True Blood: HBO's Secret Comedy Defies All Prediction

How long would you play a game where the rules were clearly being made up by the person who invited you to play as he went along? Where the only goal of the game was to see what he could get away with next?

If the people sitting around me during that game bore any resemblance to the characters in last night’s Season 4 premiere of True Blood, then my answer would be, "As long as we both shall live." Marry me, True Blood, and be my vampire bride.

And yet, YIKES. The writers took the Rules for Screenwritings playbook, tore out the pages, and used them to make a papier-mache sculpture of a giant hand triumphantly extending its middle finger.

The first few minutes were agonizing. Between the random jewelry hot-glued onto models and the characters from Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre hurling laser balls at each other in what looked like the morning after Burning Man, I started to worry my favorite show had crumbled into a weird, expensive joke.

Sookie reunited with her Granddaddy in fairyland, just moments after we saw her disappear in the Season 3 finale. Granddaddy hadn’t realized he’d been strolling around eating glowing fruit for 20 years. Sookie saw a wall bleed, decided fairyland was B.S., and got chased by the Queen of the Faeries (so much purple lightning) into a giant space hole. In a matter of moments, Sookie had returned to Louisiana, her Granddaddy had aged rapidly and exploded into fairydust, and we were right back on track.

Except, as Sookie soon learned, a year had passed. And Jason had sold her house and gotten a really tight, flattering deputy’s uniform!

Best. Writing. Choice. Ever. Way to step back, raise the stakes, change the game, and then find a way to reintroduce a world all the more believable for having been in flux during our absence. In a sense, Sookie did onscreen what we’ve been doing for the past year: waiting for True Blood to start while fist-fighting male models. Last season ended in the midst of a lot of falling action and loose ends, and we got to skip it. In our absence, all our favorite characters took care of the boring parts and grew out their hair in time to welcome us home.

The rest of the episode felt like a warm bear hug for the fans. Eric and Bill’s eyes shot open when Sookie re-entered the mortal realm (I promise I will never use those words again) and immediately we established: A) Bill is still totally into Sookie B) So is Eric and C) Eric and Bill have had some drama at the office because now Bill outranks Eric (but never out-foxes him, AM I RIGHT LADIES?)

Sookie, like us, has only the trauma of her roller-coaster ride of betrayal and relief from last season to guide her in navigating an entirely new Bill.

New Bill is smarmy. Do-gooding and glad-handing at the old folks home, hanging out with a hot lady lawyer, and sporting the second-worst haircut on American TV.

Jeri Curl Mohawk would be Worst Haircut #1, and once I got tired of cackling at his hair, I really enjoyed the portrayal of the witchy-woman meeting that Lafayette was getting dragged to by his steady beau. The show did not give the witches a shred of coolness. They are all clearly misfit librarians or empty-nest moms. Even the most powerful witch wore a denim jumper.

True Blood is secretly the best comedy on HBO. Pam’s show-stopping PSA would be Exhibit A for that argument, and her stall-talkin’ with Jessica at Fangtasia would be Exhibit B. Kristin Bauer is kind of an untapped comedic goldmine. Arlene is still wary of her child, who is now out of her womb and ripping the heads off babydolls.

Sam is attending Craigslist meet ups with a bunch of shifters.

His brother Tommy has a kind of interesting storyline, being the surrogate son/lover (?) of Hoyt’s mom.

But by far the best storyline last night was Tara’s. She’s changed her name to Toni, moved to New Orleans, and taken up all-girl cage fighting. Because that's a real popular sport anywhere (it's not). Do you think All-Girl Cage Fighting will be the next Roller Derby, a sport that is fictionalized a hell of a lot more than it actually occurs, up until people create a scene around it because of movies about its scene? A scene trying to be a scene, that exists only in Drew Barrymore’s imagination? Oh and Tara/Toni has a hot girlfriend and I love their poster:

Jessica and Hoyt also showed promising signs of possible drama. It was another super elegant move of the writers to make them have a believable, bitter fight and then kind of dissolve into giggles together in one scene. They're a couple who is impossible not to root for, and this episode they won the "Only Human On The Inside" award. I look forward to their highly relatable relationship problems turning into something brain-bubblingly insane in the next few episodes.

The show then ended with exactly the kind of cliff hanger that will nail me to my seat until next Sunday at 8:59pm: Jason in danger.

HAHAHAHA just kiddding. He’ll be fine. I’m referring, obviously, to the reveal that Eric was the one who bought Sookie’s house…maybe because he never gave up on her, or maybe because in Nordic/Vampire logic that means her hot body is forever his to do whatever he so pleases with—which, sign me up for HBO all over again, Mr. Television Man. You are peddling eye-crack.

