Coffee Talk #620: Dumbing Things Down For Movies and TV

Some purists of A Song of Ice and Fire had an issue with Oberyn Martell’s introduction in Game of Thrones s4e1. In the books, it’s implied that he’s bisexual. In the television show, he forcefully grabs a male prostitute’s junk. There’s a huge difference between subtle implication and ham-fisted delivery, but sometimes it’s necessary for the mainstream audience.

The debate over Oberyn Martell reminded me of another argument fans had about Game of Thrones Season 2. In the books, it’s implied that…continued

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Some purists of A Song of Ice and Fire had an issue with Oberyn Martell’s introduction in Game of Thrones s4e1. In the books, it’s implied that he’s bisexual. In the television show, he forcefully grabs a male prostitute’s junk. There’s a huge difference between subtle implication and ham-fisted delivery, but sometimes it’s necessary for the mainstream audience.

The debate over Oberyn Martell reminded me of another argument fans had about Game of Thrones Season 2. In the books, it’s implied that Stannis Baratheon is sleeping with priestess of R’hllor Melisandre. In the show, he full-on bangs her on his war table. Again, the information is conveyed in drastically different ways, but it’s arguably necessary.

For some reason, the two instances in Game of Thrones didn’t bother me. I didn’t like that subtlety was eschewed for heavy-handed delivery, but I didn’t hate it either. I get that subtlety is lost on some people and understand that the show’s directors wanted these bits of information made clear.

Having said that, I recall one instance where a change bothered the hell out of me. In the Watchmen comics, there’s a great sequence where Silk Spectre figures out that the Comedian is her father. Various memories come back to her and she pieces it all together. In the Watchmen movie, the same thing happens, but it’s punctuated by Dr. Manhattan saying, “The Comedian…is your father.” For whatever reason, that little addition pissed me off. It seemed so unnecessary. Are moviegoers really that dumb?!?

While I understand that book and comics writers can rely on readers’ imaginations, is it necessary for movie and TV directors to be so obvious? I’m not really sure. That’s where you come in! I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter and read some of your examples in the comments section. Does print have to be dumbed down when it’s translated into a movie or television show?

Author: RPadTV

http://www.RPad.TV