True Blood – 3×08: A Nip/Tuck Effect?

True Blood is the new Nip/Tuck. Remember that show? It finally got canceled this year right? Who knows… not like anyone watched it to the end or very long past the Carver anyway. Same formula as True Blood, really: extreme sex + extreme violence – any plausibility = ratings! Nip/Tuck was quite good in the beginning, kind of the way True Blood was (yeah, kind of). As the series went on, though, it got more and more ridiculous, but somehow it still managed to get in a few truly touching moments for a while, like towards the end of Season 1 when (SPOILER ALERT) Sean Macnamara fell in love with a dying woman named Megan O’Hara and helped to euthanize her as Elton John’s Rocket Man played in the background.

Excluding any moment on LOST or Buffy or the Season 4 finale of House (Wilson! Amber!) that particular scene sticks out in my mind as one of the most tragic television moments of all time. They were few and far between, but even with all the similarities between the two shows I still can’t think of just ONE moment on True Blood that I, or anyone I know, has ever connected with or been touched by in a similar way. I’ve never felt true elation for a triumph of these characters, and I’ve also never felt that pang of worry or heart-breaking lament for them either. The closest I’ve come to connecting are some “awwww’s” here and there between Jessica and Hoyt, or Lafayette and Jesus. True Blood is an endless string of empty stories with no heart. As for Nip/Tuck, I would go on to become disgusted by the show for its way way waaaaaay over-the-top and repulsive content done purely for shock value which helped to make it lose near any semblance of heart it had left, and to this day I advise people not to watch it as there is no chance of a swift resolution to these unlikeable characters aside from their demise.

Sounding familiar?

Christian Troy as Jason Stackhouse (FX)

This is a result of the slippery-slope of a relatively new monster known as the “Cable Drama”: they can discuss heavier themes, curse, show people having wild and crazy sex, hack each others’ heads off clean, masturbate to horse porn, you name it. But its easy for the writers to get lost in all that freedom, too, and apparently tempting to throw it all into one show just so audiences think you’re daring and different! Sometimes its not whole shows which overuse the privilege just because they can, for example, Debra Morgan on Dexter. Her incessant usage of the word “fuck” makes me cringe near every time she utters it. They are trying to be [fucking] funny with it, and it does [fucking all] but make her sound like a [fucking] retard. (See what I mean?)

Oh yeah, the episode…

I’ll be brief about the analysis-and-review portion of the latest episode of True Blood because I’ve gone on long enough. I know the episode was suppose to be some big deal with all these crazy twists and spins that affect the rest of the season but… meh. Well, it started off on a good foot with the refreshingly mutual break-up of Sookie and Bill which, truth be told, is a rarer occurrence on television than it is in real life. This is totally understandable being that mutual break-ups are low on the conflict scale and pretty damn anti-climactic, however, I enjoyed seeing two people tearfully agree that, despite loving each other, some things just aren’t meant to work out. I guess it was a sense of realism otherwise non-existent amidst the absurdity that is True Blood which I appreciated. But of course, the break up didn’t even last past the episode it took place in, which really lowers the stakes of any conflict moving forward between Sookie and Bill, as if it wasn’t low enough already. It’s like in the real world, you know, those people who always come to you after their on-again/off-again significant other have broken up for the 283472 time and they crying to you about it and promising its the last time. I’m sure they think its the end of the world each and every time, but you’re exhausted from having to pretend you care anymore because you know its all bullshit and all their own fault and this won’t end until one of them (A) dies, or (B) moves away. That’s how I feel watching all these idiots run around in circles most of the time, and that goes beyond Sookie and Bill.

"If I weren't so stupid I'd have fallen in love with someone like you." - Sookie (HBO)

Alright. The moment you were all waiting for: the sex is back! We’ve seen how relatively subdued sex has been in Season 3 in comparison to the disastrous Season 2 orgyfest (not in intensity but in frequency). I’ve welcomed the change, call it a little television abstinence. Well, it made its comeback in a huge way on Sunday night when we were reminded why God invented Premium Cable. Personally, neither Stephen Moyer or gay bunk-ups do it for me, but if Sookie or Eric are involved, the sexiness factor amps up anyone with a heartbeat and half a libido. (Yes, I’m still holding out for the moment when both their worlds collide and my screen melts!) Even the non-sex was hot: Alcide and Sookie. One of the few good lines of the episode is captioned above. There was a promise of a raunchy reunion in that goodbye which I would welcome, gladly.

One act I was not pleased with, however, was Eric’s decision to kill Talbot as vengeance on Russell — particularly if that’s in fact his only plan. If the show really wanted the audience to flip their shit at the killing of Talbot, they wouldn’t have made Russell so annoyed and dismissive of him all along. They should have made the two inseparable and fleshed out their bond, or made Russell as obsessive over Talbot as Talbot was of him. I mean, of course all hell is going to break lose now anyway, but its unjustified and only vaguely reasonable. Who cares about a situation that yesterday appeared to mean next to nothing to Russell? Just another McGuffin as far as I’m concerned. They could have done a lot more with that story, as with most everything else. That being said, I repeat, this better not be the only thing up Eric’s sleeve because it sucks!

Here are some of my usual riddle of bullets from the episode…

  • LOL'ed hard at Bill's post-Tony Manero ensemble (HBO)

    Turns out that, yup, Sookie screamed that blood-curdling scream at the sight of Bill for no real rational reason. Just to scare you into another episode. What a joke!

  • WTF was that 1995 zip-up windbreaker Bill was wearing in the opener all about?
  • Talbot: “Franklin’s brains won’t wash off the bed linens!” Yessss he’s dead, he’s dead, he’s really dead!
  • Arlene is totally freaking about about Rene being the baby’s father. Whatever. I think she’s going to abort out of the fear that the baby will have that “serial killer blood” or some ridiculous and predictable excuse like that.
  • Tara wants to live more than ever = I want to die more than ever.
  • Tommy steps to Hoyt. FAIL.
  • Jessica and Bill’s relationship is actually pretty sweet. I’m all about these platonic male/female relationships, so I at least enjoyed their exchange a bit.
  • How brain-dead would someone have to be to have the following reaction: “OMG Jason and Crystal are sooooooooo awesome and exciting! I love them! What’s going to happen next?!?!? They had sex! How cool!!! They are totally in love. Can’t you see it in their eyes? Jason has to save her, she’s just such an amazing person with so many admirable qualities. Crystal Meth is getting some screen time outside of Breaking Bad? Awesome! People should totally hear more about it!” Honestly, what are the writers smoking when they come up with this crap? My 94 year-old grandmother comes up with better stories about the Lebanese neighbors!
  • Lafayette and Jesus together again? I hope so…
  • What will be the consequences and/or outcome of Jessica’s killing sprees? She tries to fight the urges, but is it Bill’s fault for not caring for her the way a maker should? Then again a maker is suppose to teach to hunt, not teach you how not be a vampire, right?
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3 Comments

  1. Time
    Posted August 14, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The ER episode “On the Beach” is the saddest thing in television history.

    • Posted August 24, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Oh my god. I can’t believe you said this and I just caught it now. Unreal. That’s one of probably only FIVE episodes of ER that I ever saw and I remember being traumatized and clawing my eyes out to it back when it aired! I didn’t know the title but I knew it had to that one when when you said it. Agreed 100% with you on this!

  2. Posted May 6, 2011 at 5:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    i love nip and tuck, thought the detective thing towards the end was a bit ludicris but loved nontheless

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