True Blood: Southern Vamp Meets Sookie

By Elaine B

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer with director Alan Ball

There is something very wrong in the rural Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Women of questionable moral character are being strangled and, it turns out, they all had a history of being fang-bangers*. There are a few bad apples harvesting and dealing V-juice** and, oh yes, a vampire named Bill has returned to claim his ancestral home and a bottle or two of Tru-Blood*** at the colorful (and I’m being polite here) roadhouse Merlotte’s. There he catches the eye of blond, leggy, mind-reading waitress Sookie Stackhouse. And what does she do? Walk right over to take his order and, about as quick as a vamp can give a girl that come-on vibe, get herself smack into the middle of one heck of a mess of trouble. Not that she falls for his hypnotic charms, since along with her mental power comes an immunity to his. But, after living in a world filled with the cacophony of all those thoughts flowing into her head, being in his presence brings blessed silence. And since she can’t read his thoughts, she can finally be herself.

True Blood, Alan Ball’s deliciously decadent look at southern culture on the skids, premiered last night and, like his previous work, Six Feet Under, it sucks you into a culture of death – and in the case of True Blood, undeath, as well. And what a strange romance it will be! Even if Sookie weren’t enamored with the silence she feels when she’s around him, she’d have to fall for his charms. A true southern gentleman – and, it seems, the only one on Bon Temps – he opens car doors for her, he asks if he can call on her (and no, I don’t think it was a sneaky vamp ploy to get past her front door), he plays it slow instead of just jumping her like most of the guys at Merlotte’s want to do. “But he is, well, a vampire,” star Anna Paquin says of Bill, promising that things are going to get complicated.

But with all the complications of dating a much older guy, viewers shouldn’t forget that there is a killer in town and this is, in part, a mystery. I’m wondering if it’s Sam Merlotte, owner of the place where Sookie works, just because he is the only other half decent guy around and the one people would suspect least.

And in watching the hilarious opening scene at a quick mart where the good ole boy vamp terrified the goth clerk, did anyone else have their thoughts flash back to that wonderful episode of Cheers where Norm hears a rumor that a couple of gay guys have been drinking there. He’s worried that they will attract others and soon the place will be filled with ferns and disco. Of course, it turns out that the gays were a couple of guys in flannel shirts that had been coming to all his meetings. You just never know – except that in the case of True Blood, it’s going to be one fang-tastic season!

* Fang bangers – people who seek out vamps for sex
**V-juice – Vampire blood, just a drop makes a person stronger, more aware, better in bed.
***Tru-Blood – Synthetic blood that alleviates vamp’s need for the real thing, as in “Blood-Lite”

Photo credit: HBO