These are more observations than meant to be a rant or a dig at people- feel free to add any of your own that you have noticed or discuss those you disagree with or do agree with.
I thought about this lately, and perhaps this makes me an elitist snob, but it gets to the point where I almost want to stop reading the story the second I see these things. A lot of this relates specifically to Fuffy or portrayals of Faith, because that's who I write for the most so that's who I get annoyed with the most if I think they'rewriting for her "wrong," but other characters are talked about too. I don't really have any observations of other pairings because Fuffy is mostly what I've read.
Also, yes, I'm guilty of a lot of this in my earlier fics, before I had watched Buffy as many times as I had and felt that I had as good of an understanding of the characters. That being said, just because a fic has one or some of these things in them doesn't mean it's not a good fic or that I wouldn't necessarily enjoy reading it.
1. When people repeatedly use phrases that characters said exactly ONCE- like "Xander-shaped friend" or "Slayerettes". Okay, if they said it one time, in seven years, that really, really means it's not necessary to continually say it. Or even to say it at all.
2. When Tara, especially in seasons later than season four, stutters through nearly everything she says regardless of who she's speaking to or if she's feeling nervous or shy or not. – Tara was rarely stuttering by season six because she had grown confident and had a secure place with the others- that seemed to be bred more of insecurity than anything. I'm pretty sure I used this one in the Comalies series.
3. When Xander suddenly becomes "super-Xander" who can do no wrong, who is always right with everything, who is suddenly super-insightful towards everyone and this awesome super-friend who points out where everyone else went wrong. Uh…didn't notice over seven seasons that although Xander is a loyal friend who has more insight than he's given credit for, he also can be petty, jealous, judgmental, and oblivious? To some extent, I used this one in Cross My Heart, Hope to Die.
4. When Giles is still wearing tweed in the later seasons. No, his attire was pretty normal and relaxed by then. I'm pretty sure I used this in a few fics.
5. Xander becomes "super-Xander" in that he suddenly and conveniently gains superpowers that put him on equal status or even above the others. To me, the whole point of Xander is that he is the one normal person, the one "everyman" that sort of flounders yet still manages to hold his own against them, which gives him a lot more credit than he is often given. Granted, I'm sure there are many great fics where he gets powers but in general I avoid them.
6. Joyce is super intuitive perfect mom- look, I like Joyce, I really do, and she was obviously the best mom of the series since everyone else had either a sucky mom or a mom who was rarely shown. And I do understand that the kids basically did adopt her as their mom eventually because she was considerate of them and they spent so much time at her house. But she was far from a mind-reader or a flawless Betty Crocker parent, especially in seasons 1 and 2. She did her best like any parent and she certainly loved Buffy and was warm towards all the kids, but she wasn't able to sniff out any plan they had, to always say and do the perfect thing, and she definitely had her flaws. One of them being that for a while there she was fairly oblivious to the point of being obtuse, she could be stubborn and hardheaded, and she seemed to find it difficult at times to think outside the box. I definitely used this in Comalies series.
7. Angel is abusive to Buffy- absolutely not. The fics that show him being cruel to her, pushing her around, yelling at her, striking fear in her, come on, really? That was Angelus, not Angel. Angel loved Buffy. Their relationship is not one I'm a huge fan of, but there can be little doubt that he loved her, semi-idolized her for a while there, and that he would not have been abusive towards her while still Angel.
8. Angel/Xander slash- You gotta be kidding me with this. Sure, Xander has made a fair amount of sexually innuendo-ish comments about Spike, Riley, Angel, and I could understand an argument being made about him being a closet bisexual. But…Angel having a thing for Xander?! Really?! They barely tolerated each other! Xander saw him as a rival and Angel saw him as an annoying child. Under what universe would they be sleeping with each other or in LOVE?
9. Buffy's real name is Elizabeth- no it is not, it is BUFFY. It was never, ever stated that her name is actually Elizabeth. That is the point of the show, she's a stereotypical Valley Girl at a glance with a stereotypical Valley Girl name. Which Elizabeth is not.
