This week’s episode of True Blood was very special. Not that it was particularly remarkable (with the exception of the long overdue appearance of Alcide’s butt, of course), but it played like a very special episode. As you know, whether it’s meeting Blair’s physically challenged lesbian cousin, Blanche’s romantically-challenged gay brother, or trying to figure out what the hell happened to Shelley Long on Modern Family, non-PBS shows will, on occasion, slip an episode in here and there to add some learnin’ to the laughin.’ These “Very Special Episodes” are filled with more warm and fuzzy moments than beer bust at a bear bar in July. So, gather the family, nuke some popcorn and wave your “The More You Know” rainbow flag above your heads, because episode four, “I’m Alive and On Fire,” has much to teach us.
It’s Only Polite to Wait Your Turn
As anxious as a female werepanther may be to get in on the gang rape of a man with less than 10% body fat, they’re respectful enough of each other—and themselves—to patiently and good-naturedly wait their turn. Line-cutters never prosper! One can only hope those waiting in line for the True Blood Comic-Con panel are as gracious.
“We’re gonna need a bigger towel.”
And after you’ve taken your turn with the human from whose loins you and your sister-aunts are trying to extract seed (in this case, Jason Stackhouse), it’s a further sign of respect for the sanctity and intimacy of sexual union to cover the gentleman’s private parts when you’re through (or get thrown off). Sure, you’re going to piss off millions of viewers who’d be happy for even a glimpse of the Mexican Viagra-fortified Li’l JayJay, but you’ll keep that one conservative HBO censor happy, and isn’t that nice?
No Means No, But If There Are Flowers, Then It’s Yes
Jason convinces Becky that he respects her for wanting to remain a virgin, and asks that in turn, she respect his wish to not be raped any longer. He further tells her that her first time should be special and that men give presents and flowers to the people they want to have relations with. This comes as a shock to poor Becky and teaches everyone who enjoys relations with men that we’ve been going about it wrong.
Respect the Boundaries and Personal Space of Others
When Bill begrudgingly agrees not to look for Eric in Sookie’s house, we understand that if a vampire king on the hunt for a rogue vampire thinks it’s impolite to enter the house of your ex-girlfriend/faerie, (even though it’s not technically her house), just because you suspect he’s in there, then perhaps we, ordinary people, might think better of barging into our roommate’s room looking for the remote. Thanks for the food for thought, Bill.
Readin’ and Writin’ Are Fundamental
Tommy returns to the loving arms of his shape-shifting mother and delights her with tales of his newfound ability to read. Meanwhile, Arlene’s/Rosemary’s baby has learned to write, too, which is great, but also kind of Shining-creepy, because he writes “Baby Not Yours” on the living room wall.
Families Are Sometimes Difficult, But They Love You…In Their Own Way
When Maxine blows into Merlotte’s like a Sugarbaker on fire, chastising Sam for abandoning and shooting his brother, Sam reminds Maxine that she’s the one who disowned her own son. They agree to disagree, which is a lovely way to resolve a conflict, while respecting the rights of families to revel in their own dysfunctions.
Portia takes Bill home to meet her grandmother, played by gay fan favorite and Who’s the Boss sexy senior citizen, Mona! After humiliating her grandson (and current V-addict) Andy in front of her guest, Mona recites the Bellefleur family linage. But before the family tree falls on Angela and Jonathan, she and Bill are uprooted when they realize Bill is Portia’s great-great-great-great grandfather. Chances are, because of attorney/vampire privilege, neither one of them will ever tell anyone they brought sexy back to the Bellefleur family reunion, but they know. And we know. So, Bill does the only thing he can—he breaks it off. For, you see, when your affair goes from Who’s the Boss to Who’s Your Grandaddy, it’s time to cut your losses and move on. There are plenty of undead fish is the Dead Sea.
Meanwhile, back on Tommy’s mama’s doorstep (well, in as much as a woman who spends her days watching “her stories,” schlepping water from a well and fighting dogs to the death has a doorstep), we, the audience, watch—but more importantly learn—as Tommy demonstrates two things for us: 1.) You can never go home again (well, you can, but not without having your father sneak up behind you and choke you with a chain, and 2.) If you’re cute and willing to take off your clothes, producers and writers will find ways to keep your storyline relevant.
“Thanks for coming over and taking your clothes off.”
Helping Your Neighbors
If your myopic neighbor asks you to help her find the keys she dropped on her front lawn, you’d do it, right? So, it stands to reason that if you’re a werewolf, you’ll help your faerie friend sniff out the amnesiac vampire she’s misplaced. Because when you help your community, you help yourself. And as Alcide demonstrates, it’s really best to help your neighbors by ripping your shirt off and slowly, lingeringly removing your pants. Why? Because Alcide knows that the one thing that’s sure to motivate people, faeries, vampires and whatever, is even the tiniest glimpse of pubic hair. Britney Spears knows this, and now we do, too.
It’s Not Nice to Stare
If any doubts remained that Sookie’s not really human, they were all erased when she never looked down—not even once—when standing between a naked Alcide and a naked Eric. WTF? I mean, come on, not even a peek? Or, for the love of God, a picture? That is supernatural self-control.
“Good morning, starshine!”
Cleanliness Is Next to Goddess-liness
It appears that Aunt Petunia’s shop is just like the one featured in Friday the 13th: The Series. Unfortunately, her shelves are filled with disorganized knick-knacks, do-dads, and crystals, which makes finding the right spell to un-amnesia-fy Eric a little difficult to find. Learn from Aunt Petunia’s mistake and create a database or, if you’re old school, a card catalogue of your personal belongings and relics of the dark arts, so when the time comes, you’ll be well-prepared to cast a spell to make Pam’s face bubble off like that guy from Poltergeist.
A little Proactiv will clear that right up.
Real Men Play with Barbies
When Sam meets Luna’s daughter, he asks her if the Barbie he’ll be playing with has a lot of pretty dresses. See, Republicans, a man can own a bar, bed beautiful women and occasionally act like a dog, but it doesn’t mean he can’t also derive pleasure from a Dream House and a pair of sassy pumps.
And that’s what you should know. And in the non-vampire kind of immortal words of GI Joe, knowing is half the battle.
Robb Pearlman is the author of the Spoiler Alert: Bruce Willis is Dead and 399 More Endings from Movies, TV, Books, and Life, coming this November, as well as The Q Guide to Sex and the City and upcoming adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh. He is an editor of pop culture and entertainment titles, including the upcoming The Joker and The Syfy Book of SciFi. Robb is known by name in comic book stores in such wide ranging locales as New York, Gotham City, Brigadoon and Alderaan. An only child in constant need of validation, he promises to accept your Facebook friend request.