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It's finger lickin' good.

"True Blood makes teen drama Twilight look like an after-school special on the Lifetime network. It's...for grown-ups, with enough plot twists and turns to shock your brain into overload."

True Blood is a Supernatural Soap Opera produced by HBO and set in an alternative universe where vampires not only exist, but have recently publicized themselves through an event commonly referred to as The Great Revelation, and are now trying to coexist with humans. This has become possible with the invention of a special drink — the eponymous TruBlood — developed as a safe means to replace human blood.

The opinions of the public concerning the vampires vary: some people idealize vampires, others scorn them, the rest keep a mostly neutral side. The anti-vampire movement is also fueled by the fact that the vampire blood is extremely addictive to humans, and is known on the black market as the drug V. As a result, there exist drainers — people who earn their living hunting down vampires and exploiting them for their blood.

Other supernatural creatures - such as shifters, were-animals and fairies — also exist. However, their existence is mostly closeted.

The plot mainly follows Sookie Stackhouse, a young bar waitress from the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Sookie's a telepath, which makes life extremely problematic for her at times.

Her life changes drastically when Sookie meets a vampire for her first time. His name is Bill Compton and he used to live in Bon Temps about a hundred years ago. Sookie discovers that she cannot read a vampire's thoughts, and after she saves Bill from a couple of drainers, the two slowly fall in love. However, soon after that a serial killer appears in Bon Temps, targeting all women who sleep with vampires.

True Blood is based on The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries; each season is loosely based on a single novel. The show differs greatly from the books however, adding a lot of adult content, graphic violence and explicit sex, as well as a more diverse cast and a quirky, black-comedic atmosphere, in a way being a spiritual successor to Alan Ball's previous series, Six Feet Under. Also, certain story elements are drastically changed from the books, keeping both readers and non-readers constantly wondering what will happen next.

The show also offers some pretty strong homosexual content, with several regular gay and lesbian characters, and some same-sex romance thrown in later in the series. The Vampire Rights movement is often seen as an allegory to the Gay Rights movement, with several phrases, such as "God hates fangs" and "coming out of the coffin", directly utilized.

This series has examples of:

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Lorena Krasiki infamously falls under this trope.
  • Aborted Arc: What the hell happened to Sookie and Jason's cousin Hadley and her part-fairy son?
    • And what about everyone in Hotshot and what happened to Jason there?
  • Abusive Parents: Sam and Tommy's biological parents. Especially Joe Lee. Holy... shit.
  • Accidental Murder: Jessica to the redneck she bit at the end of Season 2.
  • Activist Fundamentalist Antics: The Fellowship of the Sun, a cult running on a quite scary flavor of silliness.
  • Adaptation Decay: Very, very loosely follows the books. Later seasons only pay lip-service to the plot of the book the season is based off of. (In fact, the books are mystery novels, an idea that the show abandoned after Season 1.)
  • Adaptation Expansion: While the books had Sookie as the sole POV character, the show has more of an ensemble cast, leading to characters getting bigger roles or changing completely, and minor subplots growing to major storylines. Depending on who you ask, this is done with rather mixed success.
    • Maryann's role in the show was greatly expanded from her role in the book, in which Callisto (the character Maryann was based on) is confined to a very small subplot. She attacks Sookie in order to make Eric aware that she's in town and demands tribute (which she receives). Later, she shows up at a sex party, revels in the drunken sexuality for a little while, and kills most of the people in attendance.
    • Tara, Sookie's best friend, was given a much bigger part, in addition to completely changing race, personality, and...well, everything else.
    • Lafayette was a minor character in the first book and gets murdered at the beginning of the second. On True Blood, he's become a major character, in part because of his status as Ensemble Darkhorse.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. Chow is described in the books as being very attractive, with long black hair and a body covered in rare tattoos. In the show, he's short and chubby with a short head of hair. Unusually for a vampire show, the ratio of human-to-vampire attractiveness tends to be about equal, even with a margin for error.
  • Adorkable: Seriously, you have to be some kind of irredeemable asshole not to find Hoyt charming in some way.
    • Amnesiac Eric in Season 4 is no exception.
  • Affably Evil: the King of Mississipi. Unless his Berserk Button is on.
  • Agree to Disagree: Steve Newlin says this to Sookie when she's disgusted at his belief that God hates vampires.
  • The Alcoholic: Tara's mom.
  • Alien Blood:
    • Maryann, and presumably other maenads, have black blood that is poisonous to vampires.
    • Sookie's blood might also fit due to her being part-fairy.
  • The Alleged Car: Sookie has a spectacularly hideous yellow Honda Civic that's older than she is.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: And how! Let's see...
    • While not that bad, Bill is definitely darker than Sam, and both vie for Sookie's affection. Guess who wins?
      • Inverted when Eric becomes a major character; Sookie's attraction to him is inversely proportional to how evil he's being at the time, and he loses out to the more family-friendly Bill on every occasion.
    • Alcide is a genuinely caring man, and it looked like his relationship with Debbie was going to be it. Then along came Cooter, an idiotic, V-juice addicted leader of a werewolf biker gang. Debbie decides to marry the latter. Later Debbie and Alcide get back together--only for her to cheat on him with the violent, unstable werewolf leader Marcus.
    • Jessica dumps loving, kind Hoyt for bad boy Jason.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Shreveport, the third-largest city in Louisiana, serves most of the urban needs for the setting. This smartly averts the usual problem with fictional towns when they have more institutions and specialized businesses than their size would suggest.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Tara for Jason, Sam for Sookie, Eric for Sookie, Alcide for Debbie. Although most of them move on in one way or another.
    • In the second and third season, Lorena's "relationship" with Bill essentially embodies this trope.
  • All Myths Are True/ Fantasy Kitchen Sink: We've seen vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, werepanters, fairies (also known as aliens), a maenad, a witch, and a few ghosts so far.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: In the first season, most folks are wigged out by Sookie's telepathy and rationalize it that she's crazy or mentally weak. If they won't rationalize it, they use it as a reason to be cruel to her. They are also somewhat wigged out by Bill and vampires in general.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Except Hoyt, Terry and Alcide.
  • Alone with the Psycho: In the season finale of season 1, Sookie receives a ride home from Rene, just as Sam and Arlene realize separately that he is the killer. The audience was given reason to suspect him earlier, when the Bon Temps police received an ignored fax with information on him under his real name. Sookie reads his mind and runs into the woods, with Rene following close behind.
    • Tara with Franklin Mott outside Merlotte's after she thought he was dead. Thankfully not alone for too long.
  • The American Civil War: Bill's a veteran!
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Eric
  • Amusing Injuries: Priapism brought on by drinking vampire blood is amusing if the person it happens to is a Jerkass womanizer who doesn't listen to anything but what's behind his zipper.
    • Lorena gets this a lot, thanks to Bill and whatever he can get his hands on. Most notably a flat screen TV.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Authority, though it is not so ancient, as it has been around only a couple hundred years.
  • And I Must Scream: Russell is burnt to a crisp, wrapped in silver, and buried in cement.
    • Setting up Season 4's major cliffhanger, considering the parking garage that he was silvered and buried in is now a glorified hole.
  • And This Is For: Cooter kicking a chained up Bill in "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues" for killing some of his pack.
  • Angry Black Woman: Tara.
  • Anyone Can Die: A pretty tall body count as of Season 4, although to be fair, almost all of the featured players are still around.
  • Apologises a Lot: Sookie.
    • Terry... oh Terry... "Sorry I'm late." "You're 20 minutes early" "Oh. Right. Sorry... for being... sorry."
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite the fact that vampires have come out of the coffin, the majority of Bon Temps and the world don't believe in other supernatural entities. Werewolves, shapeshifters, and possibly some other groups are all deliberately encouraging this.
    • And the police think Tara's making things up when she tells them she saw a naked woman standing on the road with a pig.
    • Andy lampshades this trope, saying "And people thought I was crazy 'cause I thought I saw a pig."
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Really, Carl. The Egyptian towels were just not necessary. Now go clean yourself up.
  • Artistic License: In both real life and Greek mythology, maenads were human women who became members of the cult of Dionysus. In the show, they're just short of being deities themselves, if Maryann is anything to go by.
    • Queen Sophie-Anne hand waves this by mentioning that Maryann and her kind indeed started out as human women (even giving an accurate description of how the Hellenic women became absorbed into the Dionysian cult) but through blind faith they became immortal and gained a myriad of other special powers. Also, this could be interpreted as an exaggeration of some myths that maenads gained the ability to perform miracles through worship of their god.
    • The Cathholics didn't burn witches in the Inquisition. They don't believe in magic, so anyone claiming to be a witch must be lying. The Protestants believed in witchcraft, and were the ones burning witches.
  • Artistic License Biology: If Mavis' baby was a newborn when killed, it would not have left behind a skull after decomposing.
  • Artistic Title: Opening credit sequence is one of the creepiest things ever.
  • Ascended Extra: In the books, Maryann showed up to a sex party, checked out the scenery, uttered a few lines and was never heard from again. In season 2 of the show, she was the Big Bad.
    • Also, Lafayette appeared briefly in the first book and was dead by the end of it. He has a much larger role on the show and has become a real breakout character thanks to Nelsan Ellis' portrayal of him.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Sarah has a habit of using The Bible to seduce Jason. Lafayette and Lettie Mae quote scriptures to try and free Tara from Maryann's spell. Lafayette notes the irony when he tells Lettie Mae, "Just because Jesus and I have agreed to see other people don't mean we don't talk from time to time."
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Played straight with Godric and Eric, but totally subverted with Queen Sophie-Anne, who apparently relies on luck more than anything. It's revealed in the third season that Eric was only letting her kick him around because of his respect for her rank; when he switches sides, Sophie-Anne is screwed.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: "Then by the power invested in me by the one true Vampire Authority, whose wisdom and justice we hold sacred, I hereby pronounce you King William Compton of Louisiana." This while Bill is covered in his predecessor's blood.
    • "Now go clean yourself up; you're covered in queen."
  • Aw, Look — They Really Do Love Each Other: Bill and Jessica had their problems, but when Russell nearly kills her, Bill gives the loon a stern talking to, provoking the King into kicking his ass, but Bill's selflessness save her.
  • Axe Crazy: Woohoo, is this show full of them. From the sociopathic Rene, and Russell Edginton following Talbot's death to the subdued and apparently sane Lorena and Franklin. Before her reformation in Season 4, a V-addicted Debbie could count too. Even Steve Newlin happens to be this, willing to kill Sookie simply for loving a Vampire. Traitor to her race, indeed.
  • Badass: Godric.
    • Eric's no slouch, either. Until he was freaking neutered by Antonia's Mind Rape in Season 4, that is.
    • Season Three Bill to some surprise. He may be one of the nicer vamps out there, but if he's fed and pissed, watch your werewolf friends get torn limb from limb.
    • Terry. Disarming Andy with that karate move and taking charge of the Army of the crazies. He is such a badass.
    • Lafayette, too. That AIDS-burger scene may have been narm but he beat the crap out of those rednecks.
  • Batman Gambit: Eric for the entirety of Season 3. Bill tries the same thing by feigning allegiance to Russell, but it fails.
  • Backstab Backfire: This is how Marcus Bozeman met his end.
  • Badass Crew: Bill, Eric, Pam, Jessica and a flamethrower, power-walking. It is as it sounds.
  • Bed Trick: When Tommy shifts into Sam, he doesn't seem too concerned about having sex with Luna, the woman Sam's been seeing.
    • He initially resisted her advances, but as soon as she took off her top, all bets were off.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Louis Pasteur - Vampire, and the one who led the effort to synthetize the eponymous TruBlood.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Come on, Bill and Eric. Even Sophie-Anne admits to Bill, "You two really should just fuck each other and get it over with. I could watch." Also counts as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Berserk Button: Sookie doesn't like people talking trash about her to her brother. Just... don't.
    • Likewise, don't ever insult Sookie in Jason's presence. Or try to hurt her, for that matter.


