My 7-year relationship with True Blood lasted longer than any relationship I’ve been in, and yet still managed to end the same – with a boot print on its butt and a firm “Good riddance!” on its way out the door. The title of the finale was “Thank You,” though I think an apology would have been more fitting.
The thing is, I loved True Blood – there were good times, great times even – which made the betrayal of that final episode, that sham of a final episode, hurt even more. True Blood came on the heels of that other vampire flick, which was also released in 2008, that started (or for Buffy fans, fueled) the fang craze that now infects a whole generation of fangirls. True Blood was different, though, from any of the other vamp vids in that genre, but also from anything else that was on TV. There wasn’t a good guy or a bad guy – everyone was a bit of a bad guy. The show was lauded early on for being an allegory for gay rights: revealing oneself as a vampire was called “coming out of the coffin,” the opening credits showed a sign that read “God hates the fangs,” a disease was created that solely affected vampires called Hep-V. And yet, what was so groundbreaking in the way it portrayed same-sex desire was that it somehow managed to avoid confronting it entirely, making it a nonissue. Sure, the show was heavy on homosexuality – there were countless gay/bi vampires and a loveable bitch of a drag queen – but so what? There were also were-panthers and shape-shifters.
What was so great about True Blood was that it didn’t really confront any issue. Everyone had sex with whomever they wanted, which was everyone else. Best friend’s girls, wives, no one was off-limits; in fact, nothing was off-limits. There were almost whole seasons dedicated to community-wide orgies, vampire genocide, faerie strip clubs. No one had time to care about real issues because there were plenty of fake fantasy issues to deal with. True Blood didn’t pretend to be smart or clever or mysterious like so many shows today. Like Jason, the hot loveable idiot, the show was what it was and made no apologies.
But a show where a half-faerie ditz (Sookie Stackhouse) can fall in love with a 200-year-old vampire (Vampire Bill) doesn’t suddenly decide in its final episode to discuss Sookie’s desire for a family, Bill’s inability to give her one, and the pointlessness of their relationship because of those two things.
So here’s how it played out: Vampire Bill is dying from Hep-V, but then a miraculous cure is created, yet he still refuses to take it because he has lived too long and is long overdue for death (an allegory, perhaps, for the entire show). So naturally, he asks Sookie to use her magic faerie ball to kill him so that she will lose her faerie-ness and return to being a normal person and he will, you know, die. But before he dies, he pressures his progeny Jessica into marrying Hoyt (whose memory she had erased, so he basically knew her for one day), and there’s a super charming wedding; nymphomaniac Jason doesn’t have sex with Hoyt’s ex-girlfriend of one day and then marries her too, and Sookie doesn’t use her faerie ball but helps Vampire Bill put a stake through his own heart before being completely doused in his stringy, gross blood. Fast forward a year and everyone lives happily ever after. No but seriously. That’s how it happens. The camera pans out on everyone sitting happily at a long table outside enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with a mystery man, supposedly Sookie’s husband, sitting at the head. THE END. Did you follow that? Yeah, me neither.
Things I just could not stand:
- Vampire Bill easily could have staked himself. Everybody knows how that works.
- Every character ended up in a couple. Which is unrealistic for any show, but especially one that featured a season-long town orgy.
- Sookie’s love rectangle of 7 seasons (between her, Vampire Bill, Eric, and Alcide) wasn’t mentioned at all – probably because Alcide was killed off a few episodes earlier, and Eric and Sookie had maybe 2 scenes together the entire season. Show some respect, writers.
- NO ONE HAD SEX. Almost every episode before the last one was dripping with sex and sexual tension and more sex, and then . . . no one has sex? That would never happen! I guess what upsets me most is that True Blood sold out. It was lawless and broke the mold, but in that final episode it was about as “cookie cutter” as a show about sexy, LGBT-friendly vampires can be. It spent 6 years avoiding making a statement, only to conclude with the statement that Sookie needed a mate who could provide her with children and every one else needed to couple up.
I’ve thought a lot about what I want in a show-ending season finale, because I’ve seen everything ranging from sappy sentimental bits to edge-of-your-seat shockers, and I’ve liked a good deal of both. Goodbyes are hard, but all we can ask for as viewers is that the show dies how it lived. What we got instead was a campy show with a Nicholas Sparks ending.
As painful as a splintered wooden stake through the heart.