The OA Pitch Meeting

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If you’ve watched The OA, then you know there are moments of genius and there are also plot holes so gaping they inspired a new category of porn.

There’s no way this was planned.  Some of the scenes are absolute magic, simultaneously raising questions, completing thoughts, advancing plot, studying characters, and being original.  There are others plot points – like where it’s a big deal that everyone leave their front doors open and then it’s never brought up again – that must’ve been part of a different story and just got lost in the rewrite.

So, being a writer, I thought this is probably how the pitch to Netflix went:


Paul and Gary from Netflix start their Skype call to Brit Marling and Zal Banmanglij in order to hear their pitch of a new sci-fi series that they’ve been told is akin to their upcoming mega-hit Stranger Things:

Paul from Netflix: Hey guys.  Can you see us ok?  We’re big fans of your work.  Loved Another Earth.

Brit Marling: Thanks.

Paul: Who’s this?

Brit: This is my creative partner, Zal Batmanglij.

Gary from Netflix: Heh.  Yeah.  Barney GreenLanternBlip says he’s running late.  So let’s hear this idea; you said it’s a lot like Stranger Things?

Zal Bamanglij: That’s my real name.

Gary: Sure it is, slugger.  We think Stranger Things is going to be huge, so we’d love to have something that gives the public the ole one-two punch.  “Bap!”   “Kapow!”  Am I right BatmanGlee?

Zal: That’s what we’re going for, yes. Please stop mocking my name.

Gary: You got it, champ.  So give us the broad “Catwoman”-like strokes.  Make us purr.

Zal: This is a common name in –

Brit interrupts: It’s called The OA...

Paul: Ok.  I like it so far.  A weird name, but not too weird…

Brit continues: It’s about a woman, played by me, who gets kidnapped and is held prisoner in a basement for years.  She’s basically slave.

Gary: Anything gratuitous?  Is she forced to do something against her will but in the end finds that she’s actually into it?  And then she lets her husband know and they can finally get Colleen into that threeway I’ve always wanted?

Brit: No.  Nothing like that.  I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with anything like that.  Like I said, it’s closer to Stranger Things.

Paul: Sorry.  Continue.

Brit: The guy who kidnapped her keeps her in his basement – but it’s not a basement, it’s more like an underground lair; not just bricks everywhere with a pingpong table in the background.  It’s more like a cave…

Gary: The Bat Cave?

Zal to Brit: I’m just going to wait outside while –

Brit continues: …And the twist is that this kidnapper kills her over and over again.  She continually dies and goes to heaven.

Paul: Oh.  Nice.  Different.  So are there others with her?  One of the best things about Stranger Things is the dynamic between the characters.

Zal: Totally.  There are four other people with her down there.  They’re all killed over and over again and they’re all brought back to life.

Paul: I like it.  It’ll take a little work in casting, but it sounds good so far.  One of the best parts of Stranger Things is this nostalgic thing because it all happens in the 80’s.  Does this happen in the past too?

Brit: Part of it, yes.  The 90’s.  Maybe early 2000’s?

Gary: Not bad.  The Goldbergs is doing gangbusters.

Paul whispers to Gary: “Gangbusters”?  You sound like a Conan O’Brien character.

Brit continues: She escapes and convinces other people to help rescue the other prisoners.  But it happens in parallel narratives: one is in the past, one is in the present; that way, the audience experiences this nostalgia with the characters.

Paul: OK.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  So when they die and come back, does anything special happen to them?  Special insight or super-powers or something?

Brit: Oh yeah.  My character, Prairie, was blind but after she dies, not only can she see, but she can see into your soul.  Renata is able to seduce anyone when she activates her aura. There’s a kid who can heal instantly, Homer can send rays of light…

Paul: Homer?

Zal: That’s the love interest.

Paul: Homer, the blind poet, is the blind lady’s boyfriend?

Brit: Yeah.  Clever, huh?

Gary: A little too on-the-nose.  I take it Carmel BatMan here is going to play him?

