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"There’s My Boy..." - an Angel essay

Monday 20 February 2012, by Webmaster

Since the first episode of Buffy, I’ve been a captivated fan, easily losing myself in the alternate universe where every dark remnant of the psyche lives vibrantly in the flesh. Perhaps that’s because as a psychologist and sex therapist, I come from what some might consider an alternative universe, too, where passions are living creatures, both wanted and feared, and the demons of shame, guilt, and regret can keep us chained for a lifetime. In my universe, curses are often self-made, knitted from the wool of our own histories: our families, our lovers, and our beliefs about ourselves. To the degree that my universe intersects with the Angelverse, I view Angel as far more than a creature tormented by blood cravings, past horrors, and mystical forces. In his hulking handsomeness, Angel may be one of the small screen’s most sexually confused heroes. He’s torn by sadistic impulses, terrified of the consequences of intimacy, and driven to redeem tortured women—all because a consuming relationship with one of them framed his destiny.

We could easily mistake Buffy for the most important femme in Angel’s life, considering that they had “the forbidden love of all time.” But another relationship was better than forbidden, it was formative. Of course, I’m speaking of the same relationship that is central in most men’s lives—the one with Mom. Except, in Angel’s case, Mother did not spit him from her womb, but bit him into bloody being.

To say that Darla “made” Angel is to tell only a fraction of...