Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘true blood

Migrating My Posts About True Blood and Vampire Stuff to My Other Blog

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As you’ve probably read, I started another blog (Vampires in the Mist). So if some of you are here just for the vampire stuff, I’m probably going to be posting my vampire content over there from now on. However, don’t fret because I will link up things here for a while just so that you don’t miss all my thoughts about the undead and their feeding habits… besides, they’re cool, and I don’t want you to miss the cool vampire-ness.

The first post I share with you on there: True Blood Season 5 Thus Far (*Spoilers Possible*). I hope you enjoy. Also, if you like it and get super excited about vampires, you should follow my other blog. 🙂

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Written by barryr22

July 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Wordle of My True Blood Season 5 Blogpost

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Written by barryr22

June 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Art, Blogging

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True Blood Season 5: Hopes and Thoughts about What is Yet to Be

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I usually create one of these posts before the premiere of HBO’s True Blood, and I figure that this year should not be any different than others. I love the Southern Vampire Mysteries and the subsequent television show, which makes me speculate about what might or might not happen. I link you to my “True Blood Post-Mortem of Season 4” to catch you up on my thoughts about the last season. So without further ado, I give you my thoughts and hopes about season 5 (*SPOILERS* from this point on).

1) Tara’s Death– Honestly, Tara has lost favor with me from the first season version of her, and if you’ve kept up with the seasons till now, you know that she filled Eric’s place getting blasted by Debbie Pelt. At the end, Sookie sat holding her dying body and screaming for someone. While they are leading the audience to believe that she’s dead (and personally, it wouldn’t bother me if she was), I don’t think that they’ll actually kill her. I’m more inclined to believe that either shaman Lafayette or one of Sookie’s vampire beaus will save her before she actually fades to black. Do I really care with what happens with her after this? Not really. . .however, I feel that things will still be happening.

2) The Authority coming into the picture– At the end of last season, Nan Flanagan found herself fired for the witch debacle and wanted to enlist Bill and Eric to help her fight against them. However, they killed her and her constituents without a second thought. Still, from the previews and promo videos, it appears that we will meet the Authority in the form of Christopher Meloni, Christopher Heyerdahl, and others. I’m kind of excited to see them since they have been a main focus surrounding the ruling parties of vampires in the series. Vampire hierarchy in novels, television shows, etc. is always something that intrigues me.

3) Werewolf Stuff– As anyone reading this will know, book 5 Dead as a Doornail deals a lot with shapeshifters and werewolves. In my opinion, I think that some of this stuff will come to pass because Alcide is set up to become the new leader of the were pack of Shreveport. I’m a fan of Alcide, but with the emphasis on the vampires, I think that this will become a footnote plot point… yeah…

4) Sam and Luna– This story line should be the most stable in the long run to me. However, I feel like some unpleasantness is going to occur thanks to Marcus’s death… Yeah… I love Janina Gavankar too… So it helps that this story involves her.

5) Eric and Pam’s relationship– From one of the promo videos, I worried about this aspect of the show the most simply because Eric was blaming Pam for unearthing Russell Edgington (which I will get to in a second). Their relationship was on the rocks at the end of the last episode of season 5, but I figured that this would be worked out pretty quickly, yet this turn of events has me thinking that Pam, my favorite character if you don’t know, might die… I’ve said it many times before, but if Pam dies, I will quit watching the show… Yeah.

6) Russell Edgington arises– This might be the favorite thing to happen at the end of the last season. Russell was unearthed, but we don’t know by whom (hence the Pam thing in the promos). With Dennis O’Hare as the delightfully demented vampire of 3000, I’m excited to see him return, which will allow the character to grow yet again. It will be awesome!!!! AWESOME!!!!

7) Off-Bookedness– What excites me and scares me the most about this season deals with the fact that they are going to be almost, if not completely, off book. While it’s been a while since I read the fifth book, I’ve realized since the second season that things are moving away from this canon text. However, I find that this is not necessarily a bad thing. With new thrills and  changes around the bend, I like not being able to see what is coming.

