Social Sub Contexts of True Blood and the Sookie Books

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Social Sub Contexts of True Blood and the Sookie Books Empty Social Sub Contexts of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Dragonhawk on Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:40 pm

Social Sub Contexts of True Blood and the Sookie Books

This essay was at the other forum before we lost it and I did not keep a copy of it, so I am going to try to recreate my thoughts here.

True Blood and the Southern Vampire Mysteries from which it is derived are on the surface what we see: a great romp with fantastic characters and sexy Vampires and Werewolves, a soap opera with fangs. We have virtual cast of thousands of the living, the undead and the definitely dead. We have adventures and heart break and love found, lost and found again. All the good things that keep us tuned for the next episode. Pop corn for smart people.

But underneath the surface lies a complex texture of sub contexts that bring all the classes, sexualities, races, species and subspecies together. And I think that is what draws us to not just enjoy the story but relate to it in a very elemental level. Because we have all experienced isolation because of a sense of otherness. This otherness leads us to identify intimately with all the characters at one time or other.
In order for me to discuss this topic as thoroughly as possible, I will separate this essay into topics: Race, Sex and Sexual Orientation, Class, Religious or Cultural Identity and Health and Wellbeing Issues.

Race: It is very easy to see the story of Vampires and eventually Werewolves as racial minorities. It is the simplest way to actualize them in our thought processes. The show and the books to a limited degree use the issue of race as a familiar barometer for us to measure what the Vampires and other supernaturals will have to face as they try to mainstream. We are given this barometer on the show with the characters of Tara and Lafayette and Lettie Mae. They are all troubled people. Tara comes from a loveless home and is persecuted by her own feelings of low self worth. She is combative to the world around her and uses race as a simple shield. She feeds on stereotype to protect herself. In the beginning of season one, we meet her and she accuses the customer and her manager of being racists. Of course they aren’t, they are simply reacting to her belligerence. Later, when she is tending bar, a customer struggles to gain her attention and she snaps…”Oh no, don’t snap at me, I have a name, and its Tara, now ain’t that funny, my momma naming me after a plantation?” Then, When Bill visits Sookie, she asks Bill: “Did you own slaves?” and when he confirms he did (though in the book, the slaves were actually owned by the Stackhouses) Tara is affronted and later, in order to gain Sam’s confidence she adds indignantly that “He didn’t even bother to apologize to me”.

When Tara expresses concern for Sookie’s safety in the company of Bill Compton, Sookie says “Yeah and black people are lazy and Jews have horns,” Here Sookie counters Tara’s argument that Bill could hypnotize her and take advantage of her.

When Jason is suspected of killing Dawn, Tara goes to get Jason out and offer an alibi. She says “Race may not be a hot button topic anymore with Vampires out in the open, but it is still a button that can be pressed. Haven’t you ever seen the way people in this town look at mixed couples around here?” This is apparently true because Andy and Bud both acquiesce and let Jason go.

Tara’s mother expresses troubles with race when she goes to bank manager for a loan to have an exorcism. He explains to her he can’t loan her money for an exorcism. She accuses him racism, of sexual harassment and not being a good Christian.

Lafayette has double whammy of being both black and gay, but we will tackle his race first. Race seems to be the last thing on Lafayette’s mind. Til Eric gets a hold of him. One of the criticisms of the scenes with Lafayette chained in Eric’s Vampire jail was the echo of slavery, as he is manacled and collared much like African slaves in the old South. When Eric takes him up for his discussion he declares vehemently to the whiter than white Vampire Jailor: “If I have a Jew’s chance at an Al Quieda pep rally of getting my black ass up out of here, I will tell you what you want to know,” Here he aligns himself with another beleaguered minority group and aligns the Vampire holding him with terrorists.

The only time we hear human racial slurs is when we hear the thoughts of a Merlotte’s patron as Sookie listens to hear who might be the Bon Temps Strangler. He says: “Weirdoes, dead fucks, and n*****rs, all together, that ain’t right, this must be the end times,” This seems to echo the sentiments of the bar as everyone speculates on the identity of the killer.

