Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
I’m being overly harsh. Last night’s episode of True Blood was actually one of season’s best as it managed to incorporate humor, action, and twisted romance—all of the things that make the show fun to begin with. Additionally, the episode was unusually well paced, with all of the storylines getting the right amount of time for a change. Maybe that’s because so many of the characters were in one place, helping to keep things focused. Let’s explore!
Having been ambushed at the end of last week’s episode, yawn-couple Bill and Sookie have since been brought by force to King Russell’s Mississippi plantation house, where Eric, Talbot, and Lorena are waiting. Once in the foyer, Bill attempts to kill Russell, but Russell is like, “can’t touch this” and throws him into a wall. Not only that, but he demands that Lorena take Bill out back and stake him. This sends lil’ Sookie into a real huff because she loves Bill and blah blah blah. She begs for Eric’s help—no, not “begs.” Asks politely? Not that either. Ah, yes. She rudely demands Eric’s help and he tells her to shut up. Literally. He says, “shut up, Sookie” and it’s awesome. He has bigger issues than her little Bill problem (like taking down Operation Werewolf and saving Pam)—issues that he’s planning to solve by pretending to be gay and cozying his way up to the king. How do we know Gay Eric from Not-Gay Eric? Well, when he’s gay, he smiles a lot. Not only that, but when he smiles, he shows all of his teeth because—duh—that’s what gay men do.
Sookie tells him that she hates him and will never forgive him, once again showing that she is one of the dimmest people on the planet. Does she even consider that Eric has a plan? Or that admitting his real feelings for her to Russell might make things more dangerous for everybody? Nope and nope. She just cries and tells him to fuck off. Then Russell comes in and Eric turns on his supposed gay face, but the king would rather have word or two with the lady than play a game of Hotdog Cart. After finding out some crucial information (mainly that Sookie is a telepath and maybe something more), Russell tells Sookie that Bill has been investigating her, which, for some reason, has little punch. The conversation ends with Sookie being dragged to a room by a guard (credit where credit’s due—the guard does NOT try to rape her. Yay!). Russell, already sick of vajay, decides to cleanse his palate by taking Eric on a road trip down to Louisiana. Rather than swinging by Fangtasia and saving Pam (what the heck is happening to her! Concerned parties must know!), they go to see Queen Sophie-Anne and force her into marrying Russell so that he can consolidate power. Unforch for her, they have her backed into a corner—she is quickly losing allegiances and is deeply in debt. Mission accomplished.
Back in Mississippi, Tara learns that Sookie is also imprisoned at the mansion. As awful as she is, she is able to work out a pretty good plan that involves convincing Franklin to give her his blood (making her stronger and faster), bashing his head while he sleeps (ew. Also: Bye, Franklin! We’ll miss you!), and breaking Sookie out of her room. It all goes swimmingly until Sookie muddles their escape by trying to save Bill who is being tortured in a shed:
Unfortunately, she’s caught by Lorena and once again finds her life (the life that Tara just risked her own neck to save) in danger. The good news (or the bad news, maybe? Yes, the bad news) is that, in her hunt for a get-away vehicle, Tara encounters a very naked Alcide who will probably end up saving the day (even though he’s demonstrated himself to be a COMPLETE pussy in the past).
Our boys back in Bon Temps were in for a rough ride this week. Jason discovers that his new love interest is actually engaged to one of the Hotshot meth heads (RUH-ROH!) Lafayette almost goes all the way with Jesus, but then Jesus finds out that Lafayette is a drug dealer and they part ways in a huff (BOO). Sam finally discovers the sinister goings-on of his newly found brother Tommy and creep-o dad Joe Lee. It’s dog fighting. Joe Lee makes Tommy shape shift and fight other dogs. SNORE. There’s a moment where Sam’s mom says that she can’t be in the ring anymore and, for a beautiful second, I thought that they acted as trained circus animals, which would have been so cool. But no. It’s just boring old dog fights, which something that holds no real risk since, push comes to shove, Tommy can shift into a lion or a grizzly bear or what ever the hell he wants and win the fight.
