The new “Teen Wolf” show is not as clever or allegorical as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but the comparison is almost unfair; Buffy was about teenagers but didn’t try particularly hard to be for them, whereas “Teen Wolf” is on MTV, which has a bigger investment in selling youth to youth… If “Teen Wolf” builds on the original’s sneakily radical message of self-acceptance instead of fetishizing its characters’ suffering like “Twilight,” there’s a chance “Teen Wolf” 2.0 will look as zeitgeisty in retrospect as some of its adolescent-lycanthrope genre forebears: a no-judgment monster show for the same proudly atypical fan base that Lady Gaga refers to as her “little monsters.”
I’m trapped. I don’t know what to do. There’s a strange momentum building behind this show that I find exciting, but I can’t find its source. The glimpses I see of non-pretty-boy werewolves look terrific, but every time I really pay attention and watch a trailer, read an article or see one of @MTVteenwolf‘s chipper PR tweets, everything other than the effects (you know, important stuff like “story” and “acting”) look flimsy. Superficial. Shallow. When Pappademas asks leading man Tyler Posey why he thinks werewolves are so appealing to women, Posey responds with this gem: “Girls are just really naughty and love to be thrown around”. Super. He’s obviously joking, but jokes are supposed to be funny and not make me dislike the person telling them.
This show is built to sell, which is fine, but I wish the people behind it weren’t so two-faced about their motivations. Executive producer / writer Jeff Davis waxes philosophical about the history and cultural significance of the werewolf, but then he asks for “scarier glowing wolf eyes” to be added to a scene in post-production. You know, for authenticity. He cheerfully admits that using the “Teen Wolf” title has more to do with appropriating a recognizable brand than anything else, then goes on to admit of Hollywood: “I don’t think we’re running out of culture. I think we’re running out of courage.” What am I supposed to do with that?
I just want to watch a show that 1) has cool werewolves in it, and 2) doesn’t insult my intelligence. If Teen Wolf winds up checking both of those boxes, awesome. I’ll eat humble pie for all of my fence-sitting “opinionated dork with a blog” comments. I’ll buy the DVDs. But for now, I really just want to filter out the PR hype, because none of it is making this show look like something I want to watch. Please give me some more creature effects shots and I’ll be content to sit quietly until June. I promise.