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How to watch “True Blood” without it doing bad things to you

Season Five of True Blood starts on June 10. I’ve watched all four seasons. I’ve also read all of the books, except the most recent one. I kind of gave up on them, to be honest. I got tired of them, and then sj read the most recent one and told me it wasn’t worth it – and when sj talks, I listen. So I’m not running out to get it.  

Now, listen. I loved Season One of True Blood. I thought it was one of the most innovative, intelligent, funny, sexy, dark and twisted shows on television. And talk about eye candy! Whoo!  

Then Season Two happened. And Season Three. And Four. 

I keep watching. I keep buying HBO and watching the damn thing. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. Season One to come back, I guess? I’m kind of stubborn like that. I’m still waiting for Saturday Night Live to get funny again, like twenty years later. I know, you’re all flummoxed by this development. WHAT? you’re thinking. Amy is an OPTIMIST? Not about most things, my little jellybeans. But about good television? Yeah. I kind of am. I always have this hope in the back of my mind that if something was good once, it can be good again. I’d be the rat in the scientific study that, once she stepped on the lever and got pellets, would CONTINUE stepping on the lever until her little paw was bloody, even though NO PELLETS EVER COME OUT AGAIN, because DAMMIT, ONE TIME PELLETS CAME OUT, and there is a CHANCE that PELLETS WILL COME OUT AGAIN. 

Gimme my damn pellets! I know there are pellets, just gimme…my….PELLETS!

So sj and I have been talking about the series. She’s just finishing up Season One. I felt like, when I was talking to her, I should pass along some of my knowledge of the show to her, so she can be forewarned while watching. Things I wish I’d known while I was watching. Things I think sj SHOULD know, because I like her more than pudding and I hate that she’s going into this blind like I did. What if she runs into an ottoman in that dark room all blind like that and bruises her shins? I’d hate that. Her poor banged-up shins. 

Look out for that ottoman, sj!

So, this is for sj. I promised her I would be as spoiler-free as possible, and I will. Some might slip in. I’ll try to keep them minor. What? What’s that shouting? Oh, ok, FINE, it’s also for all of YOU. You can all benefit. Whether you’ve watched it or are thinking of watching it or have no interest in watching it. I’ll try to put in something for EVERYONE. Oh, shit, Ken hates horror things. Um. I’ll make a reference to tea somewhere in here, Ken, but you won’t know where it is, so you’ll have to keep reading to find it. It’s like Where’s Waldo, only TEA. Oh, also, I’ll put in some pictures of pretty ladies for you. Because you like pretty ladies. See? Something for EVERYONE. Don’t you even DARE tell me I’m not all-inclusive. I LOVE ALL THE THINGS. 

Without further ado: 

HOW TO WATCH HBO’S TRUE BLOOD (ESPECIALLY IF YOU’VE READ THE BOOKS) WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND 

Ignore Bill and Sookie. I know. They’re the leads. But they’re horrible. And for a real-life married couple, they have zero chemistry onscreen. 

Sexy? No. No, not at all, actually. Opposite of that. Boner-shrinking, to tell the truth.

I learned this about three episodes in. Both Bill and Sookie are HEINOUS. Neither Stephen Moyer or poor Anna Paquin (what happened? She had such potential!) are very good actors to begin with, and their characters are SO EFFING ANNOYING. Then, throw them together as a couple, and it’s like watching two department-store mannequins try to figure out how to do the horizontal mambo. They never seem to know where to put their hands or legs or lips. It’s like watching people try to figure out IKEA instructions naked. It’s really awkward. And they’re MARRIED! In really real LIFE! Man, I hope their real-life sex life isn’t that weird. Or maybe that’s their thing, I don’t know. Bloodless mannequin sex. I mean, it takes all kinds, I don’t want to be judgey.

Kind of like this, only these dolls? A kajillion times sexier than Bill & Sookie.

