Archive for February, 2012

Dear Vampire Diaries: Volume 4

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Logan, that news reporter who cheated on Aunt Jenna, is very insistent on being invited into her house. He’s clearly a vampire, but since he hasn’t used the ability to compel her to invite himself in, I suspect that doesn’t work. He may also just be a lousy vampire…and really, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

 

Oh, hey, an old-fashioned vampire attack to close out the cold open! It’s been a while since we’ve seen one of those. I don’t know if that was supposed to come as a surprise, but repeatedly asking someone to invite you in isn’t something that not-vampires do very often.

 

Since Damon and Stefan have both declared intentions to leave town, the brothers discuss where they’ll go next. Damon suggests the two try out for the Amazing Race. This idea is AWESOME! You try and honestly tell me that you wouldn’t watch a pair of vampires race around the world performing a series of challenges.

 

You know, despite the whole cougar explosion a few years back I’d say American culture gets pretty iffy about age differences in couples, and especially with high schoolers. Despite this, I rarely hear people say anything about 162 year old guys making eyes at high school girls in vampire fiction.

Is their like a wooden bullet wholesaler or something? Where does Logan keep getting these things?

“How do you walk in the sun?” “Who turned you” “How do you walk in the sun?” “I’ve seen this tree before!”

 

So the Sheriff is not only the head of local law enforcement, but also a member of a secret vampire hunting organization, yet when hunting vampires she’s unprepared. Meanwhile newscaster Logan, admittedly also a member of said secret organization, who is minding his own business and probably disoriented from being turned into a vampire is totally ready to slay some liches (get it? undead joke). I think this town may need an emergency election.

 

I really do enjoy seeing the Salvatore brothers working together. You know what they say, “the family who murders vampires together out of clandestine self-preservation, stays together”. It sounds wittier in the original Latin.

 

Does Caroline have some sort of Vampire magnetism? Honestly. First Damon, now Logan? Does she just have the best blood or something?

 

Man I really appreciate Damon’s ability to play every angle. He’s got Stefan helping him take down Logan, he’s got Logan helping him try to free Katherine behind Stefan’s back, and all the while he’s got the Sheriff in the palm of his hand. If I was playing a game or sociopathic mastermind in gym class I would pick Damon first every day of the week.

 

I object, on the grounds that Bonnie has cornered the market on blatantly obvious supernatural things!

“What’s your problem, man?” “Judging by this incredibly transparent camera angle, I’m probably going to become a werewolf.”

For some reason Jeremy is suddenly intent on trying to be friends with Tyler, the other guy who was sleeping with his dead vampire girlfriend. Saltzman breaks up a fight between them (instigated by the mayor, for some reason), then we’re presented with what’s likely to be the least subtle  moment of foreshadowing I’ve ever seen.

 

Elena asks Stefan not to leave town because she loves him. This immediately degenerates into a makeout session, which in turn evolves into this weird emotional casserole of sweet, gratuitous and horrifying. Vampires are so complicated, no wonder they’re so emo all the time.

 

Episode ten and the main love interests have already had sex. They just don’t make vampire romances like they used to. It’s okay, though, this relationship can’t last long without derailing.

 

I’m not really sure what to make of the unreasonably suspicious Alaric Saltzman now. He gallantly came and staked Logan after keeping Jeremy out of trouble at the school’s career night. He seems to play the good guy vampire part way better than Stefan. Though he just sort of left the dead Vampire out for the world to find, so he’s not so bright.

 

I can’t decide if all this vampire trauma is going to give Caroline a thick skin or a psychotic break. At this point, I’ll say even odds, but when the vampires stop compelling her to be okay with everything, all bets are off!

 

Again, if there’s one major thing I would say about this show, it’s that they deal with the whole emo vampire thing really well. Both Stefan and Elena are inherently dramatic people who rarely smile or find anything about life that won’t give them an angst fit. Yet when they’re together, they both definitely liven up (especially in the case of the undead guy). I really appreciate the subtlety of the character direction on this show.

 

Whoops! There it is, Elena found the photographic evidence that Stefan’s been stalking her all along. The photo of Katherine. That ought to jam a wrench in this relationship for a few episodes. I definitely understand her reaction of running away, but she PROBABLY shouldn’t have taken off her anti-vampire necklace. Or crashed her car into what was probably a vampire.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Alaric Saltzman has a vampire diary!? In it he writes about killing Logan, but he implies not only that he isn’t a vampire, but also that he’s never seen one. If he’s not a vampire and has never seen one, then why does he have that Lapus Lazuli ring?

 

"Oh, and I notice you aren't protected from my mind control any more. Today's going to be a lot of fun!"

"Good morning! Hope you don't mind that I took the liberty of kidnapping you and crossing state lines while you were sleeping!"

Well that’s a creepy wake-up call! Damon saves Elena from the car crash after she fled Stefan’s place, then tosses her in the passenger side of his car and drives to Georgia. Oh great, and he stole her phone AND he noticed she doesn’t have her anti-mind control necklace. Girl needs some Folgers in her cup to start turning this morning around.

 

You have got to be kidding me! Bonnie finally has a chance to do something useful without the ghost of her dead ancestor possessing her body and her witch powers have inexplicably disappeared. My frustration with her character has reached the point of complete irrationality.

 

Gina Torres? Cool! Making out with Damon? Well…he is as charming as he his dangerously unpredictable, and he did kill his brother’s best friend to cover his own murder spree. Also, she seems to be a witch, guess we’re having a witch episode.

 

Okay, so according to Bonnie’s grandmother, the reason Bonnie can’t use her powers is because her fear of vampires is blocking them off somehow. If fear shuts off witchcraft it doesn’t seem terribly practical.

 

Elena seems to have defeated the entire bar where Damon has taken her at a drinking contest, even though she is a relatively small girl.

 

Elena had a rough morning, for sure, but Damon’s having a whole bad week. First Logan shot him like a dozen times with wooden bullets, now Lexi’s Vampire boyfriend is beating him to a pulp with a wooden plank, soaking him and gasoline and is threatening to light him on fire. It’s a good thing that wasted Elena is a master conflict mediator.

 

Well, that was a short-lived cameo for Gina Torres, but at least she didn’t die twice in the first two episodes of the series, like Alan Tudyk did on V. Those Firefly alumni have it rough.

 

You know, I have to concede that for all this show’s teenage flights of over-emotional self-indulgence, when it really counts the characters generally have normal, human reactions. When Elena finally gets back to Stefan to confront him she’s like, “okay I can deal with vampires and witches, but why didn’t you tell me about your creepy fascination with that woman who looks exactly like me?” Honestly, that seems reasonable to me, given all she’s seen she pretty much HAS to deal with the supernatural, but this is something Stefan had some control over.

