18 January 2011

The Vampire Diaries - like punching kids for lunch money

I actually had another post planned for this week, but last night changed that. 

I did a bad, bad thing.

Throwing caution and my own trepidation to the wind, I succumbed to social pressure and, in a terribly misguided attempt to get the cool kids to like me, double-clicked season one, episode one of The Vampire Diaries.

What a fool I was.

I honestly don’t know what I was expecting. Twilight? More pasty-faced cheerleaders pretending to be Goths, forced teenage angst and inappropriately drawn out silences that would have Woody Allen gnawing through his own wrists. (Ah yes, and shots of wrists. Lots of shots of pale, pulsing wrists and necks because, you know, they’re like boobs to vampires.)

At worst, I suspected, it would be another mediocre retelling of the nerd romance myth. The different, troubled, introspective, unquestionably brilliant yet vastly misunderstood, loner girl (who, by a wonderful, convenient fluke, is also smoking hot) becomes the romantic obsession of a several-century old geezer with the face of a Hugo Boss model and the body of Kate Moss.

Seriously, which one is the vampire?

Oh, and she loves art. Did we mention that she loves art? She really… fucking… loves… art. And poetry. And sunsets. And she cares about Darfur, and she knows where it is! And she doesn’t drink. And she plays instruments… like, four. And she can name every single classical composer and identify their most obscure works after hearing only a spilt second snippet of oboe solo while tied up, submerged in jam, with a howling cat stapled to her forehead.

Also, she probably wears glasses.

She is Hipster God.

Organs on the outside. Conform with that, bitches.

He would be just the right amount of funny looking to be considered unique, but nothing a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar marketing campaign can’t turn into a poster by the end of the week.
He reads… a lot. And he remembers everything. And quotes. Constantly. And he is acutely knowledgeable about every major historical event that has ever happened, EVER. Because, you know, he was there, and to hell with logic.

And he cares. I mean, he CARES! There is not a single other person, creature, entity or soul on earth, in Heaven or in Hell who cares as much as this guy. When new mothers hold their children for the first time, this guy cares more! His heart and warmth are a two-by-four with a nail in it smacking reality in the face.

Vampires are like armed Carebears if armed Carebears
were more like a parasitic Wikipedia.

What I’m trying to say is that my worst-case scenario was pretty bad, and yet it paled in comparison to the atrocity that flickered to life on the screen in front of me.

It’s hard to talk about it. The memories are still fresh. They say that time heals all wounds, but wounds like this leave scars.

You see, The Vampire Diaries is what happens when the popular kids, all grown up now and working in show-biz, suddenly realize that the goth kids they used to torture and pick on are getting all the attention. And, presumably, the money.

Dark was suddenly the new blonde and moody the new bulimia. Somewhere along the line, Goth had become Emo, Emo had become Hipter, then Hipster had roofied Goth and Emo and dragged them back to his place for a True Blood marathon and cocaine orgy with Lady Gaga and the cast of Gossip Girl. He resulting bastard child was the awful Twilight series and all the horrid vampette hype that followed.

And why is this relevant? Because at no point in time did anyone stop to think about how the jock and coo-girls were doing. 

Creepy was suddenly popular. It was cool to be introverted and, heaven forbid, intellectual (I use this term loosely when it comes to Twilight fans). The world had been turned on it’s head.

Enter The Vampire Diaries.

I need to get this out there as quickly as possible lest my head explode, showering my co-workers with an impressive, yet tragically fatal, amount of awesome. The least “cool” person it this series, the quiet, introspective, caring character, the intellectual boy with the heart of gold, it the fucking high school quarterback! (or lineman or wide receiver or wad swinging base raper or whatever – I don’t care, it’s a shit game).

This wombat

That’s right, the most likable character in this film is in the role traditionally reserved for geek bludgeoning. And before any quick-off-the-draw fans out there starts shouting about redefining boundaries or breaking stereotypes, let me stop you with a fork through your trachea. This is no attempt at creativity or originality. It is a setting of the bar.

It is positively downhill from here. Not a single character has any redeeming qualities. The lead sex object (vampire) has an under-bite you could use to open beer bottles. At any point in time, if you freeze-frame, you can see sweat beading on his forehead as he mentally fights his lower jaw’s natural impulse to swallow the top half of his head. I have seen fossils with more aesthetic charm that this tosser.