Side note: You are allowed to pay attention when Bill or Sookie is interacting with other characters, but only for the other characters, because for the most part, the secondary characters are quite good. More on that later.  

Side note to the side note: The only time you’re allowed to pay FULL attention to Bill is when he and Jessica are having a father-daughter moment. Those are totally allowed and the only time Stephen Moyer pulls the stick out of his ass. It is most likely because Deborah Ann Woll is made of magic.

See? Totally made of magic.

Enjoy the hell out of the secondary characters.  

For as awful as Bill and Sookie are, the secondary characters are very good, and in some cases, fantastic. First, there’s Eric. I know, he’s more of a lead character than a secondary one, but I think Bill and Sookie are supposed to be the romantic leads. Pardon me while I vomit in my handbag. I love Eric. Please let me all-caps that. I LOVE ERIC. Poor Alexander Skarsgård. He’s not always given the best material to work with, but he really knocks what he’s given out of the park. 

*fans self* SO SMOLDERY.

Then there’s Jason. Listen, Jason is my sweetheart. Jason makes me laugh to tears and also he’s just so adorable you want to pinch his cheeks. He’s everyone’s adorably dumb little brother. He deserves a better sister than annoying self-involved Sookie.  

I know you probably wanted a shirt-off photo, because man is built WELL. But Jason’s like a cute little brother, I can’t think of him that way. It’s icky.

Andy, who gets better as the series progresses (although I’m not liking where the end of Season Four seemed to be taking him.) Lafayette, who I love when they’re allowing him to be his sassy self, but not so much when he has to be all action-star or weird shaman or whatever. Terry! Aw, Terry, with his PTSD, how much do I love Terry! Alcide, who really doesn’t have to say much, I just want him to walk around shirtless for at least ten minutes per episode, it should be like a show requirement. 

Oh, shit, also, BEARD. I forgot. You know my beard weakness, yeah? So I’m totally into Alcide. Also, hey, Alcide? You’re too good for Sookie, just saying. She’s dumb as a box of hair.

And the ladies! Pam, who is my FAVORITE vampire badass, and her adorable relationship with Eric, and her comebacks and her snark. And Jessica, who I totally have a crush on because she’s just luminous and also her character makes me cry. I have a weakness for characters that are trying REALLY HARD to do well, and sometimes fail, but just keep trying, you know? 

Seriously, I have a total crush on her, and I want to be BFFs with her. This can’t be normal.

So, yeah. If for no other reason, keep coming back for the secondary characters. They make the show worthwhile. 

Don’t expect the show to follow the books. Actually, take what you know about the books, expect the opposite, and then imagine the worst possible direction the show could go, and you’ll know what’s about to happen. 

I was a big fan of the books when I started watching the show, and was SO EXCITED because I love knowing what’s going to happen and was all, “This is where THIS happens!” “This is where THAT happens!” and none of it ever happened. Or the opposite happened. Or the worst possible twist on it happened. Alan Ball, who did such a great job with my beloved Six Feet Under, is kind of all over the map with True Blood. It’s like he reads the books, and thinks, “Hmm, no, this isn’t working for me. It’s got PLOT and it makes SENSE. How can I change this up? I’ll erase the plot…and make it INCOMPREHENSIBLE…oh, and throw in some boobies. And some witches.” Don’t expect much in the series to be taken from the books. You’ll be so disappointed. The only thing you’ll see from the books is that they’re both set in Louisiana and there are some of the same basic characters. Oh, and there are vampires. Bitey, bitey vampires. 

Enjoy the pretty accents. 

I’m a sucker for all things Louisiana. I especially love the accents. Take, for example, René. His “cher” makes me MELT. It makes me laugh that most of the people in the show either don’t have a southern accent, or, even FUNNIER, are from another COUNTRY and have a FOREIGN accent and are FAKING their southern accent (some with better results than others, SOOKIE.) I’m still a sucker for their southern accents, fake or no. I WILL go to Louisiana before I die and hear the accents in real life, I WILL DAMMIT. 