 

"At least if I get amnesia it will temporarily cancel out all of these other cliches."

"So you're telling me that people I know who die are fairly likely to come back to life and I effectively have an evil twin? I'm dangerously close to becoming self aware about out soap opera!"

What’s worse than finding out that your boyfriend is mainly interested in you because you look like his dead vampire girlfriend, you ask? Well, how about finding out that he saved you from the car accident that killed your parents, but didn’t have time to save them too? Oh, oh, and while we’re at it, after the car accident your resemblance to said vampire girlfriend cause him to actually stalk you for about a year to “learn everything he could about you” to make sure you weren’t actually her? Oh, and one more thing, apparently Elena was also adopted. Yeah, she’s having a memorable day…

 

Okay, so I haven’t mentioned this, but Jeremy’s spent the episode’s B plot making friends with a slightly awkward home schooled love interest (Anna). I bring this up now because she, being one of the few people in town with a reasonable excuse for not having an abundance of common sense, seems to be the one person who’s realized that the town’s frequency or horrible animal attacks is both alarming and unusual. Everyone in town should be ashamed.

 

We end the episode coming full circle on that flashback Alaric had about his girlfriend/wife/non-descript significant other. He sees Damon and it reminds him of that time that Damon fed on the woman of ambiguous romantic relation to Alaric. Oops!

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The Best Part of a Complete Breakfast

I can only assume they were discontinued after the bear detectives lost their badges.

I defy you to find a better, (mostly) healthy breakfast treat!

I’ve been very busy lately, so please excuse the randomness and brevity of this update, but this has been bothering me recently. Am I the only one who remembers Undercover Bears?

 

You see, I’ve been on a bit of an oatmeal kick recently, mostly because I had some instant oatmeal in my pantry and I have been seriously procrastinating my next trip to the grocery store, but I used to love oatmeal! I mean, that’s half the reason I had instant oatmeal in my pantry in the first place. The other half being my hope that oatmeal’s magic cholesterol destroying properties will somehow mitigate the rest of my awful diet.

 

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of oatmeal and it got me to thinking about how I first came to love oatmeal. To the best of my recollection, it all started with Undercover Bears.

 

Undercover Bears was an instant oatmeal from the early 1990s that contained what were essentially gummy bears disguised by an oatmeal coating. When you stirred hot water in to warm the oatmeal, you would find the gummy bears in your oatmeal and your day would be off to a fantastic start. There was a variety of flavors amongst the hidden gummy bears, but the brown sugar bears were clearly the best.

 

Here’s the commercial, though the only place I could find it was in a 90’s commercial compilation on YouTube:

 

 

Tragically, Undercover Bears was a short-lived General Mills product, leaving a void in my breakfast that would be hard to fill. My ever-vigilant mother found something that would come close, though. It was another General Mills instant oatmeal by the name of Oatmeal Swirlers:

 

 

Any long-time readers out there can probably surmise that I like to doodle, and doodling something delicious on top of oatmeal is a pretty great idea. It wasn’t quite as good as having cartoon bear candy in my hot cereal, but it definitely placated me for a while, and sustained my interest in oatmeal.

 

You might be asking, "but Vasco, isn't that just flavored goop on top of oatmeal? Can't you just do that yourself?" Clearly you have no soul, and probably don't even believe in Santa Claus. I pity you.

Eventually though, Oatmeal Swirlers also vanished from my life. To be honest I don’t remember if they discontinued oatmeal swirlers before my young attention span caused me to lose interest in them. Either way it’s certainly a case of not appreciating what I had until it was gone. For many years I didn’t have oatmeal, I mean, what’s the point if there aren’t any awesome gimmicks aimed at young children to pique my interest?

 

Well there was at least one more trick up the instant oatmeal industry’s sleeve, though this time it came from Quaker, the Amish master of oats. I don’t remember how all the pieces fell into place, but I can certainly make an educated guess.

 

I imagine my Mom one day, through some combination of nostalgia and that vigilance I mentioned earlier, saw this product on the shelf and bought a box just in case. It’s possible I saw a commercial for it first and made mention of it to her, but knowing my Mom I’m inclined to give her the lion’s share of the credit for such awesome discoveries.

 

Anyway, she probably kept the box in her pantry for a while until I suddenly wanted something for breakfast (I usually don’t get up until relatively late, or don’t have much appetite until lunch, despite my love of breakfast foods), or perhaps my Mom merely suggested it one day. Yeah, I can picture that…

 

“Remember when you used to eat oatmeal? Yeah, you LOVED it as a kid! Well, I found this:”

 

 

Apologies since, again, the only evidence I could find of the commercial was in the midst of a YouTube commercial compilation. This time it’s fairly low quality as well, but hopefully it gets the point across.

 

Basically, Dinosaur Eggs is like Undercover Bears in that you add hot water and something wonderful happens if you appreciate awesome things like cartoon bears and dinosaurs. This time a yogurt-like egg-shaped coating dissolves to reveal tiny sugary dinosaur shapes. On paper, this should be much more awesome than Undercover Bears, but if I’m honest this is my least favorite of the three.

 

Don't let a mother dinosaur catch you eating a bowl, she will wreck your house to protect her sugary babies!

This is such a great idea that I'm sure I would have been blown away were I still a child when I discovered them. Alas, I had already been spoiled on Undercover Bears.

It’s not that Dinosaur Eggs oatmeal is bad, it’s just…a little underwhelming. You see, the dinosaurs, while awesome, are very small. In a way it’s nice because you’re incentivized to go digging for them, but to me it’s more like a disappointment when you find them. Also, unlike the Undercover Bears’ bears and the Oatmeal Swirlers’ doodle goo (hmm, there’s probably a better name for that…) the dinosaurs don’t add any flavor. They’re pretty much sugar flavored, like those dipping sticks in Fun Dip.

 

Nothing against the other gimmicky instant oatmeals, but I feel like the fad peaked early. Undercover Bears was the best, and as far as I’m concerned is the reigning champ. The others had their own merits, but if I had my choice I would certainly pick some maple flavored gummy bears.

 

Of course I don’t have my choice, and only one of the three appears to still be on the market, the Dinosaur Eggs. So if you’re a dinosaur buff and an oatmeal fan, or even just an aspiring archeologist, then have I got hot cereal for you!

What Is Lidsville?

On the bright side, if I ever need a cursed object I know where to go.

Here's something of a cast photo that comes from a vintage Lidsville lunchbox...which I now own, thanks to my friend Chas' dark sense of humor.

“What is Lidsville?” is a very dangerous question.

 

This is a question with many answers, however the English language lacks the ability to fully and adequately answer this question. Before I make the futile attempt to answer what should be a simple question, let me begin by explaining how Lidsville came into my life.

