Day 01 - Your Favorite Character
Damon is my favorite character on The Vampire Diaries, hands down, no other choice possible. Based on press and online commentary, I'd imagine this is the popular choice. For me, I do tend to gravitate towards the bad boys and Damon is definitely a bad boy. However, there is so much more to him than that, which we get courtesy of great acting and writing. Partly it is because of how well Ian Somerhalder &hearts plays the role, and upon my many rewatches, it's evident just how much the awesome of Damon is because of how fantastically Somerhalder plays him.
Delivery of those snarky lines reveal (often enough that it's clearly not a fluke) that as great as the dialogue for Damon is, a good number of his lines aren't actually brilliant bon mots of snark, but rather given that zing due to the style with which Somerhalder delivers them. And it's not just the vocal delivery, his body language, facial expressions, over-the-top eyebrow/wide eyes usage -- which is so deliberately Damon putting on a show* -- is just fantastic. And then he turns around and goes all subtle on us.
It didn't happen much in the first season, but as we've seen a Damon discovering his humanity this season, we've gotten scenes that show us the softer, more sensitive Damon, and those moments are just as real as the dastardly Damon at play. Heck, even in the midst of some of those over-the-top scenes, there are flashes and glimpses of the humanity and heart, the conflict and the confusion lying underneath the surface. That is due to both the actor, and the fantastic writing. Yup, as awesome as Somerhalder is, I don't want to discount the writing because the writers have managed to create a fully three-dimensional character, one who has gone through the gamut of every emotion, more than any other character on the show. We've literally seen every emotional side in this character, and -- back to the actor -- Somerhalder has brilliantly, and seamlessly, shown us every side with believability.
So how can I not adore this character? He's witty, emotional, bitter, bruising, hilarious, serious, snarky, sexy, caring, ambivalent, scary, in love, in lust, in like, filled with brotherly love and sibling rivalry (and partly why I love "The Return" so much is that we actually saw every single one of these on display in the episode). You name it, Damon is it and there is simply never a dull moment. Even with the woobier Damon that we see more now. Basically, Damon gives me every thing that I love about a character wrapped in the deliciously-shaped-Ian-Somerhalder package. What's not to love?
* Although, admittedly he's done the eyebrow/wide eyes thing a LOT more in the last batch of episodes, but I honestly think that's for two reasons:
1) Somerhalder was sick as a dog, and had walking pneumonia for two months. You can hear it in his voice in several episodes, as well as flat-out see it even under the make-up in an episode or two. I have to think that he was pushing through to put as much energy into the normally high-energy Damon as much as possible, and just put a bit too much. I totally get that.
2) Damon is freaking the heck out. He doesn't like brooding, or dealing with emotions and humanity and caring and all of that annoying crap, and yet it's falling on him like a ton of bricks. So he's overcompensating by putting on the 'I'm a crazy, vampire killer who doesn't give a shit' routine into full-drive.
Makes sense to me. Of course, I'm a Damon/Ian apologist and have no hesitation admitting that. :) See: Favorite character.