Deconstructing Tara (True Blood)

There seems to be a lot of hate out there for Tara from True Blood. Personally, I loved her in the first season. I think the writers struggled with her in some seasons, but not to the point where I would single her out to hate over any of the other characters. But yet the Tara hate continues on. Let’s deconstruct this!

  1. When did you start hating Tara (or how she is written), and why?

  2. How does this hatred compare to the other characters? Why are they different?

  3. How would you have written things differently when things started to go bad? How would you write them now to redeem her?

To help refresh your memory, here’s Tara’s wiki.

Basic season overview:
1- Tara deals with her abusive mother and feelings for Jason
2- Tara follows guru MaryAnn and loves Eggs
3- Tara deals with Eggs’ death and is kidnapped by Franklin
4- Tara becomes a cage fighting lesbian and tries to stay out of trouble and keep others from trouble but gets shot in the head
5 - Tara is turned into a vampire

I also want to add my theory that Tara may have been just fine before people started hating on her, and the consequent bad writing may have been a foolhardy attempt by the writers to fix what wasn’t broken.

I hated Tara pretty much from the first line she ever spoke. I can’t put my finger on it, but pretty much everything about her is grating. I think she’s an awful actress, so bad that she stands out on a show littered with awful acting to the point that Joe Manganiello tends to blow everyone else off the screen. The character is no great shakes either. In season one her annoyingness was either overshadowed by the train wreck that was her mother or it was multiplied by it depending on your point of view. For me it was the latter.

I don’t know how I’d have salvaged it. A better actress would have helped, but I’m not sure that would have been enough. There’s so many stupid characters on the show but some of them at least have an endearing quality to them. Tara’s stupidity always left be hoping it’s lead to her immediate demise. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever been less convinced by a sexual situation on TV than by her and Sam.

Joe Manganiello does act circles around this cast doesn’t he?

There’s nothing compelling about Tara. It’s always just ‘what’s her problem now’. Oh, she’s mad. Again. And she’s got less than a 100th of the charm of Layfayette. That guy could replace Sookie for me.

Can I bring up a different point?

Am I the only one shouting “Where’s my damned hamburger I ordered four seasons ago?” every time Sookie comes on the screen?

She’s not done a whole lot of waitressing for a ‘waitress’.

I have to say, I liked Tara (and the actress) initially. Now, I don’t think I want to see the show without her but I’m sorry she’s a vampire now. Could have done without the cage fighting lesbian bit too. Tara back as a regular girl with baggage is what I would like to see but I’d still rather see her as a (slightly less angry) vampire with baggage rather than dead.

She had the best comebacks in the first couple of seasons and I think it played well against Sookie’s character but yes, lately it’s just all anger and whining. Needs to be balanced out IMHO.

I’ll copy my response from the other True Blood Thread

The show started out taking its premise semi-seriously (at least, as much as that’s possible with a show about rednecks and vampires), but turned into camp by the second season. The actress that plays Tara seems to be trying to stick with the original premise, while the other actors have either embraced the silliness or basically checked out and started phoning it in.

So did I, literally: I hate the accent she uses. I don’t know if that was the choice of the actress or the producers, but either way it’s, for some reason, fingers on a chalkboard to me.

Plus anything associated with Marianne the Maenad is attainted. That plot managed to make one season seem like 9 and was the most boring the show has ever had (though Aunt Petunia summons a Latina ghost came a respectable second). The Franklin plot was the character’s best but still a sideshow.
Though while I don’t expect the actress to win the Oscar anytime soon, I do think that most of the fault is the writing. Apparently the court orders and guard units who integrated the rest of Louisiana were never able to successfully integrate Tara into the plot; her cousin Lafayette fits in just fine, but Tara’s plotlines have always seemed “Meanwhile in a different vampire series also set in Bon Temps” feel to them. I think ultimately what I dislike is not that she’s so bad as an actress or as a character but that the character takes time away from the more interesting plotlines in a show that’s already overpopulated.

Really? Tara’s plots usually seem to be more integrated into the main story line then a lot of the other characters. I’m not sure Sookie and Sam have even been in the same room in the last three seasons (despite the fact that Sam is supposedly Sookie’s employer).

I think she was hired by Eric to be some kind of psychic consultant or whatever, I’m not sure about the details but presumably it had a lot better pay than the waitress gig. Also, it seems to me that the reason Sam is always hiring new waitresses is because Sookie and Tara haven’t done any actual work for years.

Disclaimer : I’ve only watched the first season.

Answer : I hate the character and want her to die in a fire. Or of cancer. Or in a cancer fire.

From the beginning. But I can’t always tell the difference between bad actin and bad writing, and that’s the case here.

But if you do deconstruct Tara, please don’t put her back together!

I agree that Tara’s character annoys me, and that the show IS filled with some pretty bad acting. (Really, it’s just a soap opera with some weird shit thrown in there). Part of it is her accent, but part of it is how she’s SOOOOO angry all the time.

But… we have the technology!

And we haven’t seen cyborgs on the show yet :smiley:

I’ve only seen the first couple of episodes, but Tara epitomizes the horribly shallow angry/sassy black woman stereotype/caricature.

The consultant thing is supposed to be just a sideline, at least in the books. Her primary job is supposed to be at Merlotte’s. But yeah, she’s never at work, and even when she is, she’s generally standing around flapping her yap about something.

Just watched the latest episode. They make it clear Snookie is still technically supposed to be employed at Merlotte’s.

That threw me, because I thought Sam’s brother shapeshifted into Sam and fired her at some point, and I don’t recall her being rehired after that, though it’s possible I’m mixing things up and completely wrong.

Anyway, Tara… I liked at first how she was all foul mouthed and stuff, plus her crush on Jason, but then she hooked up with Maryanne and Eggs and everything since that point has just been awful. I actually cheered when she got shot in the head last year. Shame it didn’t take.

Once again sitting by myself…I LIKE Tara.

  1. When did you start hating Tara (or how she is written), and why?
    Sometime late into the first season or early into the second. I can’t remember now.

  2. How does this hatred compare to the other characters? Why are they different?
    I hate hate hate characters who only bitch and whine, which is why I eventually grew to not stand Ron Weasley too, and all Tara does is whine and complain about every damn thing, so I hate her the most out of the TB cast.

  3. How would you have written things differently when things started to go bad? How would you write them now to redeem her?
    Short of leaving her dead or having her come back from the dead with a completely different personality, I would redeem her by marrying her off to a sweet but dumb friend from high school and have her seldom appear except to sell over-priced underwear or be the subject of a baby shower. Less would definitely be more.

Thing is, treating it like it’s real is a bad thing on TV in general. If even the most innocuous show were real, with all the bad stuff that happens, most of the people would be incoherent psychological messes. We expect TV characters to be able to handle a lot more.

Realism is overrated.