Rant: “Twilight”

I attended a piano recital last night for the daughter of a friend I work with. It’s the same daughter I’ve been lending the Buffy series to, and last night, I learned she was reading Twilight.

I think everyone who reads this is aware of my distaste – nay, even hatred – for the Twilight series.

I. The Plot: Clumsy Bella Swan moves from Phoenix to Forks, Washington, to live with her father Charlie while her mother travels with her minor-league baseball player husband. Bella hates Forks, because it always rains and it’s cold. Also, her father’s kind of a wet blanket.

Anyhoodle. She starts school, and all of the boys she meets instantly falls in love with her, because she’s new and mysterious and pale and sweet and all sorts of other things (except she’s not sweet, she’s whiny and an idiot, but the boys don’t know that yet). Well, all the boys fall in love with her except for Edward Cullen, who is pale and mysterious and sidebar – Mozilla’s entry field has spell-check, similar to MS Word? I heart Mozilla! – anyway, Edward’s mysterious and broody and if anyone ever watched Buffy, he’s like Angel in Season Two – bad hair, broody attitude, large forehead – but without the self-effacing charm and about a hundred fifty years younger. From Bella’s point of view, Edward is originally so repulsed by her upon their first meeting that he doesn’t come to school for about two weeks.

Eventually (again, from Bella’s perspective), Edward realizes that he won’t burst into flames if he and Bella talk (and there is more on how Edward will apparently never burst into flames for any reason whatsoever, but that will come up later), and so … they talk.

Then later that afternoon, after an ice storm, one of her (mortal) high school friends almost DRIVES HIS VAN INTO HER, but WAIT, Edward SWOOPS IN AND SAVES HER in a BLINK OF AN EYE. And Bella now becomes curious about the kid that supposedly hates her and yet saved her from Death by Windstar.

Bella talks to her old friend Jacob about how weird those Cullens are, and Jacob explains that there were stories in his tribe about the Cold Ones, which is apparently what people in Forks call Vampires. Because people in Forks have never heard of Buffy, or Dracula, or even Anne Rice. I can’t even contemplate a world without Spike.

So Bella goes to Port Angeles to buy a book or something and almost gets mugged because she wanders away from her friends by herself in a strange city and then EDWARD SHOWS UP BECAUSE he’s a stalker and saves her from the muggers. They have their first date where he doesn’t eat anything, and then he drives her back to Forks and they start dating.

From there, Edward reveals that he is, in fact, a vampire – something the readers KNEW ALL ALONG, THANKYOUVERYMUCH – and Bella has absolutely no problem with it. She enjoys her boyfriend being a vampire, and she enjoys her boyfriend’s vampire family.

And then Edward invites her to the family baseball game and a gang of EVOL VAMPIRES show up and the lead EVOL VAMPIRE decides that he likes Bella’s scent, and oh yes, he’s going to eat her. So Edward decides that, in order to save Bella, she needs to leave town. She goes to Phoenix with a couple of Edward’s ‘relatives’, but because Bella is the stupidest heroine EVER, she gets tricked into going to a deserted ballet studio where she faces the EVOL VAMPIRE, and he bites her and luckily Edward shows up so that he and his vampire father can kill the EVOL Vampire, and oh yeah, he has to suck the venom out of Bella so she doesn’t turn into a vampire.

Except – she does want to be a vampire, so that she and Edward can be together forever.

II. The Rant: SERIOUSLY? What seventeen-year-old girl wants to be a vampire? While I can’t see a problem with wanting to be immortal at that age, the complete physiological differences of vampirism leaves something to be desired. You can’t eat food, you can’t drink anything but blood – I mean, great Googoly Moogoly, I love alcohol. I love it almost as much as cursing. But having to choose between eternal love and never being able to enjoy a margarita the size of my head again? Sorry, dude, but Senor Jose Cuervo would win that round.

Essentially, the girl wants to die in order to be with her boyfriend. How are mothers approving of this message?

And really, that’s not the biggest part of my beef with Twilight. I think everyone here knows me well enough to know that when I say I consider myself to be a self-professed expert on vampires, I do not kid. I’ve read Dracula at least three times. I have seen almost every episode of Buffy (what? Season 7 sucked). I have read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vampires. I have read the good part of the Laurell K. Hamilton “Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” series; you know, the books that actually deal with vampires and not the ones that deal with Anita becoming a necromancer queen of erotica? And let’s not talk about the fact that I can pretty much recite Bad Blood, only the best episode of The X-Files ever. And throughout, there have been some Understood Tropes of Vampiric Lore:

  1. Vampires need rest. Angel had the mansion; Spike had his crypt. Both of these vampires could be mobile during the day; unlike Dracula or Jean-Claude, they do not immediately turn to stone/death when the sun breaks over the horizon. How many laughs did the audience get as they saw Spike carrying a burning blanket over him as he rushed into Giles’s apartment? And Ronnie Strickland tends to oversleep in his coffin. Edward Cullen and his vampires do not sleep. Or rest. At all. So Edward goes to school during the day; what about at night? Oh, he watches Bella sleep, that’s all. Creep. Ey.
  2. Vampires can’t see themselves in mirrors. All I know is that there were reflections seen in the Fight at the Ballet Studio.
  3. Vampires turn humans into other vampires by sucking blood. The consensus around this is as follows: the vampire sucks the blood of the human. Before the human dies, the vampire lets/forces the human to drink some of the vampire’s blood in return. As the human dies, the demon passes to the human through the vampire’s blood. After the body is buried, the body will rise as a vampire. In Twilight, a vampire bites a victim, then a poison infects the victim, and after three painful days, the victim becomes a vampire. From what I understand, there is no actual ‘death’ involved, but it’s painful, and afterward, you can’t eat food ever again. No thanks; I prefer my steak medium.
  4. VAMPIRES DON’T SPARKLE. No, really. What happens when a vampire walks out-of-doors and into direct sunlight? Well, they usually BURN TO A FIERY CRISP. That’s why Spike kept a fire-retardant blanket next to his door, and why Angel was an idiot to have all those windows at the Mansion. What does Edward do when he allows the sun to shine upon him? HE SPARKLES. “As if he were made of diamonds,” or some such nonsense.

I just don’t understand how these little girls can latch on to an anti-hero like Edward. I guess I’m biased; my eye-candy on Buffy was Giles (and, in Season 3, Xander and Oz; after season 3, Oz left and Xander got chubby); I was never caught drooling over Spike and/or Angel. Thankfully, Emily is aware that Edward is not all that he’s cracked up to be, which, that’s why I love her.

I have read a lot of books throughout my life, and a good few of them I absolutely loathed. But never – never – have I thrown a book across the room. Never, that is, until Twilight. And in the above rant, I never got into the actual writing of it; that’s all plot-related ranting up there.

Missy, my sister, took me to see Twilight a couple of months ago. We sat in the back row, and I snuck in a flask. If you have to watch Twilight – or heck, even read it – to me, that’s the best way to do it.

Coming soon: a review of A Lady of Scandal.

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