True Blood: The Jason and Pam Show

True Blood may be all about beasts and monsters, but the show has become quite the monster itself. In addition to being the "It" television program, the show's storylines and characters have become simultaneously entangled and stretched apart, creating a wonderful mess where everyone gets plenty of screen time.

This was on full display in Sunday's Season 3 premiere, "Bad Blood." True Blood has A LOT going on, and it has a tendency to collapse under its own weight. But that can also be part of the fun.

Overall, the episode reminded me of my love-hate affair with True Blood. I'm a huge fan of the gore, a few of the ridiculous situations, and the blatant titillating sex. But on the other hand, I find myself not caring for some of the characters and their stories.

The biggest culprit this week was Tara. I'm not quite sure where the writers are going with her, but turning her into a raging lunatic for Season 3 after she spent all of Season 2 as a raging lunatic might not be the best way to get people on her side. I really liked Tara in Season 1; she was feisty and complex without being off-putting. She was someone we wanted to see succeed and overcome her obstacles. But now she's just angry and pushing everyone away—viewers included. Tara is a rich, complicated character who needs more than what she's being given. Here's hoping there's some redemption in her future.

Okay, moving on: Any scene with Queen Sophie-Ann is a good time for a bathroom break. Evan Rachel Wood, even after having the whole offseason to get her act together, still can't pull off anything more than an unoiled robot. I'm baffled as to how she got cast… dating Marilyn Manson doesn't not entitle you to one of the more intriguing roles on television. I'll be happy when the sharp end of a stick pops out from her left shoulder blade.

That said, it was absolutely fang-f***ing-tastic to see Jason Stackhouse, Eric Northam, and Pam back on screen. These three characters can carry the show no matter how much the rest of them drag. Ryan Kwanten (Jason) should get serious chatter come Emmy time. Playing dumb isn't nearly as easy as it looks, and acting as dumb as Jason is a real chore; Kwanten does it with ease (and his native Australian accent is nowhere to be heard). Fan-favorite Pam is looking like she'll be a larger part of this season, and I say it's about time. She's quickly becoming the funniest character on the show. And Eric… well, he's just typical, awesome Eric.

That's about as serious as I'll get in these True Blood examinations, because let's face it: True Blood ain't no Shakespeare. Hell, it isn't even Anne Rice. This romp of a show doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's exactly how it should be. Too often, shows never really find their identity and struggle because they try to do too much. But True Blood knows it isn't a rocket scientist or a Nobel Prize winner. It's a fun prom date. And which one would you rather hang out with on a Sunday night?

Other boody good notes:
... Sam's dream made me very uncomfortable, and I can't tell if that was in a good or bad way. Yikes.

... It's great to see Jason back to his old antics, and his fun with the two NYU students was one of his more hilarious moments. Gratuitous to the max.

... Sam is a favorite of mine, but I'm not sure I'm into him pulling him away from the rest of the gang for so long to find his real family. We need to see him back with the others ASAP.

... I love you, Jessica. That is all.

... Whatever happened to half-man/half-wolf werewolves?

Question: Which True Blood character is your favorite, and what did you think of his/her debut in Season 3?