Essentially, this show has opened up a lot of interesting paths and turned itself inside out into something even those of us who have read the books do not dare attempt to predict. Much like Sookie, I’m way disoriented, but so, so glad to come home to Bon Temps.


Questions!

... Can Andy “have it all” by getting wasted on V and being a top-rate police sheriff?

... How many times will Jason almost die this season, and will you even once care?

... If Bill has a witch as a spy, does that mean he is secretly a Wiccan?

... Do you kind of roll your eyes when someone mourns a pet who was not a cat or a dog?

... Is Arlene/Rene’s baby EVIL?

... Is it sweet or creepy that Eric wants to buy Sookie?

... Did you love or hate the premiere?

Comments (54)
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Jul 12, 2012
Eric needs more tank tops. I hope Jason is ok, he is just like a little boy, bless him. Lafayettes haircut is a scene stealer
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Jul 02, 2011
I'm not sure why you did not even speculate about Bill being King, and suggesting that Bill is secretly a wiccan is just ridiculous.
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Jul 01, 2011
Fairy Land? Fairy Bombs? C'mon Man?!
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Jun 29, 2011
People keep talking about how shows stray from the book. Personally, I watch the show so that I don't have to read the book.
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Jun 29, 2011
I like Sookie, I really do. But to have the 3 hottest men on the show all hot for her? Give me a break! Bill, Eric, and Alcide! Surely they could put someone on the show for Alcide. And Eric, he is the hottest thing ever! And as for Tara, I have never liked her.
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Jun 29, 2011
to much going on, whoa
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Jun 29, 2011
I hate Tara also, episode 1 to me, was very weak, episode 2 was much, much better tho, they should've done a two hour premiere, and after what she tried to do with Eric, I wanna see her suffer!!
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Jun 29, 2011
tara = worst character ever. can't stand her.
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Jun 29, 2011
When I heard they were gonna make one of the main characters gay I thought "Great, now I can't make fun of Twilight for it's gayness anymore"...and I LIKE making fun of Twilight for it's gayness. However, when I learned that new gay character was Tara? In my opinion the HOTTEST black woman on Tv? well, lets just say...EAT IT TWILIGHT! You're still the WORST and GAYEST vampire thing ever created and you're characters shouldn't even be called vampires, they should be Gaysferatu's! HAHAHAHAAHAHA!
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Jun 29, 2011
Eric obviously has alterior motives for buying that house. I find it hard to believe that the writers are stupid enough, or think WE'RE stupid enough, to believe that buying a house means you bought its former owner. But it is nice to see it cleaned up, that was getting on my nerves ALL last season. And check out my newest blog peeps:



http://generaldouchebaggery.blogspot.com/2011/06/tony-danza-dropping-loads-all-over-your.html
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Jun 29, 2011
MEH
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Jun 29, 2011
Love it. *spoilers*

Andy will disintegrate if he doesn't get off the V.

Jason will almost die lots of time, but maybe I'll care more when he's furry.

Bill is Trouble, but not Wiccan Trouble.

Yep.

I think it may be, yes. Or at least it has some sort of powers - I think.

It's really, really sweet - in a creepy sort of way.

And as I've already stated: Loved it. :)
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Jun 29, 2011
Love the necromancer touch.
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Jun 29, 2011
The 1st episode was pretty good. Loved Pam and Eric, Bill as a king - that will be interesting. Too bad it almost certainly means they killed the awesome Queen (did they?). This episode also proved that no matter what you do about Tara - she will never ever be interesting. And I think too many storylines again - for example Sam and his new friends - I could live without them.
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Jun 28, 2011
Great episode lived up to all my expectations!

Beeing very pro gay rights myself, i do have to say i thought Tara turning gay/bi(?) was a little to much In my personal opinion its just to sex the show up.Not everyone has sex with everything allll the time.(Although if Eric,or Queen Sophie for that matter lived near me i can't promise anything for myself.....!)
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Jun 28, 2011
The start was a bit over-the-top fantastical which had me going "What the...?" Then sure enough when Sookie came back from Fairy Land, things went back to being as they should be. I loved it and couldn't resist watching ep. #2 even tho I should've waited. It's awesome "eye crack" as the writer said. This is The. Best. Show. Ever!
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Jun 28, 2011
A small org female mma card in New Orleans could easily draw the few hundred people depicted in the show. Gina Carano anyone?
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Jun 28, 2011
Just watched S04e02-U Smell like Dinner.

