Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Defeat.

Well, three consecutive snow days defeated me in my personal challenge of 100 pages in five days.

But the good news is, Octopodes can use armor!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Still soooo behind.

You know what? I still have hope.

Also, I'm the guest blogger at RomCon Inc. today, on their FF/P blog. Go see!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Still behind.

So, so behind. I will persevere. Twenty pages, then a nap. Then, back to the grind.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day Two.

Day Two, and already behind.

Sometimes, you think it's going to be mellow, but then it's not. It just makes it hard to concentrate, and you eat all the Christmas cookies.

Tonight, I shall make up for those transgressions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

100 pages in 5 days starts... now.

That's right. Today I embark on my goal of 100 pages in 5 days. Because NaNo is for pussies. If you've never done something this fool hardy and painful, I highly suggest it.

I have my Diet Coke. I have my prescription pain killers. I have an army of nutcrackers standing behind my laptop because my desk has been pressed into holiday service. Under their toothy smiles and wooden stares, I will accomplish my goal.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Okay, so I skipped a couple days! So sue me!

Alright, I skipped a couple days in my snark fest. That just means I'll have to work the weekend, to get every episode snarked before the week of 100 pages.

Episode seven teaches us that no matter how "pathetic" your life is, the only sympathy you can expect from anyone is a violent, gory death, and possibly dismemberment in an attempt to hide your corpse.

Someone drops Tyler off in a parking lot, where he walks to his car and finds Vampire Vicki already inside. Tyler spouts off a huge infodump about how everyone is looking for her because of all the bodies they found in the woods and the cops want to talk to her and also, everyone assumed she was on a bender. Which is kind of a safe assumption with Vicki. Vicki tells Tyler that she's "so hungry," and Tyler, a sucker for messed up chicks, holds her close. And of course, we all know what happens next. Stefan and Damon show up to pull Vicki off of Tyler, and Damon debates whether or not he could kill Tyler and get away with it. Tyler isn't so hip to this jive, and punches Damon. In retaliation, Damon whammies him and throws him halfway across the parking lot. So, Tyler gets up, sore and scraped, with no memory of what happened to him, in the parking lot alone. I'm guessing he'll know that Vicki had something to do with it when he gets back in his car and smells Candies and failure.

For some reason, every single episode must feature Elena waking up right after the title card. At least, it seems like it. She goes into the bathroom without knocking and is stunned, stunned, I tell you, to find Jeremy there. WTF is up with Elena just barging into the bathroom the way she does? Aren't there two other people living in the house with her? Scratch that, one, because AJ hasn't been around much lately. Jeremy is planning to go on the search party to find Vicki, but Elena really thinks he needs to go to school instead. Look, Elena, it's hard to get this kid to go to school on a normal day. Why would he go now that his girlfriend is missing?

An outdoor shot of the school indicates that the Mystic Falls High mascot is the werewolves. Seriously? The werewolves? I bet the chamber of commerce sign when you're heading into town says, "Mystic Falls: A good place to be mauled by some sort of supernatural creature." Inside, Matt gets a call from Vicki, who tells him that she's okay, and not to worry about her. Of course, this is only going to make him worry more.

Vicki is cooped up at Salvatore manor with Damon and Stefan. If I were Stefan, I probably wouldn't want my brother around when I was trying to teach a new vampire ethics. If I were Damon, I probably wouldn't want to be around my brother after he threw me in a dungeon. But family relationships are complicated. Stefan tells Vicki that she can't go home, because she's even more dangerous and unpredictable now that she's a vampire, and Damon laments the fact that the papers aren't covering the murder of the guy who I thought was the mayor, but I guess he wasn't, in the forest. It's a cover up, he's sure, and he fiddles with the Gilbert family watch for a while and informs the other vampires that they should all be worried about discovery. There is some tired back and forth between the brothers about whether or not Vicki should kill a human and eat them. I'll let you guess which side which brother is on.

Elena comes to visit Stefan, like you always do right after you break up with someone, but finds Damon at the door. He doesn't get why she isn't afraid of him, and she informs him that she knows "if you wanted me dead, I would be." He counters with, "Yes, you would," and she bravely replies, "But I'm not," right before he says, "Yet," which shakes her confidence a little. Elena confronts Stefan on the staircase. She's pissed off that everyone is looking for Vicki and she has to lie about knowing where she is. Stefan explains that, because Vicki was a drug user, her transformation will be extra difficult. Jesus, could they demonize people with drug addictions any harder in this show? Not only will doing drugs turn you into a vampire, you're also going to be an extra horrible one. Don't do drugs!

At Bonnie's Grandma Mimi's house (just kidding, y'all, it's not Mimi, it's Jasmine Guy. No, really, Jasmine Guy is playing grandmothers now.), Bonnie asks if any of her ancestors were "burned at Salem." Instead of smacking her right in the head for being so fucking dumb (the accused "witches" were not burned, but hanged--and, in one case, pressed-- to death), grandma informs her that all of "those girls" were innocent victims. Bonnie says that "everyone knows" that her grandmother is a witch, and grandma Jasmine explains that while it's kind of an open secret, no one really believes she could be a witch because they don't believe witches exist. They think she's just a crazy old woman "teaching occult" at the university. What university? Hogwarts? Bonnie insists on getting to the "fun" part of witchcraft, which I assume involves setting a car on fire, because all she's been learning is history. Given the sketchy facts grandma has been giving her, it's probably good that she teaches "occult" and not history at that there university. Grandma admonishes Bonnie that it's not fun to be a witch, and with great power comes great responsibility, etc.

The mayor, who is either not dead as previously reported, or is not the dude that died in the forest, is sitting with his wife at the Mystic Grill. They're discussing the watch in secrety tones, which will alert all passers by to the fact that they're talking about something secret, so everyone better listen in. And listen in Damon does. Seriously, though, I thought the mayor was dead. All the actors on this show look alike.

Mystic Falls High is getting decked out for Halloween, and Matt tells Tyler that Vicki is okay, even though she's still missing. Tyler is taken aback when he realizes that he didn't bother to ask about Vicki or care that she was missing... either Tyler is an incredible douche, or the whammy is working too well. Caroline brings Bonnie her Halloween costume (a witch, get it?) and gives her a nifty matching necklace: the crystal that Damon stole from the mayor's house. Bonnie recognizes it as the necklace Damon gave Caroline. Caroline tells her that she can do whatever she wants with it, because she doesn't want any reminders of Damon.

In the great hall of Salvatore Castle, Stefan is explaining to Vicki that caffeine is a vampire's friend, because it opens their blood vessels and makes them feel warm. Okay, we'll go with that. Vicki is soooo not interested in Stefan's morality. She jumps up from her, "How to pretend to be human" lessons and runs off, stating that she has to pee, though she's confused as to why because she "thought I was dead?" Yeah, we're all wondering about that, too, Vicki. Stefan goes... somewhere, leaving Elena to wander around castle Dracula for a while. Vicki comes back immediately and says that her body is all screwed up, she doesn't really have to pee. Which means that Stefan knew that and left her alone with Elena? Nice move. It doesn't go well, because Elena picks exactly that moment to tell Vicki that she's not allowed to see Jeremy anymore. And, she's really, really condescending about it. Vicki is not having Elena's bullshit. She crushes her windpipe and tells her that since she strung Matt along for all those years, then dumped him for Stefan, Vicki isn't the biggest Elena fan and needs absolutely no inducement to rip her head off. Then, she dumps Elena on the floor as Stefan re-enters. Elena flips out, but I have to be honest, I'm not really on her side. Imagine if someone was trying to kick heroine cold turkey, and you picked right then to tell them about their wrong life choices. Elena got what she was asking for. Stefan basically sticks up for Vicki, but agrees that Vicki shouldn't see Jeremy. Elena doesn't like not being 100% agreed with, tells Stefan that she can't take anymore, then leaves.

Suddenly, it's night-time. Vicki asks Damon why he turned her, and his response is, "I was bored." Vicki is bored, too, so Damon decides it's totally a good idea to take her outside and show her how to run really fast. No, really. This happens, and Stefan totally lets it happen. Of course, she runs away, and goes straight back home, where she finds that, owing to the vampire rule of no-invitation-you-no-come-in-here, she can't get inside until her dumb brother invites her in. Matt is pissed, like everyone else, about Vicki's disappearance. Just in case no one has mentioned that yet. Vicki disappeared. Stefan shows up to collect her, and in a moment of sheer brilliance (that leads to her utter destruction, but whatever), Vicki makes it seem like Stefan is totally stalking her. Dumb, protective Matt makes like he's going to kick Stefan's ass, and Stefan has no choice but to leave.

Even though his girlfriend is missing and he's totally bummed about it, Elena thinks Jeremy needs to go to the party at school to snap out of his funk. To up the fun factor, she gives him the exact same, "Let her go," speech that she gave Vicki. Jeremy throws her a c-c-c-combo breaker by telling her that Vicki helped him get over his depression following their parents' deaths. Take that, Elena. Vicki texts Jeremy and tells him to meet her at the school. Elena doesn't question why her brother suddenly wants to go to the Halloween shindig.

At the party at school, kids are drinking alcohol openly. Good job, PTA! Tyler glides up in a cape and no shirt, I guess his costume is "Chippendale Dracula" or something, and tries to impress Vicki and Bonnie, who are both dressed like witches. You see, Bonnie's costume is literal, and Caroline's is figurative.