    • Lorena's is being told that Bill doesn't love her. She tried to kill Sookie for it.
    • You better not criticize Godric in Eric's presence. Or compare him to Bill Compton.
    • "If Sookeh is hurt in any way because of you... I will not stop until I drive a stake through whatever semblance of of a heart you have left!" Jeez, Bill.
    • Tara lays the dreaded "we have to talk" on Mott (while pretending to be infatuated with him). His response: "Don't say that. Women say that, I black out and wake up surrounded by body parts." Okay, so you're saying a Dear John letter is the better way to go...
    • Apparently, calling Sam a pussy (or stealing from him) ain't so crash-hot an idea, either. See Beware the Nice Ones.
  • Better Than Sex: Amy once described the high on the illicit drug made from vampire blood, V, as being better than sex.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Amy is generally an easy-going flower child... but when she wants her Vampire Blood...
    • Season 3, episode 9: When Sam snaps...he snaps hard.
      • Hell, he counts a demi-god amongst his kills. He had help, but still...
    • Sookie, for all her hang ups, is a genuinely nice person and will forgive the people she loves for a lot. But push her too far and she'll laugh maniacally as she shoves your husband's remains down the garbage disposal. And she’ll make you watch.
    • An evil example; Russell was, at first, quite pleasant and genial, and his relationship with Talbot was adorable. Even when he started getting sinister, he was still very much Affably Evil. Then Eric staked Talbot and he lost his temper in a very public fashion.
    • Nice Guy Hoyt sure knows how to hit the sore spots in his ex-girlfriend Jessica after half a season of being played about.
  • Big Bad: The show follows the seasonal big-bad formula.
    • In season 1, it's a serial killer who preys on women who sleep with vampires.
    • Season 2 has Maryann, the maenad, with the Fellowship of the Sun coming in a competitive (and much more fun) second.
    • In season 3, it's Russell, the 3,000+ year old king of Mississippi and serial interferer with mortal affairs. At first glance, he comes off as Dandy-ish and a bit effeminate. However, between his bizarre hold over the Weres, his Trophy Collection, his age, and his work over the centuries, he's shown to be much more unpleasant than he appears.
    • In season 4, it's Marnie, a somewhat pathetic witch who empowers herself by being possessed by Antonia, the ghost of a witch from the Middle Ages who was raped and burned at the stake by vampires infiltrating the Catholic Church. She was presumably drawn to Louisiana because of Luis, the vampire who brutalized her. When Antonia attempts to leave after seeing innocents killed in their crusade, Marnie firsts lectures her into staying and then outright stops her from leaving. After being shot, Marnie possesses Lafayette and causes a little more mayhem that way.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted in season one. Bill wakes up to discover Sookie is very near death. Despite it being midday, he decides to try and save her, but ends up a smoking pile of charcoal instead. He gets better, though.
    • Jason rescuing Sookie and Eric in 2.08, then again in 2.10, plays it straight.
    • Then subverted again when Jason and Andy try to go and kill Maryann only to make it barely through the crowd where both are almost immediately turned into zombies.
    • Jason arrives just in time to save Tara from Franklin. And it was awesome.
  • Big Eater: Maryann. She ordered the entire menu when she went to Merlotte's. She also has a seemingly endless supply of tropical fruit and exotic food. Her favorite secret ingredient for her recipes also seems to be a human heart.
  • Big Fancy House: Russell, the King of Mississippi, has one of these. It literally has a crown on top of it.
  • Big No: Sookie has one when she hits Cooter with energy from her hand.
    • When Russell senses that Talbot has been killed.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Occasionally subtitled.
    • Maryann's Greek incantation, which she uses to turn people into hedonistic zombies, invokes the names of Bromius, Dendrites, Eleutherios and Enorches, which are epithets of Dionysus/Bacchus. The "Io io" part is an ancient Greek interjection (ἰώ), used, among other things, to summon gods.
    • When Sookie reads Maryann's thoughts, she hears "Hekas, o hekas, este bebeloi!" which means "Let the profane ones depart!"
    • Eric often gets to converse in (spotless, modern) Swedish, mostly with Pam, but also in his flashbacks. His companions' accents fluctuate in quality between astonishingly good and, well, not so good, depending on who it is.
    • Talbot occasionally mutters Greek Angrish to himself, often when storming off in a huff.
    • In Season 3, we get a German Bilingual Bonus
    • And Yvetta the Estonian cardiologist-turned-stripper speaks Russian with surprisingly mild accent. Justified, since it would be more logical for Eric and Pam to have learned modern Russian than for them to have learned modern Estonian.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Lafayette saw through Maryann's facade within seconds of first meeting her. "I don't know what you is, but I'm feelin' you; and you's a soulless bitch."
    • That bitch Daphne was working with Maryann all along.
    • There's also Nan Flanagan, spokeswoman for the American Vampire League. She seems nice enough on television (especially compared to the Newlins), but in person, she's ice cold.
  • Bi the Way: Pam, Sophie Ann and Tara. Eric might be--or it might have been part of his scheme for revenge against Russell.
  • Black Best Friend: Tara.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: "That's Maryann's energy inside of them!"
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Poor Jessica. She soon discovers that her hymen is going to keep regenerating no matter how many times she has sex. So every time will be like her rather painful (but later pleasurable) first time.
    • Vampires in general have superhuman abilities, as well as KryptoniteFactors. And older, more powerful vampires become increasingly vulnerable to sunlight, a millennia-old vampireburns to ash within seconds of getting hit by sunlight.
    • Being a medium can be useful, since you can talk to and listen to spirits. If you aren't able to keep them from possessing your body whenever the mood strikes them, however, it's much more of a curse than a blessing.
  • Blonde Guys Are Evil: In season one Eric is presented as a sort of evil counterpart to Bill (The Lestat to his Louis, if you will.) This is later averted when you find out that Bill is not much better than Eric, from a moral standpoint, and that Eric is not quite as evil as previously implied.
  • Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: Sarah Newlin
  • Body Horror: From Lorena's infamous Exorcist-esque sex scene to the face of a cursed Pam being rotted away, to the point where she peels a lump of flesh off her cheek, not even mentioning all the usual creepy stuff happening in a setting filled with supernatural monsters...Safe to say sooner or later, something's bound to either Squick you out or scare the pants off you.
  • Bond One-Liner: Season 4, a Brainwashed and Crazy Eric is about to twist Bill's head off and says, "Here comes death." Sookie distracts Eric long enough for him to let Bill go, Bill turns around and says, "Not for me!" and shoots Eric and two other vampires sent by Antonia to kill him.
  • Brainless Beauty: Jason.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Everyone under Maryann's influence. Also, quite a few members of the Fellowship Of The Sun act that way, especially Luke.
  • [[[Bratty Teenage Daughter]]: Jessica at the beginning is a vampire version, making it especially scary. She gets better.
  • Bridezilla: Maryann in the second season finale. "YOU brought this upon everyone!"
  • Bring My Brown Pants: An unfortunate police officer soils his uniform after a close call with Bill.
  • Break the Cutie: Jessica: For the first few episodes after she becomes a vampire it seems like she just has one horrible experience after another. (Though this is Played for Laughs in a way.)
  • The Bro Code: In "Spellbound", Jessica realizes she is not cut out for a monogamous relationship, what with being a vampire with a nuclear-powered sex drive, and breaks up with Hoyt. Hoyt rescinds her invitation to his house. She then goes to Jason and basically throws herself at him, only for Jason to say that "Hoyt's my best friend" and also rescind her invitation to his house. Of course, this is Jason we're talking about, and they get it on by the next episode.
  • Broken Aesop: The show presents vampires as a metaphor for marginalized human groups, especially homosexuals, down to bigoted signs saying "GOD HATES FANGS" and an episode where Bill asks Sookie to marry him in Vermont. But homosexuals do not, as a rule, go around murdering people and eating them. Many vampires actually are highly dangerous, even the "nice" ones (see Jessica's Accidental Murder of a trucker). Also, gays do not have mind-control powers that they can use to force you to do their bidding.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Avoiding this is Crystal's reason for abandoning her fellow were-panthers. in the season finale she gets back with her brother, Self-Made Orphan Felton, to save Jason.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Arlene, Arlene, Arlene. What is harassing Jessica, a young vampire with poor impulse control, supposed to achieve, exactly?
  • Buried Alive: Eric and Bill do this to Russell at the end of season 3. Bill also tries to do this to Eric, but he is freed by Pam.
  • The Bus Came Back: When you make a show about the supernatural even a character that's Killed Off for Real can come back. Gran and Rene pop up in the Season 4 finale.
    • So does Steve Newlin, who wasn't Killed Off For Real--but the manner of his return is still surprising.
  • But Not Too Gay: Lafayette does not get a boyfriend until season 3 and has never had a sex scene. Similarly, the idea that most vampires consider gender a footnote at best when picking sexual partners was hinted at throughout the series but never overtly depicted until Season 3.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Sam gets to do it to both his biological parents after he discovers they force his brother who's also a shapeshifter into dog fights.
  • Camp Gay:
    • Lafayette combines a Camp Gay wardrobe with a Hard Gay personality. He manages to be just one of the guys on the road crew and as a short order cook, often while rocking guyliner.
    • Averted by Talbot, King Russell's consort. He's clearly the "femme" partner in their relationship, but he behaves more like a politician's hard-nosed wife than a mincing, limp-wristed Camp Gay. The actor based his performance on his Greek mother.
  • Cartwright Curse: Jason's girlfriends in Season 1 have a high mortality rate.
  • Cassandra Truth: Detective Andy for the second half of season two. If only he hadn't spent season one and the first half of season two ruining his reputation. His descriptions could use a bit of work too.
    • Lafayette's mother Ruby Jean tells him "You've got power, boy. That's why they're coming for you." This may be Infallible Babble, but she also once told him he could breathe underwater.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Jason in "I Hate You, I Love You".
  • Catch Phrase: Inadvertently, Bill's pronunciation of Sookie's name.
    • Lampshaded by Sookie herself in Episode 3x02.
  • Cat Fight: Sookie Vs. Debbie.
  • Celebrity Paradox / Mythology Gag / Shout-Out: In "If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'", Sookie is shown reading a Charlaine Harris novel.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the first two seasons Jason Stackhouse was borderline retarded. In the third season he was just pretty damn stupid. After Joining the Sheriffs department and being forced to look after a Hotshot for a little over a year he has been forced to mature and is now fairly intelligent. (He still comes off as a bit dim every now and again but watching season 1 Jason vs season 4 Jason it is almost stunning to see the difference in character.)
  • Chainsaw Good:
    • Jason, as he turns road construction equipment into an impromptu arsenal. Subverted in that the chainsaw doesn't do him much good.
    • Subverted again with Jessica in S3. When she gets the chainsaw, there is no corpse anymore.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Maryann's statue. According to Maryann, the reason Sam is "the perfect vessel" is because he appeared to Maryann a naked virgin drawn to the statue, which represents the rebirth of Dionysus.
    • The Greek mythology book Bill was seen reading in a flashback becomes integral in Maryann's defeat.
    • The gloves Bill stares at that he later uses to free himself from a silver chain.
    • The shotgun with wooden bullets given to Jason from the Fellowship of the Sun's vampire-killing arsenal in Season 2 is later used by Jason to kill Franklin in Season 3.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin:
    • Debbie in season 3 when she goes to kill Sookie.
    • Maryanne is frequently seen sporting one of these.
  • Chew Toy:
    • Jason Stackhouse is a particularly tasty example of this trope.
    • Sam doesn't get a break the entire second season.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In "Frenzy", Sophie-Ann explains to Bill that maenads started off as ordinary humans, but gained immortality and other supernatural powers through sheer belief in their god. She goes on to say that the only way to kill a maenad is to thoroughly convince it that it is time for it to die; in Maryann's case, the time to die is the arrival of Dionysus, who she believes will ravish and devour her. Sophie also espouses the theory that all supernaturals came into existence through the power of belief.
    • In that same episode, Maryann explains to Tara that even though Miss Jeanette was a fraud, she was still able to unwittingly tap into supernatural forces just by performing the rituals; it was Tara's "exorcism" that summoned Maryann to Bon Temps.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Russell Eddington, King of Mississippi, though he is perhaps the only one so far.
  • Clear My Name:
    • Jason is accused of crimes he didn't commit in the beginning of season one.
    • And Sam's got in on the action, as well. The police in Bon Temps sure seem to be a gullible bunch, don't they?
  • Cliff Hanger: Many, if not all episodes end with Sookie getting into a situation she is woefully unable to handle all by her little human self. Both the first and second season have also ended with a cliffhanger.
    • Taken even further in the season 4 finale. The plot wraps up halfway through, and the entire second half is spent killing off half the cast, and putting the others in terrible danger.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • What most of Bon Temps thinks Sookie is.
    • Iraq war vet Terry Bellefleur, who is genuinely off a bit due to PTSD.
    • Maryann comes off as a cloudcuckoolander to those who don't know what she really is. In "Release Me", she comes into Sookie's house covered in dirt and blood with unruly hair and a damaged dress, holding a dead rabbit. Tara comments to Eggs that she's "so fucking weird".
  • Combat Pragmatist: Pam sprays a mix of water and silver particles on Bill's face, getting the upper hand in their fight. This is noteworthy, as Bill's only concern in a fight with another vampire is age, not tactics. And you can bet that even among vampires she just pulled a dirty trick.
    • Sam attacks Crystal's father while the guy's back is turned, with a coffee pot no less.
  • The Comically Serious: Eric Northman is usually the terrifying Mr. Fanservice but damned if he doesn't have some of the funniest lines in this show. His prodigy Pam is no slouch either.
  • Comic Book Time: The first three seasons took place over what can't be more than about eight months, which certainly puts things like the Sheriff's reaction to yet another murder in his county and Sookie's fatigue about the constant violence in her life since she met Bill in a rather startling perspective when you think about it.
  • Conspicuous CG: The werepanthers' cat forms are clearly animated. While real wolves are used for the werewolves, it was probably much harder for the studio to secure properly-trained panthers.
  • Continuity Nod: In season 3 Terry mentions he rescued an armadillo and is now caring for it. This wasn't referenced again until season four, when Terry and Arlene are standing outside their recently burned down home and Terry is holding him.
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: There are occasionally a few stray thoughts that don't give Sookie exactly what she's looking for, but they still almost always fall into line with what we expect the character to think ("this jerk better leave right now" "Doesn't she look like a tasty little meal" etc..) and never anything random like "did I water my plants?" or "what a cute skirt, I could use one like that."
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandmother Stackhouse. She's an old Southern lady, proper and prim, but she's also very sweet, funny, and doesn't take shit from anybody.

