Blah blah True Blood Blah: S03 E10

Hosted by Thea Lim, featuring Joseph Lamour, Tami Winfrey Harris, Latoya Peterson, and Andrea Plaid

Blah Blah Fairies Blah

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Thea: Was it just me, or was this eppy a little blah?

Tami: It was. In fact, I am honestly having a hard time talking about it, because it was so not memorable. An episode packed with two (supposedly) big reveals should be a lot more entertaining.

Thea: Yes. They are not giving us very good snarking material.

Latoya: I can’t remember. All I know is I kept screaming “FUCK YOU SOOKIE!” about every 15 minutes or so, before my anguished scream after Sookie tells Tara to get over her relationship with Bill, then listens to Tara confess and gives her a half-assed hug. WHAT? Renounce his ass already! DAAAAMN! And he probably killed Claudine!!! *pant pant*

Okay, clearly, I had something to get off my chest. Continue, Thea. *sits in the corner*

Thea: We find out what Sookie is, but no one really cares at this point. Also that is not such an interesting revelation.

Andrea: All I’m saying is my happy ass was right, and I didn’t even read the book. Damn, I’m good… ::pats self on back:: My thing is, in this episode, Sookie being a fairy melds two racialized stereotypes: 1) the stereotype of the white woman as an ethereal, inspirational being, which further feeds into the stereotype of the Idealized White Woman, as well as 2) the white woman who very being deserves protection on the strength of her white femaleness. Note how Bill and Eric are running to her aid. I’m sort of surprised Alcide didn’t come running when Bill and Eric had their “little talk” about revealing Sookie’s “true identity.” I think it’s all rather yawny.

*expletive* You Sookie!

Joe: I’m pretty sure Bill didn’t kill Claudine. But! Honestly, Sookie. If I found out my friend were in trouble and my boyfriend not only did nothing to help, but stayed in the same house while it was happening, I would have a little more than a non-committal hug and an “Aw, I’m sorry” to offer. It makes me madder than fish grease. I am so furious about that. Also, there was no feeling of true condolence even in that moment.

It appears from last weeks weepy breakup that Anna Paquin is a pretty good actress, so it leads me to believe that the way she reacted to Tara’s news will lead to some intense conflict down the line. Like, are we not supposed to like Sookie? Because anyone with two eyes can see that Tara (even with her tough exterior) was in a particularly bad way. Her boyfriend got shot in the head. She was kidnapped. She was raped. Her rapist literally exploded in her face. Sookie, the worst friend of the year award goes to you. *End of my rant*

Andrea: As y’all know, I feel the exact opposite about Paquin’s acting skills as far as this role is concerned. To me, she’s one-dimensional in this role, and Sookie is a one-dimensional character as Alan Ball and the crew have been playing it on this show. Not too much matters to Sookie beyond herself–not even her supposedly bestest’s pain. But again, we’ve seen that Tara’s and Sookie’s friendship isn’t really based on anything but, as someone said in an earlier roundtable, nostalgia. So, yeah, I’m pissed, but I ain’t surprised…and Paquin’s acting really didn’t help with that scene.

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Tami: And what’s up with Sookie’s “Yeah, Jason, you really should tell an already hurting Tara that you shot her boyfriend. OK, then, gotta run do Sookie business.”

The character is so clueless in her interactions with other people.

Latoya: Seriously, Tami. Jason showed that he had a high EQ, and actually, oh, *thought* about the impact this information would have on Tara before just blurting shit out. And then here comes Sookie with her “help.” I was so glad Jason brought up Eggs. Can we start telling people the truth after they complete therapy?

Fairy Crunk Juice aside, I would have liked to hear from some wood nymphs. They are so slept on in our supernatural cannon. That’s no weirder than a maenad, right? Well, maybe that’s what Jesus is…

Andrea: I think the satyrs and centaurs have been underrepped, too. I think Alcide would make a better satyr myself.

Thea: Maybe instead we should talk about that True Blood Rolling Stone cover. Andrea, I know you had something to say.

Andrea: Yeah, that cover is all sorts of eyerollingly silly. Like the Rolling Stone cover featuring the Glee cast, it’s all about the white people. What’s really ratchet is that the most compelling characters on True Blood are the characters of color and the white supporting characters. But who’s getting pushed as the representatives of the show are boring-ass Sookie and Bill (the fact that Paquin and Moyer are real-life newlyweds may be a selling point) and Eric, who, as someone pointed out on another blog, who’s got that “O Hai!” look on his face, though I read it as, “Just doing my duty, y’all. After this, I’m taking my ass home. Tired of these two.” If I was the photographer or photo editor as RS, I would have demanded a bigger, naked group shot. Just no excuse for that omission.