At the Mystic Grill, the not-dead mayor and his wife are getting smashed before going to the school Halloween party. God, I hope they're not chaperons. If they are, though, that explains what's going down at the school right now. When Not Dead leaves because his wife is drinking too much and embarrassing him, Damon swoops in to flirt with Mrs. Mayor. He tries to whammy her, but she is unwhammiable. It turns out Mrs. Mayor knew Zach (who Damon says is "out of town,"). He supplied her with the Vervain she's been using to keep herself safe from vampire influence. Oh ho, whatcha gonna do now, Damon?

Elena and Jeremy show up to the school dressed as a sexy nurse and the unibomber, I guess. Matt gives Jeremy a hard time about not wearing a costume, which is pretty dickish, considering his girlfriend has been missing on and off for the past few days. Jeremy takes off looking for Vicki, and Matt tells Elena that Vicki has not only come to the party, but she's also dressed as a sexy vampire. Does no one in this town have an imagination? Apparently, they don't have common sense, either, because Vicki decides that the best place to be when craving human blood is a party with a whole bunch of people at it. The disorienting lighting and music really help the situation, and we're treated to shots of Vicki staggering around looking at people's necks until Stefan shows up to tell her "No! No fun on my watch, druggie!" Or something.

Back at the good old Mystic Grill, the mayor's wife asks Damon if she can get a mess of Vervain for everyone she knows, and all the people on the council. Damon tries be attracted by her older-woman charms, which is probably damned hard, considering she's dressed as a flapper girl with too much makeup on, but she's so drunk that it doesn't take much to be convinced. She rattles off her life story like Damon is Oprah or something, tells him all about the council and how the Founders Party was a trap to see who would show up in the daylight and who wouldn't. Which means that since Damon and Stefan both showed up in the sunlight, they're off the list of possible vampire suspects. Just a tip, if you're going to form a secret council, do not, and I repeat, do not put Mrs. Mayor on that council. A little vodka and the promise of seduction is all she needs to sell her own grandmother down the river.

At the school, Vicki gets as tired of Stefan's self-righteous and hypocritical passion play as the audience is, and causes a scene in front of Matt to make it look like Stefan is still stalking her. While Matt and Stefan are distracted by almost beating the shit out of each other, Vicki takes off. Stefan manhandles Matt, and while I was yelling, "Just kiss him already," Stefan says, "I'm trying to help her!." Yeah, well, she doesn't want your help. And you and Matt were real close to making out in your passionate hatred. Just saying.

Vicki finds Jeremy, and then they wander into... THE DRUID ROOM. I am not exaggerating, at the sight of the little sign that said "The Druid Room," I freaked out. That's how desperate I am for some indication that the writers of the show read the books at all. They threw me a crumb with the druid room, and I devoured it like the delicious morsel it was. Now, if this were the (far superior to the series) book, Mr. Tanner would be lying, freshly murdered, on a stone altar inside, but since this isn't the book and Mr. Tanner has been dead for a while, that doesn't happen.

Instead, we get a scene in which Damon confronts Bonnie about the necklace he gave Caroline, which Bonnie is wearing as part of her costume. She refuses, and suggests a number of ways in which the necklace could be given to a third party and then given back to Damon, which seems like a lot of work. Damon thinks it sounds like a lot of work, too, and tries to just take it. Because of Bonnie's secret witch powers, the thing burns Damon's hand, and Bonnie takes off, because she realizes something is either up with her, or Damon, or the necklace, or something.

While Stefan and Elena look for Vicki and Jeremy in a room full of people and flashing blacklight, Jeremy and Vicki make out up against a bus outside. It's your every romantic fantasy coming true, ladies. Vicki bites Jeremy's lip, and tastes his blood. But of course, a little taste isn't enough, and Jeremy pushes her away. She's hot, but this is too weird, even for him. He pushes her away, and sees her scary, veiny vamp face. Seeing that she's not going to get anymore out of him willingly, Vicki grabs Jeremy and bites him, just as Elena comes outside. She tries to stop Vicki, and gets vamp!slammed into a pile of wood pallets. While she's laying in a crumpled heap, Stefan appears and tells Jeremy to run. Vicki has already gone, and while Stefan looks under the buses (because everyone knows that's where rogue vampires hide), Elena and Jeremy run for the school. Before they can get inside, Vicki grabs Elena and tries to make good on her promise to rip her head off-- but she does that with her teeth, and while she's distracted, Stefan stakes the hell out of her. Vicki does the whole "stagger back in disbelief and pull out the weapon jutting from your body," routine that she learned at the Alan Rickman School of Lingering Death Scenes, then crumples to the ground, looking pretty darned dead. Stefan calls in Damon to ask for help with the situation, which seems like kind of a dumb thing to get someone evil involved in.

Bonnie shows up at Grandma Jasmine's doorstep, seven kind of perplexed about the necklace. The "piece of junk" she thought was costume jewelry actually belonged to a legendary witch, one of Bonnie's ancestors, who happens to look exactly like Bonnie in a suspiciously clear photo from a hundred years ago or something.

Damon shows up to help dispose of Vicki's body, and Elena is pissed off that he doesn't care more. Because this is the first time they've met, apparently. Damon has enough on his plate right now, and he doesn't need to deal with Elena, so he reminds her that she has gaping wounds bleeding everywhere and she needs to get out of there. On the way to her car, Elena is intercepted by Matt, who is looking for Vicki, and Elena has to lie. She probably should have just said, "She's over there, dead," because it's only going to be worse when the truth comes out. He wants to know if there will ever be a time that he's not worrying about Vicki. Yeah, there will be. Pretty soon, actually. Elena plays it off and goes to her car to cry, after blaming her gory wounds on someone spilling face blood on her. Which means that Matt's doctor costume is not an indication of a promising future career, because he believes her.

Stefan is waiting for Elena on the porch, and tells her that Jeremy is upstairs. She goes up to find him understandably freaked. Wait, where is AJ? Why hasn't she noticed that her house has been crawling with vampires of late? Matt gets home and looks for Vicki, Stefan tells Elena that he only wanted to help Vicki, and Elena asks Damon to whammy Jeremy to forget about Vicki. Poor Vicki. No good deed, huh? Damon is surprisingly sensitive, hinting at a deep well of emotion causing him to be evil, and Elena and Stefan get back together.

This was actually a pretty decent episode. It's like the show is finally finding its feet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Episode Six: Return of The Vicki

Look, I've got theatre tickets tonight in Chicago, so let's cut right to the chase and get this over with, shall we?

Episode six picks up with a rehash/revisit of Elena realizing that Stefan is a vampire... or not realizing it, because she shows up at his house just as he's leaving with a wooden stake. I thought he was going to go find Damon and take care of business, but really, he was heading for his flashback. Through the magic of Stefan's tortured memory, we are transported back to the Salvatore plantation in the nineteenth century, where Stefan has clearly raided Ashley Wilkes's wardrobe. Elena Catherine emerges from a carriage in a dress that shows way too much skin for the afternoon. There isn't time to explain why she's there before the title card came up.

Back at the Salvatore's twenty-first century Gothic cathedral of a home, Elena asks Stefan what he is. I was expecting him to say, "Looking for my brother, and you're in my way!" but he doesn't. If I wrote the show, he would have. There also would have been a lot less "What are you?" back and forth in this scene. Stefan insists that she already knows, and Elena responds by turning into Luke Skywalker clinging to that pole over the chasm in the end of The Empire Strikes Back. "No! You can't be! That's impossible!" I'm not kidding, that is, if not a direct quote, at least pretty close to what she said. I wouldn't lie to you. Stefan warns Elena, "every belief you have is about to change," (What, she won't be Presbyterian anymore?) and tells her he's a vampire. Elena, showing a lot more sense than some of the other people in Mystic Falls, decides it's not cool to be standing in the dark, alone, with a vampire, and she runs. In an attempt to calm her fears and prove he's not threatening, Stefan uses magic vampire speed to block her exit and physically restrains her. Of course, she asks, "How did you do that," and he doesn't say, "Vampire! Duh!" because, again, I don't write this show. Elena gets in her car and drives irresponsibly away, which is okay, because Stefan really needs to deal with the Damon problem right now, anyway.

When Elena gets home, she finds Jeremy sitting, nearly catatonic in the wake of his break up with Vicki. For once, she has bigger problems, and decides to ignore him. When she goes to her room, though, Stefan is there. Again, he insists that she's safe with him, the vampire who has now broken into her house and ambushed her in her room. Also, didn't he really want to eat her when they were in the kitchen in episode five? I just watched it yesterday, I'm pretty sure that's what happened. Elena agrees not to tell anyone that Stefan is a vampire if he gets his creepy ass out of her room. Stefan, figuring that's a good deal, goes to deal with Damon. Right? Right?

Or not. Damon is busy finishing off Vicki's cemetery pals, and he decides to multitask by drenching the bodies in gasoline while threatening Stefan over the return of his sunlight-protection ring. He also goes straight for the guilt trip jugular by telling Stefan that the deaths of all the people he's about to dispose of in a raging forest fire are on his head, since he was the one who locked Damon up and starved him. And really, he has a point. That wasn't going to go well, everyone could tell. Stefan tells Damon that he'd given the ring to Zach to keep, so Damon shouldn't have killed him. OH REALLY? So, Zach is dead, huh? I guess I called it in the last recap. Damon isn't buying the Zach story, keeps threatening Stefan, then hangs up in time to notice that Vicki is still alive.

Taking yet another page from Twilight, Stefan lurks outside Elena's window and watches her sleep. Appropriately sad music plays.

When Elena wakes up, we're treated to a weird cutscene of vigorous tooth brushing before she meets Stefan at a cafe to discuss his vampirism. If you're going to talk about being a vampire, you really want to do it in public, where everyone in your small town that is full of vampire hunters can hear. Stefan gives Elena a run down of the vampire rules and some plot stuff the audience already knows, then explains that there used to be vampires in Mystic Falls, but it didn't end well. Probably because of the secret cabal of vampire hunters. Elena is still unsure about him, and basically says she's going to tell everyone about his vampness, but Stefan asks her to give him one day before she blabs her mouth, so that he can try to explain everything.

