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Entries in stephen moyer (4)


In Which There Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of

Lady Banjo Eyes


Breaking Bad
creator Vince Gilligan

True Blood
creator Alan Ball

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is distracted from his job for a moment, but no more. On his 51st birthday, his wife slowly walks, fully-clothed, into the family pool. She can't get good with the way things are now that Walt is running his own business. She chainsmokes in the home, she begs for his cancer to return, she can barely manage to bake a chocolate cake. Her behavior is so exaggerated that she has turned into the Danielle Steele version of an adulterous wife.

It's a lot harder to write a character sketch like this about the protagonists in the eighteenth season of HBO's True Blood. What's that you say? It only feels like the eighteenth season? No matter. The typical scene on True Blood lasts only the thirty or forty seconds it might take you to get bored of it before moving onto the next character. It's like skipping from YouTube to YouTube, and in every episode, there are over a thousand.

not casting Fred Savage as Godric was an almost unforgivable mistake

The character I least understand on True Blood is Eric Northman. When the show began he was completely committed to the superiority of vampires over humans, now he walks around acting like he's Saint Ignatius. You have never seen a man so completely convinced there is no vampire god. He's become a Christian message board troll who waits for someone to espouse their faith in under 130 characters and then chimes in with a "Not likely!"

Understanding the motivations of a drama's personages is the first step to empathizing with their predicament. I almost admire how much True Blood eschews this. The only time it has its characters even react to the madness that surrounds them is when they cry afterwards. By the next episode, they are generally fine. The rule on True Blood - that everyone gets a storyline - extends even to the most peripheral characters, especially if they were kind enough to offer Alan Ball an on-set blowjob.

Alan Ball and Anna Paquin will not be doing any USO tours, of that much we can be certain

After a time, playing with the lives of fictional people becomes like moving things around on your desk. Alan Ball hates God so completely he had to become him.

Everything bad on True Blood is associated with religion, even the eating of a child. Ball believes that faith is the corruptor, the scapegoat instrument by which evil is wrought. His most sincere and good-willed individuals on the show are completely without faith; they feel lost in the world as he does, and simply by virtue of not knowing exactly what they are, are blessed and imagined as heroes.

No such luck for Walter White. He spent his entire life before he got brain cancer afraid of things, unable to decide who he was or what he should be doing with his life. Once he realized that, his new problems began.

I have lived longer than anyone I have talked about so far in this essai besides Eric Northman. One of mankind's most enduring cliches is that success comes with a price. (This cliche was first associated with Jesus, and later, Kristen Stewart.)

Whatever truth there is in this statement exists completely outside the realm of human experience. For those who aren't successsful, no price is too high. And for those who are successful, like the creators of Breaking Bad and True Blood, there must be some other reason for their unhappiness, an explanation that lies outside themselves. If they actually found they liked being miserable, success would feel like a curse.

taking Nancy Pelosi's dream and bringing it to life

Basically, it's easy to forget that you are the one who knocks. Many years ago my daughter came to me and explained that one of her classmates was afraid of me. What was I going to do about that? I offered to meet the young man, and he came over to our house for dinner. I asked him if he still felt afraid of me. "No," he said. I told him to wait.

Walter White is happy, perhaps the happiest he's ever been, but there is no one to enjoy it with him. Is this what it is truly like to run a critically acclaimed television series? Must there be a feeling in everything that they will be found out as a fraud, a charlatan? Did Matthew Weiner put his blood in a syringe and infect everyone in Hollywood with his identical insecurities?

I noticed some years ago that I find myself happier in the company of sad people, simply by comparison. And when I meet truly happy people - Oliver North comes to mind - I feel sorry for myself, that I cannot be as they are. Even more astonishing is that I am allowed to behave this way by the people in my life.

Beel, drain this woman while I watch the uneven bars

There might be another reason that this cliche keeps reoccuring in our popular fictions. Vampire leader Salome Agrippa (Valentina Cervi) has quickly become the worst character on True Blood. Her scenes are completely boring; she speaks with a vague monotone that is supposed to come off as threatening but in reality just lulls the viewer to sleep. Her idea of acting consists of brushing back her bangs. If I have to view her bare chest one more time, I'm going to start missing the acting "skills" of the guy who played Lafayette's top.

But besides the fact that Salome can't act and looks completely unappealing without clothes, the various travails of Salome don't interest me or my wife because she is truly satisfied with herself. Salome is incapable of change. Eventually this will be her downfall as she tries to take over the world for her vampire God, but until then I guess I have to keep watching Bill (Stephen Moyer) penetrating her with his ass raised high in the air, like he's about to hammer a nail.

you killed off Christopher Meloni FOR THIS?

