"True Blood makes teen drama Twilight look like an after-school special on the Lifetime network. It's... for grown-ups, with enough plot twists and turns to shock your brain into overload."
True Blood is a Supernatural Soap Opera produced by HBO and set in an alternative universe where vampires not only exist, but have recently publicized themselves through an event commonly referred to as The Great Revelation, and are now trying to coexist with humans. This has become possible with the invention of a special drink — the eponymous TruBlood — developed as a safe means to replace human blood.Public opinions concerning vampire rights vary: some idealize vampires, others scorn them, the rest would rather mind their own business. The anti-vampire movement is also fueled by the fact that the vampire blood is extremely addictive to humans, and is known on the black market as the drug V. As a result, there exist drainers — people who earn their living hunting down vampires and exploiting them for their blood. Lest you think that Humans Are Bastards, the vampire spokesmen are uniformly corrupt and secretly dine on human blood, as TruBlood tastes revolting — and is overpriced, to boot.Other supernatural creatures - such as shifters, were-animals and fairies — also exist. However, their existence is mostly closeted.The plot mainly follows Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a young bar waitress from the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Sookie's a telepath, which makes life extremely problematic for her at times.Her life changes drastically when Sookie meets a vampire for the first time. His name is Bill Compton and he used to live in Bon Temps about a hundred years ago. Sookie discovers that unlike the thoughts of humans - which are constantly forced on her, requiring effort to shut them out - the vampire's mind is a closed book to her, which she finds immensely refreshing. After she saves Bill from a couple of drainers, the two slowly fall in love. However, soon after that a serial killer appears in Bon Temps, targeting all women who sleep with vampires.True Blood is based on The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries; each season is loosely based on a single novel. The show differs greatly from the books however, adding a lot of adult content, graphic violence and explicit sex, as well as a more diverse cast and a quirky, black-comedic atmosphere, in a way being a spiritual successor to Alan Ball's previous series, Six Feet Under. Also, certain story elements are drastically changed from the books, keeping both readers and non-readers constantly wondering what will happen next.
Adaptation Expansion: While the books had Sookie as the sole POV character, the show has more of an ensemble cast, leading to characters getting bigger roles or changing completely, and minor subplots growing to major storylines. Depending on who you ask, this is done with rather mixed success.
Maryann's role in the show was greatly expanded from her role in the book, in which Callisto (the character Maryann was based on) is confined to a very small subplot. She attacks Sookie in order to make Eric aware that she's in town and demands tribute (which she receives). Later, she shows up at a sex party, revels in the drunken sexuality for a little while, and kills most of the people in attendance.
Tara, Sookie's best friend, was given a much bigger part, in addition to completely changing race, personality, and...well, everything else.
Lafayette was a minor character in the first book and gets murdered at the beginning of the second. On True Blood, he's become a major character, in part because of his status as Ensemble Dark Horse.
Luna becomes a series regular after her introduction in season 4. Interestingly, her appearance in Living Dead In Dallas was exclusive to helping Sookie escape from the Fellowship of the Light, yet she has shares not one scene with Sookie in True Blood
Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. Chow is described in the books as being very attractive, with long black hair and a body covered in rare tattoos. In the show, he's short and chubby with a short head of hair. Unusually for a vampire show, the ratio of human-to-vampire attractiveness tends to be about equal, even with a margin for error.
Adorkable: Seriously, you have to be some kind of irredeemable asshole not to find Hoyt charming in some way.
Agree to Disagree: Steve Newlin says this to Sookie when she's disgusted at his belief that God hates vampires.
Alas, Poor Villain: In-universe example of Amy Burlee, who is a vicious, conniving, V-addicted sociopath, but Jason still deeply mourns her death.
Maryann's excitement for her wedding and her tears of joy when she thought she'd finally be wed to her god had some viewers feeling extremely sympathetic for her when Sam finally ripped out her heart.
Also, the expression on Daphne's face as she is murdered is quite heartbreaking.
Russell's heartbroken reaction to Talbot's death is quite moving. Though also quite heavy on the squick.
The tears in Marnie's eyes as she screams "I am not a punching bag!" and the scene where she passes on to the afterlife.
Roman, for all his shouting and rage and ruthlessness, had dedicated his life to the idea of peace with humans. Subverted, as Roman was arguably a decent guy - except for his continual presentation as a Jerk Ass, with a near-constant stream of Kick the Dog moments. More of "Alas Poor Antagonist."
Alien Blood: Part of the show's premise is that vampire blood has magical properties as a healing agent and psychedelic/performance enhancing/any other kind of drug when ingested by humans. This leads to frequent instances of humans attacking vampires and drinking their blood, inverting the traditional roles.
Maryann, and presumably other maenads, have black blood that is poisonous to vampires.
Sookie's blood might also fit due to her being part-fairy.
The Alleged Car: Sookie has a spectacularly hideous yellow Honda Civic that's older than she is.
While usually not that bad, Bill is definitely darker than Sam, and both vie for Sookie's affection. Guess who wins?
Inverted when Eric becomes a major character; Sookie's attraction to him is inversely proportional to how evil he's being at the time.
Alcide is a genuinely caring man, and it looked like his relationship with Debbie was going to be it. Then along came Cooter, an idiotic, V-juice addicted leader of a werewolf biker gang. Debbie decides to marry the latter. Later Debbie and Alcide get back together—only for her to cheat on him with the violent, unstable werewolf leader Marcus.
Speaking of Marcus, his ex-wife Luna admitted to being a cliche when explaining why she initially fell in love with him. She divorced him when he was unwilling to change his lifestyle for their daughter.
Jessica dumps loving, kind Hoyt for sexy-but-dumb bad boy Jason.
All Myths Are True: Discussed. After two seasons of telepaths, shapeshifters, vampires and maenads, werewolves turn out to exist. Sookie and Jason argue that Bigfoot might as well exist too. Or Santa for that matter.
Aliens in Cardiff: Shreveport, the third-largest city in Louisiana, serves most of the urban needs for the setting, in an attempt to avert the usual problem with fictional towns when they have more institutions and specialized businesses than their size would suggest.
Eric's role as Sheriff and Russel Edgington's kingship of Mississippi also stand out, considering their age and power is easily on par with (if not far greater than) nearly every vampire in the series.
All Love Is Unrequited: Tara for Jason, Sam for Sookie, Eric for Sookie, Alcide for Debbie. Although most of them move on in one way or another.
In the second and third season, Lorena's "relationship" with Bill essentially embodies this trope.
All Myths Are True/ Fantasy Kitchen Sink: We've seen vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, werepanthers, fairies (also known as aliens), a maenad, witches (good and evil), a fire-demon, and a few ghosts so far.
All of the Other Reindeer: In the first season, most folks are wigged out by Sookie's telepathy and rationalize it that she's crazy or mentally weak. If they won't rationalize it, they use it as a reason to be cruel to her. They are also somewhat wigged out by Bill and vampires in general.
Alone with the Psycho: In the season finale of season 1, Sookie receives a ride home from Rene, just as Sam and Arlene realize separately that he is the killer. The audience was given reason to suspect him earlier, when the Bon Temps police received an ignored fax with information on him under his real name. Sookie reads his mind and runs into the woods, with Rene following close behind.
Tara with Franklin Mott outside Merlotte's after she thought he was dead. Thankfully not alone for too long.
Always Chaotic Evil: Zig-Zagged, Deconscructed and Reconstructed. In the begin there was more emphasis on how vampires are basically cursed humans who still have the capacity to choose right and wrong, who are all still individuals, and who therefore have a case when they demand equal rights with humans. As the show goes on the moral ambiguities and murderous pasts of the heroic vampires come more into the fore, as does the fact that vampirism typically results in Transhuman Treachery; by later seasons, its pretty well-established that most vampires really are bloodthirsty monsters, that they really do think they are superior to puny humans, and that they are all biologically designed to experience violence and murder and sadism as Better Than Sex and few of them see any problem with this. There are still some "good" vampires but they are a rarity, and it looks increasingly like the Broken Masquerade was all just a ploy to get the sheep to trust the wolves. At the very least, even if vampires are not inherently evil, vampirism pretty clearly is.
Amusing Injuries: Priapism brought on by drinking vampire blood is amusing if the person it happens to is a Jerk Ass womanizer who even on his better days doesn't listen to anything but what's behind his zipper.
Lorena gets this a lot, thanks to Bill and whatever he can get his hands on. Most notably a flat screen TV.
A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Governor of Louisiana. Declaring that vampires have no rights, instituting curfews, shutting down their businesses and seizing their property, setting up a 'camp' to hold them, complete with lethal medical experiments by torture technicians...he all but brags about bringing the Final Solution.
Ancient Conspiracy: The Authority, though it is not so ancient, as it has been around only a couple hundred years.
And I Must Scream: Russell is burnt to a crisp, wrapped in silver, and buried in cement.
Setting up Season 4's major cliffhanger, considering the parking garage that he was silvered and buried in is now a glorified hole.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite the fact that vampires have come out of the coffin, the majority of Bon Temps and the world don't believe in other supernatural entities. Werewolves, shapeshifters, and possibly some other groups are all deliberately encouraging this.
And the police think Tara's making things up when she tells them she saw a naked woman standing on the road with a pig.
Andy lampshades this trope, saying "And people thought I was crazy 'cause I thought I saw a pig."
It reaches truly ridiculous levels with the Ifrit in season 5.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Really, Karl. The Egyptian towels were just not necessary. Now go clean yourself up.
Artistic License: In both real life and Greek mythology, maenads were human women who became members of the cult of Dionysus. In the show, they're just short of being deities themselves, if Maryann is anything to go by.
Queen Sophie-Anne hand waves this by mentioning that Maryann and her kind indeed started out as human women (even giving an accurate description of how the Hellenic women became absorbed into the Dionysian cult) but through blind faith they became immortal and gained a myriad of other special powers. Also, this could be interpreted as an exaggeration of some myths that maenads gained the ability to perform miracles through worship of their god.
The Catholics didn't burn witches in the Inquisition. They don't believe in magic, so anyone claiming to be a witch must be lying. The Protestants believed in witchcraft, and hung witches. Witches were only burnt if their crimes included heresy (a much more serious charge) or petty treason (murder of one's husband). You were more likely to be burnt for coin forgery than for witchcraft.
While all of this may be true, let's not forget the Catholics in question here weren't devout Christians or actual Catholics for any matter - they were disguised vampires whose only reason for burning witches was because the witches posed a threat!
It's not even true. Witchcraft is a heresy.
It is true- witchcraft was considered a myth as far back as St Augustine, and the Inquisition never burned people for witchcraft (save in an extremely rare handful of cases where rogue, crazed priests acted alone- these charges were always quashed posthumously by the Church and the priest in question kicked out of the Inquisition or otherwise dealt with). The Church did go back and forth several times on whether or not witchcraft existed, but even on the occasions it was "officially" declared to be real the Inquisition always required hard evidence and, consequently, rogue elements aside the Inquisition never killed any witches.
