Tag Archives: Buffy

True Blood – 3×12: Bloody Farewell

I knew very early on in season 3 that there was a more than likely chance that this would be my last year as a True Blood viewer. I get asked all the time by both fans and non-fans, why, if I dislike True Blood so much, do I even watch it? I think it upsets the fans more than the haters that I do. It must a defense thing on their part since I’m pretty much actively insulting this magical world which they are so obsessed with on the regular (and that’s fascinating about a show like TB, which like most serials, is uber conducive to obsessive personalities — guilty as charged).

Oh hai, hunk. (Joe Manganiello as Alcide)

My reasons for watching True Blood are many: there are characters I absolutely love (i.e. Jessica, Hoyt, Lafayette), its a serialized show and I blog about serials, my favorite television series of all time was the original vampire drama (i.e Buffy the Vampire Slayer) so I like to compare, Alexander Skarsgard and Joe Manganiello make me weak at the knees, etc. I’ve also mentioned here how I watch the show as a writer because its a fun project in my head pointing out what went wrong in the writing to make a storyline so flawed, as this in turn reveals to me which mistakes not to make in my own writing.

But anyway, it looks like the time has come to say goodbye to True Blood, the show I love to hate. I very seriously opened up my heart and my mind to True Blood every week; you can go back and read any of my reviews to know that I never just went into an episode so prejudiced that I couldn’t enjoy it. In fact, I’m so proud of my continued objectivity in each episode despite its consistent shortcomings, that all in all it was as important for me to watch TB this year as it was to watch Mad Men or LOST. Most weeks may not have been exciting enough to truly entertain me, but there were a couple of very good episodes, with the highlight being “9 Crimes” 3×04. (I’m also still a big fan of Russell’s live television broadcast at the end of “Everything is Broken” 3×09). Nonetheless, fuck this show. It just sucks. I can’t deal.

So without further ado, here is my final review for HBO’s True Blood:

Jason Stackhouse+Emaciated Crystal Meth Head vs. Killer Hicks?

If I’m saving the best for last, I think its only fitting I start the worst for first. WHOA was this a fucking mistake or what?!? As the episodes went on and on I couldn’t believe this entire storyline. I’ve never ever EVER been so bored watching a “conflict” unfold in my life. It was like watching paint dry — without the fun fumes or pretty colors. Let’s recap what happened here:

  • Jason flips out over killing an innocent Eggs and proceeding to cover it up
  • He starts hallucinating out of guilt, suddenly decides that becoming a cop will absolve him of his sins (and actually does magically cease to feel guilty!)
  • He Meets an inbred redneck anorexic rocks-for-brains crystal meth dealing Werepanther (hahaha) whom he falls in love at first sight with through no understandable reason which I could surmise.
  • For some reason involving the Meth which I’m still fuzzy about, her rapist family tries to kill her… or him… or both of them, unsuccessfully.
  • Finally something about her little community of Werepanthers and V sales goes down (it wasn’t crystal meth afterall??) where the DEA gets involved and goes to raid them except Jason helps them all pretty much get away. Did I even get that right?

My lack of interest in this was so intense I can’t even recall the events and I have serious trouble believing that anyone watching this show was sitting at the edge of their seat waiting to see what would happen here. Needless to say, this could have been a story about Weresquirrels smuggling magical acorns through the Lousiana swamps and Jason’s dreams of becoming a Park Ranger saving them from extinction and it wouldn’t A) make a damn bit of difference, B) surprise me. 

Sam vs. Kill Tommy

Sam has been one of my absolute favorite characters since the beginning, and that’s saying a lot considering how much I dislike the show because without him I wouldn’t have been able to get through season 1. As bored as I was with his storyline this season, I can at least say that they kept Sam consistent in his character, which I continue to enjoy. Why? He’s a good person but a boring person. He’s intelligent and self-made where everyone else is just a southern hick with no ambitions or education. He cares about everyone in his community and then-some. He’s lonely when he should have every woman at his feet, except no one in Bon Temps is smart enough to see it. He’s hot. He doesn’t exploit his supernatural gift or let it define him. The idea of having sweet, lonely, heart-of-gold Sam seek out his birth family this season was a great idea that went horribly wrong, however. All we ended up getting were more stupid hicks to surround Sam with: the last thing we wanted to see.