 

There is an event that my friends and I sometimes attend in the basement of a building tucked in an alleyway in Chinatown, an event known as secret karaoke. Apparently it is a tradition at secret karaoke to project weird, cult television series on the wall behind where the lyrics are projected for singers. I’m not sure why, maybe because the people who run the thing got sick of all the clip art accompanying the bad midi files, but whatever the reason this was a fateful decision, for it introduced my friends and I to this forbidden series.

 

I was mesmerized by the indescribable nonsense casually and silently playing behind the karaoke. Everyone else was busy singing, getting drunk or socializing, but since I’m pretty bad at all of those things, my focus was on what was familiar to me: television. I watched in complete confusion as a green-skinned magician flew around in a crushed top hat, shooting lighting bolts from his fingertips at a boy and his living hat companions. And that was just the tip of the iceberg! There was no sound to accompany the plethora of confounding images, so after a while I had to drag someone down with me, just to make sure I hadn’t gone crazy.

 

Enter my friend Chas, who is a much more accomplished writer than I am. He, like most people in attendance, was having a good time, enjoying the atmosphere, when I brought the moving pictures to his attention. It wasn’t long before we were both shouting indignant questions about what on Earth could possibly be happening, why this was playing, and even whether it was a real television show. A fellow karaoke-goer filled us in, explaining this was an old children’s show from the 70’s.

 

A normal person would have left well enough alone, but sadly I am not normal.

 

Weenie, on the other hand, is a male geenie played by a woman, so he's always cross-dressing in a way.

Mark and Weenie, involved in one of their few plans that doesn't involve Mark putting on a silly costume and/or women's clothing.

My well-documented tolerance for all things TV beckoned me down a dark path, and I was already in too deep. I investigated the show, finding its theme song online, and even gaining access to a full episode. I conned my then-girlfriend into watching the episode, as no one else would do it. Luckily fate intervened at this point. I couldn’t find any more episodes utilizing the amount of effort I was willing to invest.

 

That could have been the end of it. That SHOULD have been the end of it. It was truly only the beginning.

 

Skip ahead to this past summer, when I was browsing the TV schedule with the help of my TiVo one Saturday morning when I discovered something I wouldn’t have believed possible. PBS was airing episodes of Lidsville! I couldn’t keep myself from switching the channel out of pure morbid curiosity, and then like with a train wreck I couldn’t avert my eyes.

 

That day I joined Chas and his girlfriend for dinner before seeing a movie, and I endeavored to use my talents as a storyteller to recount the terrors to which I had subjected myself. Whatever I said worked, to a degree. Chas was similarly intrigued, but his girlfriend was simply horrified.

 

And rightly so.

 

Over the next few weeks a plan was hatched. Our mutual friend Mike was getting married soon, so his fiancé and several of our friends were heading out of town for a Vegas bachelorette party. Normal guys would probably have a guys night out, but somehow I lured my friends into a horrifying challenge instead.

 

The villainous HooDoo answers the Hat Hotline, a phone line so hot he needs a potholder to hold it. I hope you liked that pun, because there will be a lot of it. To be clear, a lot of this specific pun.

At first it was to be a competition: Starting at 9 PM, we would determine who could endure the most straight Lidsville without break. We quickly realized this was too great a challenge for anyone but possibly myself to endure, so instead it was to be a bonding experience. We would band together against the nightmare within a hat within a TV screen, and struggle to endure the entire series in one night.

 

Long story short, while we nearly lost Mike in the middle to a survival instinct-induced sleep, the three of us accomplished what we set out to do.

 

We now know our enemy. Now it is time for me to warn you of a land from which there is no escape. A world of talking hats: some racist stereotypes, some that defy any logical description. A world filled with the magic of a malicious green-skinned wizard and the absolute worst genie I’ve ever seen in my life. A world populated by puns, costumes and…the hat band.

 

Lidsville.

 

Premise:

 

Probably the easiest and most direct way to explain the premise of the show is for you to watch the show’s intro. The theme song is basically a man just telling you what the show is about in a sing-song tone.

 

 

For those of you unable to watch videos while reading this, or simply too terrified by the notion of watching that, I will summarize. A boy named Mark sees a magic show at a six flags, and is so entranced that he decides to sneak back stage to learn more about the magic. When he arrives in the magician’s dressing room he stumbles onto his top hat. Somehow he triggers the hat to magically grow to enormous size, then he climbs in and falls into the world within a hat, Lidsville.

 

Mark’s goal, and understandably so, is to find a way out of Lidsville and back home. After a while, this goal takes a certain, notable shift, but that’s an issue for later. It’s a simple premise for a show inexplicably targeted to children, especially when you consider that the way out of Lidsville is simply to go up, since Mark fell down to get there.

 

Side note though, can anyone reading this explain to me what the curious frog is up with the theme song’s abrupt transitions? We go from this weird sort of monotonous drone to this psychedelic interlude. Next the video makes it clear that Mark is being chased by an evil wizard, yet all of a sudden Mark and the hats are like laughing and dancing. Why build all that tension just to suddenly have everyone celebrating Mark being trapped inside the world of hats?

 

Characters:

 

Mark (Butch Patrick, of Munsters fame) – The tragic protagonist of the tale. Mark simply believed in magic and wanted to unravel some of its wonder. His is certainly a case of “be careful what you wish for”, since he did in fact find an entire magical world, but for him, there would be no escape. As a kid’s show from before writers really gave children any credit, Mark and the other characters are pretty two dimensional. In fact, his most defining feature would probably be his knack for solving problems by dressing in costumes (sometimes cross-dressing).

 

Hooratio J. HooDoo (Charles Nelson Reilly, primarily of Match Game Fame to my knowledge) – The unfathomably campy villain of the piece. This green-skinned magician is really more of a wizard. Chief among the magic at his disposal is his magic lightning zapper hands and his hat which converts into a flying vehicle known as the Hatamaran. He also had a magical ring that could summon a genie until it was stolen by Mark, which proves to be the main source of contention through much of the series.

 

Weenie the Genie (Billie Hayes, of H.R. Pufnstuf fame) – Weenie is the somewhat androgynous Genie whose power is linked to the ring Mark stole from HooDoo. To say that Weenie is an unhelpful companion would be an understatement, to say that he is the worst genie would not. Weenie rarely, if ever, accomplishes what he sets out to do, and often makes things worse. It makes me wonder why Mark never tried to trade Weenie back to HooDoo in exchange for help escaping this horrible place.

 

It's hard to say what the worst fate to befall someone is within Lidsville, but getting captured by the bad hats is at least embarassing.

Pictured is Mark being captured by the so-called "bad hats". This band of thugs consists of a ganster fedora, an executioner's hood, a pirate hat and a...vampire...hat.

