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February 01, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-01

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8 - Friday, February 1, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8 - Friday, February 1, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

I
I

COLUMBIA
"Which way is the crowd again?"
A country confession

Arms.
'Vmir iais

loses
Show gets lost in
complicated sire
bond fiasco
By KAYLA UPADHYAYA
ManagingArts Editor
Unless you're dealing with a
one-season wonder, every series,
at some point, hits its slump.
Even the near-
perfect "Friday
Night Lights"
had the Sea- The Vampire
son That ShallD
Not Be Named
(known more Season Four
commonly as Midseason
season two).
Everything Thursdaysat8p.m.
went to shit CW
when Connor
came to "Angel"
in its third season, and even
though it eventually bounced
back, his entrance marks a very
dark time for the series. Who
could ever forget the rogue cou-
gar that forever lingers in our
memories of "24," a seemingly
small detail that nonetheless
dragged the entire season into
stupidity. Every show, eventually,
has its cougar. "The Vampire Dia-
ries" 's cougar? A little magical
blemish called the sire bond.
The end of season three
spurred a complete course
change for "Vampire Diaries," as
Elena (Nina Dobrev) transformed
from the show's central human -
and therefore its moral ground-
ing - into the very thing she
never wanted to be. Becoming a
vampire changed Elena, and the
first several episodes of season
four probe these changes, show-
ing more sides of the character
than we've ever seen before. Her
transformation draws her closer
to Damon (Ian Somerhalder),
who isn't as hell-bent on making
her human again as boyfriend
Stefan (Paul Wesley) is. So Elena
makes the emotionally mature
decision to leave Stefan.
As it turns out, these changes
are mostly just a byproduct of
some stupid sire bond that gives

takes

Elena a creepy, unshakeable
desire to please Damon.
Siring is by no means a new
concept to vamp lore: Fans of
"Buffy" and "Angel" will recall
the quasi-familial, quasi-psy-
chosexual bond forged between
turners and their turnees. It
was an essential component of
Whedonverse mythology, the
link that kept Angelus, Spike,
Darla and Drusilla connected
through centuries.
But in Mystic Falls, the sire
bond doesn't get its first mention
until Klaus and his hybrids show
up, and even then, siring in rela-
tion to vampires emerges out of
nowhere like an uninvited guest.
It's a hackneyed plot attempt
intended to shift the gears on the
ongoing Elena-Stefan-Damon
love triangle that over-occupies
this season's narrative.
Though it has no shortage of
strong female characters, "Vam-
pire Diaries" has always struggled
with Elena. As a human in the
middle of a world of supers, she
sometimes slipped into distressed
damsel debility. In the past, Ele-
na's agency was important to both
the series and to Stefan: Last sea-
son, Stefan's decision to save Matt
first at her insistence ultimately
distinguishes him from Damon,
who wouldn't have hesitated to
save Elena first, even if she asked
him not to. But the sire bond, even
with all the asterisks the writers.
throw after it (it only manifests if
the siree had feelings for the sirer
before the transformation, appar-
ently), threatens the very agency
that makes Elena more than just
someone who needs to be saved.
Despite its current slump, the
season hasn't been a complete
failure. Standout episodes like
"Memorial," a classic TVD tear-
jerker that's as moving as it is
thrilling, and "We All Go A Little
Mad Sometimes," which dips into
the horror genre with wonder-
fully wicked success, reinforce
that the show hasn't entirely lost
itself yet. And the hunt for the
fabled vampire cure so central to
the season's arc works well, as it
affects each and every one of the
characters in the ever-growing

Mystic Falls web, in different and
compelling ways.
But even with these upsides, it
seems that showrunner Julie Plec
has forgotten where the series's
strengths rest. Loyalty and love
have always transcended blood-
lines for these characters, but the
Mystic Falls family is in shambles.
The once beautiful friendship
between Elena, Caroline (Candice
Accola) and Bonnie (Kat Graham)
is nowhere to beseen. When Car-
oline reacts negatively to Elena's
budding romance with Damon,
she's painted as petty - Elena
even goes so far as to slutshame
her for having eagerly slept with
Damon back when he was just the
smirking, mysterious new guy to
town.
Elena acting so out-of-charac-
ter is its own problem, but do Plec
and Co. really think we've collec-
tivelyforgotten abouthowDamon
sexually and physically abused
Caroline in season one? None of
the characters think to mention it,
and the show therefore dismisses
an important aspect of its past,
rejecting the careful character
work behind Caroline. It's unfair
to the character and to Accola,
who so far hasn't been given many
opportunities this season to flex
those immensely powerful acting
muscles we've seenherrock inthe
past.
News of a backdoor pilot for
a Plec-produced TVD spinoff
called "The Originals" couldn't
have come at a better time.
While the arrival of Klaus and
his family of thousand-year-
old baddies propelled "Vampire
Diaries" through some of its best
story work, their complicated
mythology has almost become
too big for Mystic Falls. Perhaps
taking them out of the equation
will be just what "Vampire Dia-
ries" needs to get back to basics.
At the very least, let's hope it
allows Katherine (also played
by Dobrev, in an amazing feat of
duality) to fall back into the fold.
Though Rebekah (Claire Holt)
makes for a fine supremely evil
queen of the undead, life with-
out Katerina Petrova is far too
boring and whiskeyless.