Enjoy the subtext that vampirism = homosexuality. 

I think this is an intelligent take on vampirism, the “vampiphobia” mirroring homophobia. I think they could go further with it, actually. It’s a nice take on “the other” and our fear of that. 

I squeed at the cleverness of this the first time I saw it in the credits. I’ll be honest.

Enjoy the theme song and credits and whatever song they play over the end credits. 

No matter how shitty the show is, the theme song makes me rock out. The credits are well-done, and the song they blast into at the end is usually extremely well-chosen and something I love. The music is stellar on the show. I highly approve of whoever’s in charge of that. Here, watch Jace Everett’s “Bad Things” from the credits. I love it.

Pretend that Season Two didn’t happen. Also, most of Season Four. 

sj, you’re not there yet. So I won’t spoil. Other than to say: maybe you should set your expectations low. No. Lower. Lower than that. LOWER THAN THAT SJ. How low? Um…sleazy-top low. Winner-0f-a-limbo-contest low. You-dirty-dawg-you-done-me-wrong low. Earthworms-have-to-look-up-to-see-it low. They’re not good. They’re really not good at all. There are some funny bits (JASON!) but otherwise, they’re really kind of embarrassing. 

Stare at Eric whenever possible. (Caveat: only after he cuts his hair.) 

I don’t enjoy men with long hair. I have history with this, it’s a whole big thing, I don’t want to go into it. FINE, there was this GUY, he was BAD NEWS, blah blah blah, all the long hair, moving on. (Dear loved ones who are reading this who have long hair: obviously I am not referring to you. I love your hair, and please leave it the way it is. I wouldn’t recognize you otherwise.) Anyway, when Alexander Skarsgård first came on, I was all, “oh?” then I was all, “oh.” Because, pretty! But, all that hair. But listen. There’s a haircut coming. A totally epic haircut. And then, my friend. You are allowed to drool over Eric ALL THE LIVELONG DAY. Because he is SO SO PRETTY. And he doesn’t have that hair that reminds me of my ill-begotten youth. Misbegotten youth? Whatever, it was begotten poorly. And sometimes he does this looking up from under his lashes pouty-face thing? I can’t even. JUST WATCH HIM ALREADY. 

I mean, yeah, sure, pretty face. But the HAIR has got to GO. Sorry. I have issues with long hair. It’s a thing.

Enjoy when the men take their shirts off. It’s nice. SO NICE. 

I swear the casting call for True Blood went thusly: 

“OK, go ahead and read the scene, please?”
“Hello, Sookie, I am a vam-pie-ear. I woood like to drink yore blood now.”
“Great, great. Take off your shirt, please?”
“What?”
“Your shirt. Take it off.”
“Um…ok?”

…um. Yeah. Just, um.

“I’m going to have the production assistant spray you with this. It’s water and glycerin. It’s supposed to look like sweat. Bear with me a minute, ok?”
“I…guess?”
“Flex for me?”
“OK…”
“Great. You’re hired.”
“Did you want to hear my Hamlet monologue, or…”
“Shit, no, please don’t worry about it. Acting is not why you’re here, Slappy Jones.”
 

This of course does not hold true for Alexander Skarsgård, who is PERFECT SHUT UP HE IS. 

I mean, seriously. SERIOUSLY. Perfection.

All the men are pretty. Well, except Bill. I can’t even look at him, so deep does my hatred run. Oh, well, I guess Andy’s not so pretty. But I like Andy. He’s got a good heart. I just think he should probably leave his shirt on. 

Enjoy Eric’s backstory. 

Every once and awhile we get to see Eric’s backstory where he’s all Vikinged out or whatever and it is VERY EXCITING YO. Also, that means more Eric in an episode. And as I’d be pleased if the show were renamed “The Eric, Pam, Jessica and Jason Hour” I’m completely down with more Eric all the Eric EVERY BIT OF ERIC! 