And the rest – There’s a pretty big, largely pointless ensemble cast on the show. This includes a plethora of magical puppets that populate HooDoo’s hat home (yes, he lives in a hat within a world of hats that exists inside a larger hat), HooDoo’s bumbling sidekick Raunchy Rabbit, a gang of lesser villains known as the bad hats and of course the “good hats” that inhabit Lidsville proper. It’s actually unclear as to whether lidsville is the entire world, some sort of county or province or merely just the town where most of the hats live. There’s a rather horrifying revelation down the line that clarifies things a little, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

 

At some point I will venture back through the terrible world of Lidsville, as something of a public service. In case you ever find yourself in the same situation as poor, star-crossed Mark, you need to know what you’re up against. Of course, there’s no guarantee that I will survive another trip there, but I will find a way to send you whatever warnings I can to you from the other side. Really the best advice I can give you is what a wise man once told me, “DON’T GO IN THE HAT!”

Dear Vampire Diaries: Volume 3

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Well, if Vicki was going to go after someone to eat as a vampire, I feel like Tyler’s a good choice. Our weird Jason Voorhees-esque motif about abusive relationships and vampires continues as she retaliates by trying to eat him. Vampires never die or age just like abusive relationships never end or change. That almost sounds like a delightful vampire poem.

 

I hadn’t noticed that the high school mascot was the timber wolves…just…wow.

 

It’s kind of refreshing that Elena actually reacts to the idea of keeping secrets about everyone to protect vampires.

 

If Vicki is any indication, side effects of being dead include supernatural agility, heightened senses, a taste for human blood and an insufferable amount of complaining.

 

I can’t decide if it’s cleverness or laziness that’s driven the witch to dress like a witch and the new vampire to dress like a vampire for Halloween.

 

This is why vampires can't have nice things.

"Stefan, aren't you the reformed vampire who believes that people can change? Why'd you kill my brother's girlfriend?" "I slipped...and grabbed a sharp piece of wood to break my fall...and then stumbled into her chest."

It’s a good thing the school has a trash can full of wooden planks with which to fend off and possibly kill attacking vampires…why does it have that? Does this school have a vampire slaying elective? It would be practical.

 

Gonna be honest, Stefan, I know she was a bloodthirsty vampire at risk of attacking your friends, but staking her to death might have been a bit much. He without sin and all that.

 

These witch plots continue to be terribly woven into the story. The scenes are routinely about a minute long and just full of exposition with little or no motivation.

 

Damon: “You’re confusing me with someone with remorse. None of this matters to me.”

I think that sums things up quite nicely.

 

This is a really emasculating moment for Stefan. Elena wants her brother to forget about the time he saw he vampire girlfriend get staked, but because Stefan doesn’t eat people, they have to rely on his brother who he hates to save his love interest’s brother from Post Vampiric Stress Syndrome.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Looks like it’s Stefen’s 162nd birthday which has brought a generically attractive blonde vampire girl to town to celebrate. She, Lexi, says that only the Salvatore s have the magical Lapis Lazuli daylight survival rings. He suggests that they won’t work for anyone else. The plot thickens.

 

Again, I’m glad Elena’s a real person. We already knew she was predisposed to being emo so all this death, lies and vampirism SHOULD annoy the crap out of her, which it does.

 

Haha, well it looks like Lexi feeds on humans because she proves stronger than Damon. It’s fun to see him get bullied.

 

Leave it to a teenager (and the most annoying character on the show) to complain about a powerful magical amulet not looking pretty enough.

 

I guess if it got to that point he'd just compel whoever was left to buy his crappy story. Wouldn't be too hard.

"Hey Damon, the town census says we're the only people still living in town. Where's everybody else?" "Um...they all had to leave town...suddenly."

You know the whole “mysteriously left town on short notice” thing can work in small doses, but it has already happened to Vicki, Logan and Stefan’s “uncle”. I feel like someone’s going to have to start picking up on this soon.

 

“Bonnie, what’s going on?” Really Elena? In the pilot she wouldn’t shut up about her witch heritage and you just found out vampires exist. Just stop trying to be skeptical.

 

Ah, so Lexi doesn’t just feed on humans like Damon, she feeds on donated human blood. Probably not donated TO her, but when dealing with vampires you’re probably going to hit on something morally reprehensible eventually.

 

The Caroline/Damon relationship is definitely the core of my thesis, at least at this stage of the show. “Why are you being like this?” she asks him, “I’m so good to you!” “You’re shallow and useless,” he replies.

 

Lexi’s actually being genuinely helpful with the Stefan/Elena relationship…not really sure why. I definitely had the impression she was into him, though I could have just been reading into how protective she was of him.

 

Damon’s got some serious game, between working closely with the council and even providing them a weapon (vervain) to throw off suspicion, to not just killing some people and trying to put Lexi on the spot, but leaving a hypnotized witness. I think that staking Lexi may have been a bit much, though, even if Stefan and Elena hadn’t been watching. Also, since the bullets weren’t slowing Lexi down, I have to say shame on the sheriff for hunting vampires without appropriate tools.

 

Two vampires down in as many episodes. We’re going to start running out soon at this rate, unless we keep introducing new ones.

 

Pro tip, Matt, when you drop off the sheriff’s daughter at her house and the sheriff knows the girl is completely wasted, it’s probably not smart to sleep in her bed, funny business or no. Trigger happy sheriff’s probably going to think you’re taking advantage of her daughter.

 

Seriously though, this is really messed up and I feel like Stefan should stop trying to be reasonable with Damon after this.

"Ugh, is-is that a stake in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" "Oooh, sorry, I should probably be more careful where I leave that thing"

Damon, I wouldn’t be so smug about solving the vampire suspicion problem, since you caused it in the first place and then killed Stefan’s friend.

 

Considering that we established that Damon’s powers are better than Stefan, I think that Stefan administering a stake to Damon’s gut was way too easy.

 

What’s up with this town’s graveyard? There’s a mausoleum and like 5 tombstones, that accounts for like the amount of people of have died in town since the show started. Actually, I don’t think it even covers that.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Hey! Not only are we in school, but there’s a teacher other than Mr. Tanner. The school board must have finally caved in the actually-staffing-the-school negotiations.

 

I had my name legally changed from "Shady Murderman" because I couldn't get hired as a teacher.

"Hello, my name is Alaric Saltzman, and I will probably kill you or someone you care about before I'm written out of this series."

Oh wow, and another teacher within just a few minutes. This guy even gets a highly fictitious sounding name: Alaric Saltzman. I have to assume with a name like Alaric that he has something to do with vampires. Uh oh, he’s the history teacher! Is history like the Vampire Diaries equivalent of the Defense Against the Dark Arts class from Harry Potter?

 

“Sorry I killed your best friend, here’s some coffee” doesn’t quite seem like an adequate apology. Still, it shows at least the vaguest hint of effort from Damon, which is new.