Joe: Re: the True Blood cover. Eric is hot, as usual, and poor Bill has a flat butt. There! I said it. I don’t care if that’s bitchy. How easy would it be to Photoshop some roundness in?

Andrea: ROTFLMAO! Too true, Joe. Too true.

My Kingdom for a Reason Why Everybody Loves Sookie
(Featuring a round of “Eric, hot or not?”)

Thea: So maybe this is like a horse that’s been beat to death, but let’s talk about the Sookie Attraction Factor. True Blood is starting to feel a little like the Office, or the Big Bang Theory, or even Parks and Recreation (and Community may be starting a backslide into this): where the entire show is revolves around a love affair that is really the least interesting part of the show. Even the damn Rolling Stone cover revolves around that love affair, when we all know that we all would rather have seen Laffy, Tara, or even Hoyt blood-spattered and naked.

Joe: Truth.

Latoya: Is this the wrong time to confess I totally dig Leonard-and-Penny? If for no other reason than Sheldon saying “Leonard-and-Penny?” And I am thrilled to see Penny actually gaining a personality and some geek cred as the show goes on, even as poor Raj is losing it…

Oh wait, sorry got distracted. Back to True Blood. Dude, I was so done when Sookie matter-of-factly stated “I get that everyone’s attracted to me…” I HOPE they were trying to convey her bafflement with this crazy ass phenomenon. What, is her va-jay-jay made of honey, gold, and fairy crunk juice? I can’t deal with the Everyone Loves Sookie show. I just can’t.

Tami: And see the problem with the “everybody loves Sookie” narrative is that the character is alternately boring, annoying or vile. Eric has spent the last 100 years with the awesomeness that is Pam and SOOKIE is what he wants? Sookie rarely cares about anything not related to Sookie, yet Tara has been devoted to her for decades. She is not particularly smart or interesting or loyal or entertaining or anything. And don’t get me started on that musty Confederate vampire. What is supposed to be so engaging about Sookie or her paramour?

Andrea: I also think that Moyers and Paquin being real-life spouses offers a certain meta-ness that the show’s trying to sell, too…like on the Rolling Stone cover.

Thea: But in all these shows, nothing is provided to make the love affair alluring…other than its heterosexual middle-class whiteness (yes, even in the case of Parks and Recreation, sorry Rashida Jones) – i.e., the fact that it is a relationship that all humans are supposed to aspire to. Except that it’s 2010, and lots of people – including but not exclusive to, people of colour, queer folks, Marxists… – really don’t have such heterosexual middle class white love as their goal anymore.

Joe: I think the point is she’s a drug, of sorts, for vampires, she’s their V. My question about that is why, then are only human (well, and panther) girls attracted to Jason? Are they trying to tell us that they might not really be related? Is that why they look nothing alike? Apart from the hair.

Andrea: And his abs. Oh yeah, and his (ahem) “good ol’ boy next door” look.

Joe: Ahem, indeed. :)

Latoya: (Note to self – ask Rashida Jones for an ATR interview.)

Thea: Continuing undeterred on my rant: and yet the writers don’t provide any other reason for us to be interested in such an affair, other than its heterosexual middle-class whiteness (and let’s not forget cisgenderedness and able-bodiedness). And even if you don’t agree with me on the other shows (Blah blah we saw Jim and Pam grow up together blah blah) doesn’t this seem to hold true for True Blood? Because I do not believe I have been ever given any reason by TB’s writers to care about Sookie and Bill – or any explanation for why Sookie is so wildly attractive to everyyyyone – other than that, as a human female, I am supposed to lose my shit for heterosexual middle-class white love.

Joe: The difference for me is I never even watched The Office (I know, I know) and I care more about Jim and Pam than about Sookie and Bill (and Eric, for that matter apart from his undeniable hotness.)

