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You're Funny: Vampires and Humor

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You're Funny: Vampires and Humor

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 8th 2010, 3:27 pm

You’re Funny
Vampires and Humor
One of the things I think I like about the show True Blood and the books by Charlaine Harris is that many of her Vampire characters have a real sense of humor. In most regards, Vampires are seen as twisted, tormented souls or evilly sarcastic, sort of accidental comedians.

Of course caricatures of the Vampire character are common enough and you see funny Vampires playing off the old movie Vampire clichés. Leslie Neilson did in Dracula: Dead and Loving It. And you also have seen First Bitten starring Jim Carrey and Lauren Hutton. But I guess the first funny Vampire I ever met was Evil in Fright Night. He was a smarmy, obnoxious, geeky kid before he was made Vampire and became an equally smarmy, obnoxious, geeky Vampire, a real smart ass (which made us kindred souls in a manner of speaking).

But, parodies aside, we invested in the word of True Blood and the Southern Vampire Mysteries because of the premise that Vampires are now a part of our world and they live next door to us. And what is so wonderful about both of those worlds is that the Vampires all have their own distinct personalities. And they even have humor.

Now, historically, because we have always thought they were among the damned we never think of Vampires as anything but deadly serious (and I mean deadly). The damned have nothing to laugh about, and they are vicious monsters. Not so in this world, and even the “evil” ones, the ones that give fangs and garlic allergies a bad name, have a wicked sense of humor. They are a real scream so to speak.

In the books and the show, Bill has a sort of accidental humor. He is more witty than funny. While I would never see Bill telling us a joke about the farmer’s daughter and the traveling salesman, he has his moments and many of them are when Sookie says something to him that is common in ordinary conversation, but is an obscure reference to Bill. For example, in book two, when they are kissing and making up after the action in Dallas, Sookie is speculating that Portia may want “to get into Bill’s pants”. Bill drew a blank on that expression and he was amused with it and, I think, that Sookie would use the expression herself.

In the show, Bill is lethal, lovely and luscious, but he is also a bit of a nerd. “We recycle in this house. The blue container is for paper products and the white container is for glass and True Blood bottles,” His one attempt at real humor is actually pretty good and a real indication that he is willing to tear down that Vampirey demeanor and reveal that he wants to really mainstream. That was when he and Sookie were babysitting Arlene’s kids. Cody asks Bill, “Can we see your fangs?” Sookie of course demurs. Bill says, “Why certainly,” and ducks down under the table and raises up with his mouth full of Doritos and salsa, making fun of the Vampire stereotype.

In season two, when Bill discovers Jessica and Hoyt on the couch, he flings Jessica across the room (sorry GS, Sal, and anyone else who are devotees of the red-headed girl) and roars at Hoyt “Get out of my house….Now….” Hoyt is flabbergasted, of course. “Are you going to leave or am I going to have to throw you through a window that is closed!!!!” (Please tell me they will have a gag reel on the DVDs that will show flubs and blunders and we can hear cast and crew laughing when they do this) Again, this is one of those accidental comedic moments for Bill’s character.

Eric has to have a sense of humor to have named his Vampire tourist bar Fangtasia. Eric and Pam are the Steve and Edie of the Vampire community. Eric plays the smart ass and Pam is the straight man (woman) who has a wonderfully droll sense of humor herself. In the books they are even funnier, just like the old “married couple” we suspect they are. I keep listening for the snare drum when they have a situation that leads to a quip. The rolling of her eyes when Eric makes suggestions concerning the delicious Sookie and his off handed remarks concerning her pumps (Pam, Renee feels it, hun, she really does) keeps us rolling on the effing floor laughing our heads off.

And I love it when Pam sneaks up on Lafayette and scares him and looks around at the walk in refrigerator and says, “I could sleep here in a pinch,” Her reaction to the Fowler kids is priceless. Her less than maternal urge is perversely funny. And Eric’s interaction with the tea cup humans is gruesomely funny. Though I do not think Eric would indulge in one of the few Vampire taboos, the suggestion that he might, mixed with his candor by bearing his fangs to Cody and talking to Lisa about whether or not she liked Vampires suggests that he would be the type of baby sitter who would tell booger man stories to little kids just to make sure they had bad dreams at night.

And watching Eric observing Lafayette’s gyrating reaction to the healing elixir that is his thousand year old blood is enough to elicit laughter from even the most humorless person. His stoic glare and his comment “How nice for you,” to Lafayette’s excitement is priceless humor. If you didn’t laugh at that scene you really are dead, and not in that really cool Vampire way.

