You think we're dancing?
That's all we've ever done.
That's all we've ever done.
So, in honor of this post, I have embarrassingly dug up some old meta I wrote some years ago about this ship. My opinions are pretty much the same as they were back then only less eloquent, so I guess I'll leave that there.
But I have to write SOMETHING here so here we are. For the sake of background, Buffy/Spike is basically a ~formative~ ship for me in that I grew up watching the show and it ~shaped me as a person~~~~ Much like Buffy/Angel! /trolololol. Only, even in my earnest teen days (which, tbf, weren't THAT long ago, lol), I still ~naturally gravitated towards the more overt dysfunction of Buffy/Spike. Although I'd say both are about equally toxic and dysfunctional the thing that always very perversely appealed to me about Buffy/Spike was how mutually destructive it was. (Season six of Buffy is just about the best-written showcase of mutual destruction the world of television has yet seen, tbqh. Ergo, my 15 year old self was all over it.) I feel like whereas Buffy/Angel was more straightforward with the Bad Boyfriend angle (i.e. Angel holds the emotional power from start to finish -- their relationship begins with Angel withholding information about himself from Buffy and it ends with him dumping her for L.A.), Buffy/Spike was distinct because it allowed the heroine to be a Bad Girlfriend. And that's not to downplay or excuse Spike's abuse at all or deny the fact that he's a centuries-old mass-murderer. Rather, the salient point is that the ship was important in exploring Buffy's ~dark side.
And that's something that's always stuck with me. That is, the Fallen Woman (TM). I'm into it. Buffy is a particularly good example because in S6 she has literally fallen from Heaven (or rather, been resurrected against her will) some time after heroically sacrificing herself to save the world. So, after reaching a virtually saintly pinnacle of goodness and then rudely thrown back on Earth and basically told that her duty (to save others -- again and again and again) still awaits... what better of way of coping is there than to start fornicating with your demonic mortal enemy? :~D
While she uses him as an outlet for her pain/rage/despair -- because it's the only real form of emotional power she can wield, because she can't express how she really feels to anyone else, because he allows her to do so -- he conversely uses her as a tie to humanity -- because he's isolated and depressed, because she's virtually the only real human connection in his life, because he secretly yearns to be worthy of her love but suspects he never will. And for all that is impure in this world, the way both characters' arcs are constructed around each other is a thing of unholy beauty and all other wrong!ships should bow.
And maybe my favorite thing about Buffy/Spike, oddly, is that in the end they resolve to be better than two people who are only good at tearing each other down. I don't just care about them hurting each other, I also care when they stop.