Eric + Viking = yes, please. More of that. Thanks.

Try not to get angry whenever Bill says “Suckehhhh!” 

Seriously, you’re not going to be able to unhear this now. Listen to Bill. He doesn’t say “Sookie.” He says “Suckehhhh!” EVERY DAMN TIME. It is STABBIFYING in the EARHOLE. And to make it worse, Sookie calls him “Beeeeeeel!” So you get a lot of “Suckehhh!” “Beeeeel!” back-and forth-nonsense. It is in these times I recommend going to your happy place. I suggest remembering how hot Eric is, so you can have those memories to fall back on when the “Suckehhh!” “Beeeeel!” gets too much. (Spoiler alert: even once is too much.) Also, heads-up, the “Suckehhh!” “Beeeeel!” is at its worst when they’re in bed together in the “throes” of “passion” (i.e. acting like a couple of blocks of wood who have never learned to respond to human touch) or one or the other of them is not in sight of the other so they use each other’s names like bats use echolocation. If I lived in their town I would stab myself in the ears like that kid in Equus did in the eyes so I didn’t have to listen to that all the live-long day. Or, night, I guess. Since he’s a vampire and all. This is making me all fired up. I think I should have a nice calming beverage to relax. I wonder what I should have? Oh, wait, I know. TEA. (Impressed, Ken? I just sliiiiid that right in there. Like I was stealing home.) 

Here, Ken. A whole tea PLANTATION. See, who says I don’t try to cater to people’s fancies?

Suspend your disbelief. And your anger. Your totally justified, righteous anger. 

Listen, sj. You’re one of my favorite humans. I don’t want you to trip over the ottoman of True Blood. I really don’t. So here’s the bottom line. It’s…well, not very good. Season One was good. Season Two sucked a whole entire gigantic BAG of dicks. Season Three tried really hard and almost didn’t blow. And Season Four was…well, also pretty bad. I don’t even have high hopes for Season Five, I really don’t. But there are pretty people with their clothes off. And Jason makes me laugh. And Jessica is the prettiest and I covet her perfect hair. And I want to lick Eric like a Norse lollipop. But, yeah. It’s…well, it’s not Buffy, you know? Or Veronica Mars. Or Arrested Development. Or a million other shows that were good. It’s not. Good, I mean. But if you just watch it as pretty escapism? It’s nice. It’s kind of silly and people are pretty and they sometimes get naked and when Beeel and Sukehhhh come on, I just tune out and think of Eric. Alllll the Eric. 

So hurry up and get to the haircut already. So we can DISCUSS. 

What do you think, oh-great-and-powerful-ones? Tell me I’m not the only one still watching it. I’m not, right? If I am, FINE. More Eric for ME. No, seriously, hands-off, he’s kind of mine, I called dibs, I think.

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

37 responses to “How to watch “True Blood” without it doing bad things to you

  • blogginglily

    You read my fucking MIND!!!!!

    1) Ignore Bill and Sookie. I know. They’re the leads. But they’re horrible. And for a real-life married couple, they have zero chemistry onscreen.

    As I began reading this post, and before I reached the above I was just thinking over and over and over. . . “bill and sookie are the worst”. I couldn’t ever get past that. Yep, they’re the leads. . . yep. . . everything they’re involved in turns to shit. Yep/yep/yep.

    2) Try not to get angry whenever Bill says “Suckehhhh!”

    IT’S TOO FUCKING LATE!!! It makes my skin crawl. SO MUCH BAD ACTING!!!

    I couldn’t get past 1 and 2. I watched the first season and then said, to quote Lily, “I all done”

    Then End.

    Like

  • Jericha Senyak (@JerichaSenyak)

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. WEEKS. I mean laugh-out-loud-in-an-empty-house-for-ten-minutes-until-you’re-snotty-from-the-laughter-tears funny. I’ve only seen chunks of it and now I’ll never be able to watch it again because I will be PEEING MYSELF WITH LAUGHTER the whole time thinking of Beeeeeeel and Suckehhhh and the Norse lollipop line. Oh god. You are a genius.

