A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

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.

blue-velvet-poster-c10080070.jpeg

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.

2 Responses to “Family entertainment? sex & severed ears on Saturday morning”

  1. MattK said

    Children shouldn’t ever really watch television. They should be outside, playing or (if weather doesn’t permit) doing some thing constructive, like art or helping around the house. Television is what I’d like to refer to as an “extreme luxury.” Food is a necessity. Food at expensive restaurants is a luxury, but you still gain from consuming it. Television, on the other hand, really doesn’t give you anything back from watching it, other than the compulsion to watch more. Ask yourself this; Is it the TV’s fault for showing an (in all honesty) extraordinarily good ADULT movie so early in the day? Or is it perhaps our society’s compulsive urge to watch anything and everything at whatever time week wish? We’re not corrupting our children for showing “Blue Velvet” on Saturday morning. We’re feeding our own addiction, regardless of who else maybe watching.

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