 

What’s that? A suspicious family heirloom ring with a blue tint to it? It was pretty strongly insinuated in the last episode that the Salvatore brothers were the only ones with magic daylight protecting decoder rings, but maybe this will come as news to everyone.

 

When did Damon suddenly figure out like every detail of Bonnie’s life? Granted, she hasn’t shown us a lot of depth so far, but not that long ago he didn’t even know she was a witch (shocking, I know), now he knows that her dead witch ancestor is haunting her through the crystal. My guess is that she needs to change her privacy settings on Facebook.

 

Dun dun DUH! The amulet that Bonnie threw away in a field in the middle of nowhere reappeared unexpectedly in her purse! If she can’t deal with this level of unexplained phenomena she’s not going to be a very good witch.

 

“I consider you to be my best friend, even though we barely ever speak and I’ve been holding a grudge against you because you won’t return something I don’t even want.” Looks like Caroline and Damon have something in common, an inability to apologize appropriately.

 

They'll only learn the error of their ways when the spirits invite a bunch of their friends, get drunk and trash the place.

"Inviting relentless spirits into our lives is fun! While we're at it, let's invite some more Vampires into my house!"

Seriously? A séance? Hasn’t Bonnie spent this entire episode complaining about a ghost haunting her? Why would we agree to invite in a spirit? You deserve whatever you get from this.

 

Damon says Stefan is an expert on starving vampires. That does raise the question, why did Stefan know about that whole living corpse thing to threaten Damon with it before?

 

Oh good! Bonnie’s become possessed by the ghost of Emily! Maybe she’ll contribute to the story in some way!

 

You would think that being a vampire himself, Stefan would be prepared for things like super-sensory eavesdropping when he gets important information via phone call.

 

I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the burning tree. Even Bonnie’s ancestors have a pyromania problem. I have to say, I’m a little bummed that Emily’s contribution while possessing Bonnie was to destroy the thing that was possibly going to make Bonnie useful.

 

So is “having a wounded human drink my blood” the go-to solution for all vampire problems?

 

Well they caught me by surprise here. I would not have guessed that Damon was the one with genuine feelings for Katherine. Of course I hadn’t guessed that she was an evil vampire or that she was probably alive and tramped somewhere with a bunch of angry vampires, so maybe I’m  not the best one to ask.

 

Interesting, so vampire blood is pretty much just super medicine as long as you don’t die?

 

Oh no! Stefan’s leaving. He probably shouldn’t go until he’s made sure that Damon’s also leaving. You know, cause he eats people indiscriminately?

 

So Elena tells Bonnie about the vampires during a musical montage, which she responds to by crying. I like to think he reactions was something like, “There were two sexy vampires in town and you didn’t tell me? You’re a terrible friend, you know how much I loved Twilight!”

 

Oh. Logan’s back. And he ALSO seems to be a vampire. Kind of a lot of vampire happening in this town all of a sudden. Maybe they really are planning on continuing to kill vampires with relatively reckless abandon. Logan’s return does at least explain why they’ve continued to use footage from him during the “previously on the Vampire Diaries” segments.

 

 

What Is Lost Girl?

No, seriously, what IS this show?

 

Okay, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Lost Girl, so give me a minute to catch you up to speed. Lost Girl is a supernatural drama that the Syfy channel has been promoting for several months. The ads presented the concept of a young woman named Bo (played by Anna Silk) who had some type of supernatural powers, did not know what she was and discovered what sounded like a civil war between two faction of fae. For the most part, this is an accurate representation of the series, however, there is one important character detail that they played very close to the vest, which doesn’t come to light until about halfway through the pilot; the main character is a succubus.

 

Now I’m going to give you a minute to perform any spit takes, double takes or comedic series of shouting “wha-wha-WHAT!?” that you might feel necessary. Good? Good.

 

I can think of worse ways to die, but then I can think of plenty of worse case scenarios that I'd rather not experience.

"Hey baby, wanna come back to my place so we can have sex, drain your body of life, then dispose of your corpse?" "Heck yeah! You said sex, right?"

Yeah, that’s right, the main character is apparently a succubus. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, succubi (the plural of succubus) are typically demonic figures of women who seduce men and drain their energy via sexual encounter. Said encounters leave the man with deteriorated health if they don’t outright kill him.

 

Even knowing this, you might be wondering why I find this one element of the show so utterly surprising. Well, for one, it seems like a pretty big thing to hide about the show. I don’t remember any indication from the commercials that the show would be rated MA, but it is. Really though, the most unusual part of the succubus angle is the way they portray the heroine, Bo.

 

Essentially a succubus in this world is like a sex vampire; she must drain life force from a human via physical contact or her own health starts to deteriorate. Unlike the “good” vampire trope I touched on while writing about The Vampire Diaries, Bo does not try to control or mitigate her lethal hunger. She’s spent her whole life feeding on and killing men, through mostly casual sexual encounters and really doesn’t seem to show shame or remorse about it.

 

Now I don’t mean to say that this is wrong, or that this type of character shouldn’t be shown on TV, I merely mean to explain my reaction. American Television rarely has characters representing this type of lifestyle or even moral ambiguity. Furthermore, the vast majority of original programming on the Sci Fi Channel…sorry, I mean SyFy is relatively family friendly. SyFy’s been trying to rebrand itself for years, but it’s still far from the established grittiness of a network like FX, and it’s not a premium channel like HBO which has much greater freedom in experimenting with its programming than a basic cable channel like SyFy.

 

It turns out, though, that this isn’t a SyFy original series at all, prompting me to wonder why they’re allowed to bill it as one in the first place. In fact, Lost Girl is a Candian TV series developed and produced by Prodigy Pictures for a Candaian cable channel called Showcase Television. The fact that this show is Canadian-made answers some of my questions about the unconventional nature of the premise, and makes me interested in learning more about Canadian television, but it generates some mystery as to the meaning of the phrase “SyFy Original Series”, particularly the “original” part.

 

I’ve bored you enough with that, let’s get on with the show.

 

Premise:

 

As I’ve touched on already, the show centers around a woman named Bo with supernatural powers whose origins she does not understand. After saving a human girl named Kenzi from a sleazy predator of a man by killing him with her powers, the two become fast friends. Kenzi appreciates Bo’s unique qualities rather than thinking of her as a freak or a monster. A pair of detectives find the body of that sleazy man Bo killed before, and immediately detect foul play (or, if you prefer, fae play).

 

For something called a "Pain-Eater" these guys are pretty monstrous looking. It does prove the point about under fae, though.

"Avada Kedavra! Oh sorry, wrong franchise."

