Parker Abrams, portrayed by the actor Adam Kaufman, was a student at UC Sunnydale. He had a brief sexual relationship with Buffy, which ended when she realized that he only wanted to use her.
Buffy had been interested in more, and was upset that he had cruelly led her on. He then went on to make rude comments about her, prompting angry reactions from other people in Buffy’s life such as Riley.
Parker was only seen in a few episodes in season 4, and was not mentioned again on-screen after his short spell on the show. This shows that he was insignificant to Buffy’s overall life and the main plot of the show.
Although it looked like he would be a love interest at one point, she soon found out that he wasn’t worth it and got over him quickly once he’d knocked her back. He also opened the doors for a proper relationship to develop between Buffy and Riley, which was the main focus of that season.
We meet Parker in the middle of his high school career, and his back story isn’t expanded on in the show – therefore we don’t know much about his early life. Given his general views on women, it probably involved a lot of sitting in his room playing video games and disrespecting his mother.
When Buffy first started at UC Sunnydale, she was trying to hide from her nightmare roommate, Kathy, and ended up in the Rocket Cafe on campus. This is where Parker first bumped into her in a line for the food. Parker noticed that she was avoiding someone and struck up a conversation with her.
He gave her some tips on how to get the most out of her lunch card; Buffy invited him to sit with her friends once they reached the end of the queue, but he said he was meeting someone and left.
At this point, Buffy assumed it was just a chance encounter and thought nothing more of it, but then the next day she found Parker in her dorm room talking with Kathy. He told Buffy he was just stopping by to leave his number, and she explained that she was busy but they could do something another time.
Buffy was initially suspicious that he and Kathy were getting along too well, but she took his willingness to give her space as proof that he respected her. This made her more comfortable with the notion of getting to know him properly, and she was ready to see where things would go.
Relationship With Buffy
In the next episode, it was revealed that Parker and Buffy had spent a considerable amount of time together over the past week or so. They both attended the Bronze, after which he offered to walk her back to her dorm.
On the way, their conversation turned to deeper topics than it had before after he noticed a scar on her neck, and he disclosed that his father had died the previous year.
In return, she told him about her brush with death at the end of season 1, and they both agreed that they wanted to live in the present moment. At the end of the walk, he asked her to go to a party with him and she accepted.
They were about to kiss outside Buffy’s door, when Willow and Oz turned up to tell her that Willow was now a vampire.
They attended the party the following day, during which a small altercation occurred when Harmony and Spike turned up.
Parker thought that Buffy and Spike were exes, and expressed relief when Buffy laughed at the very idea and assured him that they weren’t. She and Parker kiss at the party, then end up going back to his place and sleeping together.
Buffy awoke in the morning to find Parker not there, and became confused. He returned a short while later, having just gone out for some coffee. He promised Buffy that he would call her, and Buffy left excited about what would happen next.
However, Parker never called her, and then she found him talking to another girl using the same pickup techniques. He told Buffy that he had only wanted a bit of fun and that it was now over between them.
After knocking Buffy back, he was hanging out in the canteen with a throng of other girls, when Buffy caught sight of him and promptly left. He was seen a number of subsequent times in the next few episodes, always with a different girl on his arm.
Willow went to demand an explanation from him in Beer Bad, and he nearly convinced her that he didn’t have anything to apologize for. However, he then tried to make a pass at her, and she was no longer taken in by what he was saying.
Later on in the same episode, an inebriated Buffy saved him from a fire, along with several others. While he stood panicking, she knocked him out then carried him out of the building.
He realized that he owed her his life and he should have respected her more in the first place, and began trying to apologize to her properly. Still in her neanderthal state, Buffy simply clubbed him round the head with a tree branch that she was carrying, knocking him out once again.
The last time he appeared in the series, Forrest and Riley were discussing Buffy and their shared attraction towards her. Forrest asked Parker about his time with her, and Parker responded crudely, comparing Buffy to a toilet seat.
Riley took offence to these comments and punched Parker in the face, realizing that he was into Buffy himself. Satisfyingly, this meant that Parker was hit on three separate occasions across his last two episodes.
Although he seemed at first to be kind and sensitive, which is what attracted Buffy to him, it turned out that Parker was just pretending to be a good guy. We witnessed him trying exactly the same lines on other girls that he had used on her, showing that he wasn’t sincere and only wanted to use women for his own means.
He even showed feigned concern that he was moving too quickly for Buffy when they kissed, making her feel like he actually cared about her feelings.
It is widely known that many college-age boys are immature like this, but Parker took it a step further and was actively cruel to Buffy once he’d got what he wanted from her.
Mocking her in front of his friends was an attempt to impress them with how little he cared about the women he’d been intimate with, but unfortunately for him it backfired.
Parker was only ever out to have a good time, and he moved on very quickly to others once he had gotten what he wanted. He was unable to control his primal urges very well, given how many people he was seen trying it on with.
Other characters observed his womanizing ways, noting how he seemed to have a different girl every week.
Parker had boyish good looks, which secured him plenty of initial interest from the opposite sex.
His voluminous dark brown hair flopped over his face, and his greeny-blue eyes peeked out strikingly from under his bushy eyebrows.
He actually looked not unlike Xander, only slightly less gawkish. Willow described him as having ‘gentle eyes’ and a ‘shy smile’, having worked out that both of these features helped him to gain women’s trust so they would fall for him.
Parker’s body type was athletic, with a height of around 6 foot. Whenever he was seen on screen, he was always wearing similar outfits: plain, dark t-shirts with dark shirts or jackets over the top.