At the cemetery, Newsman and Sheriff-mom traipse through the crime scene, commenting on the bad smell of the bodies (just in case you thought charred corpses smelled like jelly beans; they don't) and comment that the bodies will have to be identified by their dental records. Newsman asks how he's going to explain to television viewers that the "animal" is now incinerating the bodies of the people he attacks. I would go with "Dragon," but again, I don't write the show, or the news on the show. They decide to call it a "drug deal gone wrong." Jesus, really wrong. They talk about how Newsman stole the watch, and then they find Vicki's wallet and hope she's not dead.

Meanwhile, at Castle Salvatore, Damon is bored and calling Stefan's cell over and over to leave threatening messages. This is how he's going to act when you break up with him, ladies. Vicki is dying on the couch, so Damon decides to force her to drink his blood. That's what you do when you've got a dying, burnt-out townie drenched in gasoline on your sofa, right?

Stefan takes Elena to the woods to reenact a scene from Twilight. Just kidding. He wants to show her the foundations of his former home. He tells her that he and Damon used to be best friends, and in another flashback, we see Damon teaching Stefan how to play football, before Cathlena runs in and steals the ball. In the present, Elena does the math and figures out that it's been 145 years since that ill-fated football game. In the next flashback, we learn that Damon was a Confederate soldier, and both Stefan and Damon wanted to escort Cathlena to the Founders' Ball. Which was where they both signed the register that Elena saw in episode four. Stefan tells Elena that he ended up taking Cathlena to the ball, and that Damon doesn't get mad, he gets even. Stefan is quick with the cliches in this episode, let me tell you.

After a shower, Vicki is feeling pretty good. Except the part where she can't remember anything. Damon whammies her, but he tells her the absolute truth: he killed her friends, tried to kill her, brought her back to his place and fed her blood, and she loved it. Okay, so maybe half the truth, because she definitely didn't look like she was loving it. Damon decides that they're going to "party until the sun goes down." I assume that once the sun goes down, he's got other things to do.

Still rehashing his old relationship, Stefan tells Elena that Catherine wasn't content with just one brother. She pulled a double shift the night of the Founders' Ball (if you get my innuendo) and bit both Stefan and Damon, but swore both of them to secrecy. Cathlena tells Stefan, in a flashback, that she has plans for all three of them. I'm guessing that plan involves fundamentalist Mormons. Elena wants Stefan to keep Damon's ring, because, understandably, she's not thrilled about him roaming the streets of Mystic Falls after he's killed so many campers. Stefan warns that if he doesn't return the ring, Damon will come after Elena.

The secret vampire hunter club meets at the Mayor's house, where he tells Sheriff-mom and Newsman that he wants this whole murder business cleaned up as quickly as possible. Then, they do something with Jeremy's stolen watch and they all agree that their evening has been very constructive.

Vicki is dancing around in her underpants at the Salvatore mansion while she whines about her relationships with Tyler and Jeremy. At least she's not doing drugs, right? Damon realizes that she's talking about Jeremy, Elena's brother, which is probably not good information to have. Damon tells her that he's been in love before, he understands, or something, and then they start dancing again and trashing Stefan's room. Damon finds a picture of Cathlena and gets very sad, then slow dances with Vicki to a Green Day song while she whines about her life. Really, this is all happening in the same scene. This is reality, folks. Damon realizes that Vicki's life is pathetic, because he went to the Elena Gilbert School For Not Having A Clue, and compliments Vicki on her lack of self-esteem right before he snaps her neck and kills her. Seriously, Damon? How many times are you going to kill this girl?

Vicki doesn't stay dead for long. Because she drank Damon's blood, she wakes up confused and scared, just like the old Vicki. Damon suggests she feed, because P.S. she's a vampire now, and tells her she should stop by Jeremy's house to do so. Vicki rejects this idea, and runs off, still confused and scared.

Sheriff-mom instructs Newsman and Mayor on how to use the watch like a vampire-finding compass, but asks them to not kill anything before she gets there. Then, she shows them who has the balls in this cabal by asking, "Have you ever staked a vampire before?" clearly indicating that she has.

Despite having declined Damon's suggestion that she eat her boyfriend, Vicki shows up at Jeremy's house tweaking like crazy and complaining about the sun burning her eyes. She's super hungry, and raids the Gilbert fridge while Jeremy lectures her about it being too early in the day to be high. He's right, it's totally inappropriate. Wait, wasn't he getting high in the school bathroom before first period on the very first day. But whatever, he's changed. He's a morally superior drug user now. Vicki thinks he's being too loud (and probably annoying with his holier-than-thou attitude) and busts through the Gilbert leftovers like Aunt Jenna after a bad date. Wait, where's Aunt Jenna when all of this is going on? I know she's not with Newsman. He's vampire hunting.

Back at the foundations of the ancient Salvatore homestead, Elena asks Stefan if he'd ever used mind control on her. He denies ever having done it, and explains that her Vervain necklace will protect her from the vampire whammy. He asks her to never stop wearing it, because he wants her to know that whatever happens between them, she's making her own choices. That's actually kind of sweet, Stefan. Edward needs to take some pointers from you about not controlling your girlfriend's life.

Matt, apparently alerted by Jeremy the narc, comes to collect his sister, who is still having a manic episode. Vicki tells Matt that her gums hurt, and then sees on the news that all of her very best cemetery pals are dead. Matt and Jeremy freak, probably because they think Vicki killed all those people in her manic state. Matt is about to call the cops when Stefan and Elena arrive, and Stefan whammies Vicki to get her calmed down. He tells Elena that Vicki is "transitioning," which is always the worst part of labor and that if she doesn't feed, she'll die. The worst part is, she only has a few hours. Elena realizes that this means Stefan ate somebody once. She's not impressed.

Upstairs, Matt lurks outside of Jeremy's room and watches Jeremy and Vicki hugging, which turns into Vicki wanting to eat Jeremy. She resists her strange compulsion and runs away, managing to make it out of the house before anyone can stop her. Matt runs after her, and Stefan tells Elena that he'll "track her."

After a shot of a full moon to signal that night has fallen, we see Mayor strolling through the woods, frowning at his vampire compass. He thinks he gets a hit from it, and calls Sheriff-mom and Newsman, who are also in the woods (without a compass, hoping they'll just run into a vampire).

As Jeremy and Elena clean up from dinner, Elena lies her ass off about Vicki being "just fine," and goes to answer the knock at the door. It's Damon, and he barges in, able to enter the house because of Elena's earlier invitation. Realizing that Elena knows he's a vampire, he reassures her that he doesn't plan on killing her "right now," and asks where Stefan is. He also says that Vicki will thank him for turning her, and Elena gets a pretty good zinger in when she asks, "Did you thank Catherine?" Wicked burn!

Stefan finds Vicki in the forest, where she has remembered everything that has ever happened and been whammied away. Stefan offers a lame, "Sorry," and then informs Vicki that she's going to die if she doesn't feed on a human. Resigned to her fate, Vicki chooses just to go home and die. Stefan is about to take her there when he's shot, and collapses to the ground. The Mayor is about to stake him when Damon flies in from out of nowhere and rips the Mayor's throat out, saving Stefan's life. Sure, he says it's because he wants to kill Stefan himself, but Damon is showing a lot more compassion than Stefan ever showed toward him. Damon digs the bullet out of Stefan's wound and finds that it's wood, so this was definitely a premeditated vampire hunter attack. Damon gets his ring back, and I think he might take Stefan's, too, or maybe the watch, it's hard to tell because the filming of this show is so dark, and Vicki feeds off Mayor while he's down, then runs off into the night.

Stefan limps back to Elena's house and tells her what went down with Vicki. Promising to help her brother's newly vampire girlfriend isn't enough for Elena, who dumps Stefan right there. You know, it's not very nice to dump someone while they're bleeding from a gunshot wound. Bad form, Elena. The episode closes with some sad music (like usual) and Elena crying.

Now, I'm off to see Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in The Addams Family the musical!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weeklong Vampire Diaries Snarkfest Begins... Now.

As promised, your week of VD pain starts now. And it's going to burn when you pee. But first, you may ask, "Jen, why the long gap between snarks? What were you doing? Fabulous, authory things?" No. I forgot to pay my cable bill and my service was turned off, and then I was like, "Hey, that's a lot of money for tv... I bet I can live without it," and then about a week ago I was like, "NO I CAN'T I WANT MY TV." So, that's why. I'm bad at paying bills and fell off the no-TV wagon.

So, when we last left Fells Church Mystic Falls, Damon had been thrown into the time-out dungeon by Stefan, because Damon is the no-fun kind of vampire who doesn't think it's cool for other vampires to terrorize cheerleaders. Duh, that's kind of the point of vampires, Stefan. Well, when episode five begins, Damon is still in the naughty corner and, according to Stefan, has been there for three days. He doesn't have his magic ring to protect him from the sun, and he hasn't had a drop of blood since giving Caroline the old nibble hickey. Stefan informs Damon that in the middle ages, if a vampire went rogue, they were rehabilitated rather than destroyed. Which sounds to me like the middle ages were a whole lot different for vampires than humans, but whatever. Stefan plans to let Damon cure like a piece of vampire jerky, and then he'll throw him in the family crypt to think about what he's done. For fifty years. Oh, that's real humane, Stefan. I'm sure after fifty years of living death, your sociopath brother is going to be all better. After fifty years, Stefan will "reevaluate" the situation. What the hell is this, the vampire version of Demolition Man? I'm guessing Stefan never saw that movie, because if he had he would know that he's setting himself up for one hell of a Wesley Snipes problem in fifty years. Damon warns Stefan that he's stronger than he thinks, and Stefan is all, "Yeah, sure, whatever." Which can only end well in this show.

