Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

My photo
Washington, DC, United States
I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Weekend Fling: True Blood, Season One (4)

I’m sorry, no pun intended, but this show sucks!

There is always the possibility that I am just not cut out for HBO shows. I am going to give it a shot with The Wire at some point, but despite all my efforts I either hate shows on this network, or I get too exhausted to make it through more than one season.

So that is my preemptive apology to all of you out there who are obsessed with this show. I am not among your ranks.

The guiding metaphor, that it is wrong to hate what is different from yourself, is depicted with the subtly of a bull in a china shop due to the unending parade of stereotypes and clichés: religious people are ignorant and murder-happy; economically hard-pressed people are alcoholics and devoid of basic reasoning skills; politicians are hypocritical and corrupt; slutty boys really do have hearts of gold, not just STDs; the nice guy is inevitably the serial killer. I am not interested in debating the accuracy of Hollywood’s perception of small town Southerners, I am simply vocalizing my boredom with the utter unoriginality and condescending attitude both of and towards the majority of the characters and plotlines on this show.

Anna Paquin deserves her Golden Globe; she did an amazing job of portraying possibly the dumbest girl on television. Say what you want about Bella Swan, at least she has the excuse of being a teenager. Sookie (which I assume would be pronounced Sue-Key by anyone with an even remotely plausible accent) is supposed to be open-minded and non-judgmental, due to her special gift of being able to hear other people’s thoughts, therefore accepting of newly “outed” vampires, and so she is super excited when Bill, whose thoughts she cannot hear, walks into the bar she works in. As a voice of reason or a moral center, Sookie is ridiculous; she has no regard for either her own or her loved ones safety, she equates similar situations of social isolation as an equality of inherent personal goodness, she despises the opinion of others, as well as taking advantage of her friends and family yet acting out childishly when harm comes to them. One example of her utter bratty disposition is the scene where her boss (and friend and hopeful but unsuccessful suitor) Sam explains to her that he is a shape-shifter, able to turn into animals at will. This supposedly compassionate and enlightened girl storms off in a self-righteous huff because Sam didn’t tell her his secret the first second they met and her inability to control her own reactions to hearing other’s thoughts when in public apparently makes Sam’s self-control a lie he uses to fool the community. Why Sam actually desires the affection of this woman is kind of baffling.

The central relationship is supposed to be Sookie and Bill, but it is kind of absurd. She saves Bill’s life from some trailer trash trying to drain him in order to sell his blood (did you hear that vampire blood is the newest designer drug?), and when said entrepreneurs beat Sookie to holy hell, Bill has her drink from him in order to save her life. True love, isn’t grand? Now, I will grant that mutual life saving seems like it would generate a fairly strong bond between two people, which could be used as a foundation for a relationship, but between Sookie and Bill, nothing is built and yet is asserted to exist. They never really seem to find out anything about each other, with the exception of Bill’s presentation of his history to the town and her revelation of childhood sexual abuse (I left that off the cliché list). They (sort of) speak as if they have a deep and meaningful relationship, but I couldn’t actually figure out what reality that would be true in. It doesn’t help that the actors have very little chemistry; their interaction is stilted and almost insincere. The moment I gave up on the possibility that their relationship would be something other than completely funny is when a graphic sex scene between the two actually serves no purpose other than as a how-to guide of developing a UTI.

But not to be totally negative, there are some enjoyable moments with the more minor characters. While Tara is slightly shrill and repetitive, her loyalty to Sookie is genuine and provides a realistic element. Sam is a relatively descent person, trying to do the right thing, but his complicated personal feelings allows for a more rounded character, not just a gullible white-knight. Lafayette is a brilliantly balanced combination of self-assured individualism and possibly menacing selfishness. But all the possibility these characters have is drowned in the debilitating boredom of Sookie’s idiotic non-existential non-crisis and Jason’s sexual exploits. (He is her brother, and the town man-whore, but I do not have the will to spend any more than this amount of energy discussing him. Waste of space.)

Oh, and the sound effect used for the descending vampire fangs is hilarious.

The TV Girl


Kay Pea said...

Nice. People have been trying to get me to watch this show for the last 3 months. Glad to have a person's opinion that I actually trust.

The TV Girl said...

Happy to help friend!

The worst part is that you will end up watching the whole thing, even knowing in your head that it isn't worth your time.

Calah said...

Oh I totally agree. I actually only watched the first four episodes; the first episode alone made me so sick to my stomach that I had to wait until the next day to finish the rest, and I knew the instant I saw the vampire leering at Sookie with his tongue flicking disgustingly at the end of the fourth episode that that image would remained burned into my brain forever. And it has. At least for the past year, so far. Awful show. And what is with rhyming "Sookie" with "cookie?" Has no one in Hollywood actually ever been to the South?