This Is What A Feminist Looks Like…Watching True Blood

A few years ago, MD’s coworker kept raving about True Blood, this new HBO show about…vampires. I balked, I made fun, I protested, and in the end I watched the hell out of it. Then I quickly consumed the books that the series is based on and eagerly awaited more. Yes, I know it’s an absolutely ridiculous show with little redeeming value. But I don’t care. I totally dig it, and will chat about it with anyone who cares to hear me prattle on. Thankfully, my pal blue milk also happens to fangirl just a wee bit over this show, so we decided to watch the new season and get all chatty about it together. We’ll be talking vamps, shifters, sex, and more. We might even get a little processy. After all, this is what a couple of feminists look like…watching True Blood. And we’d love for you to get chatty along with us. Feel free to eavesdrop in on our True Blood chat-fest and add thoughts of your own! 

SPOILER ALERT: This chat contains spoilers for True Blood Season 5/Episode 1!

blue milk: So watching this episode I remembered again what a sugar rush this is, there’s little padding.

mamafesto: Yeah. I’m not sure if I was scrutinizing it more because I knew we were going to talk about it

I almost felt like I have to retrain myself for this kind of viewing all over again. It’s all so immediate gratification.

It felt like Alan Ball did a 180 w/Bill & Eric. Like, after 4 seasons of build up, he just shut off their “Sookie Switch.”

Yes, I agree about Eric and Bill. And we’re getting pure Eric again as an antidote to childlike Eric last season, now he’s selfish and hierarchical and ruthless and arrogant and over-sexed again.

Exactly.

Just the way I like him.

It’s like we’re expected to buy this new bromance between Bill & Eric. “Bill & Eric’s Excellent Adventure” sub-plot. But yes, I definitely don’t mind the over-sexed & ruthless Eric.

Classic love triangle story arc though. Take Eric and Sookie off the boil so you can build the tension up again between them.

I prefer the less whiny Bill (although the part with him pouting while Eric & his sister are otherwise engaged in the storage locker was kind of hilarious).

This will be Sookie and Alcide’s season. How are you feeling about that match?

Well, now that Debbie’s gone… I’ll always be a Sookie/Eric girl (and that probably stems from reading the books) but Sookie ending up with Alcide always seemed like a good fit – maybe the more boring fit, but she could do worse. What did you think?

Yes, and I found Eric’s sex scene in this episode good but not quite as hot. His character’s incredible appeal is all about the art of the chase. There was no particular chase with his sister, and isn’t incest the HBO sex taboo of the moment, so therefore not quite as much heat in the sex scene. Although, naked Eric is still naked Eric!

Yeah, it was a little lackluster. Not like season 4’s scenes w/Sookie (even if they were kind of dorky all mindtripping in the fairy forest or whatever it was while they were having sex

I‘m not all that attracted to Alcide, he’s probably too nice.But there is sufficient conflict between Sookie and he enough to build up quite a bit of sexual tension.

What was your reaction to the Steve Newlin/Jason scene?

I LOVE the Reverend Vampire!

Yeah, he’s way more enjoyable as a vampire for sure.

How much do I like a sinister religious messiah type, very much?

I’m not certain how much I loved his explanation as to why he was such a murderous prick before. because he has suppressed his sexuality and it just bubbled up.

It’s a tricky background story. Closet homosexuality and homophobia.

For sure. I mean, understandable in a sense, but felt a little stereotypical/trite/overplayed (pick one, ha!) That said, Jason is taking on a whole new persona this season it looks like

I like this Jason, I find him plausible.

I like that he didn’t sleep with that girl he took home from Jessica’s party the “old” Jason totally would have

Yes, I kind of enjoyed the way he is wrestling with a girlfriend who is more like the old him. How he is trying to play by rules he previously would have imposed on his other girlfriends.

Exactly, although I hate seeing his friendship with Hoyt disintegrate… not that I don’t understand where Hoyt is coming from

Special mention for the term ‘girlfriend fucker’. Is that a known term? It made me laugh. Not quite the bite of motherfucker but I hope it takes off. Also, boyfriend-fucker.

Ha, it was funny. I’m sure it’s been used a time or two

Poor Pam reduced to a tracksuit.