Meanwhile, Elena wakes to an Imogene Heap song and tries to write in her diary. She gives up, apparently because there isn't anything interesting to write about besides the whole domestic abuse situation going on with Caroline and her boyfriend. She goes to the bathroom and runs into Vicki, who plays it off all nonchalant. "Morning! Fucked your brother!" Elena runs to tell Aunt Jenna about her Jeremy's carnal transgressions, but AJ doesn't care. She's got a date with Newsman. Elena tells Jenna that she hasn't heard from Stefan in three days. Wait a minute, has Vicki been living at their house for three days? She came over at the end of episode four. Has no one noticed her presence in their house for three days? Elena tells Jenna that everything is fine with Stefan disappearing off the face of the planet, but it's pretty obvious that things aren't fine, because Elena is never fine with anything.

At Salvatore Castle, Stefan is planning to go back to school after his three day, unexcused absence. You're going to have a lot of homework to make up, buddy. Zach doesn't think it's such a good idea, leaving Damon alone with him in the house, but Stefan just warns him to keep out of the basement. Right, Zach, you're the only member of the regular cast over age thirty, I'm sure you'll be totally safe alone in the house with a dangerous killer.

Caroline and Bonnie are hanging out in Caroline's room, and Caroline expresses concern that she can't remember if Damon kissed her, or bit her, or if she wanted him to bite her, or what, because she has holes in her memory. Bonnie, who is becoming ever more pyromaniacal, is playing with a candle and not really listening, and the crystal Damon stole from the mayor's party is hanging in direct sunlight. This is important, and I know this because they linger on it. That's a trick of the trade, kiddos. It's just usually not done so artlessly.

At school, any worries Elena might have had about Caroline's well-being are squashed when Caroline strolls through the halls, instructing all the cheerleaders to be sure and slut it up hardcore at the bikini car wash they're having on the weekend. Stefan shows up and reassures Elena that Damon has been, "taken care of," or "dealt with," or some other kind of mob talk, and apologizes for his absence. He tells Elena that he'll meet her at the restaurant in town to explain everything. That's really the best place to do it. If there's one thing I learned from Jerry Maguire, it's that if you're going to fire someone or tell your girlfriend that you're a vampire, you want to do it in a crowded restaurant to avoid a big scene. Elena is going to come to school the next day and say, "Don't worry. I'm not going to do what you all think I'm going to do, which is just flip out!" right before she steals the well-mannered fish from the biology lab. Caroline sidles up to ask Stefan what happened to Damon, and he informs her that Damon won't be coming back, ever. Why Elena doesn't immediately assume, from the earlier comments about having dealt with Damon and now this little tidbit about him never coming back, that Stefan has murdered his brother, I don't know. Because that would be the first thing I would think.

Later that day, at the Mystic Grill, Matt is playing pool and waiting around to fulfill his sole purpose on the show, which is to have Elena walk up to him and ask if he's seen Stefan.

Back at Casa Dracula, Zach thinks, "I'm going to completely disregard my uncle's warning about staying away from the vampire. In fact, I'm going to go taunt him." This doesn't go over well, despite the warning he gives to Damon that he's "full of Vervain." Luckily, Stefan shows up just in time to save his nephew from certain dismemberment. The entire point of the scene, I guess, is to show us that Damon still has some strength, and that there is some serious shit going on in the Salvatore family. Thanksgiving is probably... tense.

Back at the grill, Elena decides to rachet up the awkward between her and Matt by talking about how his sister is boning her brother. Then, she asks Matt if he thinks Stefan is a good guy. This is Matt's chance to be like, "I saw him curb stomp a puppy!" but Matt isn't that kind of person, so he tells the truth. Stefan is good at football, so that makes him a-okay in his book. Just then, Stefan shows up-- an hour late-- and Elena decides that rather than let him do that explaining she just waited an hour for, she's going to storm out. An old guy (not really old, just super ancient to kids watching the show... this guy is probably fifty) thinks he recognizes Stefan, but Stefan insists he must be mistaken. The guy argues that it has to be him, and "you haven't aged." Elena knows there's something up, and Stefan knows she knows, but he lets her storm off in a huff, anyway. Interestingly enough, Elena goes home to write in her diary about instinct... which is awfully rich coming from the girl who doesn't realize her boyfriend is a vampire.

The Newsman and Caroline's sheriff mom are at the grill, trading notes on their plan to eradicate the vampires, when Jenna shows up for her date. You know, if this whole, "kill the vampires" thing is so super secret, to the point of having to form a cabal to deal with it, maybe you shouldn't be discussing this shit while waiting for a date, Newsman. You would not last a day in The Da Vinci Code.

Jeremy takes a time out from his anti-teen-abstinence protest to check on his sister. Elena tells him that she's miserable, but Jeremy has something up his sleeve. He knows that Stefan is downstairs cooking dinner for Elena. Elena isn't as impressed by this orchestrated assault on her dating life as Stefan though she would be, I'm guessing, but he keeps cooking anyway and informs her that if she's going to dump him, she's at least going to know who she's dumping. Then, he starts telling her about Catherine. So, is she dumping Catherine? He tells her that Catherine was the most beautiful, sexy girl ever, but she was with Damon first. He and Damon fought over her like mongrel dogs, and Stefan's biggest regret is that he didn't tell her what she truly meant to him before she died.

While Stefan pours out this heartwarming tale of the girl Elena will never measure up to, Vicki goes through the upstairs medicine cabinet and finds the left over Vicodin prescription Elena got after the car accident that killed her parents. While most people would be like, "Yurgh, what a very creepy reminder that this poor girl watched her parents die in front of her very eyes. I need to reevaluate my life," Vicki takes a "waste not; want not," approach to life and decides that crushing them up and snorting them is a better idea. Jeremy laments that all they ever do is get high, and Vicki accuses him of wanting her to change. I have to side with Vicki on this one. Jeremy, you used to be her dealer, and you used to get high with her all the time. You think your awesome skills with your wang are going to just snap her out of the prescription narcotic habit you helped her build?

Back in the kitchen, Stefan is still talking about himself. I mean, really, really talking about himself, and Elena makes the obligatory comment about him eating garlic that people always make to vampires when they don't know they're talking to a vampire. I think she was trying to change a subject, just so he'd stop talking about his musical preferences. Or, she's figured out he's a vampire and wants to stuff his mouth full of garlic to shut him up forever. I'm good with either one. Elena decides to help cut stuff up and, like people always do when they don't realize they're in the kitchen with a vampire, and you'll never, ever guess what happens next. No, seriously. You'll never guess. She cuts everything up in uniform pieces without cutting herself. JUST KIDDING! She totally cuts herself. She rushes to the sink to rinse off the blood, and Stefan just stands there, vamping out with crazy eyes and bulging veins. Unlike the Buffy vampires, Stefan has a reflection, and Elena sees him getting all monster-like in the window above the sink. He turns around to hide his face and get under control (why didn't he do that to begin with?), but it's too late. In the single most charming act ever performed by a male on this show, Stefan lets Elena think that she was hallucinating rather than fessing up to being a vampire. Taking lessons from a certain sparkly young cad I know, aren't you, Stefan?

Back in timeout, Damon tries to mentally communicate with Caroline, and a giant crow shows up on her windowsill. Caroline proceeds to beat the fuck out of it, and Stefan decides that Damon is ripe for more taunting, so he goes to do that.

Next up, Elena wears a sweater to the bikini car wash. And another shirt underneath that. What this is basically telling the audience is that, unlike all the other whores at this school, Elena is pure and good, because she is unwilling to shake it for the athletic boosters. It's like whoever is writing the teleplay for this read Twilight and thought, "You know, the strong feminist message in this is really turning me off." Bonnie is standing by when a cheerleader calls a nerdy kid's car a piece of crap, and she uses her witchy powers to make suds explode from the bucket and drench the mean girl. Yeah, that will show her! You got her all wet! At the car wash! She was never expecting that!

Because nothing news-worthy has happened in Mystic Falls, you know, aside from several people dying horrible in the last four episodes, Newsman is there covering the car wash. Aunt Jenna comes to reminisce with him about the time they had sex in the back of a minivan (no, I'm not kidding), which Newsman thinks is the definition of a good date. Elena notices that Stefan is wearing his ring and suggests he take it off while dunking his hand in suds and potentially scratching the shit out of a paying customer's paint job, but Stefan isn't hip to burning alive, so he doesn't. Caroline goes into the school to get "more shimmy things," and encounters Damon's ghostly image, which freaks her right out. The "old" man from the grill shows up and Elena grills him (ha! a pun!) about how he used to know Stefan. When the old man first moved to Mystic Falls, he stayed at the Salvatore boarding house, and was staying there when the owner, Joseph, was mauled to death in a mysterious animal attack. The rude cheerleader strolls up and informs Elena that this is her grandfather, and he has Alzheimer's disease. Which would explain why he thought he knew Stefan. But then he goes on to tell Elena about the ring that Stefan wore, and how he knew him and his brother Damon in 1953.

Elena confronts Stefan about this information in a sneaky kind of way, and pretends that she didn't know he was Italian. Yeah, he's not buying that, either.

Vicki decides that since she and Jeremy are a couple now, he needs to meet the important people in her life. And those people are the burnouts in the cemetery.

