Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Killing Time (and My Patience)

I’m alive! Long hiatus, I know. Basically summer distracted me, and then my fall was probably the busiest of my life so far. I’m surprised I got any sleep at all. Now that the weather has cooled off and there are less things to do outside the house, I’m getting back to my little project here at Popademic. In the next few days, keep an eye out for Film Roulette of 2010 and of course, my very important (yet slightly behind schedule) Top Five Albums of 2010.

To kick off my return, I’d like to offer some comments on Dexter. I’m very behind since the show is headed into its sixth season – but I wasn’t all that interested in Dexter as a series. First, it’s about a serial killer. Second, it’s about a serial killer that the audience is supposed to empathize with. Third, other than Michael C. Hall, the acting is generally atrocious and fourth, I have a thing with gore/blood/creep-factor stuff. It’s just not my thing. But, as any good TV critic does, I did keep tabs on the first season, and while I liked the dramatic turns, I also tired of the above four issues. And at some level, I feel like when you (as the audience, most of whom I assume are NOT serial killers) start to think, “wow, that wasn’t very smart – why didn’t he do it this way?” there’s only a short line from there to interrogating your own mental sanity. I question my mental sanity on a daily basis enough. I don’t need a TV show helping me along.

Enter the winter dilemma: I have a fondness for romantic comedy (which, admittedly, is generally terrible) and subject my partner to many a terrible film/TV show as a result of this fondness. Sailor happens to be fond of gore, so I agreed to indulge curiosity and hop back into the series. We’ve now watched through the end of season four and decided that after that, we need a break. I’ve had trouble sleeping since the end of that run (trying not to spoil the shocker for people, though I’m sure you can find out on the internet if you want). Lithgow was amazingly creepy and I can certainly see why he deserved the accolades he received.

So – my thoughts on Dexter: besides the issues mentioned above, which are all still quite prominent (seriously, the acting gets worse by most of the supporting characters as they move on, though Deb has a couple episodes in season four where she pulls out a solid performance), I simply can’t stand the narrative incongruity. Sailor is always complaining about this when we watch Glee. It’s just as bad in Dexter. From one episode to the next, they introduce threads and drop them. Between seasons, they leave a lot to the audience’s imagination. And from the rate at which Dexter continues to make terrible choices about his “dark passenger,” I’m appalled that he's been getting away with killing people this long. How frustratingly ineffective can police detective work be on homicide cases? And why do all these serial killers show up in Miami? It’s like they never really address the fact that apparently Florida is attracting them like flies. I know it’s TV, so there is supposed to be some suspension of disbelief or whatever, but if you base the narrative on a serial killer (and one who is represented as a methodical control freak), I expect you to at least be logical with your narrative to a degree that it makes sense with the pathology. But then again, I've come to realize I care much more about narrative consistency than most people.

Signing off for now - but good to be back in the game.

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