Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Tonight I took a cute video of Bali playing with a toy; I was going to post it, but the "add video" button doesn't seem to exist on the post editor anymore. I did a bit of research and discovered that I'd have to switch back to the old editor to post videos, but I'm not sure how to do that, so at the moment, you'll just have to imagine a fluffy black cat romping around chasing a small green pom-pom. It's adorable, honest.
Our Fourth was very quiet, which is how we like it. I'm not a big fan of explosions or Festivals of Drunken Driving (yeah, I know, some people are just no fun), so we stayed home and watched a few episodes of True Blood. I loved the first two seasons of this show, but two-thirds of the way through the third, I'm seriously annoyed with it.
For one thing, it's turned into one of those shows where hardly anyone isn't some sort of supernatural beastie. As I often tell my writing students, just sticking a label of "vampire," "werewolf" or "fairy" on someone doesn't automatically make that character interesting. One of my classroom mantras is, "If you can't write an interesting story about a mailman, you won't be able to write an interesting story about an elf, either." Having Sookie turn out to be a fairy who flits around in a white dress through a sparkling meadow with other fairies waving flowers -- talk about kitsch! -- makes her character less interesting, not more, at least for me. (I haven't read the novels on which the series is based, but I believe this is Charlaine Harris' doing, not Alan Ball's.)
And anyway -- as I'm also constantly reminding my students -- having too many vampires in town just doesn't work. Vampires are major predators. They need food. If their prey don't outnumber them by a fairly substantial order of magnitude, a lot of them are going to have to move on. In fact, I'm slightly suspect of highly organized vampire societies: seems to me much more likely, given the population biology of the situation, that they'd hunt on their own and spread themselves out very widely.
Then we have the infamous vampire-versus-werewolf feud, which has become such an old story that I yawn every time I see it. Then we have the really excessive amounts of gore, which has lost whatever shock value or interest it once had. Then we have the fact that every supernatural beastie on the planet seems to have settled in Bon Temps, and don't local law agencies suspect anything? Buffy at least explained this with the Hellmouth trope, and even had characters fantasizing about moving to non-Hellmouth locations (and, in some cases, actually doing it, as when Buffy moves away from Sunnydale at the end of Season Two).
To be fair, Being Human has a lot of these same problems too, but I think that series acknowledges them more honestly (and I find the characters more interesting). Right now, the True Blood characters I'm most interested in are Tara and Lafayette, who are still human (as far as I know) and dealing with interesting conflicts. The Tara/Franklin subplot this season was worth the price of admission, even if it was just a tiny bit reminiscent of Spike and the Buffybot. The most appealing supernatural at the moment is Jessica, who's trying to figure out how to get along with a human, fang-phobic coworker, instead of getting caught up in succession struggles and internecine bickering and Ye Old Nazi Werewolf Conspiracy Plots.
Nazi werewolves? Please! Has anyone else noticed that writers who don't know what else to do invoke the Third Reich? This really bothers me. For one thing, it's lazy writing. For another, it ultimately trivializes the subject, which I -- for one -- find problematic.
Okay, I'm done venting now. I still think Alan Ball is a genius, but at this point, I'm basing that on American Beauty and Six Feet Under, not on True Blood.