Latoya: Team Jesus and La-La. I mean, seriously. In general, I hate love stories that feel shoe-horned into the plot. Like someone is looking at a story board with a card/space reading “insert love story here.” I like Leonard and Penny’s love story because it seems pretty organic. Started awkwardly, continued awkwardly, lots of misunderstandings, they’re currently a broken up – it’s an interesting trajectory. And the nuts and bolts of their relationship is pretty basic – they generally hang and watch television. I also like how we are (finally!) getting to see the inner workings of Penny. Her hook was “she’s the cute blonde girl upstairs” but she’s so much more now. Those relationships make more sense to me than, say, the everlasting ick of the Ted-Robin-Barney love triangle on How I Met Your Mother, where Robin is just considered an awesome prize without really showing why.

Thea: Why does Eric, who is this megapowerful super smart incredibly hot (and you know tall and blonde is not really my type) supernatural creature say that his only regret upon death will be not having kissed Sookie Stackhouse? Is this yet another complex ploy, or does he really love Sookie? And if, as I suspect, he really loves Sookie, can someone, anyone, please tell me, WHY???

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Latoya: Search me. If I was writing True Blood, his only true love would be smedium v-necks and Viking revenge. (And seriously, wardrobe people/writers – full abs or go home! Stop hinting at things and just write him shirtless more often. I never thought I’d say this, but have you learned *nothing* from Twilight? The hot semi-bad guy is supposed to remain shirtless at all times! See: All Werewolves.)

Thea: YES! He seems much more like the level-headed type who only has a relationship with his progeny and his smediums.

Latoya: And generally, Eric appears to have poor impulse control. And a kiss? Really? This is Mr. Six Hour Power, remember?

Oh, and I found this video while looking for the other one -

Eric, are you waxing your pubes? Dude, Cosmo says that’s totally out this season.

Joe: I hold steadfast as the Sookie-as-drug theory. She’s S. (Could stand for Sookie, or saccharine, sleep-inducing and stale for me.)

Andrea: …and silly. But what is this Eric hotness of which you speak, crew? Alexander Skarsgård, I can (sort of) glean. I know he got some peeps all sexy (and skeeved out others) with his admitting that he’s indeed naked during the naked-getting scenes. But Eric…. ::shrug:: I get nothing. But hey, I’m sure folks weren’t feeling my James Frain (not Franklin!) love, so I’m letting it go as different strokes for different folks. Continue your Ericfest.

Thea: I think he just grew on me. I definitely didn’t think he was anything to write home about in Season 1. I also much prefer the short hair.

Joe: I honestly don’t get it either. And I, for one, am all for the viking. I’m thinking its maybe projection-he’s just so good looking and the character is just interesting enough that we begin to think they’re the same person. That, and I’m hoping a Sookie/Eric pairing would make that oft-explored storyline much more interesting.

Latoya: Well, his makeover from season one till now helped. Pam is an awesome stylist. And since Eggs is dead, he’s got the best abs on the show. But I agree, Joe- Sookie + Eric is getting a lot of play in fan videos, and it may have worked – aside from that whole cage and chain thing. But again, it’s Sookie, who gets the creepy chain basement to herself, and she’ll probably be saved in a day or so, so whatever, I can’t drum up any concern.

Thea: Lest you think this is a Sookie hate fest, it really isn’t. Because actually, I don’t think I’ve even been given reasons to hate her.

Latoya: She acts like a chickenhead, despite having superpowers, turned her back on her homegirl multiple times, and has thrown her entire family under the bus so she can have hot animal sex with Bill Compton. I’m firmly in the hate camp. I reiterate, fuck you Sookie!

Thea: Well ok, Latoya, you make a good case. But dear True Blood writers, you’re not even going to give us one reason, as to why Eric (and Bill and Sam and Alcide and…) is gaga over Sookie, other than the fact that she looks good in short shorts? LIKE WHEN DID SHE BRING LIGHT AND HOPE AND GRATITUDE INTO BILL’S LIFE??? I WATCHED EVERY EPISODE!! WHEN???

Andrea: He was practicing his wedding vows, and the writers thought they’d keep it. :-P

Latoya: She slipped them all Fairy Crunk Juice when they weren’t looking. By peeing in their drinks.

Thea: ROFLMAO!!!

Sawyer’s Sam’s Backstory

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Thea: Ok enough Sookie. A quick question: what do we think of Sam’s backstory, especially in light of last week’s conversation about the intersection of masculinity and his beatdown of Calvin? It felt a little out of left field to me.

