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
Why they work
To make this easier, let's make a list of 10 good reasons why Justin and Alex work as a couple, and why they're pretty much perfect for each other.
1. The writers secretly love it
From very early on the writers seemed aware of Justin and Alex's 'chemistry', so much that they actually made a reference to it in the show.
In the episode Movies, Alex finds herself trapped in a horror film, and Justin goes into the movie to save her.
Soon as Justin arrives, Alex assaults him with a hug that by any standards lasted way too long, and was only broken off by Justin being distracted by a bunch of girls in pajamas running past, eliciting an annoyed eye roll from Alex and a snarky 'My hero...' when the killer scares Justin and the girls away.
Then outside of the theater their parents Theresa and Jerry hear two employees talking about a 'new' element to the film, saying this gem: “Maybe it's the director's cut. Those characters Alex and Justin have such chemistry.”
Only after their parents give their mortified expressions, does the employee state 'it's like they grew up together', but we all know what the implication was here. This is only the first of many instances where Justin/Alex will be purposely played with in canon.
For example, in Wizard School, Part 2 Alex speaks with the Monotone Woman regarding a secret volcano area. Various puns are made in regards to heat. This is what the lady says to Alex in regards to her reacting to something Justin did, word for word: 'Does it make you want to erupt? Does it block your flow? Does it make you wanna go molten? Does it make you hot under the collar?'
In fact, even the cast themselves take their shots at making the Justin/Alex scenes more intimate than would be necessary for any other 'ordinary' siblings. At the taping of the Season 4 episode Wizards vs. Angels, both the cast AND crew added their input to how the closing scene could be 'better'(where Justin and Alex embrace after Rosie leaves Justin and he gives Alex back her wand), with David suggesting she come sit next to him, and Selena suggesting she rest her head on his shoulder. The scene was re-shot several times until they were satisfied with how tender the scene was.
(This was apparently a problem, as you'll read below in reason 3.)
2. Even their parents ship it
Even after the hilarity of seeing their shocked expressions in 'Movies', regarding Justin and Alex's “chemistry”, Theresa and Jerry are always supportive of their two oldest getting along and being close. Just as any parents would, naturally.
But of course, then there are the times when things get a little out of the ordinary.
When Alex makes a wish on a Genie that no one would compare her to Justin, the twisted Genie also makes everyone forget who Justin is entirely. When Alex brings Justin home, he immediately hits it off with their parents (since he already knows everything about them).
Their mother calls Alex's “new friend” 'cute', and promptly makes the motherload of all suggestions:
Theresa: “Hey, Justin is a great catch, you should go out with him!”
You know, for laughs! Alex gives a reaction of 'Ew, gross!', but when Theresa says that's how she felt about Jerry too at first, but now he's her big 'cuddlybug', Alex responds with 'Ew, grosser..'
..Yup, Alex finds her parents cuddling to be more disturbing than going out with Justin. Just played for laughs, right?
In Quinceañera, Justin and Alex switch bodies with a dance instructor and their mother, respectively. When the two of them dance together, as far as Theresa is concerned, Justin nearly asked Alex on a date, and all she says is “okay, that's really weird..”
That's it. And it's never mentioned again. Played for laughs or not, it makes you wonder what Theresa really thinks is going on with her kids when they're off on their magical adventures.
In Delinquent Justin, Theresa and Jerry walk into the kitchen and overhear Alex and Justin's nostalgic and emotional exchange, prompting Theresa to exasperate the fact that everyone knows they love each other, and they should just admit it to themselves. They respond by jumping away from each other to opposite sides of the couch, embarrassed.
Awww, how cute...
3. Disney is aware of it
During the first two seasons, the Jalex fandom was steadily growing, becoming more well known and popular as time passed. But it wasn't until the movie came out that the fandom EXPLODED with activity. Justin and Alex's characterizations in the movie pinged more than a few radars, everyone took notice... even Disney.
