It seems like kind of a ridiculous question, honestly. The show's developer, Alan Ball, is an openly gay man, and the show is based around vampires, monsters well known for what one of my friends calls their "ambi-sexuality." The idea of the vampire's bite has been used by any number of writers as a kind of fill-in for sexuality, and the fact that vampires will bite pretty much anyone -- including animals -- to get the blood they so need to survive has been used to stand in for all manner of sexual behaviors and kinks over the years. (I mean, the other big vampire series of the moment -- "Twilight" -- is all about a vampire who won't use his bite to make his girlfriend a vampire until they're married, which is a metaphor so bald-faced it shouldn't even count as symbolism.) So, honestly, when the vampires on "True Blood" start making out with other guys, it doesn't strike me as terribly surprising. It's just the show making subtext into text. I get that some people find this offensive, but I always wonder just why they feel compelled to watch "True Blood" -- a show that takes perverse joy in all manner of sexual and violent behavior, from lewd to comparably chaste -- in the first place.
Anyway, the issue arises because a couple of weeks ago, Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans said the following on his Twitter account: "So... caught up on Trueblood las nite.. Not a fan of how they get u hooked with the 1st 2 seasons then bring on a barrage of homosexuality..." Herremans later deleted his Tweet and all subsequent responses to both fans and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez, who was good enough to preserve the Tweet for his readers and journalists everywhere. Herremans tried to walk back these comments in response to queries from Gonzalez, issuing statements that were essentially stating that gay people were free to exist, so long as Herremans didn't have to see them doing anything. (The gay people of America say, "Thanks, Todd!") Herremans later issued an apology, and hopefully, he'll no longer be asked to be an arbiter of taste for the American people.
The Last two weeks, then, have been filled with fans debating whether what Herremans said has any merit. Slate, in a fascinating column, thinks that the show hasn't suddenly developed gay themes out of nowhere (since they've always been present) but argues that the series has created a sense of "gay panic" this season. And over at entertainment site Zap2It, fans on both sides of the issue were invited to comment as to whether the show's gayness had become suddenly overwhelming. The debate is polite (at least in the edited blog post), but it's clear that there are heavy passions on both sides of the issue.
What do I think? I think it's Alan Ball's show, and I think anyone who's surprised at gay sex being depicted on screen (or even kisses between two men) has missed a whole mess of subtext -- and text -- over the years. It's one thing to be offended by the gay sex on "True Blood." That means it's probably just not your thing, and while I disagree that the depiction is disturbing or disgusting, you're certainly free to like different things. But to act as though the show suddenly and abruptly pulled a dirty trick on you for showing these things strikes me as disingenuous. The show has been dabbling in homosexual themes since Episode 1, and to act as though it hasn't either suggests you're not paying very good attention or willfully ignoring certain things because you enjoy the show so much. (And I'd like to thank Allen from last week's comments section for bringing this to my attention with his blog post.)
But this is probably a debate you guys would like to have in comments. So I invite you to discuss it there (politely, please), while I move on to just what you had to say about last week's divisive episode.