 "You will burn in hell!" "The same to you!"

  • Country Matters
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Russell does two grisly variants.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Charlaine Harris, the author of the Southern Vampire Mysteries book series, makes a brief appearance in the season two finale talking to Sam at the bar. He was apparently telling her what had been happening in the town, because she says "I certainly never expected anything like that to happen here."
    • In the first episode, there are pictures posted behind the bar at Merlotte's, one of which is of Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Jessica. That smile of's overpowering!
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All of a sudden in Season 3, everyone gets one (ie: Sam? Really? Aww, c'mon...).
  • Darker and Edgier: Though they both deal with the same general themes, the books have a lighter feel to them than the show, for which many of the characters from the books were given Darker and Edgier "make-overs."
    • In the books, Russell Edgington is described as a "gay Hugh Hefner" and is a rather laid-back vampire, although notably his people attempted to kill Bubba, as they didn't realize that he really was Elvis. On the show? Holy. Shit. He's a magnificent bastard with designs on taking over the vampire kingdom of Louisiana, with a pack of werewolves strung out on his 2,810-year-old blood as his bruisers.
    • Calvin Norris in the books was the noble patriarch of a backwoods Southern family and had a normal and successful blue-collar job. On the show he is a violent, white trash meth dealer.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:
    • Sookie indulges in taking matters into her own hands because of her power-related problem.
    • When Jason takes the vial of V, he spends hours trying to make his problem go away and ends up having to get the blood drained, he even had a blister on his thumb he had been going so long.
    • Tara does while showering in her dream, after having escaped Franklin.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pam and Tara.
    • Eric and Kenya are not too bad, either.
    • Talbot was well loved by fans for his snarky comments.
  • Death by Adaptation: Calvin Norris, We Hardly Knew Ye.
  • Death by Irony: Maryann cut out the hearts of her victims as offerings to Dionysus; Sam defeats her by ripping her heart out.
  • Death By Origin Story: Eric's father, mother and little sister were all killed at Russell's behest. Interestingly, subverted with Eric himself.
  • Death by Sex:
    • The victims of the murders in season one, except for Adele Stackhouse.
    • Talbot in Season 3. And killed with a piece of ancient vampire erotica, no less.
  • Death Seeker:
    • Maryann, apparently, along with maenads in general.
    • Godric too.
  • Deep South: The show manages to delve into many issues plaguing the American South--poverty, racism, homophobia, drug abuse, child abuse, and religious extremism--without demonizing the setting or the people therein.
  • Deconstruction: Franklin full stop. Hot Vampire? Check. Cool calm and collected figure? Check. Mysterious past? Check. Bat-themed detective? Check. His own theme music? Check. Psychopathic, socially-retarded, psychologically-damaged man-child with severe Psychotic Lover qualities? Double Check.' Makes you rethink how romantic the phrase "we'll be together forever" really is.
  • Devil in Plain Sight:
    • It took quite a while until anyone in Bon Temps apart from Sam noticed that Maryann wasn't just a slightly kooky, bohemian social worker.
    • Rene was just a friendly local face until the very end when Sookie figured out that he was actually Drew Marshall. Even then, only Sookie knew about him being the serial killer until after he'd been shoveled in the neck.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Any Wiccan worth their athame knows that Samhain is pronounced "sowwen" as it is a Gaelic word. So when a Marnie-possessed Lafayette pronounces it wrong, any knowledgeable neo-pagan would notice it stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Good lord, if it wasn't before then it certainly is by season 4. As of now there's not a single relationship on the show that doesn't involve one of these: lies, cheating, accidental incest or one of the parties having questionable sanity.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Sam. Emphasis on dogged.
  • Domino Revelation:: Vampires appear first then shifters, goddesses, fairies, and werewolves.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Rusell breaks into a newsroom and rips out the news anchor's spine to show the world what vampires are really like before turning it over to the weather.
  • Doomed Hometown: Somewhat. Bill, Sookie and Jason return from Dallas to find Bon Temps in utter chaos due to Maryann.
  • Double Agent: Bill spied on Sookie for Sophie-Anne (revealed in the Season 3 finale "Evil Is Going On") and spied Sophie-Anne and the other monarchies for Nan Flanagan and the AVL (revealed in Season 4's "You Smell Like Dinner).
  • The Dragon: Gabe for Reverend Steve Newlin. "Eggs" for Maryann.
  • Dramatic Wind: "Lo, lo, Enorcheeeeeees..."
    • Taken Up to Eleven during Antonia's spell to force all vampires to Meet the Sun.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:Maryann had the most anticlimactic defeat ever.
  • Drop What You Are Doing: In S1 Jason drops a vase on walking in and discovering another of his fuckbuddies is dead.
    • Pam in 4x03, upon hearing Sookie tell her that Eric seems to have amnesia, drops the phone and is gone from the room leaving Sookie to call "...Pam?" over the now-abandoned phone.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • Tara, with regard to her alcoholic mother.
    • Andy on being basically kicked off the squad for being the only non-idiotic person in the entire town.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Especially vampire blood used as a drug. And season two gives us metaphysical ecstasy...
    • Jason has a * ahem* little problem after taking a little too much V.
    • Bill threatens a ditzy college coed within an inch of her life
    • and lets not forget the oft mentioned runaway drug addict/long lost Stackhouse cousin Hadley, who eventually appears as a member of Sophie-Anne's court.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: When Jason is being interrogated in connection to the murder of a woman he was videotaped having sex with. The tape shows the woman faking her death, Jason freaking out and running away, and then the woman laughing once he's gone. When the cops suggest that he came back later and killed her for real, using the tape to fake his innocence, his defense, which the cops accepted, was "I'm not that smart!"
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma: In "Frenzy," Rosie reminds Jason he did this to Patsy Lyle. His defense: "She was fine when we started!"
  • Dump Them All: In the finale of True Blood season four, Sookie turns down all three of her love interests. In the case of Bill and Eric, it's a classic "I'm not picking either of you" ending to a Love Triangle. Alcide gets a gentler "sorry, but I don't feel that way about you" rejection.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Happens to Marnie when she's invites the spirit of a 400 year old necromancer to possess her. However, we already see shades of this during her first couple of appearances; after purposefully hijacking the coven's circle for an experiment into necromancy (briefly resurrecting her dead bird) she immediately seeks to bring back a human being. Lord knows where (or how) she intended to acquire a body...
  • Emergency Transformation
  • Emotion Eater: Maryann feeds on the lust, anger and pride generated by those around her.
  • Equal Opportunity Evil: The Fellowship of the Sun, despite being strawman embodiments of bigotry, have at least one African-American family amongst their ranks. Fear of bloodsucking fiends crosses all races and religions!
  • Erotic Dream: Basically, everyone who ever drank directly from a vampire and is halfway important: Sookie of Bill and Eric, Lafayette (reportedly) of Eric, Tara of Franklin, and Sam... of Bill. Got turned around once, when Eric had one of Sookie. Jason has one of Jessica.
  • Eternal Love: Russell and Talbot. Maybe also Bill and Lorena, depending on how you define their relationship.
  • Evil Laugh: Surprisingly, Sookie as she garborates Talbot's remains in front of Russell.
  • Evil Matriarch: Stupid and bigoted, Maxine Fortenberry oppresses her adult son, and plots with Summer in order to destroy his relationship with Jessica.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Sam.
  • Exposition of Immortality: During Season 1, Bill is invited to speak at a Church meeting for descendants of Civil War families, since he actually fought in the American Civil War. A photo from the period has been turned up that's of Bill and his mortal family.
    • Talbot hissy-fits over the tapestry that gets used to put out Lorena after Bill throws burning oil on her because it's centuries old.
  • Eye Scream: In the season 1 finale, we get treated to a close-up of Bill's eyes BURNING.
    • Pam sprays water containing silver particles into his eyes in season 3.
    • Arlene has a blood vessel in her eye burst, apparently telekinetically, by her baby, Mikey.
  • Face Heel Turn: Tara flirts with this in Season 4, but ultimately changes her mind.
  • Faceless Goons: Nan Flanagan's "gay stormtroopers".
  • The Fair Folk
  • Fake American: The actors who play Sookie (Anna Paquin, from New Zealand via Canada), Jason (Ryan Kwanten, from Australia), Bill (Stephen Moyer, from England), as well as some recurring characters such as the magister (Željko Ivanek, from Yugoslavia) and Marnie (Fiona Shaw, from Ireland).