Zal: For the last time.  The name is a common surname in many parts –

Brit: No.  He knows the vision, so we’re here to see if we can get him to direct a few episodes.

Paul: That’s ballsy.  Um.  Before you continue, I just want to say I like what I’ve heard so far, but it sounds really expensive.  From a production perspective, if you want to be like Stranger Things, you need to have an interesting/mysterious story…

Brit: Check.

Paul: …Nostalgic…

Zal: We already talked about that.  Check.

Paul: …Terrific actors…

Brit: Wait ’til you hear who we have lined up…

Gary: …and cheap.  There are almost no computer effects in Stranger Things.  The most famous person we had is Winona Rider and all she asked for was a chance to be on camera and as many cigarettes as she could fit into her Honda Civic.

Paul to Gary: Did I tell you that I found her here dressed up as Eleven last week trying to seduce one of the interns?

Brit whispers to Zal: Should I tell them Brad Pitt is willing to do this?

Zal to Brit: He’s not willing to do it for free.  I wonder if he can recommend anyone from Fury.

Paul: So.  Can we still do the story on the cheap?

Brit: Well, I guess we can do some old-school special effects.  Instead of using CGI when Scott regenerates, we can just play the film backwards.  Or when Rachel sings we can…

Gary: I mean cheap-cheap.  Netflix is almost three billion dollars in debt.  We can’t afford another Marco Polo.  I think we’re in agreement here that we like the idea, we like other projects you’ve done.  We even like your pitch: you’re making your own little Justice League-type series and you bring in BatManDoobie, here…

Zal: This is getting offensive…

Paul: We’re willing to give you eight episodes.  But you have to scale back on everything.  If we can make it on the cheap, we can make it.

Brit: Hold on…

Brit mutes the call and talks to Zal: I only wrote two hours of material!  I thought you said this was a movie pitch!

Zal to Brit: Well, you kept saying Stranger Things

Brit to Zal: How the hell are we going to make this into an eight-hour story?

Zal to Brit: You’re a good writer.  Just take the scenes you really like and expand them out.

Brit to Zal: But half these characters aren’t even characters.  They’re throwaways.  Look at their names: Prairie, Homer, Hab, Renata… and Scott?

Zal to Brit: That’s how you make it longer: add some backstory to Steve and Jesse.

Brit to Zal: I guess, but how do we make a two-hour story about superhero origins into a cheaper eight-hour story?

Zal to Brit: How about instead of the dual narrative of a plot in the present paralleled with a plot in the past, the audience hears the story along with the kids in the present?

Brit to Zal: Oh!  A frame narrative!  I like it!  It’ll be like the “story” is trapping her!

Zal to Brit: And what about instead of filming in Moscow, London, New York, and Paris like we planned, we do it in Michigan?

Brit to Zal: Or someplace in Canada that looks like Michigan!

Zal to Brit: Nice!  Detroit or Flint!  Lots of nice houses surrounded by lots of abandoned buildings! Now we’re thinking!

Brit to Zal: Yeah!  It’ll show the dichotomy of Prairie/OA!

Zal to Brit: I guess…

Brit to Zal: And when they die, instead of going to some CGI heaven, we can just put them in a mirrored room full of christmas lights!

Zal to Brit: I suppose if we do it tastefully, that would probably…

Brit to Zal: And we can cut out the super-expensive sub-plots, like why Hab wants to keep his tomato-allergy secret or why the angel takes Prairie’s eyes…

Zal to Brit: Aw, those are my favorite…

Brit to Zal: And what about, instead of expensive superpowers, they all just dance creatively!

Zal to Brit: I’m not sure how that’ll…

Brit turns off mute: WE’LL DO IT!

