I had a feeling that this season was going to suck, and not because of my argument that the show attacks women — I’m willing to concede, at this point in the season, that pretty much everyone gets treated like crap.
No, True Blood has finally committed the ultimate, unforgivable sin — it is just so boring.
Above is the latest cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. You know they were trying to make this shocking, intriguing and sexy. But instead, it comes off as such a hopeless bid for attention that it’s sort of embarrassing. Now, admittedly, this weird image is the fault of the magazine, not the show. But unfortunately, it symbolizes everything that is ruining what used to be “popcorn for adults, ” as the show’s creator, Alan Ball, once put it.
When True Blood started, it was an interesting portrayal of small-town …
… America coming to terms with a new and threatening “Other”: vampires. Vampires had been made into a clever allegory for modern-day attitudes toward homosexuals in Season 1 — they couldn’t get married and they were harassed by narrow-minded individuals for their relationships and for their perceived morals.
The show was always high-camp, bloody, sexy, and chock-full of nudity, but that clever allegory had at least made the show a little more substantial and intelligent than that other vampire franchise. I mean, thank God True Blood merchandise consists of things like replica drinks or Merlotte’s shirts — not sparkling dildos and panties with the character’s mouth on the inside crotch.
But instead, as this awful cover so perfectly encapsulates, True Blood has settled for just being a bloody porno this season. And it’s a damned shame.
I know, I know — what does this have to do with feminism? One of my arguments in the last article was that I felt that this show had gradually gotten away from its female lead and turned into an ensemble. This is not me simply griping about the marginalization of a female character, but rather me expressing my concern that the writers are unwilling to save their flailing female lead and are banking on their strong — male and female — supporting characters to shoulder some of the burden Anna Paquin just hasn’t been holding up.
And I do love the rest of the cast — normally. But Sam’s storyline is boring, Jason (who was always good for some laughs) is playing it too straight, the Crystal Lite Fairy Dream World is beyond ridiculous, Tara is still being terrorized and, worst of all, Jessica and Pam are both so woefully underused.
The only storylines currently working are Eric’s old-fashioned revenge quest (mostly because Dennis O’Hare is acting giddy little circles around the rest of the cast), and Lafayette’s actual gay relationship with Jesus. Bill had just begun getting interesting in the few blissful episodes he had away from Sookie, but now that they’re back together, the dullness has begun again.
Making this show sexy was always Ball’s intent, and in an interview with Rolling Stone, he takes some digs as the ludicrousness of a vampire abstinence parable:
“To me, vampires are sex,” says show creator Alan Ball to RS. “I don’t get a vampire story about abstinence. I’m 53. I don’t care about high school students. I find them irritating and uninformed.”
But then why does it feel like every character on True Blood has been turned into a superficial teenager overnight?
Instead of developing strong male and female supporting characters, and working to make their lead female more well-rounded, we have instead been bombarded with tits and gore, melodrama and stale plots.
What do you think? Is True Blood on a downward spiral? Was I taking the show too seriously before? Is this an issue for feminism?