True Blood: Escaped from Hotshot, but Free of Torment?

Am I the only one still stuck in Hotshot? Jason mercifully skipped town in the last episode of True Blood, but I’m still shuddering from his three episodes in captivity. I’ve been watching heinous fictional crimes since I was a wee toddler, yet few things have disturbed me as much as Jason’s turn as “Ghost Daddy.” First off, I love True Blood. Love the writing, the cast, the stories. Alan Ball, this is your barbecue, and it tastes good. But popular TV is a very nuanced and telling social artifact, reflecting its consumers as well as its creators. The same way I would not look at the Egyptian pyramids and say “That architect must have loved triangles,” I’m not going to say, “True Blood writers are being awfully frivolous about rape.” Instead, I’m going to say: “Why did those pharaohs think they needed to be buried in pyramids?” or, to complete the analogy: “Why, amidst all the violence in True Blood and TV in general, was Jason’s abuse so disturbing?”

Sexual violence is a taboo area in TV for good reason: you never know what can trigger a survivor. True Blood has pushed this boundary line, but so far has been super chivalrous in depicting the sufferings of its human characters. Tara’s abuses by Franklin in season 3 happened largely off camera, and her story has several parallels to Jason’s shorter season 4 arc. Both he and Tara were victimized by someone they were in a relationship with. Both were told it was for their own good, both were kidnapped, both tied to a bed, and both eventually escaped through their own efforts. But Tara’s interlude with Franklin was handled discreetly, and the sexual abuse was implied or discussed, not shown. In comparison, Jason’s abuses were filmed practically in real time and in great detail, including hazy shots of Crystal on top of him from his point of view.

We’ve to date seen no portrayal of a human sexually abusing a human in True Blood (that big guy who threatened Sookie in the basement of the FOTS was stopped by Godrick), but 90% of the abuse and 100% of the sexual violence is “imaginary creature”-on-human. Thats the loophole in depicting graphic violence. Bill can twist Lorena’s neck because he’s a monster. That’s what he does! Tara flattened Franklin’s head, but he’s not real, he’s a vampire! That newscaster got his spine ripped out–by someone dressed like Count Dracula! Not actually violence!

But this imaginary premise is harder to accept with the Hotshot shifters. Sure, those women were theoretically were-panthers, but what we actually saw was women raping a guy. No wild cats got on top of that mattress. The imaginary aspect was that these rapists were women, and thats just silly, right? Women can’t rape guys! Can’t rape the willing: guys always want it!

But that idea is actually a harmful cultural misconception. Like, was I the only one who growing up had guy friends who actually did get taken advantage of by older girls + alcohol? And it wasn’t a fond memory or a cool fantasy scenario, it was someone getting a basic physical choice taken away from them, and then never getting to really acknowledge that because they are supposed to want it all the time no matter what.

So maybe thats what's making me queasy about Jason. It's not a comment on the show at all, its a sensitivity to a cultural attitude that guys are sex-hungry dogs (though certainly Jason has been depicted as specifically that) and the negative/dehumanizing effect that can have on relations between ladies and gentlemen in general. Tara’s interlude with Franklin certainly had profound effects on her character: she transformed her whole identity. The real test of how seriously they’re going to take male sexual abuse is the effect it has on Jason–and I don’t mean transforming into a werepanther. I mean something more profound. I’ll be watching this Sunday to find out.

Questions:

…Jason and Tara: same story, different gender, right?

…Did you find Jason’s Hotshot interlude super disturbing, boring, or thoroughly enjoyable?

…Did you kind of wish Jason had bashed in Crystal’s face to pancake flatness like Tara did to Franklin?:

Comments (19)
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what the F has that got to do with trueblood----YOU GIMP
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TV is supposed to be fun, and this was mostly disturbing. And gross. And just really really sad. Because by doing this the writers basically destroyed all those characters involved in his capture & rape by having them succumb to their primal urge to procreate. I liked Crystal before and I know she didn't do anything to him in the books, but now... Anyway, that's why I skipped over these parts when I watched the episodes. And I sincerely hope Jason gets to bash all their faces in.
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Watching the whole hotshot deal was agony. And what they did to Jason, seriously, disturbing and hard to watch. Its like what happened to Tara, and yes, Jason should have killed that Crystal *** he should have staked her in the heart or something, she deserved it.
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i found the whole scene thoroughly disturbing, the way all the hotshot women were lined up for jason. and one of the women got angry at jason because he didnt want to be raped saying that he was the best sex she ever had...? As you point out the parallels with tara we never actually saw the sexual abuse as we did with jason and i think if we did there would be more of an uproar about the whole issue which is totally unfair. I hate to compare the show to the books but in the fourth book jason is kidnapped and bitten solely by felton with no rape or other members of hotshot involved in his abuse. Hotshot may be weird but some of the people are respectable members of society e.g. calvin norris, not feral meth heads just saying.

