Saturday, June 9, 2012

How We Deal with How Much "Waiting Sucks"

I watch True Blood with a few members of my family, who have formed a group that we call Our True Blood Fan Club. Well, my sister and I call us that. My brother and brother-in-law call us Obsessed and Sometimes Crazy. My older sister, Missie, is my co-conspirator and co-Trubie in Charge. Her husband, my brother-in-law, David, also loves the show but thinks that Missie and I are definitely nuts. He’s staunchly Team Bill in contrast to our firm Team Eric status, which aggravates us but we’ll concede (we guess) that it provides a good source of debate. Our little brother, Brandon, is only truly interested in the copious amounts of naked women and liberal depictions of sex. His most prolific critique of any episode went something like, “They need more naked women and less naked men butts.” He’s Team Sookie, Team Jessica, and Team Any Naked Woman on the Screen. He could care less who Sookie ends up with as long as she’s naked when she does so.  My mother, who refuses to be a part of the pictures we take, the videos we shoot, or in-depth discussions, says she worries often about my sister and me. She fears we’ll end up in a mental hospital someday, babbling about Eric Northman as if he were an actual presence in our lives instead of a fictional character. She’s convinced that someday, we’ll eventually stop separating reality from fantasy and end up in a mental hospital talking to a psychiatrist about our vampire boyfriend named Eric who "damn it, is REAL!" We all look forward to each season, though, and Missie and I go to all kinds of extremes to deal with how much “waiting sucks!”

The Phases of Waiting Sucks

Phase 1: Denial (The day after a finale until approximately mid-September)

On the night of the finale, we are too keyed up and full of discussion to absorb the cold, hard fact that we are about to enter the longest and most trying phase of the year. By the next morning, after we’ve woken up to yet another fangover, one of us calls the other within the hour to further discuss the finale as if we didn’t dissect it in detail the night before, because we are totally in denial.

We just pretend it isn’t over. Are you starting to understand why my mom fears that we will someday leave reality altogether? We continue to discuss every moment of the season just as we did before it ended. During the True Blood season, we video our responses for our blog. So to keep the momentum going, the first thing I do to keep us from sinking into a True Depression is make a compilation of my favorite video moments of us for the season, like this one:

Those videos take me about four or five days to make, so I’m pretty absorbed while Missie waits anxiously to see it and laugh. We watch it together, giggling about how wrong our predictions were, how vehemently we argued our Team Eric stance, and how very, very seriously we took each line, each scene, each facial expression that the characters made throughout the season and what each of those things may possibly mean for the future seasons.

Next, we go back and watch the full videos on our blog. We laugh at ourselves and discuss the finer points of our discussions, and then we discuss why that what was we chose to discuss. We try occasionally to discuss other shows, other books, other movies, as if anything is going to hold our interest and excite us as much as True Blood does. All this time, we are still refusing to admit that we’re going to have to face reality and find something else to do for many, many long months.

Phase 2: Grief (around mid-September through mid-April)

The second phase comes after a few sucky Sundays sans Eric, sans Sookie, and sans Bon Temps.  We grudgingly admit that it’s over and that we’re going to have to move on with our lives. My sister goes back to being a wife and now a mother. I go back to school and work once summer is over. We try to continue our half-hearted discussions, but we’ve exhausted every subject imaginable. We’ve called each other earlier than either of us wakes up to discuss a dream we had about Bon Temps. We check True Blood’s Twitter page, their Facebook page, and the official page on HBO’s site as if we’ll somehow find something new there. We watch YouTube tribute videos, fan-made promos, and clips from our now lost season. We find other fans who share our melancholy and lament about how long the period between seasons feels. We insist wholeheartedly and in all sincerity, once again, that True Blood should have two seasons per year. And each year, this suggestion is ignored. We move on eventually, but we are shells of our Trubie selves. And then we join the rest of the fans in True Blood withdrawal and wait. And wait. And wait some more. And believe me, it really does suck.

