66 Thoughts After Watching 66 Episodes of The Vampire Diaries
As has been well-documented, I love television.
And I work out of my house. And I need background noise. Silence distracts me. While I love Pandora for background noise in short bursts, I love putting on some Netflix Instant in the background while I crank out a bunch of CSS coding or plan a class or write a communications plan.
Now, I know you’re thinking,
But, Sarah, how can you watch television and concentrate? That is not at all normal!
First off, I never, ever claimed to be “normal.” Secondly, I have no idea, but this dates way back to fights I would have with my mother over watching television while doing my homework. I can actually concentrate better if I have something else to concentrate on too. It’s all part of my genius. Ahem.
The thing is, I’d kind of run out of new-to-me televisions shows to watch and was resorting to rewatching some of my old favorites.
Last month, I found myself inexplicably drawn to hitting the “watch now” on The Vampire Diaries. And watched all 66 episodes of the first three seasons over the course of an embarrassingly short period of time.
And I have some thoughts on The Vampire Diaries. Sixty-six of them, to be precise.
1-2) The first few episodes are essentially Dawson’s Creek with Vampires. I almost didn’t keep watching. So much angst and silly dialogue.
3-6) I have many concerns about Stefan’s hair.
First of all, he’s supposed to be from the Civil War Era, but his hair is straight out of 1955. And I wonder how much time Stefan spends on his hair—certainly more than Elena. This should have been a warning sign. And since the TVD vamps are vulnerable to fire, wouldn’t all the product pose a risk, given all the candles used around the Salvatore mansion?
7-9) Why didn’t any of you tell me that Damon from TVD is played by Boone from Lost?! Because I would have probably watched the show a long time ago if I had know this. Yes, I live under a rock.
I cried when that thing happened to Boone in Lost. 10) Related: Hi, Damon. I sure do love a bad(ish) guy with a sarcasm addiction.
11-17) It is a known fact that I usually detest love triangles. However, I kind of love the Stefan-Elena-Damon love triangle. It’s really complicated and progresses in a creative manner. Despite their whole age and species differences, Elena and Stefan have a sweet romance. Stefan brings Elena the connection to another person that she needs at that time in her life. For Stefan, Elena connects him to the humanity he fears losing. On the other hand, Damon and Elena challenge each other and have a friendship that’s not a part of the Elena-Stefan relationship.
18-20) The duality of Stefan’s character really saves him for me. If it were just good brother versus bad brother, The Vampire Diaries would suck. (Ha! Puns!) The same goes for Damon, who seems pretty bad at the beginning of the series. But as each character’s backstory is revealed (though mostly well-done flashbacks), it becomes very clear that they’re both good and bad. Granted, Paul Wesley can barely carry the complexity of Stefan’s character when he’s in bad mode, but he nails it as Brooding Forehead Guy.
21) Elena and Stefan kind of quit writing in their diaries early on, huh? That kind of takes the Diaries out of the Vampires. I love how every once in awhile they’ll be a random shot of one of them writing in a diary or of one sitting on a desk or something.
22-26) Can we talk about Katherine for a minute? That is one crazy WTF of a plot, but it’s also extremely rad.
So, Elena is a doppelganger (which is a weird supernatural phenomenon) with Katherine. Katherine’s a badass vampire who strung along both Stefan and Damon (see what’s happening here?) during the Civil War and ultimately turned the brothers into vampires. And while she’s kind of evil, I kind of root for Katherine too. Nina Dobrev plays both characters and with the Katherine character, she went from pretty face filler to fierce. I did not expect that at all. There’s something very painful about Katherine’s story-arc, and while she wasn’t very present in the third season, I am really looking forward to what happens with her character and how Dobrev plays her, given the events of the end of season three.
27-28) Werewolves and vampires fight each other! Alert Laura’s husband! Also: there are werewolf-vampire hybrids in The Vampire Diaries.
29-31) In that same vein, I thought Tyler was the most pointless character during the first season. However, now that he’s gone through the things he’s gone through, I enjoyed his storyline. The WTFery of the Klaus-Caroline-Tyler dynamic (not a triangle) is quite delicious.
32-35) Speaking of Caroline, I have to commend the TVD writers for so successfully manipulating my emotions regarding Caroline. At the beginning of the series, she’s an annoying, bubbly teen who expects everything to be just so. She’s kind of clueless and ends up as Damon’s go-to booty call and blood bank during the first season. However, stuff—a lot of stuff—happens and Caroline changes. A lot. I love that we get to see her mature as she has to cope with a lot of crappy stuff, and that she still has these teenage moments (i.e., at the end of season three when she and Tyler fantasize about running off together). This is actually one of my favorite Caroline moments, which epitomizes the grown up, yet still teenage Caroline.
36) Why, oh why, CW, do you have to block embedding of all your videos? I have many TVD videos I wish to embed!
37-45) As you know, I’m really big on consequences in storytelling. One of my biggest frustrations with books, televisions and movies is that characters often aren’t forced to deal with the ramifications of their decisions and actions. One of the things that I love about TVD is that even when there are highly improbably escapes from bad situtations, there are nearly always really crappy consequences.
For example, the Damon-Elena-Stefan love triangle is filled with consequences. One of the reasons it works is that Elena knows that by choosing one, she’s going to lose the other. But even by not choosing through much of the show, she suffers. Basically, they all suffer in many ways if a decision is made, re: the triangular love.
At one point, Damon confesses his love to Elena, but then he makes her forget, thanks to his vampire mojo. But, I imagine that—and the other things he’s made her forget—will come back as a big consequence this season, since the table has been set for her to remember these things.
The secondary characters have to face the consequences of their actions and choices too. Caroline, who I have developed a real soft spot for, has to live with all kinds of guilt. Bonnie, the resident witch, has to suffer the ramifications of messing around with nature whenever she performs a spell—and so do the people she cares about.
The Google image search for “The Vampire Diaries crying” is a-ma-zing.
So! Many! Consequences!
Image Credit: http://dark-paradise.tumblr.com/
46) Important characters die.
47) And stay dead.
48) Unless they don’t.
49) Which means Very Bad Things happen.
50) Plots stretch over multiple seasons. In an entertainment climate in which most television shows have a beginning, middle and end contained within each episode, there’s something refreshing about a show which has plots spanning forty episodes.
51-52) Bonnie started out as the random best friend and is now a fierce witch, with her own agenda—the other characters think they’re using her as a resource, but… man, it’s all going to hit the fan this season, right?
53-62) So! Many! Themed! Dances! Mystic Falls has all kinds of town pride and is way into their community’s heritage. This manifests itself in the form of all sorts of dances. The high school has an animal “Decades Dance” (where shit always goes down, natch) and everyone 1) gets to wear a costume and 2) happens to know all of the dances of the time period.
Thus far, we’ve have the 50s (Stefan’s hair finally fit!), 60s and 20s. Plus, there are several town celebrations (including Founders Day and Miss Mystic Falls, which may be the same thing) that involve Civil War Era ballgowns and complex waltzes.
It’s phenomenal. And the best part is that random vampires always show up (of course ancient, bloodthirsty vampires are up for a school dance) and there are usually flashbacks to that time period, featuring said vampires.
63) Fun fact: Alaric is the tallest The Vampire Diaries cast member. The relative shortness of the guys on this show really saddens me.
64) I adore the Alaric-Damon bromance. Love. It.
65) This AV Club article takes a far more succinct look at this subject—it’s required reading.
66) I am extraordinarily distraught that I’m taking a class on Thursday nights. This may or may not be because that’s also when TVD airs.