Low Stakes: 25 Biting Twilight Memes

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It's hard to believe that the Twilight film series is reaching any kind of milestone but -- in 2018 -- the first movie turns 10 years-old. It's also hard to believe that a film series that became such a pop cultural juggernaut around the world started life as a humble indie movie. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (whose previous directorial credits included Lords of Dogtown) with a conservative budget of around $37 million, the film went on to gross just under $400 million worldwide and push its central trio of young actors -- Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner -- into international stardom. Four sequels followed, and despite less than favorable reviews from critics and audiences, the entire series raked in over $3 billion worldwide.

Love it, loathe it or ignore it, The Twilight Saga -- along with its source material -- had a massive impact on two fronts: it renewed our interest in the supernatural, particularly the supernatural-romance genre, and it pumped fresh vigor into the burgeoning YA (Young Adult) demographic, building on the momentum started by Harry Potter. These days, you can't walk into a bookstore or movie theater without being assaulted by adverts for the latest special-teenagers-save-the-world-and-find-love story. But, even the most dedicated "Twihards" know that there's plenty to laugh at about the Saga: Is glitter really meant to be the "skin of a killer?" Does Jacob have to fall in love with a newborn vampire baby? And, sure -- #TeamEdward or #TeamJacob is cute, but we all know Billy Burke's mustache is the real star of those films.


Twilight Memes

Kristen Stewart's "mumblecore" acting throughout all five Twilight Saga entries definitely didn't go unnoticed by the Internet. As anyone who's read the books will know, Bella Swan isn't exactly all sunshine and giggles anyway, so that -- coupled with the actress having a naturally cool and neutral demeanour in public -- continues to generate a tonne of these kinds of memes.

Since breaking free of the Twilight machine, Stewart, much like her co-stars, has done her level best to avoid being typecast, starring in a string of artsy, indie films like Certain Women and Personal Shopper that have actually earned her high praise for her acting chops. That icy expression has also been one of the faces of fashion giant Chanel for several years. Maybe it's time to retire this old joke.


Twilight Memes

What would you do if you could live until practically forever? Travel the world? Get filthy rich? Master every form of martial arts ever invented? Whatever your answer is, we can almost guarantee that re-living high school over and over again isn't going to be one of them. Unfortunately, nice vampire kids like the Cullens who want to assimilate into human society didn't get much say in this.

Using the "Scumbag Steve" image macro, this meme ribs Edward Cullen's extra-long life choices by pointing out that he could really be using that extended time a bit more valuably than just breezing through umpteen Graduation ceremonies and trying not to sniff teen girls. But, hey -- his adoptive vampire dad is a doctor so maybe he's been up to some pioneering medical experiments behind the scenes.

23 NOPE!

Twilight Memes

Twilight certainly isn't the best thing to happen to literature but it isn't the worst thing, either. Not you'd know that from seeing any of the many memes painting it in that light like this one, referencing an infamous scene from torture-fest movie Saw, or from reading some of the most cringe-inducing extracts from the first book.

Like, for instance, when Bella labels a reading list of Chaucer and Shakespeare as "fairly basic;" contradicts herself in the same sentence: "the next day was better... and worse;" says things like: "I saw several things simultaneously" or describes Edward's beauty as "piercing [her] through with sadness." Oh, and though the blood-drinking is saved for life-and-death moments, Edward does help himself to a taste of Bella's tears. TURN IT OFF.


Twilight Memes

There's a lot of crossover between the Buffy and Twilight fandoms -- which isn't surprising given they both tap into similar niches in the supernatural romance genre. But, there's also an unsurprising level of rivalry, too. After all, it's hard for a character as lacking in agency and independence as Bella Swan to measure up against the butt-kicking heroism of Buffy Summers.

And, sure, Buffy's vampire love interests -- Angel and Spike -- weren't perfect (especially Spike) but their flaws weren't as swept under the romantic rug as much as Edward's are. In fact, through Bella's lovesick eyes, Edward is nauseatingly perfect to the point that, as this meme points out, Bella's insecurities become blown out of proportion. Buffy's not without her vulnerabilities but they're balanced by inner and outer strengths.


Twilight Memes

Clothes-ripping and nudity are almost a certainty where werewolves are concerned. In the world of Twilight, where the Quilet werewolf tribe has mastered the ability to turn from human to wolf and back at will, this means being sparing with the amount of layers you wear at all times. The wolf boys (and girl) also run hotter than your average human too, so more clothes equals more sweating.

