In today’s Washington Post, Liz Hand reviews Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn and gives an overview of the whole Twilight series. Among other problems, she notes a creepy parent-child dynamic in the love relationship between Edward and Bella:
Edward has been frozen at the age of 17. But he was born in 1901, and he doesn’t behave anything like a real teenager. He talks and acts like an obsessively controlling adult male. He sounds far more like a father than a boyfriend…
This issue lurks in the background of every ancient vampire/young mortal romance, of course. There were any number of times during the Buffy-Angel relationship when I thought to myself, “Y’know, if I really believed David Boreanaz was three hundred years old, this would totally squick me out.” (I never had this problem with Spike, partly because Buffy was older when they got together, but mostly because it was obvious that vampirism had arrested his emotional development along with his physical aging process.)
One vampire story that gets this right is the British miniseries Ultraviolet (not to be confused with the dreadful Milla Jovovich movie of the same name). In the episode “Mea Culpa,” vampires try to secure the loyalty of a pedophile by giving him a vampire boy to play with. The problem is, the boy is not really a boy—he’s an old man in a child’s body—and he lacks the youthful innocence that the pedophile is attracted to. So the guy goes looking elsewhere, which is how the vampire hunters get wind of him.