Monday, July 11, 2011

True Blood: For Guys or Girls?

From Twilight to The Vampire Diaries, vampire mania has hit the TV and movie circuit hard. Teenage girls worship the fictional Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, as if he were as real as Justin Bieber. For the most part, boyfriends and husbands everywhere roll their eyes at the thought of sitting through a TV show or movie featuring a blood-sucking protagonist vampire. One such themed show has beaten the odds and attracted an audience of loyal fans that include as many men as women: True Blood.

What sets True Blood apart? Why do guys love it as much, if not more than their female friends?

Like many HBO shows, True Blood has a careful balance of gruesome violence, sex, and overall intriguing plot line. Vampires, although an essential part of the show, do not defi.True Blood.Image by i heart him via Flickrne it. Instead of mobsters in The Sopranos or bootleggers in Boardwalk Empire, HBO has kept the same adult-only formula of success and tweaked it with fangs. The actors are older than in your typical teenage saga, and the characters they play are more complex and multi-faceted. Men and women alike are watching each week for an hour of twisted surprises. It just so happens that the characters are vampires, and men are OK with that.

Tween sensations like Twilight take a different tried-and-true approach: the epic romantic story with a few heartthrobs as the male leads. Whether the characters are high school students or supernatural werewolves, the target audience is hoping for the same thing each time: the girl to be rescued by prince charming. Typically, that audience tends to be mostly comprised of females. Add in vampires and these movies become even more appealing to the hysterical tween masses. These are just the types of audiences, and subsequently types of entertainment, most men tend to avoid.

Despite the central imaginary theme, from wizards to dragons, to vampires to superheroes, men pay more attention to the content than the character. Add enough violence, sex, or special effects, and an audience can easily consist of as many men. Contrary to what some believe, the vampires are not what necessarily repels men, it’s having to witness the same sappy romantic love story they dread seeing in general.