HBO's often sloppy and overcrowded horror-comedy series True Blood returned for its sixth season last night, picking up where we left off in last year's annoyingly entertaining season finale. It looks like I'll be watching yet another season of this show, despite every urging of the more rational parts of my brain to stop. So, if I am going to be with this thing for the long haul once more, would it be too much to make one simple request? Please get rid of Sookie.
And for that matter, get rid of Bill, too. I know that Bill has now changed from the moody old gentleman vampire we once knew into some sort of possessed all-powerful blood monster, and so in theory he's going to be an exciting character again, but I'm not buying it. Really, he and Sookie both outlived their usefulness on the show long ago. Though they're arguably the central characters — the show hinged on their romantic relationship for years — they've always been pretty dull, haven't they? And they've certainly never been the reason I've watched the show. It's everyone around Sookie and Bill, all their kooky friends and enemies, who have kept True Blood interesting.
Imagine the show without Sookie. Gone is the constant whining, the forever ham-fisted love triangle stuff, the dopey faerie mythology. Last night Sookie told Eric that she "wants to be that girl again," meaning, I guess, the Sookie from the beginning of the series, who was, I dunno, innocent or something? I honestly have no idea who Sookie's character was ever supposed to be other than a vessel built for receiving exposition. And Bill has pretty much been a bore since day one — imagine the show without his perpetual frowning and tedious moralizing. In losing both Bill and Sookie we gain a lot. But then imagine the show without Jason, or Jessica, or Pam, or Eric, or Lafayette. Each one would be a detrimental loss. True Blood's side characters (with the exception of Tara, perhaps) have always been more vital, more engaging than our two leads. They're the impetus of the show, but they're certainly not what keeps it going.