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True Crud

True Crud

by Albert Burr / 02.10.2009

Some TV shows are so bad they’re brilliant, like Baywatch. But some shows are just lame, with each new act of ill-conceived motivation draining it of credibility at the crawling speed of smell. Now I know many people are going to freak out about now, but the show I’m referring to is True Blood.

HBO usually knows what they’re doing, but True Blood is truly a load of old sweaty bollocks. Sweaty, because it’s all hot and bothered down south in Louisiana. Bollocks because that’s what it has for brains: the promise of buff nudity in all its bronzed, glistening, cleavage-happy glory. It’s girl-porn.

The turn-on, I’m told by a reliable female source, is the notion that a tortured, ancient being just oozing quiet charisma is suddenly (and inexplicably, I might add) so taken with our heroine that he gives her long, meaningful stares that speak of repressed urges and hint at hidden depths. But of course he’ll never drink her blood, because she’s special. In fact, she’s so special she’s the only virgin over 18 in the entire state (if not the country). And he respects that. He only wants to be with her. It must be a relief for her to trust that he’s not going to take his Johnson out at some inopportune moment hoping for a bit of spit and polish. He’s just here to protect her, because he feels a strange, supernatural connection.

But of course Anna Paquin is special. She can read minds. And what she reads is the usual monologues of hatred and resentment and yearning that clutter our minds. No wonder she’s still a virgin – she can see right through all the pretty-boy personas of prospective suitors.

This is fiction, of course. But when fiction gets pushed too far, it starts feeling like a Grade 5 teacher telling the class a story that she’s making up as she goes along. For example, we’re meant to just accept that Paquin’s character can read minds. But then we’re supposed to indulge the fact that she can’t read the mind of her boss who’s been acting pretty strange lately and, it turns out, is a fucken shapeshifter (uh, spoiler alert, should’ve mentioned that, sorry). Hmm, didn’t see that coming – because she conveniently couldn’t read his mind.

Girl Porn

And isn’t it somewhat predictable, along the jagged fault lines of the virgin/whore split, that it’s the women with Duracell-bunny libidos that get murdered all over the place? Mmm, no wonder Paquin is so protective of her petticoat. Just look what happens to the sluts. Yup, they get strangled – that’ll teach them to have screaming orgasms.

But the best part of the plotting is the clever twist in the premise: vampires don’t drink human blood anymore (they seem content with some synthetic blood from Japanese laboratories, which makes it a good thing they’re immortal). Instead it has become de rigueur among deviant humans to drink vampire blood… And if you OD on it you’ll get the hardest erection, like, ever! Which will be really funny!

I can just image the stoned geniuses who first came up with this show (I don’t know their names, because I couldn’t be bothered to look it up). Seemed like utter brilliance at the time, hey guys? But then you’re supposed to sober up long enough to realise your dumb-ass ideas don’t hold any water in the light of day. You’re supposed to save your stoned ramblings and light-bulb moments for the dustbin, so that you don’t go and make a TV show that lowers society’s ever-diminishing IQ even further.

Of course, the joke’s on me, because they didn’t do that. They made a TV series and, with it, a dumpster full of dirty cash. So they’re not geniuses, I think we’ve established that. But it doesn’t take a genius to realise that the TV-addicted public will fall for any old moronic shit these days. If it were up to me, I would have them (the creators, not the viewing public) pay penance. I would make them watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola while tripping on a head full of acid. I’ve done it, and can attest with absolute authority that vampires are nothing like emo goths who hang out in biker bars. After centuries of life, they’ve found better things to do than stand around clutching ‘blood’ beers and checking each other out under an arbitrary heavy metal soundtrack.

One thing’s guaranteed: if there are vampires in the world (and there aren’t), then they’re sure as shit not watching the wet panty of a wooden show called True Blood.

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RESPONSES (20)
  1. thabiso says:

    Are you kidding? this is the best series ever–watch the whole thing thru, then decide..

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  2. bubba Hotep says:

    My goodness, Albert. What a complacently lazy review. Your command of the language is akin to a loose forward on mandrax. The irony of berating a ‘TV show that lowers society’s ever-diminishing IQ’ with phrases as gormless and bereft of insight as ‘long enough to realise your dumb-ass ideas don’t hold any water in the light of day’ is glaring. That’s a trio of cliches that have no business being anywhere near each other. The only public use of language you ought to be engaging in is ah…ranting or tattooing.

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  3. Nicky says:

    Sorry, but no, you are completely missing in the point in your slavish desire to diss something popular (point-scoring on the masses does not a cultural commentator make).

    Aside from the glitz and the porn-lite, which are done extremely well, there’s a wealth of really interesting social subtext, lots of it around notions of class, race and sexuality in modern America – the (ahem no spoilers) voodoo lady in the woods? Eddy the fat gay vampire who can’t get laid? The tortured but vaguely sinister Iraq veteran? The romance between the redneck and the college girl? By positing the ‘race’ of vampires as an alternate social other the show creates a sense of intense cohesion between disparate sectors of American society, and this allows it to dance around cultural consequences that are played out thoughtfully. Whether you agree with what they’re doing or not, it deserves a tiny little bit more consideration than ‘oh why do the proles all like this it’s just glossy American shite’. Sometimes dismissing popular culture can be as narrow-minded as accepting it without thought.

    Ahem. Sorry about the essay, and cross-posting this. I like True Blood.

