That’s No Lady, That’s My Sister!: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood S5, E1

Meanwhile, back in Bon Temps, True Blood hit the ground running this week. Lucky for us, so did our Roundtable. Discussing the proceedings this week are Alea Adigweme, Kendra James, Jordan St. John, Joseph Lamour, and Tami Winfrey Harris to discuss Bill and Eric’s excellent adventurealliance, the new threats awaiting Sookie, and give their take on what’s going on between Eric and…his sister. Sort of.

Alea: Watching Eric play housemaid is kinda hilarious.
Jordan: Love that Eric kept his outfit on, just added those purple gloves and doesn’t have a spec of blood on him.
Joe: That fast forward cleaning was pretty delightful.
Jordan: Ohhh, that would come in handy. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could speed up some tasks in life? I don’t think I would ever have a reason to clean up vampire guts super quickly but it would be nice to know that I could.
Kendra: So, is “f-ck Sookie” going to be the theme of the season then? Because I could be okay with that.
Tami: It’s my theme for every season. How’s that?

Jordan: Ha. It is my personal feminist dream that Sookie spends the entire season saving her own damn self. Also so good to have that wide-eyed imposter Eric gone. F-ck Sookie indeed. Bill, ever the savior, runs out anyway.

Alea: “Turn her for us”?!?! Oh, shit.
Joe: I. Was. RIGHT!! I knew that they were going to turn her. Considering how much she hates vampires, it’ll be interesting to see how she deals with actually being one.
Alea: “Super snatch.” I love all of the Sookie slams so far this episode. “F-ck Sookie,” indeed, Eric and Kendra.
Tami: I think in recent seasons, True Blood has become more and more about fan service. I suspect that’s why, beginning in season four, Sookie gets called on more shit. Fans of the show may disagree on a lot of things, but we almost all agree that Sookie sucks.
Jordan: Agreed. Sookie used to have a life and job and now she’s running from one tragic situation to the next looking for rescue. If this is the season of Sookie truth-telling, I am all for it.

Joe: Ooo, Janina Gavankar is in the titles now. Congrats on the season regular upgrade! I love that girl. (PS: If you’re a nerd of color, her twitter is pretty entertaining, too)
Tami: Joe, what’s her Twitter handle? (Note: It’s @Janina. –Arturo)
Kendra: That’s awesome and all, but I’m still going to be pressed that they couldn’t find a Native actor to play a Native character. The whole “we’re all interchangeable” thing is incredibly bothersome. On the plus side, these remain some of the better-edited opening credits on television.
Alea: I’m going to cosign with both of y’all on this one. It’s always nice to see another nerd-of-color creative be down and get work, but I have a hard time believing that there are no talented, sexy Native femme actors who could do as good of a job.

Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse. Courtesy: TrueBloodGuide.net

Joe: Naked Jason, always a welcome sight.
Alea: His quads are phenomenal; and he is still a f-cking sucker.
Jordan: Only Jason would open the door fully naked and then proceed to have full conversation, that way getting a nice breeze on his bits. Ridiculous.
Kendra: I think I’m going to end up crushing on Prep School Vampire Newlin by the time this is over.
Joe: That looked somewhat suggestive.
Alea: Pam’s sweatshirt. Correction: sweatsuit. Amazing. The kitty cat! The things Pam’ll do for love.
Joe: Haha Canary yellow Walmart sweatsuit. The Stackhouse family closet.
Jordan: Indeed, because you know that once this was all hashed out, one of the first things Pam said is “hell if I am getting my own clothes dirty”
Kendra: Oh dear, that came right out of Sookie’s grandmother’s closet. There are times when I really think the costume design on this show is better than Mad Men. (Sorry, Janie Bryant.)
Alea: Is the sexual assault of Jason really going to continue this season?
Kendra: I suppose it couldn’t possibly be handled any worse than it was last season.
Alea: [shudder]
Joe: Of course, reverend. Who was he kidding with those over the shoulder sweaters anyhow.

Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) & Bill (Stephen Moyer). Courtesy: TrueBlood.wikia.com

Kendra: So the vampire rights as a metaphor for civil/gay rights is finally crossing over, I see.
Alea: I kind of love that Jessica is still running around looking like Little Red Riding Hood.
Jordan: I know. It looks like one of the costumes Pam puts on to work at Fangtasia. Is she just strolling down Main Street in BT with the get up?
Tami: So…they’re going for the murderous closeted gay man/gay sexual predator combo? For all the kudos this show gets for diversity, it sure treats marginalized people like shit.
Joe: Little Red Riding Hood minus two letters. I love it.
Alea: Eh. I don’t know if wearing clothes made of precious little fabric — and…cheating on one’s boyfriend? — makes one a “ho.” (Though, recently, I’ve even been slightly squicked out by other sex workers using the term.)
Alea: That explosion was hilaaaaarious. Bill and Eric working as a team is so bromantic! “I’m not leaving you, Bill!!!”
Jordan: Bill an Eric seems to have gotten into a really good place now that Sookie isn’t getting in the way. They are far more interesting together. I could take a whole season of just The Bill and Eric Show. A mismatched vampire duo traveling the world and running from the Authority.Hijinks ensue …

Eric and Nora (Lucy Griffiths). Courtesy: TrueBlood.wikia.com

Alea: Back to incest this season, too.
Kendra: They gotta keep up with Game of Thrones.
Jordan: In the HBO incest wars, Game of Thrones is definitely winning.
Joe: “Sister” is sort of a broad term in this world. Doesn’t make that any less icky.
Alea: Very, very true.
Jordan: Especially because they keep calling each other brother and sister…
Joe: Eric’s sister looks strongly like Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars. It’s kind of freaking me out.
Kendra: I legitimately thought it was Cheryl Cole for a moment, but that was strange wishful thinking.
Alea: “Warm butter?” What a shitty simile. Ugh, and the music.
Jordan: I was so disappointed by “warm butter.” It’s such a cliched reference. Soon he’ll be talking about how the emotional pain of it all was like a “stab to his heart” that “rocked him to the core.”
Joe: This must be Nelsan Ellis’s Emmy submission.
Joe: Andy’s body is surprisingly…wait, no, he turned over. (That was mean, wasn’t it? LOL)
Alea: Naw, he’s still pretty…not as unfit as he seems with his clothes on.
Joe: Yeah, I double take it back. LOL. Maybe he knew he’d be naked in the premiere and he hit the gym. The guy who plays Sam said something about working out to no end, thanks to this show.

Kendra: This is meant to be a serious moment, but for some reason I find myself already wondering the eternal Bon Temps question: Are any of these people ever going back to work? To make money? And support themselves?
Alea: Work? Money? Wait, are you proposing that people in BT have need for hard U.S. currency? Balderdash!
Jordan: I remember back when True Blood started and people talked about “missing” or “covering” shifts. I guess Merlotte’s just runs itself these days.
Joe: Are they superimposing Rutina and Anna’s voices on those children in that flashback? Odd.
Alea:That’s what it sounded like. (Also, I’ve always wondered why bathtub water in films is always opaque. Everyone uses Dr. Bronners?)

Rutina Wesley as Tara. Courtesy: TrueBlood.wikia.com

Tami: *Waits for flashback of Tara tying Sookie’s corset stays and telling her how beautiful she is*
Jordan: HA!
Joe: Cue saddened bathtub scenes. They should have continued with Jason and Andy and, like, four others. With that swelling music.
Joe: They’re probably opaque so you don’t see the jangly bits of the actors. Although that’s surprising they don’t on this show.
Kendra: Lemonade? She has time for lemonade?
Joe: Three dollars? Really?
Joe: Laffy shaved his head. I’m surprised there wasn’t a weepy head-shaving montage set to music.
Alea: Acoustic guitar music.
Jordan: While lamenting why and tearing at his clothes. Also, what the happened to Jesus.
Tami: Oh, that would have been epic!
Kendra: Lafayette is white-knighting for Sookie. I’m a little surprised, given everything.