Elena busts AJ macking on Newsman and asks if things are going well enough that she can ask a favor. She wants to look at all the news clips from the past century or so. Newsman is happy to complain, so they pile into the newsmobile and take off.

Meanwhile, Caroline has abandoned the bikini car wash, as well. The cheerleaders are fleeing this thing like rats from a sinking ship, let me tell you. Guided by Damon's ghostly commands, she goes to the basement and finds him in vampire jail. Then, she snaps out of his spell and says she won't open the door, because, "you bit me." Damon counters with, "you liked it," and gets her to open the door. Zach tries to stop her just in time, but Damon is too strong. He busts out and takes off after Caroline, who has the good sense to run. Upstairs? Downstairs? What's happening in this chase scene? She makes it to the door, and Damon charges after her, straight into the sunlight without his ring. The results are... not favorable. While he fries like Hayden Christiansen at the end of Revenge of The Sith, Caroline runs away like her life depends on it. Which it does.

Back at bikini car wash, the rude cheerleader hands Bonnie a squeegee mop and tells her to get to work drying off the pavement. Bonnie Potter has other ideas, though, and uses her mind powers to dry off the pavement with witchcraft. Somehow, she sets the water on fire, which sets a car on fire. Stefan, recognizing another freak, realizes that it's Bonnie doing it, and stops her before she goes full Firestarter on the entire car wash.

At the station, Newsman gets called away, presumably to cover the fire at the bikini car wash (Fire at The Bikini Car Wash, wasn't that a movie? Like, on USA Up All Night?), leaving Elena to investigate the newly digitized archive footage. In a clip that looks stunningly like a modern day newscast, Elena sees Stefan standing at the door of his house, in 1953. Or, 2009 with a grainy black and white filter on it. Six of one, half dozen of another, right?

Back at the cemetery, Vicki produces the bottle of pills she took from the Gilbert house and offers them to her friends. Jeremy is understandably pissed that Vicki would steal prescription drugs from his house, and tells her it's not cool. Vicki gets all self-righteous, like Jeremy has done something wrong, and threatens to go back to Tyler. Which is right on schedule, really.

Back at the car wash, Matt decides to give Stefan some friendly advice about Elena. She's apparently "big on trust." Yes, the girl who is using her connections in the news media to investigate her boyfriend is "big on trust." He goes on to warn that if Stefan is hiding something, Elena will ferret it out somehow. Big on trust. Trust.

Sheriff mom finally checks on her daughter, after how many episodes of violence and sex happening right in her very own house. Caroline informs her mother that if she's having boy trouble, she'll talk to her dad about it, since he's successfully landed a boyfriend. Zing! Top score, Caroline!

Night has fallen. While Elena's voice over insists that she doesn't believe in the paranormal, Stefan finds Damon missing and Zach all knocked out on the ground. Caroline sleeps in beams of light filtering through the super important crystal. Bonnie's grandma is Mimi from Rent. Newsman paws through Jeremy's stuff and steals the Gilbert family pocket watch. And, in the moment we have been waiting for through four episodes of screaming, "He's a vampire, dummy, why don't you get it?" at the TV, Elena finally realizes that her boyfriend is not human.

Vicki is drowning her sorrows in pills, booze, and the company of her burnout friends in the cemetery, when she finds Damon doubled over in pain. She tries to aid him and... I would assume this is the end of Vicki, because they show her her hand clinging to something and then limply letting go. That's the universal visual sign for death, right?

Stefan is about to head out the door, stake in hand, only to find Elena on his doorstep. She demands to know, "What are you?" and the audience collectively facepalms, because HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW AT THIS POINT? EVEN BELLA SWAN FIGURED THIS ONE OUT.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Announcements! Announcements, one and all!

Hear ye, hear ye! Because of the following comment, from Aleks:

Would you please go back to making fun of bad vampire books/TV/movies? It's what you do best and it's even fucking topical now, man.

I will return to my regularly scheduled snarking of The Vampire Diaries television show, starting Monday. Expect a new snark every day, until I am caught up with the series as it stands now.

Then, on Monday, November 7th, I will embark on the madness of "100 Pages In 5 Days." I've done this before; you can read a sampling of what happened on day five.

I encourage anyone reading this to try it with me. See, I know a lot of people are doing NaNoWriMo and then NaNoEdMo or whatever they call December, but there is something beautiful in the madness that is writing one hundred pages in five days. It's like if someone held NaNo down and shot heroin straight into its eyeballs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Worlds Effing Collide.

If you thought "Bad Romance" was weird, well, Beyonce proves once again that she is the master of EVERYTHING. No one else can come close. She tries to give you a seizure rather than depicting one through interpretive dance, plays with Nerf guns, and I'm pretty sure she challenged Lady Gaga to a Flashdance chair-off.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Help! Teenage girls have taken over the art department!

So, I was browsing my local Barnes and Noble just the other day, and it was a grand old time. I didn't buy anything, a Herculean feat for me, but I'm glad I went. If I hadn't, I would have found out that the art departments of several major publishers have been seized by teenage girls.

How else could one explain how the first print cover for P.C. Cast's Elphame's Choice went from this:



to this:



Really? That second cover doesn't speak to the content of the book at all. If you picked up the book (which you should, by the way, because it's amazing) with the first cover, you wouldn't be surprised to find that it's a romantic fantasy set in a world of ancient Celtic lore. If you picked up the book with the second cover, you'd be surprised to find that Elphame was not questing for more clip-in color streaks at her local Hot Topic.

And then, in the YA section, I saw this:



This book has been out for a while, so I'd seen it before. But I'd also seen it before it came out. Like, years before it came out, because the art department of this publishing house has also been overrun by teenage girls:



Authors have little to no control over what gets put on their book covers. In the case of the second book, that is a YA book. The first book isn't. How can you tell the difference these days? Could publishers please forget that Twilight happened and go back to selling books with covers I wouldn't be embarrassed to show in public? You know, like clinch-covers?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," the pitch meeting.


Music video planners: Lady Gaga, we're so excited about working with you, and we've come up with some great ideas for your video.
Lady Gaga: Okay, that's great, let's hear them.
Music video planners: For starters, we explored the concept of literally interpreting the story told by your lyrics--
Lady Gaga: That's really not going to work. Most of the song is nonsense, punctuated by wordless babbling and also, some French.
Music video planners: Ohhhkay... well, let's see what else we had. Ah, right here we have the video opening with you, wearing a freakish old-lady wig and a pair of glasses made out of razor blades and some other sharp stuff you shouldn't put by your eyes, in a room all in white. I'm thinking you should be staring vacantly into middle distance, one finger poised above the power button of a sound system.
Lady Gaga: Can I be surrounded by degenerates and malcontents dressed in freakish metal masks? And could we get some of the girls from the Robert Palmer video in there, as well?
Music video planners: Of course! This is exactly what this meeting is about. An exchange of ideas! Now, when you push the button on the sound system, the beginning of the song proper will start.
Lady Gaga: We should all look like startled robots!
Music video planners: Sure! Then, we were thinking of a cut to another white room, with sensory deprivation pods. You know, like the coffins on Anubis air in True Blood, only white.
Lady Gaga: They should say something on them, though.
Music video planners: Maybe an "L" and a "G"?
Lady Gaga: No, they should say "Monster." And then they should have monsters coming out of them.
Music video planners: Uh, okay. Yeah, we could work with that. Do you think they should be hairy monsters, like on Sesame Street or--
Lady Gaga: No! Dancers, all in white, dressed like that kid in the pajamas from Where The Wild Things Are. Except it should be a one-piece latex suit, with just the mouth cut out. And then we could dance like the nurses in Silent Hill!
Music video planners: That's... very high fashion of you.
Lady Gaga: There should also be shots of me with pink hair and oddly disproportionate bug-eyes. And then, I want to dress like Tom Petty and sing to myself in a mirror.
Music video planners: Oh, okay, I think we can--
Lady Gaga: We should probably get our dancers from a local production of Cats, because I want those kinds of moves. Like, "batting at a ball of yarn in the air" type moves.
Music video planners: I'm sure we can find someone like that.
Lady Gaga: But I don't want it to be completely freaky. I want to be able to sing into the camera with minimal makeup, and look very earnest.
Music video planners: You're right, it's good balance the more artistic elements with some traditional--
Lady Gaga: Because then I want there to be some implication of forced medication, and after that I want to be practically naked with chandelier on my head, while my dancers strip a graffitied Burberry coat off me.
Music video planners: Does this chandelier have to be crystal, or...
Lady Gaga: And I want to dance for a guy with a gold plated jaw.
Music video planners: This is getting kind of expensive.
Lady Gaga: And there needs to be a hairless cat.
Music video planners: I think Jan in accounting has one--
Lady Gaga: Did I mention I wanted to do full nudity, too? As much as I can get away with? We need to dispel this weird transexual rumor.
Music video planners: As long as it's tasteful, and shot from the side in low light, we can accomodate that.
Lady Gaga: I want to have some kind of hairless bat thing in my hair, too. It will only be seen briefly, but I feel it's important.
Music video planners: Well, this all sounds great, and I'm sure we can make the arrangements to shoot by--
Lady Gaga: Now, in the next scene--
Music video planners: Next scene?
Lady Gaga: Yeah, you didn't think we were done here, did you? This is barely half-finished. We're going to need another chandelier. I'm thinking I should be dressed like Madonna, only more sexualized, surrounded by the suspended pieces of a broken chandelier. I'm probably going to wear a cross and throw in a few gestures to offend super religious people. You know, the kind who write letters?
Music video planners: Oh dear.
Lady Gaga: Do you think we could find someone to make high heels with snake spines wrapped around them?
Music video planners: We'll add it to the list.
Lady Gaga: Great! I also think we should use the spinny ring thing I wore on SNL, just so I get my money's worth, you know? And I've got this sequined Imelda Marcos costume and a pointy wig I bought at Gwen Stefani's garage sale. I can wear that for the bridge.
Music video planners: We're only up to the bridge at this point?!
Lady Gaga: It's amazing how much I can pack into this, right? Okay, when we go back to the chorus, I want to be wearing a polar bear.
Music video planners: A what now?
Lady Gaga: And Baron Von Underbite from The Venture Bros. waiting to have sex with me, on a bed flanked by taxidermy Antelope heads.
Music video planners: I'm sorry, Ms. Gaga, but... how many animals have to die for this video?
Lady Gaga: I'm going to have to have some serious back up dancers for the all-red sequence.
Music video planners: All red? Where is this going to fit?
Lady Gaga: Oh, close to the end of the video. Right before the bed burns up, and I'm shown wreathed in flames and burning polar bear.
Music video planners: Did you bring any Advil with you? We feel a collective headache coming on.
Lady Gaga: And at the end, I want to be lying on the charred bed, next to the smoldering remains of Baron Von Underbite. I think it goes without saying that at this point, I should look like a blonde Amy Winehouse, and have sparks shooting out of my nipples.
Music video planners: Why not? Fuck it, do whatever you want. I'm going to go hang myself in the bathroom.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wait, what?



