True Blood: Cut to Partially-Eaten Pie

Save your subtlety for shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Heck, the way True Blood has gone headfirst into over-the-topness this summer, even Desperate Housewives is ninja-subtle by comparison. But that's how the show is evolving, and creatively speaking, it might just be right choice.

"It Hurts Me Too" was a patchwork quilt of different-smelling fabrics. At times we were working with legitimately elegant material (Bill's flashback), and at other times we were stitching together things that were pulled from the gutter (Eric and Sookie's walk to her house, Sookie organizing Eggs' funeral). There's obviously value in the former, but don't write off the bad parts as unnecessary poundage on this fit body of work.

Let's look at that scene where Eric walks Sookie home. Between Eric's exaggerated chest-puffed gait and Anna Paquin's high-school-drama-class acting (seriously, is she doing that on purpose? If so, Kudos!), True Blood knows its bread-and-butter: utter silliness. Couple that scene with the one that immediately followed—Tara's orgasmic one-night stand with Franklin—and it seems like the creators of True Blood are just having a great time making the show. In fact, Season 3 is so wonderfully ridiculous, it's pretty much become a parody of itself. And your appreciation of the program will depend directly on whether you are in on the joke or not.

For some reason or other, I'm eating this stuff up like I'm the guest of honor at a Maenad feast. Turn off your brain and enjoy the show, I say!

But the thing I really want to talk about in this article is what should go down as one of the best cuts in television history. It begins with my favorite lezzed-out vampire Pam being a very cunning linguist with one of Fangtasia's dancers. That kind of woman-on-woman act isn't often presented or even alluded to on television, not even HBO. So imagine my perverse joy when Pam went back downtown at the end of the scene and WHAM! It cuts to a partially eaten pie being placed on a tabletop. No matter how you slice it, the show served that editing up warm and fresh. Beautifully sophomoric, and 100 percent True Blood. Like I said, turn off your brain and you can appreciate the genius of the show in all its trashy glory.

But what separates True Blood from being a guilty pleasure that's easy to make fun of and borderline-legit TV is its charming cast of characters. This third episode kicked the season into another gear by giving us more details on the two new good-ish/bad boys this season, Franklin and Alcide. Let's start with Franklin. Old Frankie, played by The Tudors' perfectly creepy James Frain, has leapfrogged into favorite-character territory. He's weird, he kicks all sorts of ass, and he's weird. Did I mention he's weird? I'm a fan. But the big draw to the episode was the formal introduction of a popular character from the books, Alcide (played by One Tree Hill's Joe Manganiello). We still have a lot to learn about this wolf in lumberjack's clothing, but trust me, it's coming.

And finally, how can we talk about last night's episode without the head-turning ending. OMFGZZZZZZZ! Awesome x 10. I know there's been chatter on message boards by horny 16-year-old boys about what they would do if Heroes' indestructible cheerleader Claire Bennett was their girlfriend, and I think Bill Compton just showed us. Let's recap: Missionary, breaking neck of lover, turning head 180 degrees, continue. Difficulty level: 9.7.

True Blood is created by some really sick people. And enjoyed by some REALLY sick people (guilty as charged!).

Other Bloody Good Notes:

... Where was Alfre Woodard in this episode?

... Eric: "I got your rug all wet." Like I said, subtlety.

... Jason: "I've heard every breakup excuse from 'You're a son of a bitch, Stackhouse' to 'You're a f***ing a**hole, Jason." Stackhouse is TV's best moron, and actor Ryan Kwanten continues to make a bid for Emmy consideration.

... Has there ever been a bad scene with Hoyt? He's like the MSG of the show... he makes everything around him better. I'm really looking forward to see him and Jason as roommates throughout this season.

... Who is Arlene's baby daddy? I can't remember everyone Arlene boinked during the Season 2 orgies, but did Andy hit that? It would make sense for him to put a wedge between him and his cousin Terry.

... That moment where Alcide learned his old flame is getting married was very bad-teen-drama. Just plain bad, and not in a we-can-salvage-some-sort-of-joy-out-of-it way.

True Blood Power Rankings

Where I rank this season's episodes of True Blood.