So there you have it, some of the things that I’m excited about for season 5. While I know not all of them will come true, here’s hoping that my radar is right on and at least some of this will happen. If not, I may have to hang these posts up… and frankly, I like talking about vampires, the show, and the books too much to do that. 😉

Carmilla’s Progeny: Charlaine Harris’s Pam as an Evolved Archetype of the Lesbian Vampire

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A paper that I recently wrote for the Spectral and Sublime Gothic Course that I’m in. It deals with the character of Pam from The Southern Vampire Mysteries. I’m interested in expanding it for a possible conference paper for an upcoming Pop Culture Conference.

     In J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, the character Carmilla exists in a liminal space as a lesbian in an era that did not conceive of sexual intercourse beyond the act of penile penetration and as a powerful vampire living off other females in order to survive while pretending to be a delicate lady. Expanding on this liminal model of female vampirism, Charlaine Harris creates Pam from the Southern Vampire Mysteries in such a way that she both parallels and surpasses her limited predecessor. Throughout Harris’s series, Pam expresses her lesbian desires and lusts for several women and, moreover, maintains her femininity even though she too is a powerful vampire.  However, unlike Carmilla who must veil her desires for women and hide her vampiric appetite with odd behavior and secretive feedings, Pam becomes a fully released, lesbian vampire existing in an age after the sexual revolution that can pursue her desires openly. Additionally, Pam exists as a vampire in a world where vampires have made the public aware of their existence and sought to appear innocent through their imbibing synthetic blood. Hence, in the Southern Vampire Mysteries, Pam occupies a space as a liberated version of the Carmilla figure that both solidifies the female vampire model in modern culture but begins to evolve new characteristic nuances that update this archetype for contemporary audience sensibility.

As Carmilla uses her appearance as a young woman to infiltrate the dwellings of her female victims, befriend them, and feed on them, Pam’s femininity works in a similar way to cloak the level of threat she poses to those around her. When Pam is not working at the vampire bar Fangtasia where she wears a mandated black costume, she “dress[es], as always, in sort of middle-class anonymous clothes. . . [like] a pair of winter white knit pants and a blue sweater. . . [with] Her blond hair. . . shining, straight and loose, down her back” (Harris Club 37-8). As Sookie the protagonist of the novels put it, Pam “look[s] like Alice in Wonderland with fangs” (38), which is further emphasized by the fact that Pam is only nineteen years old when turned in the Victorian era (All 90). Additionally, the continuous references to the pastels she wears and the fact that she “look[s] like a vampire cast in an episode of Leave It to Beaver” recur as a theme throughout the series (From Dead 112). By sustaining Alice / suburban housewife image, Pam purports herself as an innocuous that many character in the book underestimate and take for granted as they view her. Furthermore, she upholds the feminine vampire appearance that Carmilla represents as she is able to infiltrate Louisianan society from the rural to higher society circles without arousing a large degree of suspicion.

However, with the invention of synthetic blood and no longer having to feed on humans, Pam’s conscious choice of being an ultra-feminine vampire exposes her agency and exemplifies the strength of her decision making. As opposed to the conception of the modern female vampire wearing blacks and reds and showing cleavage in diaphanous gowns, Pam exemplifies a style filled with pastels, middle-class modern, and vintage chic that emphasize her womanliness.  Furthermore, she wears items like “her pale blue suit. . .a vintage gem. . .[and] hose with seams up the back” to emphasize her individuality and to set herself apart from most everyone that surrounds her (Dead in the Family 69). Even when facing a war with were-witches in which she battles for her life and her maker’s, she upholds this femininity and maintains her Alice image by wearing a “pale pink sweater and darker pink slacks,” regardless of the benefits that wearing complete black would give (Dead to the World 224). By retaining this image of her femininity as opposed to the modern vision of the female vampire, Pam configures herself to be an agentive figure that Carmilla cannot be; whereas Carmilla must maintain a feminine appearance in order to feed, Pam stays hyper-feminized in a world where it is not necessarily beneficial for her in any substantial way.

