Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Only three episodes into the new season of HBO's southern vampire dramedy "True Blood" and it's clear the vamps and humans of Bon Temps, Louisiana are as wackadoodle as ever.
Of all the cultural producers on the vampire bandwagon, "True Blood" creator Alan Ball and his writers are definitely having the most fun. I've sampled the ubiquitous vampire fare and "True Blood" is by far the most entertaining, self-referential and adult-oriented.
The show has always reveled in its own campiness, but this season the creators seem more confident in the tone of the show.
That confidence has spilled over to the actors, who are delivering the most ridiculous lines with barely a wink. To wit, in the midst of a fight with a mourning Tara (Rutina Wesley), Merlotte's waitress Arlene (Carrie Preston) yells in exasperation, "I'm sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, but honestly, honey, who here hasn't?"
It's that sense of humor and play mixed with terrific pacing and suspense that has me looking forward to Sunday nights.
Here are some other reasons I'm enjoying season three of "True Blood" (spoilers ahead):
- I can't believe I'm writing this, but the addition of werewolves is a real plus. They have their own bar, which some speculate has San Diego roots. This past Sunday, Sookie (Anna Paquin) and her new hunky werewolf protector (Joe Manganiello) visited the "Lou Pines" and, as expected, it was like bear night at the neighborhood gay bar. Extra credit for including Nazi werewolves.
- Catering to fans of Team Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), the tall Swede made his season three debut in the buff. Sookie discovers him in hour six of a dungeon sex session. Although, after all the orgies in season two, six hours of dungeon sex barely raises an eyebrow.
- Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) is still getting all the good lines. Dimwitted Stackhouse, he of the ripped abs and sleeveless shirts, has already had some doozeys. Now that he's rooming with lovelorn Hoyt (Jim Parrack) and considering a career in law enforcement, there should be no shortage of Stackhouse stupidity.
- An entire shapeshifter family! Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) finds his biological family, a bunch of angry drunks who can shapeshift – except Dad. However, we've already seen enough of Dad in his underwear, filling the quota of unappealing nudity that was so generously offered last season.
- Pam. Just Pam (Kristen Bauer). Eric's right-hand vampire is a lascivious lesbian who vies with Jason for getting the best lines. She's rumored to be getting more screen time this season. One can only hope. Unlike Sookie, I'm totally up for her brand of "lesbian weirdness."
- Lafayette's wardrobe. I love the hot mess that is Lafayette's (the wonderful Nelsan Ellis) style. It's this crazy mix of gangster gay. The other night he wore a long basketball jersey with a big sparkly belt low on the hips, blue eyeliner, and a gold-sequined do-rag. More Lafayette, please.
- The politics within the vampire world - kings, queens, sherrifs - have always been fascinating, especially as we learn more about the upper echelons of power (the reigning vamps are quite flamboyant and eccentric, though I'd be too if I'd wandered the earth for hundreds of years).
- The show creators know their fans and aren't afraid to acknowledge them in the midst of an episode. Bill Compton has a particular way of saying Sookie's name and if fan sites are to be believed, he's often imitated. In episode two, Sookie longs for the kidnapped Bill to walk through her door and say her name. Paquin then delivers her best vampire Bill version of "Sookie." I imagined fans howling in laughter.
Things I don't like:
Tara's character continues to strike only one note: anger.
Jessica's (Deborah Ann Woll) hair underwent a bad dye job in between seasons, though I still enjoy her baby vampire drama.
I'm still lukewarm on Sookie herself. I don't love or despise character. She's just kind of.... blah. But everyone around her is so interesting it doesn't matter.
Notably, Snoop Dogg disagrees with me. Check out his hilarious homage to the mind-reading waitress.
Are you enjoying the new season? Why? Any quibbles with how things are progressing? Share your opinions on "True Blood" in the comments section below. Can't wait to hear what you think.