Warning! If you’re a few episodes behind on True Blood (like my boyfriend Andrew), then do not read this post. (That means you, Andrew. )
Every week, I’m liking True Blood more and more. As Gabe at Videogum noted, they’ve gotten through the arduous process of setting up the show’s universe, and now they’re into the nitty gritty of some P-L-O-T. The stories are getting really dense, which is making me feel agreeably off-kilter. Why is Sookie confused by Sam’s thoughts, and why is he sniffing a dead girl’s sheets? Is he the dog that keeps showing up in the background? And is Jason getting addicted to V? And why would someone do that to grandma?!?
Right now, those questions create delicious confusion. Granted, the show raises a few questions that make me nuts, such as…
** Are we really supposed to believe that the general populace doesn’t know that vampires are vulnerable to pure silver? If those crazy drug addicts from the first episode knew it, why doesn’t everyone else? Isn’t there a website about these things?
** Will they every clarify how you become a vampire? When the Civil War Suckeress attacked Bill, it looked like she did to him exactly what Bill did to Sookie. You know, with the human drinking the vamp’s blood. Is Sookie still human because Bill didn’t bite her first? Can we just clear that up already?
** Can BillÂ be less boring? (Props to Joe for that one.)
But disregarding all that, there’s one question I do have an answer for.
Question: Can Lafayette be more awesome?
Let’s examine this character’s coolness… after the jump…
I think most of America drew Lafayette to their bosom after seeing this scene:
As Gabe pointed out in that post I linked to, Lafayette is exciting because his behavior is unpredictable. He can be soft in one moment and hard in the next. He can convince Jason to make an amateur porn today and he can kick a redneck’s ass tomorrow.
But thanks to the writing and Nelsan Ellis’ performance, he doesn’t come across as a scary loose cannon, even though he’s a drug dealer, a prostitute, a short order cook, and a road crew worker.Â Instead, he’s the most blithely confident character on the series. He’s the only one who never gets shaken. The only one who is perpetually unsurprised.
Even better, Lafayette’s confidence comes with a clear moral code: Protect yourself, protect your friends & family, and fuck up the people who disrespect you.
Gabe takes issue with the fact that Lafayette has too many jobs, but I think that fits True Blood‘s tone. At its core, the series is comic. I don’t mean it’s a comedy, per se, but that it relies on comic structure: It pushes its stories to ridiculous proportions, for instance, and makes its characters repeat themselves over and over. Jason is always horny. Grandma wasalways the perfect Southern belle. Archetypes like those are not the signs of lazy writing (as Gabe suggests) but the elements of all comic writing
And while this comic structuring doesn’t always lead to happy comic resolution (or at least not yet), it often lets whimsy into the stories. And whimsy lets Lafayette become a become the master of all he surveys. That’s his archetpye: He’s the guy in charge.
Lafayette’s wit and power makes him easy to root for. Plus, since he’s black and gay in small Southern town, he’s also an underdog hero. Conventional wisdom says he should be the least powerful person in the room, so watching take the room over is thrilling.
For now, at least. I hope the writers deepen his character as the series develops, they way they’ve started to deepen Sam and Tara. Eventually, Lafayette needs to show some vulnerability, or he’ll be too shallow for the more complex episodes that seem to be coming soon.
Right now, I’m trusting the writers to treat Lafayette right. I’m excited to see where he goes, and when he gets there, I hope nobody makes him take off his earrings. Or they will get fucked up.