Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year-End Recaps of Television

Year-end recaps of television are running in news and entertainment media. Some of them editorialize on the inclusion of incest and faux-incest storylines in recent shows that this blog has noted. Note that if you're not caught up on “Dexter,” "Game of Thrones" (hasn't that been long enough?), "Bored to Death," or "Boardwalk Empire," this will contain spoilers.

Amber Humphrey has this to say about “Dexter,”…

Oh yeah, Deb is in love with her brother. Ugh. Yes, I understand that Dexter is adopted, so they aren’t related by blood, but still, ugh. I don’t want to get into all of the minutiae of incest—what constitutes incest, what doesn’t—but Deb’s romantic feelings for her brother are disturbing.

Why? Why is it disturbing for an adult to be attracted to another adult that she already loves?

Ellen Gray...

Creepy cable trend: Incest. It started with the Lannister twins (Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) on HBO's "Game of Thrones" and ended (one hopes) with that twisted near-declaration in the season finale of Showtime's "Dexter" (where, for added oomph, the amorous sister is played by Jennifer Carpenter, who used to be married to Michael C. Hall, who plays her adoptive brother Dexter).

The dubious couplings also included the offspring of donor sperm in HBO's quirky "Bored to Death" - oddly enough, the most likely scenario of the bunch - and reached its ickiest point in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." That's where the long hinted at mother-son attraction between the characters played by Gretchen Mol and Michael Pitt was on full display for viewers who might not have previously gotten the subtext. As if people watching a drama set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City needed to have everything spelled out for them.

Finally, Rob Salem...

Spoiler alert: Stop reading now if you haven’t yet seen all of this season’s Dexter and Boardwalk Empire. The rest of you know where I’m going here. The penultimate episodes of both cable favourites ventured into uncharted territory with some creepy major-character incest. On Boardwalk, it went all the way with Jimmy Darmody and his uncommonly young mother, Gillian. Relatively unexpected, definitely icky.

But since he was brutally murdered in the following episode, there wasn’t much time to dwell on the implications. Word from the set would seem to indicate that actor Michael Pitt’s prima-donna behaviour might have had something to do with his character getting whacked.

In some ways even more disturbing, Deb Morgan’s (Jennifer Carpenter) dream kiss with stepbrother Dexter (Michael C. Hall) was given some added oomph by the fact that the off-screen couple’s divorce was finalized just one week previous. Awkward to watch, but I would imagine even more awkward for them.

It is called acting. And why shouldn't fiction be inclusive of the variety of adult relationships and attractions that, yes, do exist? May 2012 bring more inclusion of positive and realistic portrayals of intergenerational, interracial, same-gender, polyamorous, and consanguinamorous relationships.
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