Spoilers ahead. You have been warned. I don’t know how often I’m going to use an entire entry just to obsess over a specific fictional character, but I doubt it’ll be often. I have Tumblr for that. The thing is…certain characters stay in the “fandom” corner of my mind. When I’m fangirling, analyzing, and obsessing…that’s when I care about the character. In the real world, I have more important concerns. There are some characters I couldn’t care less about, some who I only care about momentarily, and others who I like for a short while then forget about. I’ll always care about them, but it’s not like a lifelong thing. Then there are some characters, like the one pictured above, who I can never forget. It’s been about 8 years now and I still have yet to forget this character. Most of my friends know who he is, if only from me. The notorious “Doyle”.
Let me start by saying that I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I’ll probably get into my love of Joss Whedon in some later entry. Is Doyle my favorite character of Joss Whedon’s? It’s hard to say. Doctor Horrible got me hooked and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce had a lot more screen time to work with. But Doyle is up there. Which is rather impressive, considering that he is in a grand total of nine episodes (flashbacks notwithstanding). The show starts with three main leads and Joss Whedon kills off one of them in episode nine. Just when he was getting interesting. Just when his plot was picking up speed. Just when his romance subplot was taking off the ground. It happened so quickly. I remember where I was when I watched his final episode. I remember realizing that I never saw Doyle in pictures from the later seasons. I remember seeing all these comments on the Hulu video that had the words “tears” and “Doyle”. I remember coming to the slow realization of “oh my god…he’s going to die”. I remember the ensuing desperation and denial. I remember the shock, the overflow of tears, and then the acceptance. I remember coming into school the next day a broken shell and all of my friends being concerned. Ask any of my friends who were around during that time. They’ll still remember. I remember finding out that the actor, Glenn Quinn, had also died. I remember reading every fanfiction and watching every fanvideo I could find. It was rough time. Very few fictional characters have ever affected me that much, before or since.
So why the random trip down memory lane with this very specific character? Well, not too long ago I found this amazing godsend fanfiction. In this fanfiction, Doyle doesn’t die. And then the fanfiction goes on and on forever in an alternate universe where Doyle is alive. I have to keep putting away the fic or else I would go crazy waiting for the updates. It’s that good. It’s a reminder of why I love this show (I’ve seriously got to rewatch it. This show was my life in early High School). And it’s a reminder of why I love Doyle.
Doyle was a great character. A “sad clown” archetype. The comic relief who was severely depressed. The good and loyal sidekick with a tragic backstory. A regular guy who was a pro at self-loathing. Who also happened to be half-demon. Who was on the same road to redemption as the every character in this show was (another reason I need to rewatch this show. I love the message that redemption is always possible). But who also, when the situation called for it, turned out to be just as much a hero as his big strong legendary vampire boss. Because the regular average brooding half-demon can be a hero too. Heroes come from unlikely places.
I can’t explain why Doyle means so much to me. Is it because of the ship that never got to sail? The possible storylines that were all cut short? The fact that Glenn Quinn balanced humor and drama so well? The accent? Who knows? I don’t think it really matters at this point. What matters is that this character did have an effect on me and he still does. Anyone can be a hero. Nobody should be forgotten (I appreciate that the other two leading characters at the time that Doyle died, Cordelia and Angel, never forgot him). “There are still heroes in this world”. I love this show. But, most of all, I really love this character.