Oh, expect a full blog post on this one. Right after my mind is done exploding.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The internet ruins everything.

Had an awesome signing last night at Schuler Books in Lansing. Super cool, although they served wine and I ended up signing a bunch of stock, "Legalize it!"

So, this morning I'm nursing my hangover (no, it wasn't just the wine... the fishbowl of Margarita at La Senorita was a contributing factor to my delinquency) and enjoying Pocoyo with my daughter.

What is Pocoyo, you ask? Only the single most soothing thing on the face of the motherfucking planet.



It's a Spanish show that was dubbed into English and narrated by a super enthusiastic Stephen Fry. When we discovered this show on Netflix on XBox Live, I thought, "This will distract the kid for a while, so I can make a poo in peace, without her leaning her chubby elbows on my knees and engaging me in a babbling discourse about something only she has a clue about. But once it started, I couldn't look away. I just kept staring at the screen.

I suppose one could say that Pocoyo's world is a nightmarish white void of possibility, and that Pocoyo represents our Id, materializing desires from thin air in a realm of limited responsibility and resulting in his ultimate destruction, but I choose instead to enjoy the quiet simplicity of a child of indeterminate gender cavorting with various animal pals in an easy-to-digest format.

But for a long time, something about Pocoyo, himself, was puzzling. I could have sworn I'd seen him somewhere else. Where was it? It seemed like it wasn't in a particularly nice context... where had I see him before?

Oh, yeah. From one of my LJ friend's icons:



The internet ruins EVERYTHING.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

You know how much I love vampires...

I love funny vampires even more. So, I bring unto thee, straight from Atom.com, the super awesome, Twilight... Five Years Later

Twilight - 5 Years Later

The creator of this awesomeness, Jacob Fleisher, is also responsible for the web series, Intercourse With A Vampire, which you can also see at Atom.com.

I strongly urge you to check it out, it's amazing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Panera of the Damned

How is it that Panera bread can be this busy at 10am on a Monday? Seriously, what is up with this? I'm sitting here waiting for Bronwyn Green to get here, and the place is packed. Don't any of you people have jobs? You can't all be as irresponsible as me.

As you can see, I'm really out of ideas in the blog arena. I swear, I'll have something interesting to say soon.

BTW, there is a guy up here that looks just like Michael Stipe, and another guy who looks like Billy Ray Cyrus.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Unlikeable characters, part two, plus some other stuff...

First off, I think I should offer a disclaimer. When I mention bad reviews in a post, it's not in an attempt to have readers tell me, "Oh, they're so wrong! You're such a good writer." I appreciate the sentiment, but I don't want anyone thinking I'm fishing for compliments. Bad reviews do serve a purpose. As I said before, I'm not an advocate of writing something different out of fan service, but sometimes, a negative review can help you look at things with different eyes. For example, in Blood Ties Book Three: Ashes to Ashes (or, in Germany, Blutsbande 3: Asche zu Asche, which has a way cooler cover and also is on sale right now, so run out and buy it, frauleins and whatever you call dudes over there), there was apparently a lot of crying. Like, a lot. But for some reason, I never realized it when I was writing it. Seriously, that book read like every character was watching Sophie's Choice. While on their period. Especially Nathan. If I hadn't read those reviews, I would have never noticed, and I wouldn't have been able to excise all the wailing and gnashing of teeth that I did from book four. And yeah, I did remove crying from that one, despite how much is still in there.

I wonder if I was having some kind of episode when I wrote those.

Anyway, I'm still thinking of unlikeable characters. Comments from y'all indicate that you like characters who aren't "perfect." This, I can get behind. A character with no flaws is not someone I can root for (cue snickering Australians). But now I'm thinking, is it a character who never makes a bad choice that's the problem, or a character who makes the wrong choices and insists that they're right? Which one is worse? That's a "would you rather" for you... would you rather read a sickeningly perfect character, personality wise, who can admit when they're wrong, or a sickeningly perfect character who believes that everything is right, just so long as they're the one doing it?

In other news, I'm going to go ahead and spill about the as-yet-untitled vampire book that I'm doing for Mira. It is not, in any way, connect to Blood Ties. Okay, well, it's like Blood Ties's distant cousin. When I first wrote Blood Ties Book One: The Turning, it wasn't a "book one." It was just Blood Ties and it was a traditional, HEA romance, and my idea was to pull a Sherrilyn Kenyon and introduce new characters in every book who would get their own HEA stories, within a broader series. One of those stories is what is being released next, though not with a character you've met in the Blood Ties series, and not in that universe, at all. I'm going to switch up some of the vampire rules and junk. And put in less crying.

The story itself is about a vampire who likes being a vampire, thinks it's the best decision he's ever made, and has never really run into any hardships or anything because of being a vampire. He ends up trapped in a town that is being held captive by supernatural powers, and suddenly finds himself in a whole heap of trouble, trying to hide from them what he is and convincing them that he's not responsible for their misery just by virtue of being a nonhuman.

I'm excited about this project, because, like with the book that eventually became The Turning, I get to take an idea that was, for the most part, already written and completely rewrite it, from the ground up. I get to take the skeleton of the idea and put new skin on it, which is going to be a lot of fun, because I didn't necessarily like the way it was written the first time. I think it's going to be great, and I'll be happy to get it out of my head after six years of it being firmly lodged in there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I think I must be going about this the wrong way.

Safely home after the Authors After Dark conference (details later), I found some less-than-favorable reviews for the Lightworld/Darkworld books. Which got me thinking, as all negative reviews do. I've said this in the past, and I genuinely mean this, that if I read a negative review that actually has something to say ("This book sucks," etc. doesn't give me much to ruminate over), I think about it for a while and can usually see where they're coming from. In fact, I usually take more away from negative reviews than positive ones with gentle criticisms in them, because I am, if nothing else, an ego snowball rolling downhill at breakneck speeds, crushing little skiing villages in my wake and collecting them up like some nightmare Katamari, and so the valid critiques offered in a good review are usually lost in the highly immature celebration dance of "Yay, someone liked it."

Yes, there is actually a dance.

The negative reviews I've been seeing for Queene of Light and Child of Darkness seem to have a couple of issues in common, the one that concerns me today being that the protagonists are unlikeable somehow. I am not unfamiliar with this criticism. When I was writing Blood Ties, the number one complaint in most negative reviews was that the reader did not like Carrie. And they usually didn't like her for exactly the same reasons that I did like her, but I was able to write that off as a "to each his own" kind of situation. Now that it's cropping up in my new series, I'm thinking a little bit more about the notion of "liking" a character. As in, how much should a reader expect to like a character, and how much effort can an author expend to write a character who is likeable before the book becomes unrealistic?

I started making up a mental brain list of books I've read where I either didn't like the main character. Not hated them, because I don't think I've ever read something I would consider a good book with a protagonist I absolutely hated. But I came up with a list of characters I was definitely "meh" on. I realized that, for the most part, I've never truly thought a Stephen King protagonist was someone I would care to meet in real life, and I find Neil Gaiman's main characters pretty obnoxious. The latter saddened me, because I'm fairly sure that Neil Gaiman's main characters are all some subtle variation on Neil Gaiman. In some of my favorite books, I wouldn't call the main character someone I liked, as in, I do not daydream about one day walking through the mall with them, swinging our shopping bags and sipping on Jamba Juice smoothies. But none of the books on my list, aside from Gaiman, were what I would call fantasy or romance.

In fact, when I started thinking of books where my enjoyment was directly affected by how I viewed the main character, my thoughts on the subject took a sharp left turn into genre town. I can't even begin to think of all the romances I stopped reading because I could not like the heroine or hero. And fantasy, well, I've definitely had some wall-banger episodes directly linked to the preciousness of fantasy protagonists. Readers of romance and fantasy typically want to insert themselves into the story, to have those feelings of falling in love or having an adventure. There's nothing wrong with that, it's basically what the genre is there for. It's hard to lose yourself to those feelings when you're thinking, "I would never do or say that."

Still, at what point does one cross the line from being true to the character they've created and just delivery fan service? I can think of a couple of series where the main character wasn't necessarily doing what I would in various situations, and I was okay with it. I would go online and find out that other readers felt the same way, and then the next book or two would come out and the character had done a complete 180, usually having to do with the love interest or number of love interests. And when I and other readers got what we thought we wanted, we complained that the series was "going downhill." Looking back, the authors weren't doing what was right for the characters, they were doing what the fans wanted. I firmly believe this. And once they did that, the character was no longer the same person, and the series wasn't as enjoyable.

