VAMPIRES! EEEK! This week’s installment of Some Like It Watched has us exploring the The CW’s The Vampire Diaries.
The Vampire Diaries | The CW | Thursdays 8PM
I was really looking forward to making a “man it’s about time someone came up with a vampire show” joke, but after a cursory Wikipedia search, apparently this show has been on since 2009, so in that context it doesn’t seem quite witty enough to lead with. So let’s see, what we have here is your basic Dawson’s Creek meets Gossip Girl, meets Twilight; not that I have actually watched any of those, but I am pretty comfortable with generalities and assumptions.
Vampire Diaries has it all, the aforementioned vampires, the top 40 soundtrack mixed just loud enough to drown out the dialogue, 30 year old actors playing recent high school grads, a fictional mid-atlantic town with a college-brochure-mixture of diversity, product placement galore, and cast members who are trying to break into the music scene (or maybe they were tapped from the music scene? I don’t know but the Ford promotional tie-ins tell me at least one of the cast members sings in front of people for money).
Without realizing at first that this is an established show, I was left with the impression that I was watching the most confusing series premiere ever. That was before the internet informed me that this is in fact the start of the 5th season. Man, where have I been? Oh, that’s right, I have been a 30 year old productive member of society who only turns on the CW for the 10 times a year the Mets are scheduled to play on broadcast TV (and that’s during a good year. So basically I live a pretty CW free life). Let’s just say that for someone without the preternatural plot following skills of a 16 year old girl, the established lore of the show is somewhat perplexing. All the characters look alike – like an Axe commercial broke out during an Abercrombie photo shoot – and adding to the confusion some of the characters are literal doppelgängers of each other (OMG twinsies).
This season premiere we get to watch, what I am assuming are two of the main characters, go off the college where drama and calamity ensue. Keg party, yada yada yada, murder, yada yada yada, vampire drama, yada yada yada, flashbacks that make no sense to anyone just watching the show for the first time, yada yada yada, more vampire drama, cliff hanger!
So why do people watch this show?
I think the viewer base of this show falls into two categories: those who gave birth to cast members and those who lost their television remotes after catching back to back Seinfeld reruns (which I have to assume is a pretty sizable audience).
The bottom line:
If you love vampires but somehow find yourself without enough viewing material to satiate that desire, watch this show, but not before brushing off your VHS of The Lost Boys.
Oh, sweet, I Know What You Did Last Summer is on! I can never afford an opportunity to get me some nice Freddie Prinze Jr. action. Admittedly I haven’t followed his career with much scrutiny, but I only imagine that he’s the biggest star in Hollywood at this point. …Wait. This…isn’t I Know What You Did Last Summer? That’s only the name of the title of this episode of….VAMPIRE DIARIES?! Oh, goddamnit. I don’t want to watch this. Isn’t this nonsense all the rage among emo teenaged girls these days? I’m not too old for this, am I? Nah, I’m hip. I’d like to see what I, as a grown ass man, and my grown ass friends, feel about this show. I understand that we will probably all make connections to Twilight, even though I’m sure none of us are truly intimately familiar with Twilight. It’s just when you think vampire romance bullshit, you think Twilight. Bear with us.
Alright, what did I just watch? Maybe jumping into a show in it’s 5th season isn’t the greatest idea. The previously on segment at the beginning was no help at all, just a blur of things that made zero sense. Please note, while I did my best throughout the episode to learn characters’ names, I might still be off. The show starts and it’s a montage of banging. There’s sex on beds, sex on couches, threesomes, sex in bathtubs. Sex everywhere! Mostly implied of course, it’s a family show. So Elena’s in the bathtub and decides to go through her contacts to stare longingly at Stefan’s name. I couldn’t help but notice that one of her contact names was “Pay my bills”. WTF? Does she call that number and her bills are magically paid? Is that some sort of pornographer she has to call when times get tough? Anyhow Elena and Caroline are off to college. Elena’s in a relationship with Damon, who is her ex boyfriend Stefan’s older brother. This show is more soap opera than most soap operas.
So Elena and Caroline find out they have a human roommate named Megan, which irks them. Caroline especially. They can’t drink their blood packs openly. Oooh wow look at Megan’s brand new Windows Tablet! Starting as cheap as $500! Caroline drinks one of Megan’s protein waters and it burns her throat like acid. Apparently it’s some sort of anti-vampire water. Then they can’t enter a party house because they weren’t invited in or something, and Megan is thrown out of the second story with a vampire bite in her neck! Police obviously conclude it as a suicide, and also somehow Megan knew Elena’s father. I don’t know, they were probably fucking. There’s a hundred characters and they’re all fucking.