  • Fan Disservice: Bill has sex with Lorena and then breaks her neck and turns her head 180 degrees while still humping her! Don't worry, she's a vampire, so not only does she live, she enjoyed it! Quite possibly the most hilariously unappealing sex scene in the history of television.
  • Fan Service:
    • Eric's fanservice was off the charts in the Season 3 opener. His first appearance featured him completely naked having wild sex with a tied up woman and then calmly discussing Bill's abduction with Sookie while still completely naked and then he has a conversation with Pam with a robe he decided not to close all the way. Female Gaze, anyone?
    • The fanservice is kicked up several more notches by Alexander Skarsgard confirming in Rolling Stone that he was genuinely naked in every nude scene.
    • Alcide is a werewolf, which means, of course, he has to be naked before and after transformations.
    • Pam's tight vinyl outfit in that same episode. Full stop.
    • Sookie, so many times. The black wig and leather outfit for the werewolf bar springs to mind, although her Merlotte's uniform alone makes many, many folks break out into a cold sweat.
    • Annoyingly subverted when Sam wakes up from his vampire blood-induced wet dream of Bill (It Makes Sense in Context) right before they kiss. Damn it, I demand to see dailies from that shoot!
    • Crystal, Sophie, Lorena - do we need to say any more?
  • Fanservice Extra: Several, most notably Playboy Playmate Tiffany Taylor as the spectacularly gorgeous nude woman that Nan Flanagan is cavorting with in the back of a limo in Season 3.
  • Fang Thpeak: Intensity varies by character. Jessica's bad for it.
  • Fan Service with a Smile: The waitresses at Merlotte's wear very tight, skimpy uniforms. Also, the existence of a shirt on Lafayette is questionable at best in some of his scenes in the kitchen, so there's something for the ladies.
  • Fantastic Racism: Sam doesn't mind the idea that vampires can have rights; he just doesn't want them in his bar. He is actively insulted, though, if you call him a werewolf.
    • Vampires say that humans "do not feel pain as we do" to justify mistreating them; never mind they were all human once themselves. This is probably intended as a parallel to how humans treat animals, with the same - false - justification.
    • The Fellowship of the Sun is a religious movement that can't condone killing vampires but sure does cheer when it happens.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Russell's fate: after being sunburned to near death and listen how the remains of his lover are drained and shredded, he winds up incapacitated with silver and buried in concrete by Eric, Bill and Alcide.
  • Faux Action Girl: Sookie. She runs headfirst into any problem boasting that she can take care of herself, but the number of times Sookie has gotten herself out of a mess she put herself in or got into by accident can be counted on one hand. People are constantly saving her and yet she still acts like the sassy Action Girl she believes herself to be.
  • A Fete Worse Than Death: Maryann's sacrificial rituals consist of orgy raves. Her attempted sacrifice of Sam plays out like a festive white wedding.
  • Fetus Terrible: Arlene's baby with Rene survives a Magical Abortion and seemed to give her nightmares afterwards. Then things got even weirder and creepier, and Arlene worried that the baby was being possessed by the ghost of its father. It turned out that there was a ghost communicating with the baby, but it wasn't Rene, and all of the trouble it caused was unintentional.
  • Fiery Redhead Vampire: Hi there, Jessica.
  • Fingore: Jane Bodehouse cuts off her own finger under the influence of Maryann. Then she holds up her maimed hand and shows off a mad grin. She eventually gets it sewn back on once Maryann is killed.
  • Filk Song: The hilarious "Oh Sookie" by Snoop Dogg.
  • Five-Bad Band: Season 3
  • Flash Back: Lots of Sookie thinking on her past. And Tara on hers. Sam gets a bit in season 2. Bill and Eric had some both as humans and as vampires, and both Bill and Lorena have been reminiscing more or less fondly about their mutual past.
    • Eric and Godric also had a few.
  • Foot Focus: Sookie washing Eric's feet early in the fourth season, after he's turned into an amnesiac Woobie by the witches in Shreveport. It's never explained what happened to his shoes and shirt, but half-naked Eric is always a welcome sight.
  • Foreshadowing: A lot of things from later books have already shown up.
    • After Miss Jeanette is killed, Tara's mom tells her "There's something evil out there that wanted her soul. If you're not careful, it'll come for yours." Right then, Maryann shows up and pulls Tara into a hug.
    • In episode 2 of season 3, Terry and Sookie are looking for a man who Sookie saw watching her outside of Merlotte's. His footprints have disappeared, leading Terry to comment that it's impossible for him to have done that, unless he turned into a bird and flew away. "Or a wolf," says Sookie knowingly. Then Terry makes a comment that a coyote or panther is more likely, because he's never seen a wolf around. It comes off as a joke at first because, come on, panthers? In Louisiana? Later in the season, we find out that there's a family of redneck werepanthers living nearby, and suddenly his comment makes a lot more sense.
      • This is a case of bad book to show translation, though they are called panthers in the books, Sookie makes it clear they are actually mountain lions, they just get called panthers. Every physical description of them in the books confirms they are mountain lions.
    • While most of season 3 is focused on the Russel plot and introducing us to the Weres, in some of the later episodes it begins setting up Jesus and Holly as witches, which were the focus of season 4.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Apart from the main plot of the season, there are several (often intersecting) subplots involving the rest of the cast.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Eddie, Bill, and Jessica.
    • Present Day Godric is probably the most friendly vampire on the show. He's a complete pacifist, only killing when it's necessary like when he killed Gabe to protect Sookie, who Gabe had beaten and nearly raped. Judging from Eric's origin flashback, that used to be different back in the day.
  • Functional Genre Savvy: Bill, surprisingly: "I am a vampire. I am supposed to be tormented."
  • The Fundamentalist: Steve Newlin, and, by extension, the entire Fellowship of the Sun church.
    • Maryann takes her devotion to Dionysus *very seriously* .
  • Fur Against Fang: subverted. Werewolves and vampires just generally dislike each other, which makes sense since they are both disliked by the other species anyway. Some werewolves are addicted to vampire blood but their boss, and main supplier, is a vampire.
  • The Gambling Addict: Sophie-Anne. Her success seems to vary- she sucks at scratchies, but kicks ass at Yahtzee.
    • Sophie's gambling was supposed to show her terrible financial situation, which is why she had Eric selling vampire blood for her.
  • Genetic Memory: Both Jesus and Lafayette receive and share visions of their magic-using ancestors after doing some V.
  • Genre Savvy: Sookie, to a degree. She thought silver only worked on werewolves.
  • Genre Blindness: Sookie getting out of the car all huffy so she can go running alone through the dark woods. Of course the plot armor saved her.
    • Tara not realizing that a mysterious social worker showing up out of nowhere and inviting her to live in her mansion where everything is handed to her on a silver platter is just a little suspicious, not to mention too good to be true.
  • Go Through Me: See Stupid Sacrifice below.
  • A God Am I: Maryann. Or at least, that's what her little suck-up Daphne thinks.
  • Go Seduce My Arch-Nemesis: Maryann uses Daphne in an attempt to lure Sam in.
  • Gorn: Vampires drinking the blood of humans is not pretty. Usually thre is at least a little bit of blood dripping down the human's neck. And that's if they are being civil. Then there are the times when vampires get staked and pop like bloody balloons.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Royce's death at the hands of Eric.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck: Sookie, although she has dropped several precision F-strikes, usually avoids swearing. She even uses "fudge" as a euphemism. She has also called Eric a "big, lying A-hole".
  • Green Rocks: Vampire blood has traces of that. It not only heals, it sharpens your senses, makes you stronger and occasionally gives you erotic dreams of the vampire it came from. It also can be used as a drug and an aphrodisiac. The effects any specific character receives from "V" seem to depend on what the writers want it to do that day.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: In a few cases, there are only one or two differences between the "good guys" and the "bad guys."
  • Hate Plague: In order to manipulate Tara into letting her stay with her, Maryann uses her powers to cause a brief Hate Plague at Merlotte's.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: The gays as vampires metaphor is Anvilicious, and usually Played for Laughs. But the rest of the time it's clear that they are vampires and are fucking scary. The sole purpose of Jessica's existence seems to revolve around this plot.
  • The Hedonist:

 Maryann: We need to be out of control. We crave it."

    • In "I Will Rise Up" she's on the verge of tears when Tara and Eggs comment that the followers of hedonistic religions were crazy.
  • Hemo-Erotic: it is a show about vampires.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty:

 Sookie: Did you kill my uncle?

Bill: ... He...hurt you...