  • Seeks out his parents
  • Finds out that they are shapeshifters too
  • Finds out that they are broke and alcoholic
  • Gets stalked by them in an attempt to extort money from him
  • Finds out that they are “using” his brother, Tommy’s, gift to make money in dog fighting rings
  • Takes Tommy in, kicks his parents out
  • Finds out that Tommy is (no surprise here) as disgusting of a human being as the people who raised him — and annoying as hell to boot!
  • Kicks Tommy out
  • Gets robbed by him
  • Shoots him (or something…)

Yeah… either the bullet never hit Tommy, it hit him but only wounded him, or it killed him. Do any of these possibilities make you want to watch the show next year? I really want to understand how events like this could ever be enough to make people want to come back for more. The brother was a moron that no one wanted to see again — good riddance! And if he is dead then what? Sam is going to be next season’s Jason Stackhouse? The redundancy and lack of creativity here never ceases to amaze.

Lafayette+Jesus vs Killer V

Unlike Sam, Lafayette became one of my favorite characters later on in the series. I can’t be sure if his character actually changed or if he just grew on me but, nonetheless, I became a fan in season 2. I was oh so very happy to see the writers give him a legitimately decent love interest this season in Jesus. What with the disaster of Jason’s designated significant other, Jesus was a blessing. He was funny, he wore his heart on his sleeve, he made tortured but strong Lafayette smile, he took care of him. In the end, however, we didn’t get much more with them than we had already gotten mid season but I’m more okay with that an empty storyline that’ll never change anything or mean anything at all. Here’s what was up with them:

  • They meet at Lafayette’s mother’s psychiatric institution
  • Jesus makes a little personal call and shows up at Merlotte’s to ask Lafayette out
  • They have instant chemistry which puts a smile on everyone’s face
  • They sleep together, they begin to fall in love
  • They do some V and trip out
  • Lafayette can’t stop hallucinating creepy things and begins to lose his mind
  • He discovers that Jesus is a witch who reveals that the hallucinations are a gift which he’ll help Lafayette use and control

I’ll take what I can get. So long as they don’t kill either one of them off I’m actually very happy. It gets really old when they don’t ever cut the most decent characters a break on a series, and they’ve clearly cut Lafayette one this season so I’ll give it one thumb up for effort and good casting.

Terry/Arlene vs Killer Baby

I enjoy Arlene and you can’t help but want to hug Terry. Their story this year was also quite touching since we saw the two find in each other what they most needed: a family. Here, again, we have two very tortured characters finding a little joy. Unfortunately the child they are expecting is not Terry’s but Renee’s which is a little creepy but not creepy enough since we only saw evil Renee for one episode and then he died. Since I remember Renee being pretty cool its hard for me to feel freaked out like Arlene is. Also… its a freaking baby, dude. Not a clone. All in all:

  • Arlene begins to give Terry a chance
  • Terry begins to open himself up and react warmly towards Arlene’s affections
  • Terry falls madly in love, and Arlene loves him too
  • Arlene discovers she’s pregnant but that its Renee’s and lies to Terry about it
  • Arlene decides she doesn’t want the baby
  • A wiccan waitress from work (say that three times fast!) gives her some magical tea which will decide whether the baby lives or dies
  • Arlene bleeds out the next day, thinking the tea has spoken and she’s miscarried, but its a false alarm
  • Terry is officially the happiest man in the world, Arlene is still nervous

Another “pretty low-conflict yet somehow simultaneously unresolved” storyline. I can’t believe even the good characters get shafted with weak plots. Blahhhh.

Jessica+Hoyt vs. Killer Obese Southern Mother

Swoon. I’ve got a crush on Hoyt in that be-my-boyfriend-not-my-lover way. Jessica is so adorable, she’s the True Blood equivalent of Harmony from Buffy and just as enjoyable. I believe their love more than anyone else’s on this show. In fact I don’t really think anyone else on this show is in love except Lafayette and Jesus. Perhaps Eric with Sookie but not the other way around. And certainly Terry with Arlene but also, unfortunately, not equally reciprocated. The interesting thing about this couple this season is that they were pretty much the only two that started off with a problem, and the season was used to resolve it:

