You guys, I have a confession to make: I absolutely have the hots for Mason Verger. No, no, no, not the Gary Oldman iteration from Silence of the Lambs — the far more unsettling Michael Pitt/NBC's Hannibal version that was unveiled online today. Why do I think he's creepier than fleshy-faced Oldman's take? Because he is so attractive a serial murderperson that it makes me question everything, feel gross and terrible about the way I feel, and oh god does this mean I'm a monster now?
Perhaps this is a conversation better left for my therapist (who I'll now need to start going to see again because thanks a LOT, television), but how much does it suck to realize you're totally attracted to someone who likes to kill other people for funsies It's highly, highly unsettling. To say nothing of the creep factor. What makes it worse? It's happened — at least to us — before: particularly during BBC Two's The Fall, where Jamie Dornan (yes, the future Mr. 50 Shades, ugh) proved himself to be another murderdude of my dreams. And no one can deny there was a certain attractiveness to Dexter, a.k.a. Michael C. Hall, from the late Showtime series of the same name. What I'm saying is that it's hard, you guys, because even though we're human we're also still just animals and therefore have instincts to like the good-looking dudes because nature and reproduction and survival of the fittest or whatever. There is something very morally icky about being attracted to a very, very bad person that you know all-too-well is supernogood, even if they are only on TV.
It's seriously messing with us — could you tell? — I mean, how many folks out there looked at Dexter Morgan, knew he killing people, and gave him more leeway because he didn't look like a sewer monster or some sort of feral dumpster creature with a bevy of boils on his face? It certainly made it easier to swallow the "killing bad guys to protect the good" pill that was his ethos. Even Hannibal's own very intelligent woman Dr. Alana Bloom is (spoiler alert?) sleeping with Dr. Hannibal Lecter on the regular, even after the old object of her desire, Will Graham, told her repeatedly that Hannibal is a super-killer master manipulator. But I guess the heart wants, etc.
In a lot of ways, it's sort of an interesting psychological twist, though. It forces the audience to admit that — horror of horrors! — sometimes the way others look and present themselves, matters. Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller has a real knack for taking the grotesque and making it chillingly beautiful, after all. And, perhaps even more creepy, it proves that attractiveness can be an easy way to manipulate/change the way the world looks at/accepts them. When a serial killer can waltz about the earth as an object of desire, or simply as someone who "doesn't look like they would hurt a fly"? Well then they've got perfect "hidden in plain sight" cover for their crimes. And that, perhaps, makes them the most dangerous serial murderpeople of all.
What I'm trying to say is get out of here, Michael Pitt. Get out of here with that face! I can't look at it, it does things to me. Things I have now accepted are bad. Ugh!
Image: David Slade