  • Heteronormative Crusader: Parodied - The intro features the infamous Westbro Baptist Church slogan "God hates fags," modified to "God hates fangs."
  • He's Dead, Jim: The majority of murder victims thus far have the glassy, sightless stare. Some even have way more blood than the human body should hold pooled around them.
  • Homoerotic Dream: Lafayette for Eric and Sam for Bill.
  • Honey Trap: A male case with Eric seducing Talbot so that he'll let his guard down.
    • Bill is one for Sookie.
    • Lorena for Bill.
  • Horny Vikings: Eric. Duh.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The show includes HBO's usual touches.
  • Hot Men At Work: Jason, Lafayette and Hoyt work on the road crew.
  • How's Your British Accent?: British actor Stephen Moyer famously struggles to manage an American accent. It must have been a relief when a flashback scene put Bill in an English punk rock bar, and he was able to speak in something pretty close to his natural voice.
  • Human Sacrifice: Well, not literally human. Attempted by Maryann with Sam Merlotte and by the Fellowship of the Sun with Eric.
  • I Feel Guilty You Take It: Sookie gets a big inheritance—but A)she never liked that relative and B)she feels responsible for his death, because Bill killed him after she told Bill her uncle hurt her. She gives the money to Jason, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Ignoring by Singing: Played for Laughs in one episode: One of the main characters is a psychic, and one of her friends wanted to keep a secret from her. When the psychic tunes into her friend's thoughts, all we hear is "LALALALALALALALALALALALALALA".
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Played for Laughs with Bill and Jessica, who have a father-daughter dynamic.
    • And for Nightmare Fuel with Bill and his creatrix. Season 3, Episode 3 anyone? * shudder*
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Sookie regarding her power, which forces her to constantly hear all people's nasty dirty little secrets and ugly emotions. Her grandmother is the only one who sees it as a gift — but only that when it's useful.
    • Bill has this attitude due to being forcibly made vampire by Lorena.
    • Jessica was enjoying her new strength and freedom up until she realized she has a self-healing hymen, will never have babies, and can't control her murderous urges around her boyfriend's spiteful mother.
    • Sam regarding being a shapeshifter. So what if he can change into any animal of his choice? He just wants what every man wants. A good life, a good woman.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title is also the name of a song featured in the episode, often during the end credits.
  • Idiot Ball: Trust me--everyone gets a turn with it in each season. It's not even worth listing specific examples.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Jesus to Lafayette in the Season 4 finale.
  • I Love You, Vampire Son: Bill and Lorena as seen in their flashbacks. Godric and Eric. Eric and Pam. Bill and Jessica platonically, after she gets past her teenaged vampire angst.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Maryann feeds Tara and Eggs a "hunter's soufflé" made with a human heart. However, Tara and Eggs are unaware of the soufflé's special ingredient...
  • Important Haircut: Tara in the season 3 finale.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Jason displays these on the Fellowship of the Sun's shooting range. Even more impressive is that he nails every target while in a fast-moving quad, not to mention hitting Steve right between the eyes from a long way away with his Paintball Gun of Awesome. And then he nails Eggs right between the eyes at the end of Season 2 and hits Franklin right in the heart in Season 3. On top of all that he was one hell of a quarterback in high school. Word of God suggested in an interview that, while Sookie gets mind-reading powers, Jason got a little bit of Super-Aim for himself.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: "Your blood tastes like freedom." (Sookie's blood allows vampires to walk in sunlight, at least for short periods.)
  • Interrupted Suicide: Tara attempts to kill herself, shortly after Eggs is killed. Lafayette is only just in time to keep her from swallowing several bottles of pills, and he has to force her to spit them back out (and may have made her take some ipecac to get her to throw up any that she did swallow). It may also qualify as Driven to Suicide, since she only tries it after her mother brings in a preacher to try and console her (who ends up slamming Eggs, due to not knowing enough about the whole situation).
  • In the Blood: Arlene fears Rene's baby will also be a psycho like daddy.
  • I See Dead People: Lafayette seems to develop this.
  • It Got Worse: Most of the story arches on the show involve a situation that starts out as moderately horrible and then gradually escalates to such a point that you're surprised the characters come away from it without post traumatic stress disorder.
    • What's worse, the audience usually sees the bad things coming before the characters do, making watching the show a little like watching a suspensful horror movie.
  • Jerkass:
    • Eric, both doing his job and occasionally, in his spare time. Naturally, not everyone agrees with this categorization. He's a polarizing character.
    • Jason in Season One.
    • Jason's rival Luke. Although it could be argued he's more Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • Many of the vampires, especially in their behavior towards humans.
    • Detective Andy, in Season One and early Season Two. Good Lord, Detective Andy. Constantly dribbling an Idiot Ball, he's convinced that he is a good cop even though he's actually a drunk who likes to jump to conclusions and genuinely make an ass out of himself, especially after he gets fired and then continues to interrogate people without a badge. On the positive side, he's one of the few Bon Temps residents not prejudiced against Bill, even defending him against the Sheriff, and he later teams up with Jason to save the town from Maryann.
    • Tommy Merlotte. It's a bit low to act like a dick to the one member of your family who looked out for you, and double so AFTER HE SAVES YOU FROM A DOG FIGHTING RING. He turned his dickish tendencies Up to Eleven later, when he complimented Sam for nearly murdering a man, flirted shamelessly with an obviously not receptive Jessica, taunting Hoyt, and MAULING HIM after getting punched in the face. Disproportionate Retribution much?
      • Possibly explained by Freudian Excuse given in the series 3 finale. Either way, it's a rough fate.
      • And the first time he shifts into a human being - his brother Sam who just saved him from prison - he succeeds in both firing Sookie AND being a total douche with Sam's girlfriend that he just fucked. Hardly justified, even with his Dark and Troubled Past.
    • Arlene. She antagonizes Jessica basically for being in the same room with her, takes weeks to tell Terry that her baby isn't his, and worst of all wants to abort her baby despite Terry's excitement and promising to love the child that he knows belongs to Arlene's serial killing ex.
      • Slightly justified as it's being hinted at that the baby will be evil like Rene, or at least influenced by him.
    • Sam towards the latter end of series 3 becomes this, in the shows attempts to give him and Darker and Edgier backstory
    • Tara is loyal to Sookie, but in general she is a very unpleasant person.
  • Kill It with Fire: Bill attempts this on seeing Lorena at Russell's house.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Though by Sookie's reaction, the bite hurts, she says the pain was only temporary.
  • Klingon Promotion: As of the season four premiere, Bill has killed Sophie Anne and is now king.
  • Large Ham: "Who ordered the hamburger with AIDS?"
    • Bill however is easily the most consistently hammy of all the main characters, with shining examples such the notorious "Sook-eh", and a personal favorite of mine, "Jason mah blood can save her!".
    • Don't forget, "STOP... Sook-eh is mahn!" Also, when Bill confronts Lorena about how she "deprahved me of mah freedom... mah home... mah humaniteh! I will nevah. evah. love you!"
    • Franklin has his moments, especially before his death, his best examples probably being: "You would have mmmourned mmmmmee", "SHUT UP SHUT UP", "You do realize, I'm a vampire?".
    • Also for Franklin is his "Look how fast I can type 'motherfucker'! Look at that!"
    • Russell. His is the TRUE face of VAM-PIAHS!
  • Law of Conservation of Normality: Sookie may help the vampire population of Louisiana whenever summoned, but when they don't need her, she's got to go to work and pay her bills and worry about money like everybody else.
  • Left Hanging: The show never fully explains exactly why Maryann was so obsessed with keeping Tara and Eggs by her side, when in fact they had no role in her master plan to sacrifice Sam that couldn't have easily been filled by anyone else.
    • Hand-waved by Michelle Forbes; Maryann keeps Tara and Eggs by her side because their emotional turmoil and distraught make them easy prey, since she feeds on human emotional energy.
  • Leitmotif: Sookie and Bill have a warm, positive tune which plays over their romantic scenes, probably to emphasise their Designated Couple status.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Pam, though she occasionally goes after men to mix things up. So is Nan Flanagan if her one and only sexualized scene is anything to go by. Queen Sophie-Anne claimes to be Bi, but she has been exclusive to women for longer than most full-fledged lesbians have been alive.
  • Lighter and Softer: Show Godric is quite a bit nicer than his book counterpart. And that includes his flashback self.
      • He's actually got two book counterparts- Godfrey and Appius Livius Ocella- and he's significantly better than both of them combined.
    • Although not much has been revealed about Sophie-Anne's background story, it's obvious she wasn't turned at twelve like her book counterpart.
  • Love Hurts: Sookie gives up a little on Bill when he leaves her with no promise to return. And because he tends to do things without explaining to her.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Tara's affection for Eggs causes her to pick up the Idiot Ball late in the second season, and in the beginning of the third season, when she attempts suicide after his death.
    • Sookie and Bill tend to bring the stupidity out in each other, their single-minded devotion to each other apparently leaving little room in their brains for any coherent, let alone reasonable, thoughts.
  • A Load of Bull: In the season two finale, Sam takes the form of a white Brahman bull to trick Maryann into believing she successfully summoned Dionysus. Then he impales her on his horn.
    • When Maryann transforms, she wears a ritualistic bull mask. Technically not a straight example of this trope since it's just costuming, but the effect is the same, giving her the appearance of a minotaur.
  • Love Makes You Evil: In his zeal to protect Sookie Bill turns on Eric, sends a killer after Pam and challenges Sophie-Anne to a fight to the death, all to keep Sookie's fairie-ness a secret.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Sam finds out his birth-parents are still alive, and heads off to find them at the end of season two. Turns out he has a brother too. His relationship with them as well as their... shall we say "curious" family dynamic is shaping up to be the Sam plot of season 3.
  • Magical Abortion: Arlene believes that Good Girls Avoid Abortion, so she tries to have one of these instead (don't ask how it's any different - it's Arlene, she isn't that bright).
  • Magical Queer: Jesus. Lafayette is this in a literal sense, but he is a main character with depth and his own storyline.
  • Male Gaze: And Female Gaze too. Lots of shots of breasts and cleavage, but also several shots of shirtless men, or men's bare behinds, or clothed (and unclothed) crotches. Note that this isn't always necessarily erotic.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: The Maryann plot in season 2.
  • Man Child: Jason and Hoyt. Also Andy and and Talbot show some traits.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl. From what we hear about Debbie's and Alcide's relationship, she was a pretty dark version of this trope back then. By the time we see them, though, she's dumped him and gone even crazier. Also Amy in season 1, who is introduced as this but turns out to be a drug-crazed murderer.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Maryann and Lorena.
  • Marriage to a God: Maryann's master plan is to wed herself to Dionysus by sacrificing the "perfect vessel". Said vessel happens to be Sam.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Maryann's surname is Forrester. Maenads live in the woods.
    • Eric Northman. He is, in fact, a former Viking.
    • Crystal. Guess what kind of drugs her pounce is involved with?
  • Messianic Archetype: Godric. He killed himself for his sins.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Sookie hears a lot of things that she'd rather not.
  • Mind Over Manners: Sookie can't help hearing the thoughts, but she's heroic and nice, and will defend even her brother.
  • Mistaken for Gay: A shop assistant sees Bill with Eric and comes to the wrong conclusion, somewhere at the start of season 2.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: In season 1, 96% of Bon Temps was convinced that Jason Stackhouse was behind all the recent, mostly-sexual-related killings, including the death of his own grandmother.
    • After an "anonymous" tip, Sam is discovered at Merlotte's by police minutes after finding Daphne's dead body. They think he's guilty, even after Andy Bellefleur tries to intervene on his behalf.
  • Mistaken for Racist: Arlene is stupid enough to use the phrase "you people" when talking to two black people (she meant religious types...maybe).
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Used rather blatantly after Sookie and Eric have sex. Borders on Fridge Logic since Sookie was on full display moments ago.
    • Arlene keeps her nightie on for sex in "I Hate You, I Love You".
    • Deborah Ann Woll obviously has a no-nudity clause in her contract. The measures True Blood takes to keep Jessica's nipples hidden in sex scenes while showing almost every other square inch of her body are heroic.
  • Momma's Boy: Jason's best friend, Hoyt.
  • Monster Fun Facts: And how!
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Mavis in season four.
  • Monster Mash: Russel's alliance with (some of) the Weres of Mississippi.
  • Mood Whiplash: Russel's speech to the world after he kills a news anchor on-air. See "The Reason You Suck" Speech below.
    • Eric is fantastic at this because he does it twice in "Evil is Going On". After Sookie has told off all the vampires in Fangtasia and Bill is glaring at Alcide, which prompts Eric to say: "Well, if you two are finished eye-fucking each other, we can go." The second time occurs in that same episode after Eric tattles to Sookie that Bill had manipulated her into falling for him and Sookie kicks him out of her house. While Bill lies on the ground, emotionally ravaged, Eric looks at him and says: "I want my phone back."
  • More Than Meets the Eye: Bill of all people. Looks like a nice enough vampire who's gone home to mainstream. As of season three we learn from the Vampire of Mississipi that Bill is an upcoming player in vampire politics. And that he may or may not be a valued agent of the Vampire Queen of Louisana.
    • Season Four reveals that he has been working as an agent for the American Vampire League since the 80s and is part of a conspiracy to take over the vampire power structure
    • Lafayette, drug dealer, gigolo, overworked hedonist. Who has two legal jobs and an illegal one, to support and take care of his mother who may or may not have disowned him prior to her mental deterioration.
    • Eric's entire character is like this. Eric is actually an old and powerful vampire but does not have an interest in vampire politics or living extravagantly. This often leads to people making wrong assumptions about him which he is more than happy to subvert in a number of bloody ways. He is also very 'feudal' in his approach to loyalty which some might erronously construe as weakness and subservience.
  • Morality Pet: Godric might be called that in regard to Eric.
    • Pam, though morally gray herself, has an awful lot of Pet the Dog moments with Eric in season 3.
    • Fittingly, Eric is possibly the only person who makes Pam show a more emotional side.
    • Talbot, for Russell.
  • Mr. Fanservice: In a subversion of usual Hollywood casting, there's only one average-looking man in the cast (Andy Bellefleur); the others are all muscle-studs each with their fair share of admires (even...especially the more depraved ones like Eric and Franklin). The women on the other hand are slightly more ranged in appearance.
  • Mummies At the Dinner Table: Russell and what's left of Talbot.
  • Murderer POV: Sookie gets to see these in image flashes sometimes.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: From the second season finale during Sookie's exchange with Maryann.