In the books, Pam and Eric have a sort of gallows humor. Eric’s funniest moment is when he throws off the overcoat and reveals the pink spandex suit underneath. Only a guy with sense of humor the size of his gracious plenty would come up with an outfit like that. There is also a moment in book six when he grabs the head of a decapitated Vampire and throws it into the fray of a major Vampire skirmish yelling “Bowling for Vampires!!!”

And then there is the fact that Pam is an avid reader of Dear Abby and often gives Sookie advice concerning her various degrees of happiness or unhappiness. Her fascination with Human life and rites and rituals are interesting and lead to some comic relief, like when she tries to remember about a bridal shower and a baby shower and even suggests that if one of the female humans working at the bar got pregnant, they could attend a baby shower. I would love to see her (or Eric) playing pass the orange with Maxine Fortenberry.

In the books, Sookie explains that Vampires have a difficult time assimilating into human life and comedy is one of them. She said Vampire stand up comics tend to make your blood run a little cold (unless, presumably you happen to be a Vampire). Their humor is probably a lot like their mouths, full of teeth and blood. In another of the books, she opens with a Vampire sort of What Not to Wear where two Vampire hosts ambush another fashion challenged Vampire to give them a complete makeover. Some things translate well, some simply don’t.

And this apparently is the key here. Something in the change over from Human to Vampire sucks the funny bone clean out of them…unless you happen to be Bubba. Bubba was famous, and anyone who knew Elvis when he was alive knew he had a real sweet, sly sense of humor and Bubba still does to an extent. I hope we are laughing with the addle pated Vampire and not at him. When I first read about Bubba, I thought it was the hokiest, dumbest thing I had ever read. Up to the time I met Bubba I was thinking: Okay, not high literature, but a frolic and has some romance, so I am up for this. The appearance of the Man from Memphis in the first book nearly pushed the envelope of my ability to suspend disbelief. Finally, though, I decided I could accept Bubba, because he really isn’t him. And the way he shows up in Sookie’s life and interacts with her in that really non-Vampire way and the fact he doesn’t drink human blood leads to some unintentional comedic moments, though not directly of Bubba’s making.

A lot of the humor, intentional and otherwise, comes from the writers, both of the scripts and the books and the actors themselves. Stephen Moyer has a wickedly delicious sense of humor and Anna seems ready to indulge in the silliness of her character. Alex has been in some funny stuff (Zoolander) and Kristen has been in the TV sit com game more than once. The ability to deliver funny lines with perfect timing and dead pan style (joke definitely intended) make the notion of Vampire humor subtle. You have to be awake to the experience and simply accept that what they find funny would probably leave you needing stitches.

Aslinn Dhan
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Re: You're Funny: Vampires and Humor

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 8th 2010, 3:29 pm

As I reread this thread and thought of that pink out fit I thought about Pam and how she was doing his hair and then I was picturing her trying to help Eric squeeze into that spandex out fit. I can see him, struggling to put the tight pants on, hopping around on one leg, cursing in a foreign language, with Pam standing there with an amused look on her face. "Eric, the fabric stretches, just suck it in,"

Eric: "How in the hell am I supposed to get all this in there?"
Pam: "Aw, hell Eric, just stuff it all in there, it will fit,"

Eric curses again and yanks furiously at the spandex to pull it all the way up.

Aslinn Dhan
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Re: You're Funny: Vampires and Humor

Post  Aslinn Dhan on July 9th 2010, 10:48 am

One of the interesting things about this third season is that we have seen a little humor in Bill. When he was facing down the pack who kidnapped him, the King of Mississippi rode up and revealed the name of the leader of this particular pack:

King: Cootah!!!!!! (in his Mississippi accent)
Bill: Cooter???? Seriously???? (Bill laughs)

Seeing that Bill is not above laughing at this ridiculous moniker gives me hope that Bill is a closet smart ass. Hopefully the writers will continue to give Bill the room to be a tad bit funny....

Eric is quickly becoming the king of great one liners.....and physical humor. Eric kills a werewolf in Sookie's living room (still a wreck for the Maenad). He looks down and says to Sookie:

I got your rug all wet... The delivery sort of reminds me of Forrest Gump when he "ruined" Jenny's roommate's bath robe.

Then there is the scene where he has hidden a body in a freshly dug grave. He replaces the standing wreath with a quick pat. Those little physical motions are very funny to me and I chuckle each time I see it.

Then there is Jessica. The "delightful baby Vampire". She has the humor one finds in the antics of any young person. She is confronted by Franklin at her door who seems menacing to her. She bares her fangs at him and he reciprocates. This "Whose Fangs Are Bigger" contest reminds us just how young and inexperienced she is.

Franklin has his own brand of humor: Besides the fang baring incident, Franklin then shows Jessica the head of the unfortunate trucker and even moves his mouth around grotesquely. See, that is the sort of gruesome humor I expect from Vampires.




Aslinn Dhan
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