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Monday, June 28, 2010

'True Blood' season 3, episode 3: Is this a trick?

Im sorry ... what were saying about taboos and mores and going too far and whatnot?
  • John P. Johnson/HBO
  • I'm sorry ... what were saying about taboos and mores and going too far and whatnot?
Is Alan Ball trying to trick us?

I feel like he might be trying to trick us. He keeps adding more and more hot men to "True Blood" (Franklin the vampire, Alcide the werewolf, even Talbot, Edgington's gentleman-in-waiting) and I'm starting to think it's all part of a master plan to distract from the fact that he's slowly and systematically chipping away at sexual mores in order to redefine what we hold as taboo in the bedroom (or the basement S&M chamber). Not that sex with maenads/vampires/werewolves isn't happening right now because it's taboo — it's obviously not happening because those things don't exist. But there's a certain level of desensitization that must be present to watch that final scene last night between Bill and Lorena. I didn't quite feel violated, but I did find it immensely disturbing.

HBO's built a reputation over the last decade or so on this kind of "envelope pushing." We forget that something like "Sex and the City" for instance, which now seems like such mindless, self-indulgent drivel, actually helped establish new parameters for women and sexuality on TV and in the general media. But is a wildly violent Carrie-esque (not Bradshaw) sex scene really necessary in order to get some extra booty shown on basic cable?

Despite Bill's twisting of Lorena's neck like a fresh piece of silly putty in what basically amounted to a kind of rape scene, I still really enjoyed the show. And I know I'm not alone. Why is that? Does one hilarious monologue from Sheriff Dearborn, a couple of zingers from Eric, a handful of malapropisms from Jason and a bunch of supernatural hotties cancel out how f-ed up that was? And what does it say that we must be pushed so far in one direction in order to barely creep forward in another?

SNAPSHOT RECAP: Eric's soft spot for Sookie grows: He saves her from one werewolf and assigns another to protect her on her trip to Jackson to look for Bill. He also seems to have a soft spot for Lafayette now after giving him a Bentley, but it's almost certain there are strings attached. Sam's birth family turns out to be even more redneck than they look (Free lunch??!!); Tara has a change of heart about sleeping with vampires; and werewolves prefer Zima.

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