Monday, July 2, 2012

Has True Blood Lost Its Bite?

I'm more than a little concerned about this season of True Blood. Something is missing. It seems that True Blood has lost it's bite. 4 episodes in and I have to wonder, where is the danger? This season's tag line is "Everything is at stake". Plot-wise this is true. I suppose. I don't know if it's any stakier than past seasons but yeah every character is heavily embroiled in some kind of southern fried supernatural trauma. But, I don't feel anything is at stake for me, the viewer. Not in comparison to seasons past. Word on the street is that Alan Ball will be leaving his show - runner duties for the next season. Part of me wonders if he hasn't already checked out

What Alan Ball has always done so terrifyingly well is to tap into our innermost, visceral places. In simpler terms, gurl knows how to portray how fucked up we can be. Six Feet Under still reigns (for me at least) as the greatest television show that has ever existed. In Six Feet Under, Ball balanced mortality with sexual exploration and angst. David's coming out in between embalming sessions and wakes, Brenda's sexual addiction (not to mention the weird ass tension between her and her own brother), Nate's womanizing and the seemingly frigid matriarch Ruth may have had more lovers than anyone else on the show.

Thematically, True Blood is a fun house mirror of Six Feet Under. It's life vs. death (or un-death in this case) wrapped up in a whole lot of sex, blood and leather pants.  True Blood is a show about desire... excessive desire. Like really, deep, dark, twisted desire. Although the incest on True Blood isn't nearly as unnerving as on Six Feet Under. I mean what's a little incest between vampires? And there is a little incest this season. But that is exactly the problem with this season. The most taboo element is neither here nor there and merely a characteristic rather than a storyline. 

True Blood has always engaged the viewer by presenting danger that excited us and that tempted us. Even when we knew it was bad for the characters in the end, didn't we all want to try V? Don't we all want to dabble in a little witchcraft? Didn't Maryann's cake and dirt eating fueled orgies seem kind of awesome? At least at the beginning? Don't we all want to have sex with Eric - a Vampire who could quite possibly suck all the blood out of us as we dig our fingers into his well formed cum drains? And most of all, don't we all more than sorta kinda want to be Vampires???

But that's all missing this season. The allure, the danger, the hurts so good -  it's just not there. It's all plot, swift action and rather disconnected or unsurprising sex. Bill and Eric and their "Vamps of Hazard" storyline is abysmal and SPOILER ALERT, Tara as a Vampire is not really all that different than Tara as a human.
She still hates Vamps and herself, now just a little more than usual. It looks like Sookie might be headed towards my favorite place in the world (Alcide's arms) but let's face it, that's about as dangerous as Ross and Rachel.  

Oh sure there's the sociopolitical commentary / parable but without the danger, well, I'd rather just watch re-runs of The West Wing. C'mon Alan Ball, give us some V. Give us some sex. Give us some  sex on V. Make us feel dirty again.   

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