Vampire slurs are more evident. The expressions fanger and fangbanger are derogatory terms for Vampires and their human companions and Bill and Sookie are harassed as they try to go home from Fangtasia by a police officer who suspects Bill of being Vampire. Sookie is treated as a Vampire lover, her romantic connection to Bill Compton makes her not only crazy but also a traitor to her own kind. She is even blamed for the death of her grandmother, even by people who she trusted, like Sheriff Dearborne and Andy. Royce says she is tainted from humans now that she has slept with Bill Compton.

Then there is the way she is treated by the Fellowship of the Sun on Season Two. She is seen as a race traitor of sorts. Gabe attempts to rape her to show her what she is missing out by having sex with a Vampire, and even creepy coroner Mike Spencer, under the spell of Maryann, observes: “Why do you let him put his dead pecker inside you?” when Mike has been engaged in all sorts of sexual hijinks at the various orgies including a cross species molestation of a pine tree.

So this leads into the next topic of discussion: Sex and Sexual Orientation. Nothing gets anyone riled up more, both negatively and positively than sex. Who you are having sex with, in what way, where and whether or not you do it for pay is a matter of everyone’s business, whether you want it to be a matter or not. The greatest taboos are sexual ones. There has been more written on the topic than any other topic. We buy and sell with sex, even if your product is American Apple pie.

One of the first taboos was about the intermixing of people of other races. Issues of racial purity are not new ones. Many cultures seek racial purity to maintain the cultural balance. To introduce children who may have the genetic makeup of two races leaves them out. Then there are the myths of sexual prowess or uncontrollable sexual appetite. Lafayette sort of plays on the taboo of black sexuality by saying: I have six gears on these hips baby! Give you a little cocoa!!”

Sookie of course is a virgin, not because she wants to be, but because she is telepathic and can’t ignore the meanderings of a potential sex partner’s mind to relax and get up a good head of steam. But then she meets a man whose mind she can’t read: Bill Compton. A Vampire.

Jason hates to discover that his lovers have been with Vampires. He is the town rooster, his libido is huge, he prides himself at being a real lover. He knows other men are jealous of him. In Season Two he gets mad at Andy and says “You are jealous because of the pussy I get…I work hard to have a good body and I watch a lot of porn to learn stuff…” The fact that he must now compete with Vampires who have legendary libidos and perhaps centuries of sexual experience to back them up are enough to cause a deep seated hatred. He hates the thought Sookie might have sex with Bill, and when she does, he is the first to call her a fangbanger.

Sookie turns to Bill for comfort and to give him her virginity but she reveals that something happened to her as a child. The exploitation of children by adults is the most damaging aspect of sexuality. Charlaine Harris often uses rape as a metaphor for control by others against those who are weaker. In the book, Godric the Vampire is a child molester and feeder upon children. Sookie is sexually attacked by Bill blinded by hunger and pain after a long incarceration in Book Three. Gabe of course tried to rape her. Mickey as well in a later book, and even Eric is nearly made a victim of rape by the servant of a vanquished Vampire ruler. Then Eric reveals in the last book his maker forced him to be his paramour which bonds Sookie closer to Eric on another level.

Homosexual Vampires are not segregated in the Vampire world. Sexuality simply is an integral part of their being. It does not matter the sexual orientation of the Vampire to another Vampire. In the human world however, we see a different attitude. Lafayette lives a very open life as a gay man. Flashy and flamboyant on the show, he is the entertainer. He is a quick wit with a wicked sense of humor. He is not one to mistake for being weak however, as Royce and his redneck friends find out when they give him a hassle for being gay. “F*ggots been breeding your cows, raising your chickens brewing your beer long before I walked my sexy ass up in this joint!” he declares. Lafayette works three jobs: Merlotte’s as a short order cook, the road crew, and his web site and escort service. Among his customers is a state senator who is on the down low.