Although Pam blends in with humanity relatively well, the disdain that she shows for many of the humans that she interacts with reflects Carmilla’s scorn when she sees the funeral of the girl that she feed on and killed. Despite Pam’s amiability toward Sookie and her brother Jason, she quickly shows that “If it came to a choice between upholding vamp interests and being [Sookie’s] buddy” that she would definitely take sides against even these her human friends (Dead to the World 39). Moreover, this fact is furthered by her willingness to kill Sookie and Jason to protect her maker Eric when he loses his memory as a result of a witches’ spell, and she only stops when she realizes that “Eric should stay. . .[with Sookie], where he is [because] Moving will expose him to more danger,” which again puts vampire business above the safety of the humans  (47). Still, while this idea of murdering her human friends shows that she does not hold human life in high esteem, those individuals that she is not acquainted with get her disdain more directly. Early on in the series, she punishes a “lovelorn young man. . .[who] crawl[s] across the floor and kiss[es her] boot” by kicking him away from her, thus causing him bodily harm (Dead Until 106). Thus, Pam upholds a relation to humanity that moves beyond Victorian class consciousness or Carmilla-esque model but changes to one of species elitism that concerns the superiority of vampires over humans.

Even though Pam does uphold vampires over humans, she additionally moves beyond Carmilla’s not “troubl[ing her] head about peasants” and develops human friendships and relationships beyond that of predator and prey (Le Fanu 92). Throughout the course of the series, Pam begins to develop friendships with those that she perceives are not voyeurs of the vampires, such as Sookie and Jason. Pam illustrates this friendliness by opening herself to her tenuously identified friends and shows them her “sense of humor, not something vampires were not noted for,” through her wit and sarcasm (Harris Living 43). Further still, she opens up later in the novels to Sookie revealing the story of her turning and coming to the epiphany that she “actually liked it, being a vampire” as a result (All 89). Pam even comes to the conclusion that Sookie is her “favorite breather” and accepts her as more of equal instead of a useless human (Dead in the Family 193). Thus, even as Pam practices vampire elitism over humans, she arrives at a depth of acceptance for humans somewhat beyond this ideology that opens her person up to a select few individuals and, thereby, changes the perception of the female vampire to a more friendly version rather than the befriend and kill model of Carmilla.

The final aspect of the Carmilla figure that Pam embodies involves her predilection for lesbianism, which permeates her character throughout the Southern Vampire Mysteries. Early in the series, Pam begins to give the audience hints as to her sexuality when she tells Sookie what happened to her after the maenad’s attack: “‘Your shirt was so ragged we had to tear it off,’ Pam said smiling openly. ‘We took turns holding you on our laps. You were much admired. Bill was furious” (Living 44). While she makes light of the fact that she helped save Sookie’s life, Pam also starts to present an overt homosexual nature by smiling at the thought of undressing Sookie. This small detail contrasts sharply to the ambiguity of the potential lesbianism presented in Carmilla. While Carmilla passing kisses and stating that “I have been in love with no one, and never shall  . . . unless it should be you” toward Laura maintains a certain degree of uncertainty, Pam presents her lesbianism willingly (Le Fanu 98). Throughout the course of the series, she “briefly dates Amelia Broadway,” Sookie’s temporary witch roommate, and, later, “takes a human female [Miriam] as a lover” (Koski 422); moreover, she does not date male figures or have any pursued attraction for them whatsoever. Hence, Pam represents another interpretation of Carmilla’s vampiric lesbianism but in a more straightforward way because she lives in a world where female homosexuality exists and is not considered taboo.

