Because I cover TwilightÂ so much for work, I often have the awkward conversation with friends where they start to slam the series and then sheepishly back off, saying, “Oh sorry, Natalie, I know you like it.” To which I respond, “Not at all. I wouldn’t rate these among my favorite books or movies on any list.” They inevitably look confused and stammer, “But you know so muchÂ about it! And you go to all the midnight screenings!”
The truth is, I’m fascinated by Twilight. Its fame and reach is an utter phenomenon. Even though it’s not the first YA series to do so — let’s tip our Sorting Hats to Harry PotterÂ – Stephenie Meyer‘s books became part of the zeitgeist faster and more intensely than J.K. Rowling‘s. While I don’t hold the actual material in high esteem in terms of quality, I can completely appreciate how it’s cultivated its own fandom unprecedented in their passion for it.
That’s why I’m a little sad to see the series take its final bow, withÂ Breaking Dawn, Part 2Â coming out this Friday. How can I make jokes about Bella Swan biting her lip when there’s no new footage ofÂ Kristen StewartÂ doing so? What will all the Twihards do with their tents andÂ New MoonÂ blankets once there’s no longer occasion for them to camp outside of a movie theater? How will my quality of life diminish if the only midnight screenings I’m attending are forÂ The Room?
Anyone who’s interacted with me knows that I often value the experienceÂ of something over its quality. Like my list of favorite movies every yearâ€”the movie could’ve been crap, but if it had me laughing or still talking about it weeks later, then it’s sometimes preferable to sitting in silence through a piece of Oscar-bait. Without a doubt, TwilightÂ is an experience. By reading Breaking DawnÂ and going to the midnight screenings, I’m seeing a fandom at work: The reactions ranging from shocked gasps to lusty catcalls; the disturbing way that Bella becomes a role model, from her helplessness to even a thinspiration figure; the last few months’ Robsten drama.
Merriam-Webster defines entertainmentÂ as “amusement or diversion provided especially by performers.” Meyer’s books and the unintentionally hilarious movies are a welcome distraction from actually important matters. They’ve also made it OK to admit to liking something that isn’t highbrow or intellectual nourishing. As much as I have my fears about my generation valuing the written word less than our ancestors, I don’t believe you can blame TwilightÂ for that. It’s still the exception rather than the rule. There’s nothing wrong with putting your brain on autopilot and snickering at Robert Pattinson‘s sparkly white chest for two hours.
TwilightÂ is a much-needed outlet for our snark and (let’s be honest) sexual frustrations. It’s only as influential as we make it. I don’t think that we’ll be passing it on to our kids in the same way as Harry PotterÂ or The Hunger Games, but from 2005-2012 it served its purpose as completely balls-crazy, mindless entertainment.Â If nothing else, it’s given us the greatest gift of a quasi-sequel: Now we can pour all of that energy into Fifty Shades of Grey!
Photos: Comic Book Movie, someecards, Rolfrazzi