The detectives manage to track the girls down and use their own supernatural abilities to incapacitate them, capturing Bo in the process. She is taken before the leaders of the light and dark factions of fae, which are creatures with a variety of supernatural abilities who can often otherwise pass as humans. They tell her she is one of them and perform a test on her, verifying that she is a succubus. The two factions then put Bo through a life threatening combat trial against two more monstrous breeds of fae, after which she’s meant to choose a side and swear allegiance to them.

 

With the help of Kenzi and one of the detectives from earlier, Bo passes the trial, but declares that she is on the side of humans, effectively neutral. Virtually everyone disapproves of this and views her as a threat to the fae way of life. Bo and Kenzi establish something of a supernatural detective agency, taking on cases that those in the dark about the fae world would probably get killed trying to solve. Bo continues meeting various breeds of fae and learning more about this strange culture while helping others and trying to discover more about her birth parents and her origins as fae.

 

Characters:

You would think the queen of the dark fae would be important...or at least show up from time to time, but not so much. I guess she's a lazy queen.

Also pictured here are Lauren (a fae doctor), Hale (Dyson's partner) and Trick, a leprechaun-esque light fae. They all seem important but I currently know little about them.

 

Ysabeau “Bo” Dennis: The bisexual, super-powered succubus and central protagonist of the show. Born of two fae parents, raised by two humans who knew nothing of the fae Bo has spent most of her life confused by her compulsion to feed on humans, as well as her other abilities. After she gets some answers in the pilot episodes, she is not content to keep living in the dark, and makes it her mission to learn more about her origins and also to learn more about the rest of the fae.

 

From what I know, her abilities include heightened strength and speed, impressive regenerative abilities drawing from sexual energies and the ability to manipulate and sexually attract humans via touch.

 

Kenzi: Kenzi is Bo’s snarky and witty human sidekick. Kenzi is very open to all of the craziness that swept her life when meeting Bo opened the floodgates. She is also very reliable and protective of her newfound fae friend. Kenzi has an unusual habit of spontaneously wearing wigs of various colors, and while this is sometimes motivated as one element of a disguise, she is just as likely to do so on any given day.

 

Dyson: A homicide detective and werewolf-esque fae who has taken a liking to Bo and decides to help her despite his fae allegiance and probably his better judgment. The two have a complicated, sometimes-sexual relationship, partially because his fae powers keep her from killing him. This enables Bo to feed and recover her health without having to kill humans, which always poses some slight risk of exposure to human kind. Dyson also keeps close contact with fae from his side (the light fae), and may be spying on Bo for their agenda.

 

As I said, Dyson’s fae abilities make him something of a werewolf. He has heightened strength, speed and senses, plus he can actually transform into a wolf, which seems to alter the strength and usage of his other abilities.

 

There are a few other characters of importance, but as of now I’ve only seen a few episodes, and none of those characters have been developed enough for me to provide you with any useful information about them.

Granted, I'm only like three episodes in, episode four could be a naked death orgy for all I know.

From what I've seen so far, despite the ideological complexities of the premise, the show doesn't use the MA rating to its fullest extent. This is the most nudity I've really seen on the show, for example.

 

This is definitely an interesting new series, and one I intend to watch more of, at least for it’s unique nature and creative world. I can’t say that I’ve fully made up my mind about my feelings for this show just yet, because on some level I think I’m still reacting to that crazy revelation. Still, if the information I have provided you with didn’t scare you off, or even intrigued you, then Lost Girl is probably a show worth checking out.

Dear Vampire Diaries: Volume 2

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Okay, Mystic Falls, what’s the deal? Don’t you have any animal experts at all? I feel like all of these gruesome “animal attacks” would have raised at least SOME suspicion of something more sinister than a wolf or whatever. Of course I say this, but it’s really only a matter of time until werewolves show up and make me sound silly.

 

Aw yeah! We’re finally going to have an implausible social event! These are a staple of any teen drama worth the name. I wonder if the Founder’s Party is going to be all-in ridiculous, like black-tie or something.

 

Damon’s relationship with Caroline seems like an allegory for controlling male dominance in a relationship. And I thought that before the stab at Twilight that makes it even more apparent (Damon sits lamenting the past days of Anne Rice and asks “What’s so special about Bella?”).

 

If there’s some sort of drug to help treat the symptoms of angst, I’d like to sign Elena’s brother Jeremy up for the trial group. He’s throwing an absolute fit over his sister lending their family heirlooms to the mayor’s family for one night of cultural history. Chill out!

 

Obviously some of it would be myth, but don't you think people hunting vampires would be prepared for this type of situation?

"So, you going to invite me in?" "Well, I'm part of a secret council that actively hunts vampires...so sure, why not?"

It’s a good thing so many people in Mystic Falls are predisposed to phrasing their greetings as an invitation inside, otherwise vampires would have much more trouble crashing parties. And here I was thinking that being a plus one would be invitation enough. Silly me.

 

You know, I wasn’t having a problem with this party until the awkward scene where Caroline tries to get Stefan to dance with her. Am I the only one who thinks its weird to ask your friend’s date to dance when you came to the party with your own date? I guess that’s not the weirdest thing I’ve heard of, but she handled it really strangely. Making things MORE peculiar, though, is the fact that the founder’s party is more like a museum wing than a fancy ball, plus there doesn’t seem to be music playing. Where did she plan on dancing and to what?

 

Stefan’s at a pretty big disadvantage in the vampire war. Not only does he not drink human blood, making him physically weaker, but Daman’s natural charm is leaps and bounds above Stefan’s sincerity. He lies to Elena about what happened with Katherine, and even without his mind powers she buys it hook, line and sinker.

 

This C story about the witch girl learning to light candles with her mind is the least organic plot I can remember in ages. She’s in only a few scenes by herself in contrived situations to get her to try to start the fires, with no motivation for her to think she can or to try to do so.

 

Elena spots the horrific vampire bites on Carolyn’s neck. Maybe I’m onto something with this allegory angle. Vampires are abusive boyfriends, who feed on their lovers (though literally here instead of emotionally). Meanwhile Stefan is the one who can actually change?

 

Then again, looking at this whole Vicky choosing the lesser of two awfuls dating plotline, maybe this show is just about broken relationships.

 

I really do feel for Caroline, but she's not the brightest bulb, I wouldn't be shocked by this reaction from her.

"Oh you're spiking my drink?" "Yes, but only to kill my vampire brother" "Aw, so no incestuous vampire threesome?"

Okay, in fairness I definitely underestimated Stefan here. His ploy to spike Carolyn’s drink with the anti-vampire macguffin was pretty masterful, knowing that Damen would feed on her without a second thought. Of course he goes right back to wussville by locking Damen up instead of killing him, or even letting his “uncle” kill him, when he’s clearly proven to be super dangerous.

