Thursday, August 19, 2010

PoP FeaturE - TruE BlooD

There are only 3 episodes left, and as the HBO hit TRUE BLOOD winds down it's third season, it's three main stars - Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer  - strip naked and pose for Rolling Stone magazine covered in blood.

If you're a fan of the series, then you know that male nudity abounds, and not just with Skarsgard and Moyer, who play vampires Eric and Bill. There's Sam, the owner of Merlottes, which is the local bar/ restaurant in the fictional small town Bon Temps, Louisiana where the main drama is staged. Did I mention that Sam is a shapeshifter? That means he can turn into any animal he imprints: in layman's terms- if he sees it or pictures it in his mind, he can be it. Hence the lack of clothing, as it is difficult to shift when fully dressed.

Sookie, played by Paqin, is a waitress at Merlotte's who just so happens to be a telepath, and the only minds she is unable to read are those of vampires, which (assuming because they are technically dead) do not have the same electrical impulses of a living brain. As the various seasons progressed, we discover that Sookie may perhaps be even more than just telepathic, and the answer to just what she is, exactly, will probably be revealed by the end of the season. I already know the answer, but in the interest of not inserting any spoilers, I will let it unfold on the small screen.

Merlottes is one of those places that can only exist on television. You know those bars, clubs, restaurants, hangouts where EVERYONE in town ALWAYS seems to be at, and it's full of all types of interesting characters. Sam has a little brother, also a shapeshifter, who seems to spend more and more time naked and showing off his plump bubble butt. There's also Lafayette, the African American cook, who happens to be gay AND masculine, despite his penchant for wearing make-up, jewelry, false eye-lashes and a dash of sasay in his walk. He is now getting involved with a hunky Puerto Rican nurse named Jesus, and the show doesn't shy away from displaying intimacy between the two.

And we can't forget Tara, Lafayette's angry cousin and Sookie's best friend, who has really been put through an emotional ringer since the show began, including dealing with a Bible thumping, alcoholic mother, who she took to a (fake) exorcist to have a demon removed from, getting locked up for DUI, ending up being "saved" by Maryanne, who turned out to be a Maenid (check your Greek mythology - it ain't good) rather than a savior, falling in love with fellow Maryanne rescue Eggs (it was a nickname), only to lose him when he was shot, trying to deal with the anger and pain of losing the first man she ever loved, only to be kidnapped and imprisioned by a psychotic vampire named Franklin, who believed he was in love with her and planned on "turning her". That's quite a bit for our girl Tara.

But back to the nudity. For those who don't watch, the idea of all these vampires may seem strange, but the premise of the show partly revolved around the Japanese invention of a synthetic blood product for transfusions, which actually worked, and also allowed vamps to come "out of the closet" so to speak, since they no longer had to rely on humans for food. Those that actually abide by the rules and stick to a no-human diet are few and far between, but in most of the cases on the show, they at least don't kill the people anymore. Still with me? Well, if vampires exist, and Maenids and shapeshifters, then naturally werewolves exist too. We didn't get to see them until this season, but there are a whole helluva lot of them, and at some point, all the actors who play them are naked.

The award for nudity, however, must go to Aussie actor Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse (Sookie's dim witted brother, just in case you were not keeping up) who spent most of season 1 out of his clothes. And what a plesant sight it is.

(Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse from Season 1)



True Blood is based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlene Harris, which is currently at book ten. The HBO show has taken quite a few liberties with the plotlines and progression, as well as extended the life of certain fan favorites like Lafayette, who actually dies at the end of book 1. The premise, however, has remained in tact, in addition to the introduction of new characters from season to season, and as someone who has actually read all ten books, including an eleventh companion book that contained short stories that delve into Sookie's background, or expound on certain events from the books, I can say that there is alot more fun, sex, danger and death on the horizon. It has already been renewed for a fourth season, and if the current hype is any indication, the cult of fans will continue to grow.

Tune in on Sunday's at 9pm on HBO.

©2010 - Sean Dibble

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