 

 

 

How We Really Got Here (part 5)

To review:

Because of constant internet we’ve turned regular speech into Hyperbolic Speech and any news into Personal News.  Because there is No Longer Religion, any outrageous claims can Now Be Considered Factual.  If you take these ideas and put them together, you get a series of clichés: “A storm is coming” or “you just don’t get it” or “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” or…

Reason 5: “Any Change is Good Change”

I think we can all agree that the political waters of washington have gotten pretty murky.  Like looking at the basement collection of comic books after the sewer backs up – with the number of lobbyists working and the idea that money = speech and the idea that corruption can’t be proven unless there is a direct quid-pro-quo – it’s difficult to see everything we used to love.  More than that, most of what we can see doesn’t add up.

Most Americans aren’t making the money they used to, yet the stock market is astoundingly high.  The people we vote into office are supposed to represent (hence the name) us, yet most politicians vote however they want.  The people who do what they’re supposed to keep getting screwed over while the people who screw up keep getting bailed out.  No one wants another season of Grey’s Anatomy.  People are fed up.

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Or, if you’re in Japan, “…that many tentacles in your face.”

We don’t want the same ole same ole because it doesn’t seem to be working.  Something is broken.  “Politician” is literally “one who compromises”, but we don’t see compromise anymore.  We see grown men tweeting their dicks and women getting shouted down because “la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you“; as we all know, nothing gets done when there’s that many penises in your face.

So we want something different.  Anything different.  We’ll take professional wrestlers, actors, reality TV stars, and business owners instead.  Even though it never works – check out Florida or North Carolina or Michigan – we keep trying.  And so we get Trump: a business owner, reality TV star, actor, and professional wrestler.

Maybe he can get me that raise I’ve waited a decade for.

Maybe he can get my retirement back.

Maybe he can stop bailing companies out who don’t deserve it.

Maybe he can get the legislature to start listening to me.

Chances are, though, he’ll do what a business owner, reality TV star, actor, and professional wrestler always do: try to fix problems that aren’t problems in order to boast that he fixed problems.

How We Really Got Here (part 4)

I’ve gotten quite a few responses from the last few posts (part 1, part 2, part 3).  There’s a lot of “you’re just angry you lost” or “get over it” or “You can’t stand it that someone’s in office that represents me” – type of replies.  I also got a few troll-like replies that may or may not have insinuated that I commit suicide through extra-homosexual means.

That’s a lot of passion.  It takes time and energy and thought to come up with those responses to a listicle that was fairly even-handed.  Where does all that passion come from?

Reason 4: No One is Religious Anymore

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A VCR in 1988 cost as much as a Samsung 65″ 4K UHD 3D wifi smart tv today

By all measures, religious attendance is down.  Frankly, I think it has something to do with being comfortable.  They say “There are no atheists in a foxhole;” it works the other way too: “Everyone’s an atheist in Heaven.”  All cars work.  Air conditioners are as expensive now as they were in 1952.  TVs are practically free.  We have so much food available that we throw away 40% of it.  Cell phones are so necessary that the government will give you one if you can’t afford it.  We have everything we need; we already live in heaven.  And in heaven, you don’t need God.

But, as a species, we can’t evolve that fast.  Most of human history has been so miserable – hiding from tigers, outrunning ice ages, suffering the spanish inquisition, pretending Morrissey is good – that we’ve needed a belief that this life is just a transition; we’ve needed to believe that something better happens after we suffer through this foxhole we call a life.  We can’t go from being constantly uncomfortable as a species to being continuously fellated while a slow-drip of cocaine, caffeine, and high-fructose corn syrup is inserted into our veins in the ten seconds Netflix gives you to choose if you want to watch the next episode.  That need to believe in a higher power – that need to believe in something we can’t understand – has been replaced.

By what?  By goddamn anything.

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“Because only bacteria that are registered trademarks keep me regular.”

Anyone you know who is super into something – exercise, veganism, coffee, honesty, their pets, their kids, their job – is doing so because there is no higher power to be a part of.  “Kale flushes me of the toxins that build up in my colon” or “I quit my job to homeschool my kids” or “porn is full of anti-oxidants”  actually means, “Since I don’t have a religion to help demystify things I don’t quite understand, I’m going to believe in something equally outrageous!”  This replacement of religion also works for global warming, race relations, abortion, gun control, health care, immigration, taxes, wealth inequality, and war.