Artistic Title: Opening credit sequence is one of the creepiest things ever. There's very little during an episode that would discourage a watcher from eating because it's all special effects, but the sped-up decomposing real animals crosses the line with some people.
Ascended Extra: In the books, Maryann showed up to a sex party, checked out the scenery, uttered a few lines and was never heard from again. In season 2 of the show, she was the Big Bad.
Also, Lafayette appeared briefly in the first book and was dead by the end of it. He has a much larger role on the show and has become a real breakout character thanks to Nelsan Ellis' portrayal of him.
As the Good Book Says: Sarah has a habit of using The Bible to seduce Jason. Lafayette and Lettie Mae quote scriptures to try and free Tara from Maryann's spell. Lafayette notes the irony when he tells Lettie Mae, "Just because Jesus and I have agreed to see other people don't mean we don't talk from time to time."
Asshole Victim: Vampires are marginalized, discriminated against, mistreated, relegated to the fringes of society, and have few or no legal rights. Most of them are also evil assholes who have no qualms whatsoever about brutally killing humans, often for no reason whatsoever, and openly consider themselves superior to humanity. It can be pretty hard to feel sorry for them sometimes.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Played straight with Godric and Eric, but totally subverted with Queen Sophie-Anne, who apparently relies on luck more than anything. It's revealed in the third season that Eric was only letting her kick him around because of his respect for her rank; when he switches sides, Sophie-Anne is screwed.
Awesome Moment of Crowning: "Then by the power invested in me by the one true Vampire Authority, whose wisdom and justice we hold sacred, I hereby pronounce you King William Compton of Louisiana." This while Bill is covered in his predecessor's blood.
"Now go clean yourself up; you're covered in queen."
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Bill and Jessica had their problems, but when Russell nearly kills her, Bill gives the loon a stern talking to, provoking the King into kicking his ass, but Bill's selflessness save her.
Axe Crazy: Woohoo, is this show full of them. From the sociopathic Rene, and Russell Edginton following Talbot's death to the subdued and apparently sane Lorena and Franklin. Before her reformation in Season 4, a V-addicted Debbie could count too. Even Steve Newlin happens to be this, willing to kill Sookie simply for loving a Vampire. Traitor to her race, indeed.
Berserk Button: Sookie doesn't like people talking trash about her to her brother. Just... don't.
Likewise, don't ever insult Sookie in Jason's presence. Or try to hurt her, for that matter.
"DON'T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT MY SISTER."
Lorena's is being told that Bill doesn't love her. She tried to kill Sookie for it.
"HOW DARE YOU SPOIL MY OFFERING!"
You better not criticize Godric in Eric's presence. Or compare him to Bill Compton. In fact, when it comes to Eric, do not mess with his maker, his two progeny, or his vampire sister unless you have a death wish.
"If Sookeh is hurt in any way because of you... I will not stop until I drive a stake through whatever semblance of of a heart you have left!" Jeez, Bill.
Tara lays the dreaded "we have to talk" on Mott (while pretending to be infatuated with him). His response: "Don't say that. Women say that, I black out and wake up surrounded by body parts." Okay, so you're saying a Dear John letter is the better way to go...
Apparently, calling Sam a pussy (or stealing from him) ain't so crash-hot an idea, either. See Beware the Nice Ones.
Beware the Nice Ones: Amy is generally an easy-going flower child... but when she wants her Vampire Blood...
Season 3, episode 9: When Sam snaps...he snaps hard.
Hell, he counts a demi-god amongst his kills. He had help, but still...
Sookie, for all her hang ups, is a genuinely nice person and will forgive the people she loves for a lot. But push her too far and she'll laugh maniacally as she shoves your husband's remains down the garbage disposal. And she’ll make you watch.
Nice Guy Hoyt sure knows how to hit the sore spots in his ex-girlfriend Jessica after half a season of being played about.
In season 6, Jessica eats most of Andy's half fairy children. It's an accident, but still.
Big Bad: The show follows the seasonal big-bad formula.
In season 1, it's a serial killer who preys on women who sleep with vampires.
Season 2 has Maryann, the maenad, with the Fellowship of the Sun coming in a competitive (and much more fun) second.
In season 3, it's Russell, the 3,000+ year old king of Mississippi and serial interferer with mortal affairs. At first glance, he comes off as Dandy-ish and a bit effeminate. However, between his bizarre hold over the Weres, his Trophy Collection, his age, and his work over the centuries, he's shown to be much more unpleasant than he appears.
In season 4, it's Marnie, a somewhat pathetic witch who empowers herself by being possessed by Antonia, the ghost of a witch from the Middle Ages who was raped and burned at the stake by vampires infiltrating the Catholic Church. She was presumably drawn to Louisiana because of Luis, the vampire who brutalized her. When Antonia attempts to leave after seeing innocents killed in their crusade, Marnie firsts lectures her into staying and then outright stops her from leaving. After being shot, Marnie possesses Lafayette and causes a little more mayhem that way.
In Season 6, we start with Governor Truman Burrell, the human in charge of routing out the vamps and contaminating the Tru Blood factories, but after getting killed by Bill halfway through the season they seem to have been usurped by Sarah Newlin, who takes over Burrell's operation.
Big Damn Heroes: Subverted in season one. Bill wakes up to discover Sookie is very near death. Despite it being midday, he decides to try and save her, but ends up a smoking pile of charcoal instead. He gets better, though.
Jason rescuing Sookie and Eric in 2.08, then again in 2.10, plays it straight.
Then subverted again when Jason and Andy try to go and kill Maryann only to make it barely through the crowd where both are almost immediately turned into zombies.
Jason arrives just in time to save Tara from Franklin. And it was awesome.
Sam rescuing Sookie and Hoyt from Sheriff Dearborne and the 'Obamas' and damn near keeping them under control until Jason and Andy show up. Bonus points for doing it completely naked.
Jason and Niall successfully jump in at the last moment to save Sookie from Warlow.
Big Eater: Maryann. She ordered the entire menu when she went to Merlotte's. She also has a seemingly endless supply of tropical fruit and exotic food. Her favorite secret ingredient for her recipes also seems to be a human heart.
Big Fancy House: Russell, the King of Mississippi, has one of these. It literally has a crown on top of it.
Big "NO!": Sookie has one when she hits Cooter with energy from her hand.
Lafayette saw through Maryann's facade within seconds of first meeting her. "I don't know what you is, but I'm feelin' you; and you's a soulless bitch."
That bitch Daphne was working with Maryann all along.
There's also Nan Flanagan, spokeswoman for the American Vampire League. She seems nice enough on television (especially compared to the Newlins), but in person, she's ice cold.
Bi the Way: Pam, Sophie Ann and Tara. Eric might be—or it might have been part of his scheme for revenge against Russell.
Black and Gray Morality: Due to five seasons of establishing that vampires really have no boundaries when it comes to what kinds of horrible things they are willing to do to humans if they feel like it and that any benevolence they exhibit is strictly arbitrary, the show has to literally tap into Nazi tropes in order to make the government look like the bad guys for going after them in season six.
Black Comedy: Eric's apparent death in the season six finale. One minute he's sunbathing naked on top of a mountain in Sweden... and the next his immunity to the sun wears off and he burns alive while screaming at the sun. Honestly, if you didn't know better, you'd think it was a Dream Sequence.
Poor Jessica. She soon discovers that her hymen is going to keep regenerating no matter how many times she has sex. So every time will be like her rather painful (but later pleasurable) first time.
Vampires in general have superhuman abilities, as well as KryptoniteFactors. And older, more powerful vampires become increasingly vulnerable to sunlight, a millennia-old vampireburns to ash within seconds of getting hit by sunlight.
Being a medium can be useful, since you can talk to and listen to spirits. If you aren't able to keep them from possessing your body whenever the mood strikes them, however, it's much more of a curse than a blessing.
Pure blooded fairies have nifty powers but they are so delicious to vampires that any encounter between them ends with the fairy being drained to death, no matter how "nice" the vampire normally is. Makes you wonder why they even want to come to Earth anymore.
And of course, there's Sookie herself, living her whole awkward life before meeting Bill unable to date men because she can't block out their perverted (or secretly gay) thoughts. Also growing up a telepath in a small town can lead to the double whammy of the entire town thinking you're crazy AND being able to hear that very thinking.
Blonde Guys Are Evil: In season one Eric is presented as a sort of evil counterpart to Bill (The Lestat to his Louis, if you will.) This is later averted when you find out that Bill is not much better than Eric, from a moral standpoint, and that Eric is not quite as evil as previously implied.
Body Horror: From Lorena's infamous Exorcist-esque sex scene to the face of a cursed Pam being rotted away, to the point where she peels a lump of flesh off her cheek, not even mentioning all the usual creepy stuff happening in a setting filled with supernatural monsters...Safe to say sooner or later, something's bound to either Squick you out or scare the pants off you.
Bond One-Liner: Season 4, a Brainwashed and Crazy Eric is about to twist Bill's head off and says, "Here comes death." Sookie distracts Eric long enough for him to let Bill go, Bill turns around and says, "Not for me!" and shoots Eric and two other vampires sent by Antonia to kill him.
Break the Cutie: Jessica: For the first few episodes after she becomes a vampire it seems like she just has one horrible experience after another. (Though this is Played for Laughs in a way.)
The Bro Code: In "Spellbound", Jessica realizes she is not cut out for a monogamous relationship, what with being a vampire with a nuclear-powered sex drive, and breaks up with Hoyt. Hoyt rescinds her invitation to his house. She then goes to Jason and basically throws herself at him, only for Jason to say that "Hoyt's my best friend" and also rescind her invitation to his house. Of course, this is Jason we're talking about, and they get it on by the next episode.
Broken Aesop: The show presents vampires as a metaphor for marginalized human groups, especially homosexuals, down to bigoted signs saying "GOD HATES FANGS" and an episode where Bill asks Sookie to marry him in Vermont. But homosexuals do not, as a rule, go around murdering people and eating them. Many vampires actually are highly dangerous, even the "nice" ones (see Jessica's Accidental Murder of a trucker). Also, gays do not have mind-control powers that they can use to force you to do their bidding.
Broken Pedestal: Sookie's parents, who were planning on murdering her to keep her from Warlow. And apparently, her mother thought her as creepy as a child.
Brother-Sister Incest: Avoiding this is Crystal's reason for abandoning her fellow were-panthers. in the season finale she gets back with her brother, Self-Made Orphan Felton, to save Jason.
Also played with in the relationship between Eric and Norah, who were both turned and fostered by Godric, and refer to each other as brother and sister.
Bullying a Dragon: Arlene, Arlene, Arlene. What is harassing Jessica, a young vampire with poor impulse control, supposed to achieve, exactly?
Happens quite a bit with a lot of vampires. Notably in one episode when a drug dealer bullies Eric, while Eric is lifting him up by his neck.
