Jan 19 2009

What’s the appeal of Twilight?

Published by at 10:20 pm under Counterintuitive Success Stories

Just wondering.

16 responses so far

16 Responses to “What’s the appeal of Twilight?”

  1. B. Macon 19 Jan 2009 at 10:30 pm

    My main theory is that it’s a wish-fulfillment fantasy for tween girls, sort of like some comic books are for guys. That would explain why the main character is stunningly attractive, perfect and completely devoid of a personality.

    But if that were the case, I’d expect the protagonist to be a bit tougher and useful instead of spending so much time talking about how perfect her boyfriend is.

  2. B. Macon 19 Jan 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Speaking of cardboard characters serving as wish-fulfillment vessels, please also see our forum “What’s the appeal of The Hulk?

  3. Miusherion 20 Jan 2009 at 7:56 am

    It appeals to pretty much the same audience that swoons for girl-and-her-pony stories. Just replace “pony” with “wooden and devastatingly beautiful vampire who like totally loves meeeee.”

  4. Megson 20 Jan 2009 at 11:53 am

    I think the biggest appeal is the fact that kids these days wouldn’t know good literature if it threw their iPhones off of a bridge. Honestly, that can be the only explanation. I tried reading the series after hearing how popular it was, and was disgusted by the…well, by just about everything contained within the covers.

    Also, the reason “why the main character is stunningly attractive, perfect and completely devoid of a personality” is because the whole series is nothing more than a poorly-veiled self-insert fic for the author. tulook up a picture of Stephenie Meyers and look up a description of Bella.

  5. B. Macon 20 Jan 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Yeah. Except for Pixar movies and Kim Possible, if anything appeals to many 12-year-old girls it more than likely infuriates me. For example, American Idol.

  6. Angeliqueon 20 Jan 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Well, aren’t you all sunshine? 😉 Just to mention it, girls aren’t the only ones who read Twilight, even though they are in majority many guys read them too. The thing about these books is, I think, that they are pretty much Romeo and Juliet minus the unhappy ending. Also I think that Stephenie Meyers writing style with more feelings and dialogue than descriptions may have some part of the whole. Edward is a lot different (by that I mean his personality) than most teenage novel heroes, so that maybe makes a difference?
    I liked the books okay, but they aren’t the best I ever read either.

    Heey, about Bella’s empty personality, maybe that makes it easier for people to imagine themselves in her situation?

  7. B. Macon 20 Jan 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Many guys read Twilight? I don’t have any statistics here, but my impression is that the books were an overwhelmingly-female phenomenon. I imagine the movie probably had more gender parity. (Similarly, the Spiderman movies had a more mixed audience than the Spiderman comic books, which are sold to a heavily male audience).

  8. Holliequon 20 Jan 2009 at 1:23 pm

    The appeal of the first book was that it was incredibly funny. All the things that make the book bad make it hilarious for me.

    I really can’t see why people read it and actually think it’s a great book, though. Apart from anything else, Edward is easily the creepiest love interest I’ve ever seen. Especially in a tween novel. “He watches me whilst I sleep without me knowing! How romantic!” Uhh, no, unless you find stalkers romantic.

    The embarrassing is that my older stepmum and stepsister love this book. Ack. I really don’t see how the first book could make you want to read a second, though.

  9. B. Macon 20 Jan 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Seriously, if my barely-legal daughter told me she wanted to date someone that was twice as old as I was, I’d probably assemble a posse.

  10. Timon 20 Jan 2009 at 6:24 pm

    No, no, no… the appeal of Twilight is that it gives the appearance of a lust-filled dimestore paperback that might have Fabio on the cover, but actually only goes so far as TALKING about wanton romps in the forest. Thus, it lets women guiltlessly live out romance fantasies with handsome men without having nasty buyer’s remorse. Oh, and you can read it in front of your friends without blushing.

  11. B. Macon 20 Jan 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Good point, Tim. I think it also helps that Twilight also appears to use a widely popular idea (vampires) but scrapes away anything that ten-year-olds might find objectionable, like the part where they feed on humans and don’t sparkle in the sunlight. In short, anything that would have made Twilight a real vampire book had to go.

  12. Dallason 20 Jan 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Twilight is a disgrace

  13. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 07 Feb 2009 at 5:38 am

    The movie was okay, but it could have been so much better. If a guy found out I was a vampire and openly admitted that they knew, I wouldn’t start telling all the details. I’d clam up and not say anything. After all, he didn’t know Bella very well at the time. For all he knew, she could be blogging about him.

    “OMG THIS GUY AT SCHOOL IS LIKE TOTALLI A VAMPIRE!!! I KNOW, SICK HUH?! AND HE’S LIK TOTALLI HOTT! HEEZ CALLED EDWARD AND SPARKLES IN TEH SUNLITE!!”

    No. Way. In. The. Fiery. Pits. Of. Hell.

  14. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 07 Feb 2009 at 5:39 am

    Twilight is a bit like a better-written version of the infamous Harry Potter fanfic “My Immortal”, or so I’ve been told. I haven’t read it and don’t plan to.

  15. Halfbakeryon 08 Feb 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I guess it is just a wish-fulfillment thing. Yeah, I have read it. Several times. Because I regard it as the funniest vampire comedy ever written.

    Now, I won’t go into huge detail, but there are three things that really bother me.

    -Constant slobbering over Sparkle!Eddie’s beauty. In one online review, “I want to beat Edward Cullen with a stick” (can’t find the link), the reviewer counted 109 (or something) references to Eddie’s beauty in 498 pages. Four of them were his BREATH. And he’s got the voice of an archangel as well!

    -The ending of Breaking Dawn. I don’t want to spoil it, but it hardly needs spoiling. Suffice it to say, everyone gets exactly what they want. And instead of a fight or a big climax, the book ends with a DIPLOMATIC DISCUSSION.

    -Worst of all, I actually see a lot of wasted potential in Twilight. It feels like it could have been great if it focused on the vampire-werewolf part, with the romance as more of a side element. No, it ended up as plotless self-insert where Bella never has any real conflict. Oh well, at least S. Meyer wrote The Host afterwards, which is better, so at least she may be maturing as a writer.

    One thing, though, B. Mac. You know the “Learn from published novels” section? A Twilight review might work there. There’s a lot of things you could learn from it.

  16. B. Macon 08 Feb 2009 at 10:52 pm

    “One thing, though, B. Mac. You know the “Learn from published novels” section? A Twilight review might work there. There’s a lot of things you could learn from it.”

    Good thinking. I’m not doing any sequels, though. 🙂

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