Arlene Fowler (Carrie Preston) is a thin, neurotic waitress who works at Merlotte's in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She is a single mother whose ex-husband is absent from her children's lives. Although she is a ball of nerves, Arlene is determined to be a good mother to her children and lives a rather normal existence in Bon Temps at the beginning of season 1. She is happily engaged to Rene' Lenier (Michael Raymond-James) and looking forward to having her wedding party at Merlotte's, due to the graciousness of her boss, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell).
One afternoon, Arlene comes home to find her children watching videos they found in a shoe box belonging to Rene'. The videos were of women who had been recently murdered in Bon Temps. As it dawns on her that Rene' is the killer and she frantically calls the police, Rene' is trying to kill Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) because she's a "fangbanger" and he despises those who mingle with vampires.
Arlene soon finds love again with Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe), a war vet with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Arlene and Terry embark on a steamy relationship that culminates when Maryann Forrester (Michelle Forbes), a maenad drifts into town and casts a spell that makes the townspeople participate in frenzied sexual behavior.
However damaged they may be, Arlene and Terry find love that is stronger than the destructive power of Maryann, and when the maenad is killed and the spell broken, their relationship survives and thrives.
"The fine will be one hundred million dollars... and your pants."
"I'm sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, alright, but honestly, who here hasn't?"