After much hoopla and cajoling and downright ordering, I finally sat down (read: lounged in a comfortable reclining position) and watched the critically-and-friends-acclaimed series Dexter. This is not a show to be confused with Dexter’s Laboratory, although both do feature an over-the-top scientist named Dexter who operates his own laboratory and has a secret life that he keeps hidden from most of his family in order to conduct his private business. I approached the show with some trepidation and announced my worries with respect to the gore and violence factor. “It is way less gross than Oz and True Blood,” assured Gojira, presumably to pay me back for making her watch “True Blood.” A few others piped up and echoed her sentiments and fool that I am, I believed them.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the show. The plot is complicated, the writing is clever, the main character is complex and charming and the acting all around is pretty good. But the gore and violence? Oh my. Out of control. Perhaps those blood-thirsty buddies of mine don’t remember all the way back to the first season, but the dispatching of victims relied very heavily on chunky, thick, disgusting sight and sound; not so much with the gradual cutaways to let us use our imagination instead. There were some scenes where I had to look down at my own shirt to make sure none of the blood spatter got on me. I’m not saying that the vampire shows I’ve watched and touted don’t have their own share of brutal scenes. But here’s the thing: vampires are (allegedly) not real; serial killers are. I can sleep easily at night after having watched some vamp off a helpless hapless vic because I am not really worried that one will come after me and mine (especially since I have all sorts of wards and garlic around the place). But murderers exist! Some even in my neighborhood!
The show is great but very very gross. When a scene involves visible injections, mutilations, dismemberment, etc. or, say, someone passing out in a room of blood, you have to admit it’s gross. Even the opening credits give me the heebie-jeebies. Yeah, yeah, I know all about Dexter’s code and as long as I keep my nose clean, I’ll be safe . . . unless I spoiler his blood slides and end up spoilering to smithereens in some God-forsaken cabin when his psychotic spoiler finds me and then it doesn’t matter how many years of service I gave to the spoiler or how innocent I am . . . and . . . you know. On to Season Three!
post-script: watching a television series on DVD is totally the way to go. I don’t know how you folks could stand the suspense having to wait each week for some resolution to every cliff-hanger when the show was on the air. I watched Battlestar Gallactica‘s first few seasons on DVD and it was bliss. Then I watched it in real-time. TORTURE. Ditto The Wire, True Blood, and Six Feet Under.