10. Buffy is a huge eater, as are all slayers- this comes from the "hungry and horny" statement made by Faith. But what people aren't taking into account is that in the episode where Faith seems so hungry (wolfing down the muffin, stealing Buffy's food at her house) she had been on the run for probably months, and she had little money. She was no doubt never certain of when her next meal would be, may not have eaten in quite a while, and so was taking advantage of homecooked meals and snacks people bought her. Buffy herself was never shown to be eating a huge amount of food in one sitting.
11. Tara is practically telepathic – Tara was never shown to "just know" all kinds of things about people by her magical powers. Tara was an insightful person because she quietly watched and listened to people, not due to magical powers. Otherwise wouldn't she have always known when Willow was up to something or lying to her magically? I think I used this in Comalies too *is seeing a pattern here*
12. Fights are described as ten minutes or twenty minutes long in duration- um…people, have you ever watched a real, actual fight, or even timed how long a tv fight took? A ten minute fight would be an excruciatingly long time. A TWO MINUTE fight generally would mean that someone is getting the crap beat out of them by one person and isn't fighting back much. Most fights are over within fifteen seconds, certainly within a minute. A ten minute fight would be more like a war.
13. Faith is the dark slayer or the brunette slayer or raven-haired- Why do people insist on calling her "the brunette Slayer" or "the dark Slayer" over and over in a story? Okay, there are no other brunette Slayers in the history of the world? We must define them by their hair color? We know her name. Why can't we use it? Also…she does not have raven hair. Her hair is brown. Period.
14. Things from Sunnydale magically survive or are retrieved post season seven- I can understand this one to some extent, like, they had a single backpack of pre-stashed stuff with things in it. But like Buffy having the same pair of pajamas? Really? Having Mr. Gordo? The end of the world is coming and you grab your stuffed pig? Really? Not to mention I didn't' see any backpacks or anything other than human beings on the bus…
15. Dawn is a genius- I definitely agree that Dawn is smart. Especially by season seven this seemed clear. But she also seemed like a basically normal (as normal as a key can be) girl, not a supermegagenius with amazing intellect.
16. Riley is an abusive asshole to Buffy- no. Riley is not my favorite character by any means, which is why I've written exactly one story that he was in, and boy did I struggle with it and still think I probably sucked at his portrayal. But he wasn't an evil person, and especially in stories where he's raring to outright torture Faith just don't seem like who Riley is to me.
Things that get on my nerves in Faith/Fuffy fics:
1. When Faith is portrayed as considerably larger and taller than Buffy. Eliza Dushku is 5'5. Sarah Michelle Gellar is 5'3. That is NOT a highly noticeable difference whatsoever. Sarah was also not considerably slimmer than her in season three; the obviously noticeable weight difference between them really wasn't until season seven, when Sarah had lost a considerable amount of weight. There's no telling how many times I used this one.
2. Buffy-bashing- Buffy is portrayed (particularly in Faith-focused stories) as a complete bitch who lives simply to make Faith's life miserable to the extent that she tortures/beats her/otherwise severely harms her after Faith shows extreme remorse, usually to the extent that all of Buffy's friends are appalled and turn on her in favor of Faith. Really? Again, did you watch the show? Would Buffy's friends EVER turn on her in favor of Faith no matter what she did to Faith, even if she murdered Faith in cold blood?
3. Buffy has secretly been in love with Faith all along and just need a tiny shove of circumstances to declare it and make a move. Um…I seriously can't buy that. I have no problem believing that a part of Buffy was attracted to her in season 3, and that at one point, before Faith killed Finch, that if Faith had made a move- probably only in 'Bad Girls" really- that Buffy might have been just curious or intrigued or caught up in the moment enough to go with it. But I really, really can't believe that Buffy was "in love" with her and torn between her and Angel in any sort of cognizant way. Yep, another Comalies one.