Conversely, where Carmilla’s lesbianism seems polygamous at times because of the multiple females she simultaneously feeds on, Pam exhibits a typical version of monogamy in her relationships that distinguishes her from and redefines the female vampire archetype for modern audiences. When Pam has her significant relationships in the series, she stays faithful to her individual partners until they are parted in some way. With Amelia moving back to New Orleans and Miriam dying of leukemia, Pam is freed from any of the conventional aspects of a dedicated relationship. Although this commitment to each individual begins to inform the character of Pam as a monogamist, the fact that she “wants to make another vampire” of Miriam exemplifies this fact even more powerfully (Harris Dead Reckoning 67).  Pam “makes plans to turn Miriam in secret” regardless of the punishment she may receive for creating a vampire without permission but is unable to do so because Miriam dies (Koski 422). Though Pam does sire a new fledgling, the desire itself is a powerful indicator of her monogamous tendencies because the act would have been an eternal commitment between herself and Miriam that she would never be able to undo. Thus, by Pam becoming this monogamous figure as opposed to the more philandering Carmilla, she critiques Le Fanu’s masculine fantasy of lesbianism while working to mainstream the lesbian / homosexual other in a more positive and acceptable way for a modern era.

With Pam’s representation as an agentive lesbian vampire, the Carmilla character she is based on evolves for a new age and is reconfigured into a newer version of this previous archetypal figure. Furthermore, with Pam’s genesis occurring in the Victorian period shortly before 1872 when Le Fanu publishes Carmilla, a succession of the female vampire from Carmilla to Pam is put into place in retrospectively because of their similar traits and tendencies. Through an examination of this retrospective, archetypal continuum, a progression of what it means to be a lesbian vampire is informed from the pre-Victorian through the current day. Further still, the addition of the female author Charlaine Harris writing the precarious lesbian Pam, albeit in the context of a heterosexual perspective, grants the new lesbian vampire an air of authenticity that Le Fanu’s Carmilla figure does not attain. As Carmilla could potentially be perceived as the sexist, lesbian fantasy of Irishman Le Fanu, Harris’s characterization of Pam neutralizes some of the potential misconceptions of the former model and allows the archetypal female vampire to be studied in new ways. Finally, the creation of Pam, a new face of lesbian vampirism, opens the door for future writers to continue this representative progression by reworking and reinterpreting the figure henceforth, giving Carmilla the immortal life of literary notoriety that she deserves.

Another Cancelled Television Show that I’m Interested In: ABC’s “The Gates”

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With my introduction to the world of Netflix streaming, I have begun to get invested in shows that I think have interesting premises or that have people in them that I am drawn to. However, the problem I end up having results from attaching myself to shows that were cancelled after the first couple of seasons of their run because the networks they were on didn’t see the viewership that they expected. Given that television is a viewer-based industry, I do understand that they want to cut their loses as soon as possible. Still, many shows have been scraped just when they were starting to get good, which leaves me with what I would call the “hanging universe syndrome.” I am left to wonder what could have happened and to what degree the overall characters would have developed within the framework of the world.

By Netflix [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently, I stumbled upon the television show The Gates (2010) which took what a modern dramatic theme and turned it on its head. In the show, the characters live in a gated community called The Gates (go figure), which gives the audience the idea that the main moving force will be the suburban hell that has come to appear in shows such as Desperate Housewives, Suburgatory, etc. Yet as I mentioned earlier, this is turned on its head as we the audience come to find out that the main character Nick Monohan, the new chief of police of the Gates, has brought his family into a community populated by vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of myth and legend. When I read the description on Netflix, I was instantly enamored with the idea of a suburban drama filled with housewives that could literally rip each others throats out. After watching the first few episodes, I was hooked, but it was also then that I noticed the show only had one season of 13 episodes. Immediately, I went to imdb.com (remember I am an imdb addict) and discovered that the show was cancelled. Tonight, I finished the last episode, and now, I want more… however, there isn’t more to have.

