Painshipping, noun: The act of consistently and persistently shipping ships that end in misery, death (of one or both parties), tragic seperation or otherwise resulting in an empty pain that makes you cry and/or get angry every time you think about what could have been,
The thing I hate about people comparing to Buffy/Giles to Faithsley is that while Faith and Wesley could have had a more traditional (or traditional-adjacent) watcher-Slayer/mentor-mentee dynamic similarish to that of Buffy & Giles, that’s never actually what they have in the canon. In effect, Wesley never actually got to be her Watcher.
They can be written like that (see: my Iron Coin Chronicles series, or… god any number of other fics, like Mortal Coil by Aadler, Wesley’s Mulligan by Hotpoint, Jedi Harris/The Terran Jedi by the Dark Scribbler and those are just off the top of my head). But even then, I have a hard time imagining they could have a father-daughter dynamic like Buffy & Giles do… because Wesley isn’t that much older than her (even with the oldest reasonably assumable age, Wesley can’t be more than 14 years older, at most, and that’s not Father/daughter dynamic age difference, especially when the age difference is almost certainly not that big. It couldbe as small as 4-5 years)
They can also be written not like that, and paired together. (see, most Faithsley fics) Because their relationship in Season 4 of AtS is not one of traditionalish Watcher & Slayer, but more of partners working together. They have more than one way of interacting with he other.
And as long as, in the fic, Faith and Wesley never regard the other in a familial or family-esque way, then the idea them being paired together cannot be reasonably compared to that of
Faithsley, like a lot of non-canon pairings, operates heavily in undefined space because the show never showed them or teased them in a romantic sense. So how someone writes it or ships it can be highly idiosyncratic to certain contexts and AUs.
Now here’s a fun one. Also been so long since I first saw Wesley on screen that It’ll be hard to do the sixth one, but let’s see….
Do you love/hate/don’t feel strongly about this character?
Love him. He’s my favorite Buffyverse character, pretty much my favorite character of all time.
What’s your favorite trait of this character?
His ruthless, self-aware and unapologetic pragmatism in pursuit of the greater good.
What’s your favorite moment/even involving this character?
Good god. Picking just one… I’m gonna go with the conversation he has with Faith in 4x14 where’s he’s says ‘you haven’t changed, you can’t.
Because you’re sick. You’ve always been sick. It goes right down to the roots rotting your soul. That’s why your friends turned on you in Sunnydale, why the Watchers Council tried to kill you. No one trusts you Faith. You’re a rabid dog who should have been put down years ago!’ to Faith to get her to get her angry so she can beat Angelus. An odd choice, I know, but it’s so well done.
If you could have one power/attribute/etc. of this character, what would it be?
His ability to retain and process an insane amount of information.
Have you ever pictured this character naked?
When did you fall in love/hate with this character? I you don’t have any strong feelings toward them, why not?
This is probably not when I actually fell in love with him as a character, but when he tells Gunn, in 2x22 “
If you try not to get anybody killed, you wind up getting everyone killed.” I’m fairly sure that love got cemented into rock-solid.
Who’s your OTP for this character?
Faith. Lilah is a very close second, but Faith and Wesley have such wonderful onscreen chemistry in season 4, and they have such a twisted, fucked up past that they’d have to deal with - it’s just completely fascinating and I will always ship these two. If you’d asked me a few years ago, I’d have said Lilah with Faith as a close second, but Faithsley has grown on me massively over the years.
The characters are more interesting (Cordelia, who I liked on Buffy, is brilliant on Angel, Wesley is my favorite character ever, Faith’s real development happens on the show, Lilah is probably my favorite female villain in TV, Faithsley and Weslah are some of my beloved ships, Illyria is a philosopher without peer),
the story is darker and grittier (which I love, even if it could have stood to be darker and grittier still, IMO),
it deals with grey on grey better and more often (but again, probably could have done more),
it features guns being used and used effectively (not always, but more often),
Wolfram and Hart is an excellent villain-group,
The Story has more long-term continuity across seasons,
The conflicts are more… grown up (this is not to say that Buffy is an immature show or a childish one, but Buffy is a show about growing up, Angel is a show about being grown up - the one is about coming of age, the other is ‘you’re of age, now what?’ The latter has always been more interesting)
The heroes are more pragmatic (most of them could have stood to be more so, IMO)
It’s set in a big city (I don’t like small-town America that much)
Collapsible. Sword. (Enough said)
Despite its muddled morality and gray on gray, at the end of the day, the heroes are distinctly better than the other side (I like muddled morality, but a story where its a toss up on who is ‘better’ at the end of the gets a little too muddled for me, after a while)
People without powers (a lot of magic/super-strength/etc) are able to hold their own in the fight against demons (Wesley, since he rarely uses his magic, Gunn, Fred, Holtz, Gunn’s whole crew)
Angel knows that getting redemption for all he’s done is something that very likely can never happen (Angel: “
I’m trying to atone for a hundred years of unthinkable evil. News flash! I never can. Never gonna be enough.”)
Redemption is a theme for most of the main cast - (Angel, Cordelia, Doyle, Wesley, Gunn, Spike all have done things in the past they feel responsible for, things that they feel they need to do good to make up for their pasts)
Its about fighting the good fight, not about ‘winning’ (even if they lost some of that at times, and the S5 finale is just… well, what happened to fighting the good fight again?)
I could go on, but then I’d be here all day. Suffice it to say, I’ll always pick the show Angel over the show Buffy.
All This is not to say that I dislike Buffy - Buffy is probably my second favorite show, right after Angel, but Angel is just so freaking awesome that it outpaces Buffy in nearly every way for me.