Monday, September 12, 2011

True Blood and True BS (SPOILER HEAVY!)

I've always rather enjoyed HBO's True Blood, but this season tried my patience. Sure, the show has always lapsed into melodrama and bullshit soap opera-ness, but in past seasons, everytime the cheese starts to get too thick, the writers have always given audiences a great and gory "what the fuck" moment - such as the vampire king of Louisiana ripping the spine from a news anchor live on TV in season 3.

Season four layed on the cheese thicker than a Guy Fieri dish, and had very few moments of WTF to... well... cut said cheese. This season was so meandering it became boring; full of too many subplots and way too many characters... the number of shapeshifting denizens alone was almost too much to keep up with. Werewolves, shapeshifters, werepanthers... I was half expecting one of Tim Sullivan's biker-gay werebears from Chillerama (repeat screening October 14th at Metro Cinema!) to pop up. Not to mention, fairies, mediums, ghosts, and the season's big bad, witches.

None of it gelled like it did in previous seasons. In an effort to get from plotline to plotline, the show sacrificed heart, humor, and its trademark blood and guts. And don't even get me started on the head witch's Ronnie James Dio-esque spellcasting.

Truth be told, I kinda stopped caring about the show. But the fact that 90 percent of the other channels were chock full of 9/11 anniversary coverage, I summoned up a "meh" and gave tonight's season finale a shot. And although, like the entire season, the finale was meandering and felt tacked on, I actually had a pretty good time with it. The humor, the heart, and the gore were all back in spades... especially the humor.

The best parts of the show:

Jesus' warning that "you can't trade magic like fucking Pokemon cards";

Witch Marnie's final exclamation -  "this fucking sucks!" given with great delivery;

Bill liking Eric much better when he was "brain damaged";

finally seeing Jessica's ta-tas (and that little red riding hood getup was dead-hot too);

Sheriff Andy's pathetic yet somehow suave pick-up attempt;

Vamp Pam's rant about Sookie's "fairy vagina";

and that fucking love triangle BS that thankfully (we can hope) came to an end tonight - both the vamp and the shapeshifter ones. This pretty much derailed the season for me.

As expected, lots of characters bit it in the finale. Some shockingly, some sadly, and some gleefully (although I'll miss Nan's bitchiness, it was getting irritating). And some characters from past seasons are coming back into the mix, including a surprising new vampire and the ghost of a previous big bad.

The finale hooked me in just enough that I MAY tune in next season. But it better be more focused, streamlined, and fun than this one.

As for other TV, well my fave Curb Your Enthusiasm ended it's season tonight as well with a gut buster of an episode. Within the first FIVE MINUTES, we have a gay seven year old swastika-loving child and a Michael J. Fox Parkinson's joke. Before you send them hate mail, Mr. Fox guest starred playing himself as Larry's upstairs neighbor. In fact, after the Curb season finale, I'm convinced that 99% of the Michael J. Fox Parkinson's jokes were started by Fox himself.  I kid you not, MJF goes to get Larry a drink and says "I'll be back in two shakes." He is simply hilarious, and it was great to see him back on TV. From exploding pop bottles to late night stomping, he keeps Larry guessing whether he's getting fucked with or whether its part of the disease ("Pissed or Parkinson's? I'm not sure..."). And the young actor playing the seven year old of dubious sexual orientation almost stole the show away from Fox and David. One of the best shticks of the series is how obvious things are to Larry that everyone else is oblivious to. It was a great way to end a pretty... pretty... pretty damn good season.

And Entourage, a show both loved and reviled, wrapped up for good (until the movie at least) tonight. Lots of people rag on the show because its essentially about a bunch of spoiled rich boys driving hot cars, going to hot clubs, and banging hot women. Their point?

The show has always been about escapism. I work in film and TV (even in a small city like Edmonton), and I gotta say, whether you're making a documentary, working on local TV, or doing some other creative endeavor, I bet deep down inside most of us are in the biz because we want a little bit of that Hollywood magic. And for me, if I can't get it here, watching Entourage is probably the next best thing.

But under the glitz and glamour, the show's always been about loyalty and the "bro-code". And it's never lost that theme. So by the end of the episode (and the series), everyone winds up happy. Including Ari Gold, who manages to save his marriage in one of the best scenes of the entire run. Entourage wrapped with an ok episode with a few sentimental moments (and a great post-credits bit).

So that's it for TV's more interesting moments of the summer. For now, I'll wait with baited breath for new seasons of Bored to Death (a series that got MUCH better in its second season), Boardwalk Empire, and down the road, Californication.

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