Now a guy wanders onto the scene who apparently looks exactly like Stefan. Caroline’s mother is at some kind of end of summer party outdoors when she meets him and assumes it’s Stefan. We soon learn that his true name is Silas, some immortal vampire who Stefan looks like. Stefan is Silas’ “shadow self”. So Silas casually cuts open Caroline’s mother’s wrist and uses some sort of mind control that keeps her extremely casual about the whole ordeal.
Some girl that looks exactly like Elena shows up. Is it another doppelganger or what the fuck? Her name is Catherine and seems to know Damon, and she’s human now for whatever reason. Elena’s brother Jeremy was presumed dead by everybody at school, but he’s not dead and returns to school. He’s immediately bullied for some extremely odd reason. I don’t really understand the bully here. “Ooooh someone’s too good to not be dead”. Not an actual quote, but that’s the gist of it. So Jeremy whips ass because he’s a hunter and gets a 3 day suspension.
Silas has drinks with Damon under the guise of Stefan, but Jeremy informs Damon that he knows it’s actually Damon. Jeremy knows because when Silas touched him, he felt a chill on his tattoo. This show’s weird. So Silas tries very weakly to kill Catherine. I mean, he lightly chokes her and then strolls slowly after her when she runs away. Damon tells her to run away with Jeremy but Silas convinces Damon that if he gives him Catherine, Silas will release Stefan. Who he’s got locked away suffering somewhere, underwater apparently? Damon tells Jeremy to turn the car around and when he does, Catherine crashes them into a telephone pole. She escapes.
Caroline gets a phone call from her….boyfriend? I’m not sure. I think he’s breaking up with her because he’s running around with werewolves now. I don’t know. Some guy named Matt gets fucked with in an alley, I don’t know. Finally Silas shows up again at the outdoor festival as, I think it’s the mayor?, is giving a speech. Silas uses mind control to take over talking, and then mind controls the entire town. Then he kills the mayor, who was some girl named Bonnie’s father. I think Bonnie is a vampire too? I don’t know, she’s a regular character. Now Silas sends the whole town under his spell off to look for Catherine. There’s some shots of Stefan hallucinating and he wants to retain his humanity. Presumably if he lets go of his humanity he could escape. And that’s it, that was the show. I don’t know. That’s my mantra.
So, yeah. It’s not my kind of show, certainly. I suppose I get the appeal. It’s Days of Our lives meets Twilight, so it gets those kinds of fans and everybody in between. Unfortunately for me I don’t fall anywhere near those demographics. I can’t even begin to rate this thing, so I just know who I would recommend it to.
This show is recommended for: girls 13-17, and creepy women 36-49.
This show is NOT recommended for: men, people with identity issues
The purpose of Some Like It Watched is to watch shows which we would not watch by choice and try to determine what the attraction is (if any). Ferret out the secret sauce, so to speak. Jumping into The Vampire Diaries at the premiere of Season Five certainly presents a challenge to us Some-Like-It-Watchers because none of us reside in the target audience, nor do we know any of the backstory. That said, after watching Episode 1, I think I have a good sense for their formula (and that of the network, too). And like brandy-infused baby formula, I do see why it’s so tasty.
As you would expect, the show was awfully confusing to a virgin viewer. I’m not sure if all of the main characters are vampires, or if humans are included as well. One far-too-muscular-for-high-school fellow with a penchant for giving and receiving beatings calls himself a hunter. The self-described immortal who appears to be the baddest vampire around says that he isn’t a vampire at all. They keep reminding us that the girl who badgers her friend is dead, but I’m not sure if she is un-dead in the vampire sense or just a very solid-looking apparition.
TVD largely follows standard vampire mythology—the vamps drink blood, glamour to cover their tracks and enjoy well-developed fast-twitch muscle fibers, but these appear to have no aversion to the sun. Unlike the other popular vampire-centric entertainment offerings, they seem to be sticking with vampires rather than adding werewolves, fairies, witches (and so on). I give them credit for that. I’m fully expecting True Blood to introduce Frankenstein or The Mummy next season.
It is apparent that the show runners have all read the 90210 playbook. College life is presented as the fifteen-year-old’s vision of what college life will be like. I, for one, have never seen dorms that nice nor kegs deployed to refresh incoming freshman in the middle of the green on move-in day. Nor have I seen an entire group of high school friends gain admission to and attend the same college. I give them credit, however, for calling the school Whitmore rather than Virginia University.
