can get tedious after a while, and that’s when a little comic relief comes in handy. This is the awkward, goofy guy that is head-over-heels for the female protagonist who only sees him as a friend. Sometimes his geeky charm works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

The bland, straight-laced, all-American jock

Bland Jock

Riley, Dean, Luke

He may not be exciting like the bad boy or funny like the nerd, but at least he’s nice to look at? This guy excels at athletics, and can offer the female protagonist sex, but not much else. He also has a pretty bad habit of cheating…

The entitled asshole

Entitled Asshole

Parker, Logan, Oliver

And then there’s the rich kid who’s used to getting everything he wants in life, including the main girl. This guy is notable for his ability to charm women into participating in activities that they would not normally perform. In the end, he and the girl just don’t share the same set of values.

NOTE: The obvious omission from the list is Angel from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” I guess he somewhat falls in line with the tortured bad boy and the bland jock archetypes, but Spike and Riley clearly better fill those roles.

It Is About Time That We All Acknowledge ‘The Michelle Trachtenberg Effect’

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I have sat idly by for years without bringing this up, but I can do so no longer. We all need to face the fact that when it comes to television, Michelle Trachtenberg is an ominous force of doom. In movies, Trachtenberg has given solid, fun performances in “Ice Princess,” “17 Again, “Harriet the Spy,” and more, but when she departs from the big screen, her she fits into a weird form of menacing typecasting. Basically, she has a habit of showing up in the final seasons of good shows and messing everything up.

Maybe it was a coincidence when Trachtenberg showed up out of the blue to complicate the lives of both the Scooby Gang and the Fishers in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Six Feet Under,” but when she did it again in the final seasons of “Weeds” and then again in “Gossip Girl,” it became her brand. Plus, these are known to be her major television roles — this is what Michelle Trachtenberg is known for!

Probably the most complicated of these shows to argue exhibits The Michelle Trachtenberg Effect is “Buffy,” since Trachtenberg’s character of Dawn Summers isn’t really meant to be a malevolent character, but she still brings a host of new dilemmas with her and is a pretty universally hated by diehard fans of the show. Basically, Dawn is to blame for Buffy dying (for the second time), she develops some weird kleptomania that leads to a lot of demonic issues, and is just an all-around crybaby that everyone needs to babysit or horrible stuff happens.

In “Six Feet Under,” Trachtenberg manages to swoop into the drama and do some major damage in just a 4 episode arc in the middle of season 4. As the pop singer Celeste, Trachtenberg hires David Fisher’s husband Keith to be her bodyguard and then has sex with him, causing major tremors in the pair’s marriage. In “Weeds,” Trachtenberg plays Emma, a fellow drug dealer who shows up in season 7 and we initially think is a friend to the Botwins, but turns out to be the kingpin of their opposing operation.

Finally, the writers or casting directors for “Gossip Girl” must have picked up on this Trachtenberg trend, because her character of Georgina Sparks is the most cartoonishly apparent representation of The Trachtenberg Effect of all. Georgina has appearances early in “Gossip Girl,” but becomes a fixture in the show’s final seasons. She has a knack for appearing during season finales and dropping huge bombshells, most notably that she was pregnant with Dan’s child, which turned out to be a lie. Throughout the show, Georgina is presented as a manipulative sociopath, even rivaling Blair in her viciousness.

So what do we take from all of this? Basically, when you see Michelle Trachtenberg making appearance towards the end of your favorite show, get ready for the shit to hit the fan.