Another of his customers is Eddie Fournier, a Vampire. He trades sex for Vampire blood. And though he does have sex with Vampires he does not allow them to bite him. He tells Sookie: “I don’t know Sook, when blood is drawn, a line has been crossed…” he then calls Sookie a skank when she walks away. While some interpret this as playful, the way Tara called Sookie a bitch with a wink, I think this was Lafayette’s way of creating a limit for himself. He might have sex with Vampire, use their blood as a drug, but he does not allow them to feed. In his mind, he is superior to Sookie. He is a hustler, but not a fangbanger.

Eddie is tragic and interesting case. A closeted homosexual in his human life, when he comes to grips with his sexuality, he is still a lonely person who thought becoming Vampire would help him find love. He asks Lafayette: “You do like me don’t you Lafayette? I mean, even if I wasn’t helping out with the blood?” Then he is kidnapped by Jason and his V loving girlfriend, the hippy dippy Amy. She is disgusted by Eddie, but she wants the high and the really psychedelic sex she has on the V trips. She berates Eddie for being what he is: dead, for all intents and purposes, inorganic, and while she worships the blood, she hates the chalice in which it is contained.

An unlikely friendship springs up between Jason and Eddie. He begins to overlook the Vampire Eddie and embraces the gay Eddie. He feels a sort of pity for the Vampire whose blood he is tripping on and feels remorse when he is murdered. At the Light of Day Leadership Conference, he tells the group: “I ain’t a Vampire victim….. I knew this Vampire, Eddie, and he was gay and I got him killed.”

Hoyt Fortenberry sets himself up for prejudice in season two when he tells his mother that Jessica is Vampire. Mrs. Fortenberry gets a conciliatory pat on the hand by her friend.

Having said all this, it is easy to see Vampires paralleled with real life happenings in the gay and straight world. Charlaine Harris is a little more obvious with the way human society deals with Vampires: They can’t be doctors or nurses, they many not own certain businesses and they cannot marry. In the not so distant past, it was believed that gays were predators, not to be trusted with people who were dependent, who were ill or the young. Gay owned businesses were victims of crime, run out of smaller towns. And of course, in most states and countries, gays may not marry. There are even laws on the books that make gay sex a crime (called blue laws or sodomy laws) under the guise of rape laws. (For example, if a rape involves oral sex, it is called an act of perversion and the rape is given separate charges based on the kind of rape.) The fact that Alan Ball explicitly plays with these images and has the second season end with Bill giving Sookie plane tickets on Anubis for Vermont, the only place where they can have a ceremony performed, highlights the plight many gay people in America face trying to legally establish their relationship and all the benefits that go with legal union and recognition.

Social Class is a big thing in the Charlaine Harris, but something not really mentioned in the show. To really discuss this topic, you have to separate it into human social rank and Vampire social rank. To begin, in the books, social rank is established by money. Every town has have and have nots. The Bellefleurs are examples of the haves. They are old family and old money. True their family fortunes are on the wane, but they still maintain that air of superiority. Then there are the business people. Tara may begin in the books as woman of doubtful means, but she becomes a rather successful business woman. Sookie, Jason and the rest are working class. Sookie even mentions this to Bill. “Dawn was a waitress, like me. Maudette came from a plain family like I do….” In the books, Sookie is always worried about her financial security and her pride. She is angry with Bill when he tells her he is to go to Tara’s new business and charge things to his account, and have her hair done or buy shampoo and the like at his expense. This piques Sookie’s anger, her feeling of being a kept woman.

Later, Eric depends on Sookie for his well being. He observes that her car is very bad, that her road is pitted and needs to be graveled. She rails at him saying that she is broke and she can’t afford a new car, that she used money she had made from in the past to pay her property taxes, that she has to miss work to take care of Vampire business. Later, when Sookie is working for the Queen, Eric tells her to go and buy clothes for the trip. To save her dignity in front of other Vampires, Eric hastily says that Sookie would not be needing these things if she were not going with him and the others. In another occasion, Eric says she should ask him for money, because he knows she would not ask for it unless she needed it for something important.

