Warning: spoilers for seasons one through seven.
First there was the movie, and the movie was bad. It was B-grade bad, but that’s not the same as badfic.
Then there was season one, and Angel couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag, but a hulking black hole that sucks the life out of every scene he’s in is not badfic per se. The badfic of Angel was the Mr. X effect inherited from the Deep Throat character on the X-Files - a stalker who just hovers around acting like there’s a deep plot that Our Heroes are missing. Yet there is no real plot, just a lot of bad lighting, mood music, and honeybees.
Badfic is the attempt to conjure up the emotion and excitement of a good plot without actually bothering to write the good plot. The Master was also B-grade bad, but too obviously over-the-top to be badfic. Season two, on the other hand, was a world of badfic. A gypsy curse designed specifically to keep you apart from your inscrutable boyfriend is no more dignified than the worst Mulder/Scully hurt-comfort fic. Then he turns evil, you have to kill him, and you feel bad about it. If it were me, I’d be happy to have an excuse to off the sod. He really needed to be put out of everyone’s misery.
That brings us to the high point of Buffy, season three - was there ever a bad guy like the Mayor, or a bad girl like Faith? There was still some residual Angel badficness going on - hey, he needs a transfusion, and it has to be your blood! - but the Mayor’s wonderful anti-Angel speech made up for all that.
Season four wasn’t too bad, despite the Buffy Does Sunnydale U. badfic elements. Spike was a significant redeeming factor. Glory was a little too punchy in season five, but like the Master, she was B-grade rather than badfic.
Likewise, resurrecting Buffy was a nice B-grade move, but refusing to let her get over her death even after she’d sung through all her issues in the musical was a classic badfic move. Turning the spunky Buffy of season four into depresso-girl of season six was another badfic move. The motto of badfic is, a good wallow is better than a good plot.
The final move of badfic is to break the conventions of the genre. Season six brought us good guys going bad and becoming arms runners and rapists, doing the magic drug, and flaying people, not to mention death by gunfire. Season seven has upped the ante to maiming main characters and voting Buffy off the Hellmouth. If someone noticed how Buffy got to be the Bad Slayer, do tell me.
How could I forget the soap opera that is Spike? Spike gets a soul, Spike goes batty, Spike goes evil, Giles tries to get Spike killed, and finally, the Spuffy episode to end all Spuffy speculation (in a bout of dry heaving). Yes, Buffy again confesses her undying ambivalence for Spike, and barely one commercial break later, is doing the tongue mambo with Angel. It’s a soap opera love triangle undreamt of in the worst badfic.
All I can say is, Drusilla much?