Sorry, I keep watching these episodes and I keep finding things to talk about. It's no accident that I got my start being annoyingly opinionated on the internet via Buffy. Anyway, we're onto the Connor episodes right now, and of course I recall the vehement hatred that kid got from pretty much all sectors of the fandom. I'm pretty sure I hated him too. But it got me to thinking about another instantly loathed Whedon teen, Dawn Summers.
No two main characters, arguable, were more collectively loathed than Dawn and Connor, and the similarities aren't hard to come by. Both were pouty, angry teenagers abruptly thrust upon a show in a role adversarial to a protagonist who offered back infinite patience to the point of looking like a sucker. The way I saw it, the characters were being written well, or at least realistically -- of course Connor and Dawn were angry brats. Connor spent his formative years in a hell dimension while Dawn found out she was a manufactured ball of energy and subsequently had her mother, sister, and surrogate lesbian caregiver die on her. All that plus they were fifteen and thus given to surly snottiness by nature. Of course they'd act like that!
The problem becomes: does the fact that fifteen-year-olds are brats as a rule mean you should perhaps not focus so much of your show on them? Were they good characters on paper who were just performed poorly by Michelle Trachtenberg and Vincent Kartheiser? Would we have reacted better to them if they'd been around all along?
The fact that I remain curious about this tells me I've yet to get a satisfactory grip on an answer. Why were Connor and Dawn so loathed? Discuss!