Buffy Character: Clem | James Charles Leary

Clement was a Loose-Skinned demon who was commonly known as Clem. Unlike other demons, Clem has a kind and friendly nature, becoming a trusted ally to the Scooby Gang as well as becoming Harmony Kendall’s assistant and acting as Spike’s poker buddy and crypt-sitter.

Clem comes into the show in its two final seasons, Seasons 6 and 7, and is the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover thanks to his stereotype-breaking character.

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Clem is often seen as a fan favorite and his popularity remained so high following the show’s end that he was brought back in some of the comics where we followed his adventures with Harmony as the latter tries to revitalize her reality TV career. 

Biography

Clem is first introduced in season 6 and is first seen as an acquaintance of Spike as the two play Kitten Poker where they gamble kittens in the hope of winning and eventually feeding on their prize.

The two eventually become friends and Spike trusts Clem enough to bring Buffy to a game of Kitten Poker. Spike doesn’t take part in the game of Kitten Poker as he opts to get drunk instead and Buffy uses this time to befriend Clem herself and get to know him.

She quickly sees that he is a gentle and peaceful demon despite his appearance and sees that he is an ally of the Slayer and the Scooby Gang and invites him to her 21st birthday party in the hope that the two can build a stronger friendship. 

Clem and Spike arrive at Buffy’s 21st birthday party where Clem is able to mingle with the rest of the Scooby Gang and befriend most of them. Spike brings Clem for moral support as he had recently had a fight with the Slayer and wanted to crash the party.

Following the birthday party celebrations, Clem is eventually invited to Anya Jenkins and Alexander Harris’ wedding where he sits on the groom’s side with Xander’s family and friends.

The wedding is ultimately abandoned but Clem’s position as an ally towards the Scooby Gang is evident and cemented by this occasion as he is viewed as an important member of the group. 

Buffy’s trust for Clem is further proven as she asks him to watch over her younger sister, Dawn when the Slayer is forced to face her best friend, Willow Rosenberg when the witch turns to dark magic.

This is because Buffy knows that Clem will not harm Dawn while also remaining capable of protecting her if needed.

He also eventually assists Buffy when the Slayer is teaching a bunch of Potential Slayers and even shows his “nightmare face” to them where his face opens up and reveals numerous tentacles that can be deadly when needed. 

When Sunnydale is facing destruction in the final season, Clem leaves with the majority of the town despite being able to fight against the forces of darkness. This is because it is against Clem’s nature to resort to violence and leaving is a peaceful option.

He moves to Los Angeles where he works as Harmony Kendall’s personal assistant while she is working on Harmony Bites, a reality TV show that follows Harmony around.

Harmony is a former resident of Sunnydale and a vampire who was once Spike’s partner and Clem has been besotted with her ever since he first met her. His love is unrequited and Harmony is aware of his affection but the two share a deep friendship. 

After Harmony Bites is canceled, Clem moves to London with Harmony where the latter hopes to revitalize her career over the Atlantic. This includes a lucrative judging position on Britain’s Got Talent and Clem continues to work as her personal assistant.

Harmony is then subject to blackmail as she is sent a tape that shows her siring her lover so both Clem and Harmony bring Angel and Faith Lehane in to help track down the blackmailer and bring them to justice.

To everyone’s surprise, it is revealed that Clem was actually the blackmailer as he wanted Harmony to fall in love with him as he concocted the plan in the hopes of solving it himself and proving himself worthy of her love.

Despite the betrayal, Harmony forgives Clem because she appreciates that he has been unquestionably loyal towards her through everything although she rejects his proclamations of love.

She does agree to give him a raise and says that Simon Cowell will give him his new salary rather than her. This provides a bittersweet ending for Clem’s storyline as he gets to stay with Harmony although not as her lover but their friendship is proven to be a deep bond. 

Personality/Traits

When it comes to his personality and traits, Clem is the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. His appearance consists of loose, sagging skin that also features large ears which make him look evil and intimidating to humans.

His personality could not be further from this as he is a gentle being with a peaceful nature who likes to play poker in his spare time. He initially enjoys playing Kitten Poker where the players gamble kittens and the winner eventually gets to eat the kittens but Clem gives this up later on for health and moral reasons.

Clem is a character who fights against stereotypes as he does not wish any harm to the Slayer or the Scooby Gang and actually shows respect towards her which is different from the majority of other demons and species who wish her harm. 

Clem is quickly identified as a demon that is openly against violence and does not kill as his skin feeds on emotion instead, especially embarrassment which Clem fondly describes as the tastiest emotion.

Other characters often use Clem as a soundboard as he is a hub of emotional wisdom showing how trustworthy he is and he can often be relied on to provide some comic relief during difficult times.

Not much is said about Loose-Skinned Demons but one thing that is said is that they walk around naked but Clem does not do this as he has adjusted himself to Western beauty standards. 

He often explains his appearance away as a skin condition to those who don’t know about the existence of demons but he is able to open his face up which reveals numerous tentacles.

He doesn’t show his “nightmare face” on many occasions but when he does, it is with good intentions only such as showing the Potentials to prove how harmless he is as well as another occasion in which he protects Harmony’s dogs from vampires.

Clem using his abilities for good reasons proves that he tries to avoid violence where he can but that he is willing to use his traits when needed. 

