"The Vampire Diaries" is a guilty pleasure TV series full of vampires, werewolves, witches, and undying romance. While viewers are fine with realistic violence and fantasy relationships, can a show that's supposedly based in the real world suspend disbelief a little too much? In Season 3, Episode 16, Elena's high school ex, Matt, finally brought up an issue that's been hanging in the air for some time now, just begging for a rational answer.
"I just don't get it. Your thing with them."
After Matt (Zach Roerig) and Elena (Nina Dobrev) got a close-up view of Stefan (Paul Wesley) with blood dripping from his mouth and a girl lying near-dead on the ground, the only halfway normal guy left on "The Vampire Diaries" just had to ask Elena what was up with her and the Salvatore brothers. Overlooking a guy's quirks, bad boy past, or former drug addiction is one thing, but violent vampirism seems to fall heavily into the "hopeless danger" column.
Strangely, Elena's answer actually made sense. After her parents' death, it felt good to hang on to someone who she knew wasn't ever going to die. Though Matt didn't buy her "feeling safe" with Stefan, there's a logic to that, as well. When you're dating a guy with super strength, lightning speed, and a killer instinct, it's like having your own personal bodyguard -- an essentially immortal bodyguard. A lot of people would feel safe that way.
In a poignant moment in the episode "1912," Matt also offered an additional explanation: "Once you fall in love with someone, I don't know if you can ever shake them." We know he's never been able to shake Elena, so he at least has some understanding how you can still love someone when all signs point you to run in the opposite direction.
How many murders is too many?
Knowing that your vampire boyfriend was a seriously bad guy a hundred years ago could possibly fall into the category of letting bygones be bygones. Elena has been confronted by that past, however, hiding in a room scrawled with possibly thousands of names of his victims -- that he's since added to substantially. Is it just simply too large to even fathom? After a man can legitimately be categorized as a serial killer, does it matter if it's 50 or 1,000 victims?
Despite the fact that the horror of Stefan's true nature has escalated, fans of "The Vampire Diaries" don't seem to mind. "It's like Stefan went to the dark side and immediately became more favored than he was in terms of being Elena's suitor," actor Wesley told Entertainment Weekly. Though this may have had more to do with the fact that Stefan had wiped that morose look off his face and gained a more self-assured personality, rather than the fact that the body count was piling up.
A Lesser of Two Evils?
The "1912" episode of "The Vampire Diaries" was full of revelations. What was surprising about Elena's dialogue with Matt was that Damon (Ian Somerhalder) actually seemed to come out ahead in the battle of the Salvatores. While she confessed to Stefan as a sort of crutch after her parents died, she seemed more compelled (no pun intended) by his brother: "Damon just sort of snuck up on me," she told Matt, adding that "he just got under my skin."
Despite being the "bad boy" at the start of the series, now that we've got "ripper" Stefan on our hands, Damon has begun to look like a wiser choice. Sure, he's killed plenty himself. But he seems to have learned more restraint and doesn't kill most of his blood-sucked victims. He's also been drinking a lot of pre-packaged blood lately, rather than going to the source. Once again, however, does being less of a serial killer make you a better person?
"Twilight" handled the whole murderous nature problem by giving vampire Edward the "Dexter" storyline, whereby he's only killed other killers. In "The Vampire Diaries," however, the road is littered with innocent victims. The fact that they're largely nameless victims seems to be how the show gets away with it. After all, it was a pivotal point in episode "All My Children" that had viewers believing one of the brothers might kill Bonnie (Kat Graham) to save Elena. If this had been the actual result, would that have finally been the turning point for her and the audience?
One point of fantasy may also explain why "The Vampire Diaries" gets away with more. Actress Nina Dobrev is 23 and plays a very sophisticated character, despite the fact that she's supposed to be a traumatized senior in high school. Take Lisa Shay (18-year-old Allie Grant) from "Suburgatory" and have her taking a murderous vampire up to her bedroom every night and you'd probably get a lot different reaction to the "romance."
"The Vampire Diaries" creates a whole atmosphere that allows viewers to enjoy a world where being an orphan in a vampire love triangle, with a witch, werewolf, and vampire friends, and a possibly sleep-walking murderous guardian is an exciting and romantic life. What do you think, "TVD" fans? Will it ever get to be too much to believe in, or the more outrageous the plot the better?
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