    Like

  • sj

    This is my favourite post now, and not just because it was for me.

    I HATE BILL AND SOOKIE. I just started season 2 last night (but I fell asleep before the first episode was over) and was immediately bothered by the fact that they both have COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ACCENTS THAN THEY DID IN SEASON ONE! What the hell is that?!

    So, I only just met Jessica, but she is awesome already. I like Lafayette, he is great (most of the time).

    I heart Pam, Jason and Tara.

    I like Sam on the show more than I liked Sam in the books.

    I still think the whole “you just came OUT OF THE GROUND, ZOMG LET’S SCREW!” thing in that one episode was dirty and gross though. (and a yeast infection waiting to happen, really)

    I promise I will keep your advice in mind as I re-start Season Two this evening (I think I have enough time to catch up before Season Five starts AND THEN WE CAN TOTALLY TALK ABOUT IT THE NEXT DAY!!!)

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I’m so glad you hate Bill & Sookie. Well, not GLAD. You know what I mean. I’m glad because otherwise you’d be all, “WHAT? Amy! I LOVE THEM! This post is so MEAN!!!!”

      Jessica is kickass. She gets better. She’s got a great story.

      I don’t love Sam. I think I’m supposed to, but he annoys me, for some reason.

      I can’t wait to talk to you about Season Two. I’m sending you my sympathy right now. Preemptive sympathy.

      Like

      • sj

        Just so you know, I almost fell down laughing in the shower because I thought of “Suckehhhh!”

        I was going to watch the second episode of season two (or at least some of it) before I brought the younglings down for dinner, but there were playability issues shortly after Lafayette got hit in the face with an arm.

        I have read SOME spoilers (mostly because I knew so many people who were watching it when it was first on), so I know some of the plot points, and I already know I’m going to be annoyed with this season.

        Other than Bill, I think Maryanne/maenad is the first casting decision I HATEHATEHATE.

        Like

        • sj

          Oh, and to clarify, I don’t necessarily hate Anna Paquin as Sookie, I just hate the way she plays the role…so, I guess I do hate her?

          Like

          • lucysfootball

            Agreed. The casting isn’t the problem. It’s the acting, and the writing. She’s so effing ANNOYING!

            Like

            • sj

              She should have used Rene’s Cajun Lessons for Actors tape.

              Like

              • lucysfootball

                YES. Because his accent made my toes curl. I wanted him to call ME cher. *swoon*

                Like

                • sj

                  The first episode, I had a bit of a hard time with it, even though at school I had a roommate that sounded like a female version of him (yes, from Louisiana). I think he backed off a little bit after the pilot, though.

                  Like

                  • lucysfootball

                    I knew a Louisiana boy once. Such a crush, I had. Not reciprocated. But oh, oh, oh. WHAT A CRUSH. Redhead, too. *swoon*

                    Like

                    • sj

                      I have no regional accent. A friend of mine from Ireland was disappointed the first time we spoke because I did not sound like Cher Horowitz.

                      Like

                    • lucysfootball

                      Wait, did the friend think we ALL sound like Cher, or just that you would? I sound like no one. When I go home, I get the weird regional Canadian thing going on, if I stay long enough. Otherwise I’m excitable valley girl crossed with overeducated literary chick. It’s a weird combo. And I have an oddly low voice for a lady. When I’m old, I think I’m going to sound like a man. That will come in handy when telemarketers call.

                      Like

                    • sj

                      I think it was just me that he expected to sound that way. He was Irish. And impressed that *I* could understand *HIM* because I guess lots of Merkans have a hard time understanding his brogue?

                      I *did* put on a Cher accent for him, but he had to ask nice, and then it was only me quoting the movie.