You see, Jacob has to wear extra-tight black tees and jorts at all times because it's just more practical, okay? It's definitely not because Twilight panders to lovers of trashy romance dramas and Taylor Lautner looks great standing shirtless in the rain with a brooding look on his chiseled face. It’s just supernatural pseudoscience, okay?


Twilight Memes

By far the most parodied scene in all of the Twilight films is this one in the woods, where Edward finally comes clean with Bella about his vampirism, his true age and tries to scare her away with his sparkly chest. Rather than try and have a normal, face-to-face conversation, though, he aggressively barks questions while dancing around her like a well-dressed maniac.

It's hard to watch without cracking a smile, sucking any dramatic tension out of what is supposed to be a pivotal moment in the story. This meme swaps one secretly immortal being for another -- Edward Cullen, the 17-going-on-107 year-old, for Pokemon's Ash Ketchum, the 12-going-on-40-something year-old, judging by how long he's been the child star of the animated series.


Twilight Memes

Before Robert Pattinson took his career-making lead role in The Twilight Saga, he was best known for his significantly smaller role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as Cedric Diggory. Cedric was the hotshot of Hogwart's Hufflepuff House: prefect, Captain (and Seeker) of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team and chosen to compete in the Triwizard Tournament. The only thing standing in his way was Harry Potter... and the Killing Curse from Peter Pettigrew.

He was nicknamed "pretty boy Diggory" by the Weasley twins and enjoyed huge popularity among Hogwarts students from most other Houses, so casting someone with leading man charm like Pattinson made a lot of sense. The size and level of passion that both the Harry Potter and Twilight fandoms have means crossover jokes like this aren't in short supply.


Twilight Memes

Both fans and haters can agree that, both in book and film form, the Twilight series outstayed its welcome. Stephanie Meyer's novels were initially supposed to be a conventional trilogy until a fourth and final instalment, Breaking Dawn was tacked on to the end, in which Bella's graphically disturbing supernatural pregnancy became the series' "jumped the shark" moment.

Following suit, the film adaptations found a way to extend the series' already over-inflated lifespan even longer by splitting Breaking Dawn into two parts, mirroring the final Harry Potter films. This strategy was then copied again by The Hunger Games film series. While the studios would argue this was so nothing would be left out, it's clearly also a way to milk even more money out of a big franchise.


Twilight Memes

When you're a teenager, you feel things a bit more intensely than you do when you get older. That's usually why teen dramas tip over into melodrama so easily -- everything's that much more raw and on the surface. When you add the supernatural to the mix, the fantasy elements of a romantic story can become even more overblown, especially when there are actual life and death stakes.

At its best, Bella's dependancy on Edward can just be dismissed as standard pulpy fun. At worst, it sets unrealistic expectations to young readers about the value of having a boyfriend or girlfriend, and redefining your entire existence around that person. After all, Bella ends up giving up her human life -- family and friends -- for the first guy she ever dates.    


Twilight Memes

It's usually the case in vampire mythology that the undead bloodsuckers like to nap in coffins, normally during the daylight hours because they have a fatal weakness to the sun's rays. Some stories take this even further and have them rest fully buried in the earth. In Twilight, however, vampires don't need to sleep at all and can venture out in the day -- provided it's not the height of summer.

This leaves Edward Cullen plenty of time during the night to break into Bella's bedroom -- before they've even started dating -- and sneak a peek at her in bed. Like most romantic heroines, Bella is far less freaked out when she discovers this than she should be. Because, in the romance genre, obsessive behaviour like stalking is weirdly played off as "true love."


Twilight Memes

This meme uses the Ryan Gosling "Hey Girl..." format to query one of the most bizarre (and gross) aspects of the Twilight series. In Breaking Dawn, Bella becomes pregnant by her new vampiric husband -- a feat thought to be near impossible. Most of the Cullen coven, concerned for her safety, implore her to not keep the baby (including Edward); advice that she stubbornly ignores.

What follows then is a dramatic tonal shift in gears as the hybrid foetus quite literally starts to drain the life from Bella, resulting in some of the most disturbing pregnancy and birth scenes ever envisioned as Bella's unborn child wreaks havoc on her insides. This turns a mushy teen romance story into something more like Alien or a David Cronenberg body-horror tale.


Twilight Memes

Much like Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor in the Star Wars Prequels, The Twilight Saga's Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner really didn't have much to work with in terms of dialogue. Clunky lines like, "I'm Switzerland, okay?" or cheesy ones like, "You are my life now" would be hard to deliver seriously for even the best actors in the biz.