I know. And a yellow one, no less. I am definitely curious to see what happens with Tara…

We had Eric in boardshorts all last season and now the sexy wardrobe of Pam’s has taken a hit.

Yeah, I am certain Pam will be dressing snazzier now that Tara’s out of the ground

Oh, turning Tara was a great plot development, thank god they didn’t kill her character off. She’s my partner’s crush on the show. And she would be such a fierce vampire.

Oh, super fierce. I just hope she’s not too mad at Sookie. I can see her wanting to be dead vs being a vamp.

I hope she doesn’t get lost in angst again for a whole season as she won’t be happy about being turned.

Right. They have the ability to make a really kick-ass plotline for Tara now. I hope they don’t muck it up
Oh! I have a theory re: Steve Newlin. I think Pam turned him.

I like your theory about who turned the Reverend, mine was that it was Russell Edgington.
So pleased Russell is back. One thing the show has lost is a sense of fear about vampires. He’s about the only scary one we know.

Oooh, Russell. I cannot wait to see where they go with him.

Though I hear in some spoilers that we could be getting a scary vampire character.

The reason I thought Pam was because Steve mentioned a woman turning him (but how much of that was a story for Jason, I don’t know), and Pam had originally come to find Eric to apologize for something (turning Steve?). But maybe i’m thinking about it too much. That’s one of the things I like about this show. I can check out & enjoy it if I want and not lose much

Oh I missed those clues, well done you. I feel sad that Lafayette spends so much time being possessed, his own character was just so appealing and enjoyable to get to know. The werewolves? What’s your thoughts on them?

Sam’s loyalty to Alcide was interesting. I’m not sure if I bought there was a basis for it so much.

I had a soft spot for the pack leader who got killed, loved the way he delivered his lines. Such a classic cowboy villain. “You pissed on the wrong boots, my friend”. Another term for “girlfriend-fucker”. Too funny. 

He was a great actor but ugh, such an awful character, gave me the bad shivers.

Sam made a very short-term decision last night. “I’ll say I did it if they threaten my girlfriend” and then, of course, the next question he won’t answer they just pull out that old girlfriend threat again. Where was he going with that? Might as well skip the torture and tell them everything. Also, the torture sure sounded rough but the outcome looked a little light-weight to me, for werewolves.

Right. there’s no winning at in in that situation.

I was really struck by the nudity in TB last night and just how gratuitous we like it. It’s the only show I can think of where two completely naked gorgeous people walk off into the woods together and it’s not even for a sex scene, it’s a vaguely threatening one for the man. Kinda feminist, I guess, that a naked man gets to fear a naked woman for a change? But yeah, nude scenes. Then the same with Jason and Steve. Naked Jason. And then sad Sookie shower scene and sad Lafayette bath scene. Naked, naked, naked. 

Seriously. none of those scenes were meant to be titillating (nor did they come off that way to me). But the nudity wasn’t extraneous. It made sense.

Oh, I think it’s meant to be a little titillating. I think we’re very transparent audiences for TB writers. Or I am. They got very lucky with the shape shifters mythology. Nudity opportunities foreveeeeeer.

oh well sure. i mean, the nekkid bums walking off to the woods can’t help but be a little titillating. And I’m okay with them exploring those opportunities

Can I just say that I think Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) is one of the best actors on the show? Just in facial expressions alone. That bathtub scene = wow.

Yes to what you said about Lafayette.

When he came outside to wait with Sookie for Tara with the shaved head…whew. I literally let out a breath. The way he looked at that razor…

That was sad, yes. Man, Lafayette has had ridiculous amounts of tragedy in the series.

He really has. I knew his happy relationship with Jesus was too good to be true. I like how despite all the sex and blood and absolute cheesiness, there still manages to be some great social commentary woven in. When Lafayette was convincing Sookie to just call the cops (before she said she wanted to kill Debbie): “Shit. you’re a white girl. They’re going to believe you.”
I mean, that’s Alan Ball tossing in his social commentary right in your face

Yes, it’s a good reminder about white privilege.

Yes.

I wish they evened up the numbers a bit more so we didn’t have the one black guy and what he’s doing and the one black girl and what she’s doing. Would give the writers more scope with characters.

