I don't know how many of you watch the Showtime series Dexter
. Even if you don't, you probably know the premise by now; it's been around a while. But just in case, here's a quick summary. Dexter (Michael C. Hall) works for Miami Metro as a blood-splatter specialist. He is also a serial killer, but he only kills people who deserve it, so he's not one of those bad serial killers. There's lots of stuff about a "code," and he refers to his need to kill as his "dark passenger," and his dead father's ghost appears, offering advice. It sounds a little goofy when you put it like that, and the show probably jumped the shark (I hate myself for using that expression) a couple seasons ago, but the writing is still better than most, even if they are running out of believable ways to introduce deserving victims for Dexter to slay. (Who knew Miami was crawling with so many homicidal lunatics? I lived there and had no idea! Lazy, brain-dead douchebags, sure, but all these madmen, makes me glad I didn't leave my condo on the beach more often.)
The theme song and intro is one of the better ones.
The acting is pretty good, and Michael C. Hall proves a likable protagonist. In a weird way, I enjoy seeing Miami from afar. Sorta like revisiting the playground where the bully chipped your tooth on the monkey bars; you derive a perverse satisfaction in having moved on to a better place.
It's a neat little ensemble cast. There's no reason to list the actors who play these parts. Fuck, I don't even care enough to look up the correct spelling of the character's names. There's Batista and Quinn and LaGuerta, and this creepy little oversexed Asian dude, Masuka. Overall, it's hardly a Breaking Bad. I wouldn't even put it on par with The Walking Dead. Then again, neither of those shows have what Dexter has. Namely, Debra Morgan.
Deb Morgan is the character played by Jennifer Carpenter, who is Michael C. Hall's ex-wife in real life. Hall also just got over cancer. Not sure why either of those details is relevant, but there you go. On the show she plays Dexter's sister. Anyway, this blog has four revolving topics: writing, that proverbial dead horse we've been beating the shit out of for the last two weeks.
Then there's my mental illness and this new journey I'm on, fatherhood (those are two separate topics. Most of the time). Lastly, there are the posts about the women, specifically the numerous ways I have loved, lost, and contracted a venereal disease; the women who drive me mad with...I'm not sure what. I wouldn't say desire, necessarily. It's more about approaching the subject through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, which would make them girls I guess, and the way you view them at that age, a time when they were still magical and you didn't have their names tattooed on your chest or know the pleasure of working with a divorce lawyer. Part of me still thinks about them like that, at the fairs and dances, the way my palms would get all sweaty just thinking about her, the fun part, before the work. I guess the word would be "crush."
And I have a serious crush on Deb Morgan.
Every time I watch the show with my wife, Justine, the conversation is the same.
(Deb comes on screen)
Justine: I can't believe you have a thing for her. Look at her! She's gangly and awkward; she's got a body like a boy. Look at how she dresses! And she's a mess of a human being. And her eyes are all wonky and crooked. How can you possibly find her attractive?
Me: I love her.
One of my Facebook friends, Annie, was commenting on the strange appeal of Deb. She was speculating it might have something to do with her vulgar mouth, and she does swear up a shit-storm. That's certainly part of it. I mean, what guy doesn't love a classy girl who says fuck a lot?
But I think it's more this: I know if Deb Morgan were my girlfriend she'd make me really really really unhappy. She'd be an absolutely awful girlfriend, and most definitely cheat on me. She'd take advantage of my love for her and take a giant dump on my heart. And, obviously, that appeals to me.
A little context.
When my second wife left me for a friend in Houston, I was still in grad school in Miami, and it left me reeling from the rejection. I was taking the whole thing pretty hard, a situation made worse by the fact that I still had to be writing and reading and taking tests and editing the magazine and all that. I didn't have any time to do what I wanted, which was hole up in my apartment, chain-smoke and feel sorry for myself.
I went to a reading one night, where I met up with a friend and his girlfriend. It was very crowded. We said hi, and then they went to get punch or something. Anyway, I'm staring at the door, watching the people showing up, when this drop-dead gorgeous Eastern European-looking bombshell walks in, and she's got everything I like, the high cheekbones and long legs, absolutely stunning. What really gets me is the eyes, that intense, soulful gaze, you know, the come hither stare, and I'm instantly in love. I'm thinking, "Now THAT would help me get over my ex-wife."
My friend and his girl walk back over and see me staring like a cartoon fool, tongue hanging out, and my buddy's girlfriend is, like, "Oh, I see you've noticed so and so. She's a friend of mine." And I'm thrilled, at last something's coming my way. I say, "You have got to introduce me!" And she says, "Oh, no, I can't do that. She's a schizophrenic alcoholic. You need to stay away from her." And I'm thinking, of course! Because if a schizophrenic alcoholic walks into a room of 50, you better believe I'm zeroing in and falling in love. In other words, my self-loathing runs pretty fucking deep.
The best relationships I've ever had have been the ones that occurred through no doing of my own. Like moving next door to Justine, or being set up on blind dates, whatever. All I know is if it is left up to me and my own devices, I will make the wrong choice every time.
I pick the basketcases and the nutjobs, the ones who fall apart when they can't find their glass of water.
I think such women appeal to my messiah complex.
My friend Rich says his father gave him three rules to live by: 1.) Never play cards with a man named "Doc" 2.) Never eat at a place called "Mom's," and 3.) Never lay down with a woman who has more problems than you do. And I like those rules, but if I tried to live by them, I'd never get laid.
Maybe my crush on Debra Morgan is actually simpler than that. Maybe it really is about viewing this through the lens of a 12-year-old boy. Or, more accurately, a 16-year-old one, since I don't think I ever really matured past that age.
By now you know my favorite book is Catcher in the Rye. Hell, I named my son Holden, of course you know. I think I am always after Jane Gallagher. You remember her, right? She was the girl Holden met that one summer up at their vacation home because her family's dog was always coming over and taking a shit on the Caulfield's lawn. Holden runs into her later when he's at Pency, before that suave-looking bastard, Stradlater, tries to give her the time in fat-ass Ed Banky's car. Holden won't even go down to say hi to her when he finds out she is on a date with his roommate, and although he keeps talking about calling her up, he never does. Jane remains perfect, untouchable, because Holden knows it's never getting any better than his memory of her that summer they first held hands. Any future interaction will only be a letdown.
Well, maybe Holden doesn't know that, exactly, but that's why I think he never gets in touch with her. It's a fantasy, and you can control your fantasies, and in them you never, ever get hurt.
Plus, whenever Deb Morgan speaks, her mouth goes all muckle. Just like Jane Gallagher's.
Labels: Catcher in the Rye, Debra Morgan, Dexter, Jennifer Carpenter, schizophrenia