Take this all with a grain salt because I could be completely wrong, but something has struck me over the course of the last few weeks and it's made my viewing of the show much less irately emotional. The Vampire Diaries is not written as a teen-show. It's not written for shippers, it's not written for teams (Team Damon! Team Klaus! Team NotnowDana!), and it's not written for fanbases. It is a show written as a long game with several love stories (romantic, but also familial and platonic) and characters, filled with supernatural chaos battling with small-town, human impulses. What the characters do or don't do isn't always what we want them to, but it's what makes sense when looking at any particular character's journey thus far.
Clearly, the producers/writers have a vision in mind when they sit down at the end of each season and begin to craft the upcoming season from roughly beginning to end. They have said during the first two seasons that when they sit down to write the first episode of a season, they know where they will be at the end of the season. The journey of the season isn't meant to be taken episode by episode, or character/couple scene by scene, but as a whole journey … encompassing that entire season. It's why information, character motivation and actions that seem unbelievable, ridiculous, and out-of-character shouldn't be judged on the episode you have just watched. If it's that huge a deal that enough viewers note it and/or Damon Salvatore* comments on it, then by now as long-time viewers, we should be aware that something is up. At least that's how I'm choosing to watch the show at this point.
* It's been proven time and time again that Damon is the mouthpiece for truths and twists revealed. There have been multiple times when Damon has commented on a plot, a twist, a character action, etc. that down the road (or sometimes just a hop and a skip away) are revealed to be exactly what Damon was getting at.
As much as I love the pairing of Damon and Elena, and the characters of Damon, Elena, Caroline, et al, now whenever I start to jones about a particular spoiler, or even moment/scene on the show that doesn't make my inner fangirl happy, I force myself to remember that the writers are not writing only a love story, or a show about one character. There are several love stories going on, in various stages. There are several characters and at least five of them are leads to secondary leads, with other strong supporting players who have a point of view that is unique to their character arc. And more often than not, not all of the characters are going to agree, or have the same point of view. And not all the characters – in fact, very few – have access to all of the actions and interactions, interplay and mindgames that are going on with other characters to offer up a truthful assessment.
I actually dare to say that The Vampire Diaries is a new type of show. It's the pulpy, action-based, fan-fun, snarky, sexy soap opera (ala Gossip Girl -- when it was good, Melrose Place, etc.) paired with the layered, subtextual, thinking person's show (Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men). I'm not saying it's as good as those latter shows – although, neither one appeals to me and I personally do think that TVD is better. My point is that, I believe, The Vampire Diaries combines the strengths of both of those types of shows. This is why I said at the top that I don't think it's written for shippers or fangirls/boys. Yes, it is written for the type of viewer who can enjoy the pulpy, snarky soapy fun, but also for the viewers who take in the season/series as a whole and see how the pieces all fit together, see how these character play out these arcs and where their choices, both wrong and right, will take them. It's about flawed individuals living in a crazy world and trying to survive. And I love it for every single thing it chooses to be.