Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thoughts about Dexter.

My mom and I have had a night every week since like 2006 that we call Gilmore Girl Night. Every Thursday we watch several episodes of a couple of different shows. It started with "Gilmore Girls" of course, but it has also included "FRIENDS", "Will & Grace" and most recently we agreed to finally endure the entire run of each of our respective Favorite Shows of All Time. You know what MY favorite show is, of course, and my mom is enjoying it WAY more than she thought she would. My mom's Favorite Show of All Time is "Dexter". Being that it has less episodes in it than "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" we've already finished it and I have a few thoughts.

I enjoyed the show. A lot. I really didn't think a show about a serial killer's inner monologue would be that endearing to me. I went through the Serial Killer Phase in high school (American Psycho and Exquisite Corpse being two of my favorite items of serial killer fiction) and I'm pretty much over the romance of that whole thing.

The inner monologue of the main character, Dexter Morgan, was pretty heavy-handed pretty much all the time, but I got used to it and eventually found it endearing. The constant appearances of the apparition of Harry, Dexter's deceased father, were a never-ending source of frustration. Every time Harry appeared onscreen I yelled, "Shut the fuck up, Harry!" I wish they would have phased this aspect of the show out.

Overall, the show's plotlines, though often as heavy-handed in bald symbolism as Dexter's inner monologue, made sense to me and kept me interested.

***SPOILERS after the gif of Deb.***

However, I came away from the entire 8 seasons of the show ONLY caring about 3 characters: Debra Morgan (Dexter's sister), Dexter, and Angel Batista (eventually Lieutenant of Homicide where Deb and Dex work). Several other characters throughout the series I was SUPPOSED to care about, I never did. I never cared about LaGuerta or Hannah or Rita really either, though I don't hate her as much as my mom does. I HATE Harry. Masuka was present throughout the entire series and depth was never added to him, unless you count his surprise daughter showing up in the last season, and I DON'T. 8 whole years of a show and I only care about three characters?! That's sad. Several casting decisions in the show were bad ones, though generally the show is racially diverse and the female-to-male ratio isn't atrocious.

As characters go, Jennifer Carpenter as Debra and Michael C. Hall as Dexter were the best choices casting made. They blew their wads on these two, and I'm glad they did. Both of them consistently delivered believable performances and a range of emotion most actors couldn't deliver. Their performances singlehandedly kept me interested. They both deserve armloads of awards for this show if they didn't get them.

I feel like the show's writers consistently asked only two questions when writing the scripts for each episode: "What else can Dexter get away with?" and "What else can we put Debra through?"

EVERY SINGLE EPISODE has Debra being put through a load of ridiculous bullshit most normal people wouldn't live through with their sanity intact, both emotionally and physically. Conversely, each episode involves Dexter getting away with murder in the nick of time and the suavest of schemes. He is forever the golden child while Debra deals with his fallout, most of the show while not knowing her brother is a serial killer. I kind of hate him for everything he put Deb through and thankfully, he hates himself for that too.

So in the very last episode Deb dies and Dexter takes her out on his boat and dumps her in the water. He did kill her, but only in the pulling-the-plug way of her being braindead from a stroke caused by a gunshot that wouldn't have happened without Dexter, though he's not the one that shot her. He then steers his boat into a frickin' hurricane attempting to kill himself, thus abandoning his girlfriend and son. Then, epilogue time! Somehow this hurricane doesn't kill him and the last shot of the show is him dressed as a lumberjack (hawt red beard) hiding out on some fisherman island somewhere.

This is the last shot of the entire series.
On one hand, I get the ending. The entire run of the show was a journey toward humanity, not happiness. Dexter didn't think of himself as a real human until the end of the series when he was planning a move to Argentina with his son Harrison and girlfriend Hannah wherein presumably he would no longer need to kill, because he now has love and family in his life. But he couldn't live with himself for letting Deb die. He ruined her life consistently throughout the series and things were just beginning to turn around for her as he was preparing to exit from her life (save for her occasional future visits to Argentina). It couldn't have ended with him being with his son and girlfriend forever while Deb moved on with her life, and DEFINITELY couldn't have ended with Dex happy while Deb is dead. I think it makes sense that his life as he knows it ends with her. But no one knew Hannah had Harrison (because she's a serial killer too, and on the run). They were waiting for Dexter in Argentina when he calls her from the boat (!! all the time Dexter was making phone calls from that boat...yeah, right, like there would EVER be reception out there!!) to tell her and Harrison he'd be there soon and that he loves them, etc. And no one knew Dexter unplugged Deb and took her out of the hospital. So what does everyone think when Dexter's boat is found and he is presumed dead? Do they assume Deb was with him? Do they assume Harrison was with them? WTF? Poor Batista. Poor Hannah. Poor Harrison. Poor Quinn (Deb's boyfriend). Poor Dexter. POOR DEB! I loved her the most! So much tragedy and loss in this series but also worth it, I think.

The answer to the series' two main questions are as follows:

Q: How much can Dexter get away with?
A: everything

Q: How much can we put Deb through/how much of Dexter's shit will Deb take upon herself?

My final summation is that this is a really good show, but I cannot believe that BASTARD lived through throwing himself into a goddamn hurricane when Deb dies! It is SO not fair that Dexter gets to live after ruining his sister's life! I suppose he will suffer forever for this, but so will his abandoned girlfriend and son! He does look cute in his red beard and lumberjack outfit, though. Super cute.

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