On a MASSIVE scale: those scientists probably didn't count on their captive vampires escaping.
Buried Alive: Eric and Bill do this to Russell at the end of season 3. Bill also tries to do this to Eric, but he is freed by Pam.
So does Steve Newlin, who wasn't Killed Off For Real—but the manner of his return is still surprising.
Butt Monkey: Andy Bellefleur ends up being one a few times, most notably when he's saddled with four fairy babies. Ginger claims this title, however. After being glamored so many times she can hardly remember her name, is smacked around by Pam, held hostage by vampires and humans alike, her only reward seems to be a promise of one day having sex with Eric.
But Not Too Gay: Lafayette does not get a boyfriend until season 3 and has never had a sex scene. Similarly, the idea that most vampires consider gender a footnote at best when picking sexual partners was hinted at throughout the series but never overtly depicted until Season 3.
Calling the Old Man Out: Sam gets to do it to both his biological parents after he discovers they force his brother who's also a shapeshifter into dog fights.
Sookie also does this to her dead dad after he possesses Lafayette.
Lafayette combines a Camp Gay wardrobe with a Hard Gay personality. He manages to be just one of the guys on the road crew and as a short order cook, often while rocking guyliner.
Averted by Talbot, King Russell's consort. He's clearly the "femme" partner in their relationship, but he behaves more like a politician's hard-nosed wife than a mincing, limp-wristed Camp Gay. The actor based his performance on his Greek mother.
Characterization Marches On: In the first two seasons Jason Stackhouse was borderline retarded. In the third season he was just pretty damn stupid. After Joining the Sheriffs department and being forced to look after a Hotshot for a little over a year he has been forced to mature and is now fairly intelligent. (He still comes off as a bit dim every now and again but watching season 1 Jason vs season 4 Jason it is almost stunning to see the difference in character.)
As of season 5 Jason is probably the most well-developed character on the entire show with the possible exception of Sookie. He is beginning to question his womanizing ways and is becoming surprisingly introspective.
Jason Stackhouse is a particularly tasty example of this trope.
Sam doesn't get a break the entire second season.
Poor Pam in season 4. Let's see, there's the rotting spell, losing her maker to amnesia, the painful and squicky waxjob, the unpleasant "Vampire Botox" she has to inject in a half-dozen places every night for all eternity, and having to bind herself in silver just like every other vampire in Louisiana to avoid being forced by the witches to walk into the sun, all piled on the fact that she didn't want to sacrifice Eric for Sookie and tried to blow through the witch wall, which caused Eric to basically disown her.Girl just can't catch a break.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In "Frenzy", Sophie-Ann explains to Bill that maenads started off as ordinary humans, but gained immortality and other supernatural powers through sheer belief in their god. She goes on to say that the only way to kill a maenad is to thoroughly convince it that it is time for it to die; in Maryann's case, the time to die is the arrival of Dionysus, who she believes will ravish and devour her. Sophie also espouses the theory that all supernaturals came into existence through the power of belief.
In that same episode, Maryann explains to Tara that even though Miss Jeanette was a fraud, she was still able to unwittingly tap into supernatural forces just by performing the rituals; it was Tara's "exorcism" that summoned Maryann to Bon Temps.
Jason is accused of crimes he didn't commit in the beginning of season one.
And Sam's got in on the action, as well. The police in Bon Temps sure seem to be a gullible bunch, don't they?
Cliff Hanger: Many, if not all episodes end with Sookie getting into a situation she is woefully unable to handle all by her little human self. Both the first and second season have also ended with a cliffhanger.
Taken even further in the season 4 finale. The plot wraps up halfway through, and the entire second half is spent killing off half the cast, and putting the others in terrible danger.
Iraq war vet Terry Bellefleur, who is genuinely off a bit due to PTSD.
Maryann comes off as a cloudcuckoolander to those who don't know what she really is. In "Release Me", she comes into Sookie's house covered in dirt and blood with unruly hair and a damaged dress, holding a dead rabbit. Tara comments to Eggs that she's "so fucking weird".
Combat Pragmatist: Pam sprays a mix of water and silver particles on Bill's face, getting the upper hand in their fight. This is noteworthy, as Bill's only concern in a fight with another vampire is age, not tactics. And you can bet that even among vampires she just pulled a dirty trick.
Sam attacks Crystal's father while the guy's back is turned, with a coffee pot no less.
The Comically Serious: Eric Northman is usually the terrifying Mr. Fanservice but damned if he doesn't have some of the funniest lines in this show. His prodigy Pam is no slouch either.
Comic Book Time: The first three seasons took place over what can't be more than about eight months, which certainly puts things like the Sheriff's reaction to yet another murder in his county and Sookie's fatigue about the constant violence in her life since she met Bill in a rather startling perspective when you think about it.
If you do the math, you realise it's probably about two months.
Conspicuous CG: The werepanthers' cat forms are clearly animated. While real wolves are used for the werewolves, it was probably much harder for the studio to secure properly-trained panthers.
Continuity Nod: In season 3 Terry mentions he rescued an armadillo and is now caring for it. This wasn't referenced again until season four, when Terry and Arlene are standing outside their recently burned down home and Terry is holding him.
This gets another Call Back in season six, when Sam is clearing out Terry's cubby and finds an armadillo keychain.
Convection Schmonvection: Partially averted. The supernaturally tough vampires can withstand a rocket-propelled grenade detonating a few meters away with no visible injuries. Jason, on the other hand is blinded, severely burned, and would probably have been a goner if not for Jessica.
Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: There are occasionally a few stray thoughts that don't give Sookie exactly what she's looking for, but they still almost always fall into line with what we expect the character to think ("this jerk better leave right now" "Doesn't she look like a tasty little meal" etc..) and never anything random like "did I water my plants?" or "what a cute skirt, I could use one like that."
Cool Old Lady: Grandmother Stackhouse. She's an old Southern lady, proper and prim, but she's also very sweet, funny, and doesn't take shit from anybody.
Charlaine Harris, the author of the Southern Vampire Mysteries book series, makes a brief appearance in the season two finale talking to Sam at the bar. He was apparently telling her what had been happening in the town, because she says "I certainly never expected anything like that to happen here."
In the first episode, there are pictures posted behind the bar at Merlotte's, one of which is of Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball.
Darker and Edgier: Though they both deal with the same general themes, the books have a lighter feel to them than the show, for which many of the characters from the books were given Darker and Edgier "make-overs."
In the books, Russell Edgington is described as a "gay Hugh Hefner" and is a rather laid-back vampire, although notably his people attempted to kill Bubba, as they didn't realize that he really was Elvis. On the show? Holy. Shit. He's a magnificent bastard with designs on taking over the vampire kingdom of Louisiana, with a pack of werewolves strung out on his 2,810-year-old blood as his bruisers.
Calvin Norris in the books was the noble patriarch of a backwoods Southern family and had a normal and successful blue-collar job. On the show he is a violent, white trash meth dealer.
Sookie indulges in taking matters into her own hands because of her power-related problem.
When Jason takes the vial of V, he spends hours trying to make his problem go away and ends up having to get the blood drained, he even had a blister on his thumb he had been going so long.
Tara does while showering in her dream, after having escaped Franklin.
Daywalking Vampire: Sunlight is usually very dangerous to vampires, but they can resist the sunlight temporarily if they are pumped with fairy blood. Also, Warlow, who is a fairy who was turned into a vampire. His fairy nature makes him immune to the effects of sunlight, unlike all human vampires.
Deconstruction: Franklin full stop. Hot Vampire? Check. Cool calm and collected figure? Check. Mysterious past? Check. Bat-themed detective? Check. His own theme music? Check. Psychopathic, socially-retarded, psychologically-damaged man-child with severe Yandere qualities? Double Check.' Makes you rethink how romantic the phrase "we'll be together forever" really is.
Deep South: The show manages to delve into many issues plaguing the American South—poverty, racism, homophobia, drug abuse, child abuse, and religious extremism—without demonizing the setting or the people therein.
Defictionalization: Of a sort - you can buy TruBlood in the real world, but it's a blood orange flavour drink, not synthetic blood.
It took quite a while until anyone in Bon Temps apart from Sam noticed that Maryann wasn't just a slightly kooky, bohemian social worker.
Rene was just a friendly local face until the very end when Sookie figured out that he was actually Drew Marshall. Even then, only Sookie knew about him being the serial killer until after he'd been shoveled in the neck.
Disney Death: Tara gets one in the season five premiere - Pam tries to turn her and Sookie breaks down thinking the transformation failed. It did not, and the consequences may be quite severe.
Dysfunction Junction: Good lord, if it wasn't before then it certainly is by season 4. As of now there's not a single relationship on the show that doesn't involve one of these: lies, cheating, accidental incest or one of the parties having questionable sanity.
Domino Revelation:: Vampires appear first then shifters, goddesses, fairies, and werewolves.
Do Not Adjust Your Set: Russell breaks into a newsroom and rips out the news anchor's spine to show the world what vampires are really like before turning it over to the weather.
Doomed Hometown: Somewhat. Bill, Sookie and Jason return from Dallas to find Bon Temps in utter chaos due to Maryann.
Double Agent: Bill spied on Sookie for Sophie-Anne (revealed in the Season 3 finale "Evil Is Going On") and spied Sophie-Anne and the other monarchies for Nan Flanagan and the AVL (revealed in Season 4's "You Smell Like Dinner).
The Dragon: Gabe for Reverend Steve Newlin. "Eggs" for Maryann.
Bill threatens a ditzy college coed within an inch of her life
Let's not forget the oft mentioned runaway drug addict/long lost Stackhouse cousin Hadley, who eventually appears as a member of Sophie-Anne's court.
Lilith blood makes Vampires trip balls.
Dumbass Has a Point: When Jason is being interrogated in connection to the murder of a woman he was videotaped having sex with. The tape shows the woman faking her death, Jason freaking out and running away, and then the woman laughing once he's gone. When the cops suggest that he came back later and killed her for real, using the tape to fake his innocence, his defense, which the cops accepted, was "I'm not that smart!"
Dude, She's Like in a Coma: In "Frenzy," Rosie reminds Jason he did this to Patsy Lyle. His defense: "She was fine when we started!"
Dump Them All: In the finale of True Blood season four, Sookie turns down all three of her love interests. In the case of Bill and Eric, it's a classic "I'm not picking either of you" ending to a Love Triangle. Alcide gets a gentler "sorry, but I don't feel that way about you" rejection.
Drunk on the Dark Side: Happens to Marnie when she's invites the spirit of a 400 year old necromancer to possess her. However, we already see shades of this during her first couple of appearances; after purposefully hijacking the coven's circle for an experiment into necromancy (briefly resurrecting her dead bird) she immediately seeks to bring back a human being. Lord knows where (or how) she intended to acquire a body...
Bill and Salomé, after drinking from Lilith's blood
Emotion Eater: Maryann feeds on the lust, anger and pride generated by those around her.
Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Fellowship of the Sun, despite being strawman embodiments of bigotry, have at least one African-American family amongst their ranks. Fear of bloodsucking fiends crosses all races and religions!
Erotic Dream: Basically, everyone who ever drank directly from a vampire and is halfway important: Sookie of Bill and Eric, Lafayette (reportedly) of Eric, Tara of Franklin, and Sam...of Bill. Got turned around once, when Eric had one of Sookie. Jason has one of Jessica.
Eternal Love: Russell and Talbot. Maybe also Bill and Lorena, depending on how you define their relationship.
Evil Feels Good: It's shown that vampires are by nature wanton, gluttonous murderers who actually feel extreme physical pleasure (described as "even better than sex") when feeding directly from a living human, rather than pre-drained blood. True Blood is typically shown to range from unpleasant to revolting, with most vamps finding a blood type or mix that is "at least drinkable". The only reason that ANY of them are willing to drink it exclusively (or only from willing humans) is because they're tired of pretending they don't actually exist. Or because it lets their long-term goals proceed more smoothly.
Exposition of Immortality: During Season 1, Bill is invited to speak at a Church meeting for descendants of Civil War families, since he actually fought in the American Civil War. A photo from the period has been turned up that's of Bill and his mortal family.
Talbot hissy-fits over the tapestry that gets used to put out Lorena after Bill throws burning oil on her because it's centuries old.
Eye Scream: In the season 1 finale, we get treated to a close-up of Bill's eyes BURNING.
Pam sprays water containing silver particles into his eyes in season 3.
Arlene has a blood vessel in her eye burst, apparently telekinetically, by her baby, Mikey.
Face-Heel Turn: Tara flirts with this in Season 4, but ultimately changes her mind.
Fake American: The actors who play Sookie (Anna Paquin, from New Zealand via Canada), Jason (Ryan Kwanten, from Australia), Bill (Stephen Moyer, from England), as well as some recurring characters such as the magister (Željko Ivanek, from Yugoslavia) and Marnie (Fiona Shaw, from Ireland).
Fallen Hero: Bill in the latest season. Unlike Eric, he becomes a full follower of Lillith and starts the entire planned takeover of the world.
Fan Disservice: Bill has sex with Lorena and then breaks her neck and turns her head 180 degrees while still humping her! Don't worry, she's a vampire, so not only does she live, she enjoyed it! Quite possibly the most hilariously unappealing sex scene in the history of television.
Eric's fanservice was off the charts in the Season 3 opener. His first appearance featured him completely naked having wild sex with a tied up woman and then calmly discussing Bill's abduction with Sookie while still completely naked and then he has a conversation with Pam with a robe he decided not to close all the way. Female Gaze, anyone?
The fanservice is kicked up several more notches by Alexander Skarsgard confirming in Rolling Stone that he was genuinely naked in every nude scene.
Alcide is a werewolf, which means, of course, he has to be naked before and after transformations.
Being shifters, Sam and Luna also get a lot of nude scenes after transforming back to human form.
Pam's tight vinyl and leather outfits.
Sookie, so many times. The black wig and leather outfit for the werewolf bar springs to mind, although her Merlotte's uniform alone makes many, many folks break out into a cold sweat. And, of course, her Lingerie Scenes.
Jason, more or less all of the time. That he is such a successful ladies' man is no surprise. The shaving scene with Ben adds some Ho Yay in just for the fun of it.
Annoyingly subverted when Sam wakes up from his vampire blood-induced wet dream of Bill (It Makes Sense in Context) right before they kiss. Damn it, I demand to see dailies from that shoot!
Jessica's Little Red Riding Hood costume when she goes to see Jason.
Fanservice Extra: Several, most notably Playboy Playmate Tiffany Taylor as the spectacularly gorgeous nude woman that Nan Flanagan is cavorting with in the back of a limo in Season 3.
Fang Thpeak: Intensity varies by character. Jessica's bad for it.
Fanservice with a Smile: The waitresses at Merlotte's wear very tight, skimpy uniforms. Also, the existence of a shirt on Lafayette is questionable at best in some of his scenes in the kitchen, so there's something for the ladies.
Fantastic Racism: Sam doesn't mind the idea that vampires can have rights; he just doesn't want them in his bar. He is actively insulted, though, if you call him a werewolf.
Vampires say that humans "do not feel pain as we do" to justify mistreating them; never mind they were all human once themselves. This is probably intended as a parallel to how humans treat animals, with the same - false - justification.
The Fellowship of the Sun is a religious movement that can't condone killing vampires but sure does cheer when it happens.
A Fate Worse Than Death: Russell's fate: after being sunburned to near death and listen how the remains of his lover are drained and shredded, he winds up incapacitated with silver and buried in concrete by Eric, Bill and Alcide.
Faux Action Girl: Sookie. She runs headfirst into any problem boasting that she can take care of herself, but the number of times Sookie has gotten herself out of a mess she put herself in or got into by accident can be counted on one hand. People are constantly saving her and yet she still acts like the sassy Action Girl she believes herself to be.
A Fête Worse than Death: Maryann's sacrificial rituals consist of orgy raves. Her attempted sacrifice of Sam plays out like a festive white wedding.
Fetus Terrible: Arlene's baby with Rene survives a Magical Abortion and seemed to give her nightmares afterwards. Then things got even weirder and creepier, and Arlene worried that the baby was being possessed by the ghost of its father. It turned out that there was a ghost communicating with the baby, but it wasn't Rene, and all of the trouble it caused was unintentional.
Flashback: Lots of Sookie thinking on her past. And Tara on hers. Sam gets a bit in season 2. Bill and Eric had some both as humans and as vampires, and both Bill and Lorena have been reminiscing more or less fondly about their mutual past.
Season 5 has Pam meeting Eric—it seems that before she was a vampire she was a madam in 1905 San Francisco.
In season 6, we get Ben (Warlow's) flashbacks of being turned by Lilith.
The Fog of Ages: Largely averted; Eric can remember his family getting butchered by Russell a thousand years ago, and Salome can remember King Herod's court two thousand years ago. Apparently played straight when, after Vampire Tara's horrible mother forsakes her, Pam promises that Tara won't remember her in a hundred years.
Foreshadowing: A lot of things from later books have already shown up.
In season 1, before Sam's reveal, even to the audiance, he and Sookie talk. Once Sookie leaves the room, the focus switches from Sam's face to a painting in the backround. The painting shows a dog guarding a helpless, attractive, blond woman.
After Miss Jeanette is killed, Tara's mom tells her "There's something evil out there that wanted her soul. If you're not careful, it'll come for yours." Right then, Maryann shows up and pulls Tara into a hug.
In episode 2 of season 3, Terry and Sookie are looking for a man who Sookie saw watching her outside of Merlotte's. His footprints have disappeared, leading Terry to comment that it's impossible for him to have done that, unless he turned into a bird and flew away. "Or a wolf," says Sookie knowingly. Then Terry makes a comment that a coyote or panther is more likely, because he's never seen a wolf around. It comes off as a joke at first because, come on, panthers? In Louisiana? Later in the season, we find out that there's a family of redneck werepanthers living nearby, and suddenly his comment makes a lot more sense.
This is a case of bad book to show translation. Though they are called panthers in the books as well, Sookie makes it clear that the animals described are in fact mountain lions (akapumas, cougars, panthers, catamounts). Every physical description of them in the books confirms this. The show depicts a different type of cat commonly referred to as a panther, namely melanistic leopards or "black panthers".
While most of season 3 is focused on the Russel plot and introducing us to the Weres, in some of the later episodes it begins setting up Jesus and Holly as witches, which were the focus of season 4.
Four Lines, All Waiting: Apart from the main plot of the season, there are several (often intersecting) subplots involving the rest of the cast.
Season 5, so far, is stretching this about as far as it can go. So far, we have Eric and Bill vs. The Authority; Sam, Luna, and the shifters; Terry and his past; Debbie, Alcede, Pam, Lafayette, Sookie and Tara; Jason and Jessica; and The Sheriff vs. the Fairies... with very minimal cross over between plots. Each plot gets about 10 minutes (or less) per episode.
Present Day Godric is probably the most friendly vampire on the show. He's a complete pacifist, only killing when it's necessary like when he killed Gabe to protect Sookie, who Gabe had beaten and nearly raped. Judging from Eric's origin flashback, that used to be different back in the day.
From Bad to Worse: Most of the story arches on the show involve a situation that starts out as moderately horrible and then gradually escalates to such a point that you're surprised the characters come away from it without post traumatic stress disorder.
What's worse, the audience usually sees the bad things coming before the characters do, making watching the show a little like watching a suspensful horror movie.
Full-Frontal Assault: Sam and Luna after shifting back to human form to attack the hate group in "Everybody Wants To Rule The World".
The Fundamentalist: Steve Newlin, and, by extension, the entire Fellowship of the Sun church.
Maryann takes her devotion to Dionysus *very seriously* .
Season Five introduces the "Sanguinistas", a cult of vampires devoted to fanatical and literal interpretation of the bible. No, not that one, the VAMPIRE bible. The original one. The one that shows God made Lilith (the first vampire) first and made humans to be her food; their endgame is no less than the her reincarnation and the restoration of vampires as rulers of the world and human nothing more than "talking cattle". There's implications that this might not be so literal as they believe, especially when Dieter claims he knew the man that wrote it, and that he was was on mushrooms at the time.
Fur Against Fang: Subverted. Werewolves and vampires just generally dislike each other, which makes sense since they are both disliked by the other species anyway. Some werewolves are addicted to vampire blood but their boss, and main supplier, is a vampire.
The Gambling Addict: Sophie-Anne. Her success seems to vary- she sucks at scratchies, but kicks ass at Yahtzee.
Sophie's gambling was supposed to show her terrible financial situation, which is why she had Eric selling vampire blood for her.
Genetic Memory: Both Jesus and Lafayette receive and share visions of their magic-using ancestors after doing some V.
Genre Savvy: Sookie, to a degree. She thought silver only worked on werewolves.
In season one, Sam Merlotte wishes that Buffy and Blade were real - because vampires are.
Genre Blindness: Sookie getting out of the car all huffy so she can go running alone through the dark woods. Of course the Plot Armor saved her.
Tara not realizing that a mysterious social worker showing up out of nowhere and inviting her to live in her mansion where everything is handed to her on a silver platter is just a little suspicious, not to mention too good to be true.
Gilligan Cut: Season Five sees Eric and Bill faced with the choice of either showing their loyalty to the Sanguinistas by drinking what they're told is the Blood of Lilith, or being executed. Bill asks Eric if they're really gonna do it, and Eric dismissively says "It's vampire blood. We're vampires. It's not gonna do anything." They drink it, and then the scene quickly cuts to a crowded street during Mardi Gras with everybody who drank the blood, Bill and Eric included, wandering around acting stoned out of their minds.
A God Am I: Maryann. Or at least, that's what her little suck-up Daphne thinks.
