Has anyone else noticed the increasingly graphic nature of violence on TV? It seems the human body can't get no R-E-S-P-E-C-T anymore. If you look at classic movies, a gun is pointed, a shot is fired, a body falls. You'd rarely even see the bullet hole. Today, a gun is pointed, multiple shots are fired, the body twitching with each torn piece of flesh, the body falls, the aggressor approaches the body, the aggressor stomps the victim's head in, brain matter splatters, etc., etc.
And then there is the callous attitude toward killing. People are murdered for barely a reason. Are you standing in the path of the gunslinger? Dead. Do you not answer a question fast enough? Dead. Fingers shaking? Can't get that safe opened up fast enough? Dead. In years past, people weren't murdered just for hanging out. Now, if you're anywhere near the scene of the crime, you're going down.
Case in point, I loved the first season of Vikings, a well-written series airing on the History Channel. Good story, interesting characters, cool hairdos. For some reason, by the second season the writers, possibly in crisis over their story-telling abilities, decided to up the violence. One episode contained a stomach turning five-minute depiction of an execution by torture that involved exposing the spine, breaking the ribs and pulling them back to resemble bloody wings. Trust me, the writers could have used four and a half of those minutes on character development and furthering the plot rather than sicken their viewers.
Is the quality of storytelling served by making violence more graphic? If character development is done correctly, I don't think so. If the show is well written, I will find myself connected and caring about the dead guy or the conflict that drove the murderer to do the deed; the fact that the guy is dead will be disturbing enough. Seeing his body ripped to shreds won't make me care any more.
Last question: Is this a generational thing? Are younger audiences as disturbed by the escalating graphic nature of violence as I am? Are today's writers a product of an adolescence filled with violent video games depicting all manner of mayhem and resulting in desensitization?
Seriously, this really is the last question: Am I just wimpy?