Jess Mariano had me at “huh” and Tyler Lockwood had me at “we people”.
These tiny snarky moments, delivered with perfect comic timing by Milo Ventimiglia and Michael Trevino, first hooked me on these guys, who quickly became my soul mates for two of my favourite TV girls of all time, Rory Gilmore and Caroline Forbes.
These guys represent messiness and the unknown for our girls, control freak overachievers who deny that their true equal and match is right in front of them, because they’re too busy trying to plan out their lives perfectly, and make their love lifes with Good Boy Woobies Dean Forester and Matt Donovan fit into the perfect ideal relationshipI think they could never have with them (click here for my rant about this trope that I sourced back to the days of Dawson Forehead Leery).
Jess and Tyler are TV characters who make me fangirl like no others (aside from Logan Echolls in seasons one and to a slightly lesser extent season two of Veronica Mars, and Damon Salvatore because Ian Somerhalder there are no words!).
That might seem strange, since these characters aren’t typically appealing. They are Bad Boys but their assholery is in no way charming, in fact they are intriguing to me IN SPITE OF many of their bad traits and less than sympathetic first impressions on screen (it also doesn’t hurt that I dig dark hair more than fair/light brown hair in RL – hey, I am honest about my superficial prejudices! – I don’t mean to but I definitely have a dark hair kink. Jensen Ackles is an exception to this rule).
Them getting their just desserts for being jerks, like Jess getting attacked by a swan, amuses me to no end despite my ❤
They’re called on their flaws regularly by the writers (labelled as tools, jerks, and deservedly so), INCLUDING by the girls they love. Objectively, I completely understand how members of fandom can violently hate these boys. I also know my opinion that Matt and Dean are controlling, passive-aggressive and beneath my beloved girls (though I LOVE Jared Padalecki and it has always pained me that I hate this character of his so) is a divisive one in Vampire Diaries and Gilmore Girls fandoms. Though Dean has more sympathy from me than Matt, for sure 😉
Caring about Tyler/Jess deeply is not the same thing as me justifying their errors in judgment, or being unaware of their deep flaws. But even at their worst, something brings me back to them, and the more I think about the Caroline/Tyler and Rory/Jess ships, especially in comparison to Matt/Caroline and Rory/Dean, the more I find that they have common denominators that explain why they both just plain work for me so much.
It is interesting that Tyler and Jess are incredibly polarising characters, inciting both passionate love but also immense disdain. The funny thing is, this gamut of emotions makes perfect sense to me, and is part of their attraction for me.
I’m planning to write a massive Tyler = Jess? meta partway into Vampire Diaries season three, analysing how Tyler/Caroline are playing out as a couple as compared with Rory/Jess, since this is the make or break season for both couples after a year of incredible build up.
In the meantime, I just knew I needed to fangirl with fellow Jess/Tyler, and Tyler/Caroline and Jess/Rory lovers, particularly those gnawing their fingernails off in anticipation of Tyler crossing the line from friends into something more.
This means that spoilers ahoy below! I have hopes, fears and fannishly obsessed tips for the Vampire Diaries writers on how I hope they handle TC, which could make up for the scarring experience of s3 Gilmore Girls, something that almost turned me off shipping for good after the shredder Rory/Jess were put through.
Don’t worry if you want to stay unspoiled. Like I said, I’ll be revisiting this meta after we are through a good portion of season three Vampire Diaries, to see which of my hopes/fears come to pass.