The Blame Game Teen angst is known across the world as just something that most teens have at some point or another. Both boys and girls go through a rebellion stage, but they tend to differ slightly based on time, place, and of course the people around them. It is the time of change, a time where parents want to protect their children and those children don’t always agree with their parents. In the teenager’s eyes, the parents conspire against them with the help of any authority figure they can get in contact with. Other parents, teachers, police, and similar authorities only try to help guide the teens in the right direction.
In this case Hendershot argues that authority figures were the main cause of problems for Tony from I Was a Teenage Werewolf. While authority figures might have contributed to Tony’s problems it a slightly different story for Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy moved to the new school of Sunnydale High because she had burned down her old school gym in an attempt to rid it of Vampires. Even though she did it to keep everyone safe, she could not let her secret slip so she took the blame and was labeled a bad child. Her new school principal, “Bob”, isn’t one for hijinks and keeps a watchful eye on her.
Though he is a problem, Buffy uses her supernatural powers to find a way around him. In the second episode Bob finds Buffy trying to leave school, after he locks the gate on her she jumps over the fence with ease once he walks away. On the opposite side of the spectrum of teen angst, there is Tony. Tony got into fights nonstop and talked back to everyone he could which includes parents, teachers, his girlfriend, and the police. Tony did not initially have any kind of supernatural powers. He was not born a werewolf and he could not control anything that he did once he was a werewolf.
Tony was a roblematic teen before being turned into a werewolf; the only thing being a werewolf did was make him more difficult to manage. Detective Donovan was the one that suggested Tony see Dr. Brandon, but he was only trying to help the situation. I don’t think the detective had any idea that Dr. Brandon would experiment on Tony. To be fair Tony had initially denied Detective Donovan, only to realize on his own that he could use some help. Dr. Brandon was the authority figure that turned on Tony and made him into the monster, and Detective Donovan (the initial authority figure) was not to blame.
Yes, Detective Donovan put the idea in his mind but in the end it was Tony that decided to see Dr. Brandon. I would like to recognize the fact that Buffy was not a problem in school, apart from the fact that she burnt her old gym down. She made good grades, was on the cheerleading squad, made friends almost instantly, and still managed to save the world. Tony on the other hand was a problem to begin with. He did not make good grades, got into fights, and verbally abused everyone around him. Tony and Buffy were both raised by single parents but they were obviously raised very differently.
It is always said on either end that a male child needs their father to teach them right and wrong, or that a female child needs a mother to help her navigate the world. But we have seen in movies and TV shows that children in those situations can end up with the same problems. I believe that anyone can raise a child right if they try hard enough. Buffy’s mother proved that she wanted to give Buffy the best life by moving to a whole new city. She gave up everything so Buffy could get an education and provided her with whatever she needed.
On the opposite end, Tony’s father orked a lot at the factory and blames Tony’s worsening behavior on the death of his mother. Tony’s father tries to help him understand that even though you might not get along with another person, sometimes you have to concede and do things their way. You cannot simply explain how to be a better person to a child through a story; it must be learned through their life. Parents have to show that they care about their child for their child to appreciate what they have. While parents can be essential to teaching children how to act, their teachers and mentors play a pivotal role.
Buffy is mentored by her “VWatcher” Giles. He helps point Buffy in the right direction in the way of Vampire slaying but does little to help in her actual schooling. Tony has Detective Donovan who tries to steer him down the straight and narrow, but cannot do much because he is a police officer and usually shows up after the fighting has already started. It is easier to mentor the child as a teacher considering they spend most of their time at school. I feel that in Tony Rivers’ case, the authority figures that he had in his life were good, but did not help him in the way that he needed help.
If Tony had steered clear of Dr. Brandon, he might have had a chance to actually get better. They could have sent him to military school or maybe a scared straight program if they had it back then, but he definitely wouldn’t have ended up dead. It was not just the authority figures that made Tony the way he was, Tony’s father had even said that his temper had gotten WORSE which means that it was bad before Tony’s mother had died. Buffy’s authority figures, while not very helpful did not impact her behavior in a bad way.
Buffy was a good student and didn’t do anything to harm anyone, she might have done some bad things but it was nly in the pursuit of justice. That is why I believe it is unfair to blame the people in Tony’s life for his behavioral problems. They can only contribute to the madness, but they cannot create it. Social environments help mold us into the people we are today, but that doesn’t mean it is to blame if someone turns out bad. While both Buffy and Tony are tied to the supernatural world, this does not mean that they should be held to the same standards. Buffy had a family, which included a mother and a sister that loved her.
I’m not saying that Tony’s father did not are for him, but there is something to be said about only children and behavioral problems. Only children tend to get what they want when they want it, while children with siblings are forced to face facts that they won’t always get what they want. This notion comes through when examining both Tony and Buffy’s problem solving skills. While Tony gets angry and throws a tantrum, Buffy finds a solution without breaking a sweat. In the end, it is not the authority figures that are solely to blame. Rather, it is a group of factors that have an impact which produce a good or bad child.