Phase 3: It Builds (sometime in April through mid-May)

At the beginning of May, the new Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris is released. We’ve been so long without a scrap of Sookie, Eric, and the whole Bon Temps crew that we pre-order the book a month early. The first couple of chapters begin to be posted online, and we swear we won’t read them because we want to wait for the book, and every year we cheat and read them anyway. Once we ‘fess up and admit we’ve seen them, we can discuss that one or two chapters as if we’ve been given a whole new world of information. We come up with wild speculations predictions for the whole book based on that twenty-or-so pages.  We look up Charlaine Harris’s interviews and listen to them online.

And then the book arrives.

We are in heaven for several days. I read it in one night and wait on my sister to finish it the night after. We talk for days afterward about every quote, every character, and what we’d love to see translated onto the screen during True Blood.  We read every review and discuss, discuss, discuss them. Like an addict falling off the wagon, we are suddenly entrenched once again. The waiting is becoming agony!

Phase 4: Promo Crazed (mid-May until the premiere)

Sometime in May we start getting the promos. My sister and I get together every Sunday to see them on HBO, use the pause button to watch them over and over again frame-by-frame, and begin again the wild speculations predictions for the new season. Oh, you producers at HBO, how you have baffled and confused us! We have guessed everything from Sookie’s fairy kin being the original were-panthers to all the reasons we were sure Sam would eventually kill Joe Lee. Recording our predictions means I can go back later and shake my head at how very far out you’ve led us, HBO. If we do end up in extensive therapy, HBO, we expect you to take at least partial responsibility.

Once the promos are going, we get active in the Facebook groups, Twitter, and the online fan sites. We talk extensively with people we don’t really know about the upcoming season, and our mutual love of the show bonds us in Trubie kinship. Besides, we’re dying for the new season, and misery loves company. The excitement is reaching fever-pitch, and we are truly certifiable.

Phase 5: Six Day Lunacy (from the premiere to the finale)

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking. “Doesn’t the whole ‘Waiting Sucks’ thing end once the show comes on?” Something only genuine Trubies know is that this isn’t the case at all. We sit on the edge of our seats during the episodes, as keyed up as Andy Bellefleur on V. We practically hold our breath so we can hear every little thing. If Eric walks up behind Sookie in the woods before he commences to co-star in the GREATEST SCENE EVER, we want to know about it the second a twig breaks. We’ve waited anxiously to see our predictions play out and seen each of them disproven. We’ve found a hundred more moments to discuss. We have a million new questions unanswered. And then every episode ends with those blasted cliffhangers. Some of those final moments have left us utterly speechless (and as our husbands and brother can tell you, that’s not an easy thing to do).

As soon as the episode is over, we film ourselves trying to discuss that episode, but instead we start speculating about the next episode and the rest of the season. The cliffhangers and “coming up on True Blood” clips have led us astray yet again. We’ve been sure that Bill, Eric, Lafayette, and at least a dozen other characters would die before the end of the season. We’ve been left with kidnapped main characters, men we thought we knew who morphed into dogs and then back to men, even a head-twisting finale that shut us up for a good five minutes. We haven’t even processed the current episode before we’re anticipating the next one. And then we wait SIX WHOLE DAYS, complaining the whole time as if we didn’t just spend nine months in even worse agony.


As much as we whine and complain, we’ve decided that waiting should suck. It’s part of the fun of the show. It’s what made attending The Ultimate Fan Experience, discovering the issue of Rolling Stone covered with Sookie, Bill, and Eric all naked and bloody, and buying each set of season DVDs so we could relive them with fellow fans so thrilling, because we were dying for every drop we could get. True Blood gets our hearts pumping, our brains working, and it makes twelve weeks of our lives the most exciting weeks ever. The only thing that rivals that is the excitement leading up to the show.

So to adapt a Season 5 quote from our favorite rascally king, Russell Edgington, “We want to wait on True Blood because we like it!”

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