And now Bill after drinking all of Lilith's blood
Going Commando: Sam, Alcide and other weres. Word of God is that shifters don't wear underpants for practical reasons (these reasons don't seem to stop female shifters from wearing bras, though). Also sometims done by Eric.
Gorn: Vampires drinking the blood of humans is not pretty. Usually thre is at least a little bit of blood dripping down the human's neck. And that's if they are being civil. Then there are the times when vampires get staked and pop like bloody balloons.
In Season 5 we're treated to the sight of a werewolf pack eating the rotting corpse of one of their own.
Green Rocks: Vampire blood has traces of that. It not only heals, it sharpens your senses, makes you stronger and occasionally gives you erotic dreams of the vampire it came from. It also can be used as a drug and an aphrodisiac. The effects any specific character receives from "V" seem to depend on what the writers want it to do that day.
Justified in that drugs will affect any person differently. Granted, while the narrative is rather inconsistent in the effects of V, there is a degree of Truth in Television.
Grey and Grey Morality: In a few cases, there are only one or two differences between the "good guys" and the "bad guys."
Groin Attack: Eric performs a rather gruesome one on Dr. Overlark in season 6.
Hate Plague: In order to manipulate Tara into letting her stay with her, Maryann uses her powers to cause a brief Hate Plague at Merlotte's.
Heteronormative Crusader: Parodied - The intro features the infamous Westboro Baptist Church slogan "God hates fags," modified to "God hates fangs."
He's Dead, Jim: The majority of murder victims thus far have the glassy, sightless stare. Some even have way more blood than the human body should hold pooled around them.
Hollywood Law: The entire arc of Sookie having killed Debbie Pelt. Louisiana is a "castle" state (see 4a), making it very unlikely Sookie would be in any legal trouble for killing an armed intruder inside of her own home. Which wouldn't help her with the werewolf pack any, but does make all her worries about being arrested totally unnecessary.
Additionally, the state of Louisiana apparently has the power to levy war in this particular vision of the United States.
The Bill of Rights are incorporated as federal laws, and Governor of any State cannot unilaterally suspend them; especially the rights of any individual group of citizens. However, it's clear that even though his legal standing is highly dubious; Gov. Burrell is only getting away with it due to massive public approval.
How's Your British Accent?: British actor Stephen Moyer famously struggles to manage an American Cajun accent. It must have been a relief when a flashback scene put Bill in an English punk rock bar, and he was able to speak in something pretty close to his natural voice.
Human Sacrifice: Well, not literally human. Attempted by Maryann with Sam Merlotte and by the Fellowship of the Sun with Eric.
Incredibly Lame Pun: The vampire bar FangTasia. Sookie is incredulous, Bill explains that vampires are very old creatures who fall into habits and, once upon a time, puns were considered the height of humor.
I Feel Guilty, You Take It: Sookie gets a big inheritance—but A)she never liked that relative and B)she feels responsible for his death, because Bill killed him after she told Bill her uncle hurt her. She gives the money to Jason, and Hilarity Ensues.
Ignoring By Singing: Played for Laughs in one episode: One of the main characters is a psychic, and one of her friends wanted to keep a secret from her. When the psychic tunes into her friend's thoughts, all we hear is "LALALALALALALALALALALALALALA".
I Have a Family: The unfortunate woman that Salome presents to Bill for dinner in "Somebody That I Used To Know" tries this. It does not work.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Sookie regarding her power, which forces her to constantly hear all people's nasty dirty little secrets and ugly emotions. Her grandmother is the only one who sees it as a gift — but only that when it's useful.
In "In the Beginning" Sookie learns that her fairy power is finite, and starts actively draining it,
Bill has this attitude due to being forcibly made vampire by Lorena.
Sam regarding being a shapeshifter. So what if he can change into any animal of his choice? He just wants what every man wants. A good life, a good woman.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Jason displays these on the Fellowship of the Sun's shooting range. Even more impressive is that he nails every target while in a fast-moving quad, not to mention hitting Steve right between the eyes from a long way away with his Paintball Gun of Awesome. And then he nails Eggs right between the eyes at the end of Season 2 and hits Franklin right in the heart in Season 3. On top of all that he was one hell of a quarterback in high school. Word of God suggested in an interview that, while Sookie gets mind-reading powers, Jason got a little bit of Super-Aim for himself.
Informed Ability: The dancers in the Hot Wings are 100+ years old fairies which Claude explains is how they got so good. What we see of their dancing, however, is mostly average stripclub writhing.
Insubstantial Ingredients: "Your blood tastes like freedom." (Sookie's blood allows vampires to walk in sunlight, at least for short periods.)
Interrupted Suicide: Tara attempts to kill herself, shortly after Eggs is killed. Lafayette is only just in time to keep her from swallowing several bottles of pills, and he has to force her to spit them back out (and may have made her take some ipecac to get her to throw up any that she did swallow). It may also qualify as Driven to Suicide, since she only tries it after her mother brings in a preacher to try and console her (who ends up slamming Eggs, due to not knowing enough about the whole situation).
She tries it again early in season 5, after being turned into a vampire. Again, Pam comes just in time and uses her powers as a maker to stop Tara from trying it again.
It looks like Terry is going to try it in season 6.
In the Blood: Arlene fears Rene's baby will also be a psycho like daddy.
I Take Offense to That Last One: The sheriff arrives on the scene of Miss Jeannette's murder, discovered left in Andy's car. He tries to get Andy to go home (despite Andy's protestations), claiming he wouldn't be any good as Andy is overworked...also extremely drunk. Andy's response is "I am NOT overworked!"
Many of the vampires, especially in their behavior towards humans.
Detective Andy, in Season One and early Season Two. Good Lord, Detective Andy. Constantly dribbling an Idiot Ball, he's convinced that he is a good cop even though he's actually a drunk who likes to jump to conclusions and genuinely make an ass out of himself, especially after he gets fired and then continues to interrogate people without a badge. On the positive side, he's one of the few Bon Temps residents not prejudiced against Bill, even defending him against the Sheriff, and he later teams up with Jason to save the town from Maryann.
Tommy Merlotte. It's a bit low to act like a dick to the one member of your family who looked out for you, and double so AFTER HE SAVES YOU FROM A DOG FIGHTING RING. He turned his dickish tendencies Up to Eleven later, when he complimented Sam for nearly murdering a man, flirted shamelessly with an obviously not receptive Jessica, taunting Hoyt, and MAULING HIM after getting punched in the face.Disproportionate Retribution much?
Possibly explained by Freudian Excuse given in the series 3 finale. Either way, it's a rough fate.
And the first time he shifts into a human being - his brother Sam who just saved him from prison - he succeeds in both ''firing Sookie'' AND being a total douche with Sam's girlfriend that he just fucked. Hardly justified, even with his Dark and Troubled Past.
Arlene. She antagonizes Jessica basically for being in the same room with her, takes weeks to tell Terry that her baby isn't his, and worst of all wants to abort her baby despite Terry's excitement and promising to love the child that he knows belongs to Arlene's serial killing ex.
Slightly justified as it's being hinted at that the baby will be evil like Rene, or at least influenced by him.
Sam towards the latter end of series 3 becomes this, in the shows attempts to give him and Darker and Edgier backstory
Tara is loyal to Sookie, but in general she is a very unpleasant person.
Karma Houdini: Marnie. All that death for pitiful, selfish reasons and she gets to move on to the afterlife?
Bill, Eric and Pam arguably count as well. They never got any comeuppance for attacking and terrorizing Marnie back before she had any villainous intentions—even the curses that Eric and Pam received were removed.
Kick the Dog: When Hoyt breaks up with Jessica, he scathingly throws in her face all the things she'll never experience as a vampire, like having children or sex without a hymen.
This may be Kick the Son of a Bitch for some, she did cheat on him after all. And later when she did the right thing and admitted it to him, she crossed another line when she responded to his rather justified outrage and inclination to leave her by glamouring him into forgetting everything she just told him and thinking everything was perfect.
When you take a step back and think it over, there actually isn't a single character in the show that never kicked any puppies. Lies, thinking with your dick/ovaries, overly violent reactions at the most inappropriate times, manipulation of emotions, getting away with evil shit, murder when it's convenient and adults acting like annoying,selfish children.
Bill however is easily the most consistently hammy of all the main characters, with shining examples such the notorious "Sook-eh", and a personal favorite of mine, "Jason mah blood can save her!".
Don't forget, "STOP... Sook-eh is mahn!" Also, when Bill confronts Lorena about how she "deprahved me of mah freedom... mah home... mah humaniteh! I will nevah. evah. love you!"
Franklin has his moments, especially before his death, his best examples probably being: "You would have mmmourned mmmmmee", "SHUT UP SHUT UP", "You do realize, I'm a vampire?".
Also for Franklin is his "Look how fast I can type 'motherfucker'! Look at that!"
Russell. His is the TRUE face of VAM-PIAHS!
And DO NOT DEFY HIM! HE-IS-YO-KHIANG!
Law of Conservation of Normality: Sookie may help the vampire population of Louisiana whenever summoned, but when they don't need her, she's got to go to work and pay her bills and worry about money like everybody else.
Left Hanging: The show never fully explains exactly why Maryann was so obsessed with keeping Tara and Eggs by her side, when in fact they had no role in her master plan to sacrifice Sam that couldn't have easily been filled by anyone else.
Hand-waved by Michelle Forbes; Maryann keeps Tara and Eggs by her side because their emotional turmoil and distress make them easy prey, since she feeds on human emotional energy.
Leitmotif: Sookie and Bill have a warm, positive tune which plays over their romantic scenes, probably to emphasise their Designated Couple status.
Lesbian Vampire: Pam, though she occasionally goes after men to mix things up. So is Nan Flanagan if her one and only sexualized scene is anything to go by. Queen Sophie-Anne claimes to be Bi, but she has been exclusive to women for longer than most full-fledged lesbians have been alive. Also, as of season 5, Tara.
Let's Get Dangerous: Despite the aforementioned character development, Jason Stackhouse is still a generally not-very-serious and mostly incompetent character. But when he puts on his sunglasses and black beanie hat he becomes an incredibly capable badass.
Lighter and Softer: Show Godric is quite a bit nicer than his book counterpart. And that includes his flashback self.
He's actually got two book counterparts- Godfrey and Appius Livius Ocella- and he's significantly better than both of them combined.
Although not much has been revealed about Sophie-Anne's background story, it's obvious she wasn't turned at twelve like her book counterpart.
Love Hurts: Sookie gives up a little on Bill when he leaves her with no promise to return. And because he tends to do things without explaining to her.
Love Makes You Dumb: Tara's affection for Eggs causes her to pick up the Idiot Ball late in the second season, and in the beginning of the third season, when she attempts suicide after his death.
Sookie and Bill tend to bring the stupidity out in each other, their single-minded devotion to each other apparently leaving little room in their brains for any coherent, let alone reasonable, thoughts.
