Monday, October 4, 2010

Sinister Television

Although we have cable TV, we don't get any of the premium movie channels, so until this week we had never seen Showtime's Dexter, the series about a serial killer who works as a blood spatter expert for the Miami police department.   Even if we did have Showtime I wouldn't expect Barry to be a fan of the show; he doesn't like long, drawn-out plot lines, preferring movies that wrap everything up neatly inside a quick two-hour time frame.  Having to wait a week between episodes that still leave viewers hanging drives him nuts.

For some reason, however, he recently added Dexter to our Netflix instant queue so we could watch it via streaming video, and we've spent the last several nights working our way through Season 1 and part of Season 2.  I like the show but find it disturbing at the same time.

Dexter is well-written.  The acting is good.  Much of it is extremely funny.  And yet...some of the Season 2 episodes debate whether the main character should be viewed as the "Bay Area Butcher" or the "Dark Avenger," and whether the publicity will inspire copycat murders.  If I were one of the producers, I'd be extremely worried about real nutcases deciding that they, too, should make a hobby of  "taking out the trash."

The parts of the show I like best - and, I think, the reason Barry keeps watching it - are the scenes where Dexter wrestles with the process of becoming a normal person.  He often doesn't understand the correct way to respond to humor, social situations, and emotional crises - a more extreme version of the problems that Barry, who has Asperger's syndrome, regularly faces.  Either the show's writers did a tremendous amount of research, or one of them is also close to an individual with an autism-spectrum disorder.  For some reason Barry finds advice about fitting in more palatable from Dexter's fictional foster father than from me; so be it.  We'll keep on watching for that, if nothing else.

I just wish we had managed to install the streaming video in our living room; sitting on the floor in the exercise room makes my tailbone feel like one of Dexter's victims.

"Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000" ~ TV-Free America


  1. Hey Beth,

    You have made me want to see Dexter.. thanks for sharing :] hope to hear more from you soon!!

  2. You're welcome! Despite the gory bits, I liked it much better than I expected to - I hope you enjoy it, too!