By CHLOE STACHOWIAK
Daily Arts Writer
My best friend came out as a
country fan four months ago.
It was an unplanned confes-
sion, pulled only from her lips
after a series of unplanned cir-
cumstances and events. If Sarah
had it her way, I probably never
would've found out at all - the
secret would have stayed buried
in her iTunes library and stoplight
singing sessions for years to come.
But luck had its way that night,
and the veil of secrecy she'd
always worn didn't stand a chance
against it. Sarah was picking me
up for a party and, by multiple
twists of fate, I didn't take as long
to get ready as I normally do: less
traffic on the way home from the
gym, reheating leftovers instead
of cooking, setting out my outfit
earlier in the day. It was a series
of small shortcuts that shaved
about 10 minutes off my going-out
prep time - Sarah was expecting
to wait 15-20 minutes, but for the
first time in our friendship, I was
ready to go in five.
And it was dark - darker than
a typical moonlit night in August,
and too dark for her to see the
outline of my body advancing
down the driveway to her car. She
had no idea I was coming, and by
the time I opened the door and
climbed inside, it was already too
late. She had no time, no warn-
ing, no opportunity to switch the
radio station before Luke Bryan's
"Country Girls" flooded my ear
canals.
"Sarah, are you listening to
country right now?"
Before you write me off as a
pretentious, melodramatic ass-

hole, I
friends
been n
10 yeas
of shs
ing mi
enough
to ban
lifetim
Yet
time p
hadn't
the tw
the ge
"sk8er'
throug
with Sr
stream
may h
decade
thing w
sucked
But1
soakin;
truck"
enced i
Kei
"Wh
I th
answer
wanted
life -
cowbo
concert
rassed
Her re
fact th
- and
wouldn
Up u
tedly,s

et me briefly explain my was one of those ouher genres of
hip with Sarah. We had music, something dirty and unre-
early inseparable for about latable that defined its listener in a
rs. That's an entire decade way no genre of music could. You
ared secrets, embarrass- can listen to indie, hip hop, jazz
ddle-school memories and and bluegrass and just be some-
blackmail opportunities one who enjoys music, but if you
ish either one of us into a like country, that's it - you're a
e of hiding. "country listener." And "country
in all that time, her long- listener" was a foreign category of
assion for country music person that I was sure I couldn't
come up once - in fact, relate to, whose only prerequisites
'o of us regularly trashed were interest in the CMA Awards
nre, from our 14-year-old and knowing the words to at
" rock days all the way least one Keith Urban chorus.
h inexplicable obsessions But all of this was arbitrary, as
ystem of a Down and main- was my contempt for country in
radio rap. Our music taste the first place. There was noth-
ave changed a lot in that ing inherently bad about the
but there was always one music, yet I was building walls
ee could agree on: Country and bitter judgments between
1. myself and something I didn't
there we were in her Buick, know the first thing about.
g up more fiddles and "big We listened to a lot of coun-
references than I'd experi- try music together that sum-
n a lifetime. mer, and while I was reluctant at
the beginning, I'll be the first to
admit that I almostenjoyed some
n e of it. It wasn't my genre of choice
d 7 by any means, but it wasn't the
sn't so bad. anti-Christ of the music world,
either - I eventually learned
the words to "Red Solo Cup,"
swayed to the pensive keyboard
sy didn't you tell me?" keys in Kenny Chesney's "Come
ink I already knew the over" and (hesitantly) tapped
, though. It wasn't that she my toe to Greg Bates's "Did It for
Ito conceal this part of her the Girl." And I barely flinched
the Brad Paisley CDs, the when, three weeks later, my
y boots, the Garth Brooks mom admitted to being a coun-
ts - or that she was embar- try fan, too.
about it in the slightest. Because you know what?
servation lay more in the Once you swallow the fiddles
at I was a judgmental jerk and twang - along with your
honestly, if I were her, I own music elitism - country
't have told me either. isn't all that bad.
sntil that point (and admit- Just don't tell anyone I'm say-
some time after), country ing this.