So now we have two sides, the super-democrats and super-republicans (because no one makes sane, middle-of-the-road choices), who are literally religious about their beliefs in actual problems.  People actually believe that it’s not getting hotter; people actually believe guns protect against break-ins; people actually believe that health care shouldn’t be equal.

And how do you change someone’s religious beliefs?  Yell louder (that’s how you get holy wars)?  Inundate them with facts (evolution and the age of the universe are two good reasons the Bible might be wrong)?  Point at the guy behind the pulpit (I would think all the child abuse might deflect some parishioners)?  Point out the moral inconsistencies of their own faith (Jesus is all about love, unless you’re into other dudes)?  Or do we just stop engaging?

I’m honestly asking.  I don’t know how we can collectively talk everyone out of their own personal religions and deal with reality.

How We Really Got Here (part 3)

On my last post, I accused everyone of voting for their respective candidates because we only get news about things we like, and what we like is ourselves; therefore, you voted for you.  In the post before that, I accused everyone of voting for their respective candidates because no one sees nuance; everything is either “the best” or “the worst”.  This post combines those two (and segues nicely with the trending “alternative facts” conversation).

Reason 3: Fact as Opinion

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I remember the “Team Zelda” / “Team Kickle” days

I think we were all told when we were little that your opinion is as valid as the next guy’s.  Just because I like Zelda doesn’t mean that you can’t like Kickle Cubicle. Parents say that, in part, to show their kids that opinions are like assholes (in that it’s a disease-filled hole where weirdos like to play), and also to stop their children from having stupid arguments over stupid things.

As we get older, we all accept that as fact; your thoughts about double-ply vs. triple-ply are just as valid as mine.  Up until the invention of the iPhone, it’s how we spent the majority of pub-time.  Lately it’s become dangerous.

multichanelsurger-com

SIngle-ply is for drug addicts and fecophiles

  1. This is my opinion.
  2. An opinion can’t be wrong.
  3. If it’s not wrong, then it’s right.
  4. Ergo, my opinion is right.

Any opinion that you have about anything is just as valid as anyone else’s opinion.  Therefore, their opinion is right too.  Everyone is right all the time about everything.  My opinion on global warming, race relations, abortion, gun control, health care, immigration, taxes, wealth inequality, and war are just as valid as yours.

Which brings me to the next logical level:

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Graphs are the sluts of math: they lie for anyone

My opinion is correct.  Facts are correct.  Therefore, my opinions are facts.  Not only are my opinions on global warming, race relations, abortion, gun control, health care, immigration, taxes, wealth inequality, and war just as valid as yours, they’re as factual as yours.  Even if I have uninformed opinions, these opinions are now facts: Bananas cause colitis.  The number six has evil origins.  Wrestling is real.  There’s no such thing as socks.  Every idea, no matter how unfounded, minute, or outlandish it may be, can now be a fact. Even if there is a lot of evidence to the contrary.

Hilary Clinton is a mass-murdering, uppity, national-secret-selling, only-rich-because-she’s-a-politician (literal) witch because I think so.  I voted for Trump because abortions are exponential murder, mexicans are stealing our jobs, taxes are way too high, global warming is a global conspiracy, the only answer to gun violence is more gun violence, and business regulations are the only things keeping me from getting rich.

Or…

Donald Trump is a mass-raping, self-aggrandizing, working-for-Russia, only-rich-because-his-daddy-gave-him-money (literal) sociopath because I think so.  I voted for Clinton because abortions are sacred, all minorities are better than whites, taxes aren’t being spent correctly, global warming is the single greatest threat our country has ever faced, gun violence is the single greatest threat our country has ever faced, and business regulations are the only things keeping me from getting rich.