 Maryann: Please don't be so negative. It is my day...

Sookie: And you're in my house, and those are my friends. Plus... Jane Bodehouse.

  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the Season Three premiere, Jessica frantically tries to keep the trucker she fed on in the second season finale from dying.
    • Season Four has a quite surprising one: It's actually Antonia and not Marnie who has this reaction when their plan to wreck the reputation of vampires results in numerous innocent people being killed, and Marnie has to Hannibal Lecture her into continuing to work together.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Anyone familiar with William Shakespeare or perhaps The Dresden Files should recognize that Sookie's in trouble the moment Mab introduces herself.
  • Neck Lift: Pam does this to Tara in "Cold Grey Light Of Dawn".
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Sookie's magic-light-shooting-out-of-her-hands thing.
    • Bill just got in some of the action with voice mimicry and the apparent ability to float.
    • And in season 3 we find out that she's part fairy and her blood is sought after by vampires because drinking it allows them to be safely exposed to daylight.
  • Never One Murder: Bon Temps is a very dangerous place.
  • No, Mr. Compton, I Expect You To Dine
  • Not So Sociopathic: Most vampires put up a front that they're violent, cold, and heartless. But...
  • Not What It Looks Like: Tara's mother says this when Tara catches her with Reverend Daniels, and the reverend tries to spin a story about how he accidentally spilled something on his pants.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Yvetta the Estonian dancer. Written off by Eric and Pam as an airhead gold digger, she's actually a cardiologist back in her homeland, which she reveals to Pam while chaining her to a stripper pole after freeing Sookie from Fangtasia's basement.
  • Oh Crap: A quite subtle one in season three; after Tara bashes Franklin's head in with a mace and then runs out of the room. Sookie informs her in the next episode that vampires completely dissolve into blood when they die, leading to a blink and you'll miss it shot of Tara's reaction.
    • The spirit of Marnie coming back to possess Lafayette. Lafayette's reaction is priceless.
  • Ominous Greek Chanting:
    • Maryann's Inner Monologue is constantly chanting in Greek, and she chants Greek incantations when she does her shaky-shaky maenad magic.
    • All of the Maryann zombies are chanting the various names of Bacchus.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Authority.
    • It can be safely assumed that more details about the Authority will be revealed as the series progresses.
  • One Head Taller: Followed by most of the heterosexual couples on the show.
    • Reversed by Talbot (Russell Edgington's "husband") who, despite taking the more feminine role in the relationship, is taller than Russell.
    • Also reversed by Eric and Godric (depending on how you interpret their relationship); Eric is practically a giant while Godric, who is depicted as the dominant one in the relationship, is unusually short for a man.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Dr. Ludwig, in season two, who heals Sookie after Maryann attacks her. She appears to be nothing more than a very frail Miniature Senior Citizen, but she's very knowledgeable of magical healing, is somewhat abrasive and has no apparent fear of vampires whatsoever.
    • She returns in season four, to give Pam treatment for her rotting face.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: BILLBILLBILLBILLBILL. Often seems to resort to chewing the scenery to disguise it.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The religious imagery (Order) and sexual debauchery (Chaos) in the opening. All mixed with images of animals, death and rebirth.
  • The Other Marty: Tara was originally going to be played by Brook Kerr; her scenes in the pilot were reshot with replacement Rutina Wesley.
  • Our Fairies Are Different:
    • They look like very pretty humans.
    • They wear white or pastel clothes that wouldn't be out of place at a sixth-grader's ballet recital.
    • They seem to literally eat and drink light.
    • They live in a sunlit realm full of trees and flowers and crystalline ponds.
    • They enjoy sunshine, swimming, dancing, and being naked while doing any of these things.
    • As of season four, it seems that all of the above is an illusion created to keep the half-humans they've lured into the fairy realm under their control. Real fae are inhuman, angry, dirty, and live in a barren wasteland as a result of the vampires hunting them down. Their attitudes are more like The Fair Folk.
    • They can enter the human realm and interbreed with humans.
    • Their blood is addictive to vampires, and as a result they hate and fear them.
    • They have some kind of odd forcefield powers, which can throw people and objects around, break chains, and even disintegrate people.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Silver burns vampires quite badly.
    • And how they must react when an invitation has been rescinded.
    • Vampires can appear in mirrors and are unaffected by crosses and holy water.
    • With some exceptions (Bill, Eddie, Godric, Jessica), the vampires treat humans like pets at best, and snacks at worst.
    • Apparently, the older vampires get, the more susceptible they are to sunlight: Bill, at 170, withstood the sunlight for several minutes, whereas Godric, at 2000, ignited in blue fire within a few seconds of exposure.
    • Vampires have some sort of psychic connection with people who drank their blood directly from the source - they sense their emotions and can find them anywhere, the person in question has Erotic Dreams of them.
    • Similarly, makers seem to have some connection with their progeny, which means they can find them, mentally call them - and feel when they die.
    • The older a vampire, the less blood they require.
    • Some vampires can fly.
    • Vampires can do nifty mindtricks on humans, such as hypnotizing them, taking away their memories and even putting music in their heads. It seems to be a very intrusive procedure, though, and is harmful when done too often.
    • Vampires have extremely gory deaths when they are staked, vomitting blood and then dissolving into a giant puddle of blood.
    • The fangs on True Blood vamps seem to come from the "wrong" place in the mouth. Whereas most vampires have extended or extensible canines (the teeth two from center, that are pointy in humans anyway), True Blood vamps have fangs that poke out from the position of the teeth on either side of the incisors. It's conspicuous in the teaser for the first episode, with the redneck vampire in the convenient store, and other places. Curiously, it appears not to be consistent; some of the vampires have their fangs in the standard place.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different:
    • They can transform at will, even during the day.
    • Their body temperature is above the average of humans.
    • They are vulnerable to injuries and bullets.
    • A packmaster can influence the transformation of nearby fellow werewolves.
    • It's genetic, not a disease. According to Alcide, a were can't pass on the curse to another by biting.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sookie and Jason were raised by their grandmother after their parents were killed in a flood. Also, after the first time Sam transformed (accidentally) into a dog, his parents packed up and left him.
    • Tara (to an extent) as her mother was a raging alcoholic.
  • Panthera Awesome: Werepanthers, The Norris family.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Fellowship of the Sun.
  • Pet the Dog: Eric crying over Godric killing himself. He also has some very tender moments with Pam in Season 3.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Most of Bon Temps under Maryann's influence.
    • Also played straight- more or less- when Sookie walks in on Eric in season three, although she seems to have a hard time trying to be entirely horrified.
  • Plucky Girl: Sookie gradually develops into this over the course of the seasons, arguably taking the bravery part of the trope a bit too far.
  • Police Are Useless: The show goes back and forth on this, but mostly the police are just completely outclassed when dealing with supernatural entities, and sometimes seem a bit clueless.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Not kills per se, but this show would be much shorter if Sookie, Sam, and Tara sat down and compared notes on how their days went, and were up front about the supernatural stuff they ran into.
    • Andy acting as a witness to Maryann's orgy. "A bull! In a dress! With claws!"
  • Power Perversion Potential: Jason speculates on the Power Perversion Potential of Sam's powers.
  • Product Placement: Oh, what a cruel hand fate has dealt me, for I can no longer see the light of day, or eat normal food. Thank goodness I have my Nintendo Wii to pass the time. Well, he used to.
    • Fresca!
    • Mountain Dew...
    • Yahtzee
    • Diet Pepsi Lime. Really, the product placement in this show seems to be becoming a Running Gag.
    • Abita Beer, a Louisiana microbrew, is mentioned at Merlottes, including a neon sign prominently behind the bar.
    • "Powers can't be traded like fucking Pokemon cards!"
  • Property of Love: The series at least until the third season has this as one of it's basic premises. Sookie have given herself to Bill out of love, without being hypnotized like so many other fangbangers. Also, being his makes her off-limits to other vampires.
  • Plot Armor: Sookie. She should be dead about fifteen times over by now.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality:
    • The vampires vs the witches. The vampires raped and murdered Antonia and her coven in the past, and in the present they attack and terrorize Marnie and her coven. But in the end, it's Antonia and Marnie who are the villains.
    • Bill really does not seem to care about the welfare of humans very much. He has no moral qualms about fucking with their minds, and in season four he tells Sookie that killing innocent humans is justified if it keeps vampires safe. He kidnaps Marnie and holds her prisoner back when she's still harmless. When he arranges a peace talk with Antonia, he promises to go alone and breaks his word since he fully intends to kill or capture her rather than work something out. But since he's always nice to Sookie, he's supposed to be a good guy, or at the very worst an Anti-Hero. Similarly, Eric has murdered and brutalized people in situations where it was in no way necessary. He kidnapped tortured Lafayette and several others based on the possibility that they may have had something to do with his maker's disappearance when he could have simply glamored the truth out of them, then he forced Lafayette to work as his personal V-dealer on pain of death. Later, he attempts to kill Marnie because she doesn't immediately obey when he tells her to disband her coven when, again, he could have just glamored her to get her to do what he wanted. He also ripped out the throat of one of the Wiccans who as present at the meeting between the vampires and Marnie's coven, completely unprovoked, and this was while still had amnesia--the amnesiac Eric is supposed to be the good Eric, mind you. But, like Bill, all his actions are supposed to be seen as morally ambiguous at worst just because he has feelings for Sookie.
  • Precision F-Strike: Sookie, as mentioned above. Also Maryann's outburst of "YOU FUCKING MORONS!"
    • The Magister: "Back your shit down!"
  • Psychotic Lover: Lorena. Even after Bill tells her multiple times that he hates her guts and can't stand the sight of her, she still has the nerve to ask him "When will we see each other again?"
    • Franklin Mott is an excellent male example of this.

 Tara: We need to talk.

Franklin: Don't say that. Women say that, everything goes black, and I wake up surrounded by body parts.

