Friday, July 30, 2010

Mixed Feelings about True Blood Season 2

I just finished watching season 2 of True Blood, and I have to say I have mixed feelings about the show. I do enjoy Alexander Skarsgard in his role as Eric Northman. I love how he says his lines with an added subtext. The scene that stood out was when Eric and Bill meet outside of Queen Sophia's house and have an exchange. Eric just lords over Bill that he has bonded with Sookie (in this series it means that when you suck the blood of a vampire they can feel what you feel and you start to have sexy thoughts about them). You felt as if Eric was taunting Bill asking for him to hit him in the face so he could go cry to Sookie about how mean Bill was. I found the Sookie and Eric sexy dream sequences to be very sensual and tender.
Another aspect I enjoyed was when Godric appeared on the scene. He is Eric's maker, and Sookie was enlisted by Eric to find him. *Spoiler* When Godric makes the decision to end his life by staying out in the sunlight he has a touching scene with Eric. Eric tries to plead with him to stay as he cries tears of blood. He then offers to die alongside him, but Godric orders him away. Sookie instead offers to stay with him to the end. They have a wonderful exchange that made me teary eyed--his happiness at having a human see him off and his acceptance that he was just tired and wanted it to all be over. I hope Allen Hyde who played Godric will be offered roles on other shows or movies.
The things that bothered me the most about this season is the maenad storyline. It was so over the top that it began to borderline on cartoonish. Michelle Forbes, while a great actress, was given a character with very few dimensions. I didn’t care how this storyline was resolved, because I didn’t feel any investment or danger to any of the characters involved. Another character that suffered as a result of this story was Tara. For a character who is supposed to be best friends with Sookie they sure don’t act like it. It doesn’t seem like Sookie was too concerned about what was going on in Bon Temps. She didn’t think of giving a call to her best friend and saying “How are things going?”
Lafayette, also didn’t have much to do in the second season except act traumatized. I’m also, bothered by the sexual politics of this show. They go out of their way with straight couples, but gay characters don’t even get a bone. For instance, in the orgy scene it would have made sense to have seen some gay characters make out. What I would like to see is something more along the lines of what Russell T. Davies did on “Doctor Who”. In an episode called “Gridlock” he had two elderly ladies as a lesbian couple. I liked this moment because it doesn’t pretend that gay characters are on the fringes. It also doesn’t feel like someone is pointing with an arrow “Look! Here’s a gay character”. It’s very matter of fact and the plot keeps moving from there. Come on Alan Ball, if Russell can do it why can’t you?
My other big problem with this season is the main character, Sookie. She vacillates between being strong and sharp-tongued, and the other times she is a passive character waiting to be rescued. One of my biggest pet peeves was when she was about to be raped before being saved by Godric. Why is rape such a common plot device? I also don’t like it when rape is used as an explanation for a character’s strength. Men don’t have to be raped in order to be strong characters, why do women? I read in recaps for the third season that again someone was out to rape her and then a man comes into save the day. Where is the originality in that? How many times with this be used? Why can’t Sookie get a backbone and kick someone’s butt for once instead of being rescued by one of her many supernatural lovers?
I will still watch this show regardless until these things start annoying me to death. I’m not one to quit watching a show, because it doesn’t perfectly adhere to personal or political beliefs. I do however draw a line when intelligence is sucked out of a character’s brain in order to move plot lines along. Mr. Ball be warned I do write a regular piece called “Shoddy Writing”. Is True Blood on its way to ending up in that category? I’ll watch season three and let you know.

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