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’sexcellent 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? Read the Post That’s No Lady, That’s My Sister!: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood S5, E1
Welcome back to another year of picking apart Everybody Loves SookehTrue Blood!
With the season premiere looming on Sunday, we’ve gathered together EIC Latoya Peterson, longtime friend of the R Tami Winfrey Harris and Guest Contributor Kendra James to get the ball rolling on the analysis–including their wishes, predictions, and issues with the trailers heading into this season.
By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, cross-posted from Televisual
It’s an old and uninteresting complaint: black characters on TV–and horror movies–get killed or written off too early. Clearly, that is what’s been happening on The Walking Dead with T-Dog. (UPDATE: The arrival of a new character signals a possible shift in season three.).
I’m going to try to push the debate further, past “isn’t it a shame characters of color get short shrift.” The truth is the T-Dog Problem signals broader problems with The Walking Dead and some other prominent dramas. It’s a symptom of an ailment the writers might actually care to remedy, beyond appeasing black viewers.
First, the basics. Earlier this season T-Dog told Dale he was concerned about being black and a weak link in the group. This was an insightful moment from the writers, foregrounding the idea that being different after the apocalypse might be a problem–after all, in times of stress, people stick to their own–and an interesting meta-commentary on the fragility of being a black character on TV. T-Dog was a great candidate for a quick kill. Then T-Dog disappeared. I literally forgot all about him until last week, when he had one line that was almost comically interrupted. This week T-Dog was similarly marginalized, leading Vulture‘s recapper to state: “By this point, the casual dismissal of one of two minority characters…on this show is feeling extremely suspect. The only thing saving it from being full-on offensive is that the same treatment is being given to Hershel’s entire white family.”
The problem isn’t only about a tired debate over representation.
By Guest Contributors Kendra James and Jordan St. John
Never seen The Vampire Diaries? Here’s a synopsis (with spoilers). There’s Elena (Nina Dobrev) the “average” popular orphan girl in Mystic Falls, VA. Caroline ( Candice Accola) her blond haired, blue eyed cheerleading frenemy and Bonnie (Kat Graham) her requisite black best friend and side kick. Elena also happens to be the spitting image of a vampire, Katherine, who loved Damon and Stefan Salvatore (brothers played by Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley) in the same town during the Civil War. Come 2009 the brothers return to Mystic Falls, only to both fall in love with Elena – a plot that makes just as much sense now as it did when TVD actually debuted as a book series in the early 1990s. But hey, let’s go with it.
Elena fell in love with Stefan during the show’s first season, but now things are heating up between her and Damon. It’s a crazy ride of a show but one of the most fascinating things is its strange dance with race. Set in the current south but with self-professed ties to the Civil War era and more recently precolonial America, as Dr. Sayantani DasGupta wrote for Racialicious last year, the show sometimes doesn’t know what to do with pesky issues like racism and slavery. As the show’s third season resumes this week, let’s look back at the racial implications and issues of the residents of Mystic Falls since the Season 2 finale.
If you answered that they are major supporting characters in hit TV shows, give yourself 1 point.
If you answered that they are among the few fictional representations of Black women on major network television shows, give yourself 2 points.
If you answered that fandom, for some mysterious reason, hates the shit out of them, give yourself 5 points.
If you answered that fandom’s hatred of these characters are particularly gendered and racialized along stereotypes about Black women, hand yourself the internet.
The level of hatred spewed at these characters sometimes even manages to spill over onto the actors who portray them. Poor Rutina Wesley can’t do anything right in True Blood fandom. And according to some Merlin fans, Angel Coulby is probably the Antichrist. OK, I exaggerate. But not by much.
Brown Folks Cain’t Never Have Nothin’! Especially not in the season finale! We’ve been waiting for the shoe to drop all season, but they ended up dropping a crate from Zappos on us. Kendra, Joe, Alea, Amber, and Jordan joined me to parse out our feelings – and you may want to grab a snack and clear out some time. Just when you thought they couldn’t top the fleeing from the plantation scene…
Kendra: oh sweet, we get some nudity this ep. Joseph: I got my hot chocolate, my Luray Caverns fudge and I’m ready to bitch! Latoya: You know, this cut to Marnie!Laffy was a bit anticlimatic for the season ender. Alea: Yes. Too many damn storylines this season. Andy and the Faerie; Sam and Luna playing house–the writers are all over the place. Jordan: They could do a whole season on the stuff from this season on Latoya: We aren’t gonna finish everyone Kendra: Oh, can we take bets now on whether the Were Panthers will be back? Because… where on earth did that thread even go? Latoya: Hmm. That’s tough to call. Next season? Amber: Right. I think Ball is hoping we forgot about HotShot and is waiting to hit us over the head with something next season. After all that build up, that storyline can’t just be over…right? Alea: Probably, but I feel like its expiration date will have passed by then. There’s way more interesting stuff going on. Latoya: You know? there’s the Pam-Eric split; the Alcide fall out; the BilEkie drama, Jason-Jessica.