One important thing to recognize is that the men-folk were beat up pretty bad this episode. Bill got tortured, Franklin was bludgeoned, Tommy is sent to the ring, and both Lafayette and Jason had their hearts broken. Maybe it was a little unfair of me to call the show out on mistreating its female characters in a previous recap. Turns out that they mistreat everybody! They’re equal opportunity abusers! HATS OFF TO EQUALITY!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Did you hear it? Last night’s hour of blessed silence? That, my friends, was the sound of a sex-free episode of True Blood. Sure, there was a little finger-banging, but at this point in our True Blood history it seemed almost quaint, like something out of the Victorian era. “Dearest Gwendolyn, would you accompany me for high tea and a stroll around the square? Perhaps later we might partake in a little finger-banging!” “Certainly, Barnaby! But we will need a chaperone!” So charming. So cute. And, in keeping with a theme of courtship, last night’s episode was all about forming relationships.
Take Tara and Franklin for example. Currently held captive at the Mississippi vampire compound, Tara is fighting for her life—not with fists, but by cozying up to Franklin and trying to fool him into believing that she is in love with him. Unfortunately, this does not make him anymore sane, but, rather, it causes him to dress her up like an Antebellum doll and go through erratic mood swings faster than True Blood seasons are paced (do you realize that the events of season one only occurred about 2 months prior to the events of season 3? Yeesh). Lucky for us, it’s wildly entertaining. While Franklin is scary, he is also a great source of comic relief, providing some of the episode’s best quips, like saying that he killed a group of church ladies because they wouldn’t give him a turn on the slots. Poor Tara just trembles, smiles, and nods because there is nothing left for her to do—her pleas for Bill’s help (it’s a small mansion—you run into people there) seem to have gone unheard and her more proactive escape plan of chewing through her restraints are foiled by the werewolf body guards. Still, let’s give her props for demonstrating survival instincts, which, up until this point, I had assumed the citizens of Bon Temps were completely lacking. It may not help. For now it seems that Franklin will make her his vampire bride (unless someone intervenes in the next few episodes, which is definitely what will happen) and we will be stuck with a sad angry Tara for eternity.
Do you know what happens when someone is sad and angry for eternity? They become Bill Compton. Sack-a-Potatoes Bill—so boring that the other vampires call him square. I can just imagine them on the vampire playground, playing vampire tag and other vampire games. Maybe one day a vampire brings a vampire joint, which they’ll all smoke under the jungle gym, but no one will invite Bill because all he does is complain and fiddle with his vampire calculator. What an L7. Anyway… Bill has fallen out of favor with Vampire King Russell since he refuses to confess his reasons for pursuing Sookie. To make matters worse, Eric arrives at the compound with the hopes of delivering Bill to the Vampire Magistrate and freeing his progeny Pam. Talbot, Russell’s own progeny and boyfriend, takes an immediate shine to Eric because… growl. They agree to help him out, but all in good time. First, Talbot needs to take Eric on a house tour, which will probably end with a tour of his or Eric’s butt. Or both. I’m all for equal opportunity butt-exploration. But back to Bill. Bill discovers that despite his actions to protect her, Sookie is still in danger. He escapes the mansion with such ease that it, again, seems ridiculous that he was ever held there to begin with. He finds her at Alcide’s, they embrace, and a guitar goes plung plung plung in the stupid sappy way it always does when Bill and Sookie are together. “You’re in danger,” Bill says. “It’s done for me, but you can still escape if you go now” because everyone knows that the best way to get the person who loves you to escape calmly into the night is to tell her that you’re staying to die. “Okay,” she’ll say. “I’ll stop and get something to eat at a drive-thru on my way out of town. Bye!” Except that’s not what happens. Sookie cries and clutches, the bad guys come, Bill and Alcide fail to protect her (Alcide can’t land a single punch so you might say that his bark is bigger than his bite. WOLF HUMOR), but Sookie does discover an inexplicable power that protects her against supernatural creatures (she used it against Mary Ann in season 2, if you’re in to paying attention). From the looks of next week’s preview, she still ends up at Russell’s mansion, but it was cool to see her do something besides cry about Bill and get near-raped. Keep up the fighting, Sook!
Back in Louisiana, a lot of people are starting new jobs. Jason is on his way to becoming a Bon Temps police officer, but for now is regulated to pencil pushing. Poor Jason. It’s hard to work for the things you want, even when you are actually doing less work than anyone else would for the same thing. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. It looks as though he might have found a new lady. Sure, her name is Crystal and she lives in a meth lab, but she’s pretty, tortured, and interested in him. Good for Jason. Moving on. Tommy, Sam’s younger brother, has started bussing tables at Merlotte’s. Sure, he seems pretty normal when he’s smoking a cigarillo with Lafayette or flirting with Jessica at the host stand, but there is definitely some darkness lurking beneath his surface and it seems to be connected to Joe Lee, his and Sam’s redneck father (who, by the way, is GUH-ROSS). When Sam asks Tommy what the fuckin’ deal is, Tommy fails to answer, but it becomes clear that Joe Lee is using his son in some weird, vague, and inappropriate way (ABUSE! It’s not just for girls anymore!). I’ve never been terribly interested in Sam, but I’ve got to say that this is one of the more intriguing and disturbing storylines of the season.
