Family entertainment? sex & severed ears on Saturday morning
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 4, 2007
Yesterday morning I went to the gym at my usual weekend time – 9:00. The bank of televisions was already on when I arrived, and I settled myself on a machine facing two of them: one showing LBC’s Saturday morning children’s show and the second showing a young Kyle MacLachlan driving a convertible around a sweetly winsome American town.
When Laura Dern appeared next to him, in a 1950s high school girl’s full skirt and cardigan, I thought: how sweet – a high school romance.
When Isabella Rossellini appeared on screen, with a full 1980s bouffant hairdo and silk dressing gown, I thought: Oh, surely not.
But it was. Star Movies’ Saturday morning broadcast was Blue Velvet.
As in the US, Saturday morning around most of the Arab world is a weekend morning – prime time for child viewers.
As the film progressed, I found myself increasingly horrified at the thought that young children might stumble across it while channel surfing.
Here’s how Amazon describes the film:
David Lynch peeks behind the picket fences of small-town America to reveal a corrupt shadow world of malevolence, sadism, and madness. From the opening shots Lynch turns the Technicolor picture postcard images of middle class homes and tree-lined lanes into a dreamy vision on the edge of nightmare.
Sounds promising already, doesn’t it?
After his father collapses in a preternaturally eerie sequence, college boy Kyle MacLachlan returns home and stumbles across a severed human ear in a vacant lot. With the help of sweetly innocent high school girl (Laura Dern), he turns junior detective and uncovers a frightening yet darkly compelling world of voyeurism and sex.
Voyeurism and sex – two words that always say “children’s television” and “family fare” to me.
Drawn deeper into the brutal world of drug dealer and blackmailer Frank, played with raving mania by an obscenity-shouting Dennis Hopper in a career-reviving performance, he loses his innocence and his moral bearings when confronted with pure, unexplainable evil. Isabella Rossellini is terrifyingly desperate as Hopper’s sexual slave who becomes MacLachlan’s illicit lover, and Dean Stockwell purrs through his role as Hopper’s oh-so-suave buddy.
Did I mention the oral sex? The dead man with a sock stuffed in his mouth? Whoever edited this film for television – and whatever Gulf censors approved it – had a rather curious interpretation of acceptable programming. I’m an adult, and was working out in a room of other adults (most of whom, mercifully, were far from this particular television) and I was embarrassed that this movie was playing in front of us.
Amazon concludes that Blue Velvet, which it calls a “nightmarish masterpiece”,
is a disturbing film that delves into the darkest reaches of psycho-sexual brutality and simply isn’t for everyone.
I second that opinion and would like to suggest that a film that received an “R” rating for sex and violence not be shown during primetime television house for “G” viewers.