It’s unfair for someone to review a television show from a genre he neither understands nor respects. For instance, most women view football as a pointless exercise in which hyper masculine, spandex-clad men gun a pigskin sphere off each other’s heads and smack each other on the butt for a couple of hours. And they are rightly relegated to sideline reportage and pre-game weather forecasts while dressed like they are expected on stage six at Spearmint Rhino.
So, a show like True Blood, an HBO series written for gays, women, tweens and softcore pornography aficionados should, in all fairness, be reviewed by housewives, twinks and heavyset date rapists. It is not designed for 29 year-old, semi-alcoholic black misanthropes. Me reviewing True Blood is like allowing Craig Cobb to host the Hip Hop Music Awards.
With the exception of Blade, I hate all things vampire. From Anne Rice (who set us down the path of mainstream vampires that look like sensitive SoHo food critics in Halloween costume) to the abortive Twilight series, the entire genre is, personally, lazy and more well-tread than the parking lot Walter White marked up with Junior’s Charger. So, no surprise that a television show with yet more effeminate vampires, feeble werewolves, human panthers, a fairy in tight shirts and water bras, and stereotypically flamboyant gays was not something I’d seek out in the TV Guide.
Although I am a film snob (saying film instead of movie shows the extent of my entertainment douchebagery) I begrudge no one their choices of diversion. I’m the last one to talk. Watching football for eight hours in my underwear with hot sauce and chicken grease staining my wife beater, then masturbating during half time doesn’t quite scream highbrow. So if you like True Blood, good for you.
Another paragraph of disclosure here; I had never watched True Blood before the third episode of the fourth season, and only then because it occupied a screen in my living room and I’d stalled on my screenplay in my office. I amunfamiliar with the entire Bon Temps mythology so pardon me if I miss something.
Ok I’m done stalling here. Let’s get to the point I’ve danced around for 400 words. True Blood sucks. It’s comprehensively awful. On first viewing, I blamed its horridness on the actors – all uniformly bad, except the barely seen Alcinde Herveaux and Hoyt Fortenberry. While the weak cast is a notable problem, the blame doesn’t sit with them entirely. Not even Robert DeNiro circa Raging Bull or Marlon Brando circa On the Waterfront could salvage the hammy, ridiculous writing. That the writing is worst thing about an Alan Ball shocks me as his earlier works have ranged from good (American Beauty) to great (Towelhead and Six Feet Under). I realize I’m a fool for trying to intellectualize the sort of campy, fun show that is too campy and fun to be intellectualized so I’ll just drop some quick thoughts on True Blood and be gone before I overstay my welcome.
- Why is the entire cast so devoted to Sookie – a plain, gremliny fairy with no personality aside from an “aw shucks” helplessness and innocence that borders on caricature? Vampires (including the blood sucking backwater king Bill Compton are prepared to commit suicide for her sake and better looking women with more personality are jealous of her non-apparent charms. Yes, near-indestructable, non-aging, super strong beings don’t think life is worth living if they can’t share it with a mousy backwoods waitress. The first person who can tell me why she is the paragon of lust and envy without using “because the script says so” will get a cookie. Literally. I will buy you some Cookies by George the next time I see you.
- There are too many feminized black men on television. If a black man isn’t a thug or a cop you can be sure he will be gay, jollily fat or in drag. Particularly on HBO. Omar Little from the Wire, Keith Charles from Six Feet Under and now Lafayette from True Blood. Coincidentally both Six Feet Under and True Blood were created by Alan Ball. Hmm… interesting
- Fiona Shaw, an Irish actress playing a Southern witch possessed by a Mexican witch, is easily the worst actress on television, an award she received with little competition now that Jennifer Love Hewitt has been relegated back to tit pics in magazines – where she belongs.
- There’s no urgency in watching a show when you know that nobody of consequence will die. Yes, I know that Tara Thornton took a shotgun blast to the face to save the wonderful Sookie and Jesus took a butcher knife to the chest during an S&M session with Lafayette that got out of hand, but I have no doubt they will find a way to bring both back in Season Five.
- More on the above point. It’s not a good sign that when you have a gay black man possessed by a dead witch burning the two main vampires on a pyre while all the principal female characters recite a spell that unleashes dozens of ghosts from season’s past to deal with him/her and I’m so bored that I’m sticking lollipop sticks in my sleeping dog’s jowls
- There were too many random plot lines that went nowhere or were forgotten about entirely. For one, who was the nymph that fucked Sheriff Frank Sabotka (whose performance is so cringe-worthy it has retroactively ruined Season Two of the Wire) in the park on his walk home from the farm? What happened to her after that? Did they fall short of their sex quota that the week and hastily tack on a sex scene so the teens without an internet connection had something to masturbate to.
- Also, what happened to that ghost that stole the baby from the crib? Is the baby dead?
- Maybe you shouldn’t cast actors who can’t muster up a convincing Louisiana accent if your show is set in Louisiana.
I’d like to see myself as an imaginative person who is open to fantasy storytelling. Game of Thrones is one of my favourite shows of the last two years and it’s as unrealistic as True Blood. The difference is Game of Thrones has created a world with realistic characters with personality and motivation and has adhered to the rules of this world. I can’t help thinking True Blood is cinemax softcore porn with a nouveau gothic theme. Maybe this is my problem with the show. It’s a show that thinks its viewer is too dumb to understand nuance and too distracted to stick around for a scene that doesn’t lead directly to sex. Sexuality on cable is great but when it feels so forced that I don’t believe the actors have even slightest attraction to one another, I can’t help thinking the sex exists for sex’s sake without even pretending it moves along the story.
Like I said earlier, I’m the last person who should be reviewing a vampire show. However, I’ve noticed after watching this particular one that it is not vampires I dislike, it’s the writers who think vampire fans are only interested in smut.
Why True Blood viewers won’t sign up for a Brazzers pass and be done with the show is beyond me.