Things are turbulent at the moment when it comes to the Tyler/Caroline/Matt triangle and character debates.
Tyler and Caroline are fresh from testing out the theory of whether it is possible for vampirism and werewolfism to be sexually transmitted.
Shipper wars for Matt/Caroline versus Tyler/Caroline have long erupted across various battlefronts around the internet, but in the wake of this monumental moment in Vampire Diaries verse, Matt and Matt/Caroline love has shown itself in ways that I can no longer ignore.
When I first owned up to my Michael Trevino tendencies, Tyler biases and Tyler/Caroline inclinations, expressing my desire to see Vampire Barbie and Teen Wolf go to prom together, I knew that I was putting myself in the trenches of these battles. I knew that the potential casualties would be occasional lapses in maturity and common decency towards (human) man and mashed potatoes (TM Price).
But never did I think that I would fly the white flag when it comes to having a sense of perspective when it comes to Matt/Caroline or the basic human dignity of Matt, and his right as a fictional character to not be constantly on the receiving end of the blogging equivalent of a werewolf cocking its leg on a fire hydrant. Especially as by definition of being a fictional character he cannot defend himself.
Clearly, my judgment has been clouded by the sight of the bb vamp and bb were going at it like two horny Tasmanian Devils in a cyclone and my appreciation of the contours of Trevino’s ass, which among other things when it comes to this couple seem to make my mind work in ways it never has before, many of them inappropriate and possibly illegal in certain Australian states.
So here is my open letter of apology to Matt and Matt/Caroline lovers who may have been offended by my deep desire to see Vampire Barbie in a happy, fulfilling relationship with someone who would tell her “everything you need, I’m here” as opposed to “I told you I loved you, what more do you need”, plus my rampant belief that Trevino’s body is a temple that should be worshipped on a regular basis. Because obviously my enjoyment of Tyler must always mean I only ever see him through rose coloured glasses, and that my critique of Matt/Caroline must stem only from my shipper/Tyler-loving heart and not a clear-headed judgment of the way Matt comes across to me when he is with my favourite blonde vampire. It’s not like I have devoted thousands of words analyzing why the Tyler/Caroline relationship works for me in ways the Matt/Caroline one does not, or that I could dislike a character for embodying the traits of jerks I’ve seen in real life who get away with treating certain girls like Placeholders just because they are so-called Good Guys.
Consider this my Matty Blue Eyes mea culpa for all the ways in which I have inflicted libelous indictments on this character.
I can only shake my head at how I have reveled in the blatant mockery of this character or indeed even contributed to this harmful discourse, including in my darker moments saying that for me, Matt is the mule to Tyler’s unicorn. Take the Mystic Love Convention for instance, where both Ian Somerhalder and Michael Trevino made jabs about how it was unlikely Matt would be getting any sexytimes action because he would be too busy working in the Mystic Grill. Or Price Peterson likening Matt’s countenance to an integral part of one of the five food groups. Or the frequenters at the Captain Cardboard The Tool thread. Like a fangirl savage, I delighted in this public evisceration of a character whose relationship with Caroline has caused me to gleefully engage in fandom discussions that if Damon decided to randomly de-heart him, I would probably be ok with that.
I was initially derisive of commentators who claimed that the Tyler and Caroline sex went on for too long, because I couldn’t believe that with all that Trevino and Accola skin on screen they could have the presence of mind to clock them in that scene. I thought it was fair enough if people thought the pair lacked chemistry, because this is a very subjective quality – like beauty, chemistry is all in the eye of the beholder. But undercutting a highly anticipated sex scene with critique about its length reeked of award subtext for me, of disgruntled Matt lovers bashing Tyler and Caroline under a cloak of legitimacy that “I love Tyler and Caroline, REALLY, but that sex scene was too long”.
I wanted to lash out in childish ways, like getting these people to watch the scene in Gilmore Girls where Jess Mariano says: “wow, you seem very obsessed with length.” I just couldn’t fathom that Tyler and Caroline were too big for some, as Eric Northman apparently also is.
Upon further personal reflection and soul searching, I realized that I was far too harsh. After all, the athleticism on display in that sex scene could easily make you think they were at the Baby Supe Olympics. So getting out a stopwatch to see how long the scene took makes sense, really. I can only assume that points were also considered for upmount, dismount, and sex faces – the latter which would not be a high contributor to the overall sexiness score, what with so many people thinking Trevino was in pain in early promos of the sex. Here I thought sex scenes should be measured by chemistry and the beauty/appropriateness of the filming alone, but I have learned that their worth can also be quantified by factors like time (which I thought really only relevant if there if anything is premature or too short). I have never been the same since this revelation.
Other commentators were uncomfortable at the sight of two people in love/with strong feelings making love with obvious pleasure and rigor, with some saying that it made watching the episode with their kids uncomfortable, even though within these critiques abject violence like a woman plummeting to her death didn’t warrant a mention about inappropriateness of content. I shook my head in dismay at the prudish double standards of a violence and sex-drenched culture where seeing two people coming together in a loving way that was edited according to 8pm broadcast TV standards, warranted a talk to the kids, but poor Andie’s fate was something that was just a matter of course.
I realise now that I have my gutter mind to blame, and the only thing I can say in my defense is that I have obviously been influenced far too much by Vampire Diaries promotions that use sex as selling point, as seen in the Catch VD and Got Wood? campaigns, after which my Got Forwood recaps were named. Clearly I have been confused about the sexual content of this show being a given, with the marketing messages we’ve been receiving.
Most of all, I apologise sincerely that I don’t subscribe to conveniently revisionist history of canon. How dare I think that some things are objective fact, whereas others are open to interpretation? Like my colossal gall at having my mouth hang open when I see Tyler bashing that includes saying that he doesn’t deserve Caroline because he “handed her over to his werewolf pals” in Daddy Issues. Never mind the scenes where Brady and Jules kidnapped Caroline while Tyler was being held by Stefan, or Tyler being used as a hostage exchange by Stefan, or Tyler saying, “I had no idea they would come for you”. Shame on me for thinking the thing Tyler was at fault for doing was hesitating to help Caroline in his first life/death situation, just after her well-intentioned lies about her complicity in the cover-up of his uncle’s murder had come to light. Shame on me also for not willfully giving into a radical interpretation of the text that involves selective memory, apparently compelled away.
We all have our ghosts, as Matt so aptly explained to Legal to Lust Over (TM Amy) Jeremy Gilbert – or is that Illegal to Not Lust Over, now with his newly jacked body?
I guess my annoyance at Matt is my Vicki and Anna all rolled into one. Ironically, it may be his relatioship forged with Jeremy through facing these literal ghosts that my own spectre will stop haunting me. We shall see.