Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dexter - Love it or Hate it

I can't decide how I feel about this show Dexter. On one hand, it seriously disturbs me, enough to make my stomach clench with anxiety and nausea. On the other hand, the premise is so unique and interesting, the dialogue witty enough, that I keep on watching it.

David and I turned on the first episode with dinner plates on our laps, and both of us were so immediately disgusted and transfixed that we stared at the television without taking a bite. When I saw Dexter kidnap this child molester, then cut his cheek with a knife, and strap him to a table using saran wrap, it was too much. I didn't want to know what he'd do next with that pile of knives on the table. My stomach lurched and David yelled, "PAUSE IT!" We sat there motionless for several moments, trying to decide what to do. "Ok, just move it to the next chapter," David said, rather sensibly. Then, the show moved into reasonable territory, and we were able to eat our dinners.

I like true crime books, and crime shows. I love Anne Rule, the true crime genius, and Patricia Cornwall, who writes books from a medical examiner's perspective. I think the "cop" angle of Dexter is interesting. I like forensics. I like when the main character solves crimes using blood spatter analysis. I like the tension and humor.

I think what I can't handle about this show is the pre-meditated murder. Even though Dexter is murdering evil people, I can't get past the fact that he is killing. He stalks people, figures them out, then kills them in really gross ways that leave me feeling sick to my stomach. I come from a perspective that murder is wrong, unless my life or the lives of my loved ones are imminently at risk. It's this reason that I disagree with the death penalty. Two wrongs don't make a right. So when I watch the show, Dexter, something about it is so incredibly wrong to me on a very fundamental level. For that reason, I have a hard time watching it and feel sick to my stomach afterwards. When I watch a show for pleasure, I want it to make me feel good inside.

Like Curb Your Enthusiasm. Or Sex and the City. Or Dancing with the Stars. Or Grey's Anatomy. Yes, all very benign.

I know Dexter and this topic are both very controversial, and for that reason, I think its a great show to spark dialogue.

So, have you seen Dexter? What do you like or dislike about it, and why?


Travis said...

We've seen all three seasons. I love the show, I think its genius. And the true genius of it IS making you feel exactly as you are describing. You want to identify with Dexter, but how can you...he is a monster...a brutal serial killer. I like shows that push my limits, make me think, and make me uncomfortable because I am forced to questions what I believe. I too am against the death penalty and yet Dexter only kills truly evil people...and if he wasn't doing it those people (unhindered by the law as they are) will keep killing more.

Anyway, I think its a fantastic show...but not one to watch while you eat

Kristin said...

You are right, Travis, I DO identify with Dexter, which is what makes the show so interesting, and which is why I keep watching it. Even though he disgusts me, I also find him charming. The show has so many paradoxes and you are right, it does push the limit, big time.

Anonymous said...

From the Boyfriend otherwise known as David

Although I find the show interesting to say the least, I don't expect to make it much further through the First Season DVD.

I see too many loose ends for the show to seem plausible.

For example, a jail guard kills a Cuban MOB guy in jail with a knife (without gloves) and then drops the knife.

or when Dexter breaks into a house while stalking his next victim (again without gloves) clearly handling the door knob and then puts his rubber gloves on only after he enters the house. Sloppy!

or when the MIAMI PD and justice system somehow forgets to check the national database for a repeat offender of "Vehicular Homicide". Come on now.

Are these "loose ends" intentionally introduced by the writers possibly to add to the drama that he will one day get caught, or simply oversights. I don't know.

I guess my expectation of good writing exceed the capability of modern day television. I think I'll stick to older flicks from the hayday of television and the movie theatre for my sources of escape.

Dan-Eric Slocum said...

I can't wait to watch this show. It sounds incredible.

McJumpguez said...

I love Dexter because of it's complexity and Latin music. Every season is different. There are reasons writers do what they do and you'd have to stick around to wait for it ;)
I can see how some people might not like this, not because of the "loose ends" but rather, the subject matter is too much, but that's cool. One can find "loose ends" in anything one watches, it just all depends on whether you like the show enough to ignore it. Like the movie "Signs". I loved that movie for many reasons and ignored it's horrible ending. Some people put tons of weight on the ending that they hated which therefore, made them hate the whole movie.
But Dexter is not for everyone. Just like "6 Feet Under". I love shows about death, but I never got into that one, not sure why.

dog grrrrl said...

You know it's funny I used to be way more tolerant of these kinds of shows and books. In fact I'd relish them...Stephen King, Anne Rule etc. But then one day I was reading "Geralds Game" a Stephen King book and I became so disgusted with myself for actually enjoying a book that was based on someone suffering I had to stop. I physically had to remove the book from the house.The year my dad died that urge to not read all that became more intense and I leave rooms and movies if intense suffering and torture comes on.

Weird, I don't fault anyone else for enjoying such things but I cannot watch it anymore myself.

Paula said...

Ha, ha, here is a person who doesn't even know what Dexter is. Is it a series? Is it true or fantasy? Hey, at least I'm becoming movie literate, having seen 3 in the last month.