Kendra: Tara’s an Atheist! Alea: Score one for non-Christian black folks. Kendra: Tara’s… back? well, for once she might be safer with Sook than Laffy. Latoya: Look Ball, I would have appreciated this nice touching coffee scene about three seasons ago. Jordan: The loyal black sidekick…always there to talk to you about your problems over coffee. Amber: Loyalty is an understatement. We’re right back where we started with these two, as if no serious drama just went down. Latoya: “[Gran] did have all the sense in the family.” Damn Tara, burn. Alea: She speaks the truth. Kendra: “Be good to each other.” Advice more for Sookie than Tara… Jordan: Ummmm… and just like that we’re all good Alea: Tara’s magical, so she has the ability to fix any problem through humor, down home wisdom, and self-sacrifice. Latoya: Never thought I’d say this, but I miss attitude Tara.
Amber: @ Alea @Jordan Mammy anyone? Latoya: This is the stangest friendship ever.
Sam & Luna
Kendra: Sam does clean up nice. (But his dress shirt has pockets on both sides >.>) Alea: [Totally. I love that his idea of formal funeral wear is adding a black tie and sport coat to the type of shirt he wears every single day.] Amber: Complete with cowboys boots and a gold plated belt buckle. He pulled out the big guns for this special occasion. Lol. Latoya: I love watching Sam trying to process Ms. Thortenberry’s confessions Alea: “Nobody taught Tommy how to love somebody without hurting them” — combined with Thortenberry’s litany of shit-Tommy-stole, that’s a pretty apposite eulogy, right there. Jordan: I think all Sam does are strange friendships Alea: Absolutely, Jordan. Joseph: thats probably cause its a western shirt (fashion correspondent strikes again!) Latoya: Pork Rind Casserole just sounds all kinda nasty. Amber: Agreed–like a crunchy soggy mess. * shudder * Alea: I do not imagine her to be a very good cook. Alea: Dear god. Which is worse — no family or Mama T? Joseph: all her dishes sound (and look) unpleasantly mushy Alea: That’s a casserole for you, a genre of food around which I still have difficulty wrapping my mind. Latoya: So the Skinwalker moment for Luna and Sam has passed I suppose. Kendra: Oooh, I like the end of that scene. I think Sam may have a new family, Mama Thortenberry. Read the Post Ain’t No Sunshine: True Blood Season Finale
Sorry people, we ran out of time this week to finish formatting the final roundtable. (And y’all know we were yelling our heads off at the finale.) Tune in next week for the last roundtable and a couple surprises. Until then, chew on this:
Well I mean half my head is missing. I’m just gonna keep saying that. You know, it’s True Blood. I feel like anything is possible. If anything, it is the golden hour though. If she is able to be saved, it’s like she’s got 20 seconds. It’s not a lot of time. I’m curious to see what they’re going to do with all of it. I hope I’m back. But again half my head is missing [laughs].
Maybe Tara will just wear a lot of hats? Yeah I mean yeah she can wear a lot of hats. Put some gauze on it. But people are going crazy! [Laughs]
It was crazy! Are people approaching you? Well my phone has been blowing up. I talked to Nelsan and his phone was blowing up. He was like, “People are about to start a riot over you.” I think that’s so sweet to know that people out there are really upset and some people are like, “I’m not watching the show anymore!” I’m like, C’mon guys. But it’s not over. It ain’t over til the fat lady sings. I’m just gonna take it one day at a time. As I said, I haven’t seen any scripts from next season, but I know that I’m involved — I just don’t know in what way.
Are you signed on for a season 5? Yeah. It’s out there that Alan has already said that he has big plans for Tara. But things change. I don’t know exactly what they have in store for me and how long that will be. It’s tricky. And if I did know, I’m just not going to say. [Laughs]
Labor Day weekend meant the entire roundtable was off doing summery things and not thinking about Sookie and her foolishness. So by the time a few of us dragged ourselves away from summer and back into school/work/life, we realized the usual level of snark was off this week. Our slimmed down roundtable has no cross chat – and a bit less bite. But don’t despair – we’re planning something huge and ridiculous for the finale. Until then, Kendra and Amber join me to poke at the plot emerging from the randomness that is Alan Ball’s plot chrysalis.
Vamping it Up
Latoya: This is what PMS used to feel like? I got a mani-pedi at four? This is the True Blood I signed up for! Marnie has officially flipped a shit. Kendra: I have to agree with the sentiment of “fucking Sookie.” I think it sums up what we’ve all been feeling for the majority of the season, and will choose to believe that’s the writers understanding our gripes. Latoya: Oooh…the fucking Sookie comments set Jason off. And he’s attacking the menfolk. Jason is a great brother.
Case of the Missing Baby, Redux
Latoya: Wow. Judas!Debbie does have some kind of a heart left. She essentially said to Marcus, “I was just fucking you homes, I was gonna get right back.” Kendra: Drug addictions cured by children? Marcus’ logic is… questionable. Amber: Tell me about it. I didn’t think Marcus had coward in him, but Alcide called it from the jump. He’s managed to murder, kidnap, and homewreck all in a matter of hours–that may be a Bon Temp record. If he can flee the scene of the crime (with Debbie) I’ll give him a standing ovation. Kendra: Oh hell, did one of those bullets just kill Emma or Luna? And I am loving that they’re actually using abjuring as it was from the books. Latoya: Damn, this was a rough ass ending to their story. That poor princess baby. Amber: That was a rough ending. When Emma hugged Sam I realized that no one considered her when they decided how to deal with Marcus. Although they won’t miss him, Emma really will…always. They’ve changed her life forever. Read the Post Someone Got Blood in the Wheat! True Blood, S4, E11