Stick a fork in it, Sookie, you're done!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stick a fork in it, Sookie, you're done!

Barely 30 minutes after I'd decided that one of cable HBO's Sunday evening staples was w-a-a-a-y past the point of shark jumping, this alarming headline presented itself:

'True Blood' renewed for seventh season

It is insufficient to describe this Louisiana-based explora­tion of the outré and the occult as a "hot mess;" the series is unredeemably awful and worse, incomprehensible.

As the late John Cashman, long-time movie reviewer for Newsday (back in its semi-decent days) used to say, "Buy the premise, buy the flick."

I never had a problem with the original premise, that a backwoods section of Northwest Louisiana had a sizeable population of vampires involved in a civil rights struggle to co-exist with the normal world around them.

Why? Because, openly gay creator Alan Ball's demur to the contrary, it was after all a metaphor for the acceptance of homosexuals.

Insisting "I really don't look at the vampire as a metaphor for gays," in the next breath Ball said, "However, they do work as a metaphor for gays ... for anyone that’s mis­under­stood."

That first (2008) season of "True Blood" was quite a ride... with some fresh on-screen faces supported by familiar old pros like Lois Smith, William Sanderson and Chris Bauer, and a catchy opening credits sequence accompanied by Jace Everett's compelling "Bad Things."

Nelsan Ellis as "Lafayette Reynolds"

Of the relative unknowns, Rutina Wesley as "Tara Thorton" and Nelsan Ellis as her char­ismatic cousin "Lafayette Reynolds," were stand-outs.

(For a representative sampling of those two characters that first season, some­one thoughtfully assembled some clips on You Tube.)

"Lafayette" was particularly fascinating... conspicuously gay (verbal inflections, cosmetics, mannerisms) but no "nervous Nellie" he... he was "Hell yes! You do not mess with me!" from the jump.

And therein lay a problem... after Season One established the characters and the frame-work of the show's vampire mythology... and yes, hints that other elements might be in play... Season Two began introducing werewolves, shape-shifters, faeries, maenads... everyone but "Kharis" the Mummy1 and extraterrestrials.

(Hey!, remember, buy the premise....)

And the "Lafayette" with attitude? Gone! In its stead, a pathetic, wretched husk of his former self, the explanation given that he's suffering from a form of PTSD after being kidnapped by vampires.

Whoa! Not our "Lafayette2," damnit!

Other inconsistencies in character and tone3 have manifest­ed themselves as the seasons have evolved... we don't even know who the the main character, "Sookie Stack­house," is any longer. She started out as an exemplar of an sensible Old South maiden (albeit one with the power of telepathy due to her fae blood line), but at this point has dropped her panties for a number of vampires and has chalked up homicides and other unseemly acts.

(And "Tara?" She's turned vampire and is considerably more subdued.)

So, having followed the series faithfully Sunday even­ings from the start, "True Blood" has worn out its welcome with me... my wife quit on it two season ago.

That's why I so so disturbed to see it's already been renewed for yet another season, especially after HBO quit on terrific series like "Deadwood" after three years, and "Luck" at the end of nine episodes.

  1. But wait! In "The Mummy's Curse," the last in Universal Pictures series, "Kharis" finds his mummified self in the bayous.
  2. In the source novels, he is "murdered by members of a secret sex club," a more fitting end for "Lafayette."
  3. And narrative; i.e., throughout the one true vampire love of "Sookie" is "Bill Compton," long-established as 170 years old. In the most recent episode, he is shown in a flashback identified as being from "3500 AD." Things like that drive a Virgo nuts!


1. Seeker said...

Never liked "True Blood" as much as I enjoyed Charlaine Harris's "Sookie Stackhouse" books from whence it came!

I have no idea about the books, only the sense that they are adolescent bodice-rippers.

2. Seeker said...

Not so – this isn't like the Twilight series. Its lightweight, humorous adult reading for those of us boomers who grew up with Grimm's{sic} Fairy Tales and the like. Speaking of Grimm - how d'you like that series? I like the concept and the makeup is terrific!

Don't know nuthin' 'bout no "Twilight series," Miz Seeker, Ma'am, #1, and, #2, the amount of gore (above and beyond the blood) and nekkid bodies removes the HBO series from anything "lightweight (and) humorous."

Never seen the current NBC "Grimm" series.

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