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Post-Crossover Round-Table Discussion with hellsbellschime, spawnofklaus and klarolinedrabbles

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Now that the crossover is a few days behind us and we’ve recovered from dying multiple times, it’s time we took a closer look at what those episodes mean for not only the shows and their future, but also for Klaroline.

If you’ve been around for a while on tumblr then you know there are a few blogs in the fandom that can always be counted on for spoilers, character analyses, and episode discussions. Hillary, Jenn, and Stephanie, among others, spend a good portion of their days answering messages on their blogs, sometimes it’s locking anon trolls in dungeons, talking fellow shippers off the cliff, offering metas on a particular scene or character, or simply theorizing about the spoilers that have leaked but a quick scroll through their blogs tells you they have plenty to say and are not afraid to say it. I know first hand that they each can receive upwards of 30 messages a day, but they always take the time to answer each one and it’s something we can all be grateful for.

We had the opportunity to pick the brains of these three well known bloggers about the crossover and the future of Klaroline, posing multiple questions and allowing them full reign of the discussion, check out what they had to say here:

KM: How “organic” do you think this crossover really was? Do you think the network had a hand in pressuring the writers to connect the worlds again?

Jenn: The network definitely had a hand in this. I don’t think they dictated the content, but the abrupt about face the writers did to include both Klaroline and Caroline (in the case of the TO narrative) was pretty significant. As to the organic nature of it? I don’t think the crossover was particularly organic, since there was little to no build up for it.

Hillary: Yeah I would have to agree with you on that one. I don’t think they dictated the content either, I think they probably gave them more of a broad direction for what they wanted to see but that they basically just told the writers to do something that would appeal to their remaining audience and perhaps catch the attention of some of the audience that has already left. I personally get the feeling that the CW is extremely displeased with Thirstday’s performance and the behavior of some of it’s employees, and given that it’s no longer a very bankable investment for the network I imagine that JP was more than willing to do what she thought was necessary to stretch out the longevity of the shows a bit more.

Stephanie: Absolutely, agreed. Quite frankly this has the network’s handprints all over it. We’ve been sitting here witnessing their hesitation to have any part in a shared universe, and all of a sudden that’s just no longer the case. The network had what is in my opinion clear intentions when they paired the two shows together on the same night, and due to lack of the response they were hoping to acquire, they took it a step further and urged for that tie between the shows to be re-established. I think we’ve had plenty more “organic” opportunities where ties would’ve made sense, this is definitely not the simplest one they’ve had presented to them within the narratives they’ve written. It was necessary, and I think that shows.

Hillary: Exactly. As far as organic opportunities for the TVD and TOverse to intersect, this was an exceptionally inorganic moment for both of them. However this crossover was written at around the time things started to really get messy for the shows, so it seems like it was shoehorned in. We’ve all heard rumors that the CW has been pushing for crossovers for a while now, so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this crossover happened at this time, at a time in which the network seems to have essentially left TVD and TO flapping in the wind, so again I think it’s likely that the network encouraged them to do something but that JP actually did it because it got to the point where the network started to care less. Which is completely counter-intuitive, but also classic TVD/TO shenanigans.

KM: Were you satisfied with the events of the crossover? What do you think those scenes did for Klaroline moving forward compared to what’s going in Klaus and Caroline’s lives?

Jenn: You know, I was satisfied. It took me a couple of days to really process what I saw and what it meant, but after I flipped out (in a good way and, briefly, in a bad way), I discovered that I was actually really happy with the way things went down. I think that those scenes were critical in establishing where we are going in terms of Klaroline, especially on TO. I think the TO scenes were not exactly thrilling on the surface, but since they went out of their way to not just establish Klaus’ feelings for Caroline in the narrative but to actually show her to the audience…I can’t help but think that it wasn’t for nothing.

Stephanie: I have to say, I was absolutely thrilled with the scenes in this crossover—in both of them. It’s no secret that we’ve been in the loop as far as these scenes went, but having them presented on-screen in front of me, established this far greater importance to them. One that I hadn’t at all anticipated. I find it very interesting that there was this deep structural element to the Klaroline scenes on TVD. There was a way that they showcased some of the pairing’s best qualities, such as how Klaus has always seen right through Caroline, as well as how emotionally each half is affected by the other. They kind of did this bit here where it’s almost like they were showing us how much Stefan and Klaus differ in regards towards Caroline. I was genuinely surprised they did so because Steroline is their current flagship, but they just further proved how much that ship doesn’t hold up. As for the mentions on The Originals, those to me felt quite calculated, there’s no other way I can describe them. They were placed in there for a reason, without a doubt.

Jenn: Agreed. The placement of those mentions felt too precise to be throwaways.