I'm just glad Jasons escaped hotshot, for now at least.
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"It's not a comment on the show at all, its a sensitivity to a cultural attitude that guys are sex-hungry dogs..." this cultural attitude is largely held by feminists, which have a very large pull on media. You mention twice in your article this relationship with men and a insatiable desire for sex-- twice. I can't help but think this feminist mindset has hijacked your writing subconsciously. Consider the male tv columnist venting his confusion over a scene with a crying house-wife over a sink full of dishes.
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Thanks for reading & the great comment! I think, however, you're accidentally agreeing with me. If you look through the article, what I'm saying is that I DEPLORE that cultural attitude being reinforced in media, I think it has a terrible effect on guys & I think guys need more parity in discussions about sexual abuse. And if that makes me a feminist, then rad!
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excellent analogy i must say !
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I've said it before, I'll say it again: Jason needs to die already!!!

Sure, his plotline went from nothing to something but still who cares?
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il say again....GREAT CONTROVERSY HA HA HA
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If there's a character limit on comments, let users know before you start butchering their posts!



(Continued from previous post) nothing more than a punchline. I'll be tuning in next week to see a serious spin on a serious issue, and to see how it molds Jason in new and fascinating ways.
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While I will agree that the Hotshot scenes went on a bit too long, as a whole, the arc is very interesting. I was so afraid that they were never going to adapt that from the novels (though they did completely change the events), because Jason's change to a were-panther was a big turning point from his character. With this new arc, it'll be intriguing to see how Jason deals with it, being betrayed by the woman he thought he loved, betrayed by the people he tried to help. With Tara, she had a one-night stand with a vampire who became completely obsessed with her. In Jason's story, he'd been dating Crystal for some time and had developed feelings for her and her kin. Which is why her betrayal and subsequent rape of him was so jarring. For the people who say female-on-male rape and abuse is minor, you couldn't be farther from the truth, which is why it's nice to see writers on a mainstream show tackling the issue. Vince Vaughn's character in Wedding Crashers was raped and it served as noth
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geez, grow up lily, this is a TV show, ok??? you're so prude it hurts. And btw, yes, men do get raped by crazy women, especially since the invention of Viagra. And while minor and with no comparison to what happens to beaten women, physical abuse to men does exist!
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Well to me the whole thing was disturbing, but got later when it stretched and stretched boring and I just wanted it to end. I hope he smashes her face like Tara did - they had the same experience - I hope they get the same "revenge". Something like that "never leaves you completely".
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lets be fair its genius writing full stop...we all clearly big fangs of the show and we all love a bit of controversy, doesn't matter what any1 thought of the rape story i think the 3 writers that wrote the 3 episodes had it bang on.... we was all clued to the screens whether we liked what we was seeing or not so well done to Alan Ball, Brian Buckner and Nancy Oliver for writing such gruesome ugly but gripping episodes....and also big thanks for drawing the line when the young girl came in the room, big phew from me......MORE CONTROVERSIAL STORY LINES PLEASE
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In 40 days and 40 ngihts we had Josh Hartnett's character raped by a woman whilst handcuffed to the bed. And to pile things on, they filmmakers had him apologise for being attacked. I'm confident the True Blood team won't be going down THAT road.
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I refer you to the movie "Disclosure" with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. All actual people, nothing supernatural and a man unwillingly abused
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oops comment got cut off.



I wish Jason had beat ever loving crap out of Crystal for what she has put him through and I can only hope that we will see her demise by his hands in the near future.
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There are similarities in Jason and Tara's stories as you pointed out, kidnapped and held against their will, but I don't think they are the same. Although they both were sexually abused, the situations leading them to it were very different. Tara was taken by Franklin and held against her will in which he raped her and did what he wanted. With Jason, he really thought he was in love with Crystal, and thought he was helping her and her people out by being there and taking care of them but he found out that they had other plans for him.

I agree with CoffeeCake about the Hotshot scenes being both boring and disturbing. The storyline itself is a bore, but to watch Jason, who up until this point was a bit of a man hoe, being taking advantage of by crazy hillbilly trailer trash girls was interesting. I am intrigued to see how he reacts to what has happened to him. Being raped changes a person so to see how he deals with the situation should be good to watch.

I do wish Jason had beaten the
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jason and tara had similar but not the same storylines.

i both found the hotshot scenes disturbing and boring. thank god that little girl didnt rape him too that wouldve been crossing a line in my opinion. i think the writers did a great job in making the scenes cringe worthy without making the viewers sick to their stomachs.

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