I feel pretty ahead of my time with this experience! (Or thinking of Anne Rice, maybe not.)
The books in question were by L.J. Smith. (My favourites are Daughters of Darkness and Dark Visions.)
So when it was announced that they were making a TV show from L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries, obviously I said 'I am there, there will bells on, sign me and the bells up.'
When I was at Comic Con, they had a special showing of the first episode. There was a girl with long dark hair who was so sad. There was a stalker vampire. There was also a stalker vampire stalking the girl and the stalker vampire. (Vampire Diaries: I will see you that girl and that vampire, Twilight, and I will raise you...)
There were also horror movie crows and horror movie dry ice and two different voices for voice overs as people emo diaried again and again and again.
When the premiere ended, I said to myself: Self, this show is hilariously terrible. It is hilarrible. I will watch it forever.
So I was committed!
But then the show did this miraculous jump, around the episode four mark, into something that I loved. The Twilighty set-up I had mocked (I have nothing against Twilight, but copycats of anything, seldom a good idea!) turned out to be saying 'Look, a show about vampire romance is going to get compared to the most famous vampire romance around, so let's lampshade the comparison and look at it thoughtfully!' The plot moved in a way that would make greased lightning say 'Chill out! Where's the fire?" And the show also murdered characters right and left, a sure way to my heart. (Though there is one death I will never cease to mourn.)
So when it got to the point when I loved all the characters, even the heroine and brooding hero involved in the epic romance (which never happens for me on TV shows) I decided to convert all my friends.
Who said 'But didn't you say that this show was hilarrible?'
'I was so wrong!' I said passionately. 'I see that now!'
I argued for months. But now I have a new weapon. My loving mother has just given me a box set of the first season of The Vampire Diaries.
If I have to descend to hosting a Vampire Diaries party, making red blender drinks and red velvet cupcakes to make my friends watch, I will do it.
But I cannot make the internet cupcakes. So, as I watched the first two episodes with my housemate the Durham Lass, as she screamed and laughed during all the creepy scenes and I said 'It gets better! It's awesome! The dry ice is not a recurring character!', I made this for the internet instead.
All mockery is deeply affectionate.
HORROR MOVIE OPENING CREDITS-TYPE COUPLE ON HORROR MOVIE-STYLE NIGHT DRIVE: Die. Shockingly.
STEFAN: Dear Diary, I am an angsty vampire, writing in his journal about a lady he wants to stalk. Circa 1864, I invented emo.
ELENA: Dear Diary, life is hard. But perhaps it will get easier?
ME: Since Elena is a main character in a TV show, I suspect not.
ELENA: So, sassy best friend, what's new with you?
BONNIE: I'm going to make rash jokes about being psychic, unaware that I am on a TV show about the supernatural and I am soon to be - Ahhhhh, crow!
CAR: screeches to a halt
BONNIE: I did not psychically predict that crow violating many traffic regulations.
ELENA: 'Scuse me, I gotta go rough up my brother in the school men's room.
BONNIE: Well, I don't have a brother. For which, on this show, I say praise Jesus. I'm just going to stand about and watch the new boy vampirically hypnotising the receptionist.
ELENA: Jeremy, taking drugs, how could you!
JEREMY: I'm very confused. I'm going through a lot of changes! In the books I was your four year old sister!
ME: Elena's emo diarying distracted me until later from the fact she is the kind of girl who will storm into a men's bathroom and dish out hell by the urinals.
STEFAN: Elena, girl of my heart and journal! I never thought we would meet in such a way! And more specifically in such a place as a men's room. When I planned it in my journal we were in a ballroom and you were wearing organdie, but nevertheless, hello, I love you!
ELENA: Hey, cutie.
JEREMY: Vicki, wild child girl I have been hooking up with over the summer, I am sure you were not using me for ready access to drugs!
VICKI: Yeah, about that...
ELENA: Imma go write in my journal in a graveyard. I get this sense that my new guy is really into emo.
VAMPIROUS FIGURE: invokes the power of crow and the even more mystical power of dry ice
ELENA (running flat out and smack into Stefan): Are you stalking me?
STEFAN: Elena! No! Never! Only in the sense of 'following you around, cataloging your every move, hoping you will love me!'
STEFAN: Dear Diary, I spoke to Elena today, in real life and not my head! But then she showed me a cut on her leg, and I was so weak and she smelled so delicious and I had to run away. I am so miserable. I have written a poem about it. Well, two lines. Elena's hard to rhyme with. 'I'm a monster Elena! Gonna drink me a cocktail vervain-a!'
MYTHOLOGICAL MOMENT: Vervain is deadly to these vampires, like sunlight without their magic bling.
STEFAN: Hi Elena, just wanted to return your diary.
ELENA: How did you know where I live? Did you read my diary?
