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Entries in sookie stackhouse (2)


In Which True Blood Contains Multitudes

Tears of a Clown


True Blood

creator Alan Ball

While the sheriff of Area 5 Eric Northman is all sad about his maker dying, the town of Bon Temps, Lousiana has been overcome by a maenad. The god Dionysius in the person of Michelle Forbes, called Bacchus by the Romans, has had her way with the town, and the only person who can help matters is Sophie, the Queen of Louisiana.

True Blood has a funny way of introducing major characters when you're not looking. What's never explained is why this show doesn't have all the characters it needs. When the only chance Hoyt Fortenberry has to shine is trying to keep his Mom occupied while she battles zombies on Bill's Wii, you know this show has sailed clear of all meaning to a darker place.

When Alan Ball gets tired of finding motivations for deep characters of color, he assembles them into a makeshift army with their oppressers and consumes their leader with the idea of locking up Sam Merlotte. It's hard not to lack confidence in the abilities of the Jason Stackhouse-Andy LeFleuer-Sam Merlotte triumvirate. Like Sookie, we've resorted to calling Biiiiiiiiiillll in a really shrill voice until our vampire arrives to comfort us.

On the other hand, turning Andy into the hero is best thing this show has going right now, and his inspired nonsensical musings about the pig he saw have now given way to the man he saw disappear. Andy isn't going to like that his fridge buddy defies the laws of physics — cops rarely do.

It was only a few weeks before that Sam Merlotte was having sweet, savory sex with another one of his barmaids. Randy Newman might hate Merlotte's kind, but I love little people. Why must happiness for Sam Merlotte be so fleeting? Dionysus turned the love of something at the expense of all else back on Midas, why not to those who believe that workplace romance will take them to the promised land?

The maenad replaces the need humans have for expressing themselves; they killed Orpheus after all. The idea of a destructive, impossible to control God runs throughout the spine of history. Gods were born vengeful, or didn't you know?

The vampires can only extract their fangs and try to make the entranced humans cower. Sookie, for her part, has an ability that repels it. She is part-fairy, or nearly so. Bill's like, "Hey Sook can you do that again?" When he bites a maenad, he becomes infected with her vile poison. "Don't call Biiiillll so much anymore Sook. I can't come everytime you call."

Instead True Blood simply picks on the simpler ones, those of us more susceptible to life's torments. Ex-soldier Terry, for example, is a lot more emboldened as a possessed lunkhead than he ever was as a short order cook. It's fascinating to watch how each group deals with their deluded friends and family. For example, I suppose it really is true that videogames keep families together.

I used to have a similar expression on my face when I played Wii Tennis. Lafayette and Tara's mom, however, prefer the bitchslap method. To each his own is what the first disciples of Dionysus said to one another before they descended into the fury that was to come.

In Donna Tartt's classic first novel The Secret History latin students venture in the Dionysian beyond for beautiful experiences and sometimes painful ones. It is a learning process that allows humans to achieve enlightenment, see George R.R. Martin's A Song for Lya for another example. We all ache to belong to a fugue that exceeds the bounds of the possible.

Bill gets really mad when humans sell vampire blood. Lafayette cares enough to send some a really pretty coed who needs V for finals. Men and vampires are obsessed with worldly concerns that do not trouble the entombed, or Hoyt Fortenberry. The afflicted give themselves over to the deadly haze, but at its epicenter it is a wonderful mask to wear.

In our dreams we find ourselves waiting to be overcome.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here. You can find past True Blood reviews here, here, and here.

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In Which We Are The True Blood of Men

I Can't Love You Like That


Bill Compton sits back in bed. His squirrelly little vampire features are happy for a time. He feels better in bed; when he's at work his boss is about two feet taller than him and his girlfriend spends most of her time squealing and complaining. Things are better in the contours of this dark Dallas hotel, better by far. "Let's go back to Bon Temps," he tells Sookie, as if she's listened to a single thing he's said since the second season of True Blood began.

Who could say no to a face like that? An old face, a face that's been through something he cannot fully understand, because he is not human enough to understand it. And also, because it takes mental strength for the actor playing him not to slip into his native British accent. Bill began his life sometime during the Civil War in the South, and it hasn't really been good until now. His face says, "I wanna be happy!!!" and who can say no?

It's early retirement for Bill Compton. His sideburns have grown unnecessarily long, and his temper correspondingly short. Eric's involved in flashbacks, and Sookie is meeting new friends and listening to fangbangers' thoughts. Jessica even has a cute boy to tell her about the comic he's reading. Bill's all alone. He has no drama, or had no drama, until the vampire named Lorena came to his door.