  • Jessica kills an innocent trucker out of hunger
  • The guilt for her uncontrollable evilness causes her to break up with Hoyt
  • Hoyt doesn’t understand anything and is heartbroken
  • Jessica’s dead trucker disappears — later revealed to be stolen by Franklin
  • Hoyt fights with his mother yet again over Jessica and she sets him up with Southern Sunshine, Summer
  • Jessica gets a job at Merlotte’s and continues to feed on humans
  • Jessica learns how to fight better with the help of Bill
  • Hoyt dates Summer to get over Jessica who he sees every time he walks into Merlotte’s
  • The two realize they are madly in love and get back together
  • Jessica confesses what she’s done and that she will continue to feed on human blood… so Hoyt offers his own blood!
  • Hoyt buys a house for the two to live in, which makes them both very happy!
  • Hoyt’s mother buys a gun…

A lot went on in this mini-drama. Plenty of ups and downs; highs and lows. The way it should be! Overall the best-told story this season, in my humble opinion.

Tara vs. Kill Yourself

I was sure Tara would have to die this season, as you may recall. If not because they planned it that way, then because her character had turned into such an incredible steaming pile of shit that there was no way they could continue using her. The damage was done. As the season drew to a close I became even more convinced that she would meet her demise as they made absolutely no attempt in bettering her already miserable situation. In the finale, the writers made it very obvious that she saying goodbye to everyone. But wait was Tara going to kill herself? Suicide is the ultimate cop out! Plus she already tried that this season! There’s no way they are going to have a character go out with such little dignity, right? She cut her hair off, though. A friend of mine mentioned that Luke Wilson’s character did the same thing in The Royal Tannenbaums before he attempted to commit suicide… apparently its a common practice. If so I think its simply a red herring. If I cared more about her survival I’d have more to say but I don’t. In short (ahem, very short), this was Tara’s story this season:

  • She tries to kill herself after Eggs dies and, unfortunately, she fails
  • Lafayette tells her she’s an idiot, and she gets over it
  • She has sex with a man named Franklin
  • Franklin is a vampire who becomes obsessed with her, rapes her, kidnaps her, and attempts to turn her into a vampire
  • She escapes from him but he finds her anyway
  • Jason kills him
  • She finds out the truth about Eggs’ death and it appears to bring her some peace
  • She fucks Sam and learns he’s also a supernatural which upsets her
  • She finds out her mother is sleeping with a married Reverend
  • She cuts all her hair off and says goodbye to everyone she knows and drives off

Yawnnnnnnnn. Seriously, just throw yourself into the river. It’s fine. I’ll forgive you.

Sookie/Bill /Eric vs. Killer Russell

The meat and potatoes of the show right? Pfffft, as if. If I were to make a pie graph dividing the season into each of the storylines mentioned in these sections, the Sookie/Bill/Eric/Russell drama would only take up about 30% while the others would be around 10-12%. It might sound like a significant difference to you but when your main characters only take up 1/4 of the screen-time they become just as disposable as any other. I enjoy Eric and Pam, and Russell was kind of fun at times, but the rest of the pack was embarrassing. Talbot and Franklin? WTF?? And of course you know how I feel about that moron Bill. Sookie is only salvaged by the fact that Anna Paquin is a good actress but aside from that I’m done with these people. The final recap:

  • Sookie hesitates at Bill’s marriage proposal, but before you can say “I bloody do” he’s been kidnapped by werewolves
  • He is taken to King Russell’s mansion where he’s given an ultimatum to join Russell or watch Sookie die (still don’t see how this is a unique threat but whatever)
  • Bill accepts the bribe
  • Sookie looks for him like a lunatic, until he tells her to piss off, and even then she continues to look
  • She meets Alcide at some point: a man kinder, smarter, and hotter than, Bill. (Okay really, why would they keep Bill around after this?)
  • Bill senses that Sookie is in danger, he goes to find her, but she defends herself with some magic light
  • She’s captured by Russell’s crew and Bill allows them to do so
  • She escapes with Tara and Alcide and an injured Bill
  • Bill drinks her blood and almost kills her (he can stand out in the light for 10 more seconds than usual too, big woop)
  • They break up because attempted murder is high on the list of reasons to do so
  • Eric kills Talbot, and in a fit of rage, Russell kills an anchorman on national TV to fuck with the AVL’s attempts at Human/Vampire peace (which really had nothing to do with the season anyway) in retaliation
  • Bill and Sookie get back together for the 3423948 time and we find out she’s a “fucking fairy”
  • Eric devises a plan to kill Russell using Sookie’s blood, Bill adhears — it works
  • Bill turns on Eric and attempts to kill him but fails epically as Eric survives and returns to reveal to Sookie that Bill was recruited to trap and exploit her from the beginning
  • She kicks them both out of her house forever and joins her Fairy Godmother
  • Bill attempts to fight and kill Queen Sophie Anne…

