Teen Wolf is home to one of most popular gay couples on TV. One problem: The characters aren't a couple.
Entertainment Weekly found themselves at the center of a fandom controversy when they removed write-in nominations for Teen Wolf's Stiles (Dylan O'Brien) and Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) from a poll asking for readers' favorite Summer ship (short for 'relationship,' get it?). The "Sterek" fans? Less than pleased.
"Take it from me," the show's creator Jeff Davis wrote to the magazine on Twitter. "Hell hath no fury like a shipper scorned."
In an update, EW wrote, "The reason Sterek didn't make the category is because it's not an acknowledged will-they-or-won't-they storyline on the show itself. The pairings we included in that category all share a scripted, long-established dynamic on their show."
"I know certain reasons are the humor and the actors' chemistry together. And I know the actors themselves enjoy the scenes together," Jeff explains of Stiles and Derek's popularity.
"There's always a lot of fun to be had with characters who seemingly despise each other and then have to work together to survive. In a funny way, that's how a lot of romantic comedies begin. The two leads always start out absolutely hating each other until they find their common ground."
Sarah-Louise, a Teen Wolf viewers who is a "Sterek" fan, tells us why she's a fan of the pairing: "It's awesome? Seriously though it has so much potential and they have ridiculous chemistry that needs to be explored." Aspa, another "Sterek" fan adds, "The actors' chemistry is one thing. Also Derek being broody, badass werewolf having to deal with awkward, human sidekick Stiles is fun."
"Seeing chemistry happen on screen absolutely drives storytelling in television. You're capturing lightning in a bottle. Once you see that first spark you race to catch it. And you never knew who will have the right chemistry. I saw Derek and Stiles mostly as comic foils for each other," he explains. "To be honest, the romance side is something I never thought about until I learned of 'Sterek.' When I first heard the word, I understood it in terms of what little I knew about slash fiction, going back to pairings such as Kirk and Spock [Star Trek], Frodo and Sam [Lord of the Rings].
"I initially thought that these pairings were just in the realm of fan fiction. I understood it as a way for fans to do their own interpretation of a story. Write the characters in the way they envisioned them. Kind of like a 'what if' universe," he continues. "I had no idea that my Twitter account would be pummeled by pleas and requests to actually make Stiles and Derek a pair in the show itself, to become 'canon.'"
Teen Wolf isn't the first show to have viewers want to see two characters of the same-sex together, even if neither is homosexual. Glee's Quinn (Dianna Agron) and Rachel (Lea Michele) won our Top TV Couple Tournament, with Supernatural's Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Castiel (Misha Collins) coming in a close second.
"I don't understand it, it's so insane!" Lea told us of Quinn and Rachel's win. "I tweeted that Dianna and I were doing a scene in the girl's bathroom and people like lost their minds! It's so funny and I just think that hey great, girl power! I mean, why not?!"
But why do viewers, mostly young females, want to see these seemingly straight same-sex characters together?
"I'll admit this is a bit out of reach of my understanding, even as a gay man. I'm also not sure they may see the characters as perfectly 'straight,'" he explains. "We've certainly made some hints to the possibility of Stiles being bisexual. As to the psychology of why 'girls like boys who like boys,' I haven't asked enough questions or heard enough to really understand the psychology behind it. I know of certain relationships such Holmes and Watson that might have a kernel of truth to them within the actual writing, but then others I'm less sure about. Like what's called 'Wincest,' a romantic relationship between the Winchester brothers on Supernatural."