Is it just me, or is the Buffy/True Blood parallelism starting to freak you out?
Not that True Blood equals Buffy: I love True Blood, watch every ep, but to me, for all its fancy HBO production values, the show is more of a great, sleazy thrill ride, with only occasional traces of Buffy's big-picture staying power. But then, True Blood has a separate, perfectly legitimate appeal: It's Porn Buffy.
So we've got Sookie, who, like Buffy, is a spunky, occasionally irritating gal with powers that Set Her Apart. Like Buffy, she fell virginistically in love with a brooding, old-fashioned, dark-haired vampire, a man with Recovering Bloodaholic Guilt Issues and a bitchy ex. Like Darla, that ex was also his sire, and she was an older woman, still hung up on him despite endless rejection (although unlike Darla, Lorena has a super-bendy neck and the cable-TV ability to nude it up).
Luckily, Sookie/Buffy also has the hots for a blond, evil, pretty vampire with an aristocratic background! This gorgeous, dry-humored fellow is in secret love with her, to the point that he's having nakedly romantic dreams when he's not having marathon sex bouts with women in chains, flashing back to Nazi times, or flashing back to Viking times. (Flashbacks that have a Buffy-like cheesiness to their production values, come to think of it, although nothing to rival David Boreanaz's Irish accent.)
Buffy did have fewer werewolf gang-rape initiations, although there was that incident with the swim team and their coach.
It's possible that this is all just coincidence, or maybe it's just the eternal female conundrum, torn as we are between uptight, shirtless prigs and their natural rivals, saucy (also shirtless) bad boys. See: Jack/Sawyer, Aidan/Big, Noel/Ben, Dawson/Pacey, Spock/Kirk, Gallant/Goofus.
It is also possible that I am simply blinded by the show's endless display of torsos, a welcome phenomenon now that the men of Lost are off singing kumbaya in heaven's anteroom. It's not as if HBO's other shows (Entourage, Bored to Death, Big Love, etc.) are serving this particular audience: women who like their cable television to be just smart enough to justify the fact that it is porn.
A while ago, Alan Ball made some remark to the New York Times about how focus groups had revealed that men like True Blood for the "sex and violence," while women enjoy it for the "romance and relationships." I think what that those focus groups really reveal is that women in focus groups tend to be liars.