“Hey! You just shut your nasty mouth, mister. You might be a vampire. But when you talk to me, you talk to me like the lady that I am.”
HBO has finally gotten around to confirming the air date of season 4 – June 12, 2011. While we wait for our second-favorite* vampire to return to the small screen (helloooo, Eric), we’re going to take a speedy look at the three proceeding seasons. And don’t forget that book 11 in the Southern Vampire Mysteries – the Charlaine Harris series the show is based on – comes out on May 3rd.
The series premiere introduces us to Sookie Stackhouse, our heroine, who happens to be a small-town telepathic waitress. Most people don’t know that she’s psychic – though Sookie denies it to the few who do guess what’s up with her – and assume that her distraction and odd comments are, at best, symptoms of her being a bubble-headed blonde. At worst, they think she’s “a retard,” as Mack Rattray delicately puts it.
Sookie’s been drifting through her life, trapped in the little town of Bon Temps, which she finds harder and harder to leave as the years go by. There aren’t a lot of options out there for her. How could there be – she can barely function in the little town she lives in, hearing everyone’s thoughts, their secrets, what they want to do, and what they really want to say. It’s not outright stated in the show, but her particular talent, which she can not control, would be a serious liability in a big city. The books make it clear that people’s thoughts really bombard her and she has no defenses against them when the series begins. Its a little less straightforward in the show – her talent comes and goes, or at least her ability to block it out comes and goes. The telepathy is frustratingly inconsistently portrayed; I think it’s fairly obvious that the show is trying to shake out how to balance a power like Sookie’s against storytelling needs. Three seasons in, they still haven’t quite worked it out.
This first episode also introduces us to the main characters in Sookie’s life. There’s her horndog and dim-witted older brother Jason.
Jason Stackhouse: You know, I read in Hustler everybody should have sex with a vampire at least once before they die.
The best friend, Tara, who is introduced to us reading Naomi Klien’s Shock Doctrine during a shift at her dead-end job at a home goods store and then is never seen reading again, ever. (I would have liked to have seen more of this Tara, the one who reads challenging political books for fun.) There’s Gran, a nice Southern lady who has raised Jason and Sookie since the drowning death of their parents, and with whom Sookie still lives. At the bar, we have Sam Merlotte, the owner/bartender/besotted lust bunny, Arlene and Dawn, fellow waitresses, and Lafayette, the flamboyant, openly gay line cook/drug dealer/escort/road crew/man about town.
We all love Lafayette. Please take a moment to remember how awesome he is.
Ok, we good?
Two years before the show starts, vampires came “out of the coffin,” declaring their existence to the world on the heels of the invention of a synthetic blood substitute that makes subsisting off of humans unnecessary. The show gets its name from that drink, True Blood. The book series is called “The Southern Vampire Mysteries.” True Blood is a catchier title, by far.
In the two years that have passed, no vampire has bothered to drag their coffin to Bon Temps until the night that Bill Compton slinks through the door of Merlotte’s. He’s pale, he’s tussled, he makes direct eye contact and smolders a little when he watches you from across the bar. He is, in short, Bad News. Anyone with a lick of experience in the world is pretty much able to tell this at a glance. But poor, sheltered Sookie, who practically screams “virgin” any time sex is mentioned, can’t wait to meet the vampire. Continue reading