Other than K-Stew's moody expressions (or, lack of any other kind of expression) the films' central performances are anchored by hair. Kristen Stewart spends almost every scene running her fingers through hers, Jacob sheers his long locks to prove he's transitioned from boy wolf to man wolf and Edward's effortlessly tousled style (described as every color under the sun by Meyer) is about 30% of his character.


Twilight Memes

Mean Girls is not only a great film but has also turned out to be one of the best sources for meme captions, like this one. Although Stephanie Meyer did her best to justify the whole sparkly “skin of a killer” thing in the books, it was never going to escape ridicule. Though vampires have had a romantic allure since their inception, we're used to them still looking pretty monstrous.

Edward's explanation to Bella in Twilight is that the sun's rays illuminate their marble-like skin, making it shine in a way that would deliberately draw prey to them. Sure, it's a new twist on a tired-out mythology but it's really hard to maintain an air of beastliness when you look like you're coated in body glitter. Naturally, Bella isn't put off by it in the least.


Twilight Memes

One of the funniest things to witness while the Twilight movies were still being released was the obvious discomfort their two stars felt at being in them. Sure, K-Stew and R-Patz got a whirlwind romance and a bunch of money out of them, but they also had to sit through countless press interviews being asked the same questions about a fandom they clearly had little interest in.

When you're a fan of something it's always nice to know that the people involved in it are also fans of it. It means more care and passion is going into making the thing you love. But, if you're not a fan and try and pass yourself off as one the backlash can be bigger. So, it's understandable that neither Pattinson or Stewart hid their apathy towards Twilight, but still hilarious to watch them squirm.


Twilight Memes

While that probably would have made for a less interesting movie, it certainly would have been a lot less problematic than marrying the first undead boy who snuck into your bedroom at night when you were 17 years-old. This meme is part of the "When You Watch X Backwards, It Becomes Y" game that was popular online a couple of years ago.

Other good examples include Thor: "A good-looking nice man who repairs a bridge, visits Earth and then slowly turns into a d-bag;" Harry Potter: "An institute that gradually robs a teenage wizard of his age and talent until he's got nothing left and must resign himself to living under his family's stairs" and Jaws: "A shark who throws up so many people they have to open a beach."


Twilight Memes

Stephanie Meyer did a lot of things right in the Twilight books. Sulky teenage heroine? Check. Brooding teenage vampire boyfriend? Check. Angsty teenage werewolf alternative boyfriend? Check. But, amidst all the successful sulking, brooding and angst, one thing she consistently failed to do was deliver properly climactic endings.

The Twilight books are heavy on dialogue, which is fine, but --despite a lot of build-up to them -- decent action scenes are few and far between. The films thankfully take liberties when it comes to this -- replacing pages of Edward and co chit-chatting with the Volturi in New Moon and Breaking Dawn with much-needed battles. We get that Twilight is a romance series, but we also want to see these warring clans actually, you know, war with each other.


Twilight Memes

When Twitter user SERGIOT3RD pointed out that Chris Evans' brand new bushy moustache and cropped hair-do was a dead-ringer for the look that Billy Burke rocked to play Bella's father, the Internet heartily agreed. The tweet soon racked up over 200,000 likes in appreciation of the comparison. After all, Charlie Swan is the secret MVP of the Twilight series.

After being separated from Bella and her mother for years, the single, stoic cop suddenly had to reconnect with a teenage daughter he barely knew who was just as grumpy as he was. Burke played the character to a tee: quiet, stern and overprotective but ultimately kindly, and in desperate need of some company. And what does Bella do in the end? Abandon him forever for that darn Cullen boy.


Twilight Memes

The bodily functions of supernatural creatures is something equally as gross as it is fascinating. How many normal things do the undead do? For vampires, the details are often pretty vague in most mythologies beyond the standard blood-drinking thing. But, thanks to Bella's incessant questioning, we learn a fair amount about the physiology of Twilight vamps.

Edward doesn't need to sleep at all, he doesn't breathe, and his blood seems to be frozen in his veins because his heart doesn't beat either. This "frozen" metaphor turns out to be literal too, as when vampires suffer severe injuries they shatter like ice or stone. Unfortunately, the answer to the eternal question, "do vampires poo?" is never addressed. But, after the whole pregnancy nightmare in Breaking Dawn, we know that something is still working normally for Ed down there...


