Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Defending Dexter

The faux-incestuous attraction of a character on “Dexter” is back in the news, thanks to the Television Critics Association. If you’re still not caught up on the show, you may want to skip this.

Using words like “yuck” and “icky,” Krystal Clark reports at that the Showtime boss is OK with the “incest” storyline.

Showtime's Dexter has always been about murder, suspense and drama. But last season, the writers kicked it up a notch. They added the unexpected and unwanted element of incest.

One adult stepsibling being attracted to another is kicking it up a notch from serial murder? And unwanted by her, but wanted by others.

Carina Adly MacKenzie at

As for the ick-factor of the storyline in which Deb's therapist encourages her to look into her more-than-platonic feelings for her adoptive brother, [Showtime’s President of Entertainment David] Nevins acknowledges the inherent weirdness. He tells us that it's been something that has built for a while. "That's a story that will continue next season," he says. "I'm aware that there's a certain taboo despite the fact that they're not genetically related. It's something that has been building for a number of years, I think... it's an idea that has informed how they've done the show for a long time."

Fred Topel at also used the word “icky”

Now, onto uncomfortable business. The moment Deb's therapist said she should explore her romantic feelings for "Dexter", most of us said, "Nooo!" To many viewers, adopted siblings are just as taboo as blood siblings.

Blood siblings also have feelings for each other. Notice it is the fact that the other character is a stepsibling that draws the negative reaction, not being attracted to a serial killer.

"Dexter" isn't her biological brother, but they are family. Shouldn't a responsible therapist discourage that?

"A therapist might but some of the therapists I've worked with are all for pursuing where your feelings go," [Executive Producer Manny] Coto said. "These are adults. These aren't teenagers living with mom and dad. Once you're an adult and you have these feelings, you have to at least explore them in some way. I don't know many therapists who would say, ‘You've got to block that out. Forget that.'"

Not block it out, but come on, don't date your brother. That's still wrong.

I wonder if Topel has a good reason why he thinks that?

"It is, it is but it happens," Coto admitted. "Not very often but it does happen. By the way, because it's appalling and maybe disturbing, this is "Dexter". We felt that it'd be interesting to pursue this particular storyline even if it is appalling and disturbing to some people. This is not ABC Family. This is Showtime and the show is constantly trying to go forward into places that you didn't expect."

It doesn't fill me with confidence that show will treat the subject well with Coto using words like "appalling" and "disturbing." The coverage by is more neutral

Realizing that some see it as a taboo although Dexter and Deb are not genetically related, David Nevins claims the incesty twist is 'something that has been building over a number of years.'


Almost a month after "Dexter" wrapped its sixth season, the controversial twist that finds Deb dealing with her romantic feelings for her brother still became a hot topic at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. During the panel taking place on Thursday, January 12, Showtime entertainment president David Nevins defended the incest storyline.

Notice there was no “eew!” or “gross!” or “icky!”

An adult should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults. Some people are attracted to their step, adopted, half, and full siblings, and sometimes the attraction is mutual, and sometimes it results in experimentation, and sometimes more, all the way through spousal relationships. Why shouldn’t TV ever reflect that?
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  1. What is there to defend? They aren't related. Growing up in the same household doesn't make them siblings any more than attending the same boarding school would make classmates verboten.

    Besides, who wouldn't want Jennifer Carpenter?

  2. How can people be disturbed by the fact that she is attracted to her UNrelated brother and not by the fact that she is attracted to a SERIAL KILLER?!

    1. Thanks for the comments, Cornelius. Yeah, priorities tend to be strange, don't they?


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