Monday, August 31, 2009

A Pungent Hint of Madness

Alan Ball wrote the penultimate episode of this second season, and though it was, again, a lot of filler, his very sharp wit was juxtaposed with some very biting nastiness. (pun intended, yes)

First, Hoyt-Maxine-Jessica. It was hilarious that Hoyt's mama actually enjoyed the bloodsucking that Jessica laid on her, and also sad to see Jessica's remorse when she realized she'd upset Hoyt, and then downright awful to see her reaction when she realized the depth of Hoyt's anger. Much as I like Jessica, and dislike how rotten Maxine is to both Hoyt and Jess, it really is going to be hard to recover from the faux pas of fang sinking your potential mother-in-law. Things got pretty damn funny again when Maxine was back in the kitchen, preparing a feast for "the god who comes." (This phrase has become the new "Godric is 2,000 years old" phrase of the show -- they just can't repeat it enough.) It's now established that when Mama Fortenberry putters around the kitchen, Ruffles will play a significant role, and this week she whipped out her "frenzy" masterpiece of a casserole that included Ruffles, cheese, candy bars, and hot sauce.

I changed my mind about her. She may look like a deranged Paula Dean, but she cooks just like Sandra Lee.

Then we've got Tara, and although she's been released from Maryann's mental stranglehold by Bill and Sookie, she won't shut the fuck up about needing to rescue Eggs. I do not care for this, because I can't understand why she thinks she's in love with Eggs, because it's only been two weeks, and because I fucking hate Eggs and think he's a cypher. So she then proceeds to spew some shit that's even nastier than the mindfuck load that Maxine dumped on Hoyt, but she reverses the process and mindfucks her mother. Along the way, she also berates Lafayette and Sookie, and suddenly I ardently dislike Tara. But the funniest part of this scene is unintentional. We have Tara played by Rutina Wesley, whose upper body is more ripped than Bon Jovi's pants circa 1986, and we're supposed to believe that she's held captive by being handcuffed to a fucking coffee table!

Look at those damn arms! A STUPID GLASS TOP COFFEE TABLE is keeping this girl down! How about at least the sofa, or a sturdy armoire! Gah.

But at least we had Lafayette, producing all sorts of wonderful scenes. First, Nelsan Ellis looked as hot as a Louisiana summer.

Second, with him PTSDing on the porch, we got treated to another scene of him hallucinating Eric. This was wonderful, because Alexander Skarsgard got to show off his Generation Kill training as he went a little bit Iceman Colbert on Laf, holding him in his sights with the rifle. But though it's mighty sexy, even if he was dressed in drag, it does make me feel bad for Lafayette, admitting that he's so terrified of and hateful of Eric, and yet, due to the blood bond, he had incredible sex dreams about him. Well, shit. Given that last week's episode drew a record 5 million viewers, Lafayette, I think it's extremely safe to assume at this point that you are not the only one having sex fantasies about Eric/Alex S. (More on this later, of course.) The tables turned when Lafayette took the gun to Maryann, but, unfortunately for him, and for manservant Carl, Maryann was able to deflect the bullet with all sorts of "magic bullet" shit that'd make Arlen Specter cream himself and poor Carl went quietly into the dark night. Seriously, inspect this:

I can't understand it. Lafayette was directly in front of her and he fired, and she deflected it with her hand. But, as you can CLEARLY see, Carl was to her left and BEHIND her. How did the bullet manage that sort of fucken trajectory, huh?

Still working the buddy system, Jason and Andy had to work past their differences. When Sam declared Jason a "damn fool," Andy had a bit of sympathy and welcomed him to his world. But when they raided the police station for ammo, Andy denied Jason kevlar and then got testy with him. The best was Jason then explaining that he didn't have it easy in life. It's such hard work to have to watch so much porn to keep informed and keep the ladies happy! But we did also find out that even horndog Jason has standards -- the ladies must be conscious for him to have sex with them... at least, they have to start out conscious. That is Jason Fuckin' Stackhouse, alright! He can fuck you comatose!

I felt bad for poor Sookie. Her house has leapfrogged again and is past the point of a Blair Witch frat party and has catapulted into Rob Zombie movie set territory. I mean, when you're greeted at the door with Jane Bodehouse dismembering her own finger while singing the "lo lo" chant to the row-row-your-boat melody, it's not a good sign. And, speaking of Jane, I'm gonna have to cross her off my "to party with" list after that little stunt. A bit too far, Jane. Too far. How you gonna drunk dial Peanut now? But aside from the spinetingling creepiness of some of this shit, it also strikes me that these episodes of Blood had to be some of the funnest sets on Hollywood when being filmed. Random people running in their undies and trailing toilet paper and fingerless crazies just have to be a riot during breaks. And this is probably evidenced by Arlene, guarding Sookie's house, and demanding an entrance fee of "100 million dollars... and your pants!"

We also finally met the madcap Queen Sophie-Anne, played by Evan Rachel Wood. She looked gorgeous in her '40s attire, lounging poolside listening to "The Good Life."

It brings up a strange question, though. Why did Bill go from chalky white last episode to semi-decent looking at the start of this, to looking downright tan at the pool? Also, I, being the shallow viewer that I am, noticed that his chest hair grew back completely from the first and second episode of this season, which was really only in Blood time about 10 days. Count on me to keep track of these things, always.

Also in the nitpick department, I am, sadly, not yet sold on Wood's performance. Michelle Forbes as Maryann has been killing the "deranged female" slot this season, and Lorena was no slacker, either. But there is a line between campy and hammy, and I'm not quite sure Wood landed on the right side of this line. Her scene partner, Stephen Moyer as Bill, I believe had the same reaction to her skills. Consider this reaction shot of his as proof.

But I'm willing to give her another shot, particularly because the Queen's lines amused me, what with even her being aware of the Bill-Eric animosity dynamic, wishing they'd just fuck each other and get it over with.

And we did get treated to some of that Bill-Eric verbal parry-thrust again. Bill getting all scoldy, high and mighty with Eric over feeding Sookie his blood again, and I loved how Eric rammed it right back up Bill's sanctimonious ass about that! At least Eric only did trick her into sucking his blood. Bill damn near got Sookie killed just to pump himself into her veins.