Andrea: But I also think the backstory was a bit of “See, Sam’s a ‘real’ (if “real” is supposed to be read as “criminal” and “willing to kill”) man after all.” At the same time, he regrets those displays because they really don’t benefit him. Overall, though, It left me a bit “meh.” I just felt it was unnecessary.

Latoya: I was actually pro-Sam development. It’s nice to see that his “so nice I’m almost a sucker” routine is basically him trying to atone for past deeds. A little less impressed with the “damn, traitorous woman!” plot device, but I like seeing the darker side of Sam.

Tami: Didn’t we already learn about Sawyer’s grifter past season’s ago? Oh…uh…whoops! But seriously, that was awfully Lost-esque.

One thing Alan Ball has done to make True Blood his own is to beef up characters that had a lesser role in Charlaine Harris’ books. Sometimes this works (King Russell, Lafayette). Sometimes it feels incredibly forced and distracting to the main narrative (Sam, Jason).

I would think that Sam will have his hands full keeping a leash on his creepy little bro, Tommy “fangs give me wood” Mickens. I don’t understand why we need to develop this whole other Sam storyline.

Latoya: See Tami, that’s what I like. Sam is trying to keep his little brother on the straight and narrow while still dealing with his own demons – Sam is supposed to be setting a good example for Tommy, but could Tommy actually push Sam back over the edge?

Quit Playing Games with my (Social Justice) Heart, Alan Ball

Thea: I guess I should be more upset and shocked that the whole Bill/Sookie love affair that started this entire show was engineered by Sophie Anne, but I’m not, see aforementioned Sookie rant. The whole “you’ve set our cause back” speech that Bill gave Eric, then when Compton Manor gets vandalised and Bill tells Jessica to restrain herself, even though it is “against their nature” made me growl…just because I don’t think it is fair that Alan Ball gets to say that the show is not an analogy for civil rights – when it clearly is.

And I said this last week but I just keep on feeling uncomfortable with the vampire/black people analogy (as it was intensely drawn this week) because if vampires are a cipher for black people, then the suggestion is that black people have violent natures they must control in order to walk among, the uh, living. I cared not for the burning cross. It seemed very cheap (and also who would vandalise the home of a brutal creature of the night? Talk about foolish) and especially rankled me in light of the slave plantation imagery we saw at Chez Edgington earlier this season.

Latoya: Yeah…the Klan burned crosses at night to disguise their activities. But since vamps walk at night, wouldn’t they burn crosses during the day? Or at least at dusk?

Tami: Thea, I agree. Ball’s claim that he is making no analogy between POCs or the gay community and vampires becomes more disingenuous with each passing episode.

I wish the show would make a commitment to go one way or the other. If you want to make the link to marginalized groups, then make it responsibly. I think True Blood could do that and still be a a cheesy, entertaining sexfest.

Joe: Why not just burn Vamp houses down during the day, a la season one? I guess bigots aren’t that bright. Maybe they should freeze crosses during the day. It would make as much sense as (literally, all) these plots are making.

Latoya: I think Ball is trying to dodge controversy by spilling the contents of a lot of different marginalized groups together. He (and the writers) seem to hope that by just making a grab bag of references, no one looks too closely at where the analogies fail, or the inherent references to make. In sum, they hope we drop off the face of the earth. That, or go back to heckling whatever Tim Kring is doing next.

Andrea: Sort of like Kring, he’s simply being irresponsible with his allegories about supernaturals and marginalization. But this hopscotch approach seems to be Alan Ball’s writing approach to too many aspects of this show.

Tami: ***POSSIBLE SPOILER*** (Following is info from the books that helps make my point. I don’t think it is terribly important, but in case anyone doesn’t want to know…)

One of the really interesting backstories in the Sookie Stackhouse book series is Pam’s. If I recall my lore correctly (Joe, let me know if I’m messing this up.), Pam was an English woman, chafing at all the restrictions placed on women in the Victorian era. In fact, she had slipped out for an assignation when Eric found her and turned her. Pam eventually relished being a vampire, because she relished moving from marginalised and powerless to powerful and immortal. That is an interesting dichotomy to explore. How do people marginalised as humans move in the world of vampires?

Joe: You are correct madame. She was, in the books, an incredibly independent woman from a time where women weren’t allowed to be so. Blah, blah, rebel in her time, blah Pam is awesome blah.

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Latoya: *laughs* I see what you did there. And that was a good line.

Tami: We never get this kind of exploration, though. Instead Ball plays around the margins, inserting burning crosses and “God hates fangs” signs, only to play coy and pretend people are misreading him. The result is a product that is too often trivializing and annoying to boot.