  • Psycho Sidekick: Roy, one of the witches in Marnie's/Antonia's coven, who tries to goad Tara into shooting Sookie and gets excited when he sees Bill's commandos gruesomely killed by three vampires.
  • Punch Clock Villain:
    • Eric, most notably in the third season.
    • At the end of the season three, Bill is revealed to have been playing this trope pretty straight.
  • Punny Name:
    • "Eggs" Benedict.
    • The name of Eric's and Pam's club, "Fangtasia", also fits. Lampshaded by Bill, who tells Sookie that many vampires are fond of puns, due to them formerly being regarded as high humor.
    • The name of the werewolf bar that Sookie and Alcide visit in the third episode of season 3 is Lou Pine's.
    • The last name of Alcide's werewolf ex-girlfriend, Debbie Pelt.
  • Racist Grandma: Hoyt's awful mother Maxine, who hates Methodists, Catholics, black people, and (more justifiably) vampires.
  • Rape Tropes:
    • Attempted Rape: Sookie is almost raped by Gabe before Godric intervenes. By killing him. And again, in 3x03. This time she's rescued by Alcide.
    • Rape as Drama:
      • Franklin and Tara — in this case, Franklin is insane and has convinced himself completely the sex is consensual when Tara is only not fighting back because he's an insane vampire who can kill her without thinking about it.
      • And in Hotshot with Crystal, Jason, and the other females wherein one bursts into tears when Jason fights her and tells her to get off him. She cries because it was the first time she'd ever had sex she enjoyed.
      • And in S4E6, in Flash Back, we see Luis raped Antonia during the Inquisition.
    • Double Standard Rape (Female on Male): Averted. When Arlene realises that she and Terry had sex during the black-out caused by Maryann's spell, she becomes deeply concerned that she may have coerced him (Terry had previously avoided physical intimacy because of his PTSD), saying "I think I might have done something terrible."
    • Also averted with Crystal and every nubile female in Hotshot, as they line up for their turn with Jason, who is wounded, feverish, strapped to the bed and under the effects of iagra. He did NOT enjoy it and the scene is creepy as all hell.
      • Not quite so averted. The director of the episode, David Petrarca, and Alan Ball have basically said that he deserved it.
  • Real Song Theme Tune:
    • "Bad Things" by country music singer Jace Everett. Yes, country music singer.
    • Each of the closing themes are real, and usually reference the episode title.
  • Really Gets Around: Jason has had sex with almost every willing female to cross his path, except his relatives - and poor Tara.
    • Human Eric seems to have been some sort of proto-Jason. The vampire version isn't chaste, either.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: All the vampires except for Jessica.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Russell gives one to humanity in "Everything is Broken". Probably the best piece of writing the show's ever had, and worth quoting in full:

 Russell: Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Russell Edgington and I have been a vampire for nearly three-thousand years. Now, the American Vampire League wishes to perpetuate the idea that we are just like you. I suppose in a few small ways we are. We're narcissists. We care only about getting what we want no matter what the cost just like you. Global warming, perpetual war, toxic waste, child labor, torture, genocide, That's a small price to pay for your SUVs and your flat screen TVs, your blood diamonds, your designer jeans, your absurd garish McMansions! Futile symbols of pertanence to quell your quivering, spineless souls. But no, in the end we are nothing like you. We are immortal. Because we drink the true blood. Blood that is living, organic and human. And that is the truth the AVL wishes to conceal from you because let's face it eating people is a tough sell these days so they put on their friendly faces to pass their beloved VRA but make no mistake. Mine is the true face of vampires! Why would we seek equal rights? You are not our equals. We will eat you. After we eat your children... now time for the weather. Tiffany?

  • Redemption Equals Death: The reasoning behind Godric's suicide-by-sunrise
    • Also kind-of the case with Tommy Merlotte. His "skin-walking" shifting is pretty literally tearing up his insides every time he does it, but after realizing how much he's completely screwed up his life, and everyone else's lives that he's touched lately, he decides to do it one more time to encounter a surefire beat-down if not deliberate murder in his brother's place. Turns out they didn't actually want to kill him just "kick the shit out of him", but Tommy was so messed up from the shifting that it was fatal anyway, and he asked to be taken back "home" to Merlotte's instead of a hospital, since he didn't want to keep living anyway.
    • Tara saving Sookie from being shot by Debbie can be viewed as this, especially after she willingly signed on with Marnie earlier in the season.
  • Redshirt Army: It seems that werewolves are even less apt at taking on vampires than regular humans. Why they continue to pick that fight is something of a puzzle (although, I guess most of them aren't that bright...)
  • Refuge in Audacity: Lisa, Arlene's daughter who's like ten, dressing as a pregnant tramp for Halloween because she loves Teen Mom.
  • Refuge in Vulgarity
  • Regional Riff: The music is designed to invoke the American South.
  • Religion of Evil: Maryann's Dionysus worship. The Fellowship of the Sun might also qualify.
  • Right Through His Pants: Averted throughout the series, to the joy of the female and often male viewers: most recently with Eric and his new Estonian dancer in the season three premiere.
    • With the exception of a scene between Bill and Lorena...
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Antonia wants to kill every single vampire in the world. Even amnesiac Eric.
    • Aka, the guy who set everything in motion when he attacked Marnie.
  • Romance on the Set: Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are married in real life.
  • Running Gag: Every time Ginger is there, she is guaranteed to scream.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Tara.
  • Scary Black Man: Duprez, one of the Vampire Sheriffs of Louisiana.
  • Schmuck Bait: Lafayette warns Jason that if he's using vampire blood for sexual purposes to have one drop, two at the maximum, or things will get "intense, and not in a good way". Jason, downs an entire vial and pays the price for it.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: See And I Must Scream. Invoked when Eric mentions how Russell should be effectively contained for at least 100 years in concrete and silver, which Russell laughs off as "a nap" for him, swearing that he will get out.
    • It takes him just over a year, but he does get out.
  • Sequel Hook: Subtly done with Jesus and Holly revealing their magical abilities towards the end of season 3, implying that witches would be a significant factor in season 4.
  • Serial Killer: Rene had some issues.
  • Sex Equals Love: Hilariously subverted when Sarah Newlin was ready to leave her husband after two sexual encounters with Jason...and then thinks he's a spy sent to prey on her, and she can no longer justify what was really just lust.
  • Shaking Her Hair Loose: Bill asks Sookie to take the clip out of her hair and shake it free before their first kiss.
    • Jessica in 4x02 when she arrives at Fangtasia.
  • Shaky POV Cam: shows up in the first season finale when Lafayette is kidnapped
  • Shapeshifter Identity Crisis: Tommy seems to be starting one, growing out of his self-loathing from having killed Joe Lee and his mother, and then from turning into Sam, and abusing Sam's position as owner of Merlotte's, then sleeping with Sam's girlfriend and kicking her out.
  • Sherlock Scan: In a flashback (s1,ep02), Sookie was examined by a psychiatrist, who rationalized that Sookie's "mind-reading" was actually an uncanny talent for reading body language. Sookie's mother didn't buy it.
  • Ship Sinking: Tara and Jason after episode six. It's pretty much justified considering what Jason did, but a little sad since it all but wrecked their friendship.
    • The ship resurfaces in season 3, but is promptly torpedoed after Jason confesses to Tara that he killed Eggs.
  • Ship Tease: After breaking things off with Bill, It looks as though the SS Sookie/Alcide was getting ready to set sail. But after fighting off some werewolves led by Debbie, Sookie and Bill have make-up sex on the spot.
    • of course now Sookie knows the truth about why she first met Bill, and has broken up with him, seemingly permanently this time.
      • And as of S403, it appears Alcide is back with his ex...and then in S404, He strips naked to shapeshift RIGHT IN FRONT OF SOOKIE, who gets an eyeful.
    • Eric, Eric, Eric... oh, and Eric. So much more satisfying in the books.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Buffy — "I would love to just rip you open and wear your ribcage as a hat."
      • Also, when Jason, while "confronting" a vampire in a training scenario breaks a nearby flagpole in half in order to get a wooden stake, another trainee angrily asks him if he thinks he's "some kinda Muslim Buffy with a dick". Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • Blade
    • The vampire hotel in Dallas is called Carmilla after the eponymous character in Sheridan Le Fanu's classic novella.
    • Heroes
    • Dorothy Parker, of all things.
    • WWE a couple of times. When Jason's strength is temporarily enhanced by V, Arlene remarks that she watches Friday Night SmackDown with Rene and that nobody on that show, strong as they are, had ever done anything like what Jason just did. In the second season, Hoyt's seen watching Monday Night Raw.
    • In season 2, when Stackhouse returns to Bon Temps and Maryann's handiwork, he refers to it as "The oral history of the zombie war!"
    • There's a copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula in Eric's office hilariously enough.
    • In season two, Sam interrupts Andy who is in the midst of watching Dirty Jobs when he needs a place to hide from Maryann.
    • In the season four episode She's Not There, it is revealed that Marnie Stonebrook, the head witch played by Fiona Shaw (better known as Aunt Petunia), has a bird named Minerva.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Two straightforward examples: Jessica with Hoyt and Arlene with Terry. Ironically, due to Fantastic Racism, the 2 women can't stand each other.
  • Sinister Minister: Reverend Newlin. He's a creepy little weirdo.
    • He reappears at the tail end of the season 4 finale. Now he's a creepy little vampire weirdo.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Literally. After eating Maryann's souffle, Tara and Eggs begin to physically assault each other before having sex on the living room floor.
    • Bill and Lorena in 3x03. The two have hate sex (well, from Bill's side) which ultimately leads into Bill literally twisting her neck around backwards Exorcist-style.
  • Sleazy Politician: Lafayette's client is not above doing V and having sex with men, but he opposes gay and vampire rights as a senator. Also Nan Flanagan: she lies when she says she survives solely on TruBlood.
    • That and what the public sees is revealed to be totally fake when she questions Eric on behalf of the AVL. Actually, she's a huge bitch.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Erik Northman is introduced with one of these shots, and he reprises the pose every time his ass touches a piece of furniture.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: Used hilariously by Sam when he addresses the 'God Who Comes'.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: "Miss Jeanette", who took Tara for approximately $1500 on exorcisms for her mother and herself. She even gave Tara "snake juice" to drink. Tara then found out she was a fake, and she more or less confessed to it. Nonetheless, Maryann's claim that she was called to Bon Temps due to Tara trying to exorcise her demon points to Miss Jeanette doing * something* right. Unfortunately, she got killed for it.
  • Social Darwinist: Russell Edgington's Motive Rant to the Magister in episode 3x07 has revealed him to be one.
  • Soft Glass: Averted; Tara's mother hits Tara over the head with a bottle and it doesn't break.
  • Something Else Also Rises: A vampire's fangs will come out when they get worked up.
    • When Sam and Daphne describe how shifting feels, you get the feeling they're really just talking about having an orgasm.
  • Southern Gothic
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Lafayette.
  • Spirit Advisor: In the third season finale, Godric is either that, or Eric hallucinates him.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Lorena just can't accept that Bill has moved on.
    • Franklin is one of the most fully-realized examples of true stalker mentality in media. He's genuinely shocked and hurt that Tara thinks he tied her to a bed for any reason besides her own safety and is utterly convinced that she's in love with him no matter what her demeanor is.
  • Stealth Insult:

 Jason: "You know I was sitting in that jail and thinking of all the stupid stuff I've done."

Sookie: "That must've kept you busy."

  • Stock Super Powers: Sookie's telepathy.
  • The Stoner: Holly enjoys smoking the occasional joint. She describes it as "Nature's valium".
    • Hinted at with Terry.

 Arlene: (smells burning sage) "Smells like pot."

Terry: "Not really."

  • Strawman Political: The Fellowship of the Sun.
  • Stupid Evil: Maryann killing Daphne.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Roy says that if any vampire wants to get to Marnie, they'll have to go through him. One of the vampires he's addressing happens to be a very pissed off Eric Northman. Take a guess at whether Eric is reluctant to lethally go through Roy. Now take a guess as to how much his stand ends up helping Marnie. The answers are, respectively, "He really, really isn't," and "Not even a little bit."
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Tara's a lesbian now. What?
  • Suicide by Sunlight
  • Super Loser
  • Supernatural Elite: The vampires operate on a feudal system. A Vampire King/Queen claims a territory and appoints sheriffs to administer it for him/her. Usually the most powerful and/or oldest vampire becomes the monarch, however, the position can be reached if a vampire is politically connected with the Authority who seem to be a governing council above the monarchies.
  • Surprise Incest: Bill finds out too late that the Bellefleurs--including his would-be girlfriend Portia--are his descendants. She actually gives him a laundry list of reasons why their relationship is technically harmless--the two being consenting adults, several generations removed, and unable to produce children--but Bill still can't get over the fact that he is having sex with his granddaughter, and glamours her into breaking up with him.
  • Take a Third Option: Bill and Eric have repeatedly clashed over "ownership" of Sookie, who seems to be having trouble making up her mind. In a Season 4 dream sequence, Sookie suggests an interesting solution.

 Sookie: "I’m proposing that the two of you be mine."