Lafayette in the show discusses the fact he is holding down three jobs and still is not insured (another hot button issue in today’s world). Tara defends Sookie’s home indignantly when she tells Maryann, “I’m sorry I don’t I don’t have a better crib for you to squat in,” Jason tells Sookie he was never good at anything but football, but not good enough for the scholarship which would have raised his social status. Sookie in the books tells us often that she is self educated and Tara on the show tells Bud Dearborn “Why I should I go to college where white people read to each other when I can save my money and read to myself?” Hoyt Fortenberry’s mother informs Hoyt that girls who call late at night are after one thing: money. She is then shocked and embarrassed when Hoyt blurts out they didn’t have any money. She demurs and says they are very comfortable.

In the world of Vampire, their social levels are a bit more complex. While sex and race and orientation and national origin are suborned by the Vampirism, there is a dual layered class system. This is the way I understand it.

In social situations, Vampires give one another deferential treatment based on age. The older the Vampire, the stronger physically they are. So, politeness dictates that younger Vampires show a certain level of respect, in descending order. For example, in the Monroe nest, Liam was the eldest, Diane second, and Liam presumably third. When Bill walks into the nest and issues his ultimatum Liam says: “I am your Elder, you have no authority here,” This does not preclude Bill’s ability to physically over throw Diane, who is his junior by about 100 years.

Being a Maker is also powerful. Eric is Pam’s maker, thus able to make her do his bidding. In the show, Godric is Eric’s maker and though Godric is physically stronger, he is diminutive in comparison to Eric. In the books, Eric’s maker was a man more on Eric’s physical level, and had of course the maker’s authority. Bill’s maker is Lorena. Though she is a small woman, she leaps on top of Bill in the show and says, “Your blood knows mine, you could never overpower me,” Bill is Jessica’s inept maker. He is inconsistently heavy handed with her, otherwise frustrated as to what do with her, dealing with the guilt of having to make her.

Then there is a matter of duty or given position. Starting at the bottom are the minions. These are the Vampires who live in given area. Each state in America is divided into kingdoms. Each kingdom is divided into areas. Each area has a Sheriff, each kingdom a king or queen. Your position as king or queen supersedes all other Vampire customs of class. For example, Sophie in the show is a young Vampire compared to Eric, but she commands Eric as her sheriff.

In the show we also have two positions of power. There is the Magister. He is the supreme judge to the Vampire world in America. And Nan Flanagan, the public face of Vampires in America. She lands somewhere under the royalty but perhaps a shade above the Magister. In the books, these characters do not exist. In the books they have someone they call the Ancient Pythoness. She is apparently the judge in the books and the Magister takes her place on the show.

Wealth is another biggie. As Alcide says in the books: “Coming out in the open would only cause us to be sterilized, ghettoized or put in zoos. Vampires coming out just made them rich,” Bill explains to Sookie that Vampires at first robbed the dead, then they began to learn to work with humans using their glamour to steal, for lack of a better word, then when they came out of the coffin, they could invest their money and they couldn’t be taxed because in America, you can’t tax the dead.

Vampires like Eddie led ordinary financial lives. He lived in a cute a little suburban house but he is not at all rich. He is comfortable. But, being a young Vampire, he had not social status except as a minion in the Vampire pecking order.

In general, humans in the Vampire world are as negligible as Vampires in the human world. They too are given derogatory names: Blood bag, breather, pets. Humans are low, they do not feel as the Vampires do. They are like cows, cute but food. McPeople. Gay, straight, rich, poor, black, white, male, female, it is all the same to Vampires. Weres and other supernaturals are considered below their notice. They too are inferior. Classism and racism even among the Supernaturals. The objects of bigotry are bigots themselves.

