Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
Cordelia is interesting from the first season. She starts off as the stereotypical Head Bitch in Charge, a wealthy and pretty cheerleader, who is used to everyone following what she says. However Joss Whedon, (creator) gives her more layers than just that.
I found myself admiring her, because of her sharp wit, although it’s often hurtful to those on the receiving it. It wasn’t until the lines ‘Everyone’s so busy agreeing with me, that they don’t hear a word I say,’ and ‘It beats being alone all by yourself’ that I genuinely empathised with her.
The second season sees her become more and more involved in the Scooby Gang which surrounds Buffy Summers. She unbends, falling in love with Xander Harris, and acknowledging their relationship despite the opposition of her minions. It was nice to see her strength, and the loyalty that she possesses being directed towards someone who seemingly was worthy of it.
My heart broke for her in the third season, when she discovers Willow and Xander kissing, when she and Oz go to rescue them. One of the many occasions when Charisma Carpenter’s expressive features, inspire empathy, and concern. She looked genuinely heartbroken, when she discovers the two together.
It was nice as well, during the ‘Earshot’ episode, when Buffy develops telepathic abilities, to see the contrast between Cordelia and Oz. Cordelia has no inner filter, what she thinks is what she says, whereas Oz will think a good deal, but not say very much of it.
She develops further when she arrives in Los Angeles, due in part to the events in her life, during the tail end of season three of Buffy. I don’t mean the season finale, but the financial situation that her father finds himself in, during the Prom episode.
Cordelia develops through the relationship that she has with Angel and Doyle. Doyle is more obvious a influence, given that she receives the same ‘gift’ he possessed, through a kiss moments before he dies. She becomes the conduit from the powers that be, seeing visions of those in trouble, and becomes far more empathetic, and sympathetic to others as a result.
She also develops fighting skills, shown during the third season of Angel, where Angel helps her to learn. The quickness that she picks them up, is explained by Cordelia herself, as a hangover from her cheerleading days ‘I only needed to be shown a move once’.
By the end of her arc, she has become a fully fledged hero. It’s a good thing that Whedon never lets her lose the core characteristics that she began with though. The sharp wit, and tendency to think exactly as she speaks are two of the reasons that she is so well loved by the Buffy Fandom, and I particularly loved that about her as well.