Twilight Memes

Tension between The Hunger Games and Twilight fandoms is hard to actually gauge because most of them are in the same demographic, and likely are fans of both for that reason. The only thing the two franchises have in common is that they are in the YA genre, have female leads and -- as this meme points out -- have a love triangle between a girl and two boys.

The Hunger Games books actually don't focus on this romantic tension as much as the films do, whereas Twilight's entire dramatic basis relies on it. Obviously, how you feel about the romance genre will inform how good or bad you think that is. Most fans of Twilight are content with the melodrama of teen love leading the plot, but that doesn't mean they won't also be interested in the dystopian, political themes of The Hunger Games.


Twilight Memes

After Bella and Edward agreed to be with each other forever in Twilight, or as Edward terrifyingly romantically put it: "until your heart stops beating," everything seemed great for the happy couple. That was, until Edward invited his human girlfriend over to his house at the start of New Moon to hang out with his vampire family, which was never going to go well, was it?

While most members of the blended Cullen and Hale family were pretty chill with the potential meal being delivered direct to their door, Edward's younger adopted brother Jasper -- the newest converted vampire -- struggled. This wasn't helped when Bella, clumsy as ever, cut her finger, triggering the young vamp to fly into a feral, hungry rage. (And, it is a really nice carpet.)


Twilight Memes

This meme blends the premise of the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin with the question, "was Edward Cullen really saving himself for marriage?" We know that Bella Swan was definitely inexperienced in that department, which isn't particularly surprising given her age and characterization, but a century is a long time for an attractive vampire boy to wait.

The only real hint we get is the existence of the Denali coven, a Russian family of beautiful female vampires who are affiliated with the Cullen clan. In the unreleased Midnight Sun, which retold Twilight from Edward's perspective, we see Ed having a heart-to-heart with one of them about his dilemma over Bella, and get allusions to a possible romantic past as she attempts (and fails) to charm him.


Twilight Memes

Clearly, from this collection of photos, life imitated art for Taylor Lautner on the press tours for The Twilight Saga. Not only were Bella and Edward loved up in the films, with Jacob playing the awkward third wheel, but in real life, Taylor Lautner found himself in the exact same position as his character around lovebirds Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

That's what makes the addition of the "Forever Alone" face a hilarious insult to injury in this meme. Bella pretty much strings the lovesick were-boy along over the course of the Saga, and despite Jacob's unwarranted possessiveness being an issue too, you can't help but feel a little sorry for him, just as you can't help feel a little sorry for Taylor here.


Twilight Memes

Who'd have thought the lazy sex-ed lesson delivered by the gym teacher in Mean Girls could also double up as the summary for a whole story? There's been a lot of conflicting analysis of what messages The Twilight Saga seem to impart to its majoritively, young female fans. In New Moon, Bella throws herself off a cliff just to hear Edward's voice in her head -- not a great moral.

As well as the negative implications of reorienting your entire life around your boyfriend, some have criticized the series for pushing the author's Mormon values to do with physical intimacy and marriage. You could definitely read into Bella's horrific pregnancy and birth experience so early into her and Edward's physical relationship as being more than a little off-putting for a teenage audience.


Twilight Memes

There are many baffling things that happen over the course of The Twilight Saga. How about that time that Edward turned up at Bella's house wearing the same outfit as her? Or when Bella took up extreme dirt-biking to induce hallucinations about Edward after he broke up with her? None of that, though, comes even close to the "happy ending" Stephanie Meyer created for Jacob.

After it became clear that Bella had definitely settled down with Edward for good, the author decided to have the rejected Jake find happiness too -- which is fine, except his meet-cute with the love of his life happened when she was popping out of her mother. In Twilight, werewolves mate for life, something called "imprinting," and Jacob imprinted on little Renesmee. Though Renesmee will grow to Bella's age, falling for a baby is still really disturbing.


Twilight Memes

You can't not make a list of the best Twilight memes without including a "Still A Better Love Story Than Twilight" entry. The meme, which uses the aforementioned caption under an image of a pair of people or things associated with one another, brutally ridicules how unconvincing the Twilight series is as a love story (according to some.)

Know Your Meme traces it back to around 2009 when a SodaHead poll asked voters to choose between TwilightThe Notebook and Romeo and Juliet to determine which depicted romance the best, leading Harry Potter fans to quip that "JK Rowling told a better love story in one chapter [between Severus Snape and Lily Potter] than Stephanie Meyer did in four books." The first image with the caption -- featuring a plug and socket -- appeared on Reddit in 2011, and the rest is meme history.

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