And it was wonderful to see Eric back in fine form. Though Team Skarsgard Shirtless was shut out this week, the costume department deserves a huge hand. First, the return of Ginger, screaming at the mere appearance of Sam outside the door of Fangtasia, with that fantastic "Sorry, we're Dead" closed sign on the door. That chick has definitely been glamored one time too many. But then, again thanks to Sam, the greatest duo on the show were reunited -- Eric and Pam. Pam was rocking what looked to be an outrageous early '80 "Studio 54" vintage red sequined Halston jumpsuit and she was looking divalicous in it.

By the way, Seinfeld fans, have you recognized Pam yet? She's Manhands! Yes she is! Anyhow, then we got her exasperated expression when Eric again tipped his hand about his Sookie fascination. And even better was her reaction to children: "I hate them." I love Pam! But the best was Eric in that gigolo suit.

Hot. So hot. And then it got hilarious when he was toying with Arlene's kids. Though Pam was only disgusted with them, Eric found the "tiny humans" intriguing. Teacup humans! And we all got yet another Swedish word burned into our linguistic palette. "Delicota -- delicious." Might not be spelled that way, but phonetically, delicota is what Eric thinks of children, and what I'd assume about 4.9 million of the 5 million viewers think about Eric in that suit. Then, in his playfully evil way, he winked at the kids and then literally flew away, totally exciting the kids and completely freaking Sam the fuck out. And his windblown hair when he arrived in front of Bill, antagonistically asking, "Soo, has Sookie mentioned me?" was damn near true love.

It is now a two week wait for the finale, and I think we all know how I feel about that.

But never fear. In the interim, I think I might do my official Bill v. Eric comparison on here, if for no other reason than it's a great excuse to post more random picspam of A.S.

Photo credits this week go to once again to marishna, and the gif of Eric screwing with his hair I totally filched from a poster at Sucks.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Home is Where The Disembodied Heart Is

So, Sookie and Jason finally rolled back home to Bon Temps last night to find the town in tatters on account of nearly every single resident having fallen under the spell of Maryann and therefore having gone batshit crazy. That's the love of True Blood -- just when you start pining for a zombie movie instead of vampires, it's a whole zombie episode. And they're zombies who love to drink and lick nacho cheese off of naked women. Excellent.

Maryann has gone off the rails, preparing her "wicker man" sacrifice for Dionysus/Bacchus, rounding up all the kobe beef she can find along with a dead crow while making everyone else hunt down poor Sam. As for Sookie returning home? I have been WAITING for her to come and find Maryann squatting in her house, hosting orgies, and wearing Gran's clothes. I figured Sookie'd go utter bitchcakes about it. But it got exponentially worse. When Sook got home, her place looked like the Blair Witch had hosted a Delta toga party. I mean, it was fuuuuuucked up. But before Sookie could really get her glare on, she realized that Maryann was the man-bull that attacked her, and Maryann attacked her again. Bill, always being two steps behind, did not realize this. So he tried to attack Maryann, and as we all know, vampire blood doesn't like maenad blood, so he started frothing at the mouth, convulsing, and barfing black shit all over Sookie's already messed up living room floor.

Okay, I laughed. I laughed even harder when he kept puking the black shit out her car window. It was just -- funny. So very Bill. Meanwhile, in the "what is Sookie" forever ongoing question, we got a new clue when Sookie got defensive of Bill and pushed Maryann's face away -- and made her own hand light up like ET's finger.

The fuck? (Okay, book readers know what Sookie is, but I'm shocked they're dancing around answering this so quickly on the show.) But as cool as Sookie's special effects were, it was, surprisingly, once again, Jason fucking Stackhouse who kicked the majority of ass! First, he got one of the best laughs of the night when people started talking about Daphne -- the formerly new waitress at Merlotte's being dead -- when Jason piped up cheerily, "There's a new waitress at Merlotte's?" That's our horndog Stackhouse, alright. At least it is a nice perk for the waitresses, especially considering that "new waitress at Merlotte's" is basically a fatal position. It's like the drummer for Spinal Tap. But at least you know you'll get to screw Jason Stackhouse before you meet your gruesome demise.

But Jason just got better from there. He armed himself with all the redneck ammunition he could find -- a chainsaw, flares, and a nailgun -- and then busted Sam and Andy out of the clutches of the zombiefied minions.

You know serious shit is going down when Andy and Jason work together, and it ended up being hilarious, with Andy holding that makeshift stick-horns for Jason as he played God in a gasmask with bad lighting. But then it got even more hilarious as Sam played along, instructing Jason, "Smite me." Jason: "What?" Sam: "Smite me, motherfucker!" And then Sam "disappears", Jason and Andy are confused as shit, but Jason-as-God blesses the zombies and tells them they've earned good weather and good crops and disperses them. And then Sam shows up, in only an apron, with his cute little buttocks hanging out the back, extinguishing the torches like it's nothing as Andy and Jason stand there all confused.

And, before all that transpired, Andy locked himself into my heart forever, when he and Sam were literally running for their lives from zombie minions, he still took the time to grab a bottle of booze!

Also hilarious last night? Hoyt's mom Maxine. She, too, fell under the spell of Maryann, but good boy Hoyt tried to keep her protected, so he hosted her at Vampire Bill's house and let her play Bill's Wii. She looked like Paula Dean had buttered up and eaten Divine, and between her Wii outbursts:

And her trying to sexually molest Jason (of course, it's always Jason), she was just outrageous!

Perhaps, if she's really serious about Jason, she ought to apply for the "new waitress" position at Merlotte's, seeing how Daphne has recently vacated the position.

Always awesome Lafayette was also on his game as he and Tara's mom tried to scare the zombieness out of her. First he quoted scripture, shocking Lettie Mae, until he explained, "Jesus and I agree to see other people but that don't mean we don't talk from time to time." He then slapped the crap out of devil-Tara and declared "This has got to be the worst motherfuckin' intervention in history." But it was eventually Rutina Wesley who owned, first being creepy as hell, and then utterly heartbreaking when the combined efforts of Bill and Sookie finally pulled her out of zombiefication.

Of course, this episode wasn't much more than filler, but it was so damn funny that I certainly didn't mind. And at this point, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that, as bit players go, I love Jane Bodehouse. I would definitely party with Jane, whether she's a zombie or not. Losing her pants, forgetting that she's supposed to notify servants of the underworld that they've captured their prey, and then giddily asking to be "debriefed" out in the parking lot. You go on with your black-eyed self, Jane Bodehouse!

