J/DB Character Spotlight: Jonathan Levinson

A new feature we’ll be doing now and then, taking a look back at some of our favourite (or most hated, or maybe just interesting) characters. With our new Whedony header I thought I’d kick things off with my rather odd choice for favourite character on my favourite show, Buffy’s Jonathan Levinson.

Though I’m sure a casual fan of BTVS isn’t familiar with him, Jonathan’s been around since the beginning. Literally, he was in the show’s original unaired pilot. Over the series’ length he would appear in a fifth of the episodes, and the fifth season is the only Jonathanless one (and one of the worst seasons, I think. Coincidence?).

Now I know most would say Xander is the everyman character for the audience to relate to, but Jonathan is the noir version. Um, minus the tough grizzled bit. Over the course of the series you just watch him stumble along, shy and awkward, from one screw up to another. For those not familiar with Mr. Levinson’s part on the show, his basic arc is thus: The guy in the background nobody pays attention to, has to be talked out of suicide, screws up the world in an attempt to be popular, falls in with other ubergeeks, and when Warren starts to go really bad he doesn’t have the willpower to defy him and leave the group, his life is ruined, and then his best friend kills him.

Okay, that all sounds pretty horrible just written out like that, but the way Danny Strong plays him makes Jonathan such a wonderful character. He’s mopey and insecure, and the only time I can really remember him happy was the early days of the Troika, before he realized what a bad influence they actually were on his life. Even in Superstar when everyone else is in love with him, he’s not truly happy. Jonathan is the outsider on a show about outsiders, so in the end isn’t he the real star of BTVS?

No, he isn’t. But I still love him.

-Jerk

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~ by Jerk on September 5, 2010.

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