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

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right, werewolves are sooo secretive that sam casually mentioned running into some last season. whatever. werewolves drink vampire blood but somehow they don't have gay sex dreams about bill the way sam did? on the plus side, full frontal female nudity!
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Ohhh and Lafyette he is always a great laugh and fun to watch
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I love Eric of course and also can't get enough of the Jessica/Hoyt relationship
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Sam's dream was hot, Eric's opener was as delicious as it was repulsive and the build-up to the werewolf storyline leaves me tingling with excitement ...
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The dream Sam had was just weird but Eric is SO hot. My favorite character as he is so cocky. Love him!
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I love pam, jessica, eric, and lafayette! Everything is getting complex but i like it sometimes. Thing is bill and sookie are starting to annoy me. But i think overall the show is good!
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I love Pam and Eric, they are so the best characters. Can't wait to see how they go with Alcie. Can't handle Tara - eh
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Eric is the best! Check him out in HBO's Generation Kill. Jessica cracks me up! That dead trucker under the house and she doesn't know what to do with him. Funny, funny.
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I agree with all your points, except that I kinda liked Sophie-Anne for whatever reason. Idk maybe its cuz I never read the books. And yes, Sam's dream made me supremely uncomfortable as well...I was totally like WTF IS GOING ON! And yes, between True Blood and Twilight, classic Wolf-Man werewolves are gone...maybe the coming werewolves in The Vampire Diaries will be more classic...although I wish we could get a vampire show with JUST VAMPIRES!
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No mention of Lafayette? He stole every scene he was in! Love him and love the show.
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well my favorite character is jessica easily just her struggling with being a new vamp and finding out about the differences beftween humans and her new self and this season a lot of bad could happen for her actions in the last episodes and i agree jason ,and pam are my other two favoirtes and sookie is a little boring to me now and eric i would love to see some more of a story from him....and this season looks like its going to be amazing but last season was the best so far so hears hoping...
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Honestly I like Sophie-Anne. I agree with what you said about Tara, she was one of my favourites in season 1, now not so much. I'm still loving Lafayette and Jason. I like that Sam is going to find his parents.
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agree with you on nearly everything!! Ryan kwanten is one my favorite characters and has alot of what other characters are lacking humour and good acting. Hard to believe he was once Vinne from Hom and Away!! Sam and Bill dream was good in a serious creepy way i was sure it was actually happening till sam woke up!! But overall my favorite character Eric you just cant bet his evil demour and his confident presence oh and that butt!! :D
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I definitely agree with Tim on this one...Jessica has to be my new favorite character. She's quite possibly the most real out of the whole cast, and that's saying something seeing as she is, in fact, a vampire. Her normal teenage/young adult facade works really well for her.
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Love everything you've written, agree with you 100% on EVERYTHING - except feeling uncomfortable with seeing Bill and Sam, that was kinda awesome ;)
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I love Sookie and Bill! I hope the show does not lose that love they have for one another! I thought season 1 was hot!! Season 2 was a little far fetched... if that can be said for True Blood in it's self! This season could be interesting! I like the mix of story line! I think all the players deserve equal time! They each have their little quirks that make me want more of them!
I love True Blood ! I am hooked and ready for the next episode!
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Eric and Pam are my absolute favorites but I also love Lafayette. Jessica and Hoyt are also too cute for words. I hope they get it together soon.
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I love, love, love Lafayette, Eric & PAM! ITA about Tara, which is a shame because I like Rutina Wesley (but not that accent, ugh). "Any scene with Queen Sophie-Ann is a good time for a bathroom break." There's not enough WORD in the world for that.
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Oh, I forgot to add The Queen. She's great. I loved her scene with the Magistrate with Eric at Fangtasia. And, uh, hello - Eric's intro this season. Best intro EVER???
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My definite favorite characters are Eric and Sookie. I'm also a huge fan of the Hoyt & Jessica relationship and of course I love Pam and Lafayette. Also a big Jason fan. Hell, I just love the show period. But the only thing that annoys me sometimes in the story is Sam. I like Sam, he seems like a good guy, but he has more drama than a Perez Hilton hosted reality reunion. I wish they'd just let him hang out a while. Tara hasn't been great since season 1 .... but I like her, still. It's horrible all the things she's gone through - especially losing Eggs.
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The werewolves in the books are another kind of shapeshifter. They are real wolves (not Man/Wolves) and then they are humans. The difference between them and Sam (a true shapeshifter) is that Sam can turn into anything, whereas werewolves can only turn into wolves. Most "were" animals in the books have one animal they turn into. Sam is the exception in the books.
I loved the premiere, thought it was hilarious, and picked right up where we left off so it answered a lot of questions. I'm curious how they're going to continue with the Bill storyline, since he is no longer kidnapped- is he going to go looking for Lorena? Is the King of Mississippi going to get involved? In the books it's all about this computer data program that Bill has on vampires, but in True Blood it seems to be all about the V. I'm glad that they seem to be dispensing of the V storyline as its not really my favourite. There is so much else for Eric and Pam to do, we don't need to have them involved in selling illegal drugs. I thought Jessica was fantastic, and I hope that they figure out what they're doing with Tara. I don't like her as this meek character, I prefer her as a strong, independent woman. Hope she gets her act together. Jason was probably my favourite during the premiere- his storyline was just perfection! Can't wait for episode 2!!
More+
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i liked it , no camera time for bill.
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definitely Jessica
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I felt too like the premiere was too much of a big mess of story lines that all needed attention. Some of them I don't care enough about to distract me from others, and that's not that great. Season 2 was fantastic, brilliant at times. This premiere didn't have me quite as excited as I thought I'd be. Still, seeing everyone of them back is great. But yeah, they need to pull some story lines together. Fast.
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And yes, Sam having gay-mares about Bill is pretty awesome. I mean if I had thought about it hard enough I suppose I would have wondered at the end of last season if that would indeed happen, but I imagined they would just sweep that rather preciseness of consistency under the bed...but nope, they didn't, and it made for quite a hilariously fun scene to watch :P .
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I pretty much agree, though by now (especially since you too seem to have watched the 2nd season) that Tara pretty much is ALWAYS the issue. I think Wood is serviceable as the queen, I don't know what you expect, and perhaps Godrick played an old vampire better, but I think a lezy old queen would pretty much act that way, and she doesnt seem too major a character anyway so I'm not sure the fuss.

