So, my Friday evening is sadly under-scheduled and I’m stuck online patrolling my Facebook page. You see, one of my students decided it would be ‘funny’ to access my Facebook account via my phone and send out a series of friend requests to other students. So, I find myself sitting here, watching for them to ‘accept friend request’ so that I can quickly snipe with an ‘unfriend.’ I’ve hit six so far. This joke quickly became unfunny
So, I thought I would spend a portion of my evening writing my take on the latest “Vampire Diaries” season finale. If you haven’t seen the “Vampire Diaries,” I highly recommend it. I mean, it won’t change your life or give you insight into life’s greater truth. In fact, I think that viewing might in some ways stain your soul. Still, it’s really fun television in that steamy, teenage, prime-time, soap-opera kind of way. I haven’t missed an episode – in fact, I have an iTunes Subscription to get new episodes right away. I then watch them on my HD television while my husband vomits in the other room, probably slowly losing respect for me. Yet, I continue on. Why? Because it’s horribly addictive. It’s been the best Vampire series on television since Buffy – well, without the incredibly strong female protagonist… or the three dimensional characters… or Joss Whedon’s brilliant whit.
So, the basic premise of the “Vampire Diaries” is that Stefan Salvatore, brooding handsome, Vampire teen returns to his hometown in order to pursue ex-girlfriend doppelganger/non-vamp/high school student. Now, this is already problematic to me – this is also my issue with the Twilight Series. If you’re an incredibly attractive vampire with a century plus of wisdom and life experience, perpetually late-teen/early twenties, and cursed with a definitive, non-early bird schedule – why the heck would you go back to high school? I mean, college, I get that – especially if you’re not going to actually enroll in a class – parties every day of the week, attractive co-eds, and all the pretentious deep discussions that you could want. But seriously… high school? And why doesn’t anyone point out the inherent creepiness of these 150+ year old guys and their obsession with a teenage girl? Yeah, they might look 19 (or in this show’s case 27), but they’re not. We have laws against that in this country! Even in countries without laws against it, they frown on people who’ve past the centennial mark hooking up with sixteen year old girls.
So, let’s talk about the main characters. First, there’s Elena Gilbert. She’s stunningly beautiful but with one extreme flaw – she is utterly incapable of taking care of herself in any way, shape, or form. Honestly, before the debonaire Salvatore brothers showed up, it’s amazing that she didn’t die from falling down in front of a train. Every time I see her walking around in heels, I’m nervous that she is going to trip and impale herself on something sharp – I think that was the focus of one episode. She is so excessively needy and dependent that I’m fairly certain that each episode sets back the clock on the women’s movement. By the end of the series, I will probably no longer hold the right to vote. Still, as I continue to watch it, I have no one to blame but myself. This ultra-needy personality seems to enrapture every person who ever meets her. I don’t get it.
Next is Stefan Salvatore. He was born the son of a plantation owner in the ante-bellum south. He refuses to fight in the Civil War because, as we all know, tons of slave and plantation owning sons of the Confederacy were truly early Civil Rights Advocates. It keeps us endeared to him as we can appreciate his age, fall into the romance of a “Lost Cause,” and don’t think he’s a complete tool because we know that at heart, he didn’t support slavery (although had no problem benefiting from it). His good looks let us forget his predatory nature – not the vampirism, but the fact that has a thing for women that are more than a century younger than him. Again, why is this okay? I mean, everyone’s complaining about Hugh Hefner’s pending nuptials, but at least his fianceé can vote. His hair is also confusing as it looks the same in all flashbacks. I’m pretty sure that they didn’t have hair gel during the Civil War… at the very least it had to be rationed (like coffee and tobacco). His personality? He’s so overly sensitive that it makes you want to vomit. He so focused on ‘feelings’ and how everyone else is doing, whinily offering himself up for every sacrifice that he’s incapable of developing a real personality.
Next is Damon Salvatore. Damon…. Mmmmm… Damon… Damon is your quintessential ‘bad boy’ with just enough vulnerability that girls think their love can change him. He’s also ridiculously handsome
. It’s the blue eye/dark hair combo – you just can’t beat it. Unlike his annoying brother, Damon is not even playing with the notion of going to high school. Sure, he’s also in love with sixteen year old, helpless Elena, but I can ignore the fact that he’s committing a felony in several dozen states. Every episode, we learn more about his past that shows us how he’s not really a ‘bad guy,’ he’s just misunderstood – sure he has killed hundreds of innocent people just for fun, but we understand him like no one else!! Now, in spite of the fact that he plays a stereotypical bad boy, playing to that female caricature (and I’m pretty sure that I dated ‘that guy’ in high school), I’m confident that if Damon and I ever dated, I could change him. I truly understand the depth of his character and my love would be different cuz I’m special. I’m just saying.