Given the events of the evening, there wasn't a lot of time for Eric. But he was there at the very start of the episode, again in Sookie's dreams. Reason number 37 to love Sookie Stackhouse? When she dreams of Eric, she always dreams of him shirtless! YAY SOOKIE! Go Team Skarsgard Shirtless! We are kicking as much ass as Jason Stackhouse these days! Sookie imagined comforting Eric after Godric's demise, and though I can understand that Eric would be upset, and that this was just a dream, I really hope Sookie doesn't do to Eric what she did to Bill, which was, pardon the pun, but metaphorically defang him. I was completely wrong about biting, because she specifically did imagine Eric popping fang and biting her this dream.

While I enjoy the shirtlessness, and while I can understand Eric's grief, I really hope Sookie doesn't get him totally pussywhipped like she did Bill. Then again, considering that we know her blood tastes different than other humans' to vamps, and now with this nifty lighting-hand trick she's unleashed, Godric only knows what the hell she's doing to them in bed, I guess, to get them so tangled up in their underwear for her.

I can not WAIT to see what happens next week, now that Bill has gone to the Queen for help with the Maryann situation. But something else has also occurred to me. Then, the next week is Labor Day, and you know how HBO is about airing episodes on holidays. I really think they're going to make us wait 2 weeks for the season finale. That makes me feel like Hoyt seeing Jessica attack his crazy-ass mama. "FUCK NO!"

Oh yeah, I'll be getting a lot of play out of that gif, once again courtesy of Sophistabitch.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Naturally, I want to talk about Inglourious Basterds. When I first heard that Tarantino was going to make this movie, I was really happy. One thing that I knew he "got" about WWII movies, which very few people actually verbalize, is that it's quite fun to sit and work up a bloodlust about killing Nazis.

I am quite certain that, just like all his other movies, this one will unleash some bullshit backlash. In his two movies with strong female leads, he was accused of misogyny, because some critics really are that fuckin' stupid. I love the double edged sword he always has to face, when half the people leave disappointed because it was so much talking and not enough shooting going on, while the other half of the critics are grossed out by his stylized violence. And, I know I've already seen a couple of articles lambasting him for making Jews look bad in this movie because there's a small group of them, the titular Basterds, who, to borrow a Tarantinoism, get medieval on the Nazis' asses. Well, let's get that out of the way. I think that criticism is fucking retarded and bullshit.

First off all, WHEN did it become fashionable to sympathize with Nazis? If we should be allowed to work up a frothing vengeance against any group in fictionalized cinema, I still think it should be the Nazis. And if you don't think we should be allowed to do that, even in fictionalized cinema, then go rent The fucking Notebook or some other Nicholas Sparks horseshit and shut your yap and let the rest of us enjoy our shit. And if anyone should be pissy with Nazis, why not the Jews?

As for the talky parts that I imagine most critics are going to rail against -- if you want a non-stop action picture, then go to one. See GI Joe or something like that. And, by the way, I have nothing against non-stop action pictures. I'm just also of the opinion that not ALL movies need to be that. At one point of the movie, Brad Pitt's character gets dressed up just like Bogey in Casablanca (This is only one of the innumerable small allusions/homages to cinema that Tarantino paints.) But it made me wonder who among the critics that are blasting this movie for being too talkative could actually sit through Casablanca today?

As a director, Tarantino long ago defined himself as an "auteur." Though his movie genres morph and change and though he incorporates different stylistic approaches, they are all stamped indelibly as his, and, without question, Inglourious Basterds sings his name all through. It's not a spoiler to tell you that the final line of the movie is one of the characters, looking into the camera, and saying, "This just may be my masterpiece." It is Tarantino anviliciousness at its best, a sly but not-subtle thump of his chest, and he definitely earns it.

First, the way this picture looks. From dusty farmhouses in France to movie houses in Paris, this movie is shot with some absolutely stunning scenes and iconic images. My personal favorite was when, as David Bowie's "Cat People" seemingly anachronistically plays, the red satin dressed heroine gets ready to seek her revenge, and at one point runs down a spiral staircase.

In that one sequence alone, it is a gorgeous visual mixup of noir, suspense, and glamour, echoing three stylistic titans: Scorsese, Coppola, and De Palma. And yet, moreso, it seems like the way those three would interpret and homage to Hitchcock. And yet, the final product is completely Tarantino. At this point, while speaking of the lush look of the film, I also have to say that part of its appeal was the incredibly beautiful lighting throughout, and the use of steady shots. Tarantino has not fallen to the dark, shaky-cam techniques of many of his contemporaries, and I can't appreciate him enough for it.

Second, the acting. Again he echos Scorsese in this manner: Any actor should jump to work on a Tarantino picture, because he's going to make them look incredible. And I do mean visually, but I also mean as actors, he does, somehow, possess the ability to pull the best possible performances out of his cast. There is Brad Pitt, and he's not exactly a revelation, simply because Pitt does do this sort of thing well. He is good, very good.

His Tennessee twang and cock-sure attitude are absolutely delightful. And I'm one of those strange women who are impervious to his physical charms. On paper, I never think much of Pitt. But then I watch him in some of his kooky roles, like 12 Monkeys or Burn After Reading, and he wins me over. He is by far the biggest name here, and he pulls his weight.

But Pitt does get upstaged. The two females, Diane Kruger (National Treasure) as a double agent, and Melanie Laurent as a Jewish girl who witnessed the brutal slaying of her family at Nazi hands, are both absolutely stunning in every way. And then, there is Christoph Waltz.

Waltz is cast as "The Jew Hunter," Colonel Hans Landa, and he is mesmerizing. It appeared to me that he's completely fluent in four languages, slipping in out of dialogues as easily as he slipped from gentlemanly to monstrous. Charming and suave, polite and particular, it is with his quiet reserve and coiled brutality that he's able to build such mounting tension and ultimately dread.

And the tension and dread is what Inglourious Basterds is about -- at least until the epic denoument, which is filled with twists and shocks. And here is where I'll call utter bullshit on the critics who complain about the dialogue in this movie. Though I somewhat disagreed because it was character building, I could understand that the conversations in Death Proof sometimes sagged. In Basterds, however, I never once felt that. The film is broken down into five chapters, and in each chapter, there is an uphill, slow crescendo building, punctuated with a small release, almost like a roller coaster that keeps re-setting to the opening climb after the initial dip. And Tarantino builds these crescendos through the dialogue as he ratchets up the suspense, always pitting two characters against each other, playing cat and mouse, waiting to see if one will discover the other's secret and if hell will break loose. And whether it's a glass of milk, a strudel, or a game of 20 questions, Tarantino finds the fit to dance around the direct issue while unmasking the involved parties.