 

What on Earth!? Well I guess the town doesn’t have any animal experts, but they DO have some Vampire experts…the founder’s council? That’s a pretty good twist, and at least partially explains why the council was throwing a similar fit to Jeremy regarding that pocket watch.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

If a vampire doesn’t feed for long enough, they don’t die, but instead become a living corpse? And that’s Stefan’s 50 year rehabilitation plan? This vampire stuff’s getting real, but I can’t decide if I’ve underestimated Stefan again.

 

Oh yeah, forgot about Matt…I guess he’s technically a character too, though I think he’s competing with Bonnie for the title of least useful character.

 

More Vampire hunter talk. Interesting stuff. If the watch has some anti vampire voodoo, and is a family heirloom, does that mean the Gilberts are vampire slayers? Also it’s clear that the council doesn’t know about the weird magic daytime rings, which means they’re probably not especially good at their job.

 

I’m all for clean living, but you picked a weird time to start, Jeremy. You finally hook up with the bad girl and THEN you decide you don’t want to be doing drugs? You’re doing it backwards, when you start your downward spiral, you’re supposed to meet a bad influence and then use that relationship as the excuse to START taking drugs!

 

Unlike Caroline and Vicky before him, it looks like Mr. Tanner is dead. I can’t say I blame Damon for not showing restraint on that one. Doesn’t seem like anyone at the school misses him…actually, we haven’t actually been anywhere near the school since he died. They had to cancel school when he died, because they had to restaff the entire school, didn’t they?

 

I wonder if she'll ever learn to do anything constructive with her magic, like cast a spell to grow a personality.

"Hey guys, check it out, I'm a witch!" "This is why nobody invites you to parties, Bonnie."

Looks like the vampire regeneration factor can heal burning from sunlight. That’s handy.

 

Speaking of burning, Bonnie the witch really needs some psychiatric help to deal with her pyrokinesis problem.

 

Am I really supposed to believe there was film of local news from the 50’s? A lot of TV shows from back then weren’t even filmed, would the local news really go to the trouble? Even if it existed and even if you could zoom in on someone in the background it would be so hopelessly grainy you’d be unable to make out their features. I call shenanigans.

 

Elena figured out there are vampires. Cool for her.

 

Man, even when Vicky figured out that both of her boyfriends were incurable ogres, the abusive boyfriend vampire allegory thing still bit her…literally…in the neck. She’s been fed on twice. Sucks to be her.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

I find it weird that Elena phrased her skepticism about her discovery as “I am not a believer”. This is a vague statement…does she not believe in the supernatural? This is what I assume because otherwise it suggests that people in her world believe in Vampires like they do Santa Claus or like a politician who will actually improve something in office.

 

I kid, she's certainly not that bad, but when I see her on screen she still feels like Elena...except when she's undeading people.

"Yo guys, sorry I'm late for your shindig, I hit mad traffic on the way to your crib."

I don’t know exactly why, but I totally don’t by Elena’s actress playing Katherine. She feels like she’s playing dress up.

 

What is Vicky made of, and how does she keep surviving this horrific blood loss? We should study her for science.

 

Time for the laundry list of Vampire myths! I appreciate the fact that they waited to pull this until there was someone to legitimately ask the questions. So that’s myth busted on crucifixes, holy water, garlic and the reflection thing. So almost none of vampire lore is true…at least they don’t sparkle in daylight.

 

This makes me uncomfortable. So Damon makes Vicky drink some of his blood after she survives yet again, then later they start drinking each other’s blood simultaneously. Somehow this seems weirdly incestuous and unpleasant. Aside from which, if vampires could sustain themselves on vampire blood, would it be necessary to feed on humans? I am confused.

 

So Katherine is the vampire that turned both the brothers, eh? I didn’t exactly call it, but I’m not as surprised as I should be. She’s pretty clearly a callous manipulator, so her using vampire powers selfishly would not be a shock even without my theory of abusive vampires.

 

This party montage with Vicky and Damon is delightfully gratuitous. Usually teen dramas save this sort thing for like slumber parties, but sometimes you’ve got to get the bad boy’s shirt off for some reason. She’s not pulling any shame punches either, dancing around and rolling on the floor in a tight/skimpy outfit.

 

So Vicky goes about expositioning her troubled past to Damon, who points out how very damaged she is and then kills her. Of course, she gets back up because she drank his blood. I’m unclear about how this works. I mean They’ve explained their process: drink a vampire’s blood, die, feed on a human. What I don’t get is how you can be undead before you finish the becoming a vampire process.

 

Maybe the needle is made from a teenage girl's hair, and thus is inherently attracted to vampires.

"Alright, got my vampire compass, got my wooden bullets, time to go vampire hunting! Uh oh, made in Taiwan? These bullets aren't going to kill vampires are they?"

Okay, time to talk about this pocket watch. So it seems that pocket watch that Jeremy was moping about is half of some sort of vampire tracking compass thing. Except that the part that actually seems to track them is the part the founder’s council already had, the compass was just an empty shell when they put the other part inside. So…why did they need the watch? Also, what mechanism does one use to track a vampire, anyway? Are they magnetic? Is it just a regular compass? If so the founders are kind of jerks for stealing the watch, but then again, Jeremy hasn’t seemed to miss it, despite his earlier tantrum.

 

Even if we accept that the compass somehow makes sense, what good is this thing for humans? Vampires are considerably faster, stronger and more mind control-y than humans are. You can use this compass thing to get close, piss of a vampire and then die? I think I need to have a word with their QA team.

 

Local newscaster guy got vampire’d! He has a history of abuse from when he cheated on aunt Jenna. Coincidence, or is he being punished for his abusive relationship past? But if this show sought to punish people for that behavior then it would be focused on the vampires, would it? I’m eventually going to figure out how my theory applies, blast it!

 

Looks like my theory about the compass holds true, at least. It got newscaster guy close enough to Vampires to shoot one, then get him wrecked, by an angry vampire. Once again, this feels like a Torchwood plan to me.

Dear Vampire Diaries: Volume 1

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

P.S. - Why doesn't anyone get how special I am?

Dear Diary, Life sucks. Signed, Every vampire romance protagonist ever.

I have to say I’m impressed from the very beginning. It would be difficult to top this intro for sheer emo power. A girl narrating a diary entry about how she wishes she could be more happy since her parents died? Inspired.

 

Elena’s best friend just learned from her grandmother that she’s a witch…or a psychic, she seems unclear. She also has a really weird attitude about the news, though, she seems both obsessed with the idea and deeply cynical about it.

 

Elena and her brother Jeremy live with their aunt Jenna, who looks like their slightly older sister. I’m not sure she should be in charge of raising other people, for one she’s not doing anything about Jeremy’s very special pilot episode  drug problem. He’s addicted to generic pills.