0
I

Experiencing the world
through meaningful travel

By TEHREEM SAJJAD
DailyArts Writer
It's 5 a.m. in the morning
and your alarm clock has just
snatched away an exquisite
dream. You attempt to open your
eyes, but all you see is gauzy
darkness. For a few seconds, you
manage to convince yourself
that your wakefulness is a mis-
take, and therefore, you simply
go back to sleep. But then, you
roll over and your eyes fall on
the zippered suitcase that you
placed by your bed before get-
ting under the covers. You yawn
loudly and let outa sleepy groan:
You're going to the airport.
Outside in the cold, you wait
soberly before the orange glare
of a streetlight for your taxi to
arrive. The taxi is late. Once
you're on your way to the air-
port, the taxi driver gets lost.
Now you're nervous because
your flight leaves in an hour.
Finally, you arrive at the airport.
You hurtle towards Terminal C,
your wheeled suitcase half sus-
pended in the air so that you can
wait in a long security line. Your
belt buckle sets off the metal
detector, and your Dior perfume
bottle is confiscated.
You arrive at the gate, but
the storm has already come and
gone: You missed your flight.
Now, you're stuck in Terminal
C for the next 223 minutes, your
only source of consolation is a
cup of caffeine and a McGrid-
dle sandwich. You'll miss your
connecting flight and wait - in
a different city, with the same
menu - for another plane. And
then, 20 some hours later, you'll

get wh
Why
people
rounde
in the
feet of.
some.
malls
nirs a:
ings b
of mod
packed
planes
getting
we tra
We set
tatives
mother
ing. Ac
Service
ness tr
United
isn't
we tra
becaus
throug
weighe
being:
home
always

ere you need to be. worldly issues, we turn to books
y do we travel? For most to lose ourselves in their pages.
sitting in a plane, sur- Reading sprinkles a little change
ed by another 100 people in our thoughts and gives us the
vicinity of 200 square time needed away from the real
airplane space is cumber- world. Traveling has the power
Strolling through airport to do the same, but to a much
selling useless souve- greater extent.
nd getting X-ray screen- When we travel, we open our
rings out the sad reality eyes and our hearts to embrace
lernity. Yet, here we are, the world around us. We take
I in great numbers onto in more information about the
that don't seem to be world than a newspaper can
any larger. Sometimes, accommodate. Traveling pro-
vel because we have to. vides us with time to think about
rve as business represen- our lives and ourselves: It gives
or we miss eating our us time for the tiny moments in
r's turkey at Thanksgiv- our lives when we can peek into
cording to Frequent Flyer our own hearts and see what's
e, three percent of busi- really there when no one is look-
avelers fly outside of the ing.
States. Thus, most travel My point is that by changing
non-negotiable. Instead, your location, you can convert
vel because we want to; one single noun into a new web
e the hassle of going of associations. There is only so
h airport security is out- much that you can take from a
:d by the intrinsic thrill of place where you've spent your
somewhere new; because entire life or even a few good
is boring and Italy will years, because sooner or later,
be Italy. you'll reach a point when none
of those places or the people will
teach you something new or dif-
hat crowded feThis is what traveling can do
airplane is for us; it's an authentic recipe
that lets you experience the
Worththe world hands-on. It compels you
to pause, to look more closely
adventure. and deeply at all the tiny details,
it lets you linger and reflect
on unexpected situations and
to soak up everything that an
vel is a basic human experience has to offer. There
a desire to lose ourselves. are a lot of different aspects of
e ways, traveling is simi- this world that are unique, but
reading a novel. Some- it's traveling that holds at its
when overwhelmed with heart the spirit of uniqueness.

JENNA MARONEY, LIZ LEMON,
KENNETH THE PAGE AND ALL
OUR FRIENDS AT STUDIO 6H
MAY BE GONE...
BUT GREAT TELEVISION WILL LIVE ON.
APPLY TO BE A TV/NEW MEDIA WRITER FOR DAILY
ARTS AND MOURN WITH US.
E-mail arts@michigandaily.com to request an application.

TI

Trav
desire:
In som
lar to
times,

A

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