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Five Things We Want to See in True Blood's Third Season
How HBO's hit vampire show could be even more addictive.
JAMES BRADY RYAN
The third season of HBO's True Blood premieres this Sunday, and while we're terribly excited, we also know the outrageous and sometimes ridiculous show has areas it can improve upon. Here are five things we're hoping to see this summer.
1. Tara Acting Smart: Tara seemed so promising: a devoted best friend of the protagonist whose tumultuous upbringing made her cynical, defensive, and more often than not completely unfamiliar with the concept of self-control. She should be awesome, and in the first few episodes of True Blood, she was, with some cutting lines and an obvious concern for Sookie's well being. But a character can only be the fuck-up so many times — without learning anything — before she starts to seem less "troubled" and more "deeply idiotic." Also (and we could be wrong about this, because we spend most of our time watching TV), aren't best friends supposed to, you know, talk to each other or whatever? We think the last time Tara and Sookie had a conversation on the show it was actually just screaming and someone probably got punched. Tara spent the second season dealing with the fallout from the first by spiraling further and further out of control, and we're worried she'll simply do the same this time around. Let's hope Tara will become a more fully fleshed-out character who engages in actual human interactions.
2. More Pam: A delightful scene in True Blood's first moment revealed the dangerous, bondage-gear-sporting Pam outside of work... in a conservative pink sweater set. The right-hand woman of vampire sheriff Eric, Pam is both menacing and totally over it, "it" being anything that has to do with humans that isn't directly for her benefit. In the Charlaine Harris novels that inspired True Blood, Pam eventually becomes a good friend of Sookie's, but in the series she's been underused. Yet like so many things on True Blood, she is full of potential. The third season should give her a girlfriend, or have her mentor the young vampire Jessica. Or just give her a plot line, period. Having someone on screen who seems competent (sorry again, Tara) would be a welcome change of pace.
3. Male Characters Not In Love With Sookie: Look, we like Anna Paquin, and we think Sookie is pretty awesome as well. But when it starts to feel like the only male character not in love with her is her own brother, we start to wonder if there are any other women in Bon Temps. The "Bill vs. Sam" plot line of the first season was tired before it even started (and come on, no one ever chooses the werewolf/shapeshifter over the vampire), and just when it started to die down, we had to deal with Eric's attempts to steal away Sookie's heart. If you've seen the trailer for the third season, you've probably noticed that there's another supernatural hunk vying for Sookie's affection this season. Attention, writers: new characters do not a new plotline make. Having man after man fall in love with Sookie doesn't make her seem more awesome; it makes her seem less realistic.
4. A Plotline for Lafayette: This is, in many ways, the male corollary to the Pam question. Lafayette — flamboyant, take-no-shit, flirtatious Lafayette — has stolen many a scene. But more and more last season, he was relegated to the sidelines, watching the other characters act crazy/stupid/really stupid and dropping a few lines of sassy wisdom. He's becoming more and more like a Wisdom Robot that dispenses witticisms on a timer. This season, let's see him use his own good advice, instead of just dispensing it.
5. Even More Nudity: We like True Blood for a lot of reasons. It has wonderful atmosphere, balancing equal parts creepiness and camp with its updated Southern Gothic style. And whatever faults we may find in its plot and characterization are more than made up for in its swift pacing and steady stream of one-liners. But while we may long for more thoughtful storytelling, we hope the show never loses its love of nudity. Is there a main character on True Blood who hasn't gotten naked? (Is there a supporting character, guest star, or extra, for that matter?) Part of True Blood's appeal is its over-the-top sensibility, and if the characters started keeping their shirts on, we'd have to watch Californication to get our sex scene fix. No one wants that.