All this tension/minor release keeps culminating until the fifth chapter, where all points collide, the coaster goes full tilt, and all hell does breaks loose. It is in this section that Tarantino unleashes the unraveling action and it becomes a near visual orgy along with being an emotional climax. Which, I realize all sounds very sexualized, but, I guess if Tarantino fucks the way he films, it probably is fairly epic. Amidst all the action and twists, always adorned with other references -- both to film and pop culture of that day -- there are also the trademarks of Tarantino. Most easily notable, his foot fetish is still on display, and this time it's integral to the plot and creates more than just a luscious, lingering camera shot.

I must also say that for all his directorial expertise -- and at this point it is mastery and expertise that he's cultivated, it's still also his screenwriting abilities that serve him so well. He is, for my money, the most consistently brilliant film writer working today. He seemingly easily creates these intertwined plots and sews them all together in a satisfying ending, while also delivering the goods with some of the most entertaining dialogue along the way. And, most notable, his characterizations are more impeccable than ever. Christoph Waltz's Hans Landa is the most obvious and delicious villainous example. But Tarantino is sly as ever, too. Nazi sympathizing? His celebrated Nazi sniper Fredrick Zoller, played by Daniel Bruhl, is also a brilliant creation -- the kind that makes us question our bloodlust for the Nazis the way he displays such a gentle, awkward, and affable charm. In the same vein, Tarantino sets up the climax at a Nazi screening of a German propaganda picture, where we see the Nazi brass kicking back and reveling in watching Nazis kick Italian ass -- and they laugh at it as the Italians bleed out and die ingloriously, making us cringe. And he does this all while begging us, egging us on to laugh at and cheer for the Nazis' destruction. Talk about having cake and eating it, too. And though he never comes anywhere close to tear-jerking melodrama, there is, always, an underlying, nearly indefinable soul to his work and characters.

Even though he's Quentin Tarantino, I still doubt he's got absolute power and autonomy to do things exactly as he wants them. But what he's put on the screen with Inglourious Basterds certainly feels and appears to be as pure as we can possibly get to his vision. And that vision is definitely one that incorporates his love of film and movies, and it cleverly injects his own sensibilities and tastes -- twisted as they sometimes are. Some people will be disappointed, because he doesn't keep remaking Pulp Fiction. Instead, he keeps attacking different genres and putting his imprint and style upon them, and he keeps growing and getting bigger in scope. Most notably, this is something different. It does not follow the formula for a summer action-movie, or a drama, or a thriller, or anything. It's a Tarantino picture. And it's glorious. The bastard did it again. And yes, it just may be his masterpiece.

Monday, August 17, 2009


It's almost unfair, and it's nearly absurd, but it's not the least bit surprising. Alan Ball is a man who has continuously mined the themes of death -- and salvation -- to great critical and commercial acclaim. I admit, when I first heard he was doing a show about vampires for HBO, I was all "what the fuck?" But, as I think any reader here can notice, he certainly made a fan out of me. However, part of the reason he won me over so completely was because the weighty drama took a very far backseat to fun and flirty storylines. Granted, there was plenty of emotion in the first season, including some poignant passages.

But last night's episode, "I Will Rise Up," written by Nancy Oliver (a veteran writer of Six Feet Under and writer of the quietly and very weirdly touching Lars and the Real Girl) and directed by Scott Winant, was absolutely sublime. It was focused on family, exploring and exploiting themes of not just love, but devotion, and, ultimately, forgiveness, along with more than a touch of divinity.

Gods weighed heavily, as vibrating bitch Maryann was almost, for one spectacularly scary moment, reverent and awed while thinking of being at one with her god, and she then proceeded to destroy the residents of Bon Temps to achieve her goal.

However, the near-party atmosphere in the jail as everyone kept getting arrested was pretty funny. What was a little gross, however, was when Sam did his best Jeff Goldblum circa 1986 impression. Meanwhile, over in Dallas, Sookie's sympathy gave Godric a glimpse of true light, while his sacrifice may well have given back Eric his humanity. That Godric. I knew he was a Christ figure. I just didn't realize he'd be saving our favorite Viking, even if his actions caused Eric despair.

And, since I'm speaking of Eric, let's get it out of the way. Team Skarsgard Shirtless scored our first victory last night, and it was, indeed, decisive. To the writers, producers, lighting crew, and everyone else involved:

Well done, everyone. Well done. It's almost obscene, isn't it, to start talking so superficially about the enormous slab of naked Scandinavian -- in bed! Naked! With Sookie! NAKED!

Oh, I should be shamed to be bringing the quality of commentary down to this level. But don't you see -- that's precisely why Blood is so damn good -- because it gives us ALL this. It fires on all cylinders. Even when it's busy propelling itself toward superlative storytelling and tender heartbreak, it delivers all the frills along the way. They made us wait 21 episodes to get here, but they sure did it right. Big Bed. Big Boy. NO CLOTHES. And then he even slipped Sook tongue!

All this, of course, was just a dream of Sookie's, brought about by her magnanimous actions of sucking silver from injured Eric, therefore ingesting his blood. The look on Eric's face once he successfully tricked her into sucking and swallowing was priceless. He just is so good when he's bad. (Believe me, Sook, don't feel so stupid about it. It may not usually involve silver, but all us girls have been played into sucking and accidentally swallowing at one time or another ;))

But the best revelation was that Bill, though spitting mad, had to admit to her that she now not only had the emotional connection with him, but that she'd be sexually attracted to him. Hats of to Anna for pretending to be repulsed by the idea of sex with Eric, by the way. She had an all-around amazing episode for acting, once again pulling off the tears without chewing scenery. But what gets me, that Sookie apparently hasn't connected yet, is that this question now looms large -- did she REALLY fall for Bill? Or was she attracted to him because he managed to pump his blood into her almost immediately?

Anyhow, back to Eric being naked. For a guy who's got a severe allergy to silver, Sookie imagines that he certainly seems to have a tongue that's made of it, hitting Sookie in all her soft spots and declaring love for only her. Jesus. I mean, Godric. In stark contrast, there's Bill. For a guy who fears staking, you'd think he wouldn't constantly walk around with a stick up his ass. Oh, but poor Bill. I do feel for him.

Incidentally, in this week's "Bill is Johnny Drama" comparison, Drama spent his episode trying to keep a sweet girl away from a handsome, tall blonde dude who happens to be Drama's boss, and Drama even grabbed the guy by the throat, and then, all worked for him as well as this exact same situation worked this week for Bill. Freaky, huh?

