Tony was unemployed, alcoholic, and verbally abusive toward his wife and son. Xander claimed that his father once attempted to send him to Armenians. According to Willow Rosenberg, he was not respectful to the religious beliefs of others, having got noticed in her bat mitzvah. Xander would spend Christmas nights camping outside in order to avoid the family's drunken fights.
After Xander's high school graduation, Tony began charging rent and food from his son, who had moved to their home's basement. Xander soon moved out to his own apartment because of his parents' loud fights and avoided vising them because they were "scary".
At Xander's wedding, Tony got drunk, discoursed about his wife being the cause for his drinking, then hit on Buffy Summers as she tried to distract him dragging him away. His bigoted attitude toward the bride Anya Jenkins's demonic guests incited a riot between the two families, when he physically attacked Krelvin and an unidentified demon. Seeing his father yelling at Jessica contributed to Xander's fear of hurting his fiancee in the future and his decision of abandoning her at the altar.
Tony was an often weakness used against Xander by external forces. In 2000, Sineya exploited Xander's fear of his father when attacking the Scooby Gang in their dreams. Tony and his wife appeared as an illusion to Xander of a "perfect childhood" created by a Hamelin demon, but his uncharacteristic behavior of not being in "a drunken, racist rage" made Xander quickly notice it was all false. While in the Dimension of Darkest Fear, Xander was tormented by visions of his father telling he was on his way to become like him.