Stephanie: Yes, we’ve seen the TO writers scratch the bare surface in regards to Klaroline. 1×07 is all the proof needed, but that episode paled in comparison to the way Klaroline was handled in 3×14.

Hillary: Yeah, this crossover definitely made me feel certain that Klaroline is happening in a big way and sooner rather than later, but other than that I feel quite apathetic about the entire thing. Nothing about this crossover was particularly compelling to me when it comes to Klaroline, and I would have really preferred that Klaus and Caroline hadn’t been in such an awful state as individual characters when they finally reconnected. Hayley’s hilarious show-and-tell moment explaining who Caroline was to the TO audience was hysterical though.

Stephanie: It’s hilarious to me because that scene just proves how necessary it was for The Originals to establish who Caroline is. I think there have been several opportunities in which she could have been introduced on this show prior to this car trunk/phone wallpaper moment. But alas, desperation shows.

Hillary: Yes exactly, what made it so funny is that it was so oddly out of place and it so obviously demonstrated how much they’ve been avoiding all things Caroline for the entirety of the show. I mean, Caroline was one of Klaus’ most significant relationships in his entire character history, and yet on a show where he’s the protagonist they literally have to have a scene where another character is like “hey, this is Caroline! She’s important to Klaus! Here is a picture of her, so she should now be easily identifiable to you!” to explain who she is to the TO audience three seasons in, because THAT’S how strict they’ve been about avoiding her existence up until now.
Stephanie: Caroline’s face being shown on The Originals is nothing short of a miracle, one that has it’s potential to highly work in our favor.

KM: The media recently has been publishing article after article about the crossover and focusing on Klaroline, do you think the CW and Julie are watching the media buzz? How important is the media for them?

Stephanie: Given that this all could’ve been a possible trial run that the network set-up, I think they’re absolutely watching. I can’t even remember the last time either show garnered up this much attention (excluding Nina’s departure) and that honestly has to mean something. I think they were proving a point here, Julie Plec has been running a very dangerous line with her ‘they give me notes and I tell them to let me fail’. The network has left her sans any excuses for pulling the numbers she’s been racking in, when it’s now blatantly obvious that she has the material that will allow the shows to do better.

Jenn: I think the increased attention is great for both the shows and the fandom. Not only does it reach a broader audience when there’s so much being written, but it lets the fandom interact on more platforms than they previously had been. I also think that the network is keenly aware of the increased attention and the root cause of that increase, which is the reconnecting of the two shows.

Hillary: I think obviously the reaction to the crossover has been great, but for me what was the most satisfying aspect of the media attention on Klaroline is that it kind of forced them to put an end to all of the excuses. Klaroline being a storyline that could potentially help both shows recapture media interest is now long longer a theoretical argument, and that is huge.

Stephanie: Definitely! It’s great because as sizable as the Klaroline fandom is, it has been for the most part inactive as far as media attention goes. But just some focus on them for the first time in two years, and now the proof is undeniable. Klaroline provides traction, and it’s noticeable.

KM: The ratings for both TVD and The Originals hit a 0.5 for the crossover episode, are you surprised by those ratings? How much do you think the ratings had to do with Klaroline and how much had to do with people just wanting to see the shows connect again?

Jenn: Good question. I think the answer is “all of the above” in terms of root cause. I think Klaroline was a huge draw, but remember, it wasn’t really promoted. The promotion for the crossovers was much more broad and vague and focused more on Klefan and yet the ratings still received a noticeable and (for me, at least) surprising bump. I was expecting a much more modest windfall than what the shows ended up getting.

Stephanie: Totally, if I’m being honest. I was completely surprised at both show’s pulling a 0.5, that was a bit of a blindsiding. I thought sizeable increase yes, but given that both show’s scored very low in the demo’s they had previously been pulling, I simply figured the numbers would increase to the higher side of it. But Jenn is right, the network did the bare minimum as far as promoting it goes, and it was definitely a generic spin that was provided. However, I think seeing that Stefan is currently in a relationship with Caroline, the thought may have crossed the mind’s of general audience members, that maybe something up our alley would be referenced. It’s a logical assumption, so in a way, yes, I think Klaroline deserves a bit of a nod there. Only partially, of course.

Hillary: My reaction was the same. And to me what actually struck me as the most interesting and relevant tidbit that the bump in ratings seems to indicate to me is that while the shows will never really recover, the audience lack of interest isn’t just because the shows are losing steam so quickly. It actually IS because the audience simply is not interested in a lot of the stories, relationships, and characters that the writers are pushing right now, and if they were to actually focus on things that the audience likes then they might actually come back. Not all of them of course, but enough to keep the shows afloat for a little longer.