Wow. The pace picked up from the premiere and I can't wait. Seems S4 is gonna be much darker. Way to go TB team. Now That's What I Call Gr8 TV! Bring it on!
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Jun 28, 2011
So many story lines this is going to be one hell of a season!
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Jun 28, 2011
At first i didnt like the idea of bill being king and being erics superior but hopefully itll make bill more interesting and less whiny for sookie. I agree with those below that we can no longer compare the books to the show especially with that crazy fairy scene at the start... Tara/toni is an improvement of her whiny self for now at least. haha love, love, love pam and wish she interacted with sookie more :) I have to say I kind of picked eric as the buyer of sookies house but didnt think that meant he would own her? Also found the jason/andy interactions funny as jason seems to have matured since season 1 which is good. marnie the witch lady is sufficiently creepy and i cant blame lafayette for being suspicious of the coven. Overall it was a good premiere and set some plot lines up for the season and I find it interesting that the 2nd ep is already online but no reviews till next week sucks :(
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Jun 28, 2011
Cool premiere.....Loved my Eric scenes!!!!!! He can do whatever he wants for me and I'll like it. King Bill, WTF!!!!! I'm sooo tired of Bill it's not even funny. Also with Sookie giving him goo goo eyes, it got on my last nerve. Hello, he watched u get the crap beat out of you just to feed you his blood before you bled to death!! I wouldn't be looking at him with any kind of love or sadness, just hatred or anger. Would have loved to see Tommy gone. Nice to see Tara in control and happy, no screaming or complaining, but the cage fighting could've been skipped. Loved Jessica/Hoyt, Lafayette and my girl Pam. Just wish they would give Pam more screen time and allow Pam and Sookie to have the friendship they have in the books, its awesome. Can someone run over Arlene or maybe dump her in a swamp already???? Was a little shocked to see Andy so aggressive. I know he's on V, but still wow. He did well selling that addiction. Thanks to HBO GO I already saw episode 2. Season 4 looks like its gonna be a great ride yall!!
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Jun 28, 2011
I have to say, I think my favorite scene of the premiere was the opening fight between Jessica and Hoyt. I have always loved their relationship because it was so mushy and lovey-dovey, and then they have this bitter fight that eventually devolves into them laughing at themselves and each other, and I found it so honest in a show that is anything but real.

Also, sign me up for more of Tara and her gf making out and fooling around. No show can go wrong with 2 ladies getting it on. It's just science.
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Jun 28, 2011
Not only do I think the baby isn't evil but I don't even think it's Rene's. She was having black-eyed sex with her current bo for like a month before she thought she was.
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Jun 28, 2011
I was worried that it was gonna be all about fairies...and I really hated that the whole fairy thing was revealed last season...and were-panthers...really??? But the premiere turned out to be a lottttttttttttttttttt more fun and exciting than I was expecting...so yay to that! :D
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Jun 28, 2011
Awesome ep! (just skip over the whole Fairy Land craziness.) I have officially decided to stop comparing the TV show to the books. What? King Bill? Eric owns Sookie? Deputy Jason? Head. Explodes...
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Jun 28, 2011
Bill being king I did not like. Eric is so hot and he never gave up on Sookie...hey Sookie that has to count for something! I want more Pam, and as someone said Arlene needs to get over it already. I read the books so I know where the Jason story is headed, but to be honest I could care less about him. I want Sam back in the bar and get rid of those other shifters, I would also like to see more of Alcide now there was another burning hunk of love. More Jessica and Pam please!! Tara?? another bore, put her in a store like in the book and have her be Sookies sounding board.
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Jun 28, 2011
The 2nd episode hit the net...(a while ago) and its better than the 1st. It answers a lot of those "What happened during the year" questions. The only bad part is Ill have to wait a week for a recap.
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Jun 28, 2011
I guess blurry pictures are just as good as actually writing a review.
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Jun 28, 2011
@skidoo369 You fail. True Blood in the beginning (or since) has not been "amazingly innovative" at all. The first two seasons were great, campy, sexy, violent fun. Yes season 3 was pretty bad, but the premiere of 4 was very, very good. Okay, the whole fairy opening was brutual...but beyond that it really felt like a return to form. YES.
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Jun 28, 2011
LOVED the first episode!! I think we're in for another great season
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Jun 28, 2011
Great review and a solid premiere for True Blood's 4th season!
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Jun 28, 2011
questions in that order:
NO
10 (for 10 episodes) and no NO
Yes even if it's a cat DOGS ARE PEOPLE!
NO her other kids are It's disgusting now they should do it
Yes... to both
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Jun 28, 2011
Oh, and those who claim the show is "getting back to the original roots" have either lost their mind or should watch season 1 again, which had charm and an amazingly innovative screenplay. Now the show since season 3 has become a big joke!
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Jun 28, 2011
simply pathetic. and the opening segment had CGI effects (exploding balls were laughable) worse than what SyFy offers or any SanKukai episode (for those old enough to know what i'm talking about). This show which i loved for the first2 seasons has really turned into a big fat joke, another proof if need be, that screen-writers are the key-element of any show. You can have great comedians, a huge budget, great location and technicians and yet screw it all up big time. Shame on you HBO!
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Jun 28, 2011
loved it, especially eric, he is the epitome of awesome
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Jun 28, 2011
I didn't love it but I know it will grown on me fast like it always does. I did roll my eyes at Tara being a cage fighting lesbian. Come on.
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Jun 28, 2011
Five words: Second Best Show On Television! (Supernatural is first in my opinion)
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Jun 28, 2011
Remember people! Books, one thing... show ANOTHER! It's impossible to do the same for many reasons... the main one: Sookie narrates the books and she should be IN EVERY SCENE if u wanna do it. It's a perfect adaptation of the books... it keeps the spirit of the characters. Plus how can u HATE this premiere like one person said below??
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Jun 27, 2011
Loved Eric, and the Jessica/Hoyt scenes. It looks like an interesting season already!
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Jun 27, 2011
how the hell did Bill become King? I read the books a few years ago and I can\'t even remember the whole storylines? But Bill as king , that I would remember...
wtf... he couldn\'t have killed the queen, that would totally mess up the stories of the next few books, the same goes for marrying her, so what the **** where is the queen? They can\'t get rid of all the kickass crazy female vampires. Lorena, the queen... All we\'ve got left is Pam...

