So-Called HBO Exec Says, ‘Screw Those Whiny Skarsgard Fans’
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
Little did I know that when I stopped in at Connie & Ted’s fine seafood establishment on Santa Monica Boulevard, in West Hollywood, I would be accosted by a so-called TV executive about my resemblance to one of the lead characters on a famous HBO TV show, called True Blood.
I sat at the corner of the restaurant. The dark red cushion seat ran along the entire wall. Across from my small table was a chair the same sanguine color as the padded booth in which I sat.
The place was packed. Beside me sat a burly man with hairy forearms. The top of his head was nearly bald, but a few slick strands of hair had been combed over his skull. A gold watch was clamped around his left wrist. He looked to be the executive business type, except on vacation for the afternoon. Instead of his usual business suit, he’d wrapped himself in a billowing Hawaiian shirt–red and white and green and pink.
This man is here to party, I thought. I glanced at his plates of food. He was alone, but he was busy. He cracked the red shell of a lobster and tore out the bits of white fluff meat. Every time he did this, our padded seat shook.
A large bowl of clam chowder was set off of his left hand. He scooped up a load of the saucy soup, brought it to his mouth, and clamped his lips over the spoon. He dragged the spoon out of his mouth. His lips nearly held on to the metal as they cleaned every last molecule of chowder from the utensil.
I noticed his Android device on the far right side of the table. It kept lighting up. He glanced at it every time.
Meanwhile, I’d ordered a tall, cold one from the server. I won’t be eating, I said. “Oh?” she asked, pleasantly, but concerned. I don’t eat animals, I said. The man beside me stopped and turned toward me. The server left.
“Anybody ever tell you that you look like a guy on the show True Blood?” he asked me. “Hell, you probably watch the show. Who doesn’t watch True Blood?”
I’ve never seen a full episode, I said. And I plan on keeping it that way, however, to answer your question, yes. Over two years ago I couldn’t walk around Hollywood without getting shouted at. Something about Eric Northman and Alexander Skarsgard. I couldn’t tell if these people were psychotic or just delusional fans. I wrote an article about it called I’m not Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood, I’m Adam Michael Luebke from North Dakota.
He laughed and wiped his greasy mouth with a napkin. The grease had made his right cheek shiny. “You’ll appreciate this then!” He pointed his spoon at his smartphone. “Some shithead fans got my number and they’re blasting me about Skarsgard getting incinerated on the finale.”
He said, without much modesty, that he worked in the upper levels of HBO. When I asked for his credentials, or even what department he worked in, he said if I’d just wait a minute, he’d pull the information out of his ass and show me.
He broke down in a wheezing bout of laughter. His lungs sounded full of pus. Every time he breathed in, there was a slight whistle. “To hell with the Skarsgard fans,” he said. He slid a greasy thumb over his phone. “He just burnt up…” he said, mimicking a shrill female voice. “He just burnt up!”
You’re mocking thousands of genuine True Blood fans, I said. How dare you. But then I smiled.
“Fuck the fans!” he said. He glanced around us, checking if other diners were listening, I imagined. He seemed desperate for a fight. “They got to see Skarsgard’s penis, for Christ’s sake. If they weren’t happy with his equipment, then that’s another issue.”
Right again. But how’s that lobster? I asked. I can’t believe you’re eating such a filthy creature. It’s a typical bottom-feeder. Despite their shores being filled with lobsters, the American colonialists wouldn’t touch those things unless there was nothing else to eat. They considered the lobster a sort of sea rat. Can you imagine your progeny in one hundred years caging the rats that will no doubt still be alive in the alleyways of Los Angeles, boiling the suckers, and then tearing into their carcasses like you’re one of the most special human beings on the planet?
The server placed my glass of golden beer before me.
“Screw these middle-aged chubby broads,” the so-called executive was saying. “They think the whole damn True Blood series is being written at their request. Let them cluck about it for awhile. They’ll live. They need real lives anyway.” He had his fork in hand now, and he jabbed it at the phone. “Bunch of whiners.”
Why would you say I look like Skarsgard? I asked. I really don’t, you know. I’m not even Swedish. Although I do have Viking blood, since I’m German and Norwegian. But Eric Northman, that’s his show name, right? I heard he only had long hair for one episode. I’ve had long hair for most of my adult episodes. I’ve rarely cut it above my shoulders.
“It ain’t a bad thing, kid,” he said. “You’re just a snapshot from that historical HBO moment.” He continued, “These True Blood people have invested so much energy into a fictional character, they mourn him like he’s their own brother. If they don’t like how the show goes, they can write their own goddamned award-winning hit series.”
That’s the spirit, I said, and drank my entire beer in one pour. I set the empty glass on the table. It clacked like a gavel in a rowdy courtroom. Other diners raised their heads, their mouths greasy with buttered lobster meat.
I think what you’re trying to say, I said to the alleged HBO executive, is that people should give more of a shit about the true characters in their own lives, and that the outrage and sadness exhibited by the legions of whiny fans is an alarming response from grown adults, and shows serious flaws in our culture.
I was on a roll. That beer had loosened me up. Like the time I’d helped a fan of former president George W Bush accept the fact that his president had authorized the United States military to torture folks in the Middle East, as well as force them into humiliating female outfits and arrange them in sexual positions.
“I just hate a lot of these True Blood fans, that’s all,” the so-called HBO guy said. “We don’t need the fans!”
[photo by Gage Skidmore]