There seems to be a fair amount of blurring between protagonist and antagonist. It looks like you have a few true good guys and at least one real bad guy, but most of the characters lie somewhere in between (the blond girl who appears to be on Team Good Guy is kind of a cunt). The complexity makes for a more mature offering.
Without ever having seen anything on the CW, I have a feeling that this show is very “CW-y”. Watching the commercials for the network’s other shows, they all seem to incorporate attractive 23 year-olds engrossed in some form of supernaturally-driven angsty drama. TVD ( and its sister shows) certainly do not fear cleavage. Nor bathing scenes. Even the stereotypical smart Asian roommate is well-put-together and runs around in towel. In a pinch, think I could beat off to the CW (it would certainly be easier than using the lingerie circular in the Sunday paper).
TVD moves at a quick pace. The scenes are short and the dialogue is quick. They’ll use exposition liberally to keep you caught up. And they’re not afraid of “shit just got real” moments. I can’t say that’s a bad formula. No network ever asked show runners to slow things down.
Ultimately, I can see why this works. The shows sponsors included acne medications, smartphones, McDonalds, sound systems and clothing stores. Putting out a quickly-moving, slickly-produced drama which features very attractive young actors is certainly a good way to attract consumers of those products.
Ooooookay. I have to preface this SLIW by saying I had to watch The Vampire Diaries in the dark by myself, as if I had a secret dildo or crack habit I needed to keep a secret from my family. There would be no explanation if I got “caught” watching this show. having said that it wasn’t the worst show I have ever watched but I won’t be watching it again.
Fist off I like the style and look of the show, its like an instgram filter that makes even moderately attractive people “pretty”. From the get go I was confused. I suppose that’s what happens when you watch a show in its fifth season that isn’t episodic. That’s why I loved many episodes of the X-files, because I could watch here and there and not feel lost.
The town TVD takes place in is called Mystic Falls. Really? It sounds like a Snapple ice tea competitor. In fact I think there is a Mystic Falls fruit juice? The characters start talking about “shadow selfs” , which I instantly get jealous. Do you know how much shit I could get done in my day if I had a shadow self? Real me could be watching TV/Movies and masturbating while several of my Shadow selfs deal with kids, work, laundry, Mr. Shelly, and other life tasks.
I literally have no idea who anyone is. A dead exotic girl shows a bot how to email. She is really pretty like she should be on Scandal or something. And Boone from LOST is on here!! OMG Okay maybe I can get into it now. LOST was easy one of my top 5 shows of all time. “We have to go back” is my motto in life. He looks really dramatic and squinty and pale, I assume he’s a vampire. Which by the way I also assume this show is jumping on the bandwagon of the Vampire trend formed back in 20089-2009 from the Twilight movies. (PS Shelly is not a fan of these movies.)
I only know Nina Dobrev from the awesome opening at the Emmy’s where Jimmy Fallon hosted and sang a remix of Bruce Springsteen’s “Baby we were Born to Run”. She sang to Hurley from LOST. And God dammit they are ruining the girl I discovered (yes me alone!) from New Zealand; LORDE. They play this song on EVERYTHING now , so now I’m pissed off. They did this to Alex Clare too!
Nina Dobrev is playing two chicks. A messy hair slutty looking girl and a cute college girl. I’m guessing she is a vampire too. She keeps whining about “Stefan” (like WTF kind of name is that?) and she apparently dates Boone who is his brother. Now even if you are a vampire you know fucking two diff brothers is a bad idea! good Nina is going to college for the first time with her Blonde cute friend Caroline. (Do Vamps have to go to college? Like can’t they kill and get shit they want with out the bullshit college route the rest of us schlubs are forced to conform to?) And what’s the lore here? How can they be running around in Daylight? I’m so fucking confused at this point.
By the way , there are a SHIT TON of commercials in this show. Do the CW people make a ton of money? This “hour long” show ends up being 25 minutes, and in this case that’s a plus for me.
I laugh my ass off when they arrive to their “dorm room” , its a fucking palace. What college do they go to? Most freshmen I know live in a silly dorm room that is the size of a tampax box and its made out of cinder blocks. They usually have “catchy” nicknames like “Cum Hall” instead of Cumberland hall. This place is unreal.
