The Twilight fandom has recently been cracking up over the line “Bella where the Hell have you been, loca?” but why did this obscure New Moon quote go viral online? Released in 2008, Twilight was a huge hit with its target audience of teenagers—but not overly beloved by critics. A melodramatic fantasy romance, the movie was based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyers, and its success soon saw the entire Twilight saga adapted to film.
However, while viewers may have loved the movies despite their corniness, critics were not kind to Twilight. The original Twilight, with its murder mystery subplot, was slightly better reviewed, but its sequels struggled to earn critical approval, and 2009’s New Moon, in particular, received a veritable mauling from reviewers. To be fair to the critics, New Moon was the weakest movie of the series and featured an infamously pointless plot, making the mockery all but inevitable.
Still, this did not hurt New Moon’s performance at the box office and, when 30 Days of Night director David Slade took over directorial duties for the vastly superior sequel Eclipse, the movie’s flaws were largely forgotten. Until now, that is. Recently, a clip from New Moon went viral, and the hilarious out-of-context line reading reminded many fans why the sequel was seen as the worst Twilight sequel movie. When Taylor Lautner’s secondary love interest Jacob Black encounters Bella at his reservation home, he grins and asks “Bella, where the Hell have you been, loca?” and the bizarre question has prompted countless memes from the franchise’s sizable fanbase in recent months.
It’s a bizarrely out-of-character line from the usually stoic and almost comically self-serious Jacob, and one that underlines just how awkwardly teenage the main characters of the series are with its believably cringeworthy delivery. As a result, the quote went viral recently as viewers revisited the series since its arrival on Netflix, with most of the unintentional comedy coming from Taylor Lautner’s delivery and how surreally out-of-place the moment is in an otherwise overly serious sequel. The character of Twilight’s Jacob Black earned more serious criticism thanks to the questionable stereotypes involved in his anger issues and animalistic side, but most of the critique leveled at this moment has been more from laughter than anger.
All memes aside, “Bella, where the Hell have you been, loca?” is a pretty effective encapsulation of what most viewers and reviewers alike disliked about New Moon, despite its unintentional hilarity. The sequel has scenes of completely self-serious melodrama including suicide attempts by both main characters but also features broad, out-of-place humor that seriously messes with the movie’s pacing. Seemingly added to lighten the tone, this too-goofy humor (Bella and Jacob view a violent action movie entitled “Face Punch,” whose gore prompts love triangle third wheel Mike to vomit in the theatre) left New Moon’s tone disastrously inconsistent and resulted in the movie’s moments of pathos flatlining. That said, viewers can only be so annoyed about the Twilight sequel’s failure when New Moon also provided fans with the immortal “Bella, where the Hell have you been, loca?”.