Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Death and our remote control

Lately Husband and I seem to have a preoccupation with television shows centered around death. First we plowed through the numerous seasons of "Dexter," named for the title character who is a crime scene blood analyst/family man by day and serial killer by night. Now we have become hooked on "Dead Like Me," about an ambivalent girl who dies by flaming toilet seat and unwillingly becomes an grim reaper, charged with releasing the souls of the recently deceased and ferreting them to their final destination. We even supplemented our death line-up by finishing the most recent season of "Weeds," the finale of which saw - spoiler alert - fourteen-year-old Shane bash in the head of a high-powered "Mexic*nt" with a croquet mallet.

I don't know that we gravitate toward these shows for any special reason, other than they come to us highly recommended. We could have just as easily started in on seasons of "Mad Men" or "The Tudors," which have also been recommended to us. It is just interesting how many shows focus so heavily on death. Even my beloved "Murder She Wrote" would be for naught without the central, formulaic theme - you know as soon as J.B. Fletcher appears on screen, someone's about to die.

Americans, in general, are uncomfortable with death. We don't know what to say to someone who is dying; we don't know how to respond to those who have lost loved ones; we fruitlessly search for the magic elixir of eternal life. This is probably the reason that this fear is represented so heavily in television and film. Violence, homicidal criminals, horrific accidents - death makes for a good story, good drama (or in the case of "Dead Like Me," good comedy).

I would recommend any of these shows to you, dear reader, to fill up your free time. Just remember not to get so wrapped up in televised death that you forget about the life you are living. And if you have a thing against blood, you might want to focus instead on something a little lighter, like "Barney."

1 comment:

blind irish pirate said...

I actually think that the fascination with gruesome death and murder and violence and rape is a representation of society's general dehumanization of people and situations.

And that people are so disconnected with their emotion and their compassion that they cannot relate their grief appropriately.

AND I love Dexter. But I can no longer watch death related flicks because I am back to working 3rd shift and have a wonderfully terrible way of scaring the pants off of myself at 3 am.