There’s something I need to say about Teen Wolf, it’s going to sound harsh but I promise you it comes from a place of love and respect. Teen Wolf doesn’t make sense. At all. If you are looking for a detail-oriented narrative with a well-structured plot and strong continuity then Teen Wolf is not the show for you. There’s a lot to love, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re expecting everything to make sense, you’re going to be disappointed.
Don’t shoot me just yet because I genuinely think Teen Wolf has a lot to offer. I love the fast-pace, I love the world they created, I love the characters. But one of the main arguments (I recognize it’s not the only argument) against Malia Tate (Shelley Hennig) seems to be that her character doesn’t make sense, which I find a little hypocritical because Teen Wolf never made much sense. It never really focused on specifics or dealt with significant issues. It just kind of throws stuff at you in an immensely enjoyable way.
Maybe Malia should have had serious developmental issues as a result of spending a signification portion of her life as a coyote. She probably shouldn’t be able to jump right into high school after eight years worth of missed education. But she also shouldn’t be able to turn into a coyote. So let’s just say that her shape-shifting ability waves a magic wand over her cognitive development allowing her to function as a relatively normal teenager (albeit one with a few social issues). Is that really so hard to comprehend considering we’re talking about a world where werewolves exist?
While I will never discourage criticism (it’s an important part of being an active consumer), I think if you’re going to criticize Malia’s storyline for it’s lack to realism then you should probably take a look at all the other things in Teen Wolf that wouldn’t make a lick of sense in the real world. There are a lot of them, and in the name of encouraging healthy discussion (while having a little fun along the way) here are ten things that I think make less sense than Malia Tate’s back-story.
Sheriff Stilinski still has a job.
Sheriff Stilinski is an amazing character and I love him with all my heart but has that man ever solved a case? People are getting murdered left right and center in this town but no one has been officially charged. We can maybe assume that the world thinks Kate was responsible for the Season 1 murders but who do they think killed her? Or Matt? Or Jennifer? They may have been evil but last time I checked murder was still a crime. The show might make out like it’s a personal vendetta but Agent McCall might be onto something with the whole impeachment thing. If I were a resident of Beacon Hills I’d certainly want some answers.
Everyone in Beacon Hills drives a Toyota.
There must have been one hell of a sale at the local Toyota dealership because basically everyone in Beacon Hills drives one. I’m not judging their choice of vehicle (I don’t know anything about cars) I’m just saying it’s pretty unrealistic that EVERYONE in this town drives the same brand of car. My personal head canon is that they give out free Toyotas to entice people to live in a place that has a higher body count than Sunnydale. Really though, the blatant product placement on Teen Wolf is a thing a beauty and I wouldn’t have it any other way but you have to admit it’s pretty absurd.
The mystery of Cora Hale.
How does an eleven year old survive the fire that killed her entire family, including her super powerful Alpha mother? Where has she been for the last six years? Nobody knows and chances are nobody ever will. We know that Cora was a last minute replacement for Erica and the only reason her last name is Hale is so the characters and the audience would have an instant connection. But come on, some answers would have been nice. I guess now that Adelaide Kane has left to rule the Scots it doesn’t really matter that her character made no sense.
That time the Argents replaced the high school principal for a little while.
The Argents were upset because Hills high school was letting teen wolves roam the hallways so they grabbed the principal, tortured him and put Gerard Argent in his place. Yeah, I don’t think you can do that. I know the education system is not perfect but I don’t think you can just replace key members of staff with a random member of the community without someone noticing. But then it’s wonder they can get anyone to work at that place considering half the staff have been murdered so maybe they take what they can get. Anyway the principal came back so it’s okay.
Deucalion’s sudden change of heart – he’s a good guy now.
All throughout Season 3B Deucalion was built up as the baddest bad around. He was the DEMON WOLF! Sure we don’t know exactly what he was up to in his time away from Beacon Hills but considering his reputation I don’t think he was winning friends with kindness. His pack was filled with killers and they were all terrified of him. Yet after a healing hand from Jennifer and a stern talking to from Scott and Derek, Deucalion was deemed fit for society and sent on his way. I’m supposed to believe that the guy that scary murderers were afraid of just had a sudden change of heart because he saw the light… literally. Not likely.