First of all, you should have seen my frustration at the absurdity of the episode at this point in the finale, announcing: “WHAT?? Cement doesn’t dry instantly! Is he kidding?!? Is Bill mentally challenged?” I’m still so confused as to how this man could be so stupid. The simple fact that they don’t even bother “explaining” how Eric survived is an admission of Bill’s utterly hysterical and astonishing lack of brain power. The only truly cool part of the whole episode was Bill turning on Eric, but once I saw how he did so, it even ruined that, big surprise. And to top it all off I still have no clue what’s so great about Sookie’s blood. Seriously. Didn’t the entire season prove that her blood is almost useless and the only power she’s got is some repellent light? Sigh.

And did you see the “Alan Ball Thank You” at the end of the episode? That was the smartest thing I saw the entire hour. Alan Ball must wake up every morning thanking his lucky stars that more people care about sex and blood and cheesy dialogue than the ability to use their brains and imaginations. Good call, Alan ball. Your fans deserved that.

Good luck to you all who venture forth in your True Blood fandom. I wish you the best and hope that you get a chance to catch some of the actually decent quality series out on TV right now, too. Personally, I’m losing braincells and there’s nothing more that I can get from the series to make it worth it. See you around! Long live Alcide!

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True Blood – 3×09: The True Face…

If you follow my Mad Men reviews you may have read that I did not watch this week’s True Blood in the privacy of my own home but at the local “True Blood Junkie Bar” in the East Village (NYC) amist many-a hardcore fan. I mean these people were intense. Clapping and hooting just for the HBO guy announcing the episode’s commencement. You can imagine the extensive eye-rolling and not-so-discreet commentary coming from my end of the bar (i.e. “Okay, really?? It’s not that serious.“) For about the first 35 minutes of the episode I was paying more attention to the contents of my $3 Heineken than the contents on-screen. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what happened between Jason and that white-trash-hoe-bag he’s been rolling with. Fuck that. If it wasn’t for the amazing Jessica/Hoyt as well as Lafayette/Jesus action that we got from the get-go, it’s possible I would have chugged and left.

"Everything ends, even the immortal." (HBO)

Then, suddenly, those Jessica/Hoyt and Lafayette/Jesus scenes began to inter-cut with the Fangtasia storyline involving Eric, Pam, and the American Vampire League representitive (whose name escapes me at the moment). Just like that — with the exception of Bill crossing over into Fairyland and Jason just… existing — the episode got good… like real good. So good that I watched the end again just now and laughed and gasped all the way over here to WordPress. Let’s totally discuss this one! Only three episodes left, funny how much nothing can happen before you finally get to the juicy stuff at the end, eh? No bullet points this time. I’m giving it a legit post.

Jessica and Hoyt

They struck gold with these two actors playing them, like fah realz yo. I can’t believe I’m going to say this about any character on this show but, there’s just something really honest about their relationship, and better yet, their break-up! Mind you, they dated for a week. Literally. But in their case I’m willing to suspend my disbelief a bit and say that shit like that happens. People fall in love and quickly realize the obstacles in their path and end it before its really begun… all the time. Right? Anyway, that scene at Merlotte’s where the two try to be amicable while Hoyt is on his date and Jessica gets snippy with him only to realize she’s wrong and then becomes adorably apologetic… absolutely charming. Of course, FAIL when the fangs come out. That just made her even more vulnerable and relateable somehow — I completely forgot she was killing people every other night until after the episode ended. We all know that feeling of trying to ‘keep it cool’ and having to hide our intense feelings, especially in front of someone we’re interested in (Hoyt) or, worse, someone we resent (Summer). Unfortunately for Jessica, the vampire baby, controlling all her new-fanged emotions isn’t so easy. Later, when Summer steps away to the bathroom and Jessica sits with Hoyt, she honestly tries to play the ‘Just Friends’ card and kind of does a good job at it too, until Hoyt admits that he hates Summer and that it just kept him busy enough so he didn’t have to think about Jessica all day. And then they both laugh (: I hope he takes her back so she can finally open up to someone about her “killer nights” and regain some control. She’s so alone the poor thing.