You’re not an expert on any of this stuff.  You don’t have the facts.  But you have your opinions.  And they’re the same damn thing.

 

How We Really Got Here (part 2)

After I published the last article, I got a lot of responses of “I voted for Trump because he’s against abortion” or “I voted for Hilary to show my daughter that anything’s possible for her.”  You think that’s why you supported your candidate, but it’s really not.

Reason 2: Personal News

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If she said, “iTunes has become bloated!” she would’ve won in a landslide.

There was a lot of talk after the election about “Fake News”.  I agree it’s a problem, but not because the people who use Facebook aren’t used to it (some people hypothesized that the Baby Boomers got into Facebook this year and they’re computer illiterate) and not because young voters are dumb (even though they are).  It’s a problem because on social media, you only see the fake news stories that you already agree with.

I’ve said before that we’re living in In-Between Times where self-driving cars are almost available and racism is almost dead and dentists are almost obsolete.   Another thing that marks this era as In-Between is that a majority of people only read things about themselves.  Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube are all catered to individuals.  You post things about yourself – your thoughts, opinions, family gatherings, political leanings, meals, vacations, etc. – and your online friends do the same.  Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube are all free sites that function exclusively on advertisements (it really bothers me when people say, “I got off of Facebook.  They’re selling my information!”  Of course they are.  Facebook is free and you’re using it several hours a day.  If you kept giving someone a ride to work and they never paid you for gas, I don’t think you’d hesitate to sell any and all dandruff they left behind).

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For some reason, on my feed, this is always a “suggested post”

These advertisements are based on your posts.   All of these advertisements are catered to what you’ve posted.  If you’ve posted that you ate the Seven-Patty Burger, you’ll see ads for Steak N Shake (as a rule, I refuse to eat at anyplace that abbreviates “and”).  If your friend posts pictures of a family reunion at Disney World, you’ll start to see suggested posts about Florida vacations.  If you publish a joke about Donald Trump’s fetish for golden showers, you’ll see a lot of fake news about Trump.

It used to be that you’d read the daily paper while you drank your coffee and planned ways to sexually harass your secretary.  Then you’d go to work where people from all walks of life would chit-chat about the days events.  Then you’d go home, have a lasagna, pretend the your marriage isn’t one of convenience, and watch the evening news; you might even watch the nightly news right before bed.  Each of these outlets gave you different ideas and viewpoints to consider.  Maybe there were only nuggets of something interesting: in the morning you read that “Nazi” means “national socialist”while you were eating bacon, ham, links, and patties.  Then Archie mentioned that “social security is socialist” while you were finishing off that bottle of gin right before lunch. That evening, the local six o’clock news mentioned that “socialism can sometimes be confused with communism” while your wife was hinting that she wouldn’t have an opium problem if she’d married Vernon (he’s a dentist now).  Then the eleven o’clock news had an op-ed piece about how “the ‘socialist’ part of ‘national socialist’ is just for show.  Nazi Germany is a fascist state” as you drift off thinking about paying the colored man down the road a nickel to bust up your chifferobe.

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Look how happy everyone was in the 50s.  I can see why conservatives reminisce

You had to think about those nuggets and put it together yourself; you had to mull over the pros and cons.  Most importantly, though, you had to hear differing viewpoints – all day, every day.

(As a side-note, I also think it’s weird how all the subjects we used to reserve for small talk are now off limits: religion, politics, money, even the goddamned weather)

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Be honest; you have no idea what this is

No one reads the paper.  No one watches the nightly news.  No one checks Google Scholar to see what legitimate cancer research is being done.  With all the information available to us – literally every album ever recorded, every book ever written, every film ever made is available for free on a computer that fits in your pocket – none of us check to see conflicting viewpoints.  Forget “Fake News;” who’s to say what’s fake when we can’t agree on the truth.

