COPIED AND PASTE
Since the dawn of time, fierce rivalries have inspired fierce devotion, and Edward vs. Jacob in the “Twilight” saga is the latest, most fervent example.
Although fans of Stephenie Meyer’s staggeringly popular series of novels know how it all ends – whether tormented teenager Bella ends up with vampire Edward or werewolf Jacob – somehow they still root as hard as ever for their favorite.
That obviously remains true as the hotly anticipated third film based on the books, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” arrives in theaters June 30. And most align themselves firmly one way or the other: There is no gray area here.
But what does it say about people if they wear a T-shirt emblazoned with “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” underneath their Forks High School hoodies?
Jeremy Clyman, who writes about film in his “Reel Therapy” blog on the Psychology Today website, says just wanting to belong to a group is a fundamental human desire. Which side you choose in “Twilight,” though, could stem from personal factors beyond merely thinking Robert Pattinson as Edward is cuter than Taylor Lautner as Jacob – or vice versa.
MORE AFTER JUMP
One of the main things that’s exciting about Edward, Clyman said, is that he has a secret: He’s a vampire. And that might allow audience members with secrets of their own to identify with him.
“The other appealing thing is the character strength that defines him, his self-control. He’s very good at refraining from giving in to his impulses and that could be an appealing trait to see in a person,” Clyman explained.
Meanwhile, Clyman thinks of the more adventurous and muscular Jacob “as the underdog because when it comes to romantic affection for Bella, to competing for Bella, he’s in the underdog slot the whole time,” Clyman said. “She wants to spend time with Edward and Jacob’s stuck in the friend zone.”
Kristen Terry of Los Angeles, a self-proclaimed Team-Jacob member who works in photo production, says she can relate to his underdog nature.
“Here’s her best friend who really cares for her and doesn’t say anything for a while, even though he knows he has feelings for her. I know I’ve been in a situation where I was really good friends with a guy and started liking him as more than a friend, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to ruin the friendship,” the 30-year-old Terry said. “Edward was this amazing guy who caught her eye and from the very beginning she was smitten with him.”
Jacob also comes in second in fan popularity. A Google search for “Team Edward” yields more than 33.4 million hits compared to 15.2 million for “Team Jacob.” On Facebook, about 90,000 people “like” the Team Edward page versus about 52,000 for the Team Jacob page. And in an online poll at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), Edward fans have been outnumbering Jacob fans by about a 2-to-1 ratio.
“Edward’s always going to have a bit of a lead as he does in the story, as well,” said Mark Englehart, senior editor of IMDb editorial.
“Edward personifies that kind of romantic hero from Gothic novels of the 19th century. He’s kind of a little like Mr. Rochester in `Jane Eyre,’ the moody, attractive, mysterious man on horseback who comes to sweep the heroine away. … The whole vampire thing almost seems like icing on the cake with this type of character: It enhances his appeal 10 times more.”
(Then there are people like Rosemary Brennan of Los Angeles, a 27-year-old writer for Glamour.com, who says: “More than anything, I’m Team Not Bella. She just seems so manipulative. I think because people are so tied to Edward or Jacob, their dislike of Bella is even stronger.”)
Author Cleolinda Jones, who’s written sarcastically funny recaps of the “Twilight” books on her blog, described Edward and Jacob as archetypal characters, “like fire and ice … and anytime you have a romantic rivalry in a story, people take sides very vehemently.”
Jones – who says she’s Team Alice, if anything – says much of the allure of Edward is that he’s a good boy and a bad boy simultaneously.
“He’s so perfectly beautiful but at the same time he’s got this sense of mystery. … He comes from a family with lots of money, lots of stability, lots of security. He goes to school over and over so he’s sophisticated, educated. Compared to Jacob he’s very calm, very well-read, very clean-cut.”
Jacob, meanwhile, is more impulsive, more spontaneous, and comes from a poorer community on the reservation.
“He was probably going to be a mechanic … before he found out he was a werewolf. He’s hulky and hairy as opposed to being a a clean-cut, elegant figure, so you have the physical contrast.”
But as Team-Edward member Marianne Evensen of Norway points out, “There’s no happily-ever-after for all of them if she chooses Jacob. He can’t make her immortal, and then Edward’s unhappy, and then Jacob’s unhappy when she dies.”
Evensen, a 35-year-old delivery manager who’s been attending “Twilight” conventions while visiting the United States, thinks people on Team Edward probably tend to be hopeless romantics, like her.
“Everlasting love is something I strive to live for. I don’t want to change friends all the time. I don’t want triangles. (Jacob) comes in as an outsider and makes Bella confused.”
But she added: “I find both of them hot, though.”