I think there has to be some kind of a difference between a character that a reader doesn't like, or can't connect with, and a character whose actions make no sense within the context of the story. Both characters are unlikeable, but one is unlikeable because he or she has a personality trait that the reader can't get along with, and the other is unlikeable because they're stupid or unaware and make the story less enjoyable overall. I don't know exactly where that line is, and I'm not going to pretend that my characters are firmly on one side or the other. But it is something for writers to think about. Should we try to create characters the readers will like, or should we use the ones that just seem to show up and fit into the story?

Tomorrow, I might have more thoughts on this, and a small update on the vampire book I'm writing for Mira.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One of the funnest parts about writing is that you get to create whole new people out of thin air, and not have to do that pesky pregnancy/parenting thing. Unfortunately, one of the frustrating parts is that these people will never live in the real world the way they live in your mind. You can give people a close approximation, like how I tell everyone that Nathan looks just like Gerard Butler; he does, but not totally. There are things about him that just look like Nathan. What I should be telling people is that someone might mistake Nathan for Gerard Butler if they ran into him in the street, but upon closer examination they would realize that his nose is a little less straight, and his eyes are a different shape, and when he smiles, he doesn't show as many teeth. Little details.

It was fun to work on Blood Ties because it lasted so long. I was writing those books for five years. That's longer than some people stay at one job, and I got to make my coworkers as mild or as irritating as I wanted to. I'm not one of those writers who believes the characters can get away from you and become their own people, but I do believe they took turns that I had subconsciously planned while consciously planning against them. Like Cyrus refusing to leave the story, or be the villain I had imagined to be. And like Carrie not falling head-over-heels for Nathan as she did in the first draft.

But again, it's frustrating, because you're never able to accurately convey to people what you're thinking or seeing in your head. I will go so far as to say that even the very best writers probably get fan letters from people that make them scratch their heads and say, "Wait, what are they talking about? That isn't what [insert character here] is like at all!" because there is only so much power in the written word. If you tried to write an accurate description of your best friend, you'd still only be painting about 25% of the picture.

Then, there are the details that the reader can't help but add in for you. We all do this when we're reading, I'm sure. I know there have been times that I've read a book and been so sure that a character had dark hair, then been completely stunned to run across a description of sunlight picking out golden highlights in her blonde hair. It doesn't matter if the first line of the very first page is, "Jane Heroine was a blonde girl. Blonde, blonde, blonde." Somehow, I got a different impression in my head.

Today, on VH1, I saw the closest physical approximation of Cyrus as I have ever seen. I'd been telling people that I'd based his appearance on a young Julian Sands. That's partially true. In fact, I had drawn him up in my mind before I came up with the "young Julian Sands" description, and that actor was the only one who fit my mental picture with enough clarity to be added to my "Book of Wonder," the binder where I keep pictures of all of my characters. But let's see how our ideas of how Cyrus looked stack up. This is the young gentleman that made me actually stop what I was doing and think, for a really crazy second, "wait, did Cyrus join a band?"



Does this guy look exactly like Cyrus looked in my head? Not exactly. But damned close. And I bet he doesn't look anything like the way you imagined from my description of him.

Isn't it funny how the mind works?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"This is what happens when you bring the trash to the party."

Episode four of The Vampire Diaries. Lord, give me strength.

Elena is peacefully dreaming when a loud banging wakes her up. She stumbles blearily into the hallway, assuming that it's Jeremy making all the noise. This is a fair assumption, considering how drunk he was in the last episode. There is the requisite fast-moving shadow, and Elena goes into the living room to see that the television has come on, and the news is reporting live on her death from an animal attack. Except, on the tv, the "live" report is happening during the day time, and it's still night outside. So, she must be dreaming. I guess Damon will show up now and-- OH THERE HE IS. He chases her through the house, every door she opens leads to him, every where she turns, he's waiting, it's all very tense if you don't know that she's going to wake up and be fine. Then, she wakes up and-- oh, wait, no, it's not her dream, it's Stefan's dream. Very tricky, VD, very tricky. Damon is watching Stefan sleep, and he asks if he had a nightmare. Judging from the way he woke up, I'm pretty sure the answer is, "No, I came in my sleep." But he doesn't say that. Damon makes fun of Stefan for being such a hard sleeper, because his reflexes would totally be sharper if he was drinking human blood. Stefan's answer to this is to throw a letter opener at Damon and stab him in the chest. Damon tells Stefan that the mystery of the animal attacks has been solved because the police captured a mountain lion. Everyone buys this, because it's common knowledge that mountain lion bites look exactly like human teeth imprints, and also they drain the blood from their victims and flee into the night. Good work, CSI: Mystic Falls. Damon tells Stefan that he's staying, and just get used to it, you whiny bitch. Then he stabs him with the letter opener. Thanks, Damon! Stefan weakly insists that Damon can't mess with Elena because of the vervain necklace, and Damon points out that it only means he can't mess with her head. But her head isn't what he's after, you dig, Stefan? While recovering from his brutal letter opener wound, Stefan writes in his diary. The one that had its security compromised last week. Because it's always prudent to write your deepest thoughts and feelings down and put them somewhere that your greatest enemy can find them.

At Elena's house, Elena and Aunt Jenna are watching the news about the mountain lion, and Aunt Jenna tells Elena that she apparently used to bang the local anchorman. Oh, and she still looks way younger than Elena. Of course, Elena is polishing silver like a little old lady at this point, so it's not difficult to look like a wild and wacky teenager in comparison. What the hell, Elena? Dinner parties, polishing silver? Turns out, she's polishing antiques, Gilbert family heirlooms that she promised to donate to the town's historical society. Jeremy starts pawing through them and musing aloud about how much drugs he could buy with the net value he's sister has already polished, then gets offended when Elena doesn't trust him with the stuff. Why wouldn't she trust her kid brother who is dealing drugs and starting fights and talking about selling the family jewels on eBay? Gosh, Elena, soften that shell and learn to love.

So, Stefan comes over. Every time he shows up at Elena's door, he's doing this creepy, big-faced lean down thing, like he's impersonating Matthew Perry on Friends or something. I don't get it, but apparently it really rings Elena's bell, because they start making out right there. It's okay, because Jeremy is busy pawning their family silver and Aunt Jenna is bitterly stress eating to the sound of her former conquests doing the weather, so neither of them notice. In fact, the rules in this house are so non-existent that Elena and Stefan can full out dry hump on her bed with the door open. Stefan gets all vamped out, but he manages to get it under control before Elena can see. Elena assumes he was about t-minus two seconds from lift off, if you get my drift, and says they should probably cool off a minute. And just to make sure any lingering wood is thoroughly chopped down, she invites him to a fancy dress event at the mayor's house. Some kind of Founder's Day thing. Stefan is a little cagey, but then Elena plays the dead parent card and he pretty much has to cave.

At Caroline's house, she tries on clothes while Damon criticizes her. Damon wants to go to the party, but Caroline thinks it's a bad idea, until Damon whammys her into inviting him. While this is going on, Damon reads Twilight. No, really. This character absolutely knows, at this point, that he's in a bad television show. He must. It is at this point we learn that Caroline is completely aware that Damon is a vampire. They discuss Damon's magic ring that keeps him from burning alive when the sun hits him, and the fact that he's going to kill Caroline when he's done with her. Clearly, Damon has whammied Caroline's brain into a fine paste, because she's totally okay with this.

At the bar downtown, Tyler and his parents, who are apparently the mayor and first lady of Mystic Falls, enjoy their family dinner out and discuss the fact that football season is pretty much over, since Mr. Tanner is worm food now and there's no one else to coach. Which I guess pretty much wraps up the football plot line. We'll have to see. I'm assuming the school year will have to be over, too, because Mr. Tanner was the only teacher there. Vicki comes by to wait on them, and Tyler doesn't introduce her to his parents, which visibly pisses Vicki off. Looks like it's time to break up with him for the 1,987th time today and go back to Jeremy.

Bonnie wants to go to the fancy party, but she doesn't want to go alone. Caroline won't take her, though, because she's already going with Damon. Bonnie confesses that she's freaked out by the whole witch thing, so everyone should just stop bringing it up. Caroline tells Bonnie that she has a secret, and there is this huge build up about it, but we don't get to hear what it is.

Vicky tells Tyler that he treats her like trash. And if he does it like, five or six more times, she's going to seriously consider thinking about being done with him for possibly a week. So, he asks her to come to the big party at his parents' house. Jeremy, predictably, thinks that this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

At Stefan and Damon's nephew's house-- HOLY SHIT, HE HAS A NAME!-- at Zach's house, Damon is musing aloud about why a vampire would bother going to high school, anyway, further proof that he's aware that nothing going on makes any goddamn sense. Zach makes a polite inquiry as to when Damon is going to get the hell up out of there, and Damon reacts by very reasonably choking him nearly to death. I'll be honest in stating that at this point, I was pretty drunk, because I basically drink my way through this show now. So, either Stefan showed up and saved Zach, or Damon let Zach go, but the next thing I knew, Damon was gone and I needed another bottle of Boone's Farm. Zach tells Stefan that he needs to get Damon under control, or it's his ass. Or not. Zach doesn't really have much power in this situation. His uncles have just kind of moved in and decided to take everything over. He's lucky they didn't just kick him out of the house altogether so they'd have more room to do sexy vampire things. "Sorry, Zach, we're turning your room into a den!" Stefan would like to get rid of Damon, but damnit, he's all out of vervain, and it hasn't grown wild in Mystic Falls in years. Apparently, there are no new age shops in Mystic Falls, but that's okay, because Zach has a tidy little home grow operation going on.