Stephanie: I agree, those numbers, in particularly the demo, is quite passable in terms of CW standards. It’s better than what the Monday line-up pulls, and more or less equal to iZombie and The 100, it’d keep the shows in the same vicinity as those two, as opposed to at the bottom of the barrel. Which provided how much the shows fail to provide in other areas, like social media presence, critical acclaim, etc, is not too shabby.

Hillary: Exactly. It’s not a huge difference, but in CW terms it’s the difference between passable and possible cancellation territory. And it also demonstrates something I think Klaroline shippers and a lot of other fans have been trying to say for a long time, which is that if the writers would actually write something people are interested in then people will watch it. This is of course a pretty obvious conclusion, but it’s something that a lot of the TVD and TO crew seem to be especially resistant to accepting.

KM: How do you think the shows are going to wrap up their seasons? It’s been alluded more ‘tiny crossovers’ are being discussed, do you think we’ll see any of that before next year and that the writers will deliver on the Caroline/NOLA flashforwards situation?

Stephanie: I’ll bet “tiny crossovers” are being discussed. We’re at a point now where things are looking like one show is staying, and one is going. The inclusion of certain elements on each half of the crossover, definitely provides it’s intriguing questions. Caroline has been sent to New Orleans during a time-period that The Originals isn’t caught up to yet, there’s a synchronization going on there with Klaus being revealed as M.I.A for the same amount of years that The Vampire Diaries will be time-jumping to. That being said, we now know The Originals has to end Season 3 with whatever causes that disappearance from the city, which begs the question, will Caroline have a part in whatever brings him back to it. Should one show stay, and one go, an appearance from somebody in the departing show, on the remaining one, counts as tiny, and it’s worth taking into consideration.

Jenn: I think that there has to be some payoff to sending Caroline to NOLA. They could have sent her to Idaho or Saskatchewan or literally anywhere else, but they chose New Orleans. Why? That’s a question that the audience is now asking themselves and it will need answering.

Hillary: Personally I will be satisfied if Thirstday ends with at least one less baby among it’s ranks. Although I’m not holding my breath on that one.

KM: There have been talks about the possibility of the shows merging. How realistic is this? Would/could Julie really do it? Which show do you see with more potential for a future or would a merge mean an entirely new show?

Hillary: IT’S THE DREAM. Or at least, this is my dream. And I honestly can see the network going for something like this, I think this crossover also pretty clearly demonstrated that this universe draws more attention when these characters are connected, and why invest so much money into the production of two shows when you can just as easily produce one and get just as much attention, if not more? Personally I’d prefer to see TO merge with TVD, and that seems like the most beneficial move to the network if they were to merge the shows.

Jenn: We are getting into dangerous territory here, since I am in favor of TO continuing and TVD kicking the bucket and it drives Hillary nuts. But I digress. I do think the merger is realistic and I think that the chances of it being a thing grow by the day.

Stephanie: It’s true, we’ve been having this discussion amongst ourselves these past few days, and both Jenn and I are in accordance that the shows merge to TO, as opposed to TVD. Quite frankly I’m amazed Hillary hasn’t totally disowned us yet. But what can I say, I’ve grown this freaky attachment to it, and it’s not a crime towards something you cannot explain, ba dum tsss. However, I think again, given what’s referenced on both halves of the crossover, I think it’s extremely realistic, and I actually think the episodes laid down the first stones towards this route.

Hillary: Yes, we have established that the both of you are crazy. However I think this theory of a merge is not that crazy.

Stephanie: Agreed. I’m quite convinced it’s happening, I gotta say.

KM: Which character do you hope makes the cut if they merge (aside from Klaus or Caroline)? Which character do you hope doesn’t?

Jenn: Since I’m wanting TVD to merge over to TO, my answer is Caroline and Bonnie and the rest of the TVD characters can die in a fire. If we are talking the other way around, then it gets harder for me. Klaus, for sure. Marcel and Freya and Lucien, definitely. Everyone else? Eh.

Stephanie: Uhm, let’s see. If we merge to TVD, aside from Klaus, I’ll take Marcel, Lucien, and Freya (I’ve grown to like her). If we merge to TO, aside from Caroline, I’ll take Enzo, and I’d love Bonnie over there as well, that’s it. Ultimately, I just want Lucien wherever we end up. Lucien Castle, he’s my answer.

Jenn: Wait, is his last name actually Castle? I thought that was some inside fangirl joke that I wasn’t getting.

Stephanie: No, his name is Lucien Castle. What even, Jenn?

