As the resident estrogen based life form in the group I somehow feel obligated to help those with the Y chromosome to understand this whole Twilight mess. Frankly I feel slightly dirty even bringing it up, but if it helps all of you guys out there with it, then I have done a public service.
Many years ago, the Harry Potter craze had began and I had some trepidation about reading the books. I did and I didn’t regret it. I am now a huge Harry potter fan. Seeing the same rabid fandom for these books (and comparison to the Harry Potter series) I thought I would give it a shot. Upon attempting to get into them I have learned 2 things about the series that I cannot say about any other book I have read: That the movies are way better than the books (which is saying a lot) and I was not able to get through any of the books in the series.
Let me attempt to sum up the series in the best way possible: girl moves to small north western town. Girl meets Pretty pale boy and is upset because he ignores her. Pretty Boy (and his perfectly quaffed hair and angelic good looks) turns out to be self loathing and emo who one minute avoids girl and then next minute is stalking her. Turns out after many chapters that boy and his family are vegetarian vampires and that the girl is so damn appealing that he has a hard time fighting his urge not to eat her. The Author emphasizes that point ad nauseum with such phrases such as “mouth watering” and “appetizing”. The analogy I have used to describe it to my friends who have never read it is that this dude is starving and the girl is the most appetizing cheeseburger on the face of the planet.
I also forget the Most annoying detail of this whole thing: in this universe the vampires sparkle in the sunlight. No horrible flamey death, no getting weak. They fucking sparkle. They are blood sucking disco balls.
So creepy emo sparkly vampire boy falls in love with mousy clumsy girl and they begin to have a romantic relationship pretty much free of any physical contact for fear he may eat her. Girl also befriends a Native American werewolf whose tribe has an ongoing feud with the vampire people. He falls in love with the girl and the tug of war begins. Throw in rivaling vampire families, a vendetta from a spurned female vamp and Mormon like chastity morality and family practices it all makes for a really predictable and poorly thought out story.
So what is the appeal? I think the fascination is more fascinating to me than the story itself. When I have asked my friends who are fans what it is with the whole thing, they go off about its romanticism. They talk about it brings up memories about what it was like being a teenager and crushing on the rebel without a cause type in school and not having them return the feelings. I guess it is a nostalgia thing that I don’t understand. Yeah sure we have all had crushes that were unrequited, but I have no connection with the female character of the series; she has portrayed as whiny, helpless and clumsy who pretty much goes against everything everyone tells her. You can equate her near deaths to the multiple deaths of Kenny from South Park in frequency. She also is portrayed as a girl who feels she has no identity unless she can be with sparkly vampire boy forever.
As I briefly mentioned before, the movies are way better than the books, which I can honestly say is the first time I have ever said that. Considering the movies are so so, that is not saying much. Sure it has some nice barely legal ab-tastic eye candy, but you can get that in a lot of movies. The author Stephanie Meyer has admitted to the fact that this is the first thing she has ever written; prior to this there was not even a short story. She also brags about the fact that she was never into horror or vampires growing up Mormon so she had no real preconceived notion. Both of these facts are blatant; the books are poorly written so much so that one must really wonder who the editor was and why they weren’t shot. With all of the teenage supernatural romance out there these books are really sub par. I can really chalk all of it up to good marketing. That being said if it gets people into books again I can’t loathe it too much… just don’t compare them to the works of J.K Rowling or even worse, Shakespeare (yes it has been done).
So what can we take from all this? That women feel so starved for romance that they lose themselves in a poorly adapted mythos? That we are suckers to a pretty face and excellent marketing? Perhaps. The only thing we can do is hanker down and wait for the storm to pass, as it surely will once all the movies have been out for a while and people move on to the next big thing. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. In the meantime Portal 2 will be out soon to help to dull the pain.