Bill hasn't spent much time explaining anything to Sookie. To be fair, she doesn't really ask. She's never had to ask what anyone's thinking her whole life until this point, and such customs are more habit than intuition. For this reason she's not the ideal partner. She can't be with a human, and she can't be with a vampire, so that leaves shifter, whose thoughts she never could make out as well as human thoughts. Sookie and Bill have about run their course, and it's time to move on.

In the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris, Bill and Sookie spend most of the series apart, with any number of other men and strange ass human women that get in the way. Now I realize the sorrow of this sweet parting isn't a moment too soon.

Looking into that dental conundrum, I wouldn't know just what to think. Sookie and Bill have the problems of most relationships: the woman makes the man less of a man, and the man makes the woman less of a woman. To wit:

I think I'm in love with Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp) for all the right reasons. (The principle reason I'm sure of that is because she doesn't have a Maxim portfolio.) Normally the walking pheromone known as Jason Stackhouse would be all over ass like that. But when her husband has shown you his shooting star collection, you tend to get a grip on your need for a hot bang. Jason, I feel for you. The father of my first girlfriend once drunkenly chased me around a Yacht Club.

Above all else this season, you do fear for Jason, because he is on the verge of realizing something about his life: relationships usually don't work, even human ones, even all-shifter ones. They are perched on a precarious balance, and all they do is change you in a way that you wouldn't normally have been changed, and usually for the worse.

As the inspirational leader of the Fellowship of the Sun's boot camp, Jason has definitely showed all that he can be, at least until Alan Ball gets desperate and/or horny and has him pull a Ray Drecker.

Why can't life be as simple as a handjob in a bathtub?

You have no idea just how many bathtubs I have lazed around in, waiting for the lady of the house to come up with a stern upper lip and the cruel intentions of roughing up my junk. I also had exactly the expression on Jason Stackhouse's face: pleasure mixed with a distinct fear that my penis was about to be pulled off. That's why this show is pushing boundaries. In real (or real-er) life, this is actually what you come home to:

Afterwards, you have no hope. Only one person in Bon Temps is waiting at home for you, reading a topical book like Heartsick, and wearing Gran's old clothing. It smells like death, a good bracing smell. Tara, you are home, girl, but something is not right in your life. Everybody's ganging up on you, and it's not your fault. Kevin Federline was watching the scene where MaryAnn made everyone in Merlotte's yell at Tara and saying, "I knew it!!!"

Although to be fair Michelle was wearing a cute outfit, this plotline is moving at the speed of molasses. Tara never trusted anybody in her life before this, and now three vagabonds are planning to move in? Why doesn't she just tell Sam? He can reliably inform her that he owes Maryann $100,000, which is plenty for a down payment on a house, and in Bon Temps should probably be able to buy Sookie's mansion outright. How much longer will Tara be haunted by this foreboding threesome?

I thought she was going to flip her grits when she saw that dude just calmly reading in her bed, but instead she curled up around his private parts. That is not the Tara I know and love. It's fine for inaction to build to action in drama, but the Tara I know would be curled up around a .45.

It's not really fun watching all the black folks in Bon Temps be tortured right now. It doesn't seem like Tara or Lafayette will be in any position to help their girl Sookie's travails in Dallas because they're too busy. In fairness, no one can really help Lafayette. Even though it seems like his ordeal in the bowels of Fangtasia wasn't too different from his day-to-day life as internet porn star and drug dealer, he has a new perspective on the world, one that reliably informs us You can tell by the expression on my face that I rlly hate the world.

This week's True Blood was so light on meaningful dialogue that you could have watched with the mute button on, and still had to weather some classic lines from Eric Northman's life before Christ died. If I wanted to watch the third Underworld movie, I would have watched it and reviewed it under a pseudonym.

Although I didn't love how they handled this whole situation in the book, it was preferable to a boring chatfest with the two Dallas-based vampires. In Living Dead in Dallas, there's a whole harem of vampires and fangbangers feeding on each other, and Sookie and Bill feel very overwhelmed, and Eric pretends to be somewhere else. The issue with translating that to the screen is it becomes an enormous set piece for no real reason — I don't think any of these people or vamps ever made it back to Dallas.

Let's hope Godric sticks around for awhile: it would be nice for Eric to have somebody to kowtow to. This episode was all set-up and set-up and set-up, but it will be fun when the show gets all the powerful elephants in a room together and watches them to try to relate non-violently.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

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