Powers and Abilities

Clem is a Loose-Skinned Demon meaning that his skin is very saggy and can initially appear as though he poses a threat but the opposite is true. Unlike other species of demons that Buffy encounters, Clem has a very calm and peaceful nature and poses no threat towards Buffy and the Scooby Gang. 

Clem is openly against violence during his tenure on the show, provides plenty of comic relief, and proves to be a source of emotional wisdom for other characters who are struggling.

Not much information is given about Loose-Skinned Demons on the show but the main fact that is reiterated is that they are often subject to bullying from other demon species due to their appearance and sagging skin. However, it is their skin that contains some powers as it feeds on emotion, especially embarrassment, which is Clem’s favorite. 

Whether all Loose-Skinned Demons are peaceful in nature or if Clem is an exception is not known through the series so it is possible that Clem is an anomaly and that Loose-Skinned Demons actually pose a threat towards humans.

However, the only downside to Clem’s personality is that he has an appetite for eating kittens but he eventually gave this habit up to better his health and morals, showing his kindness coming through again. 

There are times when Clem is able to show his powers and abilities with his skin proving to be much more than an aesthetic part of his species. He has a “Nightmare Face” which he shows to the Potentials meaning that he is able to use his abilities to frighten his enemies with ease.

Although this isn’t directly harmful, it can cause a distraction for his enemies and give Clem time to think of his next move. In terms of powers and abilities that cause harm to his enemies, Clem shows this in the comic series in issue 6 of Angel & Faith where he decapitates numerous vampires using the tentacles on his face.

It seems unexpected and out of character for Clem, but this is proof that he is capable of causing harm when he needs to and also further proof that he is on the Scobby Gang’s side and is against the violence and chaos that evil demons and vampires threaten to ensue. 

Relationships

Clem is a character who breaks the usual stereotypes associated with demonic characters and this has contributed to great relationships with the main characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Here are just some of the most meaningful relationships that Clem makes during his appearance on the show:

Harmony Kendall

Arguably Clem’s most defining relationship on the show is the one he has with Harmony Kendall. This is due to Clem’s unrequited love for the character. Although Harmony knows that Clem is in love with her but despite this, the two share a deep friendship. 

Eventually, Clem works as Harmony’s assistant so he can stay close to her. In the comics, we get to see Clem and Harmony following the events at Sunnydale as they have traveled to London where Harmony hopes to revitalize her reality TV career after her TV show in Los Angeles is canceled. 

Harmony gets a judging position on Britain’s Got Talent with Clem still working as her assistant. When Harmony is blackmailed by someone who has a copy of a tape of her siring her lover, Faith and Angel are brought in to catch the blackmailer.

It is revealed that Clem sent the tape in the hopes that Harmony would fall in love with him. Although she does not return his love, she does forgive him and the two remain firm friends, giving them a bittersweet ending. 

Brigitta

When it comes to romance, Brigitta is a character that Clem had previously been on a date with. She is a Loose-Skinned demon but has had cosmetic surgery to tighten her skin meaning that she can pass as a human. 

Spike

Another important relationship for Clem is the one that he has with Spike. They initially meet as poker buddies where they play Kitten Poker, a game that sees them gamble kittens that the winner would eventually eat.

A friendship then develops between the two which is unusual given that Spike is a vampire and Clem is a Loose-Skinned demon but their friendship lasts for the duration of Clem’s appearance on the show. 

Spike even brings Clem to Buffy’s birthday party to provide him with some comfort after his previous fight with Buffy and entrusts him to take care of his crypt in his absence.

It is thanks to Spike that Clem is even introduced to Buffy and the Scooby Gang, allowing him to become a trusted and important ally to the group through the final two seasons of the show. 

Spike and Clem’s friendship is nice to see as they are both allies to humans while also indulging in various activities that relate to their demonic natures such as Kitten Poker. 

Buffy Summers

Clem and Buffy first meet when Spike brings the latter to a game of Kitten Poker. Spike doesn’t partake in the game of Kitten Poker that evening as he decides to get drunk instead and Buffy sees Clem playing the game.

Despite this, she sees that he is a peaceful and polite demon who poses no harm towards her and invites him to her birthday party where the two become friends.

Buffy realizes that she can trust Clem and even asks him to watch over her younger sister, Dawn after Spike leaves. Another sign of Buffy and Clem’s deep friendship is that they have a long embrace when they see each other while Buffy is training potentials.

When they see each other again years later, Buffy even remarks that having Harmony at the apartment was “almost worth” it because Clem was there proving once again how high in esteem Buffy holds him. 

Dawn Summers

Another friendship Clem establishes is with Buffy’s younger sister, Dawn. It is unusual for a demon to be trusted, especially by the Slayer to take care of her family but Clem is tasked with watching over Dawn at one point.

This is because Clem shows no sign of causing harm to any human while being strong enough to eliminate any enemies, making him the best person to watch over Dawn when Buffy is unable to. 

Photos

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Appearances

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • Season 6
  • Season 7

Comics

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight
  • Angel & Faith
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Ten
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eleven

Novels

  • Chosen: The One
  • The Darkening
  • Spark and Burn
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A Picture Book

Other

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic

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Marianne LeBlanc
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