Friday, February 8, 2008

death by dexter

For anyone who has emerged from their cave after I did, and has yet to discover Showtime's critically acclaimed drama Dexter, I am here to laud its genius from the rooftop. Except, I am actually under my bed, shaking uncontrollably, with images from this brilliant show flashing through my mind, and I have no idea when I will be able to come out. You see, embedded into the series' wickedly smart plotline are ghastly crime scenes, which render me almost catatonic for days and days. Each time I watch an episode, and then spend the night rocking in the fetal position, I vow never to watch again. This resolve lasts until daybreak, when I become so preoccupied with the storyline that I find myself back at Blockbuster, shelling out four dollars to scare the (beep) out of myself yet again.

It began innocently enough. Brandy, Adam and I were looking for a new series to watch, as Big Love failed to win us over, and all of our friends were raving about Dexter. We were told, correctly, that he is a blood spatter expert who is also a serial killer. And we were told it was pretty graphic. I'm rather sensitive when it comes to grisly murder scenes, being that I wrestle with a vast array of phobias, but this wasn't always the case. I was heavy into true crime back in the day, devouring every Ann Rule book ever written. I even considered forensics as a career after visiting the Oregon Crime Lab in high school, and being fascinated by the severed hands in plastic bags, and how they linked the perpetrator to his crime. But halfway through my first pregnancy, I became pathologically averse to all things macabre and beyond. I theorize that my maternal instinct kicked in, and tried to insulate my baby from the unconscionable atrocities running rampant in the world. I then had another baby, and became completely unable to stomach any gore (except Al Gore in 2000).

This makes Dexter a dicey little dilemma. The tautness of the story is enthralling, but when I watch it, it's all I can do not to pee my pants. I've lost hours of sleep revisiting his crime scenes and murderous pasttime, only to find myself tingling in anticipation of the next episode. Last night I bravely endured the horror for two solid hours, and then spent the next four trying to find a happy place so I could get some sleep. Making matters worse is the fact that the storyline has just taken a hair-raising twist and I will think of nothing else until I can watch more. On the other hand, the sun is starting to set, and palpitations are starting. The ones borne of my fear of this show. I'm so afraid I'm going to pick up the next disc tonight, binding myself to another four-episode minimum commitment. My co-viewers aren't fazed by the barrage of severed parts, nor by the copious amounts of blood, so I suspect I will just have to be big and soldier on. So please don't judge if you see me sucking my thumb, or dragging a blanky around. And whatever you do, don't spoil the ending!


Brandy Kinch said...

Well, I wouldn't call myself unfazed... I can get to sleep after an episode or two, but I find myself averting my eyes throughout the show and wondering to myself each time he starts up with the bone saw, why we didn't just watch Gosford Park or something.

Anonymous said...

At least you're finally able to stay awake through a whole movie!

THE PHONES said...

We got hooked on Deadwood a few months ago (even though I'm typically not a western fan at all). The characters in it are simply delicious but you have to have a stomach for the raunchiest language ever heard (imagine Sopranos x10). I'm still on the fence about Big Love, but I keep watching it. I'm guessing you've seen Six Feet Under...probably my favorite show of all time (except for maybe a few sci-fi shows, which are my ultimate guilty pleasure).