Lastly, LAFAYETTE GOT HIMSELF A BOYFRIEND! Or at least he’s a step closer! Regardless, Nurse Jesus is coming ‘round the bar and making him all nervous and mumbly. They played pool and Jesus kept telling him how handsome he was. Good for you, Lafayette! I sincerely hope that Jesus is not evil and he ends up moving your black-velvet-painting of a house, marrying you, and producing several mini Lafayettes!
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Paul Rudd: Madeleine Davies is the real reason I do this work.
GQ: Aren't you married with children?
PR: Don't put your society's hang ups on me, man. We're super European. I summer with Madeleine at the French Riviera, then spend the rest of the year with my family. Everyone is okay with it.
GQ: You're too short for Madeleine Davies.
PR: (Staring sadly into his cappuccino) It's the Achilles heel of our relationship.
I'm not a big fan of United States of Tara. I mean, I'm a fan to the extent that I've devoted countless hours to watching the series thus far, but it's always been more out of not having anything else to do than really wanting to watch it, y' dig? I guess my ambivalence has something to do with not being all that impressed by Toni Collette's alter egos (they're all pretty 1-D) or my extreme dislike for John Corbett. Regardless of my feelings on the show at large, I really love the character Marshall. He is subtle, interesting, and a great representative of teen gay culture in that he has never been completely defined by his sexuality (which, when explored, is done on his own terms). Since Marshall=the best, it's great to see the kid who plays him (Keir Gilchrist) getting film work, especially when said film work involves Zach Galifianakis.
It's Kind of a Funny Story trailer, y'all:
Monday, July 12, 2010
Not a lot happened plot wise in last night’s episode, but there was a lot of action in the sense that women, once again, got the shit kicked out of them. At first, this sat poorly with me—what is Alan Ball’s point with all of this? But then I went to bed, woke up this morning, finally recovered from yesterday’s 7-hour sinus headache, and read the news about Switzerland’s decision NOT to extradite Roman Polanski to the U.S. Maybe True Blood is actually some big metaphor for how the world works (it's not, but let's run with it). Men get to fly, watch pretty ladies dance, smoke cigars, and live free even if they are well-known child rapists. Women get punched in the face, tied to toilets, and poked with hot sticks. This is the world that we and the characters of Bon Temps are dealing with, so, brave sisters, let us explore.
We begin, as we have many times before, with poor little Sookie Stackhouse. Currently, she’s holed up with Supah Fine Werewolf Alcide Herveaux at his shit hole apartment in Jackson. Having defended Sookie when she was near-raped in the last episode, Alcide is wounded, but not in the have-your-neck-twisted-completely-the-wrong-way way. Oh, no. Alcide just has a little scratchy on his backy-wacky and it’s making him hurt. “DON’ CHU WORRY,” Sookie hollers. “MA AND PA LEARNED ME SOME HEALIN’ SKILLS,” and she goes to work smearing mud all over his wounds because that’s exactly what ma and pa learned her to do. While it doesn’t do a whole lot for his owie, it does do a whole lot for his wiener ‘cause suddenly Alcide’s all like “hey” with his eyes and Sookie’s like “hey” back. But then Bill calls and tells Sookie that he and Lorena just banged “like only two vampires could.” It’s kind of like how drugging and forcefully sodomizing a thirteen-year-old is the only way that Roman Polanski could, except that Roman Polanski is the worst person alive and this comparison was really just a way for me to point out that Roman Polanski rapes children and doesn't get held responsible for it. Anyway, Sookie is sad because Bill tells her that they are donezo—he is no longer under house arrest in the ski chalet of their love—and she cries and cries. Alcide nestles her into his overworked torso and she is momentarily distracted from her heartbreak by the heat that’s radiating off of his body. “Sorry,” he says. “We weres run hot,” because True Blood is a master of subtlety. After spending the night, Sookie decides that she still wants to find Bill so that he can break up with her face to face. To find him, she’ll have to return to Lou Pine’s for some more recon and for that she’ll need a disguise. Luckily, Alcide’s sister (who looks like Christina Aguilera circa “Dirrty”) happens to run a beauty and disguise parlor, so that all gets worked out rather quickly. Escorted by a reluctant Alcide, Sookie goes back to the Were bar, bewigged and leather-clad. She does a great job of blending in because she keeps yelling “fuck yeah” and drinking lots of shots. It’s a busy night at Lou Pine’s—Operation Werewolf is inducting a new member (Alcide’s ex Debbie) and who should show up to preside but Russell, mastermind behind Bill’s kidnapping and king of the Magnolia state. QUELLE SURPRISE! What a revela—zzzzzzzzz. Yes, Russell is the head of this Operation Were-nonsense, which I’m pretty sure we were all aware of. So much of this show seems to be about other characters discovering things that the audience already knew. Do the writers feel like their characters are empathetic enough that we’ll re-experience the surprise each time? If there is one thing that my Shakespeare professor taught me it's that dramatic irony only goes so far. But back to the plot. Debbie gets branded with the Operation Werewolf logo and all she gets to wear is an American Apparel bikini top and thong underwear even though the brand is on her neck. DUMB. Everyone starts to change into werewolves and Sookie is once again in danger. SNORE.
