About a month ago, Deeky and I made a pact: If he'd give Lost a try (which he had always assumed sucked, because, duh, if it was so awesome, why wasn't he into it?), then I'd give Dexter a try (which I had always assumed sucked, because, duh, if it was so awesome, why wasn't I already watching it?).

Fast forward to now, and Deeky has just embarked on Season Two of Lost and I've just embarked on Season Two of Dexter—which I kind of can't believe I like, given the premise. A sociopathic serial killer vigilante, who originally started dating his girlfriend, a rape and domestic violence survivor, because she was "broken," quite possibly couldn't sound less like something I'd want to watch.

And it was a good few episodes before I was sure I wanted to keep watching; after I'd gotten through Season One and encouraged Iain to watch it, he sat down to watch the pilot and said, about twenty minutes in, "You like this show?" I told him to keep watching. He did.

The thing is, it's a challenging show; it constantly urges me to consider how I feel about Dexter and his "code," which in turn demands I think about my own sense of justice, and the larger culture's sense of justice, and how those intersect and diverge. Dexter, whose aliases are frequently Bret Easton Ellis character allusions, is not a hero; he's an anti-hero—and we're not meant to like him. We're meant to root for consequences. For him to get caught, or, at minimum, for him to change, not in a simple rom-com I've-been-such-an-idiot-not-to-see-my-true-love-was-in-front-of-me-the-whole-time way, or a tidy reversal-of-fortune I-now-see-what's-really-important-in-life way, or any one of dozens of other hackneyed and uncomplicated growth arcs, but in the slow, wrenching, self-annihilating deconstruction and ash-rising of real-life fucked-up people whose lives have been permanently thrown off course by a shattering trauma, who may hurt others as a consequence.

And then there's the code. His father's code. The code he was instructed to live by ostensibly to keep the monster under control, but was really a code that gave license to that monster to thrive.

I suppose this is as good a place as any that I find Dexter to be a useful allegory about the Patriarchy.

But all of this is really neither here nor there. Because this post is about Dexter: The Video Game.

Iain sent me this link yesterday, at which there is a trailer for the new video game, based on the show. Supposedly.

Upon viewing the trailer, I emailed Iain: " first reaction is that sort of fundamentally misses the point of the show. Which is clearly written so that Dexter is an anti-hero who you're rooting will change, not identify with and want to become a vigilante serial killer."

To which Iain replied: "My thoughts exactly. Interesting insight into why most of the people who watch the show like it, though."

And I feel the same sort of chill I felt when everyone was reading American Psycho, and I overheard guys talking admiringly about Patrick Bateman as if he were someone to emulate.

I have wondered if Dexter will pull it off. I have wondered if Dexter is willing to alienate the fans who are watching because they relate to Dexter, not to Rita, or Debra, or even the troubled Sergeant James Doakes—who, Iain cleverly pointed out, is the guy the show would be about, if it were a typical show about cops, or a killer who needs catching.

This video game trailer makes me nervous about which audience will ultimately be satisfied by the show. It's possible, of course, that a video game could recreate what the show is doing, what Iain describes quite aptly as an extended examination of a utilitarian morality: Harry's code was effectively just an attempt to fill Dexter's presumed void of conscience with a morality rooted in cold reason—and when Harry saw the logical conclusion of that experiment, he was sick. A utilitarian morality shatters into pieces when it runs headlong into the human conscience.

But the game is being made available for the iPhone and iPod touch only, which, as Iain pointed out, suggests a mission-based game, likely lacking the story element that will replicate Harry's realization and communicate the message that Dexter is no hero—without which, it's just a game about a killer.

And that really would be too bad, because the show is so much more.

I hope.

[I'm not quite finished with Season Two and have seen none of Season Three yet, so if you comment about either, please give me a spoiler warning. Thanks!]

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