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Kelli Catana Headshot

The Incest Plot Twist

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There has been a recent plot twist that two of my favourite television shows have in common, and I'm not okay with it. First Boardwalk Empire went there, followed by Dexter -- making me cringe in my seat as I watched both shows. I'm not talking about the 1920s gang violence of Boardwalk Empire or the serial killing with a conscience of Dexter -- I'm talking about straight-up, make-you-wince-at-the-mere-insinuation-of-it incest!

You knew it was coming on Boardwalk Empire -- what with all the inappropriate musings by Gretchen Mol's Gillian Darmody -- the 'not quite right' mother of Michael Pitt's forever-brooding Jimmy Darmody. But you were still kind of hoping that they would be left at insinuations and for the viewer to come to their own conclusions about their relationship. Unfortunately the writers decided to confirm the rumours and reveal, in a scene that had most of us yelling at the television and watching through our fingers trying to block out what we were about to see, that mother and son actually did do the deed. My main reaction after watching that scene was a very loud "ewww" followed by a lot of OMGs on Twitter. Was it an integral part of the storyline? Maybe. After all, it explains that it was the resulting shame and guilt that was the reason Jimmy enlisted in the military and went from happy-go-lucky Princeton student to sulking and brooding wannabe gangster. So I get that there had to be some huge life changing experience that caused that. But I'm pretty sure all that could have been done without having visual confirmation of Jimmy and his mother having sex. Because, well, ewww.

Fortunately this week was incest-free on Boardwalk (although the episode was no less of a mind-blower) but now I have to deal with it on Dexter! This week we saw Debra's therapist suggest that the reason that Dexter is so important in Debra's life is because Deb has those feelings for her adopted brother. I know that the Debra/Dexter characters aren't biologically related, but that doesn't make it okay! And it certainly doesn't make it okay to have Debra having those dreams about her brother. I watch Dexter so I can see how he's going to finally get that creepy Doomsday Killer Colin Hanks, not so I can be uncomfortable watching a potential brother/sister hook-up. For the love, what has gotten into these writers?!

I know this is cable programming and the benefit of cable programming is that they get to push the envelope a lot more than regular network programming. I enjoy that I get to watch a bit more sex, violence and blood-sucking vampire/fairy-loving on cable than I get on regular TV. I like that my favourite characters can swear and get naked if they want and that they don't have to worry about the pesky FCC getting involved and fining them hundreds of thousands of dollars for saying "bitch" too many times in a 30-minute segment. If you asked me to choose between the standard television networks or paid cable programming I think I might just choose Dexter and True Blood over Glee and Gossip Girl, hands down. But there are some things I just don't want to see on regular network TV or cable programming, and that's incest.

I'm hoping that with next week's season finale of Dexter this will be the last of this so-called storyline arc and the notion of Debra having those feelings for Dexter will be buried along with the Doomsday Killer. This is one plot twist we don't need to see more of on television.