True Blood Needs to Trim Some Fat

True Blood S05E04: "We'll Meet Again"

Somewhere along the way, True Blood's best storylines got buried in boring peripheral plots and a crowd of new or lukewarm characters. To put it in terms the chiseled cast of the show would understand: Pam and Eric, Bill and Sookie, Jessica and Jason, Lafayette and Alcide: These are your abs, True Blood. These are the characters you want to display, define, and emphasize. Everything else is fat. I'm not saying bring the fat percentage down to zero, but the closer you get to zero, the better you'll look, and right now you've got a spare tire with crumbs in the rolls. TRIM IT.

The ab-like "core" characters on this show are still sexy and functioning. I love Pam and Tara's maker relationship, Pam is such an exasperated single mom and Tara is such a sulky teen girl (a tanning bed is a vampire's version of cutting, clearly) only Pam gets to live every mom's dream of being able to compel her sulky rebellious teen daughter to just snap out of it.

Lafayette throwing shade on Sook for the bodies she's left in her wake was a charged and emotional confrontation, but c'mon Laf: You are standing on the porch of your glass house throwing stones on that one, because who just turned into a demon of death and poured bleach in the gumbo? Who just killed his boyfriend and lost the body? HMMM.

Sookie was sufficiently shamed, though, and flew to Jason, full of regret about "ruining lives" (a.k.a. her own, having endangered her chances of entering the bone zone with Alcide). Jessica overheard everything because wood paneling + vampire hearing = no privacy (but weirdly she did not recognize a certain fairy smell on Sookie. Must be all the Calgon spray).

Tango and Cash, meantime, had returned to Bon Temps, intent on some sleuthing that included this disastrous blocking choice:

Eric is Pam's maker so he can easily compel her to tell him the truth. For the director to have him lay her down on the bar (health code violation) and hiss at her like a cat is such a weird contradiction of their whole relationship (which Pam pointed out in her speech, emoting devastatingly with her ketchup-smeared, Popsicle-blue eyes). Also, the Hardy Boys must not know Steve Newlin is a vamp because obviously Russell Edgington made him and them compelled Steve to free him? Is anyone confused about that? Hopefully Jessica will complain about Steve Newlin to Bill immediately.

I did laugh out loud at Tara's XXXL Fangtasia shirt, because her other clothes were presumably soaked with melted skin (shudder). But seriously, who makes XXXL promotional shirts for a club? It’s a good way to build a rep as a fat-fetish bar and diabetes and cocktails do not mix. Tara bitterly reminded Bill that protecting Sookie is not a rewarding hobby (but then, she's never f-cked Sookie in a graveyard, so...).

All of the above was awesome, in terms of abs it was a brisk set of crunches, and then things screeched to a halt as the show buried us back underground in the Authority's Lair, where the chancellors were conducting an acting workshop on Looking Shifty Through Advanced Side-Eye.

So many wordless grimaces! Lilith had better come bursting through those Authority doors soon, thirsting for spinal fluid, and she had better be played by Bebe Neuwirth.

Day dawned, bringing with it the show's "Day World" and an onslaught of unsightly flab, like the Bon Temps police being all clique-y. Women get stereotyped as being clique-y and socially cruel but men can be so much worse, BELIEVE it. Andy and Jason and the DA basically re-enacted Mean Girls for a while.

Sam's catalog model friends showed up at Merlotte's and invited him to go streaking. Blah blah whatever get TRIMMED.

You ever hot boxed so hard you cut someone's brake-lines? On the heels of the revelation that the "bath salts" Miami Zombie only had weed in his system, perhaps marijuana should be considered a gateway drug. As in, it opens up a gateway to hell? Don't go blaming the demon this time because Lafayette's face was perfectly normal when he first eyed Sookie's car, before summoning the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' Goldar to finish the job.

Sure enough, Sookie ended up throwing herself out of her car on the drive home after her brakes failed. Good thing she'd put on long pants and an aviator jacket over her work uniform of shorts and a T-shirt. Often after a long day of work I too will change into some tight fitting jeans and an unseasonably warm jacket just to relax. Guys, what kind of car insurance do you think she has?

