Thursday, July 01, 2010

Make Mine an O+, Please

Dear Husband and I have been catching up on Season 2 of True Blood. I do love me some vampires, and we’re just a-poppin’ with ‘em these days. I revel in it. Well, I haven't been able to get into The Vampire Diaries. Seems too much like Dawson's Creek with fangs. I think I will have to revisit it because of Ian Somerhalder, who plays bad-boy Damon (and with that name could he be anything but bad?) - he's dark, sexy, snarky and so much more interesting than his goody-two-shoes vamp brother. A goody goody vampire? Seriously? I mean it’s nice to be all noble about not killing people, but you need to at least let your potential menace shine forth.

Now True Blood, it’s crazy-ass Southern culture with fangs, specifically bayou culture with fangs, and that’s just perfect in my opinion. The idea of red-neck vampires is truly scary, and then there are the Southern gentleman vampires and foreign exotic imports to lend a bit of class. Lots of sex and naked people - these vampires are strictly adult content. And they look really, really sexy in a menacing way full of promise. (Well, not the red-neck ones, who look like they hide their coffins in double-wides with tires in the front yard.) Vampires are all about sex, anyway, and the deep dark recesses of the subconscious, your own private bayou, so to speak.

The great thing about these popular genres is the way they mirror the issues and obsessions of the time. While the literary novels are busy being cool and minimalist, or grungy and despairing, or poetic and earnest, the genre writers are down on the streets, not hesitating to be playful and trashy and ephemeral. In True Blood, vampires mirror gays. The vampires have “come out of the coffin,” and are trying their best to integrate into regular society. Meanwhile the completely cuckoo Fellowship of the Sun (a more genteel and better-armed Westboro Baptist Church) is all “God hates fangs” and sharpening stakes after Bible studies. Despite the fact that the vamps are swigging synthetic blood and really putting their all into living in the open and not sucking on unwilling humans (they seem to have enough willing donors to keep them from starving), they are still loathed and feared, when folks aren’t exploiting vampire blood as a recreational drug. People hate them yet profit off them. Yeah, that sounds like the world.

Sometimes these genre entertainments step into the sublime. In the midst of all the delightfully gratuitous sex and fighting off the bad guys, True Blood has its philosophical moments. Lately they’ve been rolling in some Greek mythology, a maenad hosting huge orgies and ripping out folks’ hearts in the hope of calling down Dionysus to devour her (and presumably everyone else). Yet when she talks about mysticism and how our culture roots out any whiff of the ecstatic, she makes perfect sense, even while she’s sauteing a human heart with butter and scallions. Truth and evil mixed up.

And, of course, you can’t have vampires without some reflections on mortality and the soul, evil and redemption. I found this scene of the vampire Godric choosing to meet the sun strangely moving. First there’s the sad parting between him and his "child" (and damn these two are gorgeous), and then there is this dialogue about God between him and the heroine Sookie:

“Do you believe in God?”
“If you’re right, how he will punish me?”
“God doesn’t punish - God forgives.”
“I don’t deserve it, but I hope for it.”
“We all do.”

Then he says that in her tears he sees God.

Man, it’s just full of awesome.

And did I mention that these two men are really, really hot. I mean, I would happily lick away those tears of blood. I have a very giving heart.


  1. I've avoided this whole genre, not because I dislike vampires per se, but because, well there's just too much of it/them right now and I don't really like trendy things...or I do, but only some trendy things....or maybe just non-vampire trendy things? Like Harry Potter? well I'm going to have to watch this.

  2. I recently subscribed to HBO because I couldn't stand to wait for the 3rd season DVD's. Fantastic show, puts Twilight to shame.

    And yes, Godric is 10 shades of beautiful.

  3. I've avoided the vampire genre, also. I like the new look of your blog!

  4. I love the whole new look, very clean and refreshing.

    Not available on terrestrial tv yet, I'm still waiting. To be honest though having read the books I think they are much better than the tv series.

  5. Mompriest: I've always had a thing for vampires, ever since I saw The Hunger when I was in high school.

    JP: I may have to do this as well. I'm feeling very antsy now that I'm done with season 2. The show is full of delicious looking people. Godric's hint of an accent - sigh.

    Jan: Thanks! I just can't help loving my vampires.

    Petty: Thanks! I just took the template without making any adjustments. I'm lazy that way. I've only read the first Sookie book, which I adored. I read it before the TV series and was really stoked when I found out it was being adapted. I think the producer/writer/whoever made really good casting choices and intelligent changes to the script to give it the right pacing and emphasis and a balanced ensemble for TV. I particularly like the way they have developed Tara's character. They've stayed true to the spirit of the story (well, it's a bit more highly sexed, but it works).

  6. Waynesboro? I thought it was Westboro.

  7. I think you're right. Waynesboro is a nearby Georgia town. I'll have to correct that.

  8. That was an excellent clip, though, being unfamiliar with the show, was surprised by the tears of blood, but then I thought that was pretty cool actually. Now I understand why religious film scholars love this show so much!

  9. David: You may want to check out the opening sequence, which very stylishly combines religious scenes of prayer and baptisms with sexual images from bars and other very peculiar images from the deep South. It's a show that offers something for everyone. You can dig a bit or just enjoy the rollicking plot.