7 Shipping Safety Tips

I was at #TVDChicago this past weekend. I was in the room when this was said:

Ian: “Shipping is the most dangerous thing that I’ve ever seen.”

Paul: “More dangerous that guns or crack?”

Ian: “No shipping questions.”

This little exchange got many in The Vampire Diaries fandom all fired up. Many took it personally, because it hit too close to home. I am invested in the relationship between Damon and Elena and ship them as a couple. They are my OTP, but I hope that I do it in a thoughtful and respectful way. 

That being said, Ian has a point. Over time, this segment of the fandom has become more and more militant and mean spirited. I have felt that it has lost its sense of fun and is full of bad vibes. I’m often fearful of some fans jumping down my throat for making a simple tweet that isn’t inline with the mob mentality. I am past the point of caring and realize that I’m going to get hate for writing this. So here it goes. 

I’ve shipped television couples in the past, present and probably will in future. I even mention that as part of my Twitter profile, “shipping television couples since the 1900s.” Come to think of it, I may have been shipping TV couples, like Mulder/Scully and Spike/Buffy, before many of my friends and foes in the Delena fandom were even born.  
As someone who is a bit older and experienced, I’ve used this wisdom to come up with a list of shipping safety tips. If we are to believe Ian about the dangerous of this pursuit, we should use caution and do it safely and sanely. 

  1. Never ship real people. Just ship characters. Some Delena folks, are still obsessed with Nian. It’s fine to advocate for Damon and Elena, it is not fine to advocate for Ian and Nina. Let the actors live their own lives. Why should he or anyone care about what you think of his love life? You have no business to make comments in real life relationships, especially because you don’t know the whole story. Don’t be your elderly aunt that tries to push you towards your ex. Wouldn’t you hate it if people kept harping on you about a past relationship? Ian is married to someone else, so let’ shut up about it. It isn’t respectful to anyone. 
  2. Don’t let shipping get in the way of your enjoyment of the show. If you view everything with a shipping lens, especially on a show like TVD that is oriented toward romantic relationships, you’re going to have a bad time. To make things interesting people, and relationships must have ups and downs, obstacles and curve balls. Hate to break it to you, but narratively a functional, healthy relationship lacks conflict and drama. Happiness is a very boring story. I want a Delena endgame, but keeping them apart is good for the show. What made the relationship so awesome in seasons 1 through 3 is they were not together, although we desperately wanted them to be. That longing is what made the initial emotional connection. Once they got together, other tension was brought in with the sire bond, Damon’s bad behavior, and now the “sleeping beauty” curse. It keeps it dynamic and interesting. 
  3. Don’t sabotage a show because you are not getting your own way. I found it crazy that many are trying to sabotage the show after Nina left. You know, not watching live to bring the ratings down or watching pirated feeds. I’ve also known of people not using the hashtag during the show intentionally to keep it from trending. Don’t be a dumbass and ruin it for everyone else.  If you do this, you are a spoiled brat.
  4. Realize that people are much more than just a romantic partner. As a feminist, it is disturbing that so many people are obsessed with defining characters and people by his/her significant other. We are more than who we love. We are much more that who we go to bed with or want to go to bed with. There are so many aspects of a person than sex and love. People and characters, shouldn’t be reduced to that. It is a sad that some young women are so oriented in this direction. One of the “lemons out of lemonade” thing of Elena being in that coffin in we get to discover who Damon is without the interactions with her. Who he is as a friend to Bonnie, a drinking buddy to Alaric, a brother to Stefan and so on. 
  5. Be respectful of other people’s opinions. It is okay to disagree with people and let others know how you feel. Learn how to be articulate in expressing yourself and your arguments on social media. State your case, use supporting facts, and maybe you’ll find people that agree with you and others might think that you’re crazy, but that’s okay. Most people just spew hate with an entitled sense of their own opinions. It makes you look dumb, superficial and reduces Delena fans into the stereotype that Ian (and frankly I) don’t like and find destructive. 
  6. Don’t be a divider. Ship wars create factions. We all like the same show. Who cares if we like Delena or Bamon? We can watch it and love it for different reasons, but we are one group. Don’t hate on the actor if you don’t like the character. Don’t hate on the writers if you don’t get your way. It’s like Twitter is a junior high and some fandom groups are catty meangirl cliques. Let’s celebrate out similarities, not obsess about our differences. Don’t be a bitchy bully. 
  7. Be along for the ride. A long term television series is a journey. Rememberer that you as a fan or you as part of a collective fandom have little say on the content or direction on the show. You might have a delusion of power, because of this social media culture. If you think that your thoughts and storylines are better than a show, you can write fan-fiction or get into television writing and production and make your own damn show and make it the way that you want it to go. 