Lafayette and Jesus

Despite the lack of conflict, for now I’m just happy watching these two fall so in love with each other. Finally my little Lafayette got what I’ve always thought he deserved. Jesus in that cheesy flower robe and Lafayette kissing his tattoo. The two laying bed together. Lafayette’s mother, Ruby Jean, seeing his mask finally come off, all because of that Puerto Rican nurse of hers. Her reaction was classic:

“Maybe God does love fags.”

I know, I’m being such a mushy girl about this! Sorry. Well, now for the bad news: from a writer’s perspective its making me really scared to see the two so happy because bliss like this never lasts. Not on film, and certainly not in Bon Temps. I feel like one of them might die this season simply because they have both opened up so completely to one another that only a very shocking and sudden external conflict could bring them enough trouble to keep it interesting, and what better external conflict in that Louisiana town than some vampire killings, eh? They’re just too happy.

Jason and Stupid Hungry Hoe

[Please delete this from your memory. Here’s some help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymSEibHKOgo#t=22s]

Sookie and Bill

Bill and Sookie in 'Psycho VI' (HBO)

The most minor main characters in HBO history. They fuck, they shower, they fuck, they hide dead bodies, they dream about creepy fairy tales fantasy worlds, who cares? Sookie learns that her father had a “sixth sense” as per old newspaper clippings and, later, that her cousin’s son has got the same telepathic gift. So it runs in the family, big surprise there, blah blahblah. Bill talks to that magical dream woman: Clementine (?). Nothing more for them.

Just want to clarify something that I don’t think I’ve said yet: We are all in agreement that the reason why Bill isn’t burning up in the light is because he’s drank so much of Sookie’s blood and that it has the magical quality to protect vampires from sunlight, right? This, therefore, being the the reason why Russell and Eric and all these other vampire freaks are so obsessed with her… they want the ultimate power: to kill and live without restriction, without weakness. Well, Bill claims to know what she is, so lets see if either one of us got it right. Fairy with magical vamp-SPF blood? Yes.

Arlene and Terry

No surprise here considering that I actually broke down what would happen with Arlene and the pregnancy last week: She freaks out that her baby has “killer blood” and decides to abort it. Still confused as to why she says that when the baby is born Terry will be “blown to smithereens“? Is that suppose to be some metaphor for her being a “time bomb”? If so it’s kind of stupid. Either way I’m going to lose mad respect for her if she does this. Does she really think that being a serial killer is inherited? I swear, these hicks sometimes…

Tara and the (brief) return of Franklin

I actually kind of felt bad for her at that rape survival group, but it wasn’t so much Tara that got to me, it was the story that the weirdo new Merlotte’s waitress, Holly, told about her inability to trust people after what happened to her. Tara’s crying scene wasn’t full of screaming and hysterics for once, so the silent and lonely tears that came down her face gave her character a little more dignity than the usual show she puts on. Also, her happiness for Lafayette and Jesus seemed very genuine and I hope it means that she can heal instead of throwing that endless pity party for herself.

Then there was Franklin who had his brains splattered all over Russell’s linens last we heard (as per Talbot last week), yet somehow he survived? Of course they’ll never explain how he survived without anyone at the mansion knowing about it for days. Dumb. For a moment there I thought he would actually kill Tara considering how she seemed to have almost come to peace with things throughout the episode. That’s so typical of a character right before they kill them off… but alas. Also, I really wish it had been Sam who had shot and killed Franklin and not re-re-Jason.

Sam Merlotte

I guess everyone reiterating how much people walk all over him all season finally built up, eh? According to Timmy it was Arlene and everyone else at Merlotte’s. Earlier in the season he was accused of letting his waitresses come in whenever they wanted. but of course its actually Timmy whose walking all over him — and here I thought Sam would finally have a friend. When Sam beat the shit out of Stupid Hungry Hoe’s dad, I was freaking elated. I joined the rest of those fangbanging fans at the bar yelling “Oh shit!” and may have even let out a “hoot”. He beat the man to a bloody pulp and popped a few shirt buttons. Hot!

