True Blood’s Hot Shot; Not So Hot
First off, if you haven't seen season 3 yet, then SPOILER ALERTS! We're getting ready for major show withdrawal over here. The Vampire Diaries is off until January 27th, True Blood doesn't come back until summer, The Gates was canceled, --ah, life cannot get any worse! But in the meantime, we're still cooking up lots of goodies for you back here, so don't worry that you're not getting enough True Blood. We've got all the blood, true or false, you can stand.
I love Alan Ball's talent; he weaves together the books and the show very well, without altering too much to exclude fans of the book, or including too much of Charlaine Harris's original story, to make the show completely predictable. That being said, I have a serious problem with the Hotshot in True Blood, versus the Hotshot in the book series; Hot Shot first appears in Dead to the World, where Crystal, and Calvin Norris are introduced to Jason Stackhouse. I'm going to go through a short list of the major differences I find the most disturbing, and at the end, I'll sum it all up and tell you why.
1. The Whole METH Thing - In the book, there's definitely a 'not-so-classy' atmosphere in Hotshot, but the whole crystal meth thing was nowhere near as prevalent. If meth was mentioned, I certainly don't remember it, so it must have been pretty brief. In the show, Hotshot is crawling with meth-heads and crack-whores, and skinny little drug-babies, everyone is doing it, selling it, or making it. Overkill? Yes, I think so.
2. Calvin Norris - Lived all through the book series, and even liked Sookie Stackhouse; the two even got along, and visited. Calvin actually asked Sookie if he could 'be her man'. And in the book, he was definitely a good prospect, aside from being a broke hillbilly who was old enough to be her daddy and all. But still, in the books, Calvin was a good man. Now, in the show, Calvin Norris is a skinny, mean, junkie-type who is all for his own daughter/niece/whatever, marrying her own cousin, and letting him beat on her. He's also a higher-up in the Hotshot drug business. Wtf happened here, Mr. Ball?
3. Crystal Norris - In the books, Crystal is skinny, mean, ruthless, --extremely manipulative, and ...single. And there really isn't that big of a deal about Jason being brought into the family, since they're all in desperate need of new blood. So Crystal is actually pretty enthusiastic about getting pregnant. But in the show, it's a whole different story. Everyone hates Jason for liking Crystal, and she's a poor pathetic little canker blossom, who needs saving from the inbreeders.
4. Felton - Do I really need to say anything here? Who the hell is this guy? Are we just inventing people now? Really? I'd like to speak with the manager!
I love True Blood, don't get me wrong. In fact, I think often of the show and the books being two separate entities. But this was almost unforgivable. I can even live with the whole, fruity fairy thing. But Mr. Ball took a quiet little town, hillbilly laden, for sure, a few incest issues, sure, --and then turned it into Ethiopia. Plus he turned Crystal into some pathetic 'damsel-in-distress' archetype. So... what, is it impossible to believe that Crystal can be a huge bitch trying to screw everyone around? Or that decent people can be poor white trash, --or that decent and inbred are two mutually exclusive qualities?
I didn't like that the show ended up portraying Crystal in a very sexist light; women can be nasty, horrible, manipulative bitches, and still retain their humanity. We don't always need to be saved by someone, and our characters don't always need to be saved by someone, in order to spark our empathy. Small towns, where people are broke down and beaten, can in fact, exist without a big meth trade going on. People can be decent, even when they're fucking their relatives; cousin-marrying in the South, is just another fact of life, in many communities and families.
I think it's more than a little creatively unethical to mutate a small, morally ambiguous town of white trash, to a small, morally bankrupt town of drug addicts and inbred sister-fuckers. Not to mention the obvious sexism involved in turning Crystal into a more socially acceptable stereotypical female character. Am I offended? A little bit. Will I continue watching? Absolutely. But I do still think this was a misstep, and hopefully, the much-awaited season 4 will put a little more optimistic light on Hotshot, because it definitely deserves a little bit of reputation-repairing.