                      Like

                    • lucysfootball

                      I love the brogue. I’d try to understand one. FOR HOURS I would try. *sigh*

                      Like

        • lucysfootball

          Ha! I LOVE that scene with Eric & Lafayette in the basement!

          Maryanne is the problem with Season Two. Well, among others. But Maryann – stabbifying. Wait and see. Gah.

          Like

          • sj

            I am SO GLAD that they didn’t kill Lafayette in the first season like they were supposed to. Normally deviations from major plot points bug the ish out of me, but this is one I’m cool with.

            Like

            • lucysfootball

              I was so sad at the end of the season. But so glad they didn’t kill him off. Apparently, they were going to, but Alan Ball realized how much the audience loved him and kept him. I’m glad. He’s a good character.

              Like

              • sj

                He really is. I was reading something not too long ago about how he gets SO MAD at people asking him if he’s really gay. There was a bit of a race rant.

                Like

  • Aleks (@yeksovic)

    Ha ha, don’t despair, there’s still another fool watching it who will also watch season 5 (and probably regret it). Sookie really is terribly annoying, Bill terribly stiff and pompous and when I see them together I’m tempted to just switch off the TV forever. And after reading your post I’m really glad that I’m not a native English speaker, so their accents can’t annoy me that much. But I’ll keep watching for Eric and Pam and because I, too, am one of the stupid mice, forever hoping for those damn pellets.

    Like

  • becomingcliche

    Most excellent summary. I got bored with the books, and the first season was so painfully embarrassing that I wanted to stick ice picks in my eyeballs.

    Like

  • lahikmajoe

    I liked the part about tea. But it could’ve been further developed.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      You’re needy, aren’t you? I promise to FURTHER DEVELOP IT in the NEXT 5,000 WORD BLOG POST I write ALL ABOUT YOU AND YOUR ADVENTURES.

      I also put in pretty ladies. It’s like this post was MADE for you. You know what my mom would call you? Greedy Guts and Piggytoes. This is an actual thing she says. In public. About greedy people.

      I never stood a chance to be normal, did I?

      Like

  • ProfMomEsq

    I’ve watched only a handful of episodes of this soft core porn show, but even I remembered how utterly irritating Beeeeeel and Suckehhh are. And that will now forever make me laugh.

    Like

  • cas2986

    I think you summed just about everything in that post. Although I stopped watching after season 2 because it sucked so bad. And V.Mars was the love. All of the love. They need to make more shows like it and stop freaking cancelling them after one or two seasons. It’s just insane. People don’t know good tv anymore, do they? It’s a sad sad day that things like American Idol are on for years and years and years and Veronica Mars gets cancelled after three AMAZING seasons. Okay. Rant over.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Veronica Mars was the BEST. I was heartbroken when it ended. It could have gone on so much longer and still been fresh and interesting. The shows I really like seem to not get the following they deserve because people don’t want to think, or something. And that makes me sad. I love television that makes me think.

      Like

  • thepunchdrunkplaywright

    I liked the idea of an evil entity seducing the town, and I liked the “shepard’s pie” scene. The idea was a bit “Needful Things” or “Tommyknockers”. And I liked the wackadoo Jesus camp. Separating two of the leads from the “main” story in town was a bad move. The way the season was structured, Sookeeh didn’t have much invested in what was happen to the town, and so her “let’s save the day” stuff didn’t feel like a good conclusion. Oh, and the mechanics of Maryanne’s motivation was a bit muddy. Haven’t seen 3 or 4; thanks for the heads-up.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I loved the Jesus camp, too. I just hated the whole Maryann thing. And anything with Bill and Sookie annoys me. There are good parts of 3 & 4, but overall – eh. Not so worthwhile.

      (You found your password! YAY!)

      Like

  • 30 Day Book Challenge: Day 21 | snobbery

    […] Vampire Mysteries have.  Speaking of those, I’m totally caught up on True Blood now, cos of Amy and I hate that I actually like a show that has totally deviated from the books in every way […]

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