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  4. djf says:

    Further to bubba hotep’s astute admonishment, I am becoming increasingly disillusioned by the growing number of Mahala posts that provide fairly arbitrary and indifferent comment on bland and inconsequential topics. Is there really such a lack of exciting, fresh and challenging culture out there that you guys have to revert to such banal coverage? Is the contemporary coalface defined more by the annoyance of commercial mediocrity than the potential of more extraordinary, unpolished and (above all) underexposed gems? I may as well go back to the mainstream media and enjoy the benefits of far less sarcasm.

    Time to rethink content, time to tighten up a little?

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  5. Nathan Zeno says:

    We’re ahead of you. This was always going to be a slow week. Next week there will be trouble.

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  6. djf says:

    That’s a really kak attempt at spinning the criticism. If you really were “ahead of us” you would be posting less rather than churning out such arb stuff for the sake of it.

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  7. Nathan Zeno says:

    djf. stuff happens and gets made and gigs go on. if they’re average, they’re average. You yourself called me out for not wanting to write about the average. this week everything was so. Careful what you wish for.

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  8. Vamp bitch says:

    Oh dear, you all sound like a bunch of gender study students. The article was clearly meant to be humorous and lite, think Nicky and bubba need to bend over and look for the carrot tops sticking out their arses. The article was amusing, which is more than I can say for the ‘insight’ some of your readers think they have. True Blood may have had something to say, but it was badly done in my opinion. and the cheapest camera effects ever.

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  9. Nathan Zeno says:

    But Naked Anna Paquin!

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  10. Nicky says:

    Ah, the old ‘if you take this seriously then you’re taking yourself too seriously’ argument. Always a winner.

    Thing is, Vamp Bitch (does your mother call you that?), that when a writer says something like “it doesn’t take a genius to realise that the TV-addicted public will fall for any old moronic shit these days” he is actually deserving of criticism, just as much as you – and he – may think the show is deserving of criticism.

    I don’t have a problem with his opinion of it, I have a problem with his incredibly lazy, patronising attitude of ‘the majority of TV watchers are dumb illiterate fuckwits, only I with my incisive commentary can really see how bad this show is’. Whether you like or hate TB, the fact is that if you are going to attempt to portray yourself as a cultural commentator with something relevant to say then you really have to do better than go ‘everyone else is thick, I am brilliant’; it’s lazy, it’s arrogant, it’s patronising and, from the quality of this article, he hasn’t displayed the right to be so sure of his superiority. Personally I expect better. He can go right ahead and trash TB, but to claim it’s moronic and has no subtext/content only displays a quite disgraceful lack of awareness of his subject matter, which is never good practice for a journalist.

    Oh, and before you descend back into ‘but it was funny, why are you being such a dick, you’re obviously really hung up, just chill out man’, etc etc ad nauseum, one thing – we get the media we deserve. I like Mahala, thank you, and I would like to see its standards stay high, and if the readers are going to just let sub-high school crap like this slide by then we’ll have no right to complain if it turns to shit like every other indie media outlet.

    *removes soapbox*
    *returns to writing PhD thesis on constructions of gender in post-millennial American television shows*

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  11. Albert Burr says:

    Wow, that’ll teach me for mouthing off. Nicky you’re right, if I search my feelings I can admit that this rant was meant to be insulting, and so I totally deserve the responses above. What you put out is what you’ll get back; karma in action! Funny thing is I watched the whole show and kinda enjoyed it, while at the same time thinking it super lame. I felt like trashing it, which is usually helluva fun to write, but sadly results, as you are right to point out, in ‘sub-high school crap’. That this unintentionally insulting piece got ‘published’ is merely a sign that the editors are starved for content; I humbly propose that instead of attacking undeserving content, the commentators use their intelligence (which I admit surpasses mine) and submit quality content to the media outlets who work very hard for very little reward.

    *slinks off sheepishly to go watch Dexter*

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  12. Carol Reed says:

    Hang on, did you just blame your shitty writing on the editors? That move was as about thought through as this thing you must have submitted. They didn’t ask you to write it did they? Was it commissioned? Did they suggest the style? Hmmm.

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  13. Andy says:

    I still love that cheesy opening pic.

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  14. Albert Burr says:

    Nope the editors didn’t ask for it, nor do I blame them for publishing it; you miss the point.

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  15. Sarah P says:

    Anyone who likes Dexter can’t be too bad!
    …the best part of TB is the opening credits, is it not?
    And when is the second season of TB coming to SA? or is it here and I’ve just missed the boat?

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  16. Carol Reed says:

    I think the point you were trying to make was “See if you can do any better, hurumph” but you’re line of argument was not thought through.

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  17. Carol Reed says:

    sorry -your-

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  18. Nicky says:

    HA! I say we all blame Andy. Go on Davis, justify yourself.

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  19. Andy says:

    Ag man, we turn a lot of content here at Mahala. Not all of it is always top shelf. And not all of our editing is either. But we’re working towards it, and as we go and grow, we’ll get better at it. But it’s good that these comment boards keep us honest. And thanks to everyone for voicing their opinion. Good or bad, I love to see the comment boards light up. We’ll do better in future. Promise.

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  20. snapper says:

    and just to be a nitpicker:
    Sookie can hear Sam’s (her boss) thoughts – she can’t hear Bill’s.
    he also drinks plenty of her blood.

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