Sporatacus Like most people my age, I came to a lot of culture the back way. For instance, I didn’t realize until years after The Simpsons episode that A Streetcar Named Desire was not, outside that show, a musical. The first Jane Austen adaptation I saw was Clueless, and on top of that, Clueless taught me that secretly gay men like to watch a movie named Sporatacus as a covert hint that they might be gay.
It took me a long time to actually watch the movie Spartacus after that. Not because I was uncomfortable about gay things--though like any teenage boy I was--but because it was old. Even though it was in color, it was one of those movies that looked like it was probably originally in black and white and just tinkered with in the lab.
I grew, and somehow somewhere along the way became a fan of Stanley Kubrick. I think what originally appealed to me about Kubrick was the idea that he didn’t like people, or happy endings, and as a young boy flirting with nihilism but not really able to pull the trigger on that, I liked the idea of not liking people. So Kubrick’s long history of movies about how people suck fit right into my carefully constructed and flimsy world view.
Kubrick didn’t like Spartacus, either. Kirk Douglas had too much control. Kubrick felt the script was too full of stupid moralizing, and after filming that movie for hire, insisting on having full control over his films ever after, for the rest of his life. It was a year or two after getting into Kubrick that I even bothered to see the movie, preferring instead to rewatch Dr. Strangelove or A Clockwork Orange.
It’s all right. Full of stupid moralizing (for instance, did you know that slavery is wrong?), obvious-in-retrospect hints that the blacklist is wrong and immoral (important at the time, interesting historically, but pretty blatantly overshadowing the plot of the actual movie), and some weird homosexual tension just for the hell of it.
My girlfriend and I got Spartacus: Blood and Sand for Christmas, and decided to start watching it. My girlfriend has a love for things that are terrible, and so Spartacus: Blood and Semen is perfect for her. It is roughly the same level of quality as Jersey Shore, except without censoring. The level of violence is cartoonish--as if someone watched 300 and thought, “This is cool, but way too restrained. Needs more boobs and digitized blood” The writers also apparently have the belief that no one who is interested in Spartacus will have seen that obscure arthouse film from a decade ago by the name of Gladiator, so there’s no problem with blatantly ripping off large portions of that film.
It’s a terrible trashy show--horrifically but cartoonishly violent, mixed in with softcore porn. I can tell why it’s so popular. I’m a little weirded out that my family gave this to me: “Here, PMD! Garish violence and surgically enhanced breasts for you!”
What does that say about what they want to say about me?
My girlfriend declared it was the greatest show she'd seen since Jersey Shore, but that she was hoping there'd be more balls on display what with all the casual nudity. Oh well. It was only the first episode.