Tonight "True Blood" took us a bit deeper into the life of Sookie (Anna Paquin). She got her first (or presumably first) taste of vampire blood. She's more sensual (she can taste the earth that the herbs grew out of), hornier and more confused, and I'm mostly bored.
I've seen the libido-and-passion-driven Southern gothic social critique stuff before and this treatment looks and sounds pretty conventional. We need some real fireworks.
We're also getting a bigger picture of the world of "True Blood," the injustice of vampire life, the mysterious powers of vampire blood (v-juice), and the manners by which vampires feed themselves. I suppose the show's creators are working to build a layered, enigmatic world where vampires can struggle to define themselves anew.
In many ways, the show is supposed to be a conversation about social inequality and identity politics. The news show pitting the vampire lobbyist (American Vampire League) against the evangelical preacher (Fellowship of the Sun) was pretty fun. I want to see more of that.
Still, I'm not quite sure yet who or what the vampires represent, or what new feelings they are supposed to represent in us. Yes, they are outsiders working to gain the same rights and freedom of mainstream culture. But so what? Are they supposed to be the forces drawing out the mainstream's baser prejudices? What threats do they really represent to the mainstream, and what threats does mainstream represent to them? This show hasn't made it clear or rich enough enough yet.
Adam Sternbergh of New York magazine makes an interesting case about metaphorical fuzziness: "(V)ampires make for extraordinarily elastic metaphors. A werewolf represents our subdued animal instincts. Zombies stand in for mob psychosis. Frankenstein gets trotted out to represent technology versus mortality. And vampires — well, they can represent pretty much everything else." Click here to read more.
I feel there is just too much exposition right now. Beside the fun TV show, we're getting a lot of simplistic explanations of why humans and vampires struggle to coexist. So far, it's based on shallow prejudices, decades of fear and widespread stereotyping. There's not a lot of action besides sex and barroom banter.
We'll see, though. It's still early and this episode ended with Sookie being surrounded by hungry vampires on the nighttime porch of Bill Compton (vampire protagonist played by Stephen Moyer).
Regarding the grotesque accents, it's just part of the party with Southern gothic. These exaggerations make it easier for the show to explore themes of social injustice because we react more strongly to what they say and how they feel. It also makes the show more fun, I think, for the casual viewer. I know it makes the ears sting, but that's just part of the deal.
Enough of me. What did you think?