4. Angel raped Buffy/Buffy is bored with him/disgusted with him/hated sex with him/sees him as a clingy hanger-on in the way of her and Faith. Absolutely not. Buffy slept with Angel because she wanted it and she seemed to think it was great until Angelus was awful to her about it. Buffy showed no signs of being bored with Angel, why else would she sneak around with him behind other people's back? Angel was far from clingy of Buffy in season 3, if anything she was the one trying to hang onto him even as she knew it wasn't possible to work out. Certainly she didn't see him as interfering between her and Faith, because first off, there was no her and Faith, second off, if anyone would think that way, it would be Faith thinking he interfered between her time with Buffy.
5. Faith has a sister named Hope and/or the middle name Hope- that's really, really clichéd and corny, frankly. I know there are probably thousands of girls named Faith with a sister named Hope, but…there are more that don't have sisters named Hope! Not to mention, Faith is an only child, as seems apparent from the comics not mentioning any siblings even once while she talks with her father.
6. Faith is sexually tortured/raped by the Mayor- that is not within the Mayor's character at all! The Mayor talked about the unsavory activities going on in the motel Faith was staying in with disdain, he was a germaphobe, he told her he was a family man and shut her down from being flirty with him, he loved his wife Edna…he would see it as completely horrible and against his morals to even have adultery, let alone without the woman's consent with a girl he viewed basically as a child.
7. Buffy is gay and always has been. Not only that, but often Dawn, Xander, Andrew, of course, Willow, Tara, Kennedy, Faith, and sometimes even Angel and Spike are also gay.- um, Buffy is not gay. If anything she is bisexual, as her affair with Satsu seems to indicate, or bi-curious. But she cannot be one hundred percent fully gay when she's slept with and been in love with several men and showed on the show only a passing flicker of possible sexual interest with Faith, considerably more of that from Faith herself. Xander, likewise, is clearly not fully and strictly gay. Dawn showed attraction towards guys so her being fully gay seems uncharacteristic to me too. And a fic where all the characters are gay which is supposed to be taken seriously? Really?
8. Faith is fully gay- she mentioned at least three boyfriends, slept with Xander and Robin, showed attraction to Angel, why are there so many fics where she's fully gay, sleeping with only women, and showing no interest in men? I can definitely believe bisexual, but fully lesbian?
9. After a long absence, regardless of how late past season seven it is, Buffy will greet Faith with a punch to the face- why does this seem to happen in every other fic I read? Is Buffy really that violent and petty? I understand that she did hit Faith twice in season seven but after the show was over, and they're both grown women, really? Would Buffy really continue to hit her in the face every single time she sees her even if Faith is returning to help?
10. Faith being portrayed as learning disabled and/or not book smart due not to lack of interest or effort but actual difficulty learning- I can't believe that she's learning disabled or "not that bright." Just because a person dropped out of school doesn't mean they were not very bright and capable, which I think Faith is. She thinks fast on her feet, she is a good strategist when she puts her mind to it, she's insightful and observant of other people and their intentions if she's not letting herself be blinded by emotion, and she often throws words into her speech, using them CORRECTLY, like "rejuvenated". Would someone who was not very smart use words like REJUVENATED? There's a difference between not being educated and not being smart.
11. Faith portrayed as talking in extreme slang, using "ya" or "yo" or dropping g's at the end of everything, such as "Ya gonna go slayin' tonight, yo?"- That is just not factual. Yes, in season seven she said yo occasionally but I attributed that more to picking it up from prison, since she didn't speak like that in season 3, than her usual way of speaking. She actually, if people pay attention, spoke just as well as the others for the most part. Obviously she said things like "gonna" or "wanna" sometimes but so did the others and so does everyone in real life just about, and she did often pronounce even those words correct. She did not say "ya" for you or leave off the g of every single word though or use slang like "I ain't gonna do that to ya, dontcha believe me?" though, and that drives me CRAZY to see that, especially in an otherwise good fic. I did this to some extent in several shorter fics.