Andy and Jason had kind of the flair of a Buddy Cop movie :D Too bad that Jasons going to be trapped... I really would have loved if they went with the buddy cop thing for a while longer.
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Jun 27, 2011
So far, the show has almost completely segregated itself from its source material (the books) with the exception of the VERY BROAD sense of the season arcs, and some of the characters. My take on the premiere: We've just been introduced to Portia, and the way they've set it up, I expect some interesting *GASP* moments to occur around her. Andy can fall this season, that would make me happy. Jason could die, I wouldn't care, he won't die, and will likely come off looking more the hero than he has in past seasons. Bill's playing the long game, nothing less. A pet is a pet, and there are much more interesting things on this show than them, get over it. I would be fine with Arlene dying, she irritates me so, but I am a huge fan of Todd Lowe, he's a talented and under-appreciated actor. I agree with paper-kay below, evil baby is consistently a fail, let's just have one of the wiccans "draw power" from him or something at some point and then move off that storyline. I think the last scenes were intentionally misleading and that Eric is not stupid enough to think that he can buy Sookie. If he really does believe enough of her that he had faith that she would be back and etc. then he would not be naive enough to think that that would a) work on her and b) even remotely be the smart move to make. I'm probably the only person who wouldn't mind seeing less of Lafayette, but Jessica interests me, and I too would love to see Pam much more. She was always one of my favourites from the books.
More+
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Jun 27, 2011
It was OK... and Jason needs to die already...
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Jun 27, 2011
Hated it
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Jun 27, 2011
I loved the premiere.. Pam rocks and Eric.. Yummy! I have to say he can buy my house, my car, my life all I care is to be simply his..
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Jun 27, 2011
Eric can buy me anytime... | }
(That was too easy, but so so true!)
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Jun 27, 2011
I wasn't crazy about it... I thimk it was a bit boring, especially the faery part. I want some action please! I really liked Pam, she is very funny and Jessica too. I think Tara's and Sam's stories are irrelevant with the whole story so I wasn.t very interested. I want more Sookie, Eric and Lafayette!!!
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Jun 27, 2011
I loooved it! I hope this season something will actually happen between Sookie and Eric, he's so sexy and I'm so tired of Bill, he's lame
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Jun 27, 2011
I loved it! I felt like it was finally getting back to the original roots. Although, yes, I agree, the Jason storyline sucks. And anytime Sam comes onscreen I want to groan. I loved the Tommy mini-story though, as well as Jessica and Hoyt.

I kind of wish Pam would get her own mini storyline. Something like Eric put her in charge of Fangtasia and something went wrong and she now has to deal with it without Eric finding out. I feel like the writers must know that she is the most popular character but they are doing nothing about it.

Also, I really doubt that Bill is a wiccan. That would just make him overpowered if he was a vampire plus had witch powers.
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Jun 27, 2011
Too much exposition in this episode...But I still liked it!
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Jun 27, 2011
I didn't think they could do better and better but they always do! It was like watching a new True Blood but the same one at the same time. It'll be great to see what happened to many of the things that happened for this to happen (Sophie-Ann, for example!!)
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