18 January 2010

I am Spartacus!

For you '300' and 'Rome' fans out there, a new series is about to debut over at Starz: 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand.' This review in the NY Times by Charles McGrath highlights in many ways just how ridiculous this series is going to be:
"Overtaxed, militarily overextended and with an increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots, the Romans, we learn, were a lot like us, but for entertainment purposes they had some signal advantages: They were more violent, they wore skimpier clothes and they had orgies. “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” a retelling of the history of the famous slave and his rebellion, does not neglect any of these traits. It features abundant nudity, both male and female. (“In the early days we had a lot of conversations about how many penises we could show in a single episode,” Rob Tapert, one of the producers, recalled recently.)"

How many penises they could show in a single episode?? Oh I am sure they had a contest going. McGrath continues:
"Mr. DeKnight [the head writer for the show] went on to say that he had included a homage to the famous “I’m Spartacus!” moment, when all the movie slaves claim to be the Kirk Douglas character, and had tried not to overlook the film’s epic feeling. “It was a great time for men especially — a period when men were men,” he said, referring to the Spartacus era and the end of the Roman republic."
Do any of my male readers out there get mad when they hear stupid lines like that? "When men were men," as if men of today are somehow less than they should be. DeKnight continues:
"About the show’s explicitness, he said: “We wanted to push the envelope. We’re fine with graphic sexuality, graphic violence as long as it comes from a place in the story. And I think the violence has an operatic element. We wanted to make it beautiful in a way.”"
Beautiful violence. This is what we are selling to the viewing populous. Is it any wonder I don't watch television anymore? Plus, continuing this stereotype of life in the ancient (or classical) past as brutal, sexual, and short seems to be the only card TV execs have up their sleeve these days. I loathe the day where I teach a classical Greece or Rome class and have to deal with students learning their "history" from these shows. Don't believe me? Ask my colleague who called out a student once because their exam answers were based on the Hollywood movie Troy and not the actual story of the Trojan War.

1 comment:

  1. Oh boy. It's sad when college students are relying on movies to pass their tests.


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