Monday, June 28, 2010

Here's what we need--more scary violence.

So far, this season of True Blood is heavy on action and scant on plot. The werewolf conspiracy is marginally interesting, but the werewolves themselves aren't. They resemble flannel-clad sexual predators who get into Dukes of Hazard-style brawls at a bar subtly called Lou Pine's.

So many new characters have made an appearance (and one never knows who will stay and who will get eaten) that it's starting to resemble a reality show. Franklin the crazy brit; the werewolf-protector whose name I've already forgotten; the bitchy vampire king and his partner who seems to do nothing but plan dinners and cast innuendo; and Jesus, the hunky sanitarium-assistant, who's been making eyes at Lafayette (while his insane, casually homophobic mother looks on, as if we're in the middle of a Tennessee Williams play).

Then there's Eric. So far, he's done nothing unexpected. If possible, he's somehow become even more rakishly charming. But his 'connection' with Sookie seems to have gone from a one-off hey, your blood was tasty moment to an excuse for constantly averting his eyes from her and mumbling things about her being Bill's property. Either way, it boils down to the same boring sexist veneer that the show has already been criticized for. Women function as items of exchange, to be passed between male supernatural agents, and even when they're given guns and they have the chance to defend themselves...they don't. There's always a vampire, werewolf, shifter, or well-meaning good 'ol boy who appears just in time.

Still, the show remains fun. And I was on board with this episode until the last four minutes. Something happens in the final scene of 3.03 that made me stare at the screen and say: "No. Really?" Something so grotesque that, as I watched it happening, it seemed to very conspicuously leave the realm of occult fantasy and bleed into the realm of actual human degradation. It's violent and so, so over-the-top, it baffles me that anyone watched the dailies of this scene while it was being filmed and thought, hey, sure, this looks good.

It makes me want to stop watching the program altogether. And if I wasn't weak, I would. But what do you do when a show that's queer-positive, and which tries to address critical issues of race and ethnicity, is also mindlessly sexist and unimaginatively pornographic in its deployment of violence against human bodies?

If anyone has the answer, please let me know,


Mel said...

Tara and Sookie were both cool characters first season, now they suck. Same with Jessica....she was such a promising character when they introduced her, and now she's just a brainless bimbo.

They need to just start a Lafayette spinoff show....with Erik.

Jes Battis said...

I know, right? What's happening? It's not as if the books weren't also sensational, but the show is starting to become an excuse for HBO to see just how many matching cutoff/tube-top combos they can put on-screen before the audience starts to wonder why everyone in Bon Temps seems to have less than two outfits to wear all year.

And I get the whole animosity thing between Bill and his sire(ess), but...really?