Eric, Pam, the Vampire Authority and Russell

First things first, even in a J-Lo velour track suit, Pam is the baddest bitch on True Blood. She’s the only character on the show whose Buffy counterpart is not cooler (i.e. Drusilla). Secondly, did anyone else laugh out loud at Russell’s Urn-of-Talbot-Blood? Mind you I was trying to repress that opening scene where Russell crawls around in Talbot-Chunky-Soup but… he actually salvaged it and packed it into a glass urn? Gagggggg!

I’ve been begging for it, you know I have: bring us the social and political ramifications of a world where vampires run free! They’ve failed at actually dealing with the very premise of the show so miserably that I never thought they would actually get back to it having gotten wrapped up in the sex, violence, and pseudo-campiness of it all. Yet here were are with talks of Kings, Queens, Vampire Feds, Authorities, Constitutional Amendments, and live television news broadcasts. What? There’s a vampire world outside of the frequent customers and staff of Merlotte’s?! WHO KNEW!?

I am the true face of vampires! (HBO)

Best choice ever: having Eric tell the Authority the whole truth and them in turn dubbing him as their new 007 mercenary on a covert black ops mission to kill Russel. +++ How will he do it? As Eric says himself, he’s only 1/3 of Russell’s age. I think he’s going to need a little help from his friends! Perhaps a little Sookie blood for Eric to help him drag Russell out into the sunlight, weaken him and kick his ass there. Considering my track record, don’t be surprised if this really goes down in the finale. Shit. SPOILER WARNING?

And now for one of the coolest TV closing monologues ever from, yours truly, the King of Mississippi:

Did I help you decide America? Do NOT turn off the camera!! You’ve seen how quickly I can kill. Ladies and gentleman, my name is Russel Edgington and I’ve been a vampire for nearly 3000 years. Now the American Vampire League wishes to perpetrate the notion that we are just like you and, I suppose, in a few small ways we are: we are narcissists, we can’t leave without getting what we want, no matter what the costs, just like you … Torture and genocide, that’s a small price to pay for your SUVs and your flat screen TVs … Futile, symbols of permanence to quell your quivering, spineless souls. But no, in the end, we are nothing like you. We are [laughs] immortal. Because we drink the true blood. Blood that is living, organic, and human. And that, is the truth the AVL wishes to conceal from you because, lets face it, eating people is a tough sell these days. So they put on their friendly faces to pass their beloved VRA, but make no mistake, MINE IS THE TRUE FACE OF VAMPIRES! Why would we seek equal rights? You… are not… our… equals. We will eat you, after we eat your children! [Smile] Now time for the weather. Tiffany?

Oh yeah… it’s going down, my friends. I’m looking forward Sunday. Equally as much, I’m looking forward to three Sundays from now (when it’s all over).

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?

Dear Mad Men: Stay great. We need it.

With LOST now gone, anticipation for the July 25th, season 4 premiere of Mad Men has become my little saving grace. One by one, quality soaps have disappeared on primetime within the last couple of years (Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, The Wire, etc.) and we’ve been left with a small handful of gems. AMC is on the map big time. HBO has got three very odd contenders (Vampires, Trombones, and Psychologists, oh my!). But Showtime could use another hour long drama, no? Dexter aside, The Tudors is ending… Weeds and Nurse Jackie doesn’t qualify, so we’re left with United States of Tara. And where is Network television? Desperate HousewivesSmallville? The Vampire Diaries? Supernatural? I’ve tried watching those shows and, while I won’t say they are ALL horrible, they are your basic drama-for-the-sake-of-drama serials. I get far more character development from an episode of Bones than that! (No, seriously. I love Bones.) Most network serials are just good looking people with “powers” getting themselves into trouble but never resolving anything or growing because the show must go on… I miss the network drama days of Lost, Buffy, Angel, Gilmore Girls, Felicity, and Alias. It’s like, “V and Gossip Girls. Really?!” Le sigh.

