Right, so I have been trying to make myself write this post for the past two weeks and a half, but partly due to terror, partly due to horrendous illness and ridiculous amounts of phlegm and partly due to, well, life, my mind and creativity refused to co-operate with my inner sense of duty. Today, I’ve managed to wrangle myself into a soft enough position from which I can force myself to write it, so without further ado, here are all the reasons why, right now, I love Teen Wolf the most in the world. Like, more than food and water and sometimes my mom, and we all know how important those are to me.
The first time that I actually watched Teen Wolf was WAY back in its first season, when it started airing on AXN. I distinctly remember watching one episode, smiling and deciding it was cute and possibly a guilty pleasure, but not worth my time. I still unconsciously kept track of the show, though, ferreting out bits and pieces of information from fan accounts and Tumblr, but the incident that galvanized me into watching the show was a horrible news that one fateful day, sometime last year, permeated my Twitter timeline. One of my favourite characters from the show had been killed.
I’m joking, I’m joking. The main character (aka Scott McCall ^ ) didn’t actually die, but someone else did, and I flipped out.
I hadn’t even watched more than two episodes at that point, literally years back, but I had still liked this character enough to be utterly taken aback and truly heartbroken. The curiosity of how that death had come about got the better of me, and that is how I ended up on Youtube, watching the death scene and sobbing pathetically. Having stumbled across this article about season 3 (DO NOT SCROLL BEYOND THE FIRST RECAP PICTURE BECAUSE SPOILERS!!!!!), I started watching from Season 3’s Episode 18 (“Riddled”), praying that it would be worth the loss of my dignity that was sure to follow as soon as people found out I watch that show. I found out pretty quickly that I needn’t have worried.
“Riddled” was manic– a complex, layered treat of horror, cruelty, dark humour and pathos. For most of the episode, I couldn’t believe I was actually watching that same show I had dismissed all that time ago, and the reason for that can be summed up into two words- Dylan O’Brien.
Dylan plays the character of Stiles, best friend of the show’s protagonist, Scott McCall. I just stared with my mouth hanging open as the skinny little kid that I remembered from season 1 grew into someone whose magnetic on-screen presence created one of the most compelling characters I have ever had the pleasure of watching. The dude was freaking outstanding. Dylan’s portrayal of Stiles in season 3 single-handedly raised the tone and power of the entire show- it was as if, by stepping into the spotlight, he had effortlessly catalysed the others into upping their game, and suddenly, playtime was over and that cute little high school drama had ended up being one of the darkest and most enjoyable thrillers on television. If you don’t mind a tiny spoiler that you won’t be able to make head or tail of anyway, watch this clip. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to run screaming in the opposite direction or kiss him right on dem pale lips after seeing it.
So Dylan’s monstrous acting abilities (see what I did there) had me interested, but it wasn’t enough. What, then, transformed Teen Wolf from merely another show that I tried and chucked, to becoming, as the internet is fond of saying, my bae?
See, the thing with me and TV shows is that a TV show is much more than just a passive entertainment option for me. First and foremost, it is a world for me to live in: a fictional world that I can inhabit when I can’t handle reality anymore. It’s a fluid world that bends itself and stretches and contracts just as I tell it to: it is, essentially, a trope handed to me by a third party that offers me refuge from my own head. For me to make that world my own, it has to follow certain rules about characters and ideas, and perhaps most importantly, philosophy. The philosophy of a TV show has become a matter of central interest for me, after House, when I realised just how much I idealise my show, into, for all practical purposes, a secular, modern-day religion of its own. It’s been this way since Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries: I just didn’t realise to what extent I do this until House pulverized my principles and I almost pulverised my laptop screen in retaliation. So, a show, or even a book for that matter, that is all-inclusive, that breaks barriers and develops individual characters along interesting arcs with an equitable treatment of each main character is the basic requirement for me to like something (look at Grey’s Anatomy: TEXTBOOK example of all of these, at least until the disaster that was George and Izzy’s storyline). And Teen Wolf fills this requirement to the T.
Teen Wolf subverts stereotypes to the extent that it OBLITERATES them. First of all, the kids on the show play lacrosse. Lacrosse. I didn’t even know that sport existed outside Enid Blyton books. And apparently multiple schools, apart from Beacon High, play the sport, enough so that they can have state tournaments and all. Who even saw that coming? The last time I witnessed so much intensity over a lacrosse match was when the St Clare’s team was playing against Oakden High or some such girls’ day school and Pat and Isabel were in the team for the first time.