  • Take That: In Season 4, Bill delivers a delicious one when he discusses how Vampires have infiltrated and controlled powerful institutions throughout history, such as the Catholic Church in the 1600's, and in the modern day, Google and Fox News. This moment also counts as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • In Real Life, Stephen Moyer was asked how he thought Twilight stacked up against True Blood. His response?

 Stephen: What's Twilight?


 Godric: "Retract...your...fangs. Now."


 Russell: "Why...would You...are not...our equals!"

    • Who can forget Queen Sophie Anne and Eric in Season three, Episode One?

 Sophie Anne: *after screaming in rage, has Eric pinned to the wall* "With all due respect? I am due A LOT more respect than that, Mr. Northman. And I'm sorry to compromise your manhood like this, but hell hath no fury like a vampire queen broke. Move. The. Blood."

  • Time Skip: A small one at the end of the first season, with a couple of months passing between Rene's death and the discovery of Miss Jeannette's body. There's a second one between the end of season three and the start of season four, with Sookie thinking she's only been in the fairy realm for a few minutes, when it's actually been over a year.
  • Title Drop: "Tru Blood" is the blood substitute that vampires drink so they don't have to kill people. Russell Edgington delivers a Title Drop in exactly the opposite spirit (see "The Reason You Suck" Speech above).
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Despite being a small Louisiana town, a lot of crazy shit happens in Bon Temps. Queen Sophie-Anne even lampshades this in Season 2 by saying how random it is that a maenad would be there (It Makes Sense in Context, though she wouldn't have a way of knowing that).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jason Stackhouse. Detective Andy. Tara (as of Season 2 and on).
    • Sookie also runs in fourth place to this trope because she constantly runs into danger without a plan, and worse, without a weapon. See Season 3, episode 2 where she runs blindly into the woods to find a werewolf who clearly intends to either kidnap or murder her and taunting him while she does so. Brilliant, Sookie.
    • Another notable example of Sookie's shining intelligence occurs in the third episode of season three. Perhaps it isn't a great idea to agree to go into a private back room alone with a werewolf that doesn't have the slightest concern about her welfare. Perhaps. However, her plan to get information out of the werewolf succeeded, despite how dangerous the conditions were. If Alcide hadn't been friends with the bouncer, not even plot armor would have been able to protect her against even one werewolf, let alone a whole gang of them.
    • Bill. Double-crosses Eric, binds him with silver, dumps him into a pit to be buried in cement... and then just walks away before it even covers Eric's head.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Lorena, in "It Hurts Me Too". After Bill pins her against a wall and tells her that he'll never love her, she kisses him. He does not react well to this, first going for her throat with his fangs, then responding to her urging him to make love to her by doing so extremely violently to the point that he leaves several cuts on her chest and twists her head around 180 degrees. Lorena loves every second of it, and dreamily says "Oh William, I so love you."
  • Took a Level In Badass: Jason Stackhouse definitely has his moments in Season Two.
    • And in Season Three Jason gets even better.
    • Jessica in Season 3. And Sookie to a lesser extent.
  • To Serve Man: Human hearts. Mm, mm, finger-lickin' good.

  Eric: "We're always happy to serve humans here at Fangtasia--and I don't mean for dinner."


  Sam: "I'm not the killer, I swear. I'm a shapeshifter."

  • Twofer Token Minority: Lafayette is gay and black. Eddie is gay and a vampire. Jesus is a gay, Hispanic, and Wiccan.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Sookie and Bill, Sam, Tara, and Jason all have separate stories that intersect with each other every so often.
    • And Jessica as well, after being added to the main cast in season 2.
  • The Unmasqued World
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Subverted with Bill and Sookie because it's done in the course of consensual sex. Played with in the form of Fangbangers, whose personal kink is getting bitten and drunk from. But for the most part, anybody being bitten against their will is not going to enjoy it at all, and the vampires are usually shown ripping away chunks of flesh in the process of drawing blood.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods
  • Vampires Own Nightclubs: Eric owns one, named "Fangtasia".
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes
  • Viewers are Morons: Nan Flanagan is a firm believer in this. She has scientific evidence, too!
  • Villainous Breakdown: Eric has one after finding out his attempt to kidnap Bill was preempted by someone else kidnapping Bill first.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Hard Hearted Hannah", in the episode of the same name.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • Eric highlights his hair in between enforcing his own sort of order in his domain.
    • Eric actually runs into Bill at a shopping mall in Shreveport (admittedly because he was seeking him out).
    • Then there's Maryann popping by Merlotte's for some lunch.
    • Queen Sophie-Ann seems to spend most of her time playing children's board games.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Debbie begs Sookie for this after trying to kill Sookie with a shotgun, only failing because Tara pushes her out of the way getting shot in the process. Sookie does not give it to her and returns the favor instead.
  • Virus Victim Symptoms
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Eric and Pam are Type 2.
  • Voice Changeling: Bill does a perfect imitation of Eric's voice in "Evil is Going On" when ordering Pam's assassination.
  • The Voiceless: Big John from Merlotte's kitchen.
  • Voice of the Legion: When Maryann calls upon the powers of Bacchus, her voice gets this deep echo.
    • Not so sure if its Evil Sounds Deep... more like 'someone stepped on a bag of mice'
    • Lampshaded when Jason acts as the god-who-comes to save Sam from being sacrificed. He also gives some pretty awesome imitation evil laughter, and the rest of the effect is provided by Andy with a flashlight. Amazingly, it works.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Tara, after drinking the "snake juice". Also, the waitress at the vampire bar after Longshadow got staked. Bill after trying to do in Maryann.
    • Tommy after taking advantage of having shifted into a Fake!Sam to sleep with Sam's girlfriend.
    • In season 4, Jason, at the roadside just before collapsing after escaping from Hotshot.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: One way to interpret King Russell Edgington
  • Wham! Episode: The end of "Everything is Broken".
    • The season 4 finale, "And When I Die".
  • What Could Have Been: According to the Ultimate Fan Experience Q&A shown before the third season premiere, Alexander Skarsgaard had originally auditioned for the role of Bill, not Eric. Imagine that.
    • Katee Sackhoff was approached for the role of Debbie Pelt. Sadly, she turned it down.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic:
    • Present-day Godric appears to be a thinly-veiled parallel to Jesus; he's around two-thousand years old, talks in a level, Buddha-like voice and is a pacifist who believes that vampires and humans should coexist as equals. He says humans are justified in their hatred of vampires because of the fact that many vampires are generally cruel and savage. The symbolism is made clearer by the fact that the Fellowship of the Sun planned to have him mounted on a crucifix and killed by the sunlight in front of the congregation. He even wears Jesus sandals in his last scene.
    • This is a stark contrast to the Godric who appears in Eric's flashback; he kills Eric's men - presumably because he just wanted one Viking, not three - then turns Eric into a vampire because he thought his fighting spirit was "beautiful" (Admittedly, he kind of asks first if Eric is okay with that).
  • What Does She See in Him?: The whole town is scandalized when Sookie takes up with Bill, and Sam in particular wonders, well you know. For that matter, a lot of viewers aren't sure what she sees in him either...
    • It turns out that they were right to wonder, Bill fed her his blood explicitly so that she would want him and was only interested in her because the Queen wanted him to get close to her. But in all fairness, he abandons his mission after coming to genuinely care for her. But the damage was done.
    • It's stated in show that she finds being with Bill peaceful because she can't hear his thoughts. It would probably put you off your stroke to hear what your partner was really thinking.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: As expected for a show set in a rural area with an extremely specific accent. Made worse by the extensive Fake American in the cast. The only one who consistently manages to even hit "Louisiana" is Sam Trammell, who is from Louisiana.
    • In the fourth Season, the Mexican and Spanish accents can get this from native speakers. The normal mispronunciations that English speaking actors do are not present, and inded sometimes reverse (the lack of rolling "r" sound in words is exchanged for an exageration of said sound) which make it hard to know where the actors are from and where they learned Spanish. Doubled by the fact that 400 year old Spain Spanish is spoken in a very similar accent to modern day Mexican Spanish.
  • Where The Hell Is Bon Temps: While the show generally treats it as a distant suburb of Shreveport, the contradictory specifics of its location and travel times to other cities tend to confuse Louisiana natives.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Godric and surprisingly, Maryann.
  • Who's Watching the Store?: Merlottes sure seems to always have employees running off. Becomes a minor plotpoint in S3, when Arlene and Terry (and maybe Jessica) are the only reliable employees at Merlotte's, and Arlene ends up forcing Sam to hire some more waitreses, because she is massively overworked and pregnant.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Variant 1: Arlene finds out that she's pregnant with Renè's child, and despite feeling immensely guilty about it, tells Terry that it's actually his. She actually never told him it was his, just didn't correct him at first. And she latter DOES tell him.
  • Wolverine Claws: By covering her hands in soil, Maryann can transform them into bestial claws that produce a deadly neurotoxin.
  • The Worf Effect: Throughout the third season, and in every werewolf vs. vampire fight the werewolf (or 'wolves) has lost. Even fledging vampire Jessica managed to best one!
  • Worthless Foreign Degree: Why else would Yvetta go from being a cardiologist in Estonia to a dancer in an American vampire bar?
  • Would Hit a Girl: Happens more than once.
    • Sam punches Daphne in the face before escaping from Maryann's rave.
    • Then there's Bill whacking Lorena with a plasma-screen TV. Twice. And setting her on fire and twisting her head around during their "love-making".
    • Eggs slaps Tara. Justified in that he was provoked and totally possessed at the time.
    • Lafayette slaps Tara to try and snap her out of Maryann's hypnosis. It doesn't work.
      • He also tries to shoot Maryann in the head with a shotgun. Needless to say, that didn't work either.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Word of God described Andy Bellefleur as someone who thinks he's in a Cop Show. Other characters have commented on this from time to time.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Vampire Queen Sophie-Anne LeClerq, who outright states that she loves to see two men together.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Sookie enters the fairy realm in the season three finale. At the start of season four, she realises that time passes more slowly in the fairy realm and she returns home to find she's been gone without a trace for a year. Her grandfather is also there, believing a matter of hours has passed when it's been twenty years in reality.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "Release Me", Maryann has a zombified Eggs kill Daphne, right after kissing her on the cheek and sweetly thanking her for her service.
    • Karl getting shot in the head:

  Maryann: Aww, poor Karl... you didn't really advance much in this lifetime.

  • You Have to Believe Me: Andy throughout season two. Granted, the things he's talking about would be hard to make sense of at the best of times, but he never even seems to consider how unhinged he sounds. "A bull! In a dress! WITH CLAWS!"
    • Although sometimes he's claiming something that's relatively legit. Ergo, "PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG!"
    • And near the conclusion of season four it's happening to him again, after his encounter with a fairy.
  • You Killed My Father: Steve's Freudian Excuse for becoming a Sinister Minister.
    • In the Season Three episode "Trouble", Eric finds evidence that Russell and his werewolves killed his father. And his mother. And his infant sister.
  • Your Vampires Suck: The very first scene of the very first episode of this series uses this trope. A goth gas station attendant tricks some tourists into thinking he's a vampire. After they leave, a red-neck vampire tells him that if the goth ever impersonates a vampire again, he'll kill him.

 Fuck me? I'll fuck you, boy. I'll fuck ya... * fangs* ... and then I'll EAT ya.

    • This is an establishing moment for the series: Your Vampires Suck because ours aren't all decked out in goth attire, have some sort of ethnic accent, or are Large Hams; many of them can be normal folks just like you and me. The fact that the first vampire we see in this vampire-heavy show is an overweight Larry the Cable Guy-lookalike may be a big part of what put the show on the map.