Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.
HBO likes to give us a little break the week before the final episode in order for you DVR people to catch up on what you missed. (Looking at you, Captain Mongo Nelson!) Gothtopia would like to take this week's column as an opportunity to talk about a plot line we've neglected over the course of the season, namely the evermore sinful tale of Sam Merlotte.
In the books, Sam's a pretty awesome kind, just a little hang-uppy on relationships. But increasingly in the TV universe, Sam's past has revealed abandonment, murder, robbery and just an all-around tale of woe. The thing about it is... it's really interesting, but the shape shifter's family history has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. It's just a diversion for those of us who think that the "Sookie is a fairy" storyline is a wee bit too RenFest.
Well, last week, Sam got raging drunk, kicked everyone out of his bar, and then sat down and had some more whiskey in the dark like a good 'Merican. We thought this would be a great time to cue up Merlotte's jukebox for the Sam Merlotte Sad Bastard Mixtape.
1. Social Distortion, "Ball and Chain"
There cannot be a better non-blues sad bastard drinking song than "Ball and Chain." Mike Ness laments his life while sitting in a broken Chevy drinking gin. "Born to lose/ Destined to fail" sung with a kind of over-the-top false joy that speaks of being thoroughly damned, and even more thoroughly apathetic about said damnation.
2. X, "4th of July"
X is one of those bands who can sum up sadness while never letting the punk rock go for a second. "4th of July" is all about a man's life and marriage falling apart on the normally family-friendly and celebratory holiday. This is perfect for Sam, who always seems to be in the deepest shit when everyone else is having a ball.
3. Marilyn Manson, "User Friendly"
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"I'm not in love, but I'm gonna fuck you till somebody better comes along." Sam's had this on-again/off-again relationship with Tara (Rutina Wesley) since the second season, It's gone nowhere because they are both emotional train wrecks without the ability to just sit down and have a relationship not based on fucking past the pain. It's too bad, because with head-free anuses, they would actually make a good couple.
4. Guns N' Roses, "You're Crazy"
That's the Lies version, not the Appetite version. Wouldn't want to get the energy up too high, would we?. This is a sad bastard mix, not a hate-myself mix. No man has summed up Sam's totally apathetic existence better than Bill Bailey and crew.
5. The Horrorpops, "Hitchcock Starlet"
Since Merlotte's serves more or less as the hub of events in Bon Temps, a lot of mayhem has its genesis there. Being a supernatural creature himself, Sam is even more in tune with the tragic goings-on than the rest of the town. What better way to sum up the sick horror movie plot they are all living in than The Horrorpops sad little tribute to all the girls who've died needlessly in black-and-white?
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6. Evangeline, "We're Alright Down Here"
Take it from Gothtopia, if you're gonna stare into your drink and question your very existence, this is the song to do it to. It's never been done better, and we've got $20 that says it will never be done better. We'd slit our wrists at the end of it save for two reasons: a) We're usually too drunk to realize that we're trying to commit suicide with an electric razor; and b) We'd hate to never hear the song again.
Be sure to visit the Loving True Blood in Dallas blog, where Jef With One F will be a semi-regular contributor to the podcast this season.