In Defense of Tara

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There are some of you out there who have complained about Tara since the second season, and while everyone has their likes and dislikes, I felt that Tara was getting a bad rap. I just feel the need to defend Sookie’s BFF a bit.

I like Tara a lot and I’m enjoying watching her grow. When we first met her, she was a tough, mouthy, bitter young woman who dared you to pluck her last nerve. Many people liked seeing that and I admit, I liked seeing such a strong female character on the show. Sookie hadn’t really gotten there yet, but she didn’t have a drunk, abusive mother to deal with either.

When really bad things started happening to Tara we started to see her breaking down. This is where many people gave up on her. I just couldn’t though. I kept thinking, “What would I do if I had been rejected by my childhood crush, drugged and used in some crazed maenad’s twisted ritual, and bitten and sexually abused by a wacked-out vampire who had a really sick view of love?” I’m pretty sure I’d be re-thinking my tough chick, in-your-face attitude. I don’t think I’d have the strength left to be that tough anymore.

Yet there were so many people that commented on how tired they were of seeing this weak Tara who cried all the time. I did not understand this. Facing down a drunk mother who throws empty bottles at you is far different from facing down an insane vampire who’s strength is ten times your own and faster than you could physically be. Tara’s former strength was no match for the things she went through, although what she was able to retain did help her to survive and finally come out of it all alive.

So Tara leaves Bon Temps at the close of last season, and invents an entirely new life for herself. She changes her look, her name, her sexual preference. When annoyed by a drunk in the alley outside of the fight cages, she handles the situation with a new calm but no-nonsense approach. She’s still tough, but more in control of her anger and herself. This is a dangerous Tara that we haven’t seen yet and I’m looking forward to seeing more as the season unfolds.

I get that we all have our favorite characters on the show, and everyone wants to see only that one favorite dominate the screen. I love the many layers and flavors of True Blood and Tara is one of the interesting characters that is being given the golden opportunity of showing us what good character development means. Well done, Rutina Wesley, Alan Ball & Staff!

Over-night fan (almost literally) of the Sookie Stackhouse series since early 2008. Co-owner of True-Blood.net. Anxiously anticipating season 6.

17 Comments

  1. Embrace

    June 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Well said! I actually couldn’t agree more. I’ve always liked Tara. She’s one of the few normal humans in TB and i hope she remains so. Love that she’s a cage fighter! It suits her athletic body.

  2. Mel

    June 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Here, here! I thought Tara’s storyline in season 3 in particular was terrific, a highlight of the entire season, and Rutina’s portrayal of this complex young woman is spot on.

  3. Alanna

    June 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you so much! Standing ovation. You articulated what I have been feeling for awhile now. I love all the characters on True Blood. Well, maybe not the Hotshot gang! But, I love them all for the different storyline that they bring. It can’t be the Sookie, Eric and Bill show all of the time. Some of us like to see the supporting characters just as much. I thought Tara and Franklin ruled the first half of season 3. How strong could you be with a psychotic vampire watching your every move? She showed a different kind of strength and that was her street smarts. How many residents of Bon Temps would have been able to manipulate Franklin the way that she did? AB has said that Tara is the smartest person in Bon Temps and they showed that. She can’t just be cursing people out every episode. People would then complain about that. I happen to like her being a cage fighter this season and taking control of her life and not depending on anyone this season. I look forward to her this season. Btw, you see that Season 1 Tara in episode 2 for those yearning for that.

  4. Jules

    June 30, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Let me start by saying, Rutina does a great job showing emotion and how quickly each emotion will flicker across her face is pretty impressive! Now, I don’t think people hate Tara. This is True Blood, and it does take place in another reality, however if you had to spend say 60 minutes in a room w/ someone like her it would be unbearable. No doubt her plate was full, but there needs to be more to her. So, thanks to the writers she got some much needed vacay and now hopefully she has a better handle on things..we’ll see.

    • Liz

      June 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      Hey Jules, I’d be really interested in knowing what you mean by “there needs to be more to her”. What would your Tara be like?

  5. oja

    June 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I never understood why people started hating Tara, I hear complaints about how she was crying and freaking out a lot, but considering all the shit she’s been through (and how each horrible thing happened right after the other) I though her reactions were proportionate. If she had gone through all that and come out un-phased, I’d have been calling “Mary Sue” on the writers.
    It’s the same as those people who complain about how Sookie actually acts afraid when she’s in danger (as opposed to just jumping in there and offing vampires like Buffy), but that’s because, apart from being psychic, she’s a NORMAL person of AVERAGE physical strength.
    I guess I’m one of those rare people that doesn’t mind seeing fictional characters react to the things that happen to them in an understandable way.

  6. Chele Belle

    June 30, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Last season I almost gave up on Tara and TB. I have had enough of the long suffering Black woman. And when folks kept talking about how tired they were of watching her suffer and bored with her ‘whining’ i knew I was going to give up on TB if they kept the social paradigm of Sookie = sweet beautiful and desired BUT Tara = bitter, talky, combative and destructive. Tara may never have an army of suitors riding in on white chargers to save the day but she should not have to be emotionally and spiritually tied to a raging horse of bad luck and evil intentions. Enough already.

  7. njVamp

    July 1, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Anyone else think that MWW is Tara’s new gf (looked like her face) thus continuing theme that Tara’s lovelife is always intrinsically tied to whatever bad stuff is going on in BT?

    • Liz

      July 1, 2011 at 8:07 am

      What or who is MWW?

      • NJvamp

        July 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm

        Marnie’s Witch Within – the face flickering when she was “spelling” Eric.

        • Liz

          July 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm

          Well, in that case, in answer to your question, no. You’ll see why.

          • NJvamp

            July 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm

            Now that begs for you to tell us something! Feel free to dm.

  8. Kat

    July 1, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Great post! While my gut reaction when watching Season 3, was “oh my god pull yourself together!”. thenI quickly corrected myself, she just went through a lot and had already gone through more than most people could take. Then continued to go through more… So I completely agree, wonderful character development and superb acting. While I loved Season 1 Tara, a character actually progressing so perfectly is amazing to watch. I don’t watch TV (True Blood in particular) for nice, perfect, no flaws characters.

  9. Jules

    July 1, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Hi Liz, I don’t want to change Tara as much as I’d like her to channel her strength. We know she’s capable. Her getting into the ring signifies the evolution of Tara. Now I’d love to see her redirecting her energy and cooly taking charge of situations. Change? Maybe infuse a little more humor in her.

    • Liz

      July 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

      Gotcha. That’s cool! I believe that you may just get your wish this season. I’m not admitting to being in the know, but it seems to me that Tara hasn’t gone through all this change while away from Bon Temps for nothing. Thanks for your reply Jules!

  10. Jessica

    July 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I’m sorry. I disagree with you all. When I re-watch old episodes, I fast forward everything having to do with her. She’s like that friend everyone has had who constantly has drama and adds nothing to your life. And don’t even get me started on the lip quivering.

    • Liz

      July 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      You could say the same thing about Sookie in Tara’s life. As a matter of fact, her association with Sookie brought even more drama that Tara never even asked for, nor did she need.