Keep your shipping safe, for mind, body and soul.


5 Reasons to Watch The Originals this Fall!

The-Originals-PosterThe Vampire Diaries fans are excited for the debut of  The Originals spin-off on October 3. I don’t need to sell Vampire Diaries fans on the concept, characters and overall show.

I hope my blog post below, intrigues non-TVD fans to check it out.  If you are interested, you can watch the Director’s Cut of the Pilot episode.  It was part of a Vampire Diaries episode, but was edited and expanded to focus on the Originals storyline.

Why should people that don’t watch TVD check out this new show? Here are a few reasons why.

Interesting Premise

The Mikaelson family are the first people to become vampires in Vampire Diaries lore, they are “original” vampires.  The family history is long and complex.  The parents found a way to use magic to protect their children from werewolves and thus created the vampire species. They did this because one of their children was killed by a werewolf. The father and the 5 surviving children were transformed into vampires.  Brothers Finn and Kol died in the recent past.  Klaus, Elijah and Rebeckah are the surviving children and the main characters in the Originals series.  Klaus doesn’t have the same father as the rest of the family. His father was a werewolf, thus he is a hybrid with both vamp and wolf powers.   Klaus is quick tempered and has been known to put daggers in the chests of family members and put them in coffins when he wants to get rid of them for awhile.

The series begins as Klaus wants to be the vampire king of New Orleans, but his former protégé, Marcel currently has that honor. The New Orleans area is home to many supernatural creatures and the series will include the power plays between witches, werewolves and vampires. There is also a doomed vampire/werewolf pregnancy in the mix.  I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, if you plan to watch the pilot. Check out the preview below for a bit more information.

ee0eb8d0bc4f52e8b54db5043800d5cfKlaus Outgrew TVD

The Vampire Diaries had a similar situation as they did during the third season of Buffy.  On Buffy, there was this great character, Angel and didn’t see how his story could properly evolve within the context of the show.  He spun-off into his own series and he became a better and a more fully formed character in a new setting.

The same thing happened with Klaus, his main storyline ended in Season 3, but in Season 4 he was around to cause trouble and flirt with Caroline.   He could do so much more in a show focused on him and he doesn’t have to play second fiddle to the Salvatore Brothers in regards to screen time and overall series direction.

Klaus was set up as a major “big bad,” but due to fan love and compassion for the character he softened over time.  Klaus was set up has a truly horrible menace, but  developed into a morally gray anti-hero.  This is what happened on Buffy with Spike.

On the Originals, the rules have changed and  he can start to be a ruthless badass and get some of his mojo back. Klaus can explore new sides of himself on a show focused on his family.

Flashback Potential

I’ve already seen a promotional photo floating around that will be a flashback on the series.

These characters have over 1,000 years of life to reflect on.  That is why a vampire show can be so rewarding, because we can look at past events and put them into context in the present.  In flashback, we got to see how they formed as a family. What other great secrets do these past events uncover? I can’t wait to find out.


Elijah is Awesome

For a vampire, Elijah has honor and some morals.  He isn’t a goodie-two-shoes, but he is willing to negotiate and work deals as a means to an end.  If he makes a promise, he keeps it. Although he is a badass and can rip out a still beating heart and still look like he stepped off the cover of GQ.  He’s slick, threatening, and is able to keep his cool in all situations.  Check out this video of some of his scenes on TVD and you’ll get a better picture of him.

