Mr. Popular: Do We Like Dexter Morgan Too Much?

If you’re just joining us, you can find more on Dexter in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series .

Dexter Morgan is arguably one of the most fascinating, well-written characters in the history of fiction. In both his TV and novel incarnations, he draws us in, makes us care and terrifies us. And, whether we like him or not, we can’t help but want more of him.

If you just can’t get enough of Dexter, you can also shop for Dexter merchandise. Going out on the town but have nothing to wear? You can get the Official Dexter Kill Shirt. Keep your keys in style with the Dexter Blood Slide Key Chain. Got some *ahem* trash to take out? Try the Dexter Trash Bags. For the twisted kid in all of us, there’s the Dexter Action Figure.

And let’s not forget to accessorize. On sites like Etsy, you can get Dexter-inspired paraphernalia like the Dexter Ice Truck Killer Inspired  Key Chain, the Dexter Inspired Blood Spatter Earrings and the Unofficial Dexter Blood Glass Slide Pendant .

Okay…I’ll admit it…the Etsy stuff is pretty cute and I have a really perverse desire to get this floor mat. *hangs head in shame*

Are these things just in good fun or are they just plain creepy? Dexter is a serial killer after all. Even if his victims are monsters, should we celebrate the killing? And is it hypocritical to enjoy the Dexter novels and/or TV show but shudder at the thought of all the Dexter items?

On one hand, as a friend pointed out to me, Dexter can satisfy our sense of justice which the world (and the legal system) often cheats us of but…there are also folk that have committed crimes, claiming to be inspired by Dexter.

In one case, a filmmaker was inspired by Dexter to transform himself into a serial killer. In another, even more tragic case, a 17-year-old boy strangled his 10-year-old brother, saying it made him feel like Dexter.

By the way, I’m not blaming the novel or the show for these horrors. Some folk will find any excuse to do terrible things…but it’s incredibly sad that a character like Dexter could be seen as a role model for some.

What do you think? Is the Dexter merchandise fun or creepy? Is it hypocritical to like Dexter and object to the merchandise? And do you think that shows/novels like Dexter pose a potentially dangerous influence to some?

***

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Image via wikipedia (fair use)

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Categories: Killer Thursdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Mr. Popular: Do We Like Dexter Morgan Too Much?

  1. Oh, man. Those are such sad stories. I think, no matter what, that people will always find a “bad” role model to look up to. Even Edward Cullen, for instance, inspired a teenage boy to bite an older woman on the neck after he broke into her home (can’t remember which news site that was on, but it was when the first movie came out, I think). I think all the stuff with Dexter is fun for most people because we get to see into the mind of what we fear the most: a person with no conscience, who knows how to get away with what he does. At least, that’s my theory. :)

    • That’s very true. And whether or not these characters inspire crimes, the individual committing the crime is still responsible for it…not the writer or actor.

  2. What cool merchandise! I love Dexter, and I think he is probably the best character in fiction. So well rounded and multi-layered.

  3. Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity.

    Dexter is fascinating….but chiefly, he’s creepy. Period.

  4. Every time you post about Dexter I kick myself for having not started it yet! Argh!

  5. In general, I think Dexter is pretty likeable. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that he’s only killing people who REALLY deserve it. Problem is, especially in the most recent season, that seems a little less true in reality than in the impression that lingers if you haven’t actually watched it in a while.

    • Yeah, he does kind of meander off the Harry Path. And his criteria for a “righteous” kill does seem to be getting more lenient…pretty soon he’ll be after folks for library fines. LOL

  6. We have a set of “Dexter blood slides” drink coasters, one of which is in front of my computer screen at this moment, so I think I’m okay with the merchandise. My wife and I watched them film part of an episode a couple of years ago, and I have to say watching live is not unlike waiting for roof tiles to vibrate on a calm day. Lots of set up, waiting, set up, waiting, a few short lines, said over and over again for hours, more set up, more…well, you get the point. The cast and crew was very nice. Unfortunately, we only got to meet a few of the characters/actors, and Dexter wasn’t among them.

    Another great post :-)

    • I can imagine. Actually watching the filming probably blows the whole suspension of disbelief. Sometimes the HD actually does that for me too…it can just look too much like a documentary.