The only clause is the Mine rule. If a Vampire declares a human “mine” then all Vampires are expected through custom, to keep their fangs off. This rule is a little shaky and cannot be counted on in Human/Vampire relationships.

Religion and Culture is a way of dividing people into groups and creating bigotry. Maxine is a true democrat in her hate: She hates Catholics (only priests and nuns), she hates Methodists (she has her reasons), Blacks (that’s a secret. Sure Maxine, like mayonnaise is a secret sauce) People who don’t fix up their yards (obviously Whiskey Tangos) women who wear red shoes (tacky: read slutty) People with a lot of kids (again the W/T element), and of course Vampires, because they can kill you and eat you. She is the microcosm of Bon Temps, distilled in a beady eyed, snoopy little woman with a mean mouth. Even her husband didn’t like her. He committed suicide to get the hell away from her.

Vampires are thought to have no religion. They are damned by most every religious group anyway. Bill on the show even casually explains that holy water is just water and crosses are just geometry. When he walks into the church to give his talk, he uncovers the flag draped cross and even stands there in front of it a moment. He then explains: “Vampires are not minions of the Devil, we can stand before a cross, or a Bible. Vampires are like any creature of God,” In the books, Eric tells Sookie he was never a Christian, but he cannot imagine God would punish her for protecting herself. Sookie always talks about her conscience, that she is not a good Christian but a decent survivalist. Godric on show sees God in Sookie’s tears. The Vampire angel he has become delivers himself up to the hands of an angry God. He asks Sookie what God will do to him to punish him. “God doesn’t punish, he forgives,” Sookie assures him. In the books, Eric is a rather dubious priest and Bill asks Sookie to pray for him in a “real church”, presumably where Eric is not pastor.

God may forgive but the church is a different matter. The Fellowship of the Sun is eerily like the Klan, declaring they are about love of their own kind while down playing and twisting the truth of their hate. I feel the same way Inquisition. The Magister and Steve Newlin actually have a lot in common, in fact if they were not on the opposite sides of the hate fence, I would say they would be bowling buddies on the same league, the haters league.

Hate is really an equal opportunity employer. It hires you regardless of your race, color, creed, or national origin. Love is a harder club to join. Respect and tolerance is even tough. Alan Ball reflects all these human foibles. The intolerance of people of others of their own kind as well as supernaturals is the tantamount force driving the action of every individual on the show, whether they are the haters or the objects of hate. But as we all know, all peace, all love, all day makes for uninteresting drama. And as one of our members have on their temperament on their profile: We have far too much drama in our itty bitty lives.

Finally there is the question of health and well being. There have been plagues among man and beast for centuries, though some might see humanity a plague in and of itself. In our stories and dual worlds, the first disease we encounter is mention of a secret strain of hepatitis D, something harmless to humans but weakens Vampires terribly. Bill is nearly contaminated by Malcolm’s blood bag. Royce refuses Lafayette’s food because he doesn’t want an AIDS burger, and humans regularly get strung out on Vampire blood.

But how many of us have been through or seen loved ones change because of health issues, either physical or emotional? The feelings they have are feeling of otherness, of being outside the normal. Perhaps disease even distorts or disfigures us and we are shunned because people fear what they don’t understand. What if you discovered that drinking something might cure you? Even if it is the blood of something not human? Would that make it okay to exploit them? Perhaps in some people’s minds it would be okay. Especially if they are not considered human, not a live viable human. Today fetal stem cell is a hot topic. Imagine a creature that has all the healing potential of stem cells? And at what lengths would they go to protect that secret?

So you come to the end of this piece. What does it all boil down to? Is it a simple metaphor for only gay folk? Does it examine class? Are Vampires a mirror of other races and minorities? Is it possible that when you hate, you may find yourself a minority among beings who see themselves as superior to you? Is this the tale of how we view not only others or how we view ourselves? Can any one group or people or creed say with perfect truth: I have never hated or been prejudiced? Or is that the greatest lie ever told?

