The Vampire Diaries is a hit supernatural teen drama television series about a seventeen-year-old girl, Elena, who is caught up in a mystical world between two extremely handsome vampire brothers. It’s very comparative to Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the typical ‘teenage girl falls in love with a vampire’ story. It first aired in September 2009, not long after the topic of Vampires had significantly escalated, and the show instantly became a teen favorite with almost five million viewers watching the premiere episode.
This show is mysterious, exciting and extremely well cast with beautiful people and truly decent actors. It’s fast paced and thrilling and I, myself, have found it to be extremely addicting. Although The Vampire Diaries quite often teaches some sort of lesson within, it also holds the potential to give the wrong idea to young susceptible teenage minds about life. This generation has become numb to the fact that a dark, lust-filled and usually violent show – like The Vampire Diaries – can significantly impact and alter a young mind.
In the article How ‘Twilight,’ other dark fiction affect teen brains By Valerie Strauss; Valerie supports this idea by informing us that, “It turns out, according to the organizer of the interdisciplinary conference, called “The Emergent Adult — Adolescent Literature and Culture,” that fiction with dark themes does indeed alter teen brains in sometimes important ways. ” I recently re-watched episode ten in the first season that is titled the “Turning Point”.
In episode ten of season one, Elena makes several life changing decisions regarding sex, love, violence and death and ultimately at the end of the episode ends up having sex with Stefan, she then finds herself trapped upside down in her wrecked vehicle, in the middle of the night, stranded, and waiting for some dark mystical stranger to slowly approach her. Not to mention that the entire episode, leading up to that point, was overflowing with spats between her friends and their lovers, all of which ended in violence or a violent death.
Elena’s parent figure, her aunt Jenna, is also dealing with her own returned-from-the-dead ex-boyfriend but he only ends up dead by the end of the episode. One of her best friends, Caroline, is making friends with Elena’s ex-boyfriend, Matt, and also being “glamoured” by Damon who is using her in reckless vampire activity. Then, of course, there is Caroline’s mom, Elizabeth, who not only is the local law enforcement but also heads up a secret vampire slaughtering society. Throughout the majority of the episode,
Elena is directly involved with every crisis and rarely is seen being just your everyday typical teenager. The stresses that she takes on during this show are enough to make my twenty-nine year old blood pressure increase a little just from watching this show. When I was seventeen years old my biggest concerns were practically the exact opposite of those of Elena and that which she deals with on a daily basis. I believe that this show, The Vampire Diaries, has greatly impacted my generation; in fact – vampires as a whole has significantly added to the tolerance that has dominated my generation.
It may seem kind of silly to use a supernatural and mostly believed to be fictional creature to support my belief that we live in a vastly different generation than those of our elders. The now generation, that I am labeled under as well, is found to be more tolerant to modern day issues, such as teenage sex, homosexuality, violence, crude language, etc. We are the generation that communicates more often through a social networking site or via text than actually talking to someone on the phone or in person.
We are the generation that is daring to be different and not ashamed nor afraid to do so. Vampires have played a role in this – the hype of “Twilight” brought Buffy the Vampire Slayer back into play as well as helped hype up the premier of The Vampire Diaries. Young girls, teenage girls, young women, married women and grandmas all fell in love with the modern day, powerful, harmless and sexy vampire. But this rapid increase in vampire-mania also went another direction, a direction towards the not so vapid or bubbly housewife type of person.
There was an increase in reported vampire biting incidents and vampire-like activities. “Vampires have become a huge part of pop culture. ” Stated JuJu Chang, Suzan Clarke and Jennifer Pereira in the article they wrote called ‘Twilight’ Effect: Are Teens Biting One Another Because of On-Screen Vampires?. They also quoted Missy Hall, a program director for teen-aid, who said, “There are even teenagers that have tattoos of bite marks, so I think it’s not just they’re trying to mimic the hickey,” she said. I think they’re trying to mimic what they’re seeing in the media and on TV and they’re wanting to experience it. ” We are all teenagers at one point in our lives; we know that a teenage brain is wired differently than an adults and is known to be dysfunctional most of the time, so – with that said, what adult decided it’s ok to have a show on a supposedly family friend channel about vampire sex and violence directly involving teenagers?
It reminds me of that old saying, “monkey see; monkey do”. I’m not saying that all teenagers are monkey-like but their brains are still developing the necessary components to make rational and adult decisions, so what’s not to stop them from wanting to bite their lover then justify it because they saw two lovers doing it on television and it made them all hot and horny? They don’t think of the consequences that you or I, as adults, would.
They don’t consider what kind of germs that person’s saliva might be containing. A teenager doesn’t stop and consider the risks for passing diseases like herpes, tetanus or hepatitis. Granted, you could argue that young children bite each other without taking inventory of the risks involved but young children lack more so in their “good judgment” making skills than that of a teenager and they bite on impulse, usually from frustration by lack of communication.
Whereas a teenager is making a conscious decision to purposely bite their partner for the sheer joy of sexual pleasure or intimacy. The article, Vampire Books Like ‘Twilight’ May Be Altering Teen Minds by Clara Moskowitz, supports my belief that vampires have impacted our modern day society, she talks about how “Teenagers’ minds are more susceptible than adult minds to influence – from peers and experiences as well as from books, movies and music, researchers say. Despite all the negative biting, teenage sex, violence and death associated with vampires, especially in the show The Vampire Diaries, it is nearly impossible not to be enticed or allured by the ever-popular modern day vampire. The “now” generation loves instant gratification and while watching shows like The Vampire Diaries, the viewer is flooded with good feelings of love, lust, adventure and belonging.
Like I stated before, the show does often teach a lesson or imply the importance of some particular moral value and with the amount of broken homes in our present generation, a show like The Vampire Diaries can be a retreat or happy haven for the viewer apart from whatever real-life situation they are in. The producers design these types of shows to draw people in, with the use of extremely handsome actors and overly gorgeous actresses and taking them through a dramatic love story; they know their target audience and just what it takes to draw them in.
The fantasy of being with a vampire is exciting and addicting thus resulting in popularity and a higher probability of the person fantasizing to make an attempt to pull that fantasy into their real-everyday life and apply it with the hopes they to can experience what Elena and Stefan do in the show. This “now” generation truly has become more numb and accepting to the fact that a dark, lust-filled and usually violent show – like The Vampire Diaries – can significantly impact and alter their young and very impressionable minds.