The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Unlearn Everything: The first ever Twilight knockoff

Poor Elena
Photo by Marisa Valdez

In terms of TV shows, I’m in my throwback era. 

The Vampire Diaries” is a show on the CW network that brought me ease and fueled my teenage angst. 

As a fantasy nerd, I feel like I’m qualified when I say that of all the vampire and werewolf shows, TVD had the best word-building.

The main character Elena Gilbert is a 17-year-old who goes through the tragedy of losing her parents in a car accident. 

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Then vampires come to town. 

Several mystical and spooky creatures are soon to be revealed as one of the greatest and one of the first-ever rip-off of Twilight. 

This show has roots.

As a teenager, I thought Gilbert was the girl to be. 

She was the good girl next door who had multiple men swooning over her. Everyone else did everything they could to protect her.

Her two love interests seemed like they were the perfect partners.

The show became so iconic that it managed to get not one, but two spin-offs. 

I’m usually one to rewatch shows like crazy, but by the time I got to finishing the series, COVID-19 happened.  The pandemic really made me experience a complete 180 in my TV taste. 

The CW dramas were too depressing to binge through so I obviously had to lighten the mood. It was this time that I rediscovered gems like The Last Airbender and The Good Place. Life may have been gloomy but at least my distractions were colorful and full of fantasy. 

Now, here we all are nearly four years later and I’ve decided that I’ve gone through enough personal growth that I was actually excited to revisit this universe.

I can say the overall spooky vibe of the show is still intact, but my memories of the characters, not so much.

I realized now whenever I watch it my first instinct is to say “shut up” to the TV screen whenever Gilbert speaks. 

She has this really annoying savior-like personality where she always tries to die for her friends, yet her friends’ lives all get ruined because of her. 

Whenever Gilbert has her momentary lapses of humanity, everyone just ends up forgiving her because she’s “poor Elena,” as many of the show’s villains have called her. 

One of the characters who was especially affected by all things Gilbert would be her best friend, Bonnie Bennett.

Kat Graham experienced a lot of racism on the set of TVD; Every storyline in every season seems to allow Bennett’s potential demise and the death of someone close to her. 

It’s rumored that Julie Plec, the producer, wanted to kill her off and it took Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore) to threaten to walk if Graham was fired on script. 

Despite the disrespect on paper, on screen and behind the scenes Graham still delivers one astounding performance of the best witch to ever grace our screens. 

Neither of the “Charmed” series could ever compare to Miss Bennett.

The other thing that irks me is Gilbert being in a love triangle with two brothers who have an insane age difference. 

I understand the whole vampire thing, so we can set that aside, but one of the Salvatore brothers is supposed to be 24 when Gilbert was only 17.

As a teenager, I used to think 7 years wasn’t that big of a deal and as an adult I realize how naive I was.

I know that the age of consent differs depending on the state, but in either case there is no reason a man in his mid 20’s (vampire or not) should be interested in someone who’s not old enough to vote. 

The Salvatore brother Stephan had issues with being given human blood and becoming addicted to killing.

Stephan was always supposed to be the nice one, but whenever he physically hurt Gilbert, he would blame it on her expecting too much from a monster.

Damon Salvatore was just a plain psychopath. He starts off the show using mind control on a 16-year-old and feeding off of her. 

He actively pursued Gilbert in front of his brother who was dating her.

When Gilbert rejected him, he killed her brother.

That’s barely halfway through season one  and there are six more seasons to go. 

October has left me feeling nostalgic about my spooky little interests, and I’m glad that I can still enjoy this toxic dumpster fire of a TV show in some fuzzy socks and a new blanket.

Ftouhi can be reached at [email protected].


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About the Contributors
Sabrina Ftouhi, Freelance Writer
Sabrina Ftouhi is a fourth-year creative writing and political science student. This is her fourth semester on The Spectator. She loves animals, hiking and road-trips anywhere.
Marisa Valdez, Graphic Designer
Marisa Valdez is a second-year graphic design and multimedia communication student. This is her first semester on the Spectator team. She is active in the University Honors Program and UWEC InterVarsity. Additionally, she is employed at UW-Eau Claire's Learning Technology Services (LTS) as well as Printing Services. When she's not engaged in academic-related activities, she loves to crochet, watch movies, talk with close friends, hammock, hike, practice yoga, dance or read!

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