12. Buffy calling Faith "Faithy" in all seriousness with no condescension or sneering and not when evil- the only people who ever called Faith Faithy was Angelus, who is evil and using the name to sneer, and in the Angel and Faith comics, her dad and a member of the Irish mob. Those are all people who would use the name in a manner that is hurtful towards her, so for Buffy to call her Faithy as a pet name and Buffy to be okay with that, that seems horribly out of character and context. Not to mention that Buffy rarely called her lovers pet names anyway! Did she call Riley "Ri" or "Ri Ri" or Spike "Spikey?" No, that was a Buffybot thing. Another Comalies one, lol
13. Everyone automatically, within the first day or hour of seeing Faith again after she's out of the coma/prison is immediately pro-Faith and "oh she's changed so much, it wasn't her fault."- no, the Scoobies were pretty harsh with her, more so than Buffy, even. Willow was jealous and resentful and so was Xander to some extent, given her almost choking him.
14. Faith wears leather nearly exclusively. – no, especially not after season four. She didn't wear leather even once in season seven, why would she wear it exclusively post season seven? She wore jeans more often than anything. Yeah I don't even know how many I used this one in
15. Faith has brown eyes, Buffy has blue- no. Eliza Dushku has hazel eyes, they are actually exactly the same color as mine. I noticed this in the movie Alphabet Killer. Buffy has greenish/hazelish eyes. But this one I can definitely see being easy to mistake on.
16. Buffy falls for Faith with great reluctance due only to being forced to watch her/care for her while Faith is in a physically or emotionally weakened state which either involves near death or frequent Faith breakdowns- honestly, I'm just getting tired of seeing this. Why must Buffy pity Faith to want to love her/have sex with her? Why must Faith be weak and self-loathing to be worthy of being loved? Why would Buffy be attracted to someone who is so weak, doesn't that make her codependent? Another Comalies one.
17. Faith is a crack addict/whore- Faith was never shown doing illegal drugs of any kind, not that I would quibble with her dabbling in them. Especially post season seven unless some grave tragedy has taken place I can't see her running off and becoming a crack addict.
18. With Faith, Buffy cries all the time and needs Faith to comfort her, or vice versa – neither woman was a frequent crier, they pretty much only cried under extreme stress or pain or tragedy. Seriously, think over the course of seven seasons what made them cry. Buffy- her own impending death, the love of her life saying she sucks in bed, the love of her life breaking up with her, her mother dying, her mother having a brain tumor…etc. Faith- being suicidal, experiencing extreme self-hatred after acts of evil, being in the middle of a mental breakdown of sorts, and in comics, Giles's death for both, Faith's father basically pushing her to the brink of despair… those are NOT mild things to cry about. These were tough women who tried to keep emotions at bay under many circumstances, definitely not ones who were always bawling and needing comforting. The fact that they did sometimes cry and did sometimes receive comfort doesn't mean that they need to in every chapter of a thirty page fic, which I honestly have seen sometimes.
19. Faith was lovers with her Watcher – absolutely no indication of that in canon and I honestly can't believe it.
20. Faith and/or Buffy masturbating with such pleasure they're audibly making noises that the other hears- first off, who actually DOES that, and if you do, I don't want to know about it. Second off, who does that knowing that the person you have sexual tension towards is right there listening and doesn't feel like a huge pervert?
21. The Scoobies immediately accept their great love and think it's the best thing ever and/or go above and beyond to years later, rehash Faith is evil- The first option is unlikely because they almost always had apprehension towards Faith, the only way I can see that is if it's considerably past Chosen and their relationships with each other are all excellent now. The first option, if they've been working with Faith for a while and know she's "redeemed" why in the world would they start bringing up the ancient history of her "evil?"
Lol and I'm not pointing fingers, I've actually included several of these in my earlier fics…which makes me cringe to read now…but just some observations and thoughts.