Thursday, June 04, 2009

Viewer Discretion Advised

One of the benefits of living near your parents (well, it's a benefit if you actually like them), is being able to stop by and visit whenever you want. In fact, I have a standing Wednesday night appointment with my Dad and Stepmother; they agree to provide me dinner and I agree to grace them with my presence. Seems fair.

During these visits, we typically watch one episode of a series television show, and it's kind of our "family television hour." But I realized the other day that the shows we usually pick are not what you would call family friendly. Actually, they're pretty much as far from that as you could get.

Example: the first show that kicked off this lovely tradition was Showtime's Dexter. That's right. Our family television hour was centered around a serial killer (on a quest for justice!) and included explicit violence and language. We followed that up with Supernatural, Dexter Seasons 2 and 3, and have now moved onto True Blood. Which not only has graphic violence and adult language, but also has the added bonus of really explicit sexual content.

As we sat around the table eating our dinner and watching a vampire fucking a woman from behind while drinking her blood, I started wondering: is this normal?

I know a lot of families watch television together, but I find it hard to believe that most watch such adult shows. But the thing is, my Dad has a loooong history of allowing his children to watch what most people would consider inappropriate television and movies. Every other weekend when we stayed with him, he would often nap on the couch leaving my brother and me to our own devices and with possession of the remote control. This meant a steady diet of movies such as Predator, RoboCop, Rambo, Jaws, etc. etc. I wouldn't say I became desensitized to R-rated movies, but it has definitely made me something of a connesieur.

So it's not a surprise that now as a family we enjoy such adult entertainment. After a steady diet of R-rated movies in my youth, my Dad and I connected in later years over shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dark Angel, The West Wing, and Veronica Mars. If you think about it, all the premium cable series we now watch are really just mature extensions of those other shows. I guess.

Or maybe we're just a really odd family. Either way, it's going to take a while for me to get totally comfortable watching graphic sex scenes with my family, but we'll get there eventually. I just haven't figured out if that's a good thing.

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