‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Actor James Marsters Wrote a Song About a Teenage Michelle Trachtenberg Fans Find ‘Creepy’

Some shows leave a lasting impression on their fans that goes on far after the season finale comes to a close. Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have ended nearly two decades ago, but the show has remained a cultural touchstone and even the actors who have gone off to find fame in other roles still hold a special spot in the hearts of Buffy fans for the characters they portrayed. 

James Marsters’ most iconic role has certainly been his time spent playing Spike, the deadly villain turned into a kind-hearted lover who became a main character in the later seasons of the series. Marsters has continued to be a presence at conferences and enjoys a dedicated fan base who fondly associate him with the complicated and sensitive undead vampire. 

Not everything about his time on the set was endearing to fans, however. In fact, when a song he wrote about his teenage co-star Michelle Trachtenberg got out, some fans found it “creepy.” 

(L-R) Tom Lenk, Emma Caulfield, Alexis Denisof, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Stewart Head, Joss Whedon, Michelle Trachtenberg, James Marsters smiling, posed for a photo in a parking lot
(L-R) Tom Lenk, Emma Caulfield, Alexis Denisof, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Stewart Head, Joss Whedon, Michelle Trachtenberg, James Marsters | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

James Marsters played Spike

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer wasn’t just a show about a badass high school girl who was given superhuman powers in order to kill vampires. It was also a show about the day-to-day ups and downs of being a teenager, finding real friendships, and falling in and out of love. Without a doubt, the show’s success hinged as much on its foot in the real world as it did on the fantasy elements. Another element that allowed it such great success was its reliance on complex, deep characters who had many layers. 

Spike was one such character, though he didn’t seem very multifaceted at first. Early on, Spike was simply a villain who had a reputation for being bloodthirsty and cunning. Over time, viewers saw Spike’s origin story — including the reveal that before he was sired by Drusilla, he was a heartbroken poet with a sad love life. Spike’s arc through the show takes many twists and turns, and his relationship with Buffy is never fully defined even as he confesses his love for her and ultimately sacrifices himself to save her. 

Michelle Trachtenberg played Dawn 

Buffy was truly an ensemble cast. While Sarah Michelle Gellar’s portrayal of the title character received top billing, the show hinged on the relationships between Buffy’s family and friends, and the big cast of characters portraying them was essential to the show’s popularity. One of those characters was Dawn, Buffy’s little sister who mysterious showed up mid-series and became a crucial part of the supernatural plot. 

Dawn was portrayed by Michelle Trachtenberg, a young actor who had risen to fame with her starring role in the 1996 film adaptation of Harriet the Spy. Trachtenberg also had a recurring role in The Adventures of Pete & Pete and played Penny in the 1999 film version of Inspector Gadget alongside Matthew Broderick. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was certainly a pivotal role for her career, and while some fans had mixed feelings about the sudden appearance of a new sister for Buffy, the part certainly helped showcase Trachtenberg’s abilities. 

James Marsters penned a song about Dawn 

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Trachtenberg has recently made headlines for voicing her support to fellow Buffy actor Charisma Carpenter’s allegations against the show’s creator Joss Whedon. Both women, as Deadline reports, have accused Whedon of creating a toxic and inappropriate environment. 

Fans looking more closely at Trachtenberg’s time on the set have also started questioning Marsters’ behavior toward her. Trachtenberg was on the show from the time she was around 15 until the time she was 17. Marsters, meanwhile, was more than 20 years her senior and a grown man. As SyFy reports, Marsters once wrote a song — perhaps channeling his poetry-loving character — about Trachtenberg. It contained some questionable lyrics: “One baby, two, maybe three more years/You’ll be a full grown girl, have all your curves/And here’s my taste of irony/You’ll be a ten-hot baby, too good for me.” It’s not too surprising many fans found the lyrics about the teen creepy.