Anyhow, despite all Bill's proclamations that "Sook-ay is MINE," and telling Eric there's nothing he can do about, not even ten minutes later he catches Sookie sucking on Eric's chest. And, really, who wouldn't suck that chest? Silver smilver, I'd be all, "Eric, you've got a crumb right there. No, you missed it. There. Let me help..."

Anyhow you still gotta love Sookie. I notice in her dream scenario, Eric didn't bite her. Maybe she's getting sick of Bill always doing that? Then again, for a girl who, considering the company she keeps, should be keeping her jugular well protected, she continues to stick her neck out for the vampires. This week, she took on Nan Flanagan, professing Godric's heroic actions to save her life while Nan was so clearly unimpressed with vampire near-royalty giving a shit about a human. But Sookie just plugged away, despite Bill trying to stop her. Recurring themes and spot-on characterizations, there, I tell you. Every episode, at least once it happens. Bill: "Sookie, Don't!" Sookie: "Pfft. BLABBLAB obnoxiously at dangerous vampire."

Not only that, but Bill once again looked the fool. He finally DID pick his fight with Eric, punching him square in the jaw with all his vampire might. Eric took it, spit blood, and then quietly said, "Get out of my way." And Bill moved aside! Bill! Oh, Bill. (Johnny Drama!) But Bill did have the coolest special effect, right at the start of the episode when he bit the crusader's neck. A blood mist exploded, and that was something new and really quite gross. Also, I guess it's because of his coloring, but while Eric, to me, is hands down the scariest looking vampire when he's in attack mode, Bill takes the prize for always looking the grossest when his mouth and lips are all bloody. Maybe it's his coloring. But I also had a MAJOR issue with the makeup/coloring on Stephen Moyer's Bill this week. He no longer looks undead, makeup department. He looks fucking dead. Like a corpse. Greenish, even. Fucking, fix this shit, would you? It's bad enough he's now got to compete against Eric. He doesn't need to look like he belongs on the coroner's table to do it.

As I mentioned, it was just love, or even loyalty, but devotion that played a pivotal role in this episode, with several characters' devotions coming into question, while others were just solidified. There was:
Lafayette - Tara - Maryann
Godric - Eric - Sookie - Bill
Hoyt's mama - Hoyt- Jessica

But I particularly loved Sookie and Jason reconnecting. Though he wasn't kicking actual ass in this episode, Jason and Sook kicked figurative ass while bonding over Gram as the siblings ought to. And poor Jason, admitting to being a fuckhead idiot.

Jason and Sookie's scene, while being quietly and truly touching, also gave us the best visual laugh of the week once the Newlins popped back onscreen, with Steve sporting a bruise from the paintball, and he and Sarah devolving into sniping at each other instead of defending themselves against Nan, until Sarah finally frustratedly shouted to the vamp PR queen "I hate your hair!"

Not quite siblings, but sharing the deep bond, Tara's cousin Lafayette did the literal ass kicking this week. Lafayette!

Oh my Godric, y'all, I loved seeing him put the hurt on fucking Eggs and rescue his hooker cousin! I have to admit, after the way her mother treated her, I wasn't too broken up about seeing Tara attack her mom, but then it got a little, you know, demonically violent and was glad Lafayette broke it up. I do notice he was super-strong, and assume that's courtesy of -- say it with me -- having ingested Eric's 1000 year old blood. I also have to wonder if that supernatural blood will help protect Lafayette from Maryann's advances, because she sure seemed to take an instant interest in him (though, who wouldn't, right?) while he immediately said he "didn't know what you are, but you're a soulless bitch." You know, I know the whole imprisoning/torture thing that Eric did to Laf was not cool, but I also now wonder if it didn't ultimately save his life in more than one way, because you know Lafayette would've been first in line to the wild orgies. Also? Rutina Wesley wins scream of the week.

Also kicking ass, even if it's only verbal ass? Real men Hoyt and Terry. Terry, "I didn't mean to get peculiar at you" to Arlene was classic, and Hoyt standing up to his momma was awesome.

Hoyt is, without question, any girl's dream first-boyfriend. In other words, someone that good just doesn't exist, but I really hope both he and Jessica survive the season.

I must say I was shocked that Stan died oddly quietly. I assume he bit the dust because I found his evil ass attractive, which is what makes me worried for Hoyt and his uber-goodness. I don't even recall seeing a gross shot of Stan's exploded corpse or anything amidst the rubble of the explosion. And I do enjoy my gore effects on this show. Given that, I wasn't so impressed with the special effects of Godric's immolation. It did nothing to lessen the power of that scene, but it was one of the few times when I thought "TV budget" instead of movie quality. And I still question why the fuck Isabel is so fucking tan!

But this was quite possibly the best episode of this show to date, of both seasons. Not only did it bring all the fun we're used to, but it rose up levels and touched up universal and well-worn "heavy" themes that could've come off as clunky, melodramatic, or even cheap. But young Allan Hyde as Godric played it understated, while Skarsgard and Paquin did the heartbreaking work. And what was most notable is that in this show about near-constant bloodshed and violence, the biggest and most moving moment to date was one of pure gentleness and simple kindness.

But even stranger, instead of it closing doors, this episode also managed to open up so many more questions and boundaries, perhaps confusing even the viewer's devotions along with the characters'. One thing that is still a constant, though, is my allegiance to Team Skarsgard Shirtless. Alex just proved it. No matter how good the show is, it can always be improved with proper nudity.

NOTE: I usually get my screencaps from True or marishna, but I've a feeling they're gonna take their time clicking through this episode, so we did it a little different. The most excellent gifs were courtesy of Sophistabitch.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Whoo-Hoo for Woo!

After a few lackluster Blood episodes, this week's, , "Timebomb," written by Alexander Woo and directed by John Dahl (Rounders) brought back the bang! (I had to make the bomb pun-reference at least once.) Easily one of the best episodes ever for the humor, horror, suspense and sex appeal, it's almost hard to pick out the best parts.

For fans of bondage and sadism, we had both of those on display, with Eric getting chained in silver and Tara and Eggs taking slap and tickle a little too far. I think it was more than a coincidence that Sookie unraveled the chains holding Eric -- echoing her season one rescue of Bill.