A Load of Bull: In the season two finale, Sam takes the form of a white Brahman bull to trick Maryann into believing she successfully summoned Dionysus. Then he impales her on his horn.
When Maryann transforms, she wears a ritualistic bull mask. Technically not a straight example of this trope since it's just costuming, but the effect is the same, giving her the appearance of a minotaur.
Love Makes You Evil: In his zeal to protect Sookie Bill turns on Eric, sends a killer after Pam and challenges Sophie-Anne to a fight to the death, all to keep Sookie's fairie-ness a secret.
Long-Lost Relative: Sam finds out his birth-parents are still alive, and heads off to find them at the end of season two. Turns out he has a brother too. His relationship with them as well as their... shall we say "curious" family dynamic is shaping up to be the Sam plot of season 3.
Magical Queer: Jesus. Lafayette is this in a literal sense, but he is a main character with depth and his own storyline.
Mainlining the Monster: The series have vampire blood as a hot commodity. It's essentially treated like a very addictive drug.
Male Gaze: And Female Gaze too. Lots of shots of breasts and cleavage, but also several shots of shirtless men, or men's bare behinds, or clothed (and unclothed) crotches. Note that this isn't always necessarily erotic.
Male Frontal Nudity: The guy that the Authority is dining on in "Somebody That I Used To Know".
Malignant Plot Tumor: The Maryann plot in season 2. From that point on, at least half of each season is dedicated to various background characters and their exploits - it becomes nearly a certainty that at least some of it will bore or annoy you.
Man Child: Jason and Hoyt. Also Andy and and Talbot show some traits.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl. From what we hear about Debbie's and Alcide's relationship, she was a pretty dark version of this trope back then. By the time we see them, though, she's dumped him and gone even crazier. Also Amy in season 1, who is introduced as this but turns out to be a drug-crazed murderer.
Mistaken for Gay: A shop assistant sees Bill with Eric and comes to the wrong conclusion, somewhere at the start of season 2.
Mistaken for Murderer: In season 1, 96% of Bon Temps was convinced that Jason Stackhouse was behind all the recent, mostly-sexual-related killings, including the death of his own grandmother.
After an "anonymous" tip, Sam is discovered at Merlotte's by police minutes after finding Daphne's dead body. They think he's guilty, even after Andy Bellefleur tries to intervene on his behalf.
Mistaken for Racist: Arlene is stupid enough to use the phrase "you people" when talking to two black people (she meant religious types...maybe).
Modesty Bedsheet: Used rather blatantly after Sookie and Eric have sex. Borders on Fridge Logic since Sookie was on full display moments ago.
Arlene keeps her nightie on for sex in "I Hate You, I Love You".
Deborah Ann Woll obviously has a no-nudity clause in her contract. The measures True Blood takes to keep Jessica's nipples hidden in sex scenes while showing almost every other square inch of her body are heroic.
Eric is fantastic at this because he does it twice in "Evil is Going On". After Sookie has told off all the vampires in Fangtasia and Bill is glaring at Alcide, which prompts Eric to say: "Well, if you two are finished eye-fucking each other, we can go." The second time occurs in that same episode after Eric tattles to Sookie that Bill had manipulated her into falling for him and Sookie kicks him out of her house. While Bill lies on the ground, emotionally ravaged, Eric looks at him and says: "I want my phone back."
Likewise Russell's werewolves, who have the ability to turn into...ordinary wolves. They are not really at all impressive in actual fights with vampires. Nor do they have any special resistance to injury, leading to one case in which Eric literally has to take a bullet for one because Sookie shot at it and he wanted to interrogate the guy before killing him.
More than Meets the Eye: Bill of all people. Looks like a nice enough vampire who's gone home to mainstream. As of season three we learn from the Vampire of Mississipi that Bill is an upcoming player in vampire politics. And that he may or may not be a valued agent of the Vampire Queen of Louisana.
Season Four reveals that he has been working as an agent for the American Vampire League since the 80s and is part of a conspiracy to take over the vampire power structure
Lafayette, drug dealer, gigolo, overworked hedonist. Who has two legal jobs and an illegal one, to support and take care of his mother who may or may not have disowned him prior to her mental deterioration.
Eric's entire character is like this. Eric is actually an old and powerful vampire but does not have an interest in vampire politics or living extravagantly. This often leads to people making wrong assumptions about him which he is more than happy to subvert in a number of bloody ways. He is also very 'feudal' in his approach to loyalty which some might erronously construe as weakness and subservience.
Morality Pet: Godric might be called that in regard to Eric.
Pam, though morally gray herself, has an awful lot of Pet the Dog moments with Eric in season 3.
Fittingly, Eric is possibly the only person who makes Pam show a more emotional side.
Talbot, for Russell.
Motive Decay: Marnie starts with the honorable desire to protect herself and her coven from the vampires, then moves into the more villainous scheme of vampire genocide. Then when all that fails, her tune becomes "Woe is me, I was a doormat my entire life and now I'm a ghost with teh kewl powerz!"
Mr. Fanservice: In a subversion of usual Hollywood casting, there's only one average-looking man in the cast (Andy Bellefleur); the others are all muscle-studs each with their fair share of admirers (even - no, especially - the more depraved ones like Eric and Franklin). The women on the other hand are slightly more ranged in appearance.
Maryann: Please don't be so negative. It is my day...
Sookie: And you're in my house, and those are my friends. Plus... Jane Bodehouse.
My God, What Have I Done?: In the Season Three premiere, Jessica frantically tries to keep the trucker she fed on in the second season finale from dying.
Season Four has a quite surprising one: It's actually Antonia and not Marnie who has this reaction when their plan to wreck the reputation of vampires results in numerous innocent people being killed, and Marnie has to Hannibal Lecture her into continuing to work together.
Not What It Looks Like: Tara's mother says this when Tara catches her with Reverend Daniels, and the reverend tries to spin a story about how he accidentally spilled something on his pants.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Yvetta the Estonian dancer. Written off by Eric and Pam as an airhead gold digger, she's actually a cardiologist back in her homeland, which she reveals to Pam while chaining her to a stripper pole after freeing Sookie from Fangtasia's basement.
Oh Crap: A quite subtle one in season three; after Tara bashes Franklin's head in with a mace and then runs out of the room. Sookie informs her in the next episode that vampires completely dissolve into blood when they die, leading to a blink and you'll miss it shot of Tara's reaction.
The spirit of Marnie coming back to possess Lafayette. Lafayette's reaction is priceless.
The look on Eric's face when Bill "evolves" and suggessts blowing up Tru Blood factories.
Reversed by Talbot (Russell Edgington's "husband") who, despite taking the more feminine role in the relationship, is taller than Russell.
Also reversed by Eric and Godric (depending on how you interpret their relationship); Eric is practically a giant while Godric, who is depicted as the dominant one in the relationship, is unusually short for a man.
They wear white or pastel clothes that wouldn't be out of place at a sixth-grader's ballet recital.
They seem to literally eat and drink light.
They live in a sunlit realm full of trees and flowers and crystalline ponds.
They enjoy sunshine, swimming, dancing, and being naked while doing any of these things.
As of season four, it seems that all of the above is an illusion created to keep the half-humans they've lured into the fairy realm under their control. Real fae are inhuman, angry, dirty, and live in a barren wasteland as a result of the vampires hunting them down. Their attitudes are more like The Fair Folk.
They can enter the human realm and interbreed with humans.
And how they must react when an invitation has been rescinded.
Vampires can appear in mirrors and are unaffected by crosses and holy water.
With some exceptions (Bill, Eddie, Godric, Jessica), the vampires treat humans like pets at best, and snacks at worst.
Apparently, the older vampires get, the more susceptible they are to sunlight: Bill, at 170, withstood the sunlight for several minutes, whereas Godric, at 2000, ignited in blue fire within a few seconds of exposure.
Vampires have some sort of psychic connection with people who drank their blood directly from the source - they sense their emotions and can find them anywhere, the person in question has Erotic Dreams of them.
Similarly, makers seem to have some connection with their progeny, which means they can find them, mentally call them - and feel when they die.
The older a vampire, the less blood they require.
Some vampires can fly.
Vampires can do nifty mindtricks on humans, such as hypnotizing them, taking away their memories and even putting music in their heads. It seems to be a very intrusive procedure, though, and is harmful when done too often.
Vampires have extremely gory deaths when they are staked, vomitting blood and then dissolving into a giant puddle of blood.
The fangs on True Blood vamps seem to come from the "wrong" place in the mouth. Whereas most vampires have extended or extensible canines (the teeth two from center, that are pointy in humans anyway), True Blood vamps have fangs that poke out from the position of the teeth on either side of the incisors. It's conspicuous in the teaser for the first episode, with the redneck vampire in the convenient store, and other places. Curiously, it appears not to be consistent; some of the vampires have their fangs in the standard place.
Our Were Beasts Are Different: The werepanthers of Hotshot apparently don't know that they are different from standard Hollywood weres, since they try to infect Jason by biting him. It doesn't work.
Their body temperature is above the average of humans.
They are vulnerable to injuries and bullets.
A packmaster can influence the transformation of nearby fellow werewolves.
It's genetic, not a disease. According to Alcide, a were can't pass on the curse to another by biting.
Parental Abandonment: Sookie and Jason were raised by their grandmother after their parents were killed in a flood. Also, after the first time Sam transformed (accidentally) into a dog, his parents packed up and left him.
Tara (to an extent) as her mother was a raging alcoholic.
Somewhat deconstructed around the middle of season 5: after the inconceivable trauma and heartache that's basically been the entire show thus far, she reveals the fact that she's now once again stuck in the middle of some supernatural psychosis and is along for the ride whether she wants to be or not. "MUST BE THURSDAY!" The fact that this happened when she and Alcide were about to get frisky after a night of VERY heavy drinking before she puked on his boots on top of the fact that they were going after Russel Edgington, possibly the most threatening vampire in the WORLD that they all thought was dead except for the fact that Bill and Eric wanted him to suffer more really didn't help her normal go-get-'em attitude.
Police Are Useless: The show goes back and forth on this, but mostly the police are just completely outclassed when dealing with supernatural entities, and sometimes seem a bit clueless.
Diet Pepsi Lime. Really, the product placement in this show seems to be becoming a Running Gag.
Abita Beer, a Louisiana microbrew, is mentioned at Merlottes, including a neon sign prominently behind the bar.
"Powers can't be traded like fucking Pokemon cards!"
Property of Love: The series at least until the third season has this as one of it's basic premises. Sookie have given herself to Bill out of love, without being hypnotized like so many other fangbangers. Also, being his makes her off-limits to other vampires.
In Season 5 Steve Newlin tries to buy Jason from Jessica.
Plot Armor: Sookie. She should be dead about fifteen times over by now.
Lampshaded by Lafayette in season 5, as well as why it's not always a good thing: "Oh, you'll survive, it's what you do. But you sure leave a trailofbodies behind. You're the fuckin' angel of death."
