Dexter–Jamie and I are a wee bit obsessed. We await our Netflix arrivals of Showtime’s most lovable psycho-killer-dad-with-an-off-beat-moral-code as if the Stork were delivering Parker’s baby sister. (No–I’m not preggo. I’m just anticipating another little girl a few years down the road. And then I’m done. D.O.N.E.)
Because I joined the Dexter melee in Season Four, I know him as the seemingly normal father and husband with an extraordinary job (I consider a blood-spatter specialist to be a remarkably off-kilter job) who moonlights as a serial killer.
- I never knew single Dexter.
- I never knew playboy Dexter.
- I never really want to know that character either, just like I don’t want to know too terribly much about my husband up to the point that he became just that–my husband. (Am I worried about skeletons? Nah. I worry more about my fragile ego.) So I tell myself that both Dexter and Jamie were protean piles of mush before they met me and my DVD player.
The show is dark, disturbing and brilliant, made even better by its location in sunny Miami with all its primary colors, a city that should be defined by its warmth and its Latin light–not killers and drug smugglers and clichéd fashion photographers (and their homicidal assistants) who sleep with all of their charges.
The storylines are always compelling and Dexter’s intimate circle of family and
co-workers–namely, his sister, Deborah, and his wife, Rita, along with Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta and Detective Angel Batista–draw me into Season 4 marathons that keep me up way past my 9:30pm (lame) bedtime. But I can’t help feeling that Jamie and I are attracted to the show for very different reasons…
When his eyes narrow, his voice drops two octaves and his face grows expressionless, I know that we’re in for a night when he’d rather be out plying the city with his trade than tending the home fires. Which man am I talking about here? I’m not really sure. I know that Dexter’s breathy, baby-voiced wife, Rita, is burden, personified, always sporting floral moo moos with (paradoxically) plunging necklines, sun-kissed and tousled tresses and a toe-headed infant on her hip.
She’s a tangential character who’s along for the ride for no other reason than to embody responsibility, normalcy and the tediousness that is law-abiding, tax-paying adulthood. She rarely enlightens the viewer and is repeatedly exposed as an ignoramus when it comes to her husband’s true character (that of a serial killer). Hooo boy, what bores, these wives!
Dexter’s interior life, well, it’s a fascinating, rich landscape that can’t be mined by a mere housewife. In fact, he rarely utters more than apologies or appeals for the night off when he and Rita have one of their rare exchanges. He’s too busy in his head, leading a secondary existence, planning his double life, the life that receives the lion’s share of his attention and affection.
Double life… double life… Who wouldn’t love it? Kinda like a double martini? A double feature?
So Hollywood execs, husbands–Dexter Morgan– and all the men in between, remember that we haus fraus like to be included in the good, mischievous times. Our interior lives might reek of baby powder and birthday cakes but we’re equally capable of naughtiness and intrigue.
On second thought, maybe it’s time to exchange Dexter for United States of Tara and Weeds… There’s nothing like the tales of a deranged housewife and a pot-dealing mother to remind me that the simple life is a thing of beauty.