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A Farewell Diary Entry to THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

A Farewell Diary Entry to THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

Well, this is it. After eight seasons, The Vampire Dairies will air its final episode on Friday night, and I’m having a hard time letting go. At its worst, the show was a messy roller coaster ride of convoluted plots and forced romantic entanglements. At its best, it was exhilarating entertainment worthy of the most impassioned next-morning gossip.

Based on the novels of the same name by L.J. Smith, the show centered on 17-year-old Elena Gilbert, who found herself caught between two brothers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore–one a repentant vampire who feeds on animal blood as punishment for his ripper days, and the other a rapscallion womanizer who shows little concern for humans.

Caught in the crossfire are her BFFs: Bonnie Bennett, a powerful witch with psychic abilities, and Caroline Forbes, the type A prom queen-turned-vampire. Over the course of the show’s near-decade run, we also got to know a werewolf named Tyler Lockwood, her ghost whisperer brother Jeremy Gilbert, and the remarkably human Matt Donovan, among others.

Seeing that the show kicked off with a diary entry, I couldn’t think of a better way to say goodbye. So, here it goes:

Dear Diary,

I was wrong. I thought that I could smile and nod my way through it, pretend like it would all be okay but I can’t.

It’s been eight years. Eight years of mystery, suspense, murder, vampires, witches, werewolves, Gemini twins, heretics, rippers, originals, sirens, serial killers, and Matt somehow surviving all of this as a human. (Way to go, Matty Blue Eyes!)

When I initially heard about TVD, I assumed it was just another Twilight ripoff. Apparently, series co-creator Kevin Williamson felt the same way, because he was hesitant about taking on the series until his close friend and eventual co-creator Julie Plec nudged him to do the show. Rather than focus on the high school antics of awkward teens, he centered it in the town’s rich and far more intriguing history. Thus, my new favorite show was born.


I first fell in love with Elena, the plucky teen willing to sacrifice herself in a heartbeat if it meant saving her friends. I found her deep bond with Bonnie and Caroline inspiring because it was one of the few genuine female friendships on TV that didn’t fall apart over a shared love interest. Even when I was supposed to hate him, I could never resist Damon’s dangerously good looks, sharp one-liners and memorable nicknames (Remember Barbie Klaus?). And despite his penchant for deep brooding, there’s no denying that Stefan was an absolute dreamboat.

There will always be a special place in my heart for characters like the incomparable Katherine Pierce, a misunderstood villain who simply did whatever she needed to survive, the far too short-lived Alaric!Klaus (Klaus in Alaric’s body), and the psychotic witch serial killer Kai “Creepy Kai” Parker (played by Supergirl’s Chris Wood). The show also gifted me with a spinoff called the The Originals, which is rooted in the delectably dysfunctional family dynamics of the Mikaelsons. These old and powerful vampires were first introduced in season two before setting off on their own adventures in New Orleans two seasons later. (FYI: Their show returns on March 17.)

I reveled in the show’s gut-wrenching moments (which were always backed by a perfectly fitting Birdy song), such as Damon comforting Alaric in his final moments and Caroline coming to terms with natural death. Watching such a perky character finally realize that there was nothing she could do about her mom’s imminent death and the way that it affected her took me back to the time my own dad died of cancer. That storyline felt like a giant therapy session, allowing for others like me who had experienced similar losses to grieve together. Moments like that made the TVD fandom feel like a real family.


As much as I loved this supernatural series starring ridiculously good-looking young people, it wasn’t without faults. I can’t ignore the fact that the quality of the show dropped significantly over time. After season two, around the time Kevin Williamson stepped away to work on other projects, the focus shifted from mythology to romance and fanned the flames of a ship war (Team Stelena vs Team Delena), one that forced me to distance myself from the TVD tags on Tumblr for a while. It only got worse in season three when Team Klaroline rose out of Klaus’ sudden interest in Caroline and the world I loved to escape into turned into something full of hate. It’s not easy calling yourself a fan when you hear stories of fellow admirers harassing actors on Twitter over storylines and see Julie Plec asking people to take it down a notch.

On screen, it was troubling to see how much Elena’s character had changed when she started dating Damon in season four. Their romance became the central part of the series (ugh) and Elena found herself excusing previously inexcusable acts for the sake of an epic love. Dark deeds such as him compelling and sleeping with Caroline (which could be seen as rape), murdering Vicky Donovan, murdering her brother (who, thankfully, was wearing a Gilbert ring that saved his life), willfully disregarding Bonnie’s life on numerous occasions, and continually ignoring her requests under the guise of protecting her should always be called out. Really, Elena?!


All of that pales in comparison to the way Bonnie, the only black main character, was treated throughout the show. As a witch, she was often called in to solve her friends’ problems no matter if it meant sacrificing her happiness, the lives of her loved ones (her mom, dad and grams were all caught in the crossfire), or herself. People don’t realize how disheartening it can be to see someone who looks like you treated as a mystical servant to her white friends. It felt like she had been reduced to a plot device, destined to give and give and receive nothing but heartache in return. They’ve started to come around on that in the last two seasons with an a epic romance of her own, but per tradition, she again faced the heartbreak of sacrificing her love for the benefit of others. In my opinion, she deserved so much better.

Still, the unique thing about this series is that it felt like ours. Even as the viewership dwindled, there was still this strong and very loud fanbase that took ownership week after week. You’d see them on Twitter trending topics like “STEROLINE JUNE WEDDING” or “KLAROLINE IS ENDGAME. We were a family, united by love of a group of characters we’d gotten to know for nearly a decade. I made some great friends through TVD-specific conventions and podcasts and lengthy online chats. It reminded me of the AIM days when I would gush about NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys in Comic Sans MS to my best online friends.


Part of the reason this show resonated especially with young women is the fact that it had such a strong female presence behind the scenes as well as in front. Julie Plec stood her ground as the captain of this supernatural ship and she enlisted Marguerite MacIntyre as a writer full-time after her character died on screen. Plec also pulled in Carina Adly MacKenzie, who went from TVD recapper to writer and story editor on The Originals. I think having a woman’s point of view helped navigate the gratuitous sex and nudity away from that pesky male gaze. Great work, team.

Eight seasons is a long time for a show to air and, while I’m sad to see it go, I’m glad that it has existed all this time. With the final episode almost underway, I somberly bid thee farewell. It’s been a long, crazy ride…but man was it fun! Thanks for the laughs, gasps, tears and keyboard smashes.

Love (always and forever),

Keisha Hatchett

So what did you think of the show? What were some of your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments below!

Images: The CW

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