We all get on Facebook, share a video of how entitled Millennials are, check and see if The Ex has gotten fat, and scroll through dozens of sponsored links, shared links, and suggested links all spouting the same thing:

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In short, we used to be exposed to everyone else’s point of view on every topic under the sun.  Now all we see is version after version of ourselves.

How We Really Got Here (part 1)

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Unlike “Cosmo”, which is written for women by gay men

Ever since I got the internet, I’ve seen a bunch of people trying to wrap their brains around How We Got Here.  Hashtags like #IsThisRealLife permeate the internet (which is sad that legitimate news agencies feel that there’s a story in #mansplaining) because no one can seem to see all the levels.  Or, rather, no one can sum up in a few short words how we went from super-progressive to super-regressive in one election cycle.

So, for the next few posts, I’ll be talking about the various overlapping explanations of how a reality tv star ended up being President.

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DJ Pauly: 2020.  “A Younger, Sexier Orange President”

Let’s look past the obvious explanations of the Democratic Party rigging their own system (Bernie could’ve easily won) and the media dividing people on Obama (some outlets said Obama was after our white women, while others said that he’s probably what Jesus would’ve looked like if Jesus was real).  Let’s also look past the obvious Republican Party rigging their own system (there were over twenty serious-but-still-inept candidates for president) and the casual voting attitudes of young “people” (you’re not a person ’til you’ve hurt yourself by sneezing).  I want to focus on some of the less talked-about reasons.

Reason 1: Hyperbolic Speech

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My favs balm, bruh

I’ve talked about this before, but no one seems to have gradated opinions anymore; there’s nothing nuanced.  There’s no such thing as “I think I like the Reduced Fat Cheeze-Its better.  They seem to be a little saltier.”  It’s now “They. Are. AMAZING.  Eating the regular brand is like eating a live kitten dipped in ground-up gefilte and dipped in wart removal.”

I’ll admit that hyperbolic speech is funnier; I’m sure you get more “likes” with “My Mother-In-Law talks to me like I’m the retarded offspring of Lemmy and Demi #hotgirlscantbesmart” than you do with “My Mother-In-Law is a peach.”  But that isn’t how people actually think.  Or at least it didn’t used to be:

I have a lot of faults, among them is the that I have no idea when I’m being rude.  The Wife finds it endearing, but the rest of society doesn’t.  So, I act as if I have manners – I study the rules of society and pretend I understand why, when, and how to use them (for instance, did you know it’s rude to show a co-worker that “ugly christmas sweater” with the boob-hole cut out?  The notary public that signed the restraining order said it is) – and because I acted as-if, I’m now able to identify a lot of rude behavior.

This same phenomenon is happening all over the internet; people pretended to have extreme opinions about things because it stirred up conversations, got a lot of “likes”, and brought a lot of attention (and, in the case of media and other companies, it also brought money), but now this “acting as if they use extreme thinking” is becoming real.  No one used to think Bill Clinton getting a BJ was a good thing, but at the same time, no one wanted him to get fired; now people compare it to rape.  No one thought Ronald Reagan was a great president, but at the same time, no one thought he was awful either; now people compare him to Jesus.  No one says “Bill has his personal faults, but he got a lot of work done, especially with the budget;” no one says “Ron was definitely a family man, but the economy was never as shitty as it was when he was in charge.”

So here’s what the election turned into: Clinton murders people on a daily basis; therefore she is evil.  Trump wants to be a dictator; therefore, he is evil.  It just so happened that more people in key demographics (I’m sure the gerrymandering didn’t hurt) believed that Clinton was more evil than Trump.

Dexter Review

mv5bmtm5mjkwmti0mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwodqwmtc0oq-_v1_uy268_cr70182268_al_I’m not a fan of binge-anything.  I don’t overeat at Thanksgiving, I’ll have about one drink per hour at the bar; I could go through an entire calculus textbook in a day, but I don’t know how much I’d really learn.  I honestly think that we’re built to discover something, let that something sink in, and then move on to the next thing.

