This is a guest post from Tobes! Damn, I miss her being in the blogosphere on the regular. But it's Tobes! Yay!
I understand there is much to be critical of in the HBO series “True Blood” (Shakesville did an excellent take down last year) but I have remained a loyal viewer because I have found the characters laugh-out-loud funny, touching and in general it’s just fun “bad” entertainment. Nothing wrong with watching criminally good-looking people engage in soap opera storylines involving minimal clothing, right? Mostly I watch the shows because I have enjoyed the books and you almost “have” to watch so you can find what you LOVE and what they TOTALLY destroyed (ie: What the hell is up with this fairy storyline??!) However, I’d be lying if I said I was a fan of everything on this show and last night’s episode proved to be a REAL low point for the show.
The three-episode arc of season 4 has featured a main character, Jason, tied up and tortured by a former girlfriend, Crystal. Last night’s episode concluded with Crystal giving him Viagra (she conned him saying it was medicine since he was in pain). Later Jason wakes up to find her raping him (in the hopes he will impregnate her so she can carry on her mythical shifter bloodline). If that isn’t horrible enough, there is a line of other women waiting to take their turn and be impregnated. Jason is beaten, bloody and crying out for help. It is VERY, VERY disturbing.
I feel like a scene this bad warrants an extra ‘warning’ before the episode begins. There were notifications about “Violence,” “Adult content” and “Strong Language” but what about graphic gang rape? I watched Season 1 of Camelot on Starz and one episode featuring the rape of the Queen featured a warning about “Rape” before the show began.
And if this all isn’t enough to turn your stomach… HBO calls this brutal depiction deserved! The HBO facebook for True Blood” posted an episode recap video with a screenshot of Crystal and Jason and the description is this: “Jason gets comeuppance as he learns what it’s like to be objectified” – Jason’s character in the books and the show is known as a hound – he sleeps with many, many women (consensually!) and makes no lasting commitments to any of them. However, torture and a violent gang rape is in no way “comeuppance” for ANYTHING! Much less promiscuous sexual activity!
HBO has always seemed to be a ‘smarter’ network- tackling difficult issues in their shows and documentaries… how can they be SO in the dark ages with this victim blaming attitude? I have written a couple of things on the TRUE BLOOD Facebook page asking for an apology and I encourage others to do the same.
I am prepared to accept that a TV show like “True Blood” will be graphic and showcase sexualized violence. But I am not prepared to accept it as some sort of “he got what was coming to him” joke. I guess I always assumed that I was supposed to be disgusted by scenes like that—not view them as some sort of ‘due punishment’ for a character.