Protagonist-Centered Morality: A core feature of the show. The main characters are effectively the "heroes" by default, most especially in the eyes of Sookie herself, who is literally willing to overlook or forgive murder so long as the perpetrator is somebody she likes. The vampires are often cast as being an oppressed minority fighting for equal rights, even though it is shown that they consider humans to be little more than food and slaves. Sookie tends to only get upset about this when it negatively impacts her personally or somebody she cares about.
Precision F-Strike: Sookie, as mentioned above. Also Maryann's outburst of "YOU FUCKING MORONS!"
The Magister: "Back your shit down!"
Psycho Sidekick: Roy, one of the witches in Marnie's/Antonia's coven, who tries to goad Tara into shooting Sookie and gets excited when he sees Bill's commandos gruesomely killed by three vampires.
Who can forget Queen Sophie Anne and Eric in Season three, Episode One?
Sophie Anne: *after screaming in rage, has Eric pinned to the wall* "With all due respect? I am due A LOT more respect than that, Mr. Northman. And I'm sorry to compromise your manhood like this, but hell hath no fury like a vampire queen broke. Move. The. Blood."
Racist Grandma: Hoyt's awful mother Maxine, who hates Methodists, Catholics, black people, and (more justifiably) vampires.
Terry and Andy's bitchy grandmother. She complains about Sookie's presence at Terry's funeral, calling her a weirdo, complains about all the 'negroes' there, and openly asks if Lafayette is a boy or a girl.
There's a few implications that it may be Single-Target Sexuality; it's not that Tara was raped and now loves women instead, it was that Tara threw away everything in her life in Bon Tempes and started a new life elsewhere, rather unexpectedly ending up in bed with another woman in the process because she happens to be everything "Toni" needs in her life at that moment.
Actually, its more implied that Tara just never tried women before, particularly where Sookie asks her why she never told her about liking girls before and she replies that she "didn't know".
Also kind-of the case with Tommy Merlotte. His "skin-walking" shifting is pretty literally tearing up his insides every time he does it, but after realizing how much he's completely screwed up his life, and everyone else's lives that he's touched lately, he decides to do it one more time to encounter a surefire beat-down if not deliberate murder in his brother's place. Turns out they didn't actually want to kill him just "kick the shit out of him", but Tommy was so messed up from the shifting that it was fatal anyway, and he asked to be taken back "home" to Merlotte's instead of a hospital, since he didn't want to keep living anyway.
Tara saving Sookie from being shot by Debbie can be viewed as this, especially after she willingly signed on with Marnie earlier in the season.
Redshirt Army: It seems that werewolves are even less apt at taking on vampires than regular humans. Why they continue to pick that fight is something of a puzzle (although, I guess most of them aren't that bright...)
Reed Richards Is Useless: In season 6 Terry got his PTSD glamored away by a vampire. That raises the question whether this was also possible with all kinds of other mental problems, rendering therapists, asylums, rehab centers etc. obsolete.
Regional Riff: The music is designed to invoke the American South.
Religion of Evil: Maryann's Dionysus worship. The Fellowship of the Sun might also qualify. Also, the Sanguinista Movement.
Schmuck Bait: Lafayette warns Jason that if he's using vampire blood for sexual purposes to have one drop, two at the maximum, or things will get "intense, and not in a good way". Jason, downs an entire vial and pays the price for it.
Sealed Evil in a Can: See And I Must Scream. Invoked when Eric mentions how Russell should be effectively contained for at least 100 years in concrete and silver, which Russell laughs off as "a nap" for him, swearing that he will get out.
It takes him just over a year, but he does get out.
Sex Equals Love: Hilariously subverted when Sarah Newlin was ready to leave her husband after two sexual encounters with Jason...and then thinks he's a spy sent to prey on her, and she can no longer justify what was really just lust.
Franklin and Tara — in this case, Franklin is insane and has convinced himself completely the sex is consensual when Tara is only not fighting back because he's an insane vampire who can kill her without thinking about it.
And in Hotshot with Crystal, Jason, and the other females wherein one bursts into tears when Jason fights her and tells her to get off him. She cries because it was the first time she'd ever had sex she enjoyed.
And in S4E6, in Flash Back, we see Luis raped Antonia during the Inquisition.
Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted. When Arlene realises that she and Terry had sex during the black-out caused by Maryann's spell, she becomes deeply concerned that she may have coerced him (Terry had previously avoided physical intimacy because of his PTSD), saying "I think I might have done something terrible."
Also averted with Crystal and every nubile female in Hotshot, as they line up for their turn with Jason, who is wounded, feverish, strapped to the bed and under the effects of viagra. He did NOT enjoy it and the scene is creepy as all hell.
Not quite so averted. The director of the episode, David Petrarca, and Alan Ball have basically said that he deserved it.
Also, Maryann's first encounter with Sam (where she catches him trying to steal from her and has sex with him) is just dripping with Squick
Shaking Her Hair Loose: Bill asks Sookie to take the clip out of her hair and shake it free before their first kiss.
Jessica in 4x02 when she arrives at Fangtasia.
Shaky P.O.V. Cam: shows up in the first season finale when Lafayette is kidnapped
Shape Shifter Identity Crisis: Tommy seems to be starting one, growing out of his self-loathing from having killed Joe Lee and his mother, and then from turning into Sam, and abusing Sam's position as owner of Merlotte's, then sleeping with Sam's girlfriend and kicking her out.
Sherlock Scan: In a flashback (s1,ep02), Sookie was examined by a psychiatrist, who rationalized that Sookie's "mind-reading" was actually an uncanny talent for reading body language. Sookie's mother didn't buy it.
Ship Sinking: Tara and Jason after episode six. It's pretty much justified considering what Jason did, but a little sad since it all but wrecked their friendship.
The ship resurfaces in season 3, but is promptly torpedoed after Jason confesses to Tara that he killed Eggs.
Ship Tease: After breaking things off with Bill, It looks as though the SS Sookie/Alcide was getting ready to set sail. But after fighting off some werewolves led by Debbie, Sookie and Bill have make-up sex on the spot.
of course now Sookie knows the truth about why she first met Bill, and has broken up with him, seemingly permanently this time.
And as of S403, it appears Alcide is back with his ex...and then in S404, He strips naked to shapeshift RIGHT IN FRONT OF SOOKIE, who gets an eyeful.
Eric, Eric, Eric... oh, and Eric. So much more satisfying in the books.
Buffy — "I would love to just rip you open and wear your ribcage as a hat."
Also, when Jason, while "confronting" a vampire in a training scenario breaks a nearby flagpole in half in order to get a wooden stake, another trainee angrily asks him if he thinks he's "some kinda Muslim Buffy with a dick". Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
WWE a couple of times. When Jason's strength is temporarily enhanced by V, Arlene remarks that she watches Friday Night SmackDown with Rene and that nobody on that show, strong as they are, had ever done anything like what Jason just did. In the second season, Hoyt's seen watching Monday Night Raw.
He reappears at the tail end of the season 4 finale. Now he's a creepy little vampire weirdo.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Literally. After eating Maryann's souffle, Tara and Eggs begin to physically assault each other before having sex on the living room floor.
Bill and Lorena in 3x03. The two have hate sex (well, from Bill's side) which ultimately leads into Bill literally twisting her neck around backwardsExorcist-style.
Sleazy Politician: Lafayette's client is not above doing V and having sex with men, but he opposes gay and vampire rights as a senator. Also Nan Flanagan: she lies when she says she survives solely on TruBlood.
That and what the public sees is revealed to be totally fake when she questions Eric on behalf of the AVL. Actually, she's a huge bitch.
Slouch of Villainy: Eric Northman is introduced with one of these shots, and he reprises the pose every time his ass touches a piece of furniture.
Snake Oil Salesman: "Miss Jeanette", who took Tara for approximately $1500 on exorcisms for her mother and herself. She even gave Tara "snake juice" to drink. Tara then found out she was a fake, and she more or less confessed to it. Nonetheless, Maryann's claim that she was called to Bon Temps due to Tara trying to exorcise her demon points to Miss Jeanette doing * something* right. Unfortunately, she got killed for it.
Franklin is one of the most fully-realized examples of true stalker mentality in media. He's genuinely shocked and hurt that Tara thinks he tied her to a bed for any reason besides her own safety and is utterly convinced that she's in love with him no matter what her demeanor is.
Stupid Sacrifice: Roy says that if any vampire wants to get to Marnie, they'll have to go through him. One of the vampires he's addressing happens to be a very pissed off Eric Northman. Take a guess at whether Eric is reluctant to lethally go through Roy. Now take a guess as to how much his stand ends up helping Marnie. The answers are, respectively, "He really, really isn't," and "Not even a little bit."
Suicide Attack: After Godric is able to successfully talk down both the Houston vampires and the Fellowship Of the Sun out of massacring each other, Steve Newlin sends Luke into his lair as a suicide bomber, killing two humans and two vampires as well as himself
Suicide by Cop: One could argue that Bud Dearborne did this, after being ordered to drop his weapon, and refusing.
Godric faces the sun on a rooftop. This suicide by sunlight comes complete with weeping friends, inner peace and dissolving into the light.
In the fourth season, a witch tries to make every vampire in Bon Temps do this. She succeeds with a few nameless extras, but most strapped themselves down and rendered themselves immobile to avoid this fate.
Shortly after being made a vampire, Tara tries to commit suicide by tanning bed. As her maker, Pam was not pleased.
Supernatural Elite: The vampires operate on a feudal system. A Vampire King/Queen claims a territory and appoints sheriffs to administer it for him/her. Usually the most powerful and/or oldest vampire becomes the monarch, however, the position can be reached if a vampire is politically connected with the Authority who seem to be a governing council above the monarchies.
Surprise Incest: Bill finds out too late that the Bellefleurs—including his would-be girlfriend Portia—are his descendants. She actually gives him a laundry list of reasons why their relationship is technically harmless—the two being consenting adults, several generations removed, and unable to produce children—but Bill still can't get over the fact that he is having sex with his granddaughter, and glamours her into breaking up with him.
Sookie: "I’m proposing that the two of you be mine."
Take That: In Season 4, Bill delivers a delicious one when he discusses how Vampires have infiltrated and controlled powerful institutions throughout history, such as the Catholic Church in the 1600's, and in the modern day, Google and Fox News. This moment also counts as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
In Real Life, Stephen Moyer was asked how he thought Twilight stacked up against True Blood. His response?
Thank Your Prey: Blitzed on vampire blood and in the midst of sex with Jason, Amy turns and slurs that they ought to thank their supplier/kidnapping victim Eddie "for the gift he's given us." Eddie replies with a "Fuck you."
Lafayette uses this occasionally, notably to Tara and Jesus. "Just you, bitch. Just you."
Time Skip: A small one at the end of the first season, with two weeks passing between Rene's death and the discovery of Miss Jeannette's body. There's a second one between the end of season three and the start of season four, with Sookie thinking she's only been in the fairy realm for a few minutes, when it's actually been over a year.