But, Netflix…

Because I’ve been up to my nipples in kids and houses, I’ve missed out on a couple of cultural milestones over the past half-decade (did you know there is a woman who has a very popular iPhone app about shopping and who was able to accomplish making the app popular because she got famous by having sex with a football player and she was able to do that because she was already sort-of famous because her mom used to be married to OJ’s lawyer, then later married a Wheaties decathlete who then became a woman?).  Case in point: Dexter.

I watched all eight seasons this summer.  I can see what all the hype’s about.  It’s very good.  Unless you watch all eight seasons in one summer.

It looked to me like the writers had an entire season outlined before they started writing anything.  If you look at season one, everything is perfectly timed, perfectly scripted, and perfectly executed (puns are hilarious).  The writers don’t start it off by giving us a Dexter on his first kill; he’s been at it pretty steadily for about 15 years.  Instead, they start off by giving us his fascination with another killer who kills better and cleaner than he can.  We then see flashbacks of him as a kid where his dad is showing Dexter how (and who) to kill without getting caught.  We also have a voiceover where Dexter is constantly talking about how he has no emotions and how he doesn’t understand how people deal with them and about how killing is the one thing that might fill this void that others seem to fill with emotions (by the way, I’m not a big fan of voice-overs, but it’s really the only way that we could see that Dexter is constantly second-guessing himself as he’s interacting with normal people in everyday situations).  We discover who the Ice Truck Killer is along with the other characters; we discover more about Dexter’s past along with Dexter.  It feels like it’s happening in real time – like a novel told in present tense.  But then, I think, because the show got so popular, it turned more and more into a police-procedural show.

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Every retiree’s favorite show

If you’ve ever seen Law and Order or any show with a the word “Blue” in the title, you’ll immediately see that all people are interchangeable and they react to things based on what’s convenient for the writers, not what’s true to the characters.

For instance:

  • In season one, Batista gives Dexter some advice that basically amounts to, “Don’t bother with emotions.  That’s a woman’s territory.  You should deal with the sex.”  It might be crude, but if that’s how Batista thinks, we now have a character trait.  In the next season, his M.O. for dating is to be as caring as possible.
  • In season 1, Dexter describes Rita as someone who is just as damaged as he is because of her abusive ex-husband.  After an unsuccessful hump-attempt later on, Rita basically says, “I’m just being silly.  You would never hurt me like my ex-husband did.  Let’s screw” and shrugs it off.
  • In season six there’s a character named Louis who is so scared because of an implied threat that he breaks up with his girlfriend.  In the very next season, Dexter breaks into Louis’ apartment with a knife and Louis responds with, “No one messes with me.”
  • At the end of season six, Debra is seeing a psychologist to talk about the stress she’s been under.  It comes to light that she might be in love with her adopted brother.  Season seven picks up that night: the psychologist never comes up again and this love revelation is mentioned twice more, once in a hackneyed dream-sequence and the other where Dexter replies with, “Oh.  What do you want me to say?”

When the series started, it was pretty clear that the writers were just going, “What if Dexter never had a code” and then we get a season about the Ice Truck Killer.  Or “What if Dexter had a wife and kids” and then we get the Trinity Killer.  As the series progresses, it’s almost like they change their philosophy to, “Well.  We haven’t done a split-personality yet” and we get the Doomsday Killer.  Or “Maybe this season, we could have a female serial killer” and we get Lumen.

Eventually, as we get to the end of the series, all the bad actors are killed off (which I love.  They pretty much die in order of how bad they act) and all the good actors are trapped saying lines like “We’ll canvas the neighborhood.  Get a couple unis to tail that bastard.”  Instead of discovering things with Dexter, we watch a crime and then watch the detectives figure out whodunit.  Instead of flashbacks that inform us how it is Dexter came to be, we watch as Dexter bounces ideas off his imaginary father. Even the series-wide focus of Dexter learning to understand feelings is torpedoed by the series finale.

Here’s the breakdown: season 1-3: five-stars

Lose a half-star for every season after that.