"It Hurts Me Too": Things keep getting better and better. It's still too early to tell how things will go for the whole season, but the series seems to have hit a great stride in its third season.
1. "It Hurts Me Too" Ep. 3
Where we first meet Alcide and Bill writes a new painful page of the Kama Sutra.
2. "Beautifully Broken" Ep. 2
Where we are introduced to Nazi Werewolves and Bill is recruited by the King of Mississippi.
3. "Bad Blood" Ep. 1
The season premiere.

True Blood Boob Count!

Where I tally the number of scenes in which sets of bare breasts are unnecessarily put on display. Because I can.

Season Total: Still 4. Just like last week. No boobs. I know, I can't believe it either! Perhaps this should be a man-butt count instead? I'll let one of you keep track of that in the comments section.

Question of the day:

Who is Arlene's baby daddy? if you know the answer from the books, don't spoil it for the rest of us! We're theorizing here...


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (33)
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really? this is the sex scene "everyone was talking about"? there was no nudity, bill didn't even take his pants off! the sex scenes are the only reason this show is worth watching & they even messed that up. i was underwhelmed.
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The Tara scenes were laughable. Sorry... Now Pam? Thats a keeper character and her role should be expanded. She and Eric are unstoppable. And finally: My name is Sandbur, and I too, admit to being 'sick'... ;o}
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It's hard to realize it, but the second season covered a scant few weeks IIRC. I'm thinking the dreaded baby daddy is Rene...
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I like show for sheer entertainment purposes, but I do prefer the cohesiveness of the books, they are an enjoyable read and things are presented in a much more sensible way. I do love me some Eric, Lafayette, Pam and Jessica is a hoot but I really hate the exaggerated southern accents. Being from the south, it sounds all wrong to my ears. As for the baby daddy, it's got to be Rene' if we go by the story time line. Of course I don't remember her being with Andy but there is so much of a time lapse between seasons, I forget. And yes, Franklin is creepy to the n-th degree and I am sick of Tara and all her crazy.
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I thought the nexk turning was hilarious! It was sooo stupid yet it's true blood so i was lmaf! Think is i'm pissed at Bill for cheating on Sookie... And I think Alrene's baby daddy is Rene!!!! OH NO!
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i love the show. it get's darker every season. more sex & violence.
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I didn't care for the twisted neck scene at the end. But didn't really hate it either. I'm very interested in what's going on with Frankly M. because in the books, he's just not that important. It's good to see Alan Ball doing some cool things with characters that were virtually ignored in the book series. That's the benefit of approaching a story from various points of views. Still, Lafayette is amazing, I wish there was more of him in this episode as he is my favorite character and an amazing actor. He really should win an Emmy. Looking forward to episode 4, really pissed about the two week wait considering the damn near 12 month wait for watch just 3 episodes. Curse HBO for that S&@t!
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What the hell do you want??!? This show keeps getting better and better and your people only stand there to search for things that you see on the surface bc you can't see deeper.
People creating these reviews should be more careful and really understand what they're watching.
Or just enlighten us with the beautiful and perfect show you should be able to create.
This is so "human" (and not talking about vapires and so). One thing is awsome and when time goes by and people need something else to surprise their accelerated and empty lives, they demand MORE from something. When they get it, they don't like it.
Less TV and more books is going to allow you to understand MANY of the things u see on TV.
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That scene with the twisted neck surprised me for about a second, after that I was like "This is True Blood, what do you expect"
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Grossness is part of the show, Have you not been watching?
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the last scene was disgusting.

and the special effects used to create it were horrible.