This seems to be the wardrobe of choice among college boys at the time, so he blended in well with his peers.
Being an unremarkable human, Parker didn’t have any special powers or abilities.
He was shocked when he found out about Buffy’s extraordinary strength and courage, which prompted him to re-evaluate his treatment of her (if only briefly).
When faced with a life threatening situation, his only reaction was to panic, rather than trying to find a way out of it. He certainly wouldn’t have been able to get himself out of the fire, so he recognized that Buffy’s abilities had saved him.
This is what caused him to beg for her forgiveness, knowing that she was worth a lot more than he’d made her feel.
In a sordid way, his skill at ‘getting to know’ a lot of women could be seen as an ability. He had his tricks that he used every time, but it must have taken a certain amount of practice to effectively feign sincerity every time.
He could be described as a smooth talker, and someone who had a way with words, that he used to great effect in his personal relationships.
Buffy and Parker were briefly intimate, and Buffy thought he felt the same way about her as she did him. She wanted to see where the relationship would go, and was upset when he told her he was no longer interested in her once they’d slept together.
She then felt antagonistic towards him, as shown in Beer Bad, where she hit him with a tree while under the influence of beer laced with a magical potion.
He did try and apologize to her, but she wasn’t in any state to be able to listen to him – and it’s probably just as well since he may have tried to win her over again and ended up hurting her more.
After his final appearance in the episode The Initiative, Parker was never mentioned again, showing that Buffy got over him pretty quickly once interactions ceased between them.
As soon as Riley came into the picture, she didn’t think about Parker; Riley may not have been the most exciting romantic prospect, but he did at least have morals.
Parker really riled Riley up when he made comments to Forrest about using Buffy. Riley thought he was out of line and punched him in the face to let him know it.
Although the incident made him mad, Riley in a way had Parker to thank for his own relationship with Buffy, since it helped him realize that he had strong feelings for her and wanted to act on them.
He felt that Parker’s attitudes towards sex and women were disgusting, as he himself had more traditional views, and thought that relationships should mean something.
Riley saw Parker as an immature child, which was an accurate assessment, but a surprising one coming from the same guy who couldn’t deal with the fact that his girlfriend was stronger than him.
Forrest Gates And Graham Miller
Forrest and Graham were two of Riley’s close friends, and the three of them knew Parker – they were aware of his reputation and womanizing ways, but weren’t particularly friends with him.
Forrest was the one who initiated a conversation with Parker regarding his liaison with Buffy. Parker didn’t seem to think this was unusual behavior, showing that it was not out of the ordinary for him to speak to these guys on occasion.
The two boys’ opinions of Parker after the conversation are never expressed, except that they were both shocked that Riley had punched him.
Willow went to confront Parker about upsetting Buffy, because he had left Buffy feeling very down about herself and Willow was angry on her behalf.
He explained to her the reasons behind his selfish acts, saying that he had only ever been looking for something casual. Willow started to sympathize with him at first, but when he tried to make a move on her as well, any common ground they may have had dissipated immediately.
She was able to see through his ploys and didn’t let him take advantage of her. However, Parker did also tell her he was impressed that she cared about Buffy so much, saying that she was a loyal friend.
Katie Loomis was the next girl that Parker went after just days after he’d been intimate with Buffy. He was chatting her up on a bench, when Buffy saw and asked what was going on.
He then introduced the two awkwardly to one another, and was probably secretly pleased with himself for not getting their names wrong.
It is unknown whether the relationship between Katie and Parker lasted much longer, but given his penchant for going through girls quickly, that’s unlikely to be the case.
While nothing Parker said was particularly funny or noteworthy, there are plenty of quotes from him that sum up his values and the way he thinks. Here are some examples:
- “Well, you know the difference between a freshman girl and a toilet seat: a toilet seat doesn’t follow you around after you use it.” (The Initiative)
- “Just for one night can’t two people who feel an attraction come together and create something wonderful? And then go back to their lives the next day better for it but never over analyzing it or wanting it to be more than it was?” (Beer Bad)
- “I’ve yet to find the girl that I can just sit with. Feel totally at ease. Feeling whatever’s on my mind. Or even sit with comfortably in silence.” (Beer Bad)
- “I mean, don’t you just hate guys that are all ‘I’m dark and brooding so give me love?’” (Harsh Light of Day)
- “Everybody says they get it – ‘Oh, man, me too. Live for today.’ But what they really want is a reason to goof off, not study for finals.” (Harsh Light of Day)
- “People who’ve been around for a while know how to use their dining hall card.” (Living Conditions)
As we’ve mentioned, there are only a few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which Parker actually appears. These are all at the beginning of season 4, and are in the order as follows:
- Season 4, Episode 2 – Living Conditions
- Season 4, Episode 3 – The Harsh Light of Day
- Season 4, Episode 4 – Fear, Itself
- Season 4, Episode 5 – Beer Bad
- Season 4, Episode 7 – The Initiative
Parker is mentioned briefly in an episode of Angel, called In the Dark. He was also mentioned in the Season 8 comic book series, in the installment Anywhere But Here.
Outside of the official TV show and comic seasons, Parker appears in several novels – he even meets his demise in one of them at the hands of a vampire soldier.
These novels offer more of a glimpse into Parker’s life than was explored in the show, but the revelations are very much in keeping with what we already knew about him – there is no attempt to redeem him or make him into a sympathetic character.