I agree, especially since I would think the location would allow them to be more diverse setting it in Louisiana.

Because otherwise everything becomes so weighed down with those two.

Yeah, neither of them has caught a break yet.

I mean, one black guy and he’s gay and he gets to be the drug dealer and he’s poor and he sells sex and his family has mental health issues and he’s made unhappy all the time. That’s a lot of baggage for the one black guy to carry in a show. 

And you can pretty much put all of that on Tara (except take out drug dealer and add in abusive relationship)

Yes, and in themselves they’re great characters but still.
Oh, and predictions about Terry? What’s that story?

I was trying to figure that out. Maybe they set fire to a village or something where they were stationed? And now somebody (or something) is exacting retribution.
Any final thoughts on your end? I have to say that this episode intrigued me, set a whole bunch of stuff up, and made me somewhat wary of where some plots can go, but I’m along for the ride, no apologies

Yes, this is an establishing episode but given how immediate TB is there isn’t any slow paced scene setting going on.
Also, seems to be a big turn away from the direction of the book.

Yes, that’s true. I never know what to expect anymore.

Final thoughts? Soooo much potential here. Tara as a vampire, Russell back, untrained vampire Reverend on the loose without his maker. Bill and Eric as outlaws, a little slow in that plot development but there’s potential. Should be good!

Can’t wait to watch it with you…even across continents😉

14 thoughts on “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like…Watching True Blood

  1. Pingback: The True Blood discussion is up « blue milk

  2. I hope the rest of season 5 improves. Episode 1 was “meh.” No heart in it, subpar performance by “Sookie” (the fake crying, at Tara’s grave, was a bit much. Yes, I realize that she was not actually crying but a good actress can pass off a fake cry… they could have at least thrown in some tear drops if she didn’t have the boohoo’s in line for that episode. And I LIKE Anna Paquin, usually.) True Blood is one of the few TV series I look forward to, hopefully the return of Russell will bring some spark to this season.

  3. Ah, I’ve only just finished watching season 4 and have to wait till autumn for s.5 to start… so I can’t comment on this episode. But I can *definitely* comment on how gratuitous the sex&nudity is on TB generally, viz: very. Very very. Which I kind of love, because unlike, say, Game of Thrones, the completely extraneous titillation seems at least equally geared to the female/gay male gaze.

    The defining scene, for me, was way back in (I think) season 2: Bill shows up at Sam’s door in some kind of distress, there’s hostility that turns into freaky sexual tension and the two of them are just about to start getting it on when, hey! Sam wakes up. Obviously, it’s a dream. But it’s a completely random and pointless dream. Unlike all the Sookie/Eric sex dreams etc, where there’s a mental/emotional link between the characters and it serves to develop tension in their real relationships, this serves no point, there’s no reason for it at all that I could spot… these two guys hate each other and aren’t even involved in each other’s lives at this point. It just seems like the writers felt like filling a couple of dry minutes with some hot guys getting steamy.

    I can so get behind that.

  4. I’m so glad you gals are blogging about TB!

    There is definitely a lot of nudity, but yes, I don’t think about it too much. (Although I wished Jason wasn’t quite so covered up w/that afghan in episode 1 of this season.)

    Eric’s butt just plain distracts me, but in a good way.

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on episode 2.

  5. Pingback: True Blood Discussion: Season 5, Episode 2 « blue milk

  6. I think the most important thing I took from this was Bill & Eric’s Excellent Adventure. *snort*

    And, don’t you know, homedude from Law & Order SVU is coming in to vamp up this season? Detective Stabler at your service *vamp face*

  7. Pingback: This Is What A Feminist Looks Like Watching True Blood: Episode 3 « The Mamafesto

  8. Pingback: True Blood Discussion: Season 5, Episode 4 « blue milk

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  10. Pingback: This Is What A Feminist Looks Like Watching True Blood: Episode 7 « The Mamafesto

  11. Pingback: True Blood Discussion: Episode 9, Season 5 « blue milk

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  13. Pingback: This Is What A Feminist Looks Like Watching True Blood: Season 5 Finale « The Mamafesto

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