Again, really, and rightfully so, Tara is the main issue, and the only real problem as far as I can see, since yes a bulk of the "crap" from last season was due to her arc, and it seems to be happening all over again. And yes, during the first season she was actually a fun character to have around. Tara (and to an extent, her mom) need to go.
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I agree: True Blood ain't no Anne Rice ( I love those books ). And I have to say my favorites are Eric and Pam and Jessica this season. Pam was just hilarious. I'm starting to love her more and more. And Jessica is pretty funny too ("I'm a freak of nature." , that really made me laugh, coming from a vampire ). I wonder what they'll do with her character later on.
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I agree with you about Tara. Not sure where the writers are trying to take her this season but honestly, the whole tortured soul is getting old. We already have enough with Bill Compton. I am very excited to see Jessica fare on her own without Bill's guidance. I hope her & Hoyt work things out. Lafayette is by far my favorite. I am really pleased that they will be expanding his storyline this season. Those of you who are a fan of the books know that Lafayette's journey is really an extention of the writers as he meets an early fate in the books.

Sookie is well...Sookie but I am rooting for her and Eric.

Eric is also one of my favs along with Pam. I am hoping that the coniving queen does not blame Pam in the process b/c what happens to Pam or seems like in the trailors does not look good.
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Eric and Pam, in cahoots with Lafayette...the best. Jessica needs more development too, and this season could prove her quite disruptive in an unguided-newbie-vampire-sort-of-way.
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Lafayett is my FAV.he is soooo funny ..of course don't forget Jason & Eric
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Hope Sams storyline is good cuz hes my favorite character ;)
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If something was proven in the other seasons is that something opens the door to another part of the plot.
We cannot judge from the 1st episode. Remember what happened in season 2's first ep and where it led.
And about Tara and that stuff, have in mind that this happens right after the season finale and emotions are just the same.
It would have been ridiculous if Tara were ok.
And Sam's dream was just PERFECT!!! (being gay that was paradise). Great reminder of what vampire blood can do to EVERY person and not just to the "love interests".
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True Blood ain't no Anne Rice, huh? Thank god for that. I can't stand that crap.
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Best line; Arlene's "I'm sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, but honestly, who here hasn't." I loved that reference to previous seasons. The disturbing dream Sam had is along the same lines. It was creepy the way Bill projected and Sam meekly accepted. But it was fun realizing the whole thing was based on the blood connection and not reality, like Sookie and Eric previously. We know Eric wants Sookie, but we can now know that Sookie doesn't have to want Eric despite the dream. Such fun blood candy.
Favorite character: LaFayette, just for who he is, not for anything that happened the first episode. Tara, yep, just tiresome. But I want to like her.
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I love the queen. She rocks. She needs to smack Eric around a little more.
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My favorite is Sam. i agree. it's more fun when he's with the rest of the gang.
I was really looking forward to the premiere of the show, and it didn't fulfill my expectations. the 1st and 2nd season got better as the show went on. i hope is the same here.
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I agree about the actress who plays Queen-Ann...She didn't play a huge part in the novels (save one specific story line) and I'm kind of wishing they kept it that way in the show. Other than that, however, I love the show and can't wait to see what they do next. I also agree about Eric & Pam, they're awesome (both in the novels and the show). Jason is a hell of a lot more fun than I expected him to be, in general!! As for Tara, I think you're jumping the gun here...it was the first epi and picked up right after her man was killed...cut the girl some slack.