  7. I don’t have the coasters, but I really, really want them now. I haven’t read the books yet, but Dexter is absolutely the best-written show on tv.

    • Hello there. Thanks for stopping by!

      You must read the books too. There are differences, some big and some little, but it’s so worth it. I prefer some aspects of the show to the novels and vice versa but it’s fascinating to see both sides.

  8. The slide sets are quite nice. Made of heavy clear plastic with bright red “blood stains,” they came in a wooden slide box. I think there were six in the set :-)

  9. antigonedemurred

    I don’t know if it’s just Dexter, though. I mean, we’ve been reporting on and building weird cult followings around serial killers since Jack the Ripper. So many real serial killers talk about how they’ve been “immortalized” by what they’ve done– and fame seems to have been at least part of the motives behind the recent murder and dismemberment in Canada. Dexter feels safer to us because, of course, he’s fiction, and also because his kills are supposed to be righteous– but really it’s a tamer expression of the same urge to bask in the allure of darkness that motivates people to obsess over, write to, and even marry real-life imprisoned serial killers. I couldn’t tell you why that is, though I admit to being fascinated by Dexter myself.

    • Excellent point. I think the darkness in these folks mirrors something in ourselves that we don’t like to admit. They’re not all that different from us, really. We want to believe they are. I can’t fathom wanting to be even penpals with a real killer but I am curious about what makes them tick…so that’s still fascination on some level.

      • inachu

        You can email me any time regarding the history of Dexter. Nobody knows Dexter like i do.

  10. inachu

    The reason why it sounds so good is because Jeff Lindsay stole my character from me. It was 1997 when I submitted my story on a websiet dedicated to new tv show ideas and Jeff Lindsay bragged about taking my character away from me. My serial killer since 1974 has never had a name. I can agree that Jeff named him Dexter but the heart and soul of Dexter was part of me to keep me sane from major child abuse by my father. I am now comming foward after 15 years because I just remembered what has happened. You see 15 years ago I was indirectly struck by lightening on executive blvd near white flint metro in maryland. I was on my way to work when i was struck. It was a couple of days before that I posted online my character. I gave detail and such after over 20 people blew me and character off but 3-5 people asked for more info and Jeff was one of them. Then after getting off on stealing him from me he even stated that nobody would believe me because of who he is married to. So all this week I researched every video of Jeff a and even he said his wife held a gun to his head to write. Ie was me and my character that unblocked his WRITERS BLOCK. WHat kind of child abuse did my father do for me to creaete such a ficticious super hero person who would save a child like me back when I was just 6? At age 6 my father would take me by me ankles and swing me like a baseball bat against the wall several times. I now as i write still have 40% hearing loss in my left ear and a large ass lump on my head from those beatings.

    Another question you may ask: Do I have longings to kill like Dexter on tv? No. Although I kept him for a fall back to keep me sane Back in 1985 I became a christian. It was there that my sick desire to kill faded away. I was never into animal torture. I was the nice quiet kind of kid growing up.
    Where did those insane child hood beatings take place?
    Albany NY off of route 9. perhaps 4-5 miles before snake hill road.

    It was my plan in 1997 that if my character got famous that I would buy that old house then tear it down or blow it up.

    But as we all can see that Jeff Lindsay lied and even in all his videos on how he came up witht he so called idea of Dexter itself is fake. Any professionally trained observer can tell that Jeff Lindsay in those videos is lying and is really looking like as if he is seeking approval.

    So to your other commenters I just want to reply what makes Dexter in real life truly tick?
    The desire to kill his father. My father did move back to NY in coldspring and if I ever went there to ask for forgiveness and saw him being stabbed or beat up then id most likely just walk by with a smile on my face then maybe even offer beer to the killers.

    The above is the truth. The whole truth. and nothing but the truth so help me god. I Will go to my grave stating the above no matter how many lawers or cease and desists are sent to me via Jeff Lindsay and his weirdo gun totting wife.

  11. Pingback: TV Series Review: DEXTER – Season 3 – 2008 « Blank Page Beatdown

  12. Pingback: TV Series Review: DEXTER - Season 3 - 2008 : Blank Page Beatdown

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