strange_aeons: (to say nothing of cephalopods)
I didn't start hearing about Twilight until just before the fourth book came out, and it still took me several weeks to even figure out what medium it was in: I knew there were actors attached to it, so I figured it was a show. I may have been mixing it up with Moonlight, which was some recent vampire detective show that I don't think lasted a full season. What I'm trying to evoke here is that my finger is right on the pulse of the media. There are going to be spoilers for Twilight and sequels in this post. If you're on my friendslist, odds are you don't care.

I ignored Twilight for a long time because I'm not interested in vampire fiction. Twilight is actually great for me to use as a prop when I discuss why, because it is every vampire romance trope, turned to eleven. For those of you coming in late, it is the story of an unabashed Mary Sue with a random quality that makes her arbitrarily irresistable to vampires, who of course acquires an overbearing, stalkery vampire boyfriend who spends a lot of time fighting, and talking about fighting, his visceral desire to kill and eat her. Along the way there's some business with a more boy-next-door type werewolf who oscillates from friend to boyfriend, a tiny amount of plot, and a half-vampire chestburster baby that may be the single funniest thing in all of Western literature.

In which I go off the rails explaining my disinterest. )

Anyway, into my life of blissful indifference to the whole Twilight phenomenon comes [ profile] cleolinda with Twilight in Fifteen Minutes, which is of unusually high quality even for a Movie in Fifteen Minutes, and contains a bunch of links to [ profile] cleolinda's recaps of the Twilight books. And I find myself shoving these things through my eye-holes as fast as I can, and something changes in my brain. Through [ profile] cleolinda I have realized that, while this is not the most fantastically horrible fiction ever written by any means, it is certainly the most fantastically horrible to ever become this kind of enormous media phenomenon, and I have become some kind of freakish, shambling fanboy fanboy.

I still have no interest in reading the Twilight books, because I'm obviously not going to enjoy them. There's a good chance I'll never bother to see the movie. But I cannot get enough of secondary media about them. Parodies, commentaries, lolpires,³ anything I can get my hands on. When I saw Roger Ebert's review of the film was up, it was like Christmas in my brain. I hardly recognize myself. Oh my god, I can't wait for the fourth movie. How are they going to do the chestburster scene? Can't wait. To tide myself over I have this frame from the trailer, which is good for an unsuppressable spasm of laughter every time I think about it. Perhaps the greatest things to come out of this phenomenon are a couple of interviews with Robert Pattinson4 (on the left there, playing Edward) in which he apparently forgets he's talking to the press, suddenly becomes extremely focused and begins to talk about his hatred for his character and his horror and bemusement at the source material.

So ... in related news, I just pulled a True Blood marathon. Wait! It's not as ironic as it sounds!

This is [ profile] cleolinda's fault also. She is ruining my life. After I finished the Twilight recaps I wandered over to the True Blood ones. Unlike Twilight, True Blood comes off very well in her recaps, and I have two scarves to finish before Christmas, which means consuming a lot of audiovisual media. There are things about it that are not as good as the recaps made me hope they would be, but it's still a pretty damn good show. While I was reading the Twilight recaps I kept thinking that the world needed some fiction in which the woman in that stupid love triangle with the distant, mysterious vampire and nice-guy werewolf refuses to play along with their bullshit, because my creative impulse is fuelled mostly by resentment and spite. This is that fiction. Which is great, because it means I don't have to do it.

True Blood was created by Alan Ball, based on some books I've never heard of and don't intend to read, though if the show represents them accurately they may have been conceived as a direct poke in the eyes of Stephanie Mayer, Laurell K. Hamilton et al. Ball's other show of note is Six Feet Under, which was well-written, well-acted, beautifully shot and totally fucking unwatchable: I cannot tolerate shows that are about nothing but loathsome people being horrible to each other under the guise of affection. True Blood is less of a visual feast, unless you really, really like Anna Paquin's legs, but the first- and second-tier characters all range from acceptable to show-stoppingly awesome.5

I think I am not entirely the intended demographic here either, because every time Bill the Vampire goes all Sinister Vampire I begin laughing and cannot stop until he desists. Some of the vampire stuff seems so self-parodic -- like the protagonist, Sookie, running barefoot in a filmy empire-waisted nightgown to Bill the Vampire's house to bang him in front of the fire in summer in Louisiana: are you shitting me? -- that I wonder if it's not the correct reaction after all, if probably still the minority reaction. In the context of this genre the actor who plays him reads strongly as a werewolf to me -- I don't know, maybe it's the stubble -- which just makes everything weirder.

I had intended to analyze Sookie's refusal to go in the damsel box no matter how hard half the other characters on the show are trying to shove her in there, but on further consideration, I'm going to let the season one finale speak for me. Spoiler cut. ) Fuck, yes.

I leave you with one last observation. Halfway through the season, Stephen Root shows up as a nebbishy gay vampire. Jimmy James. The man so nice they named him twice. Gay vampire. I just ... okay. Sure. He's a good actor and he sells the role, but ... Jimmy James.

¹ It took me ages to understand this dynamic, because I don't grok blood families at all. Mommy/daddy play is apparently commonest among people who had poor or nonexistent relationships with their parents because it fills a need that was never satisfied; I had poor-to-nonexistent relationships with both of my parents, and what it did to me was cauterize the need so entirely that I can't understand it except in the most distant, intellectual way. (I have good relationships with my father and sister now, but my familial relation to them is a weird complication of my affection, not a foundation.) You can see this in my writing. I think of families as machines for creating children with conflicting combinations of traits. Biracial much? I am so transparent sometimes it embarrasses me.

² Not that I wouldn't advise actual men in the audience against having sex with Bella also. Her last name is Swan. Keep an eye out, and don't go there.

³ To my knowledge, I just made this word up. Which is why I should not be in charge of making up fandom jargon.

4 Who, like a lot of male actors that age, started off kind of unearthly but, now that he's matured a bit, is just starting to look really peculiar. My obsession means I've seen a lot of images of him recently and I have the same 'what, really?' reaction every time.

5 He takes off his earrings. Oh, Lafayette. Please don't be dead.