wJun 16, 2009

True Blood, Season 1

Ummm, so I watched 11 episodes of True Blood in 36 hours. 8 of those hours were spent sleeping, and 9 were spent at/commuting to/from work. And I left my house twice on Sunday. So....GO ME.

This evening, I caught up with the most recent episode.

The TV show True Blood is based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, also referred to as the Southern Vampire Mysteries.

Sookie (or, "Suck-ehhh," as pronounced by Bill the vampire) is a telepathic waitress living in Louisiana. She doesn't try to hear people's thoughts, she just....does. In Dead Until Dark (the first book), she refers to this ability as a "disability." In her personal life, it causes her to never get through dates, as she's always hearing the dirty/nervous thoughts. She can't imagine having sex ("Look at that huge mole on her butt!") either. So, she tries to keep her guard up as best she can, but most of the small town she lives in thinks she's crazy.

In Sookie's USA, vampires have recently "come out of the coffin," or revealed themselves to society as a whole. The impetus for this public revelation was the Japanese creation of TruBlood, a beverage that mimics human blood, and allows vampires to live in the open without having to feed on humans. Many people are still prejudice against vampires, though, accusing them of having no souls, distrusting their ability to control their desire to feed, and questioning their true motives.

This premise had me thinking about a recent post made by Avalon's Willow, in which she takes a look at a recent new storyline being put out by the webcomic Penny Arcade. She makes the point that science fiction also tries to be edgy by exploring the issues of oppression with an all-white cast, in which those who are oppressed are not human. True Blood definitely isn't an all-white cast, but the main class of oppressed people on the show are vampires. Yes, gay people and women are people of color all experience oppression in the show - and they all fight back - but the main examination of oppression still relies on the unreality of vampires.

Anyway, Sookie meets a vampire named Bill, and is happy to discover that she is unable to read the thoughts of vampires. Sookie finds this very relaxing. Unfortunately, people in the small town of Bon Temps start dying in rapid succession, and nobody knows who the killer is.

I think this is the first vampiric form of media I've consumed that has people of color as main characters! With their own storylines! There are people of color in the background! There are gay people of color! OMF!

I think my favorite scene in the show was when an entitled white man struck a white woman. And the white woman's black female friend was like, "Get the fuck out of this room." And the entitled white man gets his wooblies on, and if this show were Buffy or Angel or Veronica Mars, we would have heard his sob story. But the black woman is like, "NO, FUCK YOU," shoves him out, and slams the door in his face. We don't get to hear his story, because the women don't give a shit.

I like that working class characters are actually working class (for counter-examples, see the apartment belonging to Veronica Mars and her supposedly poor father). Sookie is a waitress with no aims to shift her employment. Other characters work construction, or are small-time cops, or work in convenience stores.

Sookie has done the least to make me hate her in the TV show, but she's also done the least to make me like her. I like her in the Harris novels much better, as she tells them in first-person and it's a lot easier to see what she's thinking. This is much more difficult to pull off on TV, because she doesn't always tell people what she thinks, and the only thoughts we hear are the ones Sookie hears (not her own).

I weigh in on the other characters, but my thoughts are spoilery!

I love Lafayette except that he called Sookie a slut and he does drugs.

I loved LOVED Tara in the beginning, but am disappointed in her sudden storyline intertwined with BSG's Admiral Cain. Like, I loved Tara being so badass. I loved that even though Tara was in love with Jason Stackhouse, she kicked his entitled ass out of Sookie's bedroom.

I love everything about Sam except how fucking controlling he is of Sookie, especially in the beginning of the series.

I loved everything about Bill until he fucking killed Sookie's uncle and lied to her to "protect" her. And then they had make-up bite-me sex! WTF, Sookie?!

I like PTSD guy too, but I can't remember his damn name.

I WAS SO SHOCKED when Sookie's grandma was killed! I did not expect that shit at all.


But I hated his hippie girlfriend even more, holy shit.

I feel like even the way that vampires get staked in this show says, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a kids' show. This shit is for real."

I love the opening sequence, too.



scribbled mystickeeper at 9:46 PM

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