Arlene on True Blood is a very dynamic character; she’s the most human in the series, and in the Sookie Stackhouse novels, she is also the truest human character. This analysis is probably a little pessimistic, but honestly, Arlene represents all that is uncertain, afraid, and naive. She’s a tough, protective mother, who had every potential to be a great neighbor, but forces of the world invade; uncertainty, and mistrust arise when met with all these strange supernatural events. Fear for her children and those she loves makes her turn her back on her once good friend Sookie, and she’s instinctively shutting down her emotions, however painful it might be, to keep any harm from her kids. That’s where Arlene’s biggest motivation for her actions lie.
It’d be a lot easier to hate Arlene if she was ignorant and selfish, but we can’t, because she’s going to make a serious turn for the worse in upcoming seasons, if the books are any indication, so this character profile for Arlene is really more of a warning: Don’t hate her completely, because we all know what lengths we’d go to in order to protect our kids. And that’s how Arlene justifies everything. She’s petty and selfish in some ways, just like the rest of us, but extraordinary circumstances are going to cause her to react violently, and turn her back on her friend. The actress portraying Arlene right now sees her in a really positive light, –I wonder what she’ll say next season? Digital Spy reports:
“She’s responsible for serving up a lot of the humor on the show, but she’s also really authentically Southern, and I was raised in the South,” she said.
“Sometimes I get a little annoyed by how some people want to generalize Southerners by making them rednecks or white trash. I try to find ways to humanise her – to find ways to ground the humor and reality.”
Preston added that she likes Arlene’s determination and work ethic.
“She’s a single mother with two cute kids – probably from two different dads though it doesn’t say that in the script,” she said. “She’s been engaged and married who knows how many times, and is someone who is just really trying to survive. She takes her job really seriously because she has to support her kids, which I love about her. In her mind, she’s not just a waitress, she’s a server, and she’s really fun to play.””
What do you think, people? Will Carrie Preston still be so supportive of her character’s identity when she finds out that Arlene is going to turn into today’s equivalent of a homophobic hate-crime supporter? It’s a lot of fun to play a bad guy, this is true, but it’s also hard to identify with a character when you’re representing, even in a fictional sense, a very socially explosive and controversial perspective. Everyone identifies with the villain in one way or another, but identifying with a fictional equivalent of a tea-party supporter? That’s a bit harder to get away with.