It is a big thing to be carried by a series of dime store romances and a late night soap opera, but it is all there. To borrow from the Breakfast Club: You see us exactly the way you want to see us. We are in the convenient definitions: A Telepath, A Sex Fiend, A Hustler, A Werewolf, and A Vampire.

But it is more complex than that….Isn’t it?


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Social Sub Contexts of True Blood and the Sookie Books Empty Re: Social Sub Contexts of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Dragonhawk on Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:48 pm

Just Jake

"First gay kiss" heartthrob jumps from soap to Off Broadway

Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 6:26 PM CST


Silbermann joined the cast of
"As the World Turns" more than three years ago, he had no clue he was
about to make history. That's because his character, a hunky teen named
Noah, ditched his girlfriend to be in the arms of his true love. And
that love was none other than Luke (played by Van Hansis), a major
character who was openly gay and okay with it.

On August 17,
2007, "World" was shaken when the boys shared a kiss. And not just a
quick smooch, but a full-on, extreme close-up wet one lasting several
seconds. After more than half a century on the air, this was a huge deal
for "ATWT" and for America -- the first ever dude-on-dude kiss on
daytime TV.

"Nuke," as the couple became known, was an instant
phenomenon. Fans cheered. Ratings surged. At the time, the scene was one
of YouTube's most watched clips. The duo was consistently voted
favorite couple in Soap Opera Digest's polls.

Not everyone was
thrilled. Conservatives launched an attack against the soap and Proctor
& Gamble, who owned the show. Not long after, intimacy dwindled and
the story line dragged. Had P&G balked? According to the "liplock
clock" on, Logo TV's
entertainment website, it took an excruciating 211 days for a second
kiss, after viewers voiced their outrage over the drought.

A flurry of kisses followed, and the super-couple even had sex -- sort of. "ATWT" eventually won two GLAAD media awards.

not even Nuke could attract enough viewers to keep "World" turning.
Last September, CBS put the ailing show out to pasture, and Silbermann
was out of a job.

But not for long. The 27-year old native New Yorker, who
currently calls the East Village home, had already been dabbling in
small film projects, and then landed the role of Jonathan Harker in a
reboot of "Dracula," opening January 5 at the Little Shubert Theatre.
The sexy European stage and screen idol Michel Altieri makes his New
York debut as Count Dracula.

The production, directed by Paul
Alexander, recently caused a stir when "American Beauty" star Thora
Birch, set to play the role of Harker's fiancé, Lucy, was replaced by
her understudy, Emily Bridges, just days before previews began. Also in
the cast: George Hearn (Tony Award winner for "La Cage Aux Folles"),
Timothy Jerome ("Tarzan"),and John Buffalo Mailer ("Wall Street: Money
Never Sleeps").

I caught up with Silbermann to chat about his
first foray onto a New York stage and his former role as half of daytime
TV's hottest couple.

DAVID KENNERLEY: How does it feel to have a major role in an Off-Broadway play?

Fantastic. I put that positive energy out there, and it came back at
the right time. I auditioned for the role a year ago. I love the Dracula
story -- I think it was one of the first plays I did back in camp when I
was a little kid. I'm thrilled about the cast. I couldn't be happier.

DK: How close is this "Dracula" to the Bram Stoker novel?

JS: The
book takes place in the late 19th century, while the play is set in
1914 in an estate on the outskirts of London, like the original Broadway
production. While this version stays true to the original spirit of the
book, it is not a museum piece, but a fresh interpretation. The
director took certain liberties.

DK: Did you research past vampire portrayals?

I love the genre and have seen tons of vampire movies. Each one treats
them a little differently. In some, when you are bitten, you're turned
into a mindless, bloodthirsty beast. Others, like "Interview with a
Vampire," feature a soul-searching, sensitive vampire.

DK: What's your take on the surge of vampires in pop culture hits such as "Twilight" and "True Blood?"