STEFAN: Elena I would never so invade your privacy. And I know where you live because I've been following you around cataloging your every move hoping you will love me for months, God, keep up.
ZACH: Uncle Stefan! I don't know whether to be more disturbed about the fact I think you're brutally killing people or the fact that I, clearly in my mid-thirties, address you as 'Uncle' and yet know you are romantically stalking a bereaved child in high school.
STEFAN: Please knock when you enter a room, I was changing for my first high-school party.
CAROLINE: Hi Stefan, welcome to the party! May I direct you to another party? In perhaps, my pants?
STEFAN: Caroline, Caroline, quit embarrassing yourself, your face isn't on the posters.
ME: Oh no, show, you don't want me to hate Caroline because she's blonde and gossipy and forward with the gentlemen, do you? Because none of those things are bad things, show, please don't be gross, show...
ELENA: In other party chit-chat, this one time my parents drove off a bridge and died, I was in the back seat and lived.
STEFAN: That is such a surprise to me. I am in no way aware of every detail of your life. In no way.
ELENA: My relationship with Matt? Well, it was just lacking in sizzle. Because you see what really gets my motor running is a man with a furrowed brow, a dark past and a diary.
STEFAN: Oh God, why do vampire hots show in the eyes and not the pants? WHY THE EYES AND NOT THE PANTS?
ELENA: Stefan, are you having some sexy trouble with your contact lenses?
TYLER: Vicki, my best friend Matt's sister, how about we have sex up against this tree?
TYLER: Sorry, what was that word?
ME: It is lucky for him the actor who plays Tyler is mentally cast for me as one of my book characters, so I am inexplicably fond! However, this is a highly personal reaction, and everyone else may feel ready to hate Tyler at will.
VICKI: Party's off to a wonderful start, molested up against a tree, what's next, vampiiiiiires augh augh augh.
JEREMY: So I found Vicki in the woods bleeding from the neck?
STEFAN, in midst of crowd: I am in no way responsible for this shocking crime, and wish to appear entirely innocent. But er... I just remembered I left the iron on.
ZACH: Another attack, Stefan? Why do you keep attacking people? Why do I keep yelling at a vampire I think is an out-of-control murderer? I have so many questions!
STEFAN: I have a suspect. He is about yea tall, killer cheekbones, killer one-liners. Killer pretty much covers it.
DAMON: Did someone mention me? Hiii.
DAMON: We're brothers. Let's do it together.
STEFAN: PLEASE CLARIFY THAT VERY DISTURBING STATEMENT.
DAMON: Kill people! Like especially your new girlfriend.
STEFAN: How about I tackle you through a window?
DAMON: How about I mock you and steal your ring, the only thing that protects you from certain death by sunlight?
STEFAN: Why can't I have nice things?
DAMON: Because I live only to torment you. Nobody is safe. I am death who walks the night. Here is your ring back right away, I'm not even going to pretend to keep it from you, stay safe my precious baby brother. There is not one ounce of feeling in my murderous heart! Smoke, mirrors! Mirrors, smoke! Many strange facial expressions! Several hand gestures! What did you get from this interaction?
STEFAN: ... You are evil incarnate?
VICKI: I was attacked by a vampire!
MATT: I see the hospital gave you the good drugs.
CAROLINE: You know what sucks, Bonnie? Not being the main character. You always lose in comparison to her! She always does the right thing! The boys always like her as if by magic! The narrative validates her actions!
BONNIE: As the regulation loyal best friend, I cannot comment on this.
ME: Oh my God, we aren't meant to dislike Caroline. Which is lucky because now I love her.
CAROLINE: I wonder if my self-esteem problems will ever lead me to a really bad place.
DAMON: Did someone mention me? Hiii.
STEFAN: When a vampire likes a girl...
ELENA: And a girl likes a vampire...
STEFAN: Sometimes they've just got to express their feelings...
ELENA: In the most profound and moving way possible...
STEFAN & ELENA: Diary-writing in sync
HORROR MOVIE OPENING CREDITS-TYPE COUPLE ON HORROR MOVIE-STYLE CAMPING TRIP IN WOODS: Die. Shockingly.
STEFAN: Dear Diary, yesterday I had an amazing conversation with Elena-
ELENA: Since the previous episode gave no sign we could connect on a meaningful level-
STEFAN: You might wonder why you didn't see some of this conversation-
ELENA: But it was cut to make room for more diary entries.
CRUEL HISTORY TEACHER OF CRUELTY: Elena, how about telling me some dates in history class?
STEFAN: Have I got some dates for you.
ELENA: Stefan, that was amazing! Like you have actually lived through the last century of history!
STEFAN: Suggesting I am a vampire is totally absurd, Elena! Obviously I got all the dates from, uh, crossword puzzles. The numerical crossword puzzles of the undead.