Jenn: I thought it was like a Barbie Dream House reference or something, I don’t know. I didn’t think that was actually his NAME.
Stephanie: It definitely is his name. As for who I hope doesn’t make it, Stefan, and Camille, seriously, don’t show them to me. In fact, they can elope and leave together. That’s the dream.

Hillary: Personally the only characters left that I care about on either show are Klaus, Caroline, Bonnie, Enzo, Davina, Kol, and Rebekah. However I’d honestly be happy with any combination of characters from either show so long as Hayley and the plethora of babies are gone forever.

Stephanie: Like clockwork! Hillary’s very serious about her ‘no Hayley and no babies’.

Hillary: Yes, I’m sure everyone will be absolutely shocked by that revelation.

KM: When do you think we will know what the CW plans to do with TVD and The Originals? How will they break the news?

Jenn: No clue. Hopefully over the upcoming hiatus. It will be dropped via press release and I will learn of it when my Twitter breaks.

Stephanie: I think the network was awaiting the results of the crossover to know for sure what the game plan is. TVD and TO for the most part matched in demo, given that TVD has more traction, it didn’t really gain all the much in comparison to it’s spin-off. I now think the CW has it’s pick, they could renew either because we now know that the tie provides the same result on both shows. My guess is over the upcoming hiatus as well.

Hillary: Yeah, I honestly have no clue what to expect either, I feel like anything could happen at this point, but I’m certainly hoping they’ll reveal whatever is going on over this upcoming hiatus.

KM: What do you personally want to see for the end of season on TVD and The Originals?

Stephanie: Easy, a Klaroline set-up.

Jenn: I want Caroline to tell Stefan to pound sand and I want her to go to NOLA. That’s pretty much my enduring fantasy at this point. I would also like to see Klaus compel everyone in NOLA to forget him. That would be tragic and poetic and a good place for Klaroline to really come back together as friends…to start with.

Stephanie: Ooooh! That’s a good point! In terms of The Originals, I just want something to happen. Hillary and I tuned into the Season 2 finale, and to say we were underwhelmed—is a massive understatement. I’d like for something substantial to happen. On TVD, I really hope everyone departs from each other, honestly. As well as from that god awful town. Oh and also for Caroline to peace out of Stefan’s life like the boss she is.

Hillary: Underwhelmed is the exact opposite word to describe my experience, watching that episode was so overwhelming and beyond insane that I swore to myself I would never watch The Originals again (which I haven’t). But I’m actually somewhat easy to please when it comes to the conclusions of these seasons, I simply want there to be solid, permanent conclusions to most of the story lines that haven’t been working this year. Which is to say, permanent conclusions to most of the current story lines.

Stephanie: If only Jenn and I were as firm in our decisions. Because we fell into the hole that is watching The Originals. Don’t ask us how, we wouldn’t be able to tell you even if we tried.

Jenn: Yeah, we relapse every time.

Hillary: Okay, but there was a magical plant trying to attack a baby. Esther and Dahlia apparently committed suicide to forever live in an acid flashback. Klaus rocked a baby to sleep and almost looked into the camera like he was on The Office or something. How does one get dragged back into that.

Stephanie: Esther and Dahlia made it to Coachella, there’s beauty in that, Hillary.

Hillary: Okay, so just look at that on Instagram, it’d be more aesthetically pleasing. And psychologically safe.

Stephanie: As long as Season 3 doesn’t end where Season 3 started, I’m all good. Give me some developments. That’s what I want. And Lucien alive and well. He better live. If he doesn’t, ya’ll gotta hold me back.

Jenn: I still can’t believe his last name is actually Castle.

Stephanie: It’s better than De Martel.

Hillary: God who cares, none of them are lasting past this season anyway.

Stephanie: UH, DEBATABLE. AND LEMME TELL YOU SOMETHING.

Jenn: OOH, Hillary is asking for it.

Stephanie: Lucien will live. Fight me.

Hillary: I don’t make the rules bro, talk to the creators of the way-too-obvious redshirts.

Stephanie: Remember this moment. Although if you’re right, I’m going to feel like a moron.

KM: What does all this mean for the Klaroline fandom? Where do we go from here? Has our time finally come?

Jenn: Movin’ on up!

Stephanie: I’d say we’ve at least got the makings of a pretty decent shot. The cards have been laid out, they just need to play them.

Hillary: Yeah I think it’s on for sure. After YEARS of waiting, the wait might finally be over.

Stephanie: We may actually be moving into flagship territory, that’s unchartered for us, but should it happen—and I think it will—I think we’ll be golden.

Jenn: Amen to that.

You can find Hillary at: hellsbellschime.tumblr.com, Jenn at: spawnofklaus.tumblr.com, and Stephanie: at: klarolinedrabbles.tumblr.com