All about the mind

How far is too far?

When does a TV show or movie or even a book for that matter go too far? I read about this teenager who killed his 10 year old brother because he wanted to be like Dexter, a character he idolised. Dexter is a TV show (based on a series of books I think) where the protagonist, Dexter, is a serial killer. I watched the first episode and couldn’t watch any more of the show. Why? Because to me, in some ways, the show was glorifying a serial killer.

This news story about 17 year old Andrew Conley killing his 10 year old younger brother by strangling him only strengthens my viewpoint about the show glorifying serial killers. Until recently, most shows will depict a murderer or a serial killer or even a thief facing consequences. Getting caught. Being busted. Unfortunately, in Dexter, he has a professional job during the day and doesn’t seem to be anywhere near having the expected consequences. He seems to be able to justify his serial killing. But then, in the real world, when a young man whose decision making abilities are not well-developed and who possibly has a mental health disorder gets influenced by this character, who has an answer to that? Given that it’s the real world, this young man is not going to be glorified like Dexter. Instead, he is now sentenced to life.

We all know that TV shows and movies have been showing a lot more violence and a lot more sexually explicit material now as compared to before. But where should producers and writers draw a line? What happens when young people with other mental health problems believe these fictional shows to be true? When they think that violence is okay. Or killing someone is acceptable. I know there is supposedly a rating such as 15 years and over or mature audiences or parental guidance required. But no one follows that! Especially when these shows are at a time when kids or teens are still awake. And with the internet, who even cares about the time a show is aired!

Personally, my stance is that there shouldn’t be shows or movies or books where the protagonist is a murderer or a serial killer and gets away with it. It’s not that I don’t watch shows about murder. But they usually have the consequences they deserve. Again, I know the real world is not a fair place and not every killer gets caught. But the television world creates a fantasy world for some people and seems to be taking things really too far. What next? Actually seeing someone behead or stab or rape a victim? Scene by scene?

Call me cynical…but things probably will only get worse. The television and movie world is not going to be policed when it comes to what they put out there. And people like Andrew will continue to get entangled in it’s clutches.

Until next time,


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  • Abha Midha
    18 October 2010 at 11:49 am

    Its true that for young minds get influenced by popular characters from movies and films. So yes, definitely there should be checks on how far one can go in depicting a character or a story.With internet there is free access to any kind of info and its tough for parents to streamline what their kids are watching. so the onus is on adults to showcase positive characters and stories and if at all there is violence , justice should be meted out towards the end to send a message across.

  • starry eyed
    18 October 2010 at 1:06 pm

    It’s all madness! There’s no accountability and producers can show anything they damn well wish, glorify it or project it as the done thing, and children, teens and vulnerable minded adults will buy it and swallow it.

  • Titaxy
    18 October 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I can’t believe it…a boy killed his brother because he idolized a TV character? What has the world come to? Aren’t children taught that their actions always have consequences that they have to face? How corrupt his mind must be to do something as brutal as this. šŸ™ I can’t even imagine.

    I am totally with you that I don’t encourage this sort of shows that portray and glorify such horrific characters.

  • The Survivor
    18 October 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I wont blame the shows but parents need to maintain a vigil on thier child activities to know what they are upto.

    Had that been done this killing would not have taken place as the killer is said to be suffering from mental illness and I think a parent can make out a difference when their children are not normal.

    I believe there are signs to watch before something such drastic happens.

  • Femba Girl
    18 October 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. Even if the culprit is shown to face consequences, I am against such acts being shown in movies and television. The Hindi movies from 70s and 80s always had rape scenes, where the act was shown as an outlet for both lust and revenge. Consequently (I think), we had many gang rapes being reported from rural villages – as acts of punishment or revenge. The movies seemed to fester the belief in the uneducated masses that rape was really a way to deal with rage, even if it was wrong.

    I mostly hate the new age Bollywood movies, but I appreciate the fact that they’re shying away from violence even if they’re tending toward inane comedy instead..

  • celestialrays
    19 October 2010 at 11:07 am

    There was a case I heard about after I left school – one of my juniors, in his early teens, had murdered his mom because she wouldn’t give him pocket money. Its indeed sad to know these incidents. While on hand, we can blame the TV, but on the other hand, it just makes you think – what goes on in their minds exactly?

  • booksaroundtheworld
    19 October 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I think that the influences TV Shows, movies or books can have on people highly depends on the mental state of the person watching or reading. For normally intelligent people, these TV Shows might be just entertaining and they actually know that it is just a story and there is nothing positive about it.

    If these TV Shows are shown to the wrong people who cannot tell the difference between a fictive and a real story, they can have negative influences.

    It is always hard to decide what is ok and what isn’t. As you mentioned, you cannot completely rule out the possibility of these people accessing certain TV Shows or movies. There is always a remaining risk.

    With regard to children and teenagers I think that parents are responsible in that case. Parents need to find a way to educate their children and show them which program is appropriate and which not. Of course, the forbidden make children more curious but parents do not have to forbid TV programs. Another way of educating children could be to watch the shows together with them and explain what is wrong. Parents should make sure that their kids understand the difference between a fictive and a real story…

  • Reema
    22 October 2010 at 3:22 am

    I started watching Fox Crime recently and saw promos of the series’ 4th season..I couldnt make head or tail of the story…as to why a serial killer is a hero..and apparently the series has won Emmy awards too!!