E! Online "The Awful Truth" columnist Ted Casablanca on Aug. 21 called the graphic depictions of sex and violence on HBO's vampire drama "True Blood" "highly ironic" and promoted the show as "great fun."
Casablanca defended the show on Fox News Channel's "Geraldo at Large" in a discussion with host Geraldo Rivera and Culture and Media Institute Assistant Editor Nathan Burchfiel. The debate was sparked by the controversy surrounding a recent Rolling Stone magazine cover that depicted "True Blood" stars naked and covered in (fake) blood.
Burchfiel pointed out that while the shows originate on premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime, many "worst-of" clips are available online within hours of broadcast, and many popular shows like "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" have found their way onto basic cable via syndication, a likely future for "True Blood."
"It's highly ironic, Geraldo," Casablanca said of the show, adding, "It's a highly intelligent, very clever indictment of the very conversation that we're having right now and it's an allegory to our times."
Burchfiel questioned that characterization. "Highly clever and ironic? They're depicting murder and rape as if it's something worth being glorified. I mean there was an episode just this season where one of the main characters literally turned a woman's head around 180 degrees while he's violently raping her. ‘Oh, it's ironic. Haha.' It's digusting."
"Where do we stop writing things off as simply ironic instead of sewer diving?" Burchfiel later added.
Casablanca suggested opposition to the show's graphic nature was a result of homophobia.
"I guarantee you that if none of those vampires were gay vampires, we wouldn't be having this conversation," Casablanca said. "What's upsetting so many people is that a lot of the vampires are gay."
Rivera didn't buy that argument, and neither did Burchfiel, who asked, "Who was talking about them being gay? It has nothing to do with that." Casablanca was correct in asserting that many of the show's vampires are gay. The depiction of gay sexual violence has been similar to the depiction of heterosexual violence. In a recent episode, a main character murdered an enemy during while engaging in gay sex.
"Certainly that heterosexual sloppy scene we just saw was not gay," Rivera said referring to clips shown during the discussion."
At the end of the segment, Casablanca recommended "True Blood" to viewers saying, "It's great fun."