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The premiere was great, definitely brought me back into the TB storyline, and I agree with what you said about Tara. Really not interested in her one bit, LaFayette could've left her locked in the bathroom "taking a shower," for all I cared for her..which is harsh to say, but needed to be said.
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My favorite is definitely Jessica. Loved her from the moment she became a vampire. Men will be man so I did find her cute as hell and that just made me love her character more (not that fond of drama queen Sookie). :) Debut was kinda fun, her killing that human and trying to make him a vampire. Looking forward to next episode. Btw I couldn't agree more with what was said about Tara, loco in this season too? Not happy about it.
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I have many favorites. It's between Eric Jessica And Pam and i thought they were great in the premire.
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I loved the Premier too i have no negative comments!
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I loved the premiere looks like it is going to be a great season. I love all the characters and if I had to pick a favorite it would have to be Lafayette. I don't know what you mean by half-man half-wolves werewolves. According to folklore werewolves by definition are half-man half-werewolves. They are the guys who kidnapped Bill from the restaurant we seen them in wolf form at the end of the show.
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TDme, I believe Tim is referring to the classic lore of Wolfmen, where there are characteristics of both wolf and human. I honestly don't care for the direction they are going with the "werewolves" because they could easily be mistaken for Shapeshifters, ala Sam. Moving on, the opening montage of all the characters and where they are was very well done, but the episode was a bit slow. But we all know, in true True Blood fashion, things will be picking up pace very soon, and it just won't stop. Like most people, I hate Queen Sophie, and the whole V dealing story. I truly hope that this isn't going to take up most of the season. It bored me so! Every "secondary" character is my beloved to me, especially Terry, Andy and Hoyt. Here is hoping to a long run for these characters. The only problem I have with this show as a whole is the fact that Jessica isn't real, and I can't marry her. She can suck my blood anytime.
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my favorite character as of ep1 season 3 would have to be Pam but the season is till young that could change lol
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I agree 100% with the author about Queen Sophie-Anne. She is awful awful. It's hard to believe this was the same actress who starred in The Wrestler. Stop the overacting, and turn it down a notch.

Tara needs to go back to her Season 1 form, I agree. But with the promos of this season...I don't see it happening. In fact it looks like she falls for ANOTHER baddie... sighs...

I love this show, but this finale was slow for me. It had great moments, with a mixture of sex, humor, and everything else we love about True Blood. But the episode was slow. Maybe if they didn't spend so much time focusing on Eric's ass, we would of seen more.
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Its Northman, not Northam. But yeah Jason, Eric, Pam and Jessica are great.
I heard their budget wasn't big enough for CGI werewolves so they are using actual wolves in the filming.
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... Its actually kinda fun that when Eric, Pam and Godric speak swedish in the show I can actually understand what theyre saying. Which is good because there arent always subs. But Pams swedish could use some work!
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True Blood is so awesome!!! I love most of the characters (especially Sookie and Jason), but Tara is starting to bug me. I have loved Alexander Skarsgard for many, many years. Im swedish so Ive seen him and his brothers and father in a lot of movies
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