Thursday, November 17, 2011

True Love Bites

Confession: we are definitely not above obsessing over vampire series, but let's get one thing straight... vampires + love triangles = our kryptonite! Our excuse: vampires tend to hail from days of old when gentlemanlike behavior was the social norm (and if not, they experienced it at least). Plus there's the whole danger-he-bites intrigue all wrapped up in a broody hunk perfectly preserved in his prime. Alas, not all vampire sagas are created equal. Consider the trend to be a buffet offering everything from junk food to five star dining. Today we'll feast our eyes on what I would currently consider to be the big three.

Let's start with Twilight. This is like a slumber party with chocolate sundaes and countless games of MASH i.e. no thought required, entertainment only beyond this point. I'd highly recommend a themed drinking game as well to really get you through the let's-just-stare-at-each-other-and-make-tortured-faces bits. On the surface it meets everything required of a vampire saga: attractive vampires (both good and bad), temperamental werewolves, and a love triangle. But unfortunately there's more to it than that.
Is it just me or is no one more disgusted with this relationship than Edward? (x)
Players: vampires, werewolves
Heroine: What heroine? When Edward leaves Bella, she literally starts throwing herself off cliffs in order to have near death experiences to see his face. It's not healthy. It's a terrible message. And the love triangle is only interesting because you want to see which guy wins, not because you like the one they're fighting over.
Love interests: vampire vs werewolf
1. Edward: An obsessive and overbearing vampire often accompanied by terrible makeup and a deer-in-headlights look. You might think a hundred-something would have some social skills racked up by now, but no. Still, I'm a fan of the peacoat and Ray-Bans, so go team Edward!
2. Jacob: An angry werewolf with a tendency to take off his shirt because he can't act can. Also falls in love with *SPOILER ALERT* Bella and Edward's baby. Because that's not the most sick and twisted thing we've ever heard or anything. It's okay you broke his heart Bella, his true love for your demon child was written in the stars!
Chemistry: Awkward turtle has babies... literally!
Rules of vampirism: Superhuman strength and speed, heightened senses, no fangs, live off human blood (and have red eyes) or animal blood (and have golden eyes) only, sparkle in the sun, never go to sleep, embrace awkward silences, can have a special power, use lots of hair gel and pouty faces, and they can't make babies... oh wait! Apparently Bella was the first one in all of history to disprove this. Yay! Except not because it's a demon baby! I can't wait to see how they can't pull this off in the movie, because it didn't work in the books either. Unpopular opinion? I think not.
Overall: So bad it's good. There's just no going back once you've started because the drinking games are too much fun. And even though you can just feel Dracula turning over in his coffin, you find the whole train wreck rather entertaining. Not gonna lie, we're all going to see Breaking Dawn (Part 1) this weekend. As Sarah said in a recent email, "I feel sort of guilty, sort of disgusted, and secretly a little curious.  I don't know that I'm excited because, let's face it, we all know it's going to be a travesty.  But I'm curious as to how they're going to make it suck this time.  Does that make me a bad person?" Answer: no. You read our minds! Like a certain stalk-tastic telepathic vampire we know!

On to The Vampire Diaries! This is like coming home to a surprise party on your un-birthday. You are met at the door by a small group of friends holding cupcakes and a bottle of your favorite wine. And then they announce they have an entire evening of fun planned just for you. What I'm trying to say is that this series really snuck up on me. Right now it's the only show I'm religiously keeping up with and, trust me, no one's more surprised than me. And what a pleasant surprise it's been! There seems to be a reason for every decision made on this show and each episode drives the plot further into *gasp*-I-never-thought-that-was-significant-but-apparently-it-was-and-OMGZ-they've-planned-this-since-the-very-beginning!
Damon! The smolder! Damon! The smolder! (x)
Players: vampires, werewolves, vampire/werewolf hybrids, witches, ghosts
Heroine: Elena doesn't let anybody stand in her way or push her around, not even attractive vampire brothers! She won't stand for anybody she loves being put in danger and she fights for what she believes in. Her FEELINGS and strong-minded nature often get her into trouble, but that's not going to stop her. Especially not since she's started learning how to sneak-attack evil vamps!
Love interests: vampire vs vampire (BONUS! they're brothers from the Civil War era)
1. Stefan: The bad turned good turned bad again (at least in season 3) vampire. He's Elena's beau of choice, terribly boring in comparison with his brother, but we can hardly blacklist his attempts to have a functional relationship with Elena. At least he gets snarky sometimes.
2. Damon: The bad guy turned good guy, but not without a twinge of bad vampire. He's impulsive and moody, but in the end he usually means well. He cares about his brother and Elena, even though they're often at odds with each other, and as his character evolves, his decisions are based more and more on these relationships. Cunning and charming with crazy eyes and the best one-liners out there, Elena really needs to get over Stefan and make a move before he disappears!
Chemistry: Sizzling, heart-string-tugging, and squee worthy!
Rules of vampirism: Superhuman strength and speed, heightened senses, fangs come out when it's dinner time, eat whatever they like whether it's a human or hamburger, walk around in the sun with the help of special magic rings (but without them... burn!), the ability to heal, vervain is poisonous and prevents you from compelling someone, werewolf bites can be lethal, alcohol quells the thirst for blood (and if not, they can always raid the local blood bank!), can't enter a human's house unless they're invited in, control humans with "compulsion," and wooden stakes are not their friend.
Overall: Has some cheesy tendencies, but what's not to love? Witty scripts, well-planned storylines, plot twists, character development, adventure, and historic small town life... yes please! It took a while for me to get into this show, but somehow it's managed to become one of my favorites even though I don't exactly like half the characters. While a few storylines are woven together, they explain everything at an exciting but understandable pace so that you always feel like you know what's going on. That is... right up until the minute before the credits roll.