the episode would've been about 10 times better without it. sickos.
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twisting-head-180-degrees is the new paperbag-over-head.
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In addition to the cut to the pie scene, don't forget "I got your rug all wet." Heh.
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Ariene's baby daddy is Rene duh. there should defitinaly be a but count. it is only fair. When Bill twisted her head i was laughing hysterically who ever comes up with this sh!t is fantastic. cant wait for next week.
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Too bad if the child is Rene's. The final scene with Bill and Lorena was hillarious. And after last week nazis I didn't think they can make the show better. Well, they obviously can!
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True Blood is compleatly awesome driviel. I recommend you sit down, turn your brain off and enjoy!
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thank you for mentioning anna paquins acting!! most of the time i was just thinking: really?she got an emmy for the first season, and yeah i agree! but what happened at the end of season two...? she looks as if she is trying to caricature her role and her southern accent sounds more than wrong !
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i think Arlene's baby daddy is Rene..... There was something weird about her reaction when she found out that she was 3 months pregnant....
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I thought it was Rene's kid too, but I don't remember much. And did I mention I liked the use of cunning linguist? I didn't like this episode so much though.
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i believe the baby is Rene's. I haven't read any of the books but as valeriel said season 1's time frame from season 3 is not that long ago. all three seasons happens over a good period of weeks...
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Even though this is the third season for us, it's only been *weeks* between the happenings from season 1 & 2 for the citizens in Bon Temps. Rene is Arlene's baby's daddy; 9+ weeks ago she was still with him. The orgies were just a few weeks ago. She knows the baby's not terry's, she just couldn't bring herself to tell him after he got so excited. These events don't take place in the books.
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the final scene was creepy and i could've done without it.. but lorena commanded him to do it.. so he did it the only way he could i guess.. and it's Rene's baby, the seasons are a year apart, but it's only been about 3 months in their reality since Rene tried to kill Sookie
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It was Rene's kid. You can tell just by her reaction to how far along she was. And this isn't coming from the books. This show is turning into a parody of something that vaguely resembles Charlaine Harris's books. Between all that Mary Anne/Tara/Eggs stuff, Lafayette and Jason's adventures last year and pretty much everything this year with the exception of Bill being missing and werewolves getting a proper introduction; this show is only loosely following the books now. And that's the problem. Either follow the books super closely or go off and do your own thing (like was done with exceptional skill and success with Dexter), this bizarre combination of the two is resulting in some pretty bad story lines. I was exactly 31 minutes into last night's episode when I had to check to see how much more was left to the episode because it felt like I had been watching that episode for at least two hours. By the end of the episode I was laughing hysterically at the comically bad ending, that I didn't even notice until a good night's rest all the real flaws that the episode had (bad writing, bad acting, inconsistent accents). Its a shame how quickly this series is going downhill for me. Oh well, I'll give it one more episode to improve, if it doesn't at least I'll still have the books.
More+
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I have no respect for anyone who appreciates the final scene, comically or otherwise.
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Even if Arlene did have sex with Andy, or anyone else, during one of the orgies, she couldn't be pregnant with that person since those orgies were pretty recent. I'm 99% sure it's Rene's and that's really disappointing... I don't ever want for Terry to find out. It would kill him. :(
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This episode was good. The only thing it lacked was story progression, all the other elements were great, and it was enjoyable. The last scene was crazy and shocking. But i think it worked really well with general atmosphere of bills situation (bill cheating on Sookie ect.) .
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I thought that it might be Rene's too... there was zero time lapse between the end of season two and the start of this season, maybe a week in this current season tops, and I'm not sure how long season's two timeline lasted, but things moved pretty quickly. After all, it became Maenad central during the short business trip to Dallas. The doctor said the baby was around 9 weeks, so I think it's entirely possible it could be Rene's baby. Besides: serial killer baby. That just screams huge plotline.
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I love Bill's new storyline with the King. I thought Alcide's debut was a little clunky but he seems like a cool new character. And Frankie.. can't wait to find out what he's really up to..
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I don't want to be a grammar Nazi here, and on message boards and twitter it's one thing, but this is a good site and you should know better.

"between HIM and his cousin Terry"
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I just assumed it was Rene's? Might be wrong, but it seemed pretty obvious to me...
I\'m still a bit weary as to where the season is going, but TB sure has some of the best characters and casting on current television. This week my favorite was Pam. But pretty much everyone else deserves mentioning. And the chemistry between most characters are phenomenal. This weeks scene-to-be-remember ought to be Lorena\'s and Bill's tete-a-tete. Might very well be the most disturbed sex scene since.... anything I can recall right now, actually. Only the Sookie and Alcide scenes was kind of a let down...
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if its the best episode of the season, why does it have the lowest rating of the season then? hmmm?
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wow are you kidding me tv.com? it is the worst episode of the season hands down, i felt embarrased watching it half the time, bad call once again tim, im just glad you reviewed this and not entourage.
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I am not to sure about the timeline right now, but wasn't Arlene shacking up with Big Bad Renee a few months back. I was just thinking the events between the Premier and now isn't that far off. But, I could be wrong. Can't wait for Lafayette's love break!
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