True Blood and Breaking Bad, as they ascended to their first heights, made a point of portraying strong and powerful women. Now that these dramas near their conclusion, these women are actually revealed only as exceptions to the general rule of female archetypes - power and vulnerability can no longer exist within one human person. There may be sexism behind this, and I'm sure there is, but I can suggest another cause as well.

sexism, yoWhen a man changes his mind, or becomes something different than what he is, it is not a betrayal. This is expected of him: it happens when he begins a household, settles down with his partner, has children. These are all changes for him, and the responsiblities are said to improve who he is.

When these things happen to a woman, it is thought to be no more than a natural extension of herself. Lies. This vicious canard is completely subsumed in how men think of the opposite sex. But the reality is not that women aren't changed by the contours of family and marriage. It is that, on a conscious or even subconscious level, women are better at understanding what change implies than men will ever be.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is the former vice president of the United States. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. He last wrote in these pages about the beginning of Breaking Bad's season.

"We Are Not Good People" - Bloc Party (mp3)

"Octopus" - Bloc Party (mp3)

The new album from Bloc Party is entitled Four, and it will be released on August 20th.


In Which We Relive The Little Moments of True Blood

Golden Showers


The most charismatic man on television has come to Bon Temps, and Alan Ball's seminal series about how much people loathe themselves, True Blood. His name is Hoyt Fortenberry, and he's a grown ass man. When times are troubled and you need a friend, Hoyt is perfectly willing to console you. If, for example, your hymen reconstitutes itself every time it's broken, Hoyt is totally cool with that. He will just shoot you one of these cold looks:

Hoyt lives in the now, he breathes for the moment. Fuck you, Mom! Fuck you, World! Fuck you, Bill Compton! Wait, Hoyt did not mean that last part about his girlfriend's maker. He's unlikely to feel the full wrath of Bill's dreadful Southern accent because, well, Bill's now a whipped piece of cornbread who can't even murder a Soldier of the Sun.

I had an English teacher who would circle "whipped" every time I used it in a paper. She told me that I knew it was sexist. I told her that the fact that I was the only kid in the class who was aware of that gave me the license. God I hated eighth grade.

Hoyt is the only real thing you can focus on when the neverending barrage of Anna Paquin's left breast is repeatedly thrust into your living room. In light of Sookie's real-life relationship with her vampire paramour, this week's dream sex sequence must have been especially painful for Stephen Moyer. I can only hope CourtTV goes 24/7 on their divorce, assuming CourtTV still exists.

Moments of action are the best drama, and True Blood is about to abandon cheesy, Hotel New Hampshire-esque brother-sister bonding for a couple of weeks that is full of them. Sookie and Bill have done Dallas, and now they're headed home to Bon Temps to wreak their vengeance on the world.

However, things are not well with Adam and Eve. Can you really be satisfying a woman if she's having an eight-minute long dream sequence about another man while in bed with you? Also, if a vamp can get power over a person just through a few drops of blood, that probably explains Kevin Federline completely.


In other news, the show's writers finally gave Lafayette something to do, although it really didn't make sense that he would ally himself with Tara's mother of all people. Given the choice between some medea who just fed me a tasty heart and my alcoholic mamma, I'm pretty sure where I'm going.

Of course, sense-making has never been Alan Ball's forte, as the physics-defying shapeshifting of Sam Merlotte proves. How exactly can you strap someone down to the stocks if they can defy the laws of conservation of matter and turn into an insect? Someone should tell them that when Gregor Samsa made his move, he didn't suddenly become a centimeter tall.

My sympathies lie elsewhere. I really feel Godric's pain though, it must be really annoying to be an immortal. If vampires really did exist, people would be jumping out of their seats to live forever, wouldn't they? I mean, it's pretty much the central focus of Mark Cuban's life; that is, if he isn't already immortal and just waiting to release this info during the Mavs first championship celebration in 2116.

To be able to choose your own death is the power of the gods, and that's really Michelle Forbes' job. We can only pray they kill her off in the season finale or I will have to singlehandedly finance a Kalifornia sequel. Get Jason Stackhouse to cut her up with a chainsaw at some point in these next three episodes, please. With that said, I have nothing but respect for her nutritious preparation of the human heart.


In the season's conclusive episodes, the vampires will get back to their murdering ways and Sookie will continue to find a way to work her Gran into every episode. I wish it were easier to write Anna Paquin off this show - if only Godric had casually tossed her off the roof of the hotel before he teleported into a bubble nude and saved John Connor.

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

"Garbage Day" — Brendan Benson (mp3)

"Don't Wanna Talk" — Brendan Benson (mp3)

"Posied and Ready" — Brendan Benson (mp3)

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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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"Under the Paving Stones" — The Like (mp3)

"Too Late" — The Like (mp3)

"Bridge To Nowhere" — The Like (mp3)