How was your Christmas break?
Mine was good. I saw Juno (not as good as I thought it’d be — it kind of tries too hard with the sassy dialogue. It’s like live action, pregnant Daria). I also watched a loooooot of TV. Just like last Christmas when I started my Veronica Mars season one binge, this year I started season one of Battlestar Galactica (thanks “Pandacita”) with the hopes of being caught up by the start of the final season. I even caught up on some of Cane, which is really a pretty enjoyable show, albeit not a must-watch every week (oh Nestor…).
You know what my holiday season was also full of? Murderous anti-heroes.
Not only did I venture out to the movies to see Sweeney Todd (I generally hate musicals, but my love of Tim Burton trumps that), but I also finished the second season of Dexter. If you haven’t started watching Dexter, you need to either get Showtime or start sleeping with someone who gets it and then watch it on-demand.
When one watches so much righteous murder during the course of a single holiday season, one is almost forced to compare and contrast and then blog about one’s findings.
If I were to break break it down, it’d probably work out something like this series of pie charts on the right-hand side of your page.
Sweeney Todd’s rage is justifiable, but he’s definitely the more unhinged of the two. The whole world is his slaughterhouse and there ain’t nobody he’s not willing to kill. While you find yourself rooting for him (for no other reason than the fact that he’s the protagonist), there’s not a whole lot that’s redeemable about him. I mean, he got a bum deal when his life was ruined by Alan Rickman, but I’m not satisfied that justifies slaughter of such proportions.
So, you’ve got the emotionally scarred anti-hero who satisfies his bloodlust through wanton, indiscriminate killing. And then you’ve got the emotionally scarred anti-hero who satisfies his bloodlust through very calculated
Especially toward the end, the second season of Dexter focused a lot on the is-he-good-or-is-he-evil aspect of the series. It was inconclusive, with Dexter leaving the question in the minds of viewers via pensive voice-over narration. What did come to a conclusion was the character’s own perspective on the idea: indifference.
What I think makes Dexter significantly evil is the fact that, like Todd’s, his killing is selfish. He’s not outraged by crime for the good of society. He has his own agenda and he’s managed to make it conform to a quasi-redeemable code of conduct (only kill people who deserve it).
It’s ambiguous, but that’s what makes the show interesting.
December 31st, 2007