JEREMY: I'm going to kill you if you hurt Vicki.
TYLER: Oddly, I'm pretty chill about death threats. Do you think I have a dark supernatural secret or a troubled home life?
EXTRA: Hard to say. I'd bet on both.
MATT: Was that Stefan Salvatore I just saw speeding from my sister Vicki's hospital room of vampire hypnosis into the blood donation clinic?
STEFAN: Damn you, cruelly ironic hospital buffet!
JENNA: Well, bringing up children who are my age, one of whom is addicted to drugs and one of whom is dating a vampire, is a challenge, but-
CRUEL HISTORY TEACHER OF CRUELTY: It's impossible!
JENNA: No, I mean, I can do it-
CRUEL HISTORY TEACHER OF CRUELTY: You can't do it unless you say it's impossible. VERY impossible.
JENNA: Isn't that sort of like saying someone is an undead vampire?
CRUEL HISTORY TEACHER OF CRUELTY: I'm not here for sense, Jenna. I'm here for cruelty.
CAROLINE: How about you jump Stefan like you're a lion and he's an antelope, Elena?
BONNIE: Caroline, this is a show with a teen demographic, we can't be sex positive right away!
ELENA: You know what? I THINK I WILL.
DAMON: Elena! Good to meet you! Now I have somebody besides my brother to indulge in my favourite hobby with.
ELENA: Ahhhhhh! Good-looking stranger in Stefan's house, why are you standing so close to me?
DAMON: I just told you why. I love personal bubbles. I love the popping sound they make as I lean in close enough to lick people I have not yet been introduced to.
ME: Sometimes it seems like Damon is operating in a different reality from everyone else on the show, one in which he alone has seen the official promotional posters Wait, what do I mean, sometimes?
ELENA: Um okay. Is Stefan in?
DAMON: Yes! Very much in love with his former girlfriend Katherine. Wait - have I misunderstood your question?
STEFAN: Hi Elena. Bye Elena.
STEFAN: Elena! Can you not see I am occupied staring at my brother with the weight of a century's disapproval, fear, horror and love?
ELENA: So on the downside, obvious crazy. But on the upside, genetic jackpot. I hope our kids get the Salvatore cheekbones.
STEFAN: Damon, what are you doing here?
DAMON: Invading your personal space?
STEFAN: More generally than that.
DAMON: I'm doing evil!
STEFAN: Less generally than that.
MATT: Who hurt you, Vicki?
VICKI: I was attacked by an animal!
MATT: What kind of animal?
VICKI: Ummmm. The animal-y kind.
STEFAN: That comet is like a lonely vampire whose evil brother is stalking him, and who just wants to love you, Elena.
ELENA: Well, I guess if all you can talk about is the weather, you're just not that into me.
VICKI: Damon, you look real familiar.
DAMON: Oh, Stefan, you are the worst hypnotiser in the world. What kind of animal attacked you in the woods, Vicki?
VICKI: Ummm. The animal-y kind.
JEREMY: So Vicki seemed really happy with me when I gave her some drugs, but now she's disappeared?
ELENA: Jeremy, are you giving people drugs in exchange for money?
JEREMY: No, no. In exchange for sex.
VICKI: I am being menaced by a vampire on the edge of a roof. I am so glad I got high first.
STEFAN: Let her go!
DAMON: Are you really feeding me a line like that, Stefan, really? Also, look at her delicious neck. You must start eating right, I worry about you! What if she exposes you as a vampire, huh, huh? How about then, will you eat her then?
STEFAN: Let her tell everybody and the townspeople slaughter me. I do not even care.
DAMON: How about I just wipe her memory and let her live and nothing bad happens to you at all, then? That'll show you!
STEFAN: You MONSTER! What is your SATANIC PLAN?
JENNA: Sometimes I worry I'm a bad guardian.
ELENA: No way, you're excellent. By the way, I have to go off to a mysterious location in the dead of night.
JENNA: You have fun now!
STEFAN: Sometimes you talk to a girl offscreen and the conversation is just so amazing and life-changing, everybody wishes it was onscreen so they could believe in your relationship, but it's not and anyway let's face it, I was obsessed with you before we ever spoke but I can't tell you that so let's pretend the talking mattered, and-
ELENA: Kiss me, you mad fool.
DAMON: Somewhere I can feel Stefan having meaningful physical contact with a lady, I must up my invading personal space game!
CAROLINE: (in her bra, in her bed, on her back) Mr Salvatore, believe me when I say, well played.
DAMON: And now suddenly so peckish.
CAROLINE: Oh man I hate not being the lead charaaaaaargh-
DAMON: Om nom nom.
So there is the first two episodes of the show for you. I already loved Damon and Caroline, which as you can see poses a bit of a dilemma for me, but I promise you I came to love them all. And it was all uphill from there.