Twilight fades for teen fans

In the lead-up to the Australian release of Breaking Dawn – Part Two on Thursday, there is an overwhelming sense the Twilight franchise is further past death than Edward Cullen himself.

It's not just a sense that the end is nigh: the bloggers don't seem to be blogging as feverishly, the fandoms on Tumblr aren't spewing out anticipatory Twilight-related memes, and Robert Pattinson was usurped by Ryan Gosling as Patron Saint of the Teenage Heart long ago.

For this member of Twilight's teen target audience, when interest began to decline, the pride in my generation grew. As a friend of mine said: “At some point, it became 'cool' to hate Twilight.”

Just look at Google Trends. In July last year, during the release of the final Harry Potter film, searches for Potter-related terms were at their second-highest in the series' lifespan. But in the lead-up to the final Twilight film there is roughly half as much interest as there was in the previous film.

Why does Twilight seem to be suffering a premature death? The first reason may not alarm you: Twilight just isn't that good. As people my age grow up, so do our tastes. Why would we watch a pallid adaption of a mediocre book series when we can get a heavier dosage of angst with Requiem for a Dream or Donnie Darko?

Besides, Harry Potter is able to evolve with his fans because he and his classmates literally grow up with them. But by consorting with forever-young vampires, Bella remained in arrested development.

The TV shows and movies that fed off Twilight's popularity might have also contributed to the downfall of the vampire genre. Shows such as True Blood and The Vampire Diaries seem perfectly suited to the older Twilight fans who might want a little more MA material with the supernatural. In the end, they got their fill from more sophisticated Twilight imitators. In a market-based economy where sex is the commodity and blood is the currency, Twilight couldn't stay competitive.

Tumblr – the official barometer of our teenage obsessions – shows a growing cynicism about the series. There are pithy posts such as “No one hates Twilight more than Robert Pattinson” (who has, in recent months, become quite vocal about his ambivalence regarding the series).

It doesn't matter whether the final Twilight movie is good or bad. The remaining fans will see it regardless of the reviews, and the producers no longer have to sustain (or give the pretense of) quality, as the series is in its waning moments. What the series really tells us, and this is more significant than any clash between living and dead, vampire and werewolf, love and hate, is that we, as consumers of entertainment, are becoming increasingly vampiric, sucking on the lifeblood of a series until we are bloated, then moving onto our next pop-culture prey.

The story Twilight fades for teen fans first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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