Another one of six months occurs about two thirds of the way through the season 6 finale.
Title Drop: "Tru Blood" is the blood substitute that vampires drink so they don't have to kill people. Russell Edgington delivers a Title Drop in exactly the opposite spirit (see "The Reason You Suck" Speech above).
Too Dumb to Live: Jason Stackhouse. Detective Andy. Tara (as of Season 2 and on).
Sookie also runs in fourth place to this trope because she constantly runs into danger without a plan, and worse, without a weapon. See Season 3, episode 2 where she runs blindly into the woods to find a werewolf who clearly intends to either kidnap or murder her and taunting him while she does so.Brilliant, Sookie.
Another notable example of Sookie's shining intelligence occurs in the third episode of season three. Perhaps it isn't a great idea to agree to go into a private back room alone with a werewolf that doesn't have the slightest concern about her welfare. Perhaps. However, her plan to get information out of the werewolf succeeded, despite how dangerous the conditions were. If Alcide hadn't been friends with the bouncer, not even plot armor would have been able to protect her against even one werewolf, let alone a whole gang of them.
This is a common trait of anyone mind-controlled by Maryann: Andy and Jason are able to convince a whole bunch of them that Jason is Dionysus with a bunch of flares, a gas mask, and a branch. In addition to being stupid, the mind-controlled people also have no sense of self-preservation, as Jason learns when he threatens to shoot a nailgun into Arlene's head. After a momentary pause, everyone except Terry starts laughing and urging Jason to do it because it looks like fun, including Arlene herself. Later on, Sookie walks in on Jane Boathouse chopping her finger off as her contribution to the idol sacrifice to Dionysus
Bill. Double-crosses Eric, binds him with silver, dumps him into a pit to be buried in cement... and then just walks away before it even covers Eric's head.
Took a Level in Jerkass: It seems like most vampires eventually take a level in Jerk Ass. For example, as of the beginning of the fifth season Jessica has gone from being a really sweet person to somebody who tells a roomful of humans who were partying with her that they're now boring her and she's going to eat them all if they don't get the hell out of her house and go back to their "human lives". And earlier in the same episode when one of them was drinking from a keg she was holding high in the air with one arm, she noticed a girl starting to throw up. She abruptly dropped the heavy keg so that it almost landed on somebody, ran over to the puking girl with vampire speed, snapped at her "Not in the house!" and shoved her out the front door.
Too Kinky to Torture: Lorena, in "It Hurts Me Too". After Bill pins her against a wall and tells her that he'll never love her, she kisses him. He does not react well to this, first going for her throat with his fangs, then responding to her urging him to make love to her by doing so extremely violently to the point that he leaves several cuts on her chest and twists her head around 180 degrees. Lorena loves every second of it, and dreamily says "Oh William, I so love you."
Steve Newlin takes the cake: an anti-vamp-crusading fundie turned gay vampire apologist.
Two Lines, No Waiting: Sookie and Bill, Sam, Tara, and Jason all have separate stories that intersect with each other every so often.
And Jessica as well, after being added to the main cast in season 2.
Undead Child: One of the members of the Vampire Authority council ("Authority Always Wins") was a boy of maybe ten years when he was turned.
The Unmasqued World: Only for vampires, although in the fifth season finale a shifter reverts to her natural form on live television.
Vampire Bites Suck: Subverted with Bill and Sookie because it's done in the course of consensual sex. Played with in the form of Fangbangers, whose personal kink is getting bitten and drunk from. But for the most part, anybody being bitten against their will is not going to enjoy it at all, and the vampires are usually shown ripping away chunks of flesh in the process of drawing blood.
Viewers Are Morons: Nan Flanagan is a firm believer in this. She has scientific evidence, too!
Villain Decay: Russell is originally presented as both an ancient Chessmasterand a Monster Lord (of vampires and werewolves!), but it doesn't even last out the season. His portrayal in later seasons makes him seem just erratic and weird. Also, he is killed by the exact same means that would kill any newborn vampire.
Villainous Breakdown: Eric has one after finding out his attempt to kidnap Bill was preempted by someone else kidnapping Bill first.
Eric highlights his hair in between enforcing his own sort of order in his domain.
Eric actually runs into Bill at a shopping mall in Shreveport (admittedly because he was seeking him out).
Then there's Maryann popping by Merlotte's for some lunch.
Queen Sophie-Ann seems to spend most of her time playing children's board games.
Villains Want Mercy: Debbie begs Sookie for this after trying to kill Sookie with a shotgun, only failing because Tara pushes her out of the way getting shot in the process. Sookie does not give it to her and returns the favor instead.
Not so sure if its Evil Sounds Deep... more like 'someone stepped on a bag of mice'
Lampshaded when Jason acts as the god-who-comes to save Sam from being sacrificed. He also gives some pretty awesome imitation evil laughter, and the rest of the effect is provided by Andy with a flashlight. Amazingly, it works.
Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Tara, after drinking the "snake juice". Also, the waitress at the vampire bar after Longshadow got staked. Bill after trying to do in Maryann.
Tommy after taking advantage of having shifted into a Fake!Sam to sleep with Sam's girlfriend.
In season 4, Jason, at the roadside just before collapsing after escaping from Hotshot.
What Could Have Been: According to the Ultimate Fan Experience Q&A shown before the third season premiere, Alexander Skarsgaard had originally auditioned for the role of Bill, not Eric. Imagine that.
Katee Sackhoff was approached for the role of Debbie Pelt. Sadly, she turned it down.
What Does She See in Him?: The whole town is scandalized when Sookie takes up with Bill, and Sam in particular wonders, well you know. For that matter, a lot of viewers aren't sure what she sees in him either...
It turns out that they were right to wonder, Bill fed her his blood explicitly so that she would want him and was only interested in her because the Queen wanted him to get close to her. But in all fairness, he abandons his mission after coming to genuinely care for her. But the damage was done.
It's stated in show that she finds being with Bill peaceful because she can't hear his thoughts. It would probably put you off your stroke to hear what your partner was really thinking.
What the Hell Is That Accent?: As expected for a show set in a rural area with an extremely specific accent. Made worse by the extensive Fake American in the cast. The only one who consistently manages to even hit "Louisiana" is Sam Trammell, who is from Louisiana.
In the fourth Season, the Mexican and Spanish accents can get this from native speakers. The normal mispronunciations that English speaking actors do are not present, and inded sometimes reverse (the lack of rolling "r" sound in words is exchanged for an exageration of said sound) which make it hard to know where the actors are from and where they learned Spanish. Doubled by the fact that 400 year old Spain Spanish is spoken in a very similar accent to modern day Mexican Spanish.
What You Are in the Dark: Jason's justification to Andy as to why they're heroes for saving the town from Maryann, even though neither they nor the rest of the town remembers what happened. Of course, this means that they don't remember that they were totally useless in the struggle to defeat Maryann after saving Sam from the mob at the bar, and had their plan gone off as they wanted it to they probably would have killed a whole bunch of innocent people
Where The Hell Is Bon Temps: While the show generally treats it as a distant suburb of Shreveport, the contradictory specifics of its location and travel times to other cities tend to confuse Louisiana natives.
Who's Watching the Store?: Merlottes sure seems to always have employees running off. Becomes a minor plotpoint in S3, when Arlene and Terry (and maybe Jessica) are the only reliable employees at Merlotte's, and Arlene ends up forcing Sam to hire some more waitreses, because she is massively overworked and pregnant.
In seasons 5 and 6, Sam Merlotte barely even sets foot in his namesake restaurant even though other characters are actively working there, making you wonder which character is handling purchasing and payroll. In the season 6 finale it is revealed that Sam was elected Mayor of Bon Temps, leaving Arlene the bar.
Who's Your Daddy?: Variant 1: Arlene finds out that she's pregnant with Renè's child, and despite feeling immensely guilty about it, tells Terry that it's actually his. She actually never told him it was his, just didn't correct him at first. And she later DOES tell him.
Wolverine Claws: By covering her hands in soil, Maryann can transform them into bestial claws that produce a deadly neurotoxin.
The Worf Effect: Throughout the third season, and in every werewolf vs. vampire fight the werewolf (or 'wolves) has lost. Even fledging vampire Jessica managed to best one!
Yaoi Fangirl: Vampire Queen Sophie-Anne LeClerq, who outright states that she loves to see two men together.
Year Outside, Hour Inside: Sookie enters the fairy realm in the season three finale. At the start of season four, she realises that time passes more slowly in the fairy realm and she returns home to find she's been gone without a trace for a year. Her grandfather is also there, believing a matter of hours has passed when it's been twenty years in reality.
You Are Number Six: Andy hasn't thought of names for his fairy daughters, so he simply calls them Number One through Number Four. It seems to work.
You Are What You Hate: Steve Newlin and Tara as of Turn! Turn! Turn!.Subverted in Steve's case as he doesn't seem to have any problems with being a vampire.
Warlow is a fairy who was turned into a vampire — the beings he despises.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "Release Me", Maryann has a zombified Eggs kill Daphne, right after kissing her on the cheek and sweetly thanking her for her service.
Karl getting shot in the head:
Maryann: Aww, poor Karl... you didn't really advance much in this lifetime.
You Have to Believe Me: Andy throughout season two. Granted, the things he's talking about would be hard to make sense of at the best of times, but he never even seems to consider how unhinged he sounds. "A bull! In a dress! WITH CLAWS!"
Although sometimes he's claiming something that's relatively legit. Ergo, "PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG!"
And near the conclusion of season four it's happening to him again, after his encounter with a fairy.
All of this is being ironic, since this is a world where the supernatural is known to be real, the people of Bon Temps in particular have personal experience with it and know that it is not limited to just vampires. So one either needs to exercise conscious denial of what goes on, or else confront all the strangeness. Those that do the latter may be more realistic in their perception of their world, but are often regarded as crazy by those in denial.
In the Season Three episode "Trouble", Eric finds evidence that Russell and his werewolves killed his father. And his mother. And his infant sister.
Your Vampires Suck: The very first scene of the very first episode of this series uses this trope. A goth gas station attendant tricks some tourists into thinking he's a vampire. After they leave, a red-neck vampire tells him that if the goth ever impersonates a vampire again, he'll kill him.
Fuck me? I'll fuck you, boy. I'll fuck ya... * fangs* ... and then I'll EAT ya.
This is an establishing moment for the series: Your Vampires Suck because ours aren't all decked out in goth attire, have some sort of ethnic accent, or are Large Hams; many of them can be normal folks just like you and me. The fact that the first vampire we see in this vampire-heavy show is an overweight Larry the Cable Guy-lookalike may be a big part of what put the show on the map.
Zombie Advocate: Quite a few people, including Sookie herself. Indeed, despite having seen first hand (or having been the victim of) some of the more horrific things that vampires do, Sookie still has a tendency to think of them as being just regular, if undead, folks with unusual quirks.