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Because It's You And I: A Justin/Alex Manifesto

Title: Because It's You And I: A Justin/Alex Manifesto (Part 1)
Author: A collective work by six fans of the show
Fandom: Wizards of Waverly Place
Pairing: Justin Russo/Alex Russo
Spoilers: The entire series
A/N: Image-heavy. A manifesto for the most popular brother-sister pair on TV

Jalex banner: 'You two bring out the best in each other.'




Jalex headleaning in wizards vs. werewolves
-comforting each other after both of their significant others are lost in a battle-
Alex: Promise me we'll find normal people
Justin: We're not normal people..


 
~Special Note: For this manifest, most examples and character analysis will be done regarding the character portrayals in Seasons 1-3.


Introduction


If you're a fan of Disney's longest running TV series Wizards of Waverly Place, chances are you've heard of the Justin/Alex (Jalex) fandom. Wondering why the most popular pairing in the show is an incest pairing? On a Disney show, at that? Or better yet, maybe you're wondering if you should ship them as well... 
To get a better insight on how this started, let's start by exploring the shows origin.

Circa 2006. Disney is on the search for a new show to replace the recently-canceled Phil of the Future. Many pilots are shot, but one clearly stood out as the next 'supernatural' sitcom for the channel. The plot is about a young wizard-in-training named Julia, and the show will revolve around her magical shenanigans and wacky schemes.
The bread and butter of this show will be her relationship with her best friend Jordan, with their friendship growing into 'something more' over the course of their fantastic adventures.  Selena Gomez is picked for the role of Julia, and David Henrie is chosen for the role of Jordan.  A no brainer, Disney green-lights the series.

actor shots of David Henrie and Selena Gomez

The pilot was then rewritten several times, until Peter Murrieta was brought on board as executive producer; he rewrites the pilot one final time. His script has major changes, but one stands out as the most drastic and consequential: Julia and Jordan are changed to Justin and Alex, a rival brother and sister duo who are constantly at odds with each other. 
A little brother, Max, is written in to keep Alex from being the typical annoying younger sibling, and the rest is history.
However... that teasing, complicated, slap-slap-kiss relationship Julia and Jordan had, and the chemistry David and Selena brought to the table, didn't go away.


Characters

-Alex Russo-

Alex in a nutshell is a snarky, manipulative, and witty teenage girl, who's very stubborn and often rude to others for her own amusement, albeit almost always in a playful manner. Right from the very first episode, we're shown that she's a daddy's girl, and with as little as a pout she can get whatever she wants.

Alex pouting, and her dad looking at her

On the outside, Alex portrays a self confident, carefree spirit, who doesn't pay any mind to what people think of her. She's portrayed as generally lazy, but she's far from dumb; her principal even refers to her as an 'evil genius', much to her delight.
Pretty much the only thing she takes seriously is her love for art... as well as making sure Justin's day is going as miserably as possible.

Peel back the strong facade she puts up around others, though, and you'll find that Alex Russo is one of the most intricate characters of the show, and that there's a much deeper meaning to all of her actions.
Alex is extremely headstrong, and will almost never outwardly display emotion. There are only two  instances where you'll find out what Alex is truly feeling, the most obvious is when she's under a truth spell.

Justin and Alex talking to each other in the hallways at school

The second is when she's having a heart to heart with Justin.

Alex and Justin sitting and talking to each other


-Justin Russo-

Justin is a straight-shooter. He's smart, noble, and will always follow the rules to the best of his ability, always doing the right thing. He can be smug at times, if for little else than to rub something in Alex's face.
Justin is caring, most of the time, and will almost always put other people's problems before his.

While Justin is book-smart, he's not as street-smart like Alex is, and not as clever when it comes to wizarding skills. This is a major part of Justin's character. He confesses to Alex during the movie that most of his insecurities stem from her, and the things she does so naturally. Not wanting to be overshadowed, Justin works harder than any other person on the show to help maintain his image and become a better wizard.

Alex and Justin standing on the ledge together in the movie

Justin is extremely gullible and, when it comes to Alex, nothing short of a pushover. She can make him believe just about anything, do just about anything, and all it will take is a  little begging and pleading.
There isn't a single time in the entire series where Justin has denied Alex of something and stuck with it (if he manages to deny her at all, he'll just get wrapped up in whatever she's got going on eventually). When it comes down to it though, this is exactly what Justin wants.

Justin is always eager to show off to Alex and save the day, a sort of protective instinct that he makes more than obvious on multiple occasions (in one episode he actually follows her around trying to get her to ask for his help, which she eventually does). This aspect of Justin gives a deeper layer to his character, one that will always revolve around Alex.

Justin and Alex talking together near their lockers at school


Stevie: You guys don't like each other but you still do what she says?
Justin: ...it's a very complicated relationship
.*
- Eat to the Beat
Alex, Justin, and Stevie talking to each other

* This sentiment is brought up more than once in the series, and you'll soon see why.

The Relationship

For all intents and purposes, Justin and Alex are polar opposites. They act as foils to each other, constantly being used to showcase the others abilities and attributes. For this reason, most episodes will revolve around the two of them. In fact, Justin and Alex are the only characters in the show to appear in every episode.
When you pit two people against each other that often, tender 'make up' moments are usually plentiful, and Justin and Alex are no exception. For every fight, there will be a scene where they empathize with each other. The bigger the fight, the more heartwarming the exchange will be. 
This formula is so common in the 1st and 2nd seasons that even though they supposedly dislike each other, you'd be hard pressed to find an episode where they don't share a hug or embrace. Justin and Alex have held and embraced each other more than all of their boyfriends and girlfriends combined, over the course of the series.

Add to that the fact that Alex claims she doesn't like being touched, and hates displaying affection towards anyone else, yet she willingly jumps into Justin's arms at any given moment and never looks happier.

Alex and Harper hugging; Justin and Alex hugging

Justin is the only person Alex fully opens herself up to. It's never outright spoken, but right from the start of the series it quickly becomes obvious that Justin is the most important person in Alex's life, and that she's the most important person in his.
In Report Card, Justin risks losing his own powers forever in an attempt to save Alex's.

another Jalex hug

It's strongly hinted throughout the series that Alex acts the way she does as a means of keeping Justin's attention. Most of her schemes are plotted with Justin in mind: that, or she'll find a way to involve Justin one way or another.
In the ending scene of Dollhouse, Alex backhandedly admits that she actively seeks out arguments with him for what she believes to be their mutual amusement and satisfaction, and it can be assumed that all of her actions involving Justin are done with this in mind.

Alex dressed up like a doll in the episode Dollhouse - and yet another Jalex hug

In the Season 3 episode Delinquent Justin, it's revealed that Alex made a clone of Justin 4 years prior and sent it to college so that the real Justin wouldn't have to eventually leave her. Of course, all siblings with healthy relationships will be sad when someone goes off to college, but let's be honest, this is different and much more extreme.
This made it canon that on some level, Alex has some deep attachment issues you don't normally find between siblings, and that Justin means far more to her than she had previously let on. If her reveal is to be taken literally, then that means this has been her mindset since the beginning of the series, and however many years before that.

Alex and Justin chilling in their kitchen

On the other side, Justin is always there for Alex, and would do anything to protect her; be it anything from an out-of-control werewolf, to a broken heart.




( Part 2 - Ten Reasons Why They Work )
Tags: -incest, wizards of waverly place
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