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Inside The ‘Vampire Diaries’ Craze

Inside The ‘Vampire Diaries’ Craze


Sex and violence fuel the libidinal, careening, hugely popular teen vampire soap, now in its second season. Choire Sicha visits a Miami mall to watch fans swoon over the lead actors.

Recently the two male stars of The Vampire Diaries appeared in full sunlight. Ian Somerhalder—the dark bad boy—and Paul Wesley—the pouty yet emaciated James Dean-like fellow—made stops throughout the malls of the slightly less major markets of the United States in order to solidify their fan base, one quivering young lady at a time.

The gentlemen, if you don’t know, play the often-feuding vampire Salvatore brothers who have both fallen in love with the same woman twice. Which is perhaps in part because the two women are identical—Nina Dobrev plays them—even though they are at least 150 years apart in age, though both are still alive in the present day because one of them is a vampire. (If you stopped caring somewhere in this paragraph, it is because you are old!) The show’s main character is the young human high school girl (Dobrev as Elena, not Dobrev as evil vampire Katherine) the Salvatore brothers both love, whose best friend is a witch and also her younger brother is incredibly hot and his grandfather is Steve McQueen. (His name is Steven R. McQueen.) In real life, obviously. Not on the show.

Sometimes they take their shirts off.

The plot of The Vampire Diaries—it is abbreviated as #TVD on Twitter, because you really need that “T”!—is, clearly, beyond recounting. Our heroine’s uncle was her father! There are also werewolves! But that’s only because there’s so very much of it. The intention of this sort of TV, which comes to us from Dark Shadows by way of the original Melrose Place, is to keep us always one neck-biting, one liplock, one magic spell away from total town-wide disaster—to keep us engaged on both the romantic fronts and the horror fronts, providing just enough push and pull within an episode and within a season to keep us watching the CW on Thursday nights. It is the network’s No. 1 show and gets many more viewers than, say, Mad Men (it averages 3.4 million per episode). The abs are just gravy.

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