Alcide told Debbie's parents that Marcus had killed Debbie and left them to gently sob in each other's arms. Because this is not a corny lame show neither wolf parent broke into howls but I would bet at least one or both actors tried it in the first take. Actors spend years in motion classes "inhabiting the skin" of like, koala bears and snakes, and they are always on the alert for the chance to use that nonsense.

So this Terry most-depressing-road-trip-ever subplot is not just fat, it’s a tumor. A snake banging its head onto a keyboard would type things less evil and more coherent than this Terry subplot. Civilians getting killed for no reason?! Excuse me while I go finish my panic attack and sob in the other room. [45 minutes pass] Okay, I'm back. The "our soldiers are pilled-up psychopaths" vibe? Thoroughly gross. Big ups on the special effects in this scene, which were majorly decent, otherwise this interlude was just a dramatic illustration of the fact that war is terrible + a totally privileged and entitled and uncalled-for finger-wagging at the folks who risk their lives so you and I can sit here and giggle about TV. SIGH. Also, why'd they have to drag Sting's "Desert Rose" wailing into this mess?

Sookie decided to top off her catastrophic day by getting hardcore hammered. Holla, coping mechanisms! I've never understood Sookie as much as I did in this moment. It's looking like she does NOT have good car insurance.

Jessica interceded on Jason's behalf, using vampire powers to kill a boring subplot by ending the hunt for Debbie's killer. (YES! YES! YES!) Jessica could you also please help with the following?

a) glamour Andy to drive off a cliff
b) Skype-glamour Patrick (Scott Foley) to deposit Terry at a bus station and then drive off a cliff
c) glamour Sam to pack all the shifters in his van and drive off a cliff
d) glamour the werewolves to just chill out and stop taking meth

Now, the next segment, like so many things that involve Pam and Eric, was exactly perfect. Eric revealed to Pam that he was going to renounce her for her own protection, revealing with brutal honesty that he fully expected the True Death. After their physical altercation earlier in the episode left a bad taste in my mouth, this scene was tender, and necessary, and revealed a new depth to the connection they share and by extension that they share with Tara. Obviously Eric is going nowhere. Obviously they would have Pam wear a pink Juicy sweatsuit and kitten heels while making me tear up. It was genuinely touching that after Eric renounced their ties, he told her she was his child and meant pretty much everything to him.

Bill had a similar moment with Jessica as they searched the house for bugs. After being a rad dad about the pot (sigh, there's no such thing as a rad dad, guys, okay? Just be dads, when fathering is done right it's inherently magnificent, which is way better than cool). Jessica encouraged him to check in on Sookie, and Bill glowed with pride that she would generously give him a solid excuse to creep all up on Sookie's lawn. Bill and Eric in this episode represented two different types of protective parenting: Bill protected Jessica from worrying about his fate by not burdening her with his problems, Eric protected Pam from getting involved in his ruin by being explicit about his impending doom. Which would you prefer?

And speaking of great parenting, Pam followed up on the rebellious teen theme, joking that Tara had an eating disorder before feeding her a willing Fangtasian. If Tara's hatred of vampires is based in fear, she no longer has to be afraid, and Kristin Bauer made a speech that could have easily been grody but was kind of amazing just in her manipulation of her velvety voice. Also I love that Pam and Eric set Tara up with a cozy little coffin to sleep in. Tara's life is already 100 percent better than ever.

So I was all warm and fuzzy at this point in the episode, and then BAM, the show cut to Emma being tortured. For all the torture-time this season, I could have watched a whole episode of Perfect Strangers. Could have spent those 22 minutes on the madcap adventures of Balki and "Gorson Larry" but instead spent I that time checking my watch. TRIM THAT FAT.

I know we're all in agreement but I need somewhere to scream this aside from at my TV: SALOME IS SANGUINISTA. OBVIOUSLY. OBVIOUSLY. OBVIOUSLY!!! Whatever that is. Also, don't you think they use a crisp apple to get the vampire-biting-self Foley sound?