( Nostalgia (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ )
And as if this wasn’t enough, Danny, the goal keeper, the team captain Jackson’s best friend and one of the most popular kids in school, is perfectly openly gay; Lydia, Jackson’s girlfriend and social Queen Bee, has a genius-level IQ and excels in academics; Scott and his mom Melissa are clearly Hispanic but with a Scottish surname and Allison, the initial female lead, is essentially Legolas that also happens to kick ass with a dagger and a crossbow. It’s beautiful, you guys: it’s so many kinds of cray I can’t even. Teen Wolf has some of the strongest female characters I’ve seen, and the best part is that the show doesn’t CARE if a character’s male or female: the plotlines and the obstacles thrown their way treat them all the same.
LOOK AT THEM THE PRECIOUS LITTLE THINGS (•⊙ω⊙•)
How badass are these intros omfg love them
Even the scary ladies are conflicted and complex, to say the least.
Not even counting the moms. The moms are some of the most kick-ass on TV.
(Also this one dad that I really freaking love)
More than this, I think one of my favourite things about the show is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Unlike many of the other shows of a similar genre, it doesn’t pretend to be grown-up, and in doing so, it turns up the craziest, most intense shit imaginable. The world of a teenager isn’t any less frightened, any less responsible or sensitive or dangerous or emotionally fraught than an adult’s. Perhaps the only difference is that we can still afford to laugh at our mistakes: still afford to shrug our shoulders and say, “Ah well. C’est la vie,” because the consequences of our mistakes are not nearly as enormous, and we don’t have to face them all alone. And that is exactly what Teen Wolf does. It doesn’t mess around with the clichés we’ve all come to hate: it doesn’t concentrate solely on romance, or sex, or the identity crisis stuff; it doesn’t go so completely into the supernatural aspect that we forget that the characters still are, in fact, teens, and high-school students; and yet, it manages to find time for all of these, balancing them off against one another in that delicate balance that is so incredibly tough to find. And it does miss the spot, quite often- but when it hits it, which is more frequent than the misses, oh my god, let me tell, you is it sweet. I just recently finished binge-watching the first two seasons and Colton Haynes, the outrageously handsome actor who played the character of Jackson Whittemore, has done a fantasticjob rendering a cute, narcissistic, insecure asshole into believable 3-D.
(Also, have I recently mentioned Bobby Finstock, part-time coach, part-time Economics teacher and full-time adorable teddy bear with sarcasm fit to slay Oscar Wilde? Coach makes my heart happy. )
And then the cast. Holy crap. Quite apart from how incredibly good-looking they all are (and they are. I am a healthy red-blooded girl with a fully functioning endocrine system and I notice these things, and they are sMOKIN’.), in all honesty, one of the main reasons I got into the show is the cast. They are ADORABLE. The cast is the kind of group that made me want to be a part of the show just to get to know them well; Holland Rhoden’s liveshows, called “Lydia After Dark”, for example, are some of my favourite things on planet earth, much like Charlie and Max Carver’s Twitter accounts. I have never before liked so many people off a TV show- and so many who are actually close to my age, for once: the relatibility factor is high, let me tell you.
Of course, this gives me as many panic attacks as smiles (exhibit A: Dylan Sprayberry. Kid’s 16 and already has his course in life set, not to mention an income that is five hundred times my own. Literally.), but it is so rewarding nonetheless.
(The runt was a young Clark Kent in Man of Steel. For God’s sake.)
Also, what IS it with the dimples?! Is it mandatory to have dimples to be on the show? In Season 2, LITERALLY all the people on the main cast had the kind of smiles that would melt a rock. Even the freaking PRODUCER of the show, Jeff Davis, is a total babe.
On today’s episode of People I Have Inappropriate Feelings For.
And then there’s Jeff Davis.
Look at him. LOOK AT THAT FACE. LOOK AT DEM BICEPS. LOOK AT DEM SPIKES. Guy’s hot enough to star on his own show, ffs. I’d tap that.
Teen Wolf just released the eleventh episode of its fourth season: the penultimate one of this year. From the moment I will click on that (totally legal) play button, I know I will jump headlong into laughter, tears, quite a few shivers and just nice, intense, uncomplicated entertainment. Given the confused, frightened, angry tangle that is most of my life, the world that it offers to me is a benediction like no other, and to get lost in it is a pleasure and a privilege. I will go ahead and do exactly that, while you go ahead and leave your ideas in the comments below. What are the qualities you look for in your TV shows? Are you affected by a show’s philosophy? What is the best part about watching a show, for you? Let me know, and I’ll see you next Saturday. Beacon Hills calls. ~~