jonathon how could you?

You should have known... should have known. you should have known from the beginning it was a bad idea. you should have had more faith in yourself when Katrina died, and you should have left then. you should have had more faith when you started to see Buffy grow harder, Warren grow scarier, Andrew grow more sycophantic. when did you fall out of the loop? when did you realize they would do everything they could to get away from you and leave you with full responsibility for all their wrongdoing?

and still you take the boy to Mexico. the scared, stupid, bleeding boy who's pining so hard for Warren he was probably bringing dark-haired men home on a nightly basis. when did you know? when did you realize?

was it when the nightmares started? was it when you thought you had to go back?

you think you know about magic. you think you know about people. but you know nothing. and you're smart enough, jonathon. you should have known.

bet you know now...

when jonathon rules the world


Danny Strong is an extremely talented, extraordinarily versatile actor. He was born on the 6th of June in 1974, in a city just south of Los Angeles called Manhattan Beach. He first jumped into acting in stage productions in high school, and he was hooked. He attended the University of Southern California on numerous scholarships as a theatre major, and from then on has been acting and winning some fairly prestigious awards for his skills.

He's been on episodes of Seinfeld, Saved by the Bell, Maybe it's Me, Boy Meets World and Clueless, among others, as well as worked on the films Prophecy II, Dangerous Minds and Pleasantville. He's also starred in a double handful of television and radio ads, everything from Dr. Pepper to PG&E.

And he's also been on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And that's where the disappointment comes in.



For me, he has always been a pivot point on the show. Whenever something is happening that needs a more human face, Jonathon is thrown into the mix. Ampata's frantic search for a love to make her stay: she kisses Jonathan just before Xander. The terrible cruelty of high school girls: Harmony offers Jonathon to Cordelia after Cordy's break-up. Even the desperation of suicide: it's Jonathon that walks into the clocktower with the gun, wishing to end it all.

Even Buffy's most shining moment as the Slayer is handed to her by Jonathon, along with a note read in a voice that nearly does not tremble, and a glittering umbrella to remind her that she was noticed, and was appreciated.

We are Jonathon. In a very real sense, he speaks for us on Buffy--as much as we may identify with other characters, Jonathon speaks for all of those who were neglected, who were ignored, who were swept under the rug by people who never bothered to look to see whom they kicked away. We are the outsiders: those in non-mainstream religions, those with non-mainstream sexualities, those with inept social skills, those with quirky, intelligent minds. Take your pick, there's enough torture for everyone. We suffer right along with Jonathon every step along the way.

More to the point, he has always been a lynchpin figure: from the very first show, we see Jonathon's face. Partially this is because he was originally cast as Xander Harris, and when the studio went a separate direction, Whedon threw him into the first episode with one single line as "Student". From there, his role has grown and enriched the show, given it a depth that it would not otherwise have. In a show full of typical Californian faces, primed, powdered, perfectly coiffed, Jonathon is his own quirky self.

Which is why I'm so disappointed that Jonathon's now a bad guy. Yes, in "Superstar" he cast a spell that caused a whole town to love him, if only in a dream. Who wouldn't, who was constantly derided, denigrated, teased, humiliated? The terrors of high school are always fresh with those who live on the outside, and sometimes power is seized and used whether it's the best thing for us to do or not.

But to come so far, to grow so much throughout the course of Sunnydale history, only to backslide into wanting to take over the world. Didn't he learn once before that world domination was not the answer? More, didn't he learn that there is good in the world, that there is joy and laughter and an end to pain?

Maybe there wasn't, for Jonathon Levinson. Where can he go but to toss in his skills as a mage, and a fairly talented one at that, in the fight against the Slayer? Where else would he be appreciated but by other souls craving the spotlight as much as he does?

But will he have the strength when the time comes to kill Buffy? Will he use his skills to help take her down, and maybe help to kill her for a third time? Or will he step aside one more time, trying to fit into the woodwork he keeps rejecting, take a few more sips of shadow before he next ventures forth. And after enchanting Sunnydale, trying to gun himself down on campus, getting attacked, rejected, disrespected at every turn...what will he do next?

Jonathon, how could you? You must be redeemed.

Update: I'm given a little more hope--after a miserable, grinding sixth season of the show--that Dark Willow did not manage to kill off Jonathon. Myself, I'm hoping for a better outcome than he runs off to Mexico and hangs with loser Andrew. I'm fine with him staying out of Willow's way--at least until she's capable of seeing Warren as the real evil one of the trio, and Jonathon as accessory only--but I would like him to ditch Andrew and work on figuring out who the hell he is.

Because I'm okay with the geek part; I'm okay with the self-deluded insecure boy part; but I am absolutely not cool with Jonathon remaining in the covering-up-rapes-and-murders camp (as he was for half of the sixth season).

Figure yourself out, Jonathon. You deserve a spine of your own.

Update after seeing Episode 7.07 of Buffy, "Conversations with Dead People": Oh, shit.

I watch over Jonathon

jossage: "superstar"
"Chatter" with Danny Strong from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Magazine website
earshot vidcaps
danny strong onstage
jonathon the everpresent


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