So the impromptu Boy's Night Out rolled on over to the Fairy field and went to a fairy club, and this: my worst aesthetic nightmare. Talk about the least cool people from 2004 getting full control over production design. What cornball bitch or bitchette was slapping these sad-ass Dr. Parnassus' Wonder Emporium clown-face murals up in the club and queuing the lullaby-themed dance music? Shudders to the floor, babies. Here's a tip: Any time you go into a room and there's a black-and-white checkered dance floor, get the hell out of there. And if a guy in a bowler hat and suspenders shows up? Burn that feeble neo-Cabaret to the ground. Corny-ass shit. The cornball bitiches twirling around in this piece were apparently fairy refugees from the vampires, according to Hadley (hey boo! Your resume must read like a meth-head conspiracy theory).

From what we've seen, not a single vampire seems interested in rounding up fairies (unless Russell has been chugging those). Jason and Andy got kicked out of the Imaginarium, and hopefully the fall from standing level to the soft grass will kill Andy instantaneously. It’s a long shot but you have to hope! P.S., characters we've never met were killed by creatures we don't fully understand. CLIFFHANGER! Ugh, get this fat off my eyeballs.

My mounting rage from all the bad steeze was briefly cooled when we discovered Sam's bourgeois buds were killed while sitting in their own tasteful outdoor patio furniture. I LOVE WHERE THIS IS GOING! Please kill off more of the uninteresting characters immediately, whoever did this. I suggest heading to Luna's house next.

Also, Terry found that trouble he was looking for, he and Patrick are now captives of a madman. Whatever, just make it snappy, crazy dude. No rants, PLEASE. I do not want to hear some actor who has never even been in ROTC ranting for 15 minutes about the hell of war.

Also: Why do insane people always collage? The next time you find yourself rubber-cementing a news clipping to your basement wall, just let everything fall from your hands and walk to the nearest mental hospital, because you are most certainly crazy. That goes double for chicken-bone wind chimes.

That banging sound you hear is my forehead against my desk because I have to keep thinking about the Authority. At least in our second sentence with the Chancellors they popped that child actor. That was p.r.e.t.t.y sweet. Chris Meloni stomping around doing an Angry Face like Miss Viola Swamp from Miss Nelson Is Missing is getting on my last nerve. Maybe bureaucratic organizations amongst all-powerful creatures are just inherently boring. Every vampire franchise, as soon as it gets into the highest echelons of vampire politics, my brain just turns off. The Volturi is like zzzz. The Authority is like zzzz. Maybe that's an indictment of me and my interests (Little Women fan-fiction and slap bracelets!), but it why would an all-powerful group of beings consent to being controlled? Or even involved in something this boring? Even if you were immortal and had all the time in the world, you would not have time for this bêtise. TRIM IT!

To end on a high note, let's talk about how Alcide surprised Sookie while she was getting drunk and singing about making love in a graveyard (very cute) and basically things got all hot and liquor-y. Sookie was super relieved that she had not lost her third supernatural admirer and got both happy and bossy and made him drink horrible drinks and wanted to let him know how grateful she was. Lucky for her, the only appropriate show of gratitude for such a chivalrous act as becoming an accomplice to murder involves taking off at least your bra. And to top it all off, both Bill and Eric watched from afar as she fell into Alcide's Aqua Velva-scented embrace. Tango, Cash: Don't let me hear you complain because you both were, as my Aunt Francine would say, "balls deep" in perfect strangers only yesterday in this world's timeline. (NOT Balki/Cousin Larry although I would read that slashfic any day.)

So yes: There are hot and sexy things going on, but they are getting overtaken by all the heavy, useless fatty tissues surrounding them. Agree or disagree?


1. What storylines/characters could stand the most trimming?

2. Eric and Bill seeing Alcide and Sookie: How will our vamps ultimately react?

3. What does it mean for Pam to be renounced by Eric? How does that protect her?

4. Steve Newlin is Russell's progeny, yes?

5. Who do you believe freed Russell?

6. Fairies: look like their steeze or fence that field?

7. What characters would you consider as True Blood's "core" abs?

8. Are the men just as clique-y as the ladies?

9. What is the best exercise for abs and how do I do it?

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