Tyler visits Casa de Gilbert because the writers hadn't yet reached the episode quota for scenes of Tyler and Jeremy threatening each other but not really doing anything. Jeremy calls Tyler a dick and Aunt Jenna breaks up the non-fight. And there was totally a point to it all.

Turns out, the secret Caroline told Bonnie was that Stefan was obsessed with Catherine while she was dating Damon, and he totally stole her away. Bonnie relates this information to Elena, who is not having any of it, because she knows that Damon is a total dick. It's too late, though, because Bonnie is back on the hate train to Stefan town.

Damon and Stefan get ready for the party together, because that's exactly the type of activity you engage in with someone you hate. Theirs is a complicated love, everyone.

Elena gets a call from Tyler's mom saying that a pocket watch was missing from the inventory list that came over with the Gilbert family treasures. Because she's not a moron, Elena confronts Jeremy about it, accusing him of stealing it for drug money. Really, he doesn't need to steal money, because we've seen him basically deal in prescription shit up to this point. He probably just takes Aunt Jenna's anti-psychotics when she's miserably watching the evening news and crying into her ice cream about how nobody loves her. Jeremy did take the watch, but not for nefarious purposes. His father had promised it to him before he died, and Jeremy doesn't really dig the idea of it sitting in his worst enemy's house. Elena, being the only one allowed to be sad about her dead parents, takes it anyway.

While Damon and Stefan continue to braid each other's hair or whatever two guys do when they're getting dressed for a party together, I don't know because I'm not a dude, Stefan complains about being a 150-year-old teenager. Damon taunts him about not fucking Catherine when he had the chance, or something like that, and Stefan is all, "How about having a tasty drink of this here vervain?" Damon almost falls for it, but of course he doesn't, because there are like, fifteen minutes left in this episode.

People are arriving at the mayor's house, including Vicki, and Tyler tells her to go ahead and not use the front door. Because he is a gentleman.

Stefan and Zach conspire some more about how to poison the wily Damon, and Zach warns that this little vial of vervain here? This is all we have left, Chippy, so don't screw it up.

Before leaving for the party, Elena gives the pocket watch to Jeremy. I bet he'll sell it on eBay. Just wait until next week.

Caroline and Damon show up at the party, and Caroline's mother, the sheriff, is th-- wait, what? Her mom is the town sheriff? And she didn't care when she heard screaming coming from her daughter's room? No wonder there have been so many homicides in Mystic Falls lately, if the cops don't notice crimes happening their own houses. Caroline's mom gets snarky about Damon, which is rich, considering she's such a absent parent that her daughter can bring guys back to the house for the night like it's no big thing. Caroline gets catty right back and reminds her mom that Mr. Caroline's Mom left her for a dude, then goes back to the party.

Stefan and Elena show up, and Elena checks out the table where her family history is neatly displayed. They talk about Elena's dead parents some more, while Aunt Jenna runs into her old fling, the news guy. News guy wants to exchange cutting banter to up the sexual tension, but AJ is having none of it. Elena takes interest in a framed guest register from the very first founders celebration, and hey there, Damon and Stefan Salvatore signed it, how about that? While Stefan gropes for an answer that isn't, "Well, you see, we're vampires," Damon slides in and explains that he and his brother were named after the original Salvatore brothers. Elena wants to hear more, but Caroline whines about wanting to dance with Stefan. Stefan tells them all, "I don't dance," and I immediately have a flash back to that episode of Angel where Angel imagines himself dancing. Still, Caroline manages to steal Stefan away, and Damon stays with Elena to apologize for trying to kiss her, and then pulls this whole, "I'm in therapy," thing, which makes Elena immediately sympathetic.

On the dance floor, Stefan asks Caroline if Damon told her to dance with him, and, big surprise, yes is the answer. He goes on to ply the underage girl whose cop mom is on the premises with alcohol.

Damon narrates a scene from The Patriot for Elena, only instead of Heath Ledger's girlfriend being trapped in the church, it's Catherine, and Damon and Stefan are Mel and Heath, and they get shot and that movie would have been a lot better with vampires. Elena is like, "Wow, sad story, but I don't want to be involved in your weird family feud shit."

Tyler, still not having allowed Vicki into the house, refuses to dance with her, and Vicki, sitting in the yard in a nice dress while everyone else parties in the house, finally understands that he's embarrassed of her. They begin to argue when Tyler's mom comes over and it seems, for a moment, that she's going to call her son out on treating his girlfriend poorly. Instead, she acts graciously to Vicki until she storms away, then tells Tyler, "This is what happens when you bring the trash to the party." The Vampire Diaries, 47, feminism, 0.

Bonnie sits alone and sad, like all worthless teenage girls without dates should do. The decorative votive on the table spontaneously extinguishes, then lights again while Bonnie stares at it. Bonnie is the firestarter.

After some awkward small talk, Stefan and Elena dance while Damon creepily watches them and tells Caroline to shut up. Caroline is obviously soooo jealous of Elena. [read that last part again in a teen girl voice]

Jenna and the news guy have a super fun conversation about how news guy gate crashed momma Gilbert's funeral, and then they rehash the part of their past relationship where he cheated on her. He wants back into AJ's life, but Auntie J is having none of it. Good for her.

Back on the dance floor, Stefan and Elena reenact Twilight and talk about Catherine some more. Elena thinks Stefan should open up and tell her things, and Stefan completely misses the point and accuses her of falling for Damon's obvious manipulations. He could really avoid the whole argument by just saying, "Yeah, my brother and I used to fight over Catherine and then she died. IN A FIRE. Like the first girl that the original Salvatore brothers fought over. BECAUSE THAT WAS US AND WE'RE VAMPIRES." But he doesn't, and Elena is also having none of it.

Bonnie finally admits to Elena that she's a life ruiner, and Elena is all, "No, it's not the fact that you repeated a rumor to me that I started doubting my boyfriend," even though it's completely obvious that is what happened. Tyler's mom confronts Elena again about the missing watch, and Elena makes up a lame lie that Mrs. Lockwood is totally not believing.

At this point, this is the single longest, most boring party I have ever been to. Everyone is fighting and no one seems to be having a good time. Damon uses Caroline as a lookout while he steals something he hid in the Lockwood home a century or two ago. It's a big, ugly, brownish-orange crystal, which will be very important later.

Market research apparently suggested there weren't enough scenes of a minor character having a fight with an even more minor character, because now it's back to you, news guy, as you try to woo Aunt Jenna despite being the worst boyfriend in history. AJ suggests they do lunch, and the news guy looks way too pleased. Doesn't he know that she just put him in the friend zone?

Bonnie is wandering through the dining room when Mrs. Lockwood berates a busboy for the lack of flameage on the candles. When they both leave, Bonnie decides to test out this, "Am I a firestarter?" theory she has, and is relieved when her concentration doesn't pay off. But when she looks back, the entirety of the dining room is ablaze, and the fire spreads quickly, killing everyone trapped inside the accursed house. Just kidding. She does manage to light some candles, though.

In the bathroom, Caroline gloats to Elena about how handsy Stefan was while they were dancing, and Elena doesn't bother being annoyed because she knows that's just how Caroline rolls. Finally, Caroline's weird scarf slips, and Elena sees the bite mark there. She asks if Damon did that to her, and Caroline is cagey about it.

Let's review the evidence now, shall we: Two strangers come to town and make cryptic remarks about how they've done things or seen things a long time ago, people start dying from bites the to throat, they have the same names as people who lived a century ago who had a girlfriend who died in a horrific fire, their ex-girlfriend died in a horrific fire, they have super fast healing and, oh yeah, one of them is biting Caroline. HOW DOES NO ONE REALIZE THAT THESE GUYS ARE VAMPIRES?

Elena threatens Damon, telling him that if he hurts Caroline again, he'll be in trouble because Caroline's mom is the sheriff. Because sheriff mom really seems to care what's happening in her daughter's life. Elena then apologizes to Stefan and tells him about his brother's biting habit. STILL DOES NOT REALIZE THEY'RE VAMPIRES. Stefan tells Elena that he's handling his brother's wacky behavior, and Elena thinks it's completely shitty that Stefan didn't bother to go to the police when he found out that his brother was beating up Caroline. BUT SHE DOESN'T FIGURE OUT THAT THEY'RE VAMPIRES.

Since Tyler and her are totally off for right now, Vicki shows up at the Gilbert house. It is implied that there will be underage lovin' happening once that front door closes.

Damon is... not too happy about Elena finding out about the bite marks. Caroline argues that it wasn't her fault, and the whole thing put her on the spot, so she didn't have time to defuse the situation. Damon's answer to that is to try and drain her dry, but fortunately for her, Stefan spiked her champagne with vervain. So, why isn't she passed the fuck out in some corner, sleeping it off? Vervain will knock your ass out, and that's not a lie. But let us remind ourselves that this is The Vampire Diaries and not a realistic look at the dangers of herbal remedies. Damon hits the ground like a sack of potatoes and Stefan carries him off, leaving Caroline to bleed to death. Elena finds her, though, and everything is okay, besides the whole freaking and screaming and vampire attack trauma that Caroline is experiencing.

Stefan locks up Damon, and we the view see the after-party at the mayor's house, in which they discuss the missing crystal and reveal that all of them-- Jenna, the news guy, sheriff mom (who apparently doesn't care that her daughter was almost killed, because she's still at the party), and Tyler's parents are all vampire hunters. Which is going to be important later, I'm guessing.