Friday, July 17, 2009

What About Eric?! -- Gun Show.

I thought long and hard about what to call this section, based on my reactions to HBO's True Blood and Charlaine Harris' novels. In the end, I came up with the best title possible, which is exactly what I scream at the TV screen like an old man during every episode and interview. "What About Eric?!" -- since I know myself and the topic this section is going to focus on most, it just feels right. Here we go.

True Blood has become my obsession. Not only does it have an incredibly attractive cast, but it's well written, acted and based on my favorite books of all time, The Sookie Stackhouse Novels (or Southern Vampire Mysteries) by Charlaine Harris. Not since Buffy the Vampire Slayer have I loved a show so much. But, True Blood... I love it more. Eric Northman has it all, and the show could not have found a better Viking vampire than they have in Alexander Skarsgard (of Generation Kill fame or Zoolander, but that's beside the point). The vamp is famed for his guns and that comically intimidating stare. Let's not forget the best line of the season by far, "Do I have blood in my hair?" It's not easy to rip apart a redneck in flip flops, track pants and foiled hair while being mighty scary... but cute. That's Eric at his best.

Anyway, my main complaint of the series is their downplaying of the Eric-Sookie relationship. Supposedly they will get to the stuff that has repeatedly been slated to "make Bill jealous," but I don't see it. So far, we've seen a lot more of Eric, but the most suggestive scenes with Mr. Northman are between he and Lafayette. A girl can't help but get a little nervous. But let's not dwell on the criminal lack of Eric scenes in True Blood.

With Episode 4: "Shake and Fingerpop," the series continues to follow the plot of the book on which Season 2 is based, Living Dead in Dallas, one of my favorites. Where it diverges, however, I am a little happy and a little, well, bored.

The happy: The relationship never explored in Harris' books-- that of Eric and Lafayette. Or as Brian Juergens of Blood Work phrased it: LafayEric. (Which was brilliant, btw.) Anyway, this is very interesting. We see two personalities that we suspect would have hit it off, but never met due to one's untimely death. So there. True Blood writers have really done fans proud keeping Lafayette around, a colorful book character, but one not so round and charismatic as Nelsan Ellis and Alan Ball have created. For Charlaine Harris' purpose in the series, the cook was fine. One of the best things about her books is that she creates a world that's full of color, and that includes your chopping block minors. But what this show Lafayette-Eric connection brings is one thing that no true Sookie fan would contest: More Eric. You know, I always laughed when Bret and Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords talked about "showing arm" on their dates, but when you take Alexander Skarsgard... I think there may be something to that theory. The Eric-Lafayette scene showed off that arm admirably. Plus, the minute Lafayette starts dancing and humping the furniture like he's in a viral video, it's clear that nothing but good can come from book to show changes.

The bored: Anyone who's read the books knows without a doubt who Maryann is. And so, the Maryann scenes, which largely consist of clue-dropping as to what she is exactly are a snoozefest. Even with the Tara-Eggs relationship to liven things up, there's still something to be desired. Again, I have to reference something mentioned on Blood Work-- We're missing the old "sassy Tara." And it's true. Sure, we all want people to be happy, but not at the expense of interesting personalities and depth. For the Maryann scenes, the rule seems to be: Who doesn't like looking at drunken orgies? Well, me. That would be with one exception. There is a scene in the book, which is important to the plot and is done wonderfully and humorously by Harris, actually showing the best sides of her characters, showing their strength and convictions in the face of immorality. The show scenes so far have been really dark and maybe not as entertaining as I would like them to be if they won't have the book scene layers. A little dialogue peppered in and I'm all set. Some of the best Tara moments this season have been her comments on other's behavior, and isn't that what we love about Tara?

Now since this post is somewhat late, Sunday's just around the corner, so fingers crossed for a little Eric arm!

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