Concluding with the mother-ship, True Blood! This is like a night out on the town-you-thought-you-knew with your best friends and dream men, prearranged by a mystery person, which goes insanely awry. Proceed with caution! This series is undeniably engrossing thanks to its realistic detail (which can be both fascinating and downright shocking- this is HBO after all). The lore has been thoroughly defined yet you don't feel like you're in a fantasy world because it's so character driven. There's a hefty dose of politics amongst vampires and also with them fighting for equal rights as a whole i.e. it's the only franchise where all Americans are aware that vampires exist. And it's not a love triangle... it's a love rhombus! The perfect recipe for countless rewinds. 
Put me in Sookie's shoes and this would be a very different picture... *faints* (x)
Players: vampires, werewolves, telepaths, shapeshifters, faeries, witches, maenads, werepanthers, ghosts
Heroine: Sookie is just your regular mind-reading waitress who gets dumped into a world she never knew existed when she takes on a vampire boyfriend. She's fierce and brave, taking on all manner of un-human evils to save her life and the lives of her loved ones. While she's generally warm hearted, you'll end up on the other side of this girl's shotgun if you try to cross her.
Love interests: vampire vs vampire vs werewolf
1. Bill: He's supposedly a good vampire, but as boring as a regular human. Even when he starts getting juicy because you find out he's a liar who's been using Sookie all that time... how long till Eric's on screen??
2. Eric: The bad vampire that could be good... or is he the good vampire who could be bad? You never can tell with this one and that's what makes him so alluring! Influential, manipulative, magnetic, selfish yet caring, he's the very definition of a multi-layered character. And he's got the greatest husky voice... phew! Like... I once had a dream that he offered to turn me into a vampire if I showed up at this vampire nest, but I had to bring a lot of friends. So I called Ali up and she came with me like a true BFF, allowing me an eternity spent with a former viking. Thanks Ali! Hey, a girl can dream!
3. Alcide: A plaid-wearing werewolf with a big heart and protective instincts. As far as vampire series go, this is the only werewolf care about or root for. And I care a lot! You can always count on him. And he has a beard!
Chemistry: Off the charts and in your face!
Rules of vampirism: Superhuman strength and speed, heightened senses, human blood or synthetic human blood (True Blood), fangs come out when it's dinner time or when they're angry or over-stimulated, sunlight and silver burn, can only walk in the sun if they've just had a sip of faerie blood, which is very rare so the daytime is for sleeping, the ability to heal, can't enter a human's house unless they're invited in, control humans with "glamouring," wooden stakes are not their friend, the ability to heal, really old vampires have the capability of flight, vampires who are "makers" (i.e. they've turned someone into a vampire) have a lot of power over their "progeny," so if they say "as your maker, I command you-" they have to do it.
Overall: Not for the faint of heart! You have to pay attention because there are so many storylines and they are not afraid to show a lot of blood. I won't lie to you, I've had to look away on several occasions. It can be overwhelming, but sometimes it's a good thing! Every episode has you on the edge of your seat whether it's from fear, excitement, or curiosity, leaving you screaming at your television with each signature cliffhanger. Must. have. season. five. ASAP!

Obviously, I have an unadulterated bias towards The Vampire Diaries and True Blood and I make no apologies for it because there's simply no contest; they're gripping and fabulous. And I won't dwell on my issues with Twilight and say it's lacking any bite (oops!), because in the end it just makes laugh (laughing at you Twilight, not with you!) and I guess that's something. All spectrums of the vampire phenomenon are entertaining in different ways. There's something for everybody: fluff, mystery, adventure, and a piling heap of romantic mishaps. Now if only we could cut in and take the good-but-dark-and-twisty vamps off the heroines' hands since they all (and by all I mean both because we are not counting Bella as a heroine) harbor an affinity for their boring vampire frenemies... so frustrating! We'll just have to keep watching with bated breath waiting for them to get with the program. So much angst! So much tension! I could break a headboard!


  1. Can we just grab Damon and Eric and run away to have a shotgun weekend? I think it would be highly appropriate and/or amazing. I HEART DAMON'S CRAZY EYES. Oooooh, and Eric, he's just so manly and TALL and you know what they say about tall guys...

    I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I didn't find Breaking Dawn as horrid as I thought I would... I might have actually... enjoyed myself? Bella actually smiled in this movie. I almost fell out of my seat. And I DO want her wedding dress!