Were people always this crazy about vampires, or did it take Stephenie Meyer's PG-rated and Alan Ball's basically NC-17 approaches to make people crazy?
—Eternal High, via the Answer B!tch inbox
Another question aimed at getting me to wax forth on Robert Pattinson. Fine. I've seen Wagnerian operas with more charm than that child. I've seen larvae with more melanin that that child. I've seen cinder blocks more fascinating than that child.
Now, before we go any further, the draw of True Blood should not in any way be confused with Twilight's appeal. People love True Blood because they're almost guaranteed to turn on any given episode and see somebody half nekkid. But it's the utter denial of sexuality in the Twilight series that has made it one of the most successful vampire franchises ever.
Between its doormat heroine, its domineering, borderline stalker of a male lead, and their nearly nonexistent sex life, the franchise is prime fodder for the promise-ring crowd.
But neither of those series comes even close to being the first to mix vampires and sexual issues, not by far...
1. Bram Stoker's 1897 Dracula novel was published during the Victorian era for a reason. Back then there were about 8,000 rules on when to have sex, how to have sex, where to have sex.
People broke the rules, of course, but respectable people weren't supposed to, and any Stoker scholar with a brain has drawn parallels between the bloodsucking—but technically chaste—Dracula and the sexual tensions and frustrations of the era.
As one critic put it, "Dracula has embedded in it a very disturbing psychosexual allegory...that there is a demonic force at work in the world whose intent is to eroticize women...That force transforms Lucy Westenra, a beautiful nineteen-year-old virgin, into a shameless slut."
In other words, for that time and place, Dracula was about as R-rated as mainstream entertainment got.
2. Actors like Catherine Deneuve were doing the hot sexy vampire thing before most of you were even blastocysts. In 1983, a vampy Deneuve got it on with a bloodsuckin' Susan Sarandon in the rated-R undead flick The Hunger. And oh: There was a vamp David Bowie, too.
3. Some of you can remember Brad Pitt in the 1994 movie Interview with the Vampire. The flick also was rated R. I bring this up to prove that the R-rating treatment has been going on with vampires for quite a while, and it's been driving the kids wild for just as long.
Now, have these adult-rated pieces of entertainment driven people as crazy as Twilight or True Blood? Maybe. But probably not.
Need me to prove it to you? Look! Over there! Edward Cullen! In a Volvo!
Dip your puny li'l fangs into our True Blood: Season 2 gallery.