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Posts Tagged ‘CW’

The Unique, Potentially Surprising Ethics of The Vampire Diaries

In gender, girl culture, teen soaps, Television on March 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Sarah S.

*spoilers*

The Vampire Diaries employs many twists and turns of plots in its depiction of the supernatural roller-coaster that is the life of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev). And it needs these twists to keep the story going through now, its third season. If Elena and her vampire boyfriend Stefan (Paul Wesley) vanquished all the bad guys, found a non-Elena true love for Stefan’s brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder), and lived happily ever after, the show would be over. Many series deal with this dilemma with a shrug, paying no heed to continuity or character development in pursuit of ever more soap-operatic happenings to keep viewers engaged (paging Lost). The Vampire Diaries does something different though: it adheres to an unwavering ethical conviction in second chances that grounds its continuous switching of allegiances—romantic, familial, political, or all-of-the-above.

The motif of redemption characterizes the entire love triangle between Stefan, Damon, and Elena. When the series begins, she’s looking for a new life after the death of her parents, Stefan’s looking to fix the mistakes of his past by loving Elena, and Damon comes to strive for the same endeavor—albeit with seductively wiggling eyebrows and the added moral quandary of not hurting his relationship with his brother. This dynamic continues in seasons 2 and 3 when Stefan “turns off his humanity” and becomes a monstrous, murderous “ripper” who Elena and Damon, nevertheless, believe can be saved. Elena functions, in many ways, as the moral compass for both brothers and for the show as a whole. However, she’s no pure and wilting damsel, making mistakes of judgement herself that often require apologies or other attempts to fix what’s broken. In the end, no matter how despicable either Stefan or Damon is, was, or will be, all three of the central characters believe the offender can be redeemed.

She's like a love compass.

We see a similar emphasis on second chances in the rest of the boys who round out the cast: Elena’s emo younger brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen); the high school quarterback Matt (Zach Roerig); the tortured vampire hunter/history teacher Alaric (Matthew Davis); and the town bully turned self-reflective werewolf Tyler (Michael Trevino). Tyler epitomizes the group’s belief in second chances perhaps best of all, transforming from a swaggering ass to a tortured werewolf to Caroline’s boyfriend to a hybrid werewolf-vampire unable to exert self-will against the orders of his “sire,” Klaus (Joseph Morgan).  Through each of these transformations—emotional and supernatural—Tyler grows as a character and, therefore, rises in the audience’s connection to him. Read the rest of this entry »

How to be awesome like Georgina Sparks …

In Gossip Girl, How to be Awesome Like, teen soaps, Television, TV villains on March 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Phoebe B.

Gossip Girl’s Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg) is one of my favorite television villains. We first met Georgina at Constance where once upon a time she was best friends (albeit briefly) with Serena (Blake Lively). These days their relationship, like all of Georgina’s, is fraught at best and enemies at worst. In earlier episodes of the series, Georgina drank too much; hid a man’s death after he died in her and Serena’s presence (something I think she blackmailed Serena about and perhaps also the beginning of the end of their friendship); and convinced Dan he was the father of her child and then abandoned said child (by the by Dan is not the father). Then, Blair exiled Georgina to Russia, which was after Georgina had found God and promptly gotten kicked out of her God-camp, perhaps also at the hands of Blair. And, most recently Georgina ruined Blair’s wedding to Louis. In fact, one of the reasons I think I like Georgina so much, besides that she is hilarious, is that she makes a good rival for Blair as she is perhaps almost as good a schemer.

Georgina dressed as a priest and set to ruin Blair's nuptuals

This season Georgina returned to New York married to a supposedly rich yet not so bright man, Philip, with her child Milo, and on a new mission to stir up trouble on the Upper East Side. And just this week it seems that she was successful. Indeed, Georgina did declare quite happily that it appears that she has just taken “down the entire Upper East side.” We’ve celebrated many wonderful characters and actresses in the “how to be awesome columns,” thus, I thought it was perhaps time to celebrate a good old TV villainess. So, while you might not want to be awesome like Georgina, after all, she is a little evil, here are some tips of things to avoid should you want to stay far away from the villainy behavior that defines Georgina Sparks.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Secret Circle Roundtable: “Pilot,” Season 1, Episode 1

In girl culture, teen soaps on September 22, 2011 at 8:00 am

Teen shows are a kind of siren song for the ladies of Girls Like Giants. Naturally (or perhaps supernaturally?) we felt compelled to check out the CW’s new show The Secret Circle. Read on for a breakdown of the bewitching world of sad teens, missing and evil parents, youthful grandmas, and beautiful frozen raindrops (a perfect way to set the mood during a romantic trip to the woods!).

Cassie and Her Secret Circle

Sarah: So what do you make of our witch-y protagonist?

Phoebe: Well I have a soft spot for her post her performance as Lux on Life Unexpected. So I like her, as I think she is kind of grumpy which I like and stubborn.

Sarah: Yes, I didn’t see that show but I think she is a promising lead — I also like her grumpiness and the sense of integrity she projects. I think it’s interesting that Faye calls her “sad and delicate” because she’s understandably sad (given the death of her mother) but she didn’t really seem delicate.

Phoebe: Yes true. But not delicate at all

Sarah: It’s like Faye sees her as a Bella, but I have a feeling she’s way more of a Hermione

Phoebe: Yes, indeed and oddly unlike many of our current teen brunette heroines, she is blonde

Sarah: Right! More like a Buffy/Veronica Mars

Phoebe: Yes, totally like Buffy and VM (my fave). And all the other girl witches have brown-ish hair

Sarah: Which relatedly. What do you think of Faye and Diana? And their relationship with each other?

Phoebe:  I think Faye reminds me a little of The Craft and Neve Campbell/Robin Tuney, which I am digging. Diana, I am not sure yet especially given her dad is seemingly evil and a Vampire Diaries Elijah look-alike

Sarah: He does! I liked Faye a lot because I think she’s got the bad-girl vibe but isn’t evil herself. She’s interested in power, but she clearly doesn’t want to hurt people either. Read the rest of this entry »

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