Has anyone seen last weeks episode of ‘The Vampire Diaries’, because if you missed it you are missing out. It was hot, steaming hot. I haven’t seen anything that hot on TV for quite sometime and I’ve watched every episode of ‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’.
The moment when two characters finally get together is a vital one in the success or failure of any TV series. In some series it happens too quick, everything seems meant to be and after a few minor obstacles the couple gets together 6 episodes in, 10 episodes later the couple has broken up and no matter how much you loved them to begin with, the on again off again can never compete with that pre kiss, pre anything sexual tension.
The OC is a perfect example of this Marissa and Ryan get together eight episodes in and sure it was great but for longevity’s sake it was terrible move. They became a super annoying couple and Marissa’s constant flakiness is no longer seen as damsel in distress but as an idiot looking for trouble.
Getting your meant to be couple together too early, burns through story lines too quickly and doesn’t allow for the vital ingredient in any successful TV romance, the longing. And no I don’t mean the longing between the characters I mean the longing from the audience for it to finally happen. That longing or hope or obsession from an audience member is a powerful tool, it can turn minor flirting into major entertainment and it can power otherwise dull stories, but if you don’t build the longing you can’t use its power.
But that is not to say that you should never get your couple together, the excessive use of the longing is also a crime. Shows like the X Files, Gilmore Girls, Castle are massive abusers of the longing. Once the audience begins to feel that the couple who are essentially perfect for each other will never get together simply because the writing team don’t want them to, the power of the longing disappears and is simply replaced by irritation. Characters can only have so many interrupted moments and lost opportunities before the possibilities of the sexual tension grows stale.
So what’s the solution, how can we have the longing without the irritation, without the feeling that nothing is happening and nothing ever will. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the love triangle. The love triangle allows for there always to be longing for one side or the other and for there always to be action, for the point of the triangle to be swinging from side to side with never ending romantic fodder. Kevin Williamson the writer of Dawson’s Creek, Scream 1-4, Teaching Mrs Tingle and of course The Vampire Diaries is the master of the love triangle. BTW the love triangle always works better with two guys, just saying.
The best thing about Mr Williamson’s love triangles is the slow burn, he totally convinces you that one pairing is meant to be and then slowly and subtly manipulates the story and the characters until you are on the edge of your seat voting for pairing number two. Dawson’s Creek is the first time I was introduced to Mr Williamson’s talents. I was 100% Dawson and Joey all the way but then slowly and sneakily they didn’t seem right anymore. Dawson was immature, he didn’t love Joey enough and Pacey, he was self sacrificing, gentle and rugged. The next thing you know Dawson was chopped liver and I would have been fine with Pacey killing him. And so we have the beauty of the love triangle we get to do the longing over and over again, the writer gently manipulating us one way or the other.
Well fool me once same on you, fool me twice shame on me. Mr Williamson’s new series The Vampire Diaries, is pretty damn awesome but even I didn’t see how Elena and Stefan we ever going to end up in a triangle. Sure Damon has always wanted Elena but given that Stefan is perfection and incredibly moral and Damon on occasion snaps and kills people it seemed unlikely Elena would make the jump. But this season when Stefan agrees to help the evil Klaus to save his brother Damon and gets hooked on killing again, Mr Williamson got a chance to weave his magic once more.
The most important thing is that the switch seems plausible, your character can’t just throw over the love of their life, they have to slowly fall in love with someone else without knowing it. And that is what happened to Elena. Stefan is evil now and Damon is trying to help Elena get through it. Her influence is turning him around and he’s challenging her. Suddenly even when Stefan comes back to the light, Elena is torn and so am I. And so Mr Williamson does it again, turned my sympathies and put me into a truly awesome love triangle.
And this week was the reward, the forbidden make out that finally confirms what the rest of us have known for weeks, Elena has feelings for Damon. Beautifully staged with very little dialogue and tonnes of sexual tension, the couple explode off the screen in a scene, that I had to rewind and watch a second time. Hats off Mr Williamson you’ve done it again.