MTV’s Teen Wolf premiered on June 5th, 2011. Ten years later, a majority of the show’s legacy has been tainted by the lack of progressive writing and queerbaiting, but here are 10 things from Teen Wolf that are worth remembering!
Teen Wolf started as the little show that could back in 2011. It offered its audience the chance to step into the unnecessarily complicated world of werewolves and lacrosse, riding high on popularity for a couple of years, only for the show to ultimately lose its footing and crumble. Throughout the years, the show’s direction took countless missteps that soured its appeal to the long-time viewers that were once eager to watch new episodes every “Moonday” (a nickname fans gave the Monday night premieres of new Teen Wolf episodes).
While relatively minor annoyances like bad writing and bad lighting pressed viewers’ patience, bigger problems like queerbaiting, lack of diversity, and the exit of long-time series regulars were the final silver bullet in Teen Wolf’s coffin. A decade later, the show is poised to celebrate its ten year anniversary, but ex-fans of the show might find themselves unsure as to how to celebrate the evolution of a show, when that show gives you a disappointing ache in your stomach whenever you think about it.
The solution: 10 iconic things from Teen Wolf that are worth reminiscing about, in no particular order.
1. The Dramatic Line Delivery
If there was one thing Teen Wolf was going to give you, it was antagonists randomly and dramatically screaming out their lines. The most iconic and memorable moment comes from the second season’s finale, wherein Gerard Argent is poisoned by mountain ash and then proceeds to scream and hiss out the name of said poison. Other notable dramatic lines include Jackson’s “I have a restraining order” (207, “Restraint”) and Peter’s “I’ve always been the Alpha” (312, “Lunar Ellipse).
2. Stiles’ Comedy
It rarely mattered how serious the situations on the show became, because you could almost always count on Stiles Stilinski to brighten the mood with his comedic nature. There’s a reason Dylan O’Brien was the only cast member on the show that was allowed to adlib some of his lines and it 100% had to do with Dylan’s acting skill and his ability to just be naturally funny. Stiles was the one who always made quippy remarks and “punny” jokes, alongside his comedic flailing around and funny faces.
3. Jackson and Lydia’s sass
There’s no doubt that the Jackson/Lydia relationship in the early seasons of the show was toxic, but the same early seasons most definitely benefitted from the humor that derived from their arrogant and sassy personalities. With Jackson and Lydia both being depicted as the wealthy and popular trendsetters at the school, it was always fun to watch them insult, mock, and frustrate other characters in the most ridiculous ways. (Ahem… Jackson antagonizing Scott by threateningly eating an apple — 109, “Wolfs Bane”)
4. The 2011 Era CGI
CGI and animation is something that dates itself pretty quickly as the years pass, though there are some exceptions. Shrek 2, for example, was released all the way back in 2004 and it still holds up looks-wise. Teen Wolf, however, has some interesting CGI design choices that are overall pretty funny to look at. That being said, I think that the giant CGI werewolves and CGI snakes from the first season add something special to the show’s vibe, back before the series started taking itself way too seriously.
Sterek was (and still is) Teen Wolf’s most popular and most recognizable ship. Part of Sterek’s allure stemmed from the natural chemistry between Dylan O’Brien and Tyler Hoechlin’s characters, while the other part of what made Sterek so fantastic was the trope-ish “will they/won’t they” nature of the human/werewolf pairing. Unfortunately, Sterek fell victim to queerbaiting during the show’s exhaustive run on MTV. Despite the fact that Sterek as a canon possibility was frequently hyped up by the show’s showrunner, Jeff Davis, and cast members, the ship never went canon.
However, as Teen Wolf hits its ten-year anniversary mark, Sterek remains incredibly popular amongst fans of the show. At the present moment, Sterek remains the 3rd most popular ship on the fanwork site, Archive of Our Own, with a total of 64,000+ fanworks published on the site.
6. Peter Hale and His Cartoonish Villainy
Peter Hale started off as the show’s first season’s antagonist, vowing to take revenge on the family of werewolf hunters that murdered his own family. However, following his death and defeat, Peter returned a little while later to play a more humorous take on his character. Although Peter remained shadowy and secretive about his plans and motives, always alluding to the fact that he was ready to betray the people around him at any given moment, Peter became something akin to a cartoon villain. He would often lurk around in the shadows and pop up out of nowhere, only to ridicule and tease the other characters.
7. The ONLY Time Slow-Mo Was Used Correctly
Teen Wolf used slow-mo editing a lot. Like… A LOT. To the point that it became annoying to watch and unimaginative. However, there’s one scene in the second half of the show’s third season that uses slow-mo to its advantage. When Stiles’ evil fox spirit doppelganger attacks the local hospital, we get a really cool slow-mo scene of the demon spirits slicing through opponents with their swords. All the while, Void Stiles slowly follows behind and waits until his path is properly cleared. If only the show consisted of equally as well done slow-mo scenes!
Out of all of the characters on the show that got treated the worst, it was most definitely Derek Hale. And yet, I’d argue that his character was one of the best and kept the show from completely falling to pieces. From the start of the series, it was Derek’s backstory and family lore that served as the foundation for the show and the challenges that the other characters faced. He was the ‘King’ on the chessboard that was Teen Wolf.
Derek’s story was one of trauma, of trying his best, of constantly being challenged, and one of finding his footing as the show’s ‘lone’ werewolf. It’s no surprise that when Tyler Hoechlin announced his exit from the series following the fourth season, fans felt a loss like no other. After all, how was the show to survive without the only character who was born into being a werewolf and understood all of the complexities that came with being non-human?
HINT: it didn’t survive.
9. The Horror Movie Episodes
The best episodes were the ones that took inspiration from classic horror movie tropes. Group of teenagers stuck in a creepy location? Check. Murderous villain somewhere lurking in the dark? Check!
Episodes like 107 “Night School” and 306 “Motel California” were some of the most enjoyable to watch, because they were so creepy and full of suspense. They were also times wherein the large majority of the cast would be grouped up together, rather than the characters being divided up to focus on entirely different story arcs.
10. The Hale Pack
One of the worst decisions Teen Wolf made was getting rid of Derek as an alpha and killing off his pack of werewolves. After all, they were way more fun and offered a perfect contrast to Scott’s “pack” in terms of what a werewolf pack could look like. Derek, as an alpha, was cocky and ruthless — jumping at the chance to shoot first, ask questions later. His pack consisted of Isaac Lahey, Erica Reyes, and Vernon Boyd, three unpopular students from the school that received major upgrades after receiving the bite that turned them into werewolves.
The best part about the Hale Pack was that they lived for causing trouble and didn’t take kindly to the people that got in the way of their objectives. Also, they basically all wore leather jackets like it was some kind of club rule or like it was the official Hale Pack team uniform. And well, it’s 10 years later and I’m still not entirely convinced it wasn’t some kind of unspoken club rule.
If you’re thinking about reminiscing about Teen Wolf in lieu of the show’s 10 year anniversary, I recommend sticking to what was offered during the first 2 seasons. That was back when the show didn’t try so hard to be edgy and didn’t take itself too seriously. They are also the only seasons that include Colton Haynes and his hilariously arrogant character, Jackson, who only returns for a brief cameo in the series finale.
Are there any other iconic moments from the show’s history that you think I missed?
Let us know in the comments below!
Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.
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