Causing some danger of his own is Bill Compton. After his neck-breaking sex with Lorena, he tells her that he hates her then punches her in the face. I suppose the saving grace to all of this is that, as his maker, Lorena is actually much stronger and could overpower him if she ever wanted to. Too bad that she’s a total nut job and really digs the violence that Bill has inflicted on her. Lucky for her, there is more to come—Bill, in making a deal with Russell, says that he wants her dead. Russell smiles, quotes Rudyard Kipling, and puffs away on a cigar. You see, he needs Bill to start demonstrating his loyalty before he does him any favors. To begin, Bill divulges that the Louisiana Vampire Queen is having Eric sell vampire blood to help pay off her debt. It’s a useful and powerful piece of information that, if passed along to the Vampire Magistrate, could allow Russell to legally usurp the Louisiana territory and solve the Gulf Coast oil crisis. Or not. Probably not. Bill’s work isn’t done for the night—he still needs procure dinner at the local strip club, which results in a super sad scene (4realz) in which a sad stripper sadly dances for him, tells him how sad she is, then is sadly murdered by three vampires (one of whom, Bill, is also really sad) in the back of a limo. Goodbye, stripper. We hardly knew ye.
Back at Sookie’s house, Franklin Mott is holding Tara captive. Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is what an evil vampire looks like. By day, he keeps her tied to the toilet (which my entire household agreed was a fairly considerate move for a kidnapper) with her cell phone just out of reach and, by night, he bites her and forces her into giving away secrets about Bill and Sookie. Equally freaky: his ears are about 4-inches long and I find it incredibly distracting. I know that I don’t like Tara very much, but I’m sick of how this show consistently uses her as a punching bag. My reasons for this are fairly selfish—her hardships only serve to make her more sad and angry and Sad-and-Angry Tara is already unbearable. She was abused her whole childhood and, now that she’s an adult, the abuse keeps coming. As of the end of last night’s episode, she had been forced in a car and driven to Mississippi where the threat of death (and encountering other characters) is even higher. I’m bored of her being a victim and I don’t see how the writer’s can feel differently. Let’s move on.
Someone (probably Russell) has tipped off the magistrate that V is being dealt out of Fangtasia. Eric is away when the raid occurs, helping out Lafayette in what was probably my favorite moment of the episode. Unlike Tara, Lafayette is moving on from the horrors of his past and is, once again, sharp and hilarious. Maybe we could have an entire episode in which he and Eric drive around in a sports car and argue over their prettiness—if things get slow, they can always cut to scene in which one of the female characters is being drawn and quartered, which, for the most part, is what they did last night. With Eric missing, Pam is bearing the brunt of the magistrate’s wrath. By the time Eric gets back, she has been tied up and repeatedly burned with silver. To the show’s credit, the scene did display that the love and loyalty between Eric and Pam goes two ways. To save her, Eric lies and blames Bill Compton for the blood dealing. The magistrate gives him two days to produce Bill or Pam will be staked. If, on the off chance that they do kill Pam, I might never watch this show again.
Did anything else happen this week? Sam gives his criminal brother a job at Merlotte's, Andy is promoted to sheriff, Jason begins to blackmail his way into being hired at the police department, and Roman Polanski is given a free hot tub and rohypnol prescription. The end.