What went wrong? The writing wasn’t bad (it wasn’t great… but it’s kind of what you expect from a primetime drama that has vampires, witches, and werewolves), the actors were fairly well suited to the show with Rhona Mitra (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0593961/) and Frank Grillo (Prison Break http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0342029/) leading the pack (ironic usage of language here considering that neither is a werewolf in the show), the special effects were used appropriately and were blended well into the world itself, etc. (I could go on spouting what I like about it… but that isn’t really what I’m trying to do here). Honestly, I think that it was a show with a niche audience that may have come along at the wrong time.  Who really knows (besides the execs)?

All I know is that I found another interesting show that I would recommend to my friends that are looking for something to fill the gap between True Blood seasons or any supernatural show (including the CW’s Supernatural… which is now available on instant streaming for anyone out there who wants to know). The one thing that I would recommend is not getting too attached to the characters or the atmosphere that they try to create because after a brief 13 episodes The Gates  will close for you as they did for me.

True Blood Post-Mortem: The End of Season Blues and the Body Count *Spoilers*

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So, I’m sure that all of you out there that count yourself among the “Truebies” watched the season finale with a mix of excitement and sadness because everything finally fell into place and resolved for the most part. However, other wounds have opened that leave the fate of season 5 hanging in the balance. Moreover, it will be another year before our questions are answered, and we know what happens with the characters that we love and those that we love to hate. However, I want to pause to take a look at the end and the body count that followed the denouement

1) The Pam / Eric divide– I’m sad at how the season ended for my favorite daddy / child pairing of the vampires. While it was humorous that Pam wonders why he fell for someone named Sookie, the fact that they were left in a state of animosity made me feel a little uneasy. I love Pam and will admit such. Furthermore, I hate when negative things happen to her. I also question what they plan to do with the fact that she is still rotting…will this come back into play or will this be swept under the rug of the season??

2) What’s the deal with Eric and Bill being chummy all of a sudden? Honestly, they have never seemed to mesh well, but  I also don’t think that the love of Sookie can ally them for long…even though they did off Nan Flanigan (sad day…I like her character). Additionally, what are they going to do now that Sookie spurned them? I believe that Eric should win this simply because he is the lesser of two evils…I mean come on Bill completely betrayed her…so yeah…

3) Sookie’s Choice and the Aftermath of the Season– I think that it’s kind of bull shitish that Sookie couldn’t make up her mind about her men…We all know and feel who she should be with so why is there any question of what direction she should go in. I also applaud her for offing Debbie in response to Tara’s being shot…(However, I think that someone will swoop in and help Tara in the nick of time…although I would be okay with this character dying).

4) Sam’s stabilization–I’m glad that the Mickens bit it. I’m also glad that Sam is getting to be happy with Luna…that’s about it.

5) Jessica and Jason– Again, I’m happier with this story line than I have been in a while…I can only hope that Hot Shot doesn’t come back into the picture anytime soon…I don’t know if I can deal with the Ghost Daddy thing anymore…Also, Steve Newlin appearing as a vampire makes me kinda antsy…

6) Lafeyette’s Mess he’s in– Honestly, I was sad to see Jesus get offed…that being said, I’m glad that he’s no longer possessed but wonder what is going to happen with him now that he’s all suped up with brujo power.

7) Alcide and the discovery that Russell is gone– I like Alcide, but he will never be that important to me because he is not a center of focus in my opinion…I do wonder what is going to happen with Russell being released though…I’m both excited (Denis O’Hare is back!!!!!) and scared because I don’t know how they will handle him…

I think that this might have been their best season yet. But one thing that I was impressed by was the body count at the end of the season with a lot of semi-major characters being offed or in a transitive period as we wait to see if they will make it. This list includes Marney, Tommy, the Mickens, Jesus, Claudine, Debbie, Nan, and several others…this shows me that they understand how to make conflict with death and that they are trying to keep the cast number down to prevent a veritable nightmare mess of characters. Whatever might happen, I’m glad that they did thin the herd and serve up a heap of emotion. I look forward to next season with both apprehension and excitement as I look back on this season with aw.

