The Corner

Game of Thrones

I only recently caught Game of Thrones fever, and now the first season is over.

I really like it. I think if I was 14, I would consider this the greatest TV series in the history of history. I disagree with Ross about the first few episodes. I like that it was a little impenetrable at first. While it can often be a sign of plain bad writing, that feeling of needing to catch up with what’s going from the very first episode can also be one of the the things that gives you a sense there’s a reason to make an investment in the story.

But where I agree entirely with Ross is the over-reliance on “sexposition.” Ross:

The other problem, though, can be more easily corrected, so long as the show’s creators are willing to listen to a little constructive criticism. I speak, of course, of the show’s much-mocked reliance on so-called “sexposition” (defined as the use of sex scenes to enliven otherwise dull monologues and conversations), which has been pushed to the point of self-parody and beyond. Martin’s books are filled with sex, to be sure, but it’s generally integral to the plot, and it’s often disturbing rather than titillating, shot through with either the threat or the reality of violence. The show, though, has taken things in a much more exploitative direction: Not content with Martin’s sex scenes, the writers appear to have set themselves the task of including at least one topless woman in every episode, while adding a prostitute character who doesn’t exist in the book, and who seems to have been included just to get naked with as many lords as possible. (It’s as if every episode of “The Sopranos” had featured the same cheerful stripper servicing a different member of Tony’s crew.) In the novels, much of the sex (and sexual violence) feels necessary to the books’ deservedly-praised realism about what medieval life was really like. But when you tack on five extra sex scenes involving a lissome, gold-hearted prostitute, it’s hard to escape the impression that the gritty realities of a pre-modern society are being used as an excuse for soft-core porn.

There’s one scene in particular viewers will remember well — . I will call it for the sake of accuracy, the Lesbian Whore scene — that was so gratuitous I’m not even sure I would have forgiven it when I was 14. It’s the kind of scene that the show’s fans don’t need and undoubtedly would turn away viewers who saw it out of context.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not prudish about such things. Deadwood, long since cancelled (sigh), had plenty of softporny moments that were necessary to the plot and the characters. The same can be said of Rome. The Tudors is a tougher call. One got the sense about half-way in, that the show’s producers decided that better to err on the side of cinemax than of historical accuracy. But this was just stupid, and counter-productive.

All in all, however, I think the show is a fantastic amount of fun. I am vexed and chagrined I have to wait until next year for the second installment (I know, I know, I should read the books).

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