In the novel, the character of Dracula was not sexy; he was more of a
monster. He illustrated xenophobia, the fear of the other, in this case a
fear of Eastern Europeans and their strange ways. Each version has
sexed up the character a little bit, and that's what makes them such a
unique threat. They're "the devil in a Sunday hat," to borrow a phrase
from one of my favorite shows, "True Blood."

DK: Now that it's been over three years since the gay kiss felt round the world, was it really such a big deal?

JS: What
I can't believe is that it was such a big deal, and that it took until
2007 to show such a kiss. And I'm shocked that in this day and age that
[gay] storylines are not more prevalent. As far as I know, there's no
similar storyline like ours. It's kind of sad.

DK: How does it feel to be part of daytime TV history. Do you think Nuke will be forgotten?

I'm very proud and flattered to have been part of that storyline. I
can't say if it will be forgotten, but it won't be anytime soon. People
still tell me how much Noah has meant to them, that the characters gave
them courage to come out. That's way more than I ever could have hoped
from any acting job, to help make lives happier. The writers and
producers who decided to tell the story deserve a lot of credit.

DK: Did you lock lips only with Luke or were there other dudes?

For Noah, I think he only kissed Luke. But after the boys drifted
apart, Luke began seeing another guy. [Pause.] Um, at least I think my
character only kissed Luke. And if I did kiss another guy, he certainly
did not hold the same place in my heart.

DK: You
and Van had one sex scene, but the action was off screen. Given that
the straight couples on soaps are routinely shown in bed together, did
that piss you off, or were you secretly relieved?

[Laughs.] I think that many sex scenes in soaps are borderline
gratuitous, for the sake of showing a little skin. I'm not trying to
sound like a prude. In a dramatic narrative, there's certainly a place
for those storylines. But In Luke and Noah's case, there were many
different ways to tell the story. They were both virgins, and that's a
big event. They showed the two of them afterwards, fresh from a shower,
referring to what happened. Some people were upset that they didn't show
the sex.

DK: Do you feel the post-sex scene was a fair enough depiction?

JS: No, I don't. There was probably a happy medium somewhere in between that they could have shown.

Surfing the blogosphere, I see that "ATWT" fans are rabidly obsessive.
How did you handle their reaction, to both the kiss and your evolving

JS: The fans have always been
supportive and enthusiastic. Early on, I attended an annual fan
luncheon. We hadn't aired yet, so no one should have known who I was.
Yet several people had my headshots all ready to sign. I was stunned --
how did you get those and why do you want my autograph? It taught me
that the fans are devoted. Do they love my character and the storyline
or do they love me? As time went on, I learned it was both.

DK: Do you feel that playing an iconic gay has helped or hindered your career?

JS: It's
still strange for me to think that Noah is iconic. I can only answer in
the positive. I had such a wonderful experience playing Noah, and I
will always think back on him fondly. It was three awesome years of my
life and has only helped my career.

DK: Your
Wikipedia bio describes you as "identifying as straight." To avoid
disheartening your gay fan base, did you ever feel the need to be a
closeted heterosexual?

JS: No, I never thought
that. In the beginning it was annoying when the first question everybody
asked was, "Oh, are you gay?" Literally everyone, no exception. No
offense to anyone, but I was surprised. I mean, on the one hand I
understand, it's a natural question. But it's odd to me.

DK: After "Dracula," what's next?

JS: It's
a mystery to me. I've got a number of projects I'd love to pursue. I'm
workshopping a short film called "Stuffer" to be expanded into a
feature-length movie. Keeping busy is my motto. Even if it's not a major
TV show or play, I always need to be working on something.

DK: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me.

To be honest, at first when I heard you were going to ask about Luke
and Noah, part of me wasn't sure I wanted to talk about it. I did so
many interviews before, it's old news. But I rethought it, and realized,
for anyone who doesn't know the storyline, all of the episodes are
posted on YouTube. So if the story can help anyone, I'm always up for
talking about it.

Social Sub Contexts of True Blood and the Sookie Books BoyfriendisYummy

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