Joe: Is it just me or could you not care less about this Sam storyline?
Jordan: If I was watching to comment, this would have gotten the fast forward.
Alea: Hm, Martha seems like a f-cking badass. Annnnd…everyone’s naked this episode.
Joe: Eric naked is as welcome to me as Jason naked, frankly. Oh lord, they interspersed sexing with talk of sibling rivalry. This will be a theme this season.
Tami: Come on, “We fight like siblings, but we f-ck like champions” is easily the quote of the week.
Alea: Most definitely.
Joe: Oh, Jessica. I’d be the one who’d roll my eyes at her during this college party and be promptly murdered. Jason and Jessica are trying so hard.
Alea: The talk that Jason gave that woman was actually pretty mature and endearing. He was surprisingly emotionally available about the fact that he is entirely emotionally unavailable.
Joe: Yeah, that was sweet.
Joe: Eww! Nooo! WHY! Pack, you are nasty.
Alea: I think it’s actually kind of practical and sweet on a devotional level. That pack especially seems to prize the hunt and the kill. If one wolf enough to be pack master is killed, the ritualistic consumption of the remains is a way to keep that person and their power within the “family.” In the Anita Blake universe, for instance, the munin–spirits and memories–of dead pack members were preserved for posterity, including later usage, through this and other methods.
Alea: “Ike Applebaum.” Lol. At least Bill looks kind of like a Marcellus.
Alea: Wait, Tara’s head is whole again? I can’t quite tell.
Joe: It certainly is! LOL.

Anna Pacquin as Sookie. Courtesy: IO9.com

Alea: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I wish Tara would drain Sookie dry, but, alas, it is not to be. People would go apeshit.
Joe: There will definitely be some comeuppance. Lots of comeuppance.
Alea: Oh yes! And I love that Sookie automatically went to being terrified of her.
Joe: It’s Sookie’s default emotion. Hopefully, Tara will somewhat come back to how she used to be way in the beginning. Strong willed, clever, and the foil to Sookie’s flighty. ‘Cause for serious. All this show does is find ways for the audience to despise her a little more.
Tami: I don’t know, y’all. I sense from the previews and Pam’s foreshadowing that Tara is going to be a somewhat brain-addled vamp. If I’m right, I am so not okay with that. For those who have read the Charlaine Harris series, I’m concerned that Tara is going to be a stand in for Bubba, at least in the short term. If that’s true, I might be done with this series.
Kendra: Oooh, I think you could be right. The difference being that Bubba was always mostly harmless, wasn’t he? Good natured at least. I’m just going to go ahead and guess that they go the violence route for her–Pam’s personal bodyguard or the like. What ever happens to her, Pam is about to play a huge role.
Alea: Hmm…Tara could end up like Drusilla from Buffy–crazy powerful and crazy crazy. I agree, Kendra, that she and Pam are definitely going to get super close (Pam’s her mom, how funny is that?). Instead of Tara being turned into a pawn, though, hopefully the change in their relationship means extra witty repartee (with a side of hatin’ on Sook), shenanigans (can haz sweet make-outs?), and a serious upgrade in Tara’s wardrobe.

  • Kat

    Although I like Janina Gavankar, I find the whole Asian Indian is interchangeable for Native American shtick also bothersome… but additionally very ironic given Harsha Patel/Tinsel Korey: She could have gotten Native roles even without lying.

    Pam is my fav character… and in the first season it was Tara. I wish they could get her back to what she was then… Yes, I know, “sassy Black sidekick”, but that was far wittier and better than what the writers made her afterwards: The punching bag of everyone. Just constantly being violated and victimized. Without much afterthought in many cases.

    Where is Lettie Mae BTW?

    The lack of communication is another thing that bothers me: Sookie and Jason are brother and sister, yet they rarely interact and even less does the show portray any processing of all the horrible things that happen to them. Same with Bill and his ‘progeny’ Jessica.

    About Rev. Newlin: Oddly enough everyone at AfterElton thought that hilarious and just grand. Hm.

    Lastly: I miss all the weird political stuff: the Vampire Rights Amendment, the American Vampire League, the Fellowship of the Sun… and all the quirky little details that the True Blood universe used to have: Hep D, hotels and airlines for vampires, Fangbanger solidarity marches in Washington DC etc.