Then there’s Bonnie Bennet. Bonnie is a lesbian. Now, I don’t have a problem with lesbians whatsoever. Decades of living in Miami and Los Angeles have made me as progressive as the next girl. My issue is the fact that the show is incapable of letting Bonnie out of the closet. Instead, she is clearly pining after her friend Elena and seems to spend every episode coming up with new ways to sacrifice herself to prove her loyalty to her BFF. Now, I certainly had my teenage besties, but no way on Earth did I spend every waking moment thinking of how my life could be offered up to better demonstrate that commitment. She even starts dating Elena’s brother as an evident replacement for her affection. While her boyfriend follows her around with a sad, puppy-dog look, she continues to be far too involved in her BFF’s life or death shenanigans. Yeah, she’s a witch and all powerful, but it seems like those powers would be better used to win the lottery or gain the affections of a certain, blue-eyed Salvatore brother. But nope, Bonnie is constantly trying to strengthy her witchy ways so that she can make an apt sacrifice for her teenage BFF. Again, what is it with the helpless, damsel in distress? How does she not fall down all the time?!
So, the series two finale – warning there will be SPOILERS, so stop reading a while ago if you haven’t yet watched it. This episode largely focuses on a helpless Elena once again needing others’ protection and guidance while she is being hunted by a supernatural something or other (who actually seems to have no interest in dating her – or perhaps because he needs her dead, has moved passed that). The Salvatore brothers along with Bonnie are pulling out all the stops to protect her – swearing on their lives and souls that she will walk away. Sure, everyone else might die, but Elena will come out of this breathing! Her male family members, the Gilbert men (primarily her brother and uncle/father) are surprisingly impotent. It seems like helplessness runs in the Gilbert family – it’s a wonder that natural selection didn’t take them out years ago. I mean… how do these people bathe or dress themselves? How did they all not die from inability to prepare food? It’s ridiculous. Bonnie has come up with yet another plan to save Elena that will result in her (Bonnie’s) death. She is a stickler for this plan – it’s like the fourth time this season that she’s had a plan with the same outcome. She also adamantly refuses to investigate any other type of scheme. Damon is okay with this proposal – he’s all too willing to sacrifice others for his own needs (dang he’s hot). He handles all the tough situations stoicly and with a snarky grin; at one point he suffers a (fatal to vampires) werewolf bite but is more concerned with not worrying Elena. Elena spends most of the episode crying and helpless while everyone is trying to save her. It would be nice if she even tried to have an idea, even faked it. It’s just sad.
Stefan runs around being overly concerned for everyone else making his personality even more devoid of life. His ineptitude and overly emotional bungling ultimately lead to Elena being unprotected for a few seconds which means that she is captured by ultra-evil-supernatural guy. He (Stefan) really, really wants to sacrifice his life for somebody (in this case, Elena’s aunt Jenna), but is ultimately too pathetic to even accomplish that feat. Turns out that über vampire has plans for him that don’t involve his immediate death. I guess his supreme strategy involve a lot of crying and sentiment. Again, I would like to point out that he is more than 150 years older than his girlfriend. Seriously… that is not okay.
So, Elena is a prisoner of super-supe and spends the last 15 minutes of the episode crying, helpless, and watching while others give up their own lives for hers. Her aunt and caretaker, Jenna, is imprisoned with her about to be sacrificed. Damon is actually trying to come up with a real way to save everyone and not all whingy about his fatal werewolf wound (attractive). See? He’s clearly a deep feeler. I mean, sure his plan is about sacrificing Bonnie, but aren’t they all? Ultimately, the Salvitore brothers (namely Damon) succeed in rescuing Elena, uper-supe lives to fight another day, and Bonnie is once again unsuccessful in her suicidal proclivities. However, she must bury her aunt Jenna (a relatively minor character, but significant enough that we’re shocked to see her go). The funeral is held but only about six people attend, and apparently only out of their support for Elena. I guess Aunt Jenna didn’t have any friends of her own. Also, everyone there is just entirely focused on Elena. I mean… didn’t Jenna also have a nephew she cared for? Isn’t anyone sad about her passing? Why didn’t anyone teach Elena that no matter how black the dress is, a dress that short, low cut, and tight is inappropriate for a funeral. I guess without her aunt to pick-out her clothes, she’s helpless.
The season ends with a few cliff-hangers: will Elena learn how to appropriately dress herself? Will Damon succumb to the werewolf bite? How will Bonnie be able to sacrifice herself to prove her love & devotion to Elena? Will Stefan be able to develop a personality independent of saving damsels in distress? Will the authorities finally intervene in this statutory relationship? These answers and more next season… and yes, I will be watching. 100%