Positive Cynicism – My secret shame

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

I woke up early this morning with secret intentions. Leaving my sleeping wife in bed, I quickly dressed, got myself a drink and sat down on the couch. Alone in the pre-dawn darkness, I took a deep breath, took one last furtive glance at the hallway leading to our bedroom and sat down to enjoy myself in the way I only can in total darkness and seclusion.

Oh yes, I enjoyed myself.

And then, suddenly, before I had finished: the light in the hallway.

I had to sit there, guilty, like a deer in headlights, as my wife came into the living room, took one look at me and rolled her eyes in disgust. I had been caught. Again.

What does a man have to do in order to have some peace and quiet in his own home so he can sit and watch his DVR’d episodes of True Blood?

Yes, my name is Aaron R. Davis and I am addicted to True Blood.

Um, the HBO show, not the actual fictional beverage.

Look, I’ve never believed in the concept of a guilty pleasure. I’ve always said: Why should I feel guilty about something giving me enjoyment? Turns out the answer is: When your wife hates it. And especially when your wife thinks you’re some special kind of idiot for liking it. See, she accepts the fact that I can’t stop watching True Blood. She just can’t understand it.

The weird thing is, I can’t understand it, either.

What is it about True Blood that keeps pulling me in?

At first, I thought it was just about the possibility of seeing Anna Paquin repeatedly and gloriously nude. But at some point, it became about more than that. It became about getting wrapped up in the characters, even though half of them are idiots, and several of them are so thinly written you can almost see through them like a grease-stained paper towel. And from there, it just became about the soap opera and total sleaze of the whole enterprise.

I have to admit, the thing I love most about True Blood is the sleaze.

Despite what the Family “Research” “Council” tells you, you just don’t get a lot of over-the-top, unapologetic sleaze on TV these days. What with everyone become more conservative to the point where too many people I know actually think the giggly pee-pee jokes on Two and a Half Men are naughty and witty, sleaze is just disappearing at an alarming rate. And as someone who was practically weaned on stolen skin mags and scrambled cable porn, sleaze is something I’ve always enjoyed — nay, expected — out of life.

Thank you, HBO, for providing that.

And this is coming from someone who thinks vampires are bullshit. I’ll never completely warm up to vampires as gay best friends for cat ladies in training; to me, they’re monsters, and monsters they will always remain. But then this show manages to throw in a lot of nudity, violence, redneck violence, sex, gay sex, redneck sex, religious weirdness, overacting, underacting and the kind of silly, portentous writing that Marvel Comics revels in, and suddenly vampires are fun.

Do you understand what I’m saying? I like True Blood because it’s completely and utterly ridiculous.

In fact, the more ridiculous this show gets, the more I love it.

Every criticism my wife has of the show — that it’s stupid, that it’s silly, that it’s just Charmed with sex, that it’s unoriginal, that it’s awful — is completely valid. I can’t defend it against those claims. And, honestly, I don’t have to. I’m not watching True Blood because it’s serious and compelling. I’m watching it because it’s epically silly. The sillier, the better. The more contrived it is, the more it delights me.

Good gods: does this mean I like a show ironically? I really hoped it would never get to that point in my life.

Let me put it this way: when True Blood started, it was basically a murder mystery with a psychic and vampires that just got weirder and weirder. Six minutes into last night’s fourth season premiere, Anna Paquin and Gary Cole were running away from fairies that were shooting balls of energy at them. It looked like someone was trying to make the cheapest episode of the original Star Trek that they could. I actually expected a guy in a Gorn suit to come ambling out from behind a crag and flail his arms at them.

This show has jumped the rails while it was jumping the rails.

I love it.

I love that there’s a show out there that is just this bad while being this good. It’s an astounding accomplishment. It’s like a lot of the cartoons I used to watch after school in the 80s: dumb, pointless and I really should know better, but I don’t care because I have too much fun watching it. I love it to death and I hope it’s on for years and years. And if my wife wants to miss out on it, well, I’ll just have to do it alone in the dark.

Which I guess is part of the fun, isn’t it?

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

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