Random Tuesday: True Blood Is Ridiculous

At some point during the middle of True Blood’s first season, I received the pilot episode on a DVD as a bonus with some other television series I purchased from Best Buy. When Fernando and I watched it, I spent most of those two hours cringing, my ears threatening to bleed from Anna Paquin’s Southern accent. The rest of the time was spent laughing at either the way the creepy stalker rapist vampire said things or the pure stupidity that is Jason Stackhouse.

And yet, four years later, I felt compelled to watch this series from the beginning. Despite having heard that it only gets more ridiculous and pornographic as the series goes on, I felt intrigued. True Blood is such a thing at Comic Con. It’s such a thing in popular culture in general and people kept telling me to watch it because it’s so much better than The Vampire Diaries.

Well, having watched the first 18 episodes of True Blood, I can confidently proclaim that I will take Crazy Eyes and the Boring One over Creepy Stalker Rapist Dude and the Stupidest Person on Television™ any day of the week.

Spoilers through episode 02.06.

This is by far the campiest show I’ve watched since Dark Angel aired its second season back in 2003, and True Blood doesn’t have the advantage of Jensen Ackles being snarky and gorgeous. Not an episode goes by without at least one character saying or doing something just ridiculous. I don’t mean story-plot-soap-opera-ridiculous either. I mean beat-my-head-against-the-wall-ridiculous. And yet I can’t bring myself to stop midway through season 2. Even if entire plot lines are boring me to tears, something is pulling me along, wanting me to finish. A need to join the cultural conversation? A sick fascination with horrific television? A need to hear Bill say the name “Sookie” without cracking up? I’m not entirely sure.

Because of cultural osmosis and the occasional commercial on HBO before Game of Thrones before we decided to actively watch True Blood, I have been spoiled for certain things. I knew Sam was the dog even when the dog ran up to Sam (though I have to admit, Sookie deciding to call dog-Sam “Dean” cracked me up far more than any inadvertent Supernatural reference should). I know werewolves and faeries are going to enter the picture eventually. I know vaguely that other main cast members become witches or vampires or something else not entirely human.

One of the Most Common Expressions on His Face - Utter ConfusionI just know that Jason is going to be the Matt of True Blood – the only truly human member of the cast who is constantly either left out of main plot points or regularly threatened with death to instigate or motivate the other supernatural characters. Every time that guy comes on screen, I cringe only guessing what stupidity will come out of him next. Half the time the expression on his face is that of an 8-year-old boy with a new toy. The rest of the time his face is a mask of… well, stupidity.

The Mary Anne story line has gone on far too long with little development and now plays out as an excuse for the executives to film massive orgies. At the end of the last episode we watched last night, 02.06 “Hard Hearted Hannah”, Sam gets dragged into the latest orgy after Tara makes yet another stupid decision and perhaps this plot can finally end and we can all move on from the orgy parties.

I don’t like orgy parties.

I know, I shouldn’t be watching HBO shows if I don’t like excessive nudity. I don’t really have a problem with nudity if it has anything to do with pushing the plot through. It’s the nakedness so that people can ogle naked people that bothers me. This show is full of it. No wonder so many people consider it soft-core porn. I mean, it kind of is.

But moving on. There are things I enjoy about this show, primarily the only two decent, nice guys on the entire show – Hoyt and Terry – who I fear at any given moment will get ripped to shreds because they are really sweet guys. I like Lafayette, both pre- and post-trauma. I like the Viking Vampire and his girl assistant because he seems super awesome and she’s super sarcastic, and I have a feeling I’ll like the kid who turned Viking Vampire way back when if he makes it out of the basement alive (something tells me he does). I also really liked the Cajun guy from season 1, which – if you’ve seen the first season – shows how well I can tell good characters from bad without it being telegraphed up front.

Sam Needs a Hug (from someone who won't abandon him)What I really don’t like – other than the so-dumb-it-hurts-to-watch Jason Stackhouse – is the forced plot of the drunken detective and how he keeps getting weaseled into everyone else’s plotline, jumping to drunken conclusions and pointing drunken fingers at other people. I don’t like watching people embarrass themselves, even when they’re fictional. And of course, Mary Ann, who I just wish would get to the punch line and stop doing her flickering voodoo Minotaur dances. And that Sam is going to get an awful complex that all the women he sleeps with betray him for supernatural beings when he’s such a cute puppy. Also, I’ve said “I don’t understand what’s going on” far too many times for us to have only watched 18 episodes (with me even paying attention!). These writers are not so good with the plotting cohesiveness.

Huh… I think this show is making me grumpy. And yet I laugh so much while I’m watching it.

I still hate Sookie’s accent. And Bill’s. Though I like Bill’s flashbacks and would like more of them (and the Viking Vampire!). This most recent one was from the 1920s, which only made me compare the show more to The Vampire Diaries, at which point I came to the realization that all those people were lying.

Damon Approves of My ConclusionThe Vampire Diaries is so much better.  Crazy Eyes needs to stop by and make things more entertaining. When he eats people, it’s fun and generally there's a reason. When Bill eats people, I just sigh and hope the next scene will come soon because his motivation makes no sense and conflicts with his previous character development.

And yet something tells me we’ll finish watching it. I’m a glutton for television punishment. And it’s just so funny.