Tuesday, April 10, 2012
That means there are always three or four series you hear folks raving about that you’d like to see but you wonder – is it really worth an entire weekend to watch the first two seasons? Is that time better spent attending your own wedding? And is it possible to just jump in and catch up along the way?
That’s what I attempted to do recently with GAME OF THRONES. I had heard so many good things – that it combined Emmy-worthy drama with gratuitous sex – and TEEN MOM wasn’t very good last week so I decided to go to HBO ON DEMAND and check it out.
For writers of these wonderful hour series, who spend countless hours crafting every word and frame of their episodes, seeking absolute perfection – I think I present the typical example of a viewer seeing your show for the very first time, coming in in the middle. And for purposes of this experiment, I watched the episode only once. Have not gone back, have not read anything about the series. So what you’re getting is virgin eyes.
This, I believe, was the first episode of this season.
The show starts with “Previously on GAME OF THRONES.” Good! This will help. There are quick cuts, tiny snatches of dialogue. “You will pay!” “Wait for me!” “I’m the king!” “No, I’m the king!” “Neither of you are king!” I don’t know. It went by too fast. There were also fifty-two main characters. I’d see someone and think, “Oh, shit, where do I know him from?” Then he’s gone. Replaced by some hot blond. I wonder – do we see her naked? At the end of this wrap up I know absolutely nothing.
Cut to opening titles. Eye-popping graphics and stirring theme as the camera sweeps us all around a map. From what I glean, there are different kingdoms here in the land of… wherever this is. Or I’m wrong and the show is about mead salesmen.
The show begins. There’s a jousting tournament. Cool! Very realistic. The loser dies. Lots of blood. We see the tourney is for the pleasure of a king. The king looks like he’s maybe 19. And he’s clearly a brat. He’s the music prodigy in your high school who was so insufferable you spilled hot chocolate on him at every opportunity. By his side was a young waif who I gathered was either the queen or his personal shopper. She didn’t appear happy. Like she was forced to go to the prom with Screech.
In the castle somewhere there is a board meeting held by a medieval MILF who is in some position of power. They’re discussing when the peasants can use drinking fountains or something and the meeting breaks up with Dinklage crashes the party. He and the MILF do not get along. He shows her some paper that says he is allowed to be insouciant and have all the best lines. She is not pleased.
Now (as best as I can remember) we’re moving briskly through the woods, POV style. We stop at a pond and see a reflection of a wolf in the water. So we must’ve been the wolf in that sequence.
A transition I forgot then people are at that creek and the wolf is gone. Did the wolf turn into one of them? Oh wait. That was ONCE UPON A TIME. I don’t know who these people are or why they are there. A red comet is spied in the sky. It means something.
A horse dies. Am I watching LUCK? This event prompts the girl to send tribe members off in different directions to look for something. I’m guessing oats.
The red comet transitions us to a snow-covered wilderness where more people are tromping around. We’ve gone from LAWRENCE OF ARABIA to DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. They come to a big house. We learn that the proprietor had all these daughters, married them, then had more daughters by them. So throw in CHINATOWN, BIG LOVE, and any episode of THE MAURY POVICH SHOW. He warns the men not to touch any of his wives/daughters. The scene ends there but you know next week six guys are going to be caught jumping the Chloe Sevigny-lookalike.
Meanwhile, where’s the sex? Where’s the nudity? Even the dead horse had a saddle on it.
Now we’re in another kingdom and meet (I assume) another king. Hard to tell. He’s wearing furs. Would it be so hard to give all the kings crowns? At least through the second season. He’s discussing matters with a woman who looks like a younger Jean Marsh. I have no idea what they’re talking about. They don't sleep together so she might not be his mother.
From there we go to the woods (or it might be teen king’s castle – by this point I’m lost). Someone is being held in a cage. He engages in a conversation with his captor. I’m sensing the prisoner is a member of some royal family. Either that or he’s one of the old guy’s wives/daughters. He appears very jaunty for a prisoner, especially when the wolf from the pond scene shows up and is in the cage with him. Then the wolf disappears. At this point I’m waiting for the Smoke Monster to arrive.
The show now bounces from place to dizzy place. Finally, we see the brothel. Fifteen seconds of a girl having sex but being coached (so ech!) and then we see the brothel lobby and a few bare breasted girls. The erotic mood is broken somewhat however when men in armor enter and kill a baby.
I found the show’s dialogue to be somewhat inconsistent. Juxtaposed with “Ay, your liege, I will be gone by day’s first light” is “I want to fuck.”
And then the screen cuts to black and the hour is over. I’m baffled. I imagine if you are a fan of the series, every scene I described was ripe with delicious moments and exchanges. There were surprises. High tension. Amusement. (If you were aroused by the brothel scene though, you’re sick.) But to fully enjoy this series I suppose I better go back, watch the entire first season, and maybe read the five novels just to be sure.
What do you guys think of GAME OF THRONES?
By Ken Levine at 5:56 AM