Written by barryr22

September 18, 2011 at 12:12 am

True Blood Season 4: The Season Thus Far, *Spoilers*, and My Thoughts

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So, I betting by now all the “Truebies” (their term not mine) out there are thoroughly invested in what is happening within the framework of the supposed “Season of the Witch.” Some of you may be perplexed as to why the season isn’t following the fourth book nearly as well as some of the last seasons, while others may be taking the show on its own merit. Whatever your opinion of the show may be, I think we can all safely say that this may the best season to date as far as not spreading the limelight as it were between several of the peripheral characters and bringing the focus back on the ones that truly matter (i.e. Sookie, Eric, and Bill…and believe me I think that this has been a couple of seasons in the making too because I found myself last season upon my first watch through feeling that the show was becoming disconnected. Yet, now I feel that they are doing a better job of focusing again.) But all my bantering aside, I feel that some things in season 4 are wonderful while others I could just put to the true death and leave it at that.

1) Sookie as a fairy–While I’m glad to some degree that they did make Sookie a little less helpless in the show (sparks from the hands), I do not like the fairy story arc much at all. Why one might ask? Well, I have read the books and the fairies aren’t monsters trying to take Sookie away to their land for all eternity…this in the show is problematic to me (Also, killing Claudine, while it did make for a cute scene with the childlike Eric, bothered me on some level too). Honestly, I am okay if they do nothing more with this storyline because I find it a little ridiculous at times…

2) Tara the Vampire Slayer…of the Scoobie Gang?–I have to admit that I haven’t liked Tara in a while. I know that she’s been through some shit. However, by that same token, I miss the smart ass, sassy Tara from the first season before she gets involved with the vampires and werewolves and maenads (oh my!).  She is someone that I like as a side-kick to Sookie and nothing more…

3) Jason as Ghost Daddy–Again, another storyline that I’m not sure I care about…partially because Hot Shot isn’t the Hot Shot of the book and partially because the character of Crystal Norris annoys the hell out of me (I know that she should; however, I wish I could see a little more depth from the actress playing…). Still, I am liking the conflict caused by the Jessica / Hoyt / Jason triangle that has been formed and expect something pretty spectacular to come of it.

  4) Eric and Sookie– Wanted it to happen from the beginning because Bill has always seemed like a fishy character to me before I found out that he was sent to procure Sookie…Now, I feel that she is with someone who is a little more upfront with her…even though he is a thousand-year old bad ass  with the potential to break her heart in the future.

5) The Witches–I think that this storyline is shaping up to be one of the more interesting antagonistically in the series of seasons. Marney /  Antonia is a pretty hefty villain (except for the incompetent Marney who also happens to be competent…don’t understand this characterization). The fact that they have the power to toast the vampires at will and control them makes them a bit scarier than the Fellowship of the Sun, Mary Anne, Russell Edgington, or any of the other main or sub-villains. I’m hoping that the end of the season is as good as what’s happened thus far.

6) Rotting Pam–As I’ve said before, if Pam dies, I will quit watching the show. However, I don’t think that this is going to happen. I believe that Lafeyette is going to be able to heal all the vampires and others that Marney has affected. But Pam holds a special place in my heart. I hope that she continues to get more screen time throughout the remaining four episodes.

So, there you have it…my thoughts and some of the goings on of season 4. You may have notices that I left off some people like Lafeyette and Sam…I think they are best served as side characters like Tara and should fill that role again…Overall, I hope that True Blood keeps it up because I can’t wait to see where they go with season 5, due to all the changes they have made and will probably keep making…

Written by barryr22

August 19, 2011 at 10:45 am