Midway through Season 3, the Wizards vs. Werewolves arc was written to write off Juliet (so Bridget Mendler could star in Good Luck Charlie) and to give Alex a temporary love interest: Mason. As status quo for the show, the saga ended with Justin and Alex alone to comfort each other. Disney apparently didn't like this, because they forced the writers to bring Mason back as a permanent love interest for Alex, after the writers had already claimed that Mason was to be turned into a wolf forever. Despite the show's intended theme (series creator Todd Greenwald's original intention) that Justin and Alex would go through constant teenage heartbreak and go through the motions just like normal kids, Disney took notice of the large scale Justin/Alex community and decided to put a stop to it.
There are rumors abound about what's happened behind the scenes at the WoWP set. One is that Disney's interference with the plot of the show forced writer Peter Murrieta to quit after the 3rd Season. A lot of the complaints concerning the majority of Season 3 and 4's more-than-questionable quality is blamed particularly on Disney's meddling with the writing, not giving the writers their creative freedom.
One thing is certain though: Justin and Alex sure as hell don't embrace each other nearly as much as they did in the first two seasons, and that's without a doubt Disney's doing. It's been said by a member of the Wizards staff that Disney almost didn't allow the ending scene of Wizards vs. Angels, a major Season 4 storyarc, but were convinced to let it slide.
If Disney is that scared of the pairing, then maybe these aren't just some made up fan theories or a bad case of 'shipping goggles'. The chemistry and tension between Justin and Alex is palpable and real.
4. Alex can put down her facade and be herself with Justin
When it's just the two of them in a room together, they talk eagerly, asking each other questions about their day, ask each other how they're feeling, etc. This accentuates Alex's character in a major way, in that the act she puts up in front of others simply doesn't apply to Justin. He's special, and he's one of the few people she lets in, and he will almost always be the first person she goes to if she needs anything.
That being said, Alex is stubborn. Even though she still mocks him, exactly how much she leans on the things Justin says is never made clear to anyone, though if you pay attention you can see for yourself that she enjoys and holds high the things he tells her. For example, in Future Harper she makes fun of him for saying/making up the word 'futurenaut', yet is seen later suggesting it as a title for Harper's book when he wasn't around.
Basically Justin is the only guy Alex can truly be herself with, as opposed to most of her boyfriends.
5. Justin finds girls similar in appearance to Alex attractive
The first girl Justin is romantically involved with in the series is a 5' 3 cute girl with brown eyes, long black hair, and a knack for not conforming to the rules... oh and intimidating guys. Sound familiar? No, not Alex. Miranda.
Yeah. They could easily be mistaken as twins, nevermind sisters. In one episode, Justin's animated pimple tells Alex '[Miranda] is almost as pretty as you'.
Something very interesting to note: after Miranda suddenly disappeared, Alex's fashion style started mimicking hers more and more, even the point where she got color streaks in her hair exactly like Miranda's.
Something else suspicious happened earlier in Movies. Alex cut up a fake ID out of construction paper to get into an R-rated movie with Justin and his friends, and who did she use as the picture? A weather-girl Justin said he thought was 'hot' earlier in the episode. …..yeah. Either Alex looks similar to this weather-girl, or there are some other, more personal, factors involved here that Alex needs to own up to...
This isn't the only occasion where the weather-girl will be brought up (this show loves its continuity nods). In later episodes Justin and Alex are seen watching the news together so Justin can get a look at his weather-girl (and get the occasional eye roll from Alex, naturally).
Further down the road in Max's Secret Girlfriend, when Justin and Alex pretend to be married (yup, you read that right), she quite cleverly names herself “Diane Sawyer.” Genius, Alex.
On a more subconscious note, Alex noted in an early episode that she always smells like vanilla. How curious that Juliet, Justin's main girlfriend throughout the later half of the series (and a 2000 year old vampire), uses vanilla to mask her scent of decay...
6. They had an entire movie-length adventure all to themselves
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie takes place sometime between Seasons 2 and 3. The premise is that Alex wishes her parents had never met, resulting in a quest to reverse the forbidden spell before she and her brothers disappear forever. It uses the same formula as a typical WoWP episode, with the A-plot and B-plot. The B-plot consists of Max trying to keep their parents from falling in love with other people, aka, a means of getting him out of the way for the real plot of the movie: the experience between Justin and Alex.
The entire movie is a catalyst for exploring the depths of Justin and Alex's characters. You find out what makes them tick, what they think about each other, and how they'd react when facing separation and even death.