Throat slashed? Don’t worry, you’ll get better.
You might think that a good old throat slashing is a pretty good way to get rid of someone for good. Not on Teen Wolf. Kate Argent got her throat slashed… she got better. Peter Hale got his throat slashed… he got better. Even if you explain those away as random supernatural occurrences, there’s also Braeden who is assumedly human and she only needed a couple of months to recover from her throat slashing. The three-fold death might appear excessive but at least Jennifer’s victims stayed dead. The Oni’s swords seem pretty effective as well (too soon?).
None of the pack are in jail.
These kids have been around more crime scenes than could ever be explained away as coincidence. Considering the number of unsolved crimes it doesn’t make sense that they haven’t been arrested for something. Half of their social group is dead. Not to mention the fact that Stiles walked into a hospital and stabbed a bunch of people, there were witnesses. What’s his defense? “It wasn’t me it was my evil Japanese fox-demon doppelganger.” And Derek has been arrested for murder like three times and most of those cases are still unsolved. How is he still walking free? It’s not that I want him to go to jail; it’s just that if the police were doing their job that’s probably where he’d be.
There are a few specific references to dates in the show – like the beginning of the school year and Halloween. But anyone that tries to sit down and work out the timeline for the events of Teen Wolf is going to end up giving themselves an aneurism. Is it 2011 or 2012? What season is it? I’m not sure what calendar their using but it’s certainly not the same one we use. Maybe it’s a special werewolf calendar, where time moves the same way that werewolves age… meaning they don’t really have an answer but it’s not really important to the plot so who cares if it makes sense.
Jackson came back from the dead and no one cared.
You might not remember this because it’s been a while since Season 2 aired, but Jackson died. On the lacrosse field. In front of literally hundreds of witnesses. He was taken to THE MORGUE! Presumably a doctor pronounced him dead. What did that doctor say when he turned up the next day? Whoops, my bad. Dead is a fairly significant misdiagnosis. Did they not do any further tests? Was there no investigation? Jackson should be in a lab getting dissected right now. Curing death is a pretty big scientific breakthrough, but I guess you can’t really bottle true love and sell it as a medical treatment (they would probably try though).
The werewolves of Teen Wolf are wonderful mainly because they don’t make any sense. They grow extra facial hair and get bumpy foreheads like the vampires from Buffy and no one knows why. These cosmetic changes offer no evolutionary advantage that I can think of but they look pretty cool. Their abilities differ randomly – some can turn into full wolves, some turn into horror movie monster wolves and some of them aren’t even wolves at all (even though they should be). Bitten or born you could be a werecoyote, a werejaguar or even a kanima. It’s like a were animal lottery and Beacon Hills has got to collect them all.
That’s just touching the surface of the ocean of stuff in Teen Wolf that makes no sense at all (Noshiko Yukimura is 900 years old but only just started ageing for some reason). So the fact that they waved a magic wand over Malia Tate’s cognitive development doesn’t really stand out for me. To be honest these kind of things bothered me I wouldn’t be watching Teen Wolf, because let’s face it they don’t really pay attention to detail. Teen Wolf is a visually exciting, fantastic face-paced narrative with witty dialogue. They do what they do and they do it well. That’s why I love it.
Look I am not trying to invalidate anyone’s criticisms or force people to like a character that I am completely willing to admit has not earned that just yet. I’m just asking you to re-evaluate why realism and logic suddenly matter in a way they didn’t before. Plus sometimes it’s fun to point out Teen Wolf’s plot holes and remind ourselves that even though it’s better than we ever imagined it could be, Teen Wolf is still a silly MTV show about teenage werewolves. Honestly, I cannot wait to see what ridiculousness they have in store for us this season.
Author: Undie Girl
Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.
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