True Blood, that show about vampires and werewolves and fair-haired fairies that sling drinks and taste like one thousand Fun Dips, just aired the final episode of its fifth season.
The viewer response has been mixed.
In fact, lots of people are hating on it. And fair enough.
The show’s plots are flying all over the place, and are far from believable.
It doesn’t mean that folks have shut of their TVs.
Yeah, people are still watching the show and it’s still HBO’s most watched program, ahead of Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire.
And it’s on during the summer months, a time when TV isn’t as much of a draw as BBQs and beaches.
Pretty Damn Insane
There was no doubt that a show about vampires set in a southern town was going to be gothic and bloody, but the truth of True Blood is that it’s also pretty damn insane.
It’s televised heat and “wha??!!” plot twists have only gotten hotter and harder to handle.
When the show premiered it was in the post-Buffy world and people were ready for a new kind of fang-based television.
One where the vampires represented something about society (gay and women’s rights, church and state, politicals, religious fanatics) and there were pretty terrible southern accents and lots of hot, hot, hot sex and semi-nude hot, hot, hot people.
Certain season-long nuances aside, this formula hasn’t changed very much. But this season seemed to make a point, sharp as a stake.
The point seemed to be: hey, watch us do the most insane shit you’ve ever seen on television.
You Try and Live Down a Werepanther
Sure there are some things that have changed. Terry Bellefleur’s whole scene went from a somewhat sensitive portrayal of PSTD into a completely over the top, pretty racist storyline.
Also, there is a fiery, smoky ifrit that wants him to kill him unless he kills another war veteran.
But some things changed for the better. For seasons we had to watch Lafayette suffer through horribly sad and creepy scenes that didn’t allow his sassy persona and brilliant one liners to shine through.
By the end of season five it was a return to form for Lala.
Then again, trying to maintain some sense of sanity in a world this absurd might not be as easy as we think it is.
Trying to live down last season’s werepanther fiasco is going to be painful.
Also, I’m not sure how many characters and storylines one show can sustain.
Each subplot had less time to play out, and some characters didn’t get their due.
This cast is huge now and in a world that always has to introduce new hybrid beings it’s tough to keep up with who’s connected to who.
But still. We manage. We watch. We Wait for Alcide or Eric to take off their shirts.
We wait for Sookie to strip down to her crisp cotton 3-pack underpants.
Speaking of Underpants
Speaking of underpants, the one thing this show has down to a stylish science is the costumes.
I can’t think of another show that allows for such dead-on (puns about dead things because the show is about vampires, zing!) fashion depictions than True Blood.
The plain t-shirts with the bar logo for all the Merlotte’s bar servers are like a classier version of the Hooters shirts.
Big hair, roots, bald cops. Sundresses and floral pyjamas from Walmart.
Bedazzled shirts and jeans not made by a designer. Their commitment to authenticity is to be commended.
That is some believable flip-flops and leopard print tank tops.
Once the show “jumped the shark”… I mean, I can’t pinpoint when that happened because the whole thing is so batshit that there’s no way to tell when completely unbelievable moments became super, totally, never in a million years, unbelievable.
Hot People, Human Rights Allegories
When people complain about the plot I just wonder if they were really watching for the right reasons in the first place?
The reasons people started watching were to see what Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under, was going to do next.
The reason they kept watching was because there werea lot of naked people having sex and there were crazy plot lines.
You still get a lot of what OG True Blood had to offer: hot people in various states of undress, stories about supernatural beings and humour, wit and charm folded into human rights allegories and myriad mythologies.
It continues to deliver on all counts.
Accept the crazy. In fact, we should relish it.
It’s not as hard to believe as half of the police procedurals out there. Or Breaking Bad for that matter.
And t soundtrack is still pretty great. So yeah, you get real-world fashion, one liners and sex.
I don’t know what any one else could ask for on a hot summer night.
Let the wild times in Bon Temps, Louisiana into your heart.