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Thursday, November 8, 2012
Debating Debra: Dexter Season Six Disaster
[WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE SIXTH SEASON OF DEXTER]
While the benefit of time and perspective may
change the minds of many in the future, the sixth season of
Showtime’s hit series Dexter has generally been met with mixed
to negative reactions. While there are a number of reasons for the less
than flattering reception, including an obvious plot twist involving
Edward James Olmos’ character and a slow paced storyline that involved
main characters gathering information the viewers already possess, the
most controversial aspect of the shows sixth season was the developing
romantic feelings of Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) towards her
adoptive brother Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall).
While the two
characters are not biologically related, there has still been much
aversion towards the notion of a romantic relationship between them
considering the viewers and characters themselves have seen each other
as family for years. Nevertheless those hoping for a quick end to the
slightly incestuous romance may be in for a long wait. At a recent
network press tour, Showtime boss David Nevin revealed the storyline
will continue into the next season and commented on how it was a long
“It’s something that has been building
for a number of years, I think. It’s an idea that’s informed how they’ve
done the show for a long time.”
Now as viewers we are essentially outsiders
when it comes to the creative process of making this great series.
However as viewers we are also arguably the most qualified to decide
whether the intentions of the show runners have been met or made clear. It’s one concept to form
an idea and throw it out there; it’s another concept entirely to have
it resonate with the people.
Therefore, as a viewer, I must admit that Nevin’s statements feel like complete bullshit! Having watched every season of Dexter, it is
very hard to understand where the notion of a series long budding romance between
Dexter and Debra throughout could come from. Over course of
the shows six year run, while Dexter and Debra have expressed a strong
caring and bond with each other, neither of them has ever considered
each other anything beyond family despite their lack of a biological
One could argue that there hasn’t been any evidence against
the idea of a blossoming romance between the two characters, which is
true to a certain extent; however there also has never been a clear
indication that this was a strong basis on which the show has developed
over the years. The burden of proof here lies on the show and network
runners and if this story has indeed influenced the progress the series
has made thus far, that was not very clear at all. Otherwise there
would not be such a strong backlash from viewers had they sensed this
storyline was even a remote possibility.
On a personal note, as an adopted child I’d
like to express that even without a biological relationship to them,
I’ve never had romantic feelings towards any members of my family,
extended or direct. The show is almost insulting adopted children and their family but suggesting "Hey, you know you are now REALLY family, right?" I know I don’t speak on behalf of all adopted
people, but I feel I do have some informed insight to contribute to the
debate. Also, considering I was adopted as a baby, the life with my
family is the only one I’ve ever known. While Dexter has very vague
memories of his past before being adopted in the Morgan family, in
general he’s expressed difficulty remembering the full extent of his
past. Therefore it’s hard to see Dexter ever developing romantic
feelings for his sister, but what about Debra?
Personally I think it destroys her character,
who has always had a strong sense of right and wrong even when the
issues became far too complex to include only two sides. The route the
writers took in having Debra make the leap from having a strong bond with
her brother to loving him in a romantic way doesn’t make any sense in terms of character consistency. A
lot of people in our lives are there for us, make us feel safe, and are
considered loved ones in some fashion. For Debra to quickly associate
these feelings with romantic love towards someone she’s always
considered a brother betrays the way the character has behaved before this point.
What do you think? Is the Dexter/Debra Morgan romance creepy? Has this indeed been a long time coming? Sound off below!