That scene had a whole different vibe than the all-out disturbing Tara throwdown. Eric's skin was steaming (while he was also just smoking hot!) but it wasn't nearly as gross as the whole Hunter's Souffle thing. First, we had Maryann jumping on the Julia Childs revival bandwagon, but she took a severe left turn when she started hacking up Daphne's heart to add to the mix. And I do have to say, this plotline is now pissing me off. I know Tara's bewitched, but come ON. When you start cutting a pot pie and it bubbles blood, I still think you'd be disinclined to start eating it. At least one moment's hesitation to think, "Hmm. What sort of new fuckery is this, spilling out of this souffle?" But no. She and Eggs wolf it down, and next think you know, she's kicking him in the balls and then fucking him, all black eyed and apparently with her jeans still on.

I don't know what sort of juju Maryann is working, but that's pretty powerful to pull those feats off. But this was the only low point of the show, as the rest was nearly perfection. It was stock suspense-movie shit, the scenes with Sam getting woken in the woods and then going into the bar and getting framed. But it was done well -- so well that it's understandable why it's stock suspense scenes. Beyond that, Sam Tramell as Sam Merlotte again gives one of the easiest performances. For all the shit he's going through, getting pushed into a jail cell, he still has time to react when Mike the coroner tells him, "I sodomized a pine tree." And Sam appropriately reacts, "What'd you do that for?"

But for as funny as this episode was, I'm torn on the funniest scene of all. Once again, we have proof that Bill Compton is the undead, Southern version of Entourage's Johnny Drama. Over on the west coast, the boys played a round of charity golf (in an overall very funny episode) and Drama got bent out of shape when his game wasn't sharp and so he destroyed Tom Brady's club. This was a scene that shows why Kevin Dillon is Emmy nominated for this role. We all knew that the abuse of the club was going to happen, but it was still laugh-out-loud funny when it did. Meanwhile, Bill did some property damage of his own when he beat the shit out of Lorena with a 52 inch plasma TV. The best part -- it was the hotel's TV, so it's all still on Eric's bill! Oh my god, I love Bill. I know I make fun, because he's such a doof, but I do adore him and his oh-so-earnest and passive-aggressive ways.

Meanwhile, it was a tie for the awkward-funny between Bill and Jason for their scene together when Jason made amends to officially welcome him to the family. First, Jason opened the episode with the Reverend's wife leaning over him with a paintball gun, shouting, "You're worse than Judas!" And Jason asks, "Why? What'd he do to you?" It was getting trying to have all the characters in their own worlds and plots, separated from each other. But it paid off in spades this episode when finally Sookie and Jason's lives dovetailed again. Jason again got all "Don't talk about my sister!" and then armed himself and stormed the church and played conquering hero. But after that, he still had some karmic cleaning up to do.

First, Eric cornered him. Once Eric had Godric back to safety, it was as though Eric shook off the weight of the world and he as back to being his old, toying, self -- smirking at humans and taunting Bill, while clearly eyeing up Sookie as more than a snack, giving blatant crazy eyes to her in front of Bill. His exchange with Jason was pure joy as they cleared the air about Jason's V habit from last year and Eric gave him a pass, while also nearly scaring the piss out of Jason.

But Jason then cornered Bill, apologizing to him for his previous dickitude towards him, and then awkwardly lunging at him and hugging him. Bill, of course, reacted the way I'd assume most vampires react to a human hugging them -- essentially the way a human reacts when they don't want to be bit by a vampire. In a desperate, hopeless recoil.

But Bill did pull his shit together enough to respond, when Jason self-consciously asked, "Was that okay for you?" Bill squeaked out, "It was fine." That Bill.

But then I have to swing back to Eric, bringing the unexpected himself. I can't recall a more anachronistic creature than Eric, slinking through that church. He may not have gotten shirtless, but he did provoke a near panty-change when he leaned close to Sookie and whispered, "Trust me." Then, still clad in his black leathers, his skin gleaming white, he hunched himself down and adopted a weird stride as he took on a hilarious Texas twang to attempt to fake out churck-folk. It honestly looked like a cartoon panel with the absurdity and hilarity of it, or at least like Skarsgard had channeled Jim Carey for a few moments before he suddenly turned into his menacing self again.

Speaking of menacing, I've always got to have the attraction to the assholes. When cowboy-vampire Stan stormed the church and declared, "Destroy them all!" I have to admit I thought he was wickedly attractive. But, then again, continual good-boy Hoyt was still adorable, as was Jessica. Poor Jessica, forever doomed to be a "virgin." My lord, in the battle of vampire families, even with Jessica in the mix, Eric's bloodline of Godric-Eric-Pam kicks the everloving shit for cool quotient over the Lorena-Bill-Jessica line. Bill's family needs centuries of therapy.

Not virginal, however, is Reverend Newlin's wife. And Jason finally let him in on that. When Newlin taunted, "We'll see who goes to heaven," Jason responded with the knockout blow: "I've already been to heaven. It was inside your wife." He then punched him and called him a "white suit motherfucker" which is pretty much what clinched it for Jason, allowing me to crown him as the funniest guy this whole show.

Although Ryan Kwanten's Jason brought the ultimate in funny, he uncharacteristically remained fully clothed this episode, leaving the door ajar for Sookie to sneak in and steal the most beautiful award. She was absolutely rocking that while coat.

Even better was the set up for stunning and symbolic group shots that it allowed. Not to be outdone by Woo's outstandingly sly script, Dahl created some scenes through lighting and choreography that were better than most movies. At the "Godric is back" gathering, Sookie was wearing the snow white. Nearly every vampire was wearing black, except for Godric, who was wearing light grey, and Bill, who was in greyish-green. Human Jason was also in grey. And bloodsucker Lorena was in blood red. Two other visually stunning details when they show the wide shot: 1) Vampires don't breathe, and for several seconds, the room was completely motionless as the vampires simply hovered, watching. 2) The smallest and seemingly youngest person in the room was, by far, the most powerful. And the actor playing Godric, Alan Hyde, pulled that off.

There were also a few other stunning scenes in the church. By the time Stan arrived and the showdown started, and church was set to explode, suddenly Godric appeared at the top of the atrium in the sanctuary, commanding all attention.

And though his exact words were, "I'm actually older than your Jesus. I wish I had known him, but I missed it," he then went ultimate peacemaker and refused to allow Stan and Eric to slaughter the civilians. Oh, so sweet and wise he is. When Eric later balked, claiming that the church did nothing but fan the flames of hatred against them, Godric simply replied, "Let's be honest. We are frightening."

No shit. For as awful as the bloody heart souffle was, the most horrifying moment this week was still when Lorena attacked and bit poor, innocent Barry. I was a little torn when Sookie went all Springer on Lorena's ass. I don't blame Sookie for being pissed, but it was just a little declasse of her to start screaming like that in public. Especially because she wasn't fighting over Barry. They were, of course, fighting over Bill. Bill!