The one thing the movie lacked is a love interest for one of the main characters. In fact I think it may be one of the only Disney movies to ever not have one, but anyone jumping into the movie halfway would undoubtedly think otherwise. The entire film is one tender moment after another, and puts other shallow movie romances to shame. Be it:
talking sweetly and softly by a campfire...
fierce conversation with faces within inches from each other while levitating across a deep chasm...
or tender moments in softly lit caves...
It's no wonder so many people were expecting them to kiss at some point, especially viewers that started watching halfway through and didn't know they were related. Keep in mind that throughout the course of the movie, Justin and Alex are slowly losing their memories, forgetting things about their lives, and about each other.
What really hit hard was at the climax of the movie, when everyone else was gone (literally or figuratively) and it was only Justin and Alex left. Justin slowly starts to lose his last memories and forgets who Alex is. Alex starts to cry, begging him not to leave her, saying how kind and how nice he is. Justin responds in a way even most love interests wouldn't dare to, saying, “I'd never leave you.” If that didn't raise eyebrows, nothing would.
They share one last embrace before Justin is wiped from existence, and Alex breaks down.
The following excerpt from TVtropes.org explains the emotional torque of the scene perfectly:
“The entire movie focuses on Justin and Alex relating to each other, confessing secrets, and getting closer than ever before. Then Justin got taken away. You didn't care that their parents didn't remember them, no one seemed to care when Max was taken away, but when Alex lost Justin and she started to cry for the first time in the entire series... You didn't care how it happened, you wanted Justin to come back.”
Even more so than on the show, Justin and Alex fulfill all the criteria of a budding romance, especially with the concept of them forgetting their roots being put into play. Had this film been produced by a company other than Disney, this concept of 'sibling-ish tension turning into something flirty and serious as their memories fade' very well could have been explored a little further.
7. Alex needs Justin, and he needs her.
Despite her constant antagonizing, whenever Justin is in trouble or he's taken from her, expect Alex to do all she can to make things right. In Justin's Little Sister, Alex accidentally makes it so that no one remembers Justin, and to put the icing on the cake she turns him invisible too, permanently. For the first time in the series Alex starts to panic, and backhandedly saying she loves him and needs him back. (All of which Justin finds very amusing when he actually does return)
During the cave scene in the movie, Justin apologizes to Alex for being “on her” so much, and that they need each other.
A more humorous approach to the subject, when Justin is turned into a werewolf and runs away with his girlfriend, Alex is left alone with only Max. It doesn't turn out too well; within a minute Alex is running out the door saying she needs Justin back right away.
While this is played for laughs, it's true that Max is essentially the 'third wheel' most of the time. The focus is nearly ALWAYS on Justin and Alex, with Max off doing his own thing. Neither Justin nor Alex have anywhere near as close of a relationship with Max as they do with each other, and show minimal to no interest in him whatsoever. In fact, most of the time they're plotting together to send Max off somewhere, or you know, 'accidentally' leave him on Mars. Poor kid. At least he has Theresa to show him some affection.
In Season 4 when Alex moves away, Justin is very hasty to get her out of the house, acting very strange and rude. We find out later that he's been feeling conflicted about Alex moving out, as we find out in this dialogue after he saves Alex's apartment:
Justin: I realize now why I felt so weird about you being gone. It's because cleaning up other people's messes and being able to silently judge them afterwards is what makes my life complete.
Alex: Did you just say I make make your life complete?
Justin (suddenly embarrassed): No...
Alex: Oh my gosh, you miss me!
Justin: No I dont! Miss you... pfft. -storms off-
Alex: I miss you too...
Alex makes Justin's life complete, it's pretty much canon now.
8. Anytime someone comes between them, they're tinged with what seems to be... jealousy?
This show is big on giving the two main characters relationships. Most of the time one episode flings, sometimes multi-episode drama-filled 'romances'. But there's always one theme that seems to be constant: when one sibling is involved with someone else, the other sibling is either slightly to extremely bothered. It can be seen with nearly every potential love interest in the show, some type of strong resentment, that sometimes almost comes off as jealousy.