 

So Stefan, a brooding new transfer student, shows up at the office and uses mind control to get them to accept him without transcripts and medical records. I think you’re doing that wrong, I think you’re supposed to use mind control to get OUT of school.

 

Elena meets Stefan in the hottest place for single teens to hang out…the graveyard. Theirs is the typical beginning to a romance: boy meets girl, girl gets injury, boy’s forbidden lust for blood causes him to vanish into the mist like Batman.

 

Soon you will join the shrine to my dead girlfriend...would you mind putting on this old fashioned dress?

If I can't have you, then I shall track down your distant descendant who looks exactly like you! It's good to be a vampire.

What is it about Vampires that makes them all into stalkers? Seriously, the vast majority of Vampire fiction seems to portray them as stalkers. Here we learn Stefan, who is clearly a vampire though it hasn’t yet been explicitly confirmed, has returned to the town of Mystic Falls because he learned that an identical-looking descendant of a woman he once knew is living there now.

 

What is up with the school’s history teacher? He calls out Elaina in front of the class about her lack of knowledge about oddly specific civil war casualty facts because her parents died too long ago. Like even if this seemed like something she should know, giving her a hard time about her parents dying is super inappropriate.

 

Elaina spots her brother sneaking off into the woods during the high school woods kegger. “That’s my brother”, she says to Stephen. “The drunk one?” he asks, as if most people here were not drunk.

 

Good and evil vampire brothers? They would be the best buddy cops! Well, they’d probably fight crime at night, so I guess they’re more like buddy vigilantes. They do apparently have anti-sunlight death rings, which are cool, even though they don’t make sense. Still much better than the Twilight solution of not giving a crap about how vampires work.

 

At this point it has become something of a common trope for there to exist good vampires that don’t feed on humans, but why are they always portrayed as weaker? Couldn’t they just drink larger quantities of animal blood and be on even footing? Either way, if you fed on a bear wouldn’t a bear be stronger than people? Actually, how does the system to quantifying blood “power” work?

 

***

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

I like that in the love triangle between Jeremy, Vicky and her awful boyfriend Tyler that  Jeremy is the “compassionate” guy because he gives Vicky hardcore, unprescribed painkillers after she’s attacked by a vampire. Who says chivalry is dead?

 

Aunt Jenna gets called in for a parent teacher conference, though I’m not entirely sure why that happens, or why that happens in the middle of the day. Of course the only person on hand to talk to her is Mr. Tanner, the horrible history teacher from the pilot.

 

Sure he has experience with kids, but I don't think he's qualified to tell a parent that raising teenagers is impossible.

"Do you want to go out with me?" "No." "Wrong answer! I'm so charming you MUST want to go out with me!"

He continues to be a jerk with this actual exchange from the episode:

 

Mr. Tanner: It’s an impossible job isn’t it? Raising two teens?

Jenna: It’s been tough but no, it’s not.

Mr. Tanner: Wrong answer. It’s an extremely impossible job, anything less and you’re not doing it properly.

 

Okay, so this is an extremely weird moment. Most of the characters on the show are all hanging out together at a restaurant even though many of them don’t get along. Elena and her friends are there, but so his Matt (Elena’s ex-boyfriend who is always awkward around her) and Tyler (one point of the abusive love triangle). Suddenly Jeremy walks up and everyone is vomiting secrets at one another like it’s their final confession or something. It’s like after one episode the writers were tired of the characters not knowing all this information, so they decided to force everyone together and exposition it forcefully.

 

And now Stefan and Elena are already making out. So much for dramatic tension! Seems like the writers are really eager to get on with some other part of the story. I’ve got my fingers crossed it’s worth all of this weirdness.

 

I never really understood why people thought vampires were hot. I feel like they’ve been romanticized for a long time, but even if they aren’t stalking or lurking, most of them are fairly likely to murder you for sustenance. This episode ends with Elena’s fairly blonde friend Caroline and Damon hooking up. Well technically it ends on his post hook-up feeding. Just smoke a cigarette or something, dude, eating people’s not sexy.

 

And while we’re at it, why must we bookend episodes with vampire attacks? Also not sexy. Aside from which, it’s super suspicious

 

***

 

Dear Vampire Diary

 

Well I guess that Damon feeding on Caroline wasn’t actually a vampire murder, but more of a literal vampire love bite. This means that we’re still on track to have two vampire attacks per episode. The town coroner must be getting overtime.

 

How many cars do you guys usually benchpress? I usually go for 5 because I prefer more reps at lose weight.

Don't mind me, just an ordinary teenager with a shady past and an arsenal of superhuman abilities.

You know, for a vampire, Stefan’s doing a lousy job staying low key. He uses super vampire strength and speed to turn Tyler’s football prank around on him. Then, he engages the insufferable history teacher in a strangely heated battle of name the year historical things happen, which he wins with his personal experience from vampire immortality.

 

Speaking of Mr. Tanner, the world’s worst history teacher, he plays practically every role within the school. It’s kind of weird, he’s the history teacher, the football coach AND the guy in charge of parent teacher conferences. The only other member of the school staff I’ve seen is the secretary at the office, no principal no other teachers…I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t a one man school and all the teachers are just this one jerk in a series of comical disguises.

 

This episode is focused on extracurricular activities: cheerleading and football to be precise. I guess brooding vampire love stories just aren’t as relatable as they used to be. It feels almost like the network said that this show needed more high school, so we dropped all of those stories involving secrets in the last episode in order to incorporate more familiar high school stereotypes.

 

Of course, had the free will lacklace also had some diamonds set in it, Stefan would be getting lucky tonight.

Screw diamonds! In a world full of mind controlling undead, a free will necklace is a girl's best friend!

For their “we barely know each other” anniversary, Stefan gives Elena a necklace full of something called vervain. Luckily she doesn’t think that a gift of jewelry is rushing things, as the necklace turns out to protect her from Damon’s mind control powers.

 

You know I really do want to be skeptical of the brooding vampire stereotype, but the actor playing Stefan (Paul Wesley) does a genuinely good job with it. When he’s around Elena he acts like a slightly subdued person with genuine emotions, but when he’s around Damien he goes stoic, trying not to show signs of weakness to his brother who’s usually in control. It’s not the most emotional range I’ve ever seen, but it’s believable to me for a vampire.

 

This town’s got a serious raven problem, they’re all over the dang place. We need to call in some exterminators or some owls, which are apparently predators of ravens.

 

Oh no, Tanner just got eaten! Who’s going to run the entire school!? Won’t somebody think of the children!?

 

This whole “you won’t kill my high school girlfriend” idea is a Torchwood plan for sure! Stefan has no means of backing up his claim, so he’s pretty antagonizing his sociopath of a brother while hoping Damon doesn’t actually kill Elena. He’s lucky so far, as Elena survives the episode, but Tanner did not.