So, back to Mad Men. If you’ve never seen this show PLEASE, with confectioner sugar on top, do so now! The DVD box sets are beautiful additions to your collection and not a purchase you’d soon regret. Yes, it’s a bit “cryptic” at times, riddled with innuendo and implication instead of the constant BOOMS and BAMS (i.e. you have to think a little), but then its sprinkled with moments of shock so sudden that they’ll grab you tight and quickly, leaving you gasping for air. (Remember the lawnmower incident? Hahaha. Or the last scene in the pilot? Whoa, family!) The whole series is kind of nerve-wracking in how secretive and creepy the characters can be, while wrapped up in their beautiful, tailored lies… and suits. It’s the advertising industry AND the 60’s — these people are professional liars! But mainly it’s just the 60’s…

So what can we expect this coming season? Bigger things for Betty, I hope. I’m a sucker for dramatic and illicit love affairs on film. It’s a horrible, immoral addiction to have and I try to curb it but I can’t help myself. I love the politician with Betty!  She has slowly begun to shed that fear and insecurity she carried around with her all throughout her marriage to Don, and I hope she finishes coming into her own before we lose the bit of sympathy we had for her throughout the first three seasons. I’m not complaining, though: so far so good. Leaving him was huge and had she stayed that’s when it would have been difficult to tolerate her.

Speaking of female empowerment, one of the things I’m most excited about is the return of the vivacious and voluptuous Joanie Holloway (played by the amazing Christina Hendricks from my favorite Firefly episode: Our Dear Mrs. Reynolds)! When she left Sterling Cooper for married life last season I was confused as to how they were going to handle her character, moving forward. Would we just follow her around playing Happily-Ever-After Housewife? And, if not, she’d certainly be too dignified to go back to work at the office with a failing marriage excuse — Joanie doesn’t look back! I was scared because neither option seemed right, but after the events that unfolded in the S3 finale, I re-learned to trust Matthew Weiner & Co. forever and ever, Amen. They had to call her back? Perfect!

I’m intrigued and excited to see how Don will handle the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce as a newly single man. Will he become more of whore or less so because there is no restraint to make him feel he must? Do we all agree that we can forget him getting Betty back? I truly believe her love for him is gone, and that he meant it when he told her he wouldn’t “fight [her]” but… his kids! My heart breaks for him and for them. I couldn’t hold back a few tears when his young son wraps his little arms and legs around him after the announcement that he and Betty were separating. And sassy young Sally storming out… poor thing is going to have some issues. Perhaps she’ll blame Betty for the failing marriage which would be easy from a child’s perspective to do.

So what did we learn last season? Those final flashbacks with Don’s father’s death at the barn added such a deeper level of understanding and sympathy to Don’s character. We were finally able to link his self-alienation from both family and co-workers to an experience, and a very traumatic one at that. As a crop farmer, his father relied on a “co-op”, on the weather, and on the government in order to provide for his family and in the end it destroyed him. He was literally kicked while he was down by that horse. Takes the saying “bought the farm” to a whole new level, eh? So now Don is a self-made man who thinks that needing or counting on any person but himself will ruin him. I think that’s why his most meaningful extra-marital relationships have been with highly independent women: Midge, Ms. Menken, and even Peggy. Sadly, Don simply never respected Betty because he saw her loyalty as a weakness instead of a privilege. But is Don learning? Is he growing? That’s the difference between serialized drama and procedurals or sitcoms: growth and change towards a grand resolution. We need Don to either become a better man, or try and fail.

And Sal. I try not to spoil myself as far as whose been re-casted or what the writers are leaking (which isn’t hard with Mad Men since Matthew Weiner is so tight-lipped) but I don’t think Sal will be making a swift return. While new accounts mean that those Sal “offended” in the past may not be present (did they re-sign Lucky Strike?) and they don’t have an art department, I don’t think its the time to accept homosexuality yet. It would be quite anachronistic of the series if all the characters did. Unless, it stays a secret (?)

What are YOU hoping for?