I don't think we've seen the last of Lorena. But given Eric's complete devotion to and abject submittal to Godric's will, I think we've also just stepped up the love triangle as Eric will be approaching Sookie no longer as a pet, but now as a person. God, it's all so Aniston-Pitt-Jolie I can't stand it. I'm neither Team Compton nor Team Northman here. I'm just still Team Skarsgard Shirtless, so this is all looking like good, filthy fun. Woooooo!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Bite Me, HBO -- The Alexander Skarsgard Post

I want one. I will never have one. So I rent weekly. But I'm starting to get frustrated, feeling like my supplier is holding back on me.

What is that I want? My own Viking Vampire, as played by Swedish stud Alexander Skarsgard. Or, well, at this point, to be frank, I don't care if he's a Viking or a vampire. I just have a crush on Skarsgard. And, it's apparently not just me. The ratings numbers for True Blood are climbing each week, now officially making it the most watched cable show since The Sopranos. And yes, yes, we know it's because of Alan Ball's writing, Charlaine Harris's wacky world, all that addictive blood and violence, not to mention all the blatant sex. But, speaking of the sex, that's exactly why I'm getting a little miffed. Because the sex scenes are explicit. But they're keeping The Sex still under wraps. Which is my long-winded way of saying that it's about fucking time for Skarsgard to --at least -- take off his shirt, dammit!

I am paying really good money for HBO. And so far, this is the most they've delivered -- just one quick peek of Eric relaxing in a bathtub last season, with Bill (naturally, it has to be Bill fucking up our fun) barging in on him.

At this point in my crush, I have been diligently scouring the web (fuck you, it's so not cyberstalking, yet. Is it?), searching for all the Alex info possible, and let me tell you, in recent weeks, he is suddenly everywhere. I know I'm not the only one he's glamoured, and I'm also fairly certain that Ken Branagh is about ready to kick himself for passing on this 6'4" golden god for his upcoming movie Thor. As Eric would say: "Poorly played, Ken. Poorly played."

Alexander admits that quite often nowadays, when women see him in public, they ask him to bite their necks. And, god bless this boy, he claims he always happily obliges. Isn't that supposedly one of the primary body language signs of flirting, when a woman shows her neck? What a way to flirt so openly and play it off to his current role.

And talk about a flirt and a tease? Alexander has given several interviews lately talking about his views on nudity onscreen. Guess what? He's all for it! "I'm Scandinavian, dammit, we love to be naked! Nudity is great!" Also? It gets even better: He's ALL for it, doesn't even want a sock in the way!


And yet, eight episodes into the second season of this show, and the closest I can get to Valhalla is courtesy of Lady GaGa's "Paparazzi" video where she (wisely) makes out with him and at least gets his pants off.

I did, also, happen to find this charming clip from a Swedish film, but there's all sorts of fuckery about with subtitles which totally screw up the view.

Great Odin's Raven! This isn't a Bergman film! When there's soap and water and a naked Skarsgard, I really do not need a translation. At this point, I feel as though "cockblocking" is taking on a slightly different meaning.

I am not a valkyrie and will most certainly never have an Alexander Skarsgard of my own. But it's quite enough to just have him onscreen. But enough of this teasing, HBO! Every week you people contort yourselves and the plot to get Jason Stackhouse out of his shirt, and then you keep shoving Bill in my face all shirtless and trouser-less. Bill! Bite me with the naked Bill! Give me my premium cable money's worth, bitches! Skarsgard! Skin! SOON! I'm salivating here!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Don't You Forget About Him

As a lover of movies, and a child of the '80s, of course I know who John Hughes is, and his passing is one of those benchmarks that makes me more aware of my advancing age.

I have, luckily, been aware that my youth was gone a long time ago. In fact, I was aware that it was slipping away back when I was still a teenager, which was a strange gift of prescience, because I firmly believe that most teenagers are blissfully unaware of their own mortality, but being able to process the fact that youth was brief drove a lot of my wildness, and my crazy antics are something I most certainly don't regret. But his passing makes me reminisce, because some of his movies were -- whether you like them or not -- inarguably cultural touchstones.

They are, without question, drenched in '80s -- both in the fashions/music onscreen, but also in their very construction and execution. Hollywood has its ups and downs, and the '80s, in general, were one of those downs. And comedy can often have a generational divide. I truly don't know if kids today would find Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller funny. They're perhaps not rife enough with texting and twittering refernces to be able to connect. And yet, something tells me that they do endure because Hughes, seemingly so effortlessly, was able to tap into the high school cliques in such a base, archetypal way, that I suspect they still have cross-generational resonance along with some silly gags along the way.

There is the primary setup in all these movies that pits the teenagers against the adult authority figures in some capacity, and that's certainly a theme that will endure for a very long time. But beyond the rebellion angle, the theme that's even more pervasive, at least in the brat packy faves Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club, is the desire for acceptance and belonging.

And what Hughes did so smartly, so effortlessly, is to portray, within his waspy suburban setting, all the cliques as having this desire. In teen movies, it's very often the misfit against the in-crowd. And there is, of course, more than a dash of that conflict in Hughes's flicks. But these pictures aren't set up as come-uppance pictures so much as coming-of-age pictures, because Hughes generally refrained from villainizing the cool kids. Some of them, of course, get painted with the irredeemable asshole brush. But whether it was smart marketing on his part, or just an insightful sensitivity, he understood and projected to the audience that even the cool kids were searching for validation. And it's at least partly because of this that he ended up with monster hits.

When we watch movies, we root for the underdog, certainly. But when presenting teens to teens, you're not going to "get through" to the widest audience when you alienate a large portion of your audience by presenting them as the bad guys. Because the jocks and the popular kids were represented as just as vulnerable and root-for worthy, Hughes was able to portray all the typical cliques in an inclusionary, wacky way. As Emilio Estevez's character said, "We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it."

And the simplest part of it, the "enlightening" part, was that acceptance came between different groups, but also for each individual, not because they eventually rebelled against their labels, but embraced them, and had their awakening when they realized that they were more than that, that some others saw them as full humans, but were now okay with being what they were labeled as.