Evolution: there’s proof everywhere.

The writers have used ‘teenage angst’ like they learnt about it on Jerry Springer. Long, melancholic soliloquies and meaningful dialogues are punctuated with ‘Likes’, ‘No Ways’ and ‘Oh My Gods’. They attempt to create depth by killing off the main character’s parents, giving her a diary and making her brother a drug dealer, and then turn full circle and make her the most popular girl in school. Even the school slut wants to be like her! If she turns out to be head cheerleader, I wouldn’t be surprised.

[Post Edit: She’s a fucking CHEERLEADER! For fuck’s sake!]

The personal problems that have been encountered in the show so far?
“Why doesn’t he like me?”
“Why doesn’t she like me?”
“What if she doesn’t like me?”
And then something about her parents being dead.
My point is that Paris Hilton probably has more personal problems than these kids. If Donald Trump suddenly discovered that he had developed the ability to shit diamonds, the mildly uncomfortable sensation that passing the stones produced would probably warrant more sympathy than the menial crap these kids deal with on a day to day basis.

The sole purpose of this show is to use popular culture to make the popular kids popular again. If you harbour any thought to the contrary, you are in idiot.

The moment most indicative of this sentiment is early on in the first episode.
You see, only one true ‘nerd’ ever shows face in this series, probably ten minutes in. She is normal looking, dressed in something kinda greenish, with red hair and thick-rimmed glasses. She looks like she enjoys writing and is kinda into art.
Her role in the series? To appear for a split second so that the main character, the girl we are suppose to sympathize with and like, can mock her for being dressed in “a shower curtain”.

Fine, she’s not wearing glasses, but she should be.

The show has no redeeming qualities at all. Never mind that every single scene, shot and character is a tracing-paper rip-off of another, better equivalent – this show’s greatest evil is trying to steal a whole subculture and hand it over to the most inane, superficial segment of society! It’s the Hollywood equivalent of robbing a kid of his lunch money.

I realize I haven’t used any of their names. I don’t care. I could have Googled them, but what’s the point. I’ve met rice-cakes with more character then these limpets.

Anne Rice is turning in her grave.

Then she got up for a glass of water. Or to start the world’s most popular metal band.
Or to murder a preschool. Or anything a fucking vampire would do.


  1. Amazing piece dude. Scathing yet eloquent. :D

    I've expressed criticisms of the writers who created Twilight and The Vampire Diaries (Stephanie Meyer and LJ Smith [dis]respectively). Who hasn't?

    My issues with them mostly hinged on the fact that they moved into the house Anne Rice built and then unleashed Teenage fantasy excrement all over the ceiling and walls.

    But having read you piece and watched a few episodes of Vampire Diarrhea myself, I must admit that I agree with you. These shows are like the Grinch who stole Gothness and gave it to E Entertainment. Didn't realize that before.

    Great stuff. Keep it up.

  2. Shot dude.

    I'm just so sick of Hollywood butchering a genre that has always had such phenomenal potential.

    When vampire flicks and shows were fringe jobs with cult followings, you'd find writers and directors trying harder. Minimal budgets (and an even smaller hope of profit) meant that people had to get creative with their movies. A straight-up, copypaste job would get you voted off the island. Hell, even Stephen King had to invent some crazy, half cat Egyptian thing-a-ma-whatchits just to fly Sleepwalkers semi-convincingly, and he's fucking King!

    Now it's a formula, and that makes me sad. Occasionally violent, but mostly sad.

  3. I guess that there's only so much you can do before a very purist genre turns puerile.

    In many ways Fast in the Furious is a childish Gone in Sixty Seconds. The same can be said about Alexander compared to Gladiator and what about all those bullet-time movies that rode in on the Matrix' coattails in the early parts of the naughties?

    All of these examples are boiled down versions of something that was great. The smartness is boiled out with only fluff remaining.

    What we can at least have faith in is that it won't last forever and Hollywood will move onto the next exploitative thing.

  4. I will NEVER defend a Tv show in my life and certainly not a show about vampires, so all i can say in this shows defense is that... at least they don't sparkle.

    I REALLY wish the vampire and even zombie craze will die out so that when we do see one of those movies advertised we can hope for something even half decent.