LaFayette Reynolds: HBO True Blood

LaFayette Reynolds
The Louisiana Lagniappe That Seasons HBO’s True Blood

True Blood, HBO, vampire, LaFayette Reynolds

A lagniappe is a little something extra, a gift with purchase, that unexpected bonus that sweetens a transaction. If LaFayette Reynolds doesn’t fit that description on HBO’s True Blood then I don’t know what would. If you have read the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris and are watching Alan Ball’s HBO’s “reimagining” of the series known as True Blood, you know there are several major differences between them. For me LaFayette Reynolds is one of the best of them. The LaFayette of True Blood is sure of himself. He telegraphs his confidence and sensuality in the way he holds himself, as well as in what he says and how he says it. Unlike the character of the books, this LaFayette is alive and kicking into the television series’ second season. He reads Tarot cards, deals in V (vampire blood), still cooks up a storm at Merlotte’s, and has excellent survival instincts which come in handy should you end up on the wrong side of a vampire dispute. I was delighted to find he was rescued from the jaws of death and hope they keep him around for the full run.

The actor that plays Lafayette is Nelsan Ellis and he is convincing. True Blood, HBO, Nelsan Ellis It is one thing to be able to play a wise-cracking flamingly gay cook who has stepped over the line of the law and another to be able to draw us in so that we can feel the hurt, the joys, the terrors that this character experiences. Mr. Ellis’s performance allows us to see beyond the glib exterior to a human being who has had more than his share of persecution. It is a tribute to both actor and writers that this delicate balancing act is managed without turning LaFayette into either a buffoon or a maudlin drunk/addict. In many ways his experience as an openly gay black man, living in a small backwoods northern Louisiana town makes him understanding of the intolerance suffered by others, such as the vampires. In the world of True Blood, vampires coming out of the closet has made people like LaFayette seem familiar and even comfortable at least when compared to the undead. Even the most unusual human is looked at as human as opposed to well…NOT human or formerly human.

If you were a repeat customer at Merlotte’s and LaFayette was on duty then you should know enough to steer clean of criticizing the cooking. This man does take pride in his work even if it doesn’t exactly define him. What does define him? A need to be valued, trusted, and hopefully loved.

In True Blood LaFayette is swimming with sharks, no cancel that, he is swimming with Piranhas. Danger or not he hasn’t totally lost his sense of humor. LaFayette to Sookie:” Well you go ahead on, hookah with your badass. Good for you. It ain’t possible to live unless you crossin’ somebody’s line.” That is something you shouldn’t expect to see happen any time soon; Lafayette living within the lines. He brings something that the others don’t quite manage, a special perspective.

Where will they take this character? Only Mr. Ball knows for sure. Still, I’m hoping he will be called upon to act as a counselor of sorts for Sookie and Tara. There is no doubt that Andy Bellefleur would be better off if he listened to what LaFayette has to say, Of course he would have to listen and LaFayette would have to care enough to say something to him. Even Eric and Pam may find he has more to offer than they think he does. He is a good judge of character and if more people paid attention to what he has to contribute the weekly body count could go down considerably.

by JKW © Buzzy Multimedia



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June Williams
June, also known affectionately as Buzzy Lady #2, has been with the company since it began. She was born in Manhattan, raised in the Bronx (the first 12 years in the heart of the south Bronx) and spent most of her adult life living in Westchester County N.Y.

Always a Science Fiction fan and dabbler in writing she had thought herself too practical to pursue a career in the field. Before coming to Buzzy she spent over 30 years in the travel industry, then one day decided it was time to spread her wings and plunge into publishing. Everyone she knew thought she had gone slightly daft but as this was not the first time they had expressed that opinion she took the red pill anyway and now spends all of her time putting together projects that make each day a pleasure.
  • Jack Winn

    Interesting article, June. I’ve seen most of season one (Sadly, no pay cable right now, which means not only no True Blood, but just about everything else too). AFAIK, Lafayette is more of a comic relief on the show (look at all the silly portrayals of him as a male prostitute/drug dealer on the show), a contrast to the more ‘serious’ action going on with Bill/Eric/Jason/Sookie. The character I’m really interested in is Jason. As a sort of naive, earnest and slightly bigoted young man, I think he has the most growth potential of any of the characters on the show–especially Sookie. I’m just bracing for a “Johnny Get Your Gun” moment with him and the Order of the Sun–no way do they have his interests at heart, and I think once he realizes he’s being used as a pawn he’ll come around to Sookie and Bill’s way of thinking.

    But that’s just my two cents.

  • Lomax_Lamat

    Lafayette is gay?

    Only kidding. Yea, I have to admit that he is about the only character I like in the show. Sookie is very white trash, Jason is a dolt, Bill is very selfish and insipid. Eric I like. He’s the brand of evil a guy can get behind.

    Here’s hoping that Lafayette and Eric become more prominent characters in the show.

  • June K. Williams

    Hi Jack. Lafayette was more comic relief in the first season but after his ….well I don’t want to spoil it for you but things have happened to bring out a more serious side. Not that he doesn’t still have a sense of humor but it is tempered by his instinct for self-preservation as well as his care for those in harms way IE his cousin who has fallen in with someone scarier than vampires and werewolves. Jason may seem like a dolt but like Sookie said, it isn’t that he lacks the mental capacity but rather than he has been lazy and let himself be led around by his urges rather than his mind.

  • June K. Williams

    Bill selfish and insipid? OK I can see why you might say that and I’m more of an Eric fan than a Bill fan but there is more to Bill as well. He was directed to seduce Sookie and in the process fell in love with her. He was forcebly detained making it impossible for him to be there for her rescue. Bill is also has in part a mid 19th century outlook on many things and Sookie is a 21st century gal. What was nearly unfogiveable was him not telling her what was really going on. He betrayed her.

    Sookie may look like white trash but she was raised by a grandmother who was wise and generous of spirit. Some of that took root in both Sookie and Jason. They both need to grow up and as of this part of the 2nd sesaon they both seem to understand this need.

  • fromheadtobook

    I have to say I agree that the True Blood Lafayette is a wonderful split from his novel counterpart. My personal biggest gripe are how irritating Jason is in the show. He’s a punk in the books, but not a bumbling moron, and he never does V. Oh well whatever. Then there’s Eric. Now I’m a strapping, 30 year old, completely heterosexual man, and even I can admit that the actor playing Eric is far from the physical specimen described in the novels. He acts the part well but he’s ugly. What up with that?

  • adrenalina

    from head to book – totally feel ya on everything u said man. except i dont mind jason. he adds humor, nothin like layafette tho, hooka haha love it! but eric is fuuuuuuggglyyyy man, damn and so is billl… whaatttt is up with that? ew.
    sookie and bill are really married i hear? thats prettty crazy. i love sookie tho i love how she has telepathic powers, powers are sexy sumhow! ahhhhgod i cant wait til season 4 comes out..i think i gota run out and get the book! true blood is an awesome modern vampire show. and im writing a paper on the supernatural and adding a lil true blood spice…i read in the book “vampires are” meaning some reallll ones may have really lived. [theres so many records of crazy ppl and a decent amount of real vampire records] but two of them were vamps who fed by sexual favors- (willingly and unwillingly. the dude could only reach orgasm if he seen blood oozing eww… blah blah)…named william and lorena….weird righttt? thought it was kewl though! charlaine did her research! <3