Oct 31 2013 1:45pm

Who Needs Shirts?: Why Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries Are So Addictive

Teen Wolf castBook crack is a well-established theme here at Heroes and Heartbreakers. We’ve talked about what makes a book cracktastic—as in OMG I can’t put it down, but I probably should. Those books that aren’t perfect, that are highly campy, the ones that have crazy plots and even more outlandish characters, and the ones we devour at maddening paces.

Turns out this doesn’t apply just to books. Oh, no! There’s a reason we include a “WTFery” category in our True Blood recaps.

I thought it was a one-time thing, but recently a friend warned me not to watch the MTV show Teen Wolf. As I’m out of the demographic for MTV, I thought it was odd she was warning me away. Turns out, she knew I’d be addicted. The first two seasons are available on Netflix, and one rainy afternoon, I decided to try an episode. A harmless curiousity would be sated, right?


Teen Wolf may be the most cracktastic TV show I’ve ever watched. The guys are shirtless every episode. Now, at first I worried this wouldn’t work for me. They’re young, after all. Oh, but there are dads and an adult werewolf named Derek, who mentors main character Scott on and off.

There are entire episodes when Derek doesn’t wear a shirt. I shouldn’t make this a selling point. It’s prurient. I know this, but I have never been so happy for gratuitous shirtlessness as I have been seeing actor Tyler Hoechlin. I’m not saying it tops Alexander Skarsgard booty, but it’s damn fine. Plus, the romance subplot with Scott and werewolf hunter Allison is hot-and-heavy and angst-ridden. Makeout scenes help here.

The plot moves fast on Teen Wolf, and that’s essential to a crack TV show. If we had too much time to think about the hows and the whys we’d probably stop watching.

Stefan, Elena, and Damon in The Vampire DiariesThe Vampire Diaries exemplifies this breakneck pacing. In just a few episodes vampires become human, humans become vampires, the number of doppelgangers doubles, people die, there are 800 dances so people can dress up all pretty for no real reason, and so much relationship switches your head spins.

By doing so, TVD is able to tease everyone. If you 'ship Damon and Elena, you get them kissing and fighting and working to be together against “fate.” If you’re an Elena and Stefan shipper, you get the chance to see him want to win her over again, you get her tied to him, and you get to feel his anger when she’s still siding with Damon right now. Who knows, though? Nothing is sacred on that show. You have to keep watching because it can call change in five minutes.

While all my crack TV shows happen to feature supernatural elements, which lend themselves to the absurd storylines, are there contemporary shows that do the same?

Which crack TV shows can you just not quit? Have you binge-watched any crack show, and would you recommend it?


While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. Her appreciation of Alexander Skarsgard is well documented. Bother her on Twitter — @ChelseaVBC — she likes it.

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Jennifer Proffitt
1. JenniferProffitt
I do have to admit that both of these shows are TV crack. I sat down to watch TVD because I was intrigued by the beauty that is Ian Somerhalder and then all of a sudden three seasons and a week and a half of my life are gone.

Same with Teen Wolf...I think it hit its stride after the first season....but damn the TV crack!
2. wsl0612
ooh, yay! I love Teen Wolf, it is cracktastic :-)
I used to be a big fan of TVD, but the constant Elena is sooo wonderful and important and let's all worship her moments are making me ill :-(
I think The Originals is the new vampire crack!
Catherine L Swartz
3. Catherine L Swartz
I so agree. Love both shows. Derek shirtless is just a work of art. My recent crack-binge was Sons of Anarchy. I watched 5 seasons in a row, often not sleeping and neglecting everything else. No matter how hard I tried to stop, I just could not. As I'm waiting for season 6 to air in South Africa I am definitely suffering from some serious withdrawal.
Catherine L Swartz
4. 10
Teehee. I'm not sorry ;-)

TyHo got his own tag! And what of Peter Hale and his deep, deep V-necks? *flails*

Is it January yet?
5. ChelseaMueller
@JenniferProffitt - The second season is definitely stronger than the first. There is also more Derek in the second season and Isaac Lahey is growing on me. So...there's that.

@wsl0612 - I'm still on the fence with The Originals, but holding out hope. As for TVD, I hear what you're saying, but I'm a DElena shipper, so I'm sticking with it as long as those two are together.

@Catherine - SoA is a great example of crack TV. Though it does get darker/heavier as the series progresses, it totally has the foundation of crack TV.

@10 - All the man candy. ALL OF IT.
Catherine L Swartz
6. crafty becky
I, too, adore Teen Wolf but have steered clear of TVD thus far out of sheer survival instincts. :-) The key issue for me was looking up all the male actors' birthdays. I was gratified to learn that they were all well over the age of consent having been burned by the the whole Tyler/Jacob thing and being completely skeeved by finding a 17 year old That Hot.

Revolution isn't quite crack but it has a lot of crack-ish elemenents. It's a little too heavy and well written to be true crack but it has it's moments.
Catherine L Swartz
8. Shark with Lasers
Teen Wolf is the crackiest crack that ever cracked. Lost Girl has crack elements as well, and Ravenswood might be shaping up for some slightly less salacious crack. It has an elderly lady who shows up periodically to utter lines of cracky doom, plus good looking twentysomethings playing teens in constant peril. It's a spinoff of Pretty Little Liars, which may not feature the nudity element of the crack, but it has the pacing element in abundance. And then - I hesitate to bring this up, but we are talking about crack here - there is a short-lived supernatural soap called Dante's Cove. The Cove is not going to impress anyone with its witty writing or charismatic acting turns, but OMG do the people ever take their clothes off. Like it's a clothes-off marathon. And it does have crack pacing.
9. ChelseaMueller
Teen Wolf is the crackiest crack that ever cracked.
@Shark with Lasers - Because of this line, I think we should be best friends.
Shana Bashaw
10. SBashaw
There is not one bad looking guy on teen wolf! I have never seen a show with so many cuties! And they are getting better with age.
Catherine L Swartz
11. Dani97
Vampire diaries all the way. Even it's worse episode is still really good and amazing....if that makes sense.
Catherine L Swartz
12. Vampgrub
I'd say people would love this and other series as an alternative to Twilight, hehe. But it's a nice thing that there are so many other shows and stories like this to choose from.
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