Thea: A propos the vampire/marginalised group analogy, what does it mean that Tara has conflated all vampires with Franklin, when we have been told several times by several different characters that only close-minded hillbillies of low education and low moral character have prejudice against vampires?

Joe: I think maybe we’re supposed to be led to believe that Vampires, for the most part, really are dangerous. That’s why I think comparing a race of murders to actual groups of people that exist outside of the Sookieverse is not only counter intuitive to making you believe whatever point they’re trying to make (Lord knows what it is at this point), it’s dangerously irresponsible.

Latoya: Clearly, black folk are the real racists. Cue Sookie’s speech on tolerance for all in the next two episodes…maybe they’ll name the last ep “Go Tell It on Fangtasia.”

Jesus and Laffy’s Excellent Adventure (Hooker)?

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Thea: And what did we think of Jesus and Laffy’s literal trip through the spiritual history of their elders? How does it rate on a scale of 1 to Sookie’s Comatose Visit to Fairyland?

Latoya: Awesomely creepy (though I’ll defer to Tami and Andrea on religion and appropriation). But, since we’re time travelling and all, I couldn’t help but want to revisit this:

Jesus and Laffy’s Excellent Adventure (Hooker)? Yes please!

Joe: So I was right! Jesus has sorcery in his lineage. I’m kind of excited to see where that leads, but much as I love Lafayette, did that scene drag on and on for the rest of you or what? Regarding that scene, though, I don’t like where this relationship is going. Jesus turned much, much, too quickly from “You’re a drug dealer!” to “Yay! Drugs!” Where is that going?

Latoya: Seriously. Is it cool because suddenly V has healing/time travel qualities?

Tami: It was all a little too “woo woo, ain’t brown folks religion deep and mysterious and scary.”

Andrea: Agreed, Tami. And I found it utterly distasteful that, while Jesus’ ancestors were seen in both positive and negative lights (smiling, scowling, practicing healing and destructive magic–and even at that, the male relative practicing the destructive magic was rather cartoonish), Laffy’s ancestors were simply seen as some cut-eye, wild-haired sistahs, even though they were doing something that was positive with their magic, namely to ward away white slavemasters from coming to their beds. Their portrayal was confusing (at best) and disrespectful of African-based spiritualities (at worst). Back to Joe’s point about Jesus’ sudden change-of-heart about doing V with Laffy on this ancestral journey: it (again) smacks of appropriation, namely using a drug for spiritual purposes, specifically the peyote religion as practiced by several First Nations people. I was sooo put off by that whole scene.

Open Mic; I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

Thea: And…open mic.

Did anyone else get strains of “interracial relationship” when Sookie was all like “do you only love me for my blood?” Like substitute “my blood” for “the fact that it will piss your mother off that we’re dating” or “you like the way the colour of our skins looks together, you sicko.” Or maybe it was just me.

Latoya: Russell. Fucking. Edgington. Talbot is still in a jar and he’s acting out his grief in an appropriately sociopathic way. Though I must admit, this is the second sex worker killed in action, which is troubling. I’m trying to think of who the bystanders who have died on TB – it’s generally girls Jason had sex with, sex workers, and that random dude Jessica drained. Still, Russy is rapidly becoming my favorite side character, though Hoyt and Terry are still holding it down. (Please note, I consider this the Tara and La-La show. Sookie who?)

Also, this is awesome.

As is this.

That is all.

Joe: Despite all its shortcomings, I love True Blood. It’s one of my favorite shows. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t stop watching it if I tried. (I can’t quit you!) For the most part, the plot is engrossing, and the story, effects, and actors are engaging. For instance, I still for some reason am pulling for Sam even though he’s injured or killed quite a few people in the last episodes. The thing is, Charlaine’s books tread that vampire/marginalized group comparison in a more cohesive manner. My hope is that there is a method to this madness, and that the writers understand what they’re doing before they tread too far into the “Niptuck-Suddenly-Way-Too-Ridiculous-to-Watch” zone that they’re dipping their toe in. I want to like TV Sookie as much as I do the book Sookie, even with the book-Sook’s shortcomings and naivete. Otherwise I may start a Facebook campaign for the Jessica/Hoyt Comedy Hour.

Andrea: To paraphrase Pam, blah blah blah where’s Alcide blah.

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