The show continues with a weird mystery. The two roommates have a third roomie and Caroline is worried she’ll find out they are vampires, or worse she already knows. It is quickly revealed they wear “daylight” rings, so that explains a bit as to why they can just kick it during the day. They get invited to a frat party which I immediately think the CW is going to show keg stands and orgies, but I’m disappointed quickly. The 3rd roomie is thrown from a window and the girls discover here. She appears to have been bitten by another vampire. OMG this is getting so mysterious! Who could this other vampire be? is this college like Monsters University! I’m intrigued!!!
Meanwhile we keep seeing evil “Stefan” and regular Stefan (who is trapped in some coffin gin water. That is soooo borrowed from the WB’s Angel). I don’t understand all the back and forth between Katherine and Elena (Nina Dobrev) and the two Stefans. Boone seems to know whats going on but not entirely. Also Good Nina has a brother who the dead exotic girl follows around and seems to only pester him. His name is Jeremy and he says he is a hunter.
This show better hurry up because I heard my kids moving around upstairs and I can not get caught watching this shit.
There is more weird stuff, people slit wrists in the middle of a park and drink a cup of blood like its coming from a Kuerig. Does it have carbs I wonder? I have so many questions. Does Boone wear blush? How is Katherine a “Doppelganger” (which by the way I think was a bad soft core porn with Drew Barrymore form the 90′s). How can Silas “glammy” people? Who is Silas? Why is he Stefan’s Doppelganger? Where is Caroline’s Boyfriend? Why is helping a Werewolf pack?
You are probably confused. As am I. If I was about 14-19 I would be all over this show. I assuming that’s the demo here. I need a bit more darkness and gore and sex, real sex in my shows. I should just start directing my own shit. I can totally transform my backyard into a town called ” Sapphire Flats”.
Again not the worst hour of TV I’ve ever spent my time on but I won’t be a repeat offender.
(Editor’s note: I remember Doppelganger with Drew Barrymore. Nice pull, Shelly.)
This column is designed to examine a hit show and its appeal. There are many variables when deciding what defines a hit show. Cameron chose The Vampire Diaries this week, which is a show that gets clobbered in the ratings by the likes of The Big Bang Theory(What doesn’t?), but for the CW, it’s a HUGE hit. I was checking twitter throughout the evening to check updates on football and baseball and every single time, without fail, the top worldwide trending topic was #TVD. Nothing about The Big Bang Theory, nothing about Parks and Recreation. #TVD. Every time. So it’s a monster hit with the social media crowd as well. Hit shows aren’t as black and white as they used to be, literally and figuratively.
In full disclosure, I slammed a few necessary beers before viewing, and I’ve never seen one episode of this show and decided what better time to jump in than the season 5 premiere. And it is with full shame that I admit that I understood nothing yet loved everything. I wanted to watch the next episode immediately. this is one of the funniest comedies on tv today.
Reviewing this would be a fool’s errand. Because I don’t understand any of what was unfolding before me. At one point, this immortal bro, Stefan, or as Cameron chastised me “That was Silas. What show are you watching? Silas is immortal. Stefan’s just a vampire!” Cameron took TVD way seriously. Like it’s my fault for being confused when 5 actors are playing 17 roles. Okay, so SILAS is a baaaaaaad man, and I loved him. He went up and sat down with this lady at a bistro in broad daylight and just sliced her wrist and drained it into a coffee mug for a refreshment. she didn’t seem to mind at all. That’s because Silas is cooler than the other side of the pillow, bros.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that I find Nina Dobrev extremely sexually attractive. and she was in every scene! Because she plays multiple versions of herself, the vampire and the human, and both of those versions love to take bubble baths in a bathtub in the middle of a wooden attic area. Score! At one point, Silas shows up and tries to strangle her in her huge bathtub room, but she grabs her shiv at the side of the tub as you do and slices his face. Also, at one point, Human Dobrev thinks she is being escorted off to be killed or something and grabs the steering wheel sending them careening into a telephone pole that explodes as if Roy Hobbs just clobbered one out of the park. I was laughing so hard, you guys.
The part of the episode that shamefully made me want to watch more came at the end. The mayor(?) is giving a speech to a group of youngsters when Silas commandeers the microphone and states that he has consumed enough of their blood to basically mind control them and as he commands them to be quiet and to not move a muscle, HE STRAIGHT UP GUS FRING BOX CUTTERS THE MAYOR IN THE FUCKING NECK! And they remain there, Silas’ disciples. Where does it go from here? I kind of want to know, and for that, suck it, Cameron!