What's funny is that with nearly every major relationship Justin starts, Alex helps him at first, seeming to be supportive, but once they're actually together Alex is nothing short of snarky and bitter towards the couple. Almost always giving dirty looks no matter what.
On Justin's side, he teeters from not really caring when she gets a boyfriend, to behaving similar or even more extreme than Alex. In Potion Commotion, a boy rubs Alex's shoulders, and Justin gives a displeased/disgusted look.
Alex's season 2 boyfriend Dean didn't have any problems with Justin, and even offered to help him out with his social status,
but that didn't stop Justin from yelling to Alex that she needed to get over him in Graphic Novel, and telling her while they were on the terrace looking at the stars that he was sorry to hear that they were going out, at the end of Racing. (he always wanted to be able to beat up anyone Alex went out with)
In Wizards vs. Werewolves, Mason turns out to be not as harmless and charming as everyone thought, and not only did he break Alex's heart but he won't leave her alone either. Justin is never seen angrier in the series. The entire episode Justin can be seen in the background giving Mason the dirtiest looks, and if it wasn't for Alex disarming Justin of his wand, Mason would probably be in monster jail or permanently injured.
9. The looks they give each other are more romantic than brotherly...
This section the pictures will pretty much speak for themselves. This isn't a case of 'lolz lets take this picture of two characters looking at each other and call it TENSION!', or anything like that. What it is is the tension and attraction between these two actors that transcends onto the characters they play. And what's for certain is that Justin and Alex give each other looks you would typically see romantic interests give each other: whether it be Justin looking at Alex's ass, Alex glancing at his crotch, or them simply staring and smiling at each other for way too long.
10. When they're in the same room, it's like no one else matters
Alex is mainly seen with only two people: Harper (her best friend), and Justin. When Harper's around, she's just... around. There's no change in Alex, no noticeable reaction to Harper being in the room. Everything is normal, just like it would be for any other friend or relative.
As opposed to when she's in a room with Justin: there's something that looms in the air, a sort of tension between them. You're just waiting for Alex to make some type of remark towards Justin, or for Justin to make a smug remark about something Alex is talking about, because you know there's going to be some type of interaction between the two. It's what the show feeds off of, and something you grow to expect.
Next time you watch an episode, honestly just pay attention to Alex. You'll notice how quickly she is to involve Justin in anything that's going on, be it a conversation, a plan, or just to get his attention with a snarky comment (or two or three). Justin also does this, in spades, usually in retort of Alex's instigating.
No matter what the situation, be it relaxed or in the face of imminent danger, they will always capture each others attention for some period of time: whether it be for some witty and playful banter, or to share a look that says more than either of them could say.
Jalex is by far the most popular pairing in the Wizards of Waverly Place fandom, anywhere you go. On fanfiction.net, about 40% of Wizards of Waverly Place fanfics are specifically listed as about Justin and Alex, (the vast majority of these being Jalex fics) - and that doesn't even account for the untagged fics that also include Jalex. The canon pairings, Alex/Mason and Justin/Juliet, have only about 6% and 1.5%, respectively. Forums and communities for any other pairing, whether it is includes Alex or Justin or not, have very few posts and very little traffic. If you're interested in hardcore shipping in Wizards of Waverly Place, Jalex is the way to go.
The Fandom's Best
1. In Fire, In Ice : Arguably the most famous Jalex story to date
2. Days Were Slipping Past
3. Fanfic recs from the justin_alex community
4. TvTropes has its own Fanfic Recs page
A - The ones that start in canon
1. Baby it's fact
2. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger and its sequel Wizard, Waiter, Brother, Spy
5. Just A Little Harmless Smut
6. Sixty Seven Degrees of Separation
7. Night Moves and its sequel The Shake Up
The Nicest Thing
Nothing Ever Hurt Like YouFor other Jalex fanworks, check out the tags of the justin_alex community: there are graphics and icons, fanfiction, and fanmixes etc.
Other Links of Interest:
Todd J. Greenwald mentions Jalex in a live chat : "[Reading] Are Justin and Alex going to end up together? They're brother and sister, PEOPLE."
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie > Top 5 Justin/Alex moments
Justin and Alex Moments: Video of some Jalex moments from early seasons
( Part 1 - Characters and Relationship )