Rebeckah’s Love Life

Rebeckah is the youngest of the living Mikaelson siblings and the only female.  On the 4th season of


TVD, she tried desperately to find a cure for vampirism.  She longs to be a normal girl with a normal life with a normal man.

Bex loves too easily and has a terrible dating track record.  She was last seen traveling the world with Matt Donovan.  Matt is a nice guy, bus boy, recent high school graduate, and quarterback.  You know it’s just gonna be a summer fling.

It is unknown how her character will move into the world of the Originals, but she will bring an interesting element to the show with her disastrous love life.


Nagging Wives, Antiheroes, and Male Agency

ImageI’m new to Breaking Bad.  Part of me wants to binge and watch ever episode in a week and another part of me wants to slowly watch them and let each episode soak in.  I  finished watching Game of Thrones this summer and wished that I didn’t rush through it so quickly.  Although I try to stay away from spoilers and make a point not to read articles or tweets, I felt compelled to read Anna Gunn’s guest editorial in the New York Times, ” I Have a Character Issue.”  I thought her opinion piece was very interesting and says a lot about the state of strong, complex and tormented television wives.

At this point, I’ve just seen the first season of Breaking Bad and have only a few hints on what happens in seasons 2 through 5.  I don’t hate her character, Skyler White. I sympathize with her dealing with her husband’s cancer diagnosis and pregnancy hormones.   Now I’m  wondering what happens to her and Walt that breeds so much hate for Skyler.

I tried to figure out additional factors why audiences might not enjoy or appreciate the character of the antihero’s wife.  It isn’t just about the females themselves, but about the men.  I came to a conclusion that it is all about male choice and the desire for male autonomy. 

The  wives of antihero characters are put in a particularly tough spot in any show. They want what is best for their families, but  that is different than what the husbands want.  Since the male is the protagonist in the show, his point of view is better articulated. This tension in the relationship brings drama, but often the woman feel like a killjoy, since they are trying to ruin the premise which these shows are based on. They are always reacting to situations instead of being proactive and usually don’t have an interesting storyline away from the husband or the family. They fight for their husbands and children and that should be commended. 

If these were not television shows and real life, everyone would be in the corner of the wives. If I had a husband and he was cooking meth or killing people, popular opinion would be on my side if I tried to stop his behavior or would just call the cops.  I would be the one that had everyone’s sympathies.  The wife would be the heroine and would be commended for putting up with so much and taking actions to make changes.

These shows are written to advance the case of men who are morally gray and find themselves in sticky situations.  We cheer for characters like Walter White, Dexter Morgan, Tony Soprano, Jax Teller and Ray Donovan who usually are put in a crappy situation.  The audience wants them to find a  way out of a tight spot or moral dilemma. These men will do anything to survive or maintain a way of life.  We want these guys to “get away with it.”  These men do bad things, but to some extent they are doing it for the right or justifiable  reasons or that is how these shows portray it.  

I find it fascinating that these wives get so much hate in a world that loves the “beauty and the beast” trope.  That is where a bad guy changes or works on changing to be worthy of love. You see this a lot in vampire stories.  You have Spike who changes for Buffy and gets his soul for her.  Damon on the Vampire Diaries also tries to be better for his woman, Elena. These trips from bad to good are bumpy, but it is different because these men choose to be good or at least socially acceptable.   Thus men changing for possibility of sex and love is seen as a better reason to stop killing people than being “nagged” at by someone who already is committed to them.  Since these wives already love the husbands and give them sex (for the most part), they have little motivation to change in the context of the story. The wife could leave, but they struggle to find another solution. 

For the most part, these wives married these men under the premise that they were nice/okay/better guys.  The most horrible behavior was hidden or did not occur until after they were married.  These men have made a choice to be bad.

These televised relationships illustrate the importance of male agency in many narratives.  Thus making HIS choice about reform the determining factor of how an audience feels about it.