    • Anonymous

      Last time we saw Lettie Mae, she was shacked up with the pastor right?  She was not a good mother.  Even cleaned up and sober she wasn’t that concern with Tara’s troubles.  She was pretty self-centered.  So I’m sure she’s with the pastor assuming he hasn’t left her too.

  • Anonymous

    As irritating as it is, one thing that is pretty true to life regarding True Blood is the idea that white femininity is something that must be protected and cherished, while black femininity is non-existent and overlooked.

    I intensely dislike the amount of abuse and neglect that Tara has been subjected to, and the fact that no one ever cares about her pain or struggles, and that she is left to save herself as everyone saves Sookie.

    But it is very much a reflection of the ways in which black women are treated in society as well as in white feminist circles.  And Sookie’s extreme narcissism and belief that her needs should always come first is VERY accurate in that regard as well.  

  • jvansteppes

    Tami was dead on. Replace ‘Are there no gay psychopaths?’ with ‘Are there no [insert racist/ableist/sexist/classist stereotype here]?’ 

  • A H

    i watched the premiere a couple of times before i came to the following conclusion…squuueeee!  i think I’m going to like Vampire Tara…eventually.  I do have some serious reservations though.
    1) i don’t know why she can’t talk yet. I’m going to guess that she’s thinking really hard about what she wants to SAY
    2) and clearly she’s about to act a little crazy. i’m going to cut her some slack while she adjusts. 
    3) if they do the animal thing, i.e. Bubba… Occupy True Blood!!. 
    4) not super happy that Pam is her maker. Pam is fly, but she’s evil.  However, this does provide the opportunity for some slammin makeup/fashion choices. hmmm…i wonder if she’ll get any vampire luvin? 

    overall…i am really so glad that Tara is still on the show.   I hope that Rutina feels great in this role.  She deserves a really good turn here. As per Tiffany’s post, I hope that the writer don’t start f**king with Tara again anytime soon.

    Now. YaaaY!  Lafayette shaved that squirrel off his head!  Bring on Kibwe!!

  • Tiffany Trott

    I can honestly say that I don’t have enough faith in the writers of this show to trust that they’ll make Tara a strong, sane vampire. It aways seems like Tara’s storylines start off interesting, and then the continuous beatdown begins.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you.  I think that the way Tara died would result in her being a vampire who would be “off”, which Pam suggested before she agreed to turn her.  

      There is no way they will let Tara be a positive character.  I mean, they’ve spent 5 seasons acting like she’s a throwaway who pales in comparison to the magical, glowy Sookie.  Fairy blood or not, I find the idea that everyone in town would be enthralled with Sookie to be ridiculous.

      Eric totally won me back when he said “Eff Sookie.”  Plus, we know that they’d have had little interest in helping Tara even on Sookie’s behalf, b/c we saw that when Bill was in full on Sookie enthrallment, he let Tara stay kidnapped and tortured in Russell Edgington’s house.

      I did like seeing Lafayette seemingly calling her out about the trail of bodies she leaves everywhere.  

  • Aphasia

    “Tara could end up like Drusilla from Buffy–crazy powerful and
    crazy crazy. I agree, Kendra, that she and Pam are definitely going to
    get super close (Pam’s her mom, how funny is that?). Instead of Tara
    being turned into a pawn, though, hopefully the change in their
    relationship means extra witty repartee (with a side of hatin’ on Sook),
    shenanigans (can haz sweet make-outs?), and a serious upgrade in Tara’s
    wardrobe.”

    YES PLEASE!

  • Mickey

    I have been waiting for the TB roundtable. Missed you guys!

    Anyway, I really liked this season’s premiere. One of the things I thought would happen would be Tara being turned into a vampire. The question was who was going to turn her. Many people suggested Pam and, as it turns out, they were right. It’s going to be pretty interesting to see the dynamic between these two. I noticed in the upcomingp previews Pam is caressing her hair and telling her that humans can no longer hurt her. I wonder if Tara confides in Pam about her maltreatment by damn near everybody.

    I am also looking forward to the rest of the storylines. The only one I can do without is the one involving the fairies. I also wonder if Andy will be father to a half fairy since he got busy with that one fairy in the woods and is now involved with Holly.