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18 August 2015 @ 12:19 pm
violent delights?  
Came to this via Linda Holmes on Twitter, as she's the one who used the phrase "splatter murder" quoted in the piece:

Everything about this article makes me tired. "Oh, our show has graphic violence but it's necessary, because that's the story we're telling." (Well…can we stop telling that story? Seriously, could we maybe just stop with the stories about murderers we're supposed to 'root for' for a while? If Shakespeare couldn't make me like it, you are certainly not going to.*) "Oh, this isn't misogynist violence, because we're women, and there will totally be male victims. I mean, if trends hold, the male victims won't be sexualized while they're murdered, unlike the female victim who is literally murdered while performing oral sex, and we clearly thought that killing a woman first was the way to get everyone's attention and show we mean business, but nope, no misogyny here!" Ugh.

And why does murder always have to be the hook, anyway? Why couldn't this show be about the rock-and-roll culture of the '80s without being about "Bonnie and Clyde-esque serial killers"? That might actually have been something new and different to watch. But no, because a show without murder just isn't worth doing, apparently. I feel like we have reached a point where murder is just the quickest way to make the case that your show is really about something, that it's serious and important and dark and gritty, and everything that's supposed to make for highbrow entertainment these days. Either that, or it's an easy plot device for neatly compartmentalized, episodic shows, the victim's corpse just something for detectives to exchange banter over, to fill out forty-five minutes without requiring the audience to have to care about something from week to week.

*This comment was about Richard III (longtime readers know that I am just spectacularly uninterested in villains), but in context here it also reminds me of the little debate about Macbeth tucked into season 2 of Slings & Arrows - where Geoffrey says that the play teaches us about evil, and Nahum counters that no, it only shows us evil (and, he implies, what's the point of showing that, when we all know it exists?). I think Macbeth does more than that - though only if you direct it properly; it can totally turn into "splatter murder" if you're not careful - but I always think of that debate, because it's such an important question to ask. Are you actually saying something about murder and evil? Or are you just showing it?