True Blood – S3 Premiere: Bad Blood

I know its not a popular opinion to have, what with all the undying vampire craze of late, but as far as I’m concerned the entire series should be renamed ‘Bad Blood’ — emphasis on the bad. Having just spent my entire Sunday watching the “30 Greatest Episodes of Buffy” Marathon on LOGO (ahem, yeah), the transition of switching on True Blood at the end of the night was bordering on painful. I know people love it but I blame its popularity on the same thrill you get from cheap weed or free food or reality TV: it satisfies the senses so who cares if its low quality? Well, clearly I do, but it kills me to dislike it so much because I can’t understand why it must be so! It’s an Alan Ball show, isn’t it? He wrote American Beauty — one of the greatest screenplays ever written — and trying to reconcile this show with that script boggles my mind. It’s not that I dislike campy humor either (I am queen of the B-movie over here), but the series continues to take itself too seriously and with too little humor to pull off the camp that I suspect its going for. I nearly rammed my head into the brick wall in my bedroom last season watching those Maryann orgies and listening to Tara’s obnoxious southern accent. I must admit, though, I absolutely loved Jessica and Hoyt! Great characters! Along with Eric and Godric, those were the best dramatic choices of last season.

But, there’s that cheap weed again: we’ve got Aleksander Sarksgard in wifebeaters, Ryan Kwanten shirtless and Anna Paquin in low-cut summer dresses and daisy dukes… and that’s just when they’re semi-clothed and not fucking each other. Sex and violence are on top of the list as far as sensory-fulfillment goes, and boy does True Blood take it to another level. I’m not knocking it, sex and blood are very very cool, but they do not a great show make.

So, moving on to last night’s episode, I must say it wasn’t too bad. They kept the annoying characters at a relative minimum, and while the rising conflict wasn’t exactly heart-stopping, I’m a sucker (hehe) for the struggling serial drama and I’m going to always give it the benefit of the doubt. Let’s recap what happened here:

  • We waited all year to find out that “The FUCK YOU Crew” kidnapped, Bill. More rednecks. Just what we needed.
  • Tara decides to make no-sense arguments (yet again) against Arlene and then attacks her best friend Sookie because, contrary to popular belief, Maryann was not the only reason she was such a flagrant and violent bitch last season.
  • Jessica feels remorse after killing the trucker and discovers she can feel Bill calling her, but her and Hoyt make up, which I am very happy about.
  • Andy to Jason: “Conscience off, dick on, and everything is going to be alright…” Sigh. What’s amazing is that the conflict created by Jason shooting Eggs (oh God, that name!) was nothing compared to Andy’s dumbass decision to cover it up. WHY? I don’t care about people that are plain stupid and get themselves into ridiculous problems unless I’m watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, okay?
  • Eric has been, ahem, “indisposed” with the new Fangtasia dancer for “the last six hours”. Just the thought of it is enough to distract anyone away from Sookie’s entire line of questioning. Mind you he’s standing there stark and deliciously naked. See what I mean? Free food.
  • Arlene is pregnant with Terry’s child, which would be cuter if I cared more about them in the first place.
  • Sam drinking Bill’s blood leads to homoerotic-naked-shower-dream-sequence and, uh… I’m… I’m sorry did it just get hot in here?
  • Psycho Tara and Psycho Momma together again with Baby Jesus. Let’s hope they stay with the Lord and far away from my TV screen. Doubtful what with the suicide attempt I’m sure she’ll be surviving next week. Ugh.
  • And the overacting award of the century goes to… Evan Rachel Wood. If she touches her hair one more time without actually touching it I might need to buy her a can of Aquanet. Does she really look like she can take Eric on, by the way? That whole conflict with the V sales does nothing for me since the only impending threat is the Queen killing Eric.
  • Jason Stackhouse and the Veterinarian Chicks starring in “Pussy Overflow”. Oh man, that scene at the bar definitely brought on the chuckles! He plays stupid so well sometimes I wonder if he’s really that dumb, because it might just be that he’s a genius.
  • Bill Compton begun to win me over with what he did for that old woman — what can I say, I have a soft spot for the elderly.
  • Sam finds his parents. Do you think they will be Shapeshifters as well? As far as I can tell, this “supernatural” thing doesn’t appear to be genetic considering that no one else in Sookie’s family had her abilities. Perhaps Shapeshifters are different, though. I hope something really interesting goes on in the Mickens household next week because I’m a Sam fan and he needs some substance in his life.

Final scene: Werewolves. Of course. It was only a matter of time before this show took that route. The writing community is aware of the hundreds of other mythical creatures they could be using, right? Unicorns? Dragons? Centaurs? I’d rather run into a killer pack of lawn gnomes at this point than another werewolf!

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