Friday, July 29, 2011

True Bleedin’

Allow me some hyperbole.

Imagine if, after a few seasons, David Simon thought writing a show about the death of the American city and its more alienated underclasses had just gotten too darn hard. Instead, he started focusing on Bodie’s ever increasing baby mama drama and Poot’s burgeoning rap career.

This is essentially what Alan Ball and the writers of True Blood seem to be doing. Instead of using vampirism as an – admittedly heavy-handed – allegory for the LGBT community, they’ve just started indulging in every negative stereotype of THE HOMMER SEKSHUL known to man. Melodrama has always been par for the course in this series, and it’s even part of the fun, but the way everyone’s been acting like shrill, drama-lovin’, artificial conflict-generating divas is akin to having Stringer and Avon wear grillz, trick out their rides and appear on MTV Cribs. I’ll acknowledge that it must be insanely difficult to keep up the breakneck pace and endless cliffhangers of the first two seasons, but there’s been an awful lot of water with the wine (refrained from making a Tru Blood joke there) for the last 1.5 seasons.

I’ll also admit that it’s been slowwwwwly picking up this season, and both 3 and 4 have had awesome moments, characters and plots. It’s that very awesomeness that makes the draggy bits so frustrating. The solution here is relatively simple: keep a certain antagonistic, realistic, threatening, conservative anti-vampire element present in the show at all times. Keep the viewers aware that it’s tough being a vampire; even if you’re the nicest vamp possible, bad people wanna kill you just for who you are. “Threatening” is a key word here, because the writers have been treating the conservative human element as too much of a joke since the Fellowship of the Sun storyline. Which is another flaw that’s been creeping up: the show’s always been tongue-in-cheek, but the ironic distance that’s being created at this point is just getting too high, to the point where it’s hard to care for anyone on screen at all.

True Blood is at its best when dealing with the “real” world’s reactions to the supernatural world, as the veil is slowly lifted to reveal ever more fucked up shit behind it. The diva histrionics as a result of this are the seasonings that make True Blood the delight it usually is. After an awesomely campy start of the season in Fairyland, it’s mostly been treading water and pandering to Sookie/Eric shippers. Bill’s new role as the king of Louisiana and slowly decaying Pam have been the only highlights so far. These are two out of about seven or eight storylines.

Them’s my two cents: keep the politics and non-supernatural dangers fairly prevalent, and the cattiness will become entertaining again.

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