Why do people feel the need to read conservative messaging into shows that are anything but? We are, of course, referring to Michelle Goldberg’s piece on “Vampire Conservatives” for The Daily Beast, but we could also be referencing *an article on 30 Rock that Jonah Weiner wrote for Slate back in May entitled, “I Want To GOP to There.” (Clever title, horrible thesis.) But we digress. So what did True Blood do to warrant such accusations from Goldberg?
She asserts that the campy HBO show has “weird, seemingly reactionary politics underlying much of the mayhem” and its fictional universe is “the right’s worst nightmare about post-gay-liberation America come to life.” And to top it off, the gays vampires, who are “arrogant, perverse, and cruel — everything the far right believes gays to be,” don’t want to interact with human society. In a huge (and we’re guessing deliberate) oversight, she fails to mention the prejudice that led to this divide. Remember the episode where those hicks burned a house full of vampires alive? We do.
Then there’s the super sexy vampire sex: “Sookie aside, those who crave it are somewhat pathetic — they’re referred to, derisively, as fangbangers. Human-vampire carnality is often rough and humiliating. When there is love involved, it’s laced with darkness, tragedy, and pain.” What she fails to note is that all of the sex we’ve seen in this series has been of the rough variety — vampire or no. And Sookie and Bill are they only couple we’ve seen who are in love. Period. On the flip side, you’ve got Arlene, a waitress working with Sookie who has been married four times and finds out her fiancee is a serial killer. Whoops.
Finally, as Goldberg notes, executive producer Alan Ball is gay, and rather than “reacting against domestication of gay life” as she suggests, we think he’s doing something much simpler with True Blood: putting a clever spin on prejudice and making something that’s addictive, laughable, and more importantly, discussable. It’s a primetime soap that’s trying to create a dialogue, people. What do you think?
* The Slate piece hilariously accuses Liz of secretly being a mini-Jack in liberal sandwich lover’s clothing.