It's a very liberating, and hopeful concept for teenagers who are struggling to figure out what they're supposed to be and do and how to grow up in the world. John Hughes, as a director, I don't think he'll ever be hailed as an "auteur." Even as a writer, though he penned many monster comedy hits, I don't know if he's considered a comic genius, either. Perhaps it's a perceived lack of gravitas, or his waspy, middle-America settings, or the somewhat sanitized teenage tales that will keep him off the list of the elite. Or, perhaps, history will bear out and bring about a Hughes appreciation. But I know this. If you're of my generation, you've had, somewhere along the way, something happen to you (or, now, something happend to one of your kids) that seemed like it was right out of a John Hughes movie -- and you know forever exactly what that phrase means.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Are You There Godric? It's Me, Sookie

Well, although the pace of True Blood has been nearly glacial the past few weeks, it's still manages to pack the wallops here and there and thoroughly entertain. I loved that we opened up with Andy getting up from the ground and still yelling-chasing after the "PIG!"

I was most heartened this week to see Lafayette start to get some of his "pizzaz" back, and to see Tara at least start to slide pieces into place while she's not fully entranced. Not only are they cousins, but Lafayette and Tara have consistently been the smartest people on this show.

(I know, not so hard to outwit the likes of the Stackhouse siblings, but still.) Seeing Lafayette go right after Eggs in front of Tara was some good shit, and then Arlene confessing her "date rape" of Terry wasn't just good for laughs, it's definitely making Tara start to wake up. I know Sam warned her about Maryann earlier, but I wish he'd take this opportunity to really grab her and shake her to her senses to get her away from the freak.

This was, certainly, an episode about crazy bitches. Ever since Glenn Close boiled Michael Douglas's family pet, we've taken to calling stalkerish chicks bunny boilers, and they ran amok this week. Maryann actually killed and brought home a rabbit, trailing the blood across Sookie's floor.

And yet, this wasn't enough to completely awaken Tara. I don't know what sort of hash Eggs is slinging, but he's got his girl scrambled, alright. But then we also had Daphne trying to pull Sam to the dark side. There were a couple of unfortunate moments in these scenes, however. First, it was about five minutes of pure exposition, which was just weird. Second, it showcased Sam Trammell's acting ability, which was a stark contrast to the previous scene with Ana Camp's tiresome, uh, no pun intended, overly-campy delivery. That said, I did love Ana-Sarah Newlin's wacked out hair as she tracked down Jason and open fired upon him. She's a mortal, and I still think she may be the wackiest bitch they've got going. But let's not forget crazy Lorena, still pining for Bill. The oddest thing here isn't that she's so nasty and crazy, but that's she's still hung up on Bill. Bill!

And, in the crazy bitch department, I guess we can also include the sunny-side up Reverend Steve Newlin and his queeny, vamp-hating ways.

But it was overall a nice contrast. Just two weeks ago, the episode was titled "Never Let Me Go," and this week was "Release Me," and in the timeline of the show, I think this mighty change is only a matter of two days. No surprise all these guys (and Tara) want away from these crazy broads, but it was also Sookie who was literally imprisoned. Poor Sook, but I was glad to see bellboy Barry come to her rescue. And if crazy bitch Lorena hurts the poor dear schmuck Barry, I'll stake her myself!

I was particularly glad to see Hoyt and Jessica not only staying out of the fray, but continuing to bring the utterly awkward and adorable. Finally, they break out the joke as "Bleeding Love" plays as Hoyt's seduction number for his vamp girlfriend. And I do love Jessica, with Hoyt trying so hard to be gentle and romance her, and she just blurts out, "Just take off your pants."

Also a nice moment? Jason being dragged out in the woods to get killed, and he doesn't even know why, but as soon as the brute badmouthed Sookie, Jason got all sibling on his ass with "Don't talk about my sister!" and then kicked the shit out of the muscle!

I will say it again. He may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but he is Jason fucking Stackhouse! He will have his pudding, dammit! And then he will defend his sister! Too bad he apparently gets shot for it. Fuck it. Maybe Godric will give him some of his blood. I know they mentioned it in this episode, but I'm still a little fuzzy on it, but I believe they said he's 2,000 years old, so his blood could heal Jason if that's true.

All I know is that Godric had better be worth the worry he's putting Eric through. Again, I think it's been mentioned that Godric is twice as old as Eric, but Eric is our resident super-vampire, and I do not like seeing him cry blood, damnit. That said, I do really like the contrast they've set up between Eric and Bill from the start, and seeing them with their makers really brings it all into sharp focus. Part of the reason Eric is so enjoyable is because he loves being a vampire. Bill sees it all as a curse that ruined his life, and sees his maker as a crazy fucking bitch, and is filled with self-loathing for the awful things he's done. Meanwhile Eric feels utter devotion -- quite possibly even worship -- to his maker and sees his vampirism as the ultimate gift and takes a lot of joy in vampiring it up. The oddest part? Though we've seen Eric, the bad boy, be completely manipulative and even Machiavellian and downright violently brutal, there's always a bit of a qualifier to his actions. He's just not nasty or evil. Whereas last week, we saw Bill, the good guy, do some truly grotesque and ghastly things.

All of this, of course, probably points to an ultimate Eric and Sookie pairing, which I don't really mind, as long as Sooks doesn't try to, ahem, defang the viking vampire the way she has with Bill. Then again, Eric will also have to get over his general distaste for humans and how "They certainly don't keep well." He is a funny fucker, alright. I wonder if he pictures putting Sookie in a refrigerator crisper to keep her fresh longer. But I can only tolerate him getting the cow eyes over Godric, not a girl.

As for things I really don't understand, though -- WHY must our Louisiana vampires be so pasty, while the Dallas ones aren't? I recall last season and how I thought we didn't have hot guys on this show. I've since seen Stephen Moyer (Bill) doing interviews, and he is, in fact, quite hot without the pancake makeup and bad hairdo. Alexander Skarsgard, even while being pasty white with red-rimmed eyes, is incredibly hot now that they've given him a haircut and D&G clothes. But then we meet Isabel and Stan, and they look -- human. They look great! Are they Mystic Tanning? Compare the difference between these first two and then Bill and Eric. What the fuck, right?

It can't be an age discrepancy, because I'm relatively certain at this point that Eric is 1,000 and Bill is under 150 -- and they're both the color of skim milk. I'm almost hoping they actually have the big "Meet the Dawn" barbeque and that Bill and Eric get just crisped enough to give them some color at this point.

Lastly, it wasn't just Turtle last night who was pulling off a Chuck Bass look. 2,000 years old, one of the pale ones, and he saved our succulent Sookie, but Godric was definitely Bassish.