Like so many things, it started with an offhanded comment. I was in the Hyatt bar, trying to explain why Edward Cullen, the hair-farmer/vampire from Twilight, is a sexual predator and I hit on the perfect comparison. Let me pause for a moment as I imagine the look of confusion on the faces of both my readers. Edward Cullen, a sexual predator? He’s the fantasy of nearly every fourteen-year-old girl and a disturbing number of adult women who should know better. How could so many members of the fair sex be attracted to a sexual predator? First off, don’t be so shocked. You know how sexual predators become sexual predators? They have sex. I’m just saying. A sexual predator that can’t get laid is nobody’s problem but his own.
I started with a simple question: “Ever watch Family Guy?” I was talking about Herbert the Pervert, one of the greatest and most insane reoccurring characters in any show ever. For the few Luddites and comedy snobs unfamiliar with him, Herbert is an extremely old pedophile who lives a few doors down from the main family, the Griffins. And when I say pedophile, it’s abundantly clear that this old freak wants to fuck children. Seriously. There are jokes about it. Really funny jokes, too. He’s the most consistently funny character, with the possible exception of Consuela the maid. They’re about equally as offensive, though.
The point I was making was that Edward Cullen was as bad a person as someone who is openly referred to as “the Pervert.” I’d like to admit right now that I was totally wrong. I was about five beers deep at the time. So I’d like to apologize.
Edward Cullen is so much worse.
It’s not like I picked these two guys out of a hat. Both of them are in excess of a hundred years old, although it’s possible Herbert is a little younger. Both have romantic feelings for high schoolers. Both have distinctive hair. But only one is dangerous.
For Herbert the Pervert, any young kid is in play, but he shows a special fondness for Chris Griffin. His stalking is fairly benign as these things go, mostly limited to weird phone calls and occasional re-enactments of scenes from Animal House. Unlike Edward, Herbert has never broken into the home of his beloved and only actually went to the school disguised as student the one time, and that went as well as you’d think. Meanwhile, Edward has been trawling the high schools for what looks like half a century easy. When a hundred year old man attends high school, it’s not cute. It’s creepy. Just get your GED already and work the graveyard shift at Jack In the Box if you’re so worried about appearing human.
Maybe if Herbert was young and sexy looking, he could go to high school. Appearance matters to a sexual predator; just ask Karla Homolka. Edward points out repeatedly how hot he is for two reasons. The first is to prove a thesis that I’ve long suspected: girls like total douchetards. The second is to illustrate a point: that he’s sort of a humanoid pitcher plant. For those who never went through a carnivorous-plants-are-awesome phase, the pitcher plant entices insects through the sweet smell of nectar to fall into a pool of acid, where they are slowly digested over the course of one thousand years! Not all of that was true. Anyway, this works much the same way with women, only replace nectar with Axe Body Spray (or so I’ve been led to believe) and pools of acid with pools of KY. Now contrast this with Herbert. Even on the best of days, we’re still talking about an old man who speaks in a Fine Young Cannibals falsetto and probably smells of Ben Gay and incontinence.
I mentioned earlier that Edward still goes to school. I’d like to go into that a little more, and you can’t stop me, you’re not my mom, okay Doris? By his own admission, Edward is a barely controlled psycho killer, but he thinks it’s just a fabulous idea to attend school with his preferred prey. This would be like me house-sitting for Kristen Bell. Neither Edward nor I would be volunteering selflessly.
It’s also worth noting that Edward is super-strong and super-fast, which, barring a giant spiked penis or the ability to ejaculate spiders, are the two super powers you pray a rapist doesn’t have. So let’s say there’s a young lady that refuses Edward’s geriatric advances? She’s not getting away. And it’s not like she can wait for sunrise and reclaim her symbolic phallus by staking the leech to a tree: Edward doesn’t have those vulnerabilities. Now, compare this to Herbert’s methodology. Most of his attempts to land a supple young thing involve unconvincing invitations to his basement, offers of Tylenol PM or traps made out of cardboard boxes. Not terribly intimidating. And what can he fall back on? Super strength? He can only move around with a walker. He also has old people narcolepsy. Oh yeah, and his dog is crippled too. Herbert’s about as dangerous as a corgi with teddy bears for teeth.
But who cares if neither one of them can land the jailbait of their dreams? Well, Edward is very successful, scoring that young lady tragically afflicted with Down Syndrome. It’s unknown how often he’s been successful in the past, since he doesn’t mention it, but it’s safe to assume he gets what he wants when he wants it. Herbert has never succeeded in his attempts to molest any child. In fact, the only person he successfully violated was Carter Pewterschmidt, an industrial baron in his sixties. Herbert is tolerable as a character precisely because he has literally no chance of tricking Chris (despite Chris probably being at least slightly retarded) and even less of a chance of overpowering him. In fact, Herbert once babysitted the entire Griffin brood and still failed to molest any of them.
Edward apologists would probably point out, rightly, that Edward has saved Bella’s life on several occasions. Of course, she wasn’t in any danger before he showed up, so that’s a zero sum lifesaving. It’s like pushing someone overboard into a school of sharks and then tossing them a life preserver. Herbert has also saved the life of his beloved, this one time when Chris was being eaten by a tree. Herbert pulled a Gandalf (that’s not sexual slang), and rescued Chris. Had nothing to do with the evil tree, either.
Herbert’s ultimate goal lies in his romantic love of Chris Griffin. Granted, this romantic love is unwelcome, illegal and creepy, but Herbert’s fantasy is to marry and raise a family with Chris (set to Little Shop of Horrors’s “Somewhere That’s Green”). At the very worst, he will do something to Chris that he’ll only remember in therapy many years later and might make him cry a little. Edward’s fantasy is remarkably similar, except for the part where he wants to murder and eat the object of his love. Bella can’t recover from that. Not even with a lot of rehab.
I should really just let them speak for themselves. While off in the serial killer woods, Edward tells Bella: “I’m the world’s most dangerous predator. Everything about me invites you in. My voice, my face, even my smell. As if I would need any of that. As if you could outrun me. As if you could fight me off. I’m designed to kill.” There have been less disturbing declarations from Multiple Miggs. And what would Herbert do if seventeen-year-old Bella were into him? As he once told Meg Griffin: “No offense to you, Meg, but you’re a seventeen-year-old girl and I don’t need you here.”
Edward Cullen, the romantic lead that millions of little girls swoon over, is a less appealing character than an admitted pedophile. So if you have the choice, trust your kids with Herbert the Pervert. At least they can outrun him.