© 2009 Summit Entertainment.

The whole Twilight franchise is starting to scare me a bit. Bite by bite, the teen-wolf-vampire love triangle is veering dangerously toward the melodramatic equivalent of Bermuda. Whatever innocence the ''saga'' once had is being sucked into a violent vortex, beginning to look less like Romeo and Juliet and more like Chrihanna-gate.

Actually, both examples (super star and Shakespearean) of teen lust gone overboard are less than ideal — abuse and assisted suicide are better suited for after-school specials. Monsters, chart toppers and Italian aristocrats all seem to prove that any love under 21 doesn't do anybody any good. It's nothing like milk, apparently. So what's a growing attention-addicted, Facebook-obsessed sexter to do?

Perhaps pimple cream has the answer. Recently I caught one of those midnight infomercials on miracle acne medicine. The tag line? ''… hormones are not your fault, but you can fix them.'' That sounds about right when it comes to Jacob, Bella and Edward, the stars and star-crossed lovers of The Twilight Saga. Quick recap for those who've already hit puberty: Bella falls for vampire Edward whose sworn enemy is werewolf Jacob, who also loves Bella, who also loves him but not as much as she loves Edward who she has convinced to ''change her'' so that they can go to the chapel.

''Bella and Edwards' love is very taboo and forbidden,'' explained Eclipse co-star Nikki Reed in the July issue of Vanity Fair. Reed plays Rosalie Hale, the one member of the Cullen vampire clan against turning Bella into a bloodsucker. ''I think that kind of represents all youthful relationships, because that's what all first love feels like. This isn't like a healthy love, Edward and Bella's love—it's sort of borderline, like, insane.''


Even more insane is Jacob's reaction when he learns that Bella has decided to stop her beating heart in order to satiate it. She plans to marry Edward and become a vampire after she graduates high school. ''I'd rather see you dead,'' snarls the wolf through gritted teeth. Umm, what? Later he tries to clean things up. ''You wouldn't have to change for me, Bella. I'm in love with you, and I want you to pick me instead of him,'' pleads Jacob, played with steely shirtless-ness by Taylor Lautner.

''I'll always be waiting,'' he tells Bella. ''Until my heart stops beating?'' she asks only half jokingly. ''Maybe even then.'' My best friend and I looked at each other in wide-eyed horror after those frightful scenes wondering if anyone else found this whole story line a tad stalker-ish. Hundreds of tiny eyes went wide with approbation not apprehension. I know all of this is supposed to sound all teen soapy and romantical and what not. But it isn't. It's crazy, obsessive, cave man-type love that plays to the lowest common denominator in any pre-pubescent pairing. It's OK, the movie seems to say, because ''he's just that into you.''


Still, I always thought Bella and Edward fell in love a bit too quickly — a bit too ''involuntarily.'' He's like a million and she's only 17, after all. But young love does hit hard and half the time it does feel beyond your control.

Never having read the books, I fell in love with the experience of watching the films packed with the pre-teen Twi-hards with Tourettes. That audience, despite all the uncontrollable screeching, is still sweet. Sure, every time Jacob Black, the totally ripped werewolf, pulls off his totally unnecessary shirt there will be shouts. But it's comforting to know that most of the girls in the audience have no idea what they're so excited about. (Hopefully.)


All the hoots and hollers are missing experience. That's good to know in an age when a 6-year-old tried to explain to me what a ''dry v-wedgie'' was. Not every girl knows more than a grown-up. Most don't realize that too much love might not be a good thing. Some still think stealing a kiss is scandalous. And that's not just cute. It's comforting.

Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.


Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.