I am not suggesting you watch this tv show. But I have been binge watching Hannibal against my better judgement and you might want to too. Unfortunately it is partly amazing because of its baroque displays of human organs. Do you remember the first time you saw Silence of the Lambs and you were like “I’ll never be able to wash the idea of a skin suit out of my brain, but that was an amazing movie”? Well basically this whole show is like that.
Figuring out why this show is so intensely pleasurable is really an act of auto-psychoanalysis, an action implicit in the show’s DNA. In Hannibal the serial killer goes to therapy, the serial killer performs therapy on a serial killer whisperer, who himself theraputizes serial killers in order to understand the nature of their crime. The serial killer whisperer (played by needs-a-hug Hugh Dancy) also has a big crush on another sexy FBI therapist. So naturally when Hannibal Lecter carves up some human liver and makes a sumptuous feast, and you are kind of overwhelmed by the beauty of his tablescape, you will also want to go to therapy. If only Gillian Anderson (Hannibal Lecter’s therapist) could be my therapist too.
Like Anthony Hopkins, this Hannibal (played by the amazingly named Mads Mikkelson) is totally charismatic, fun, and really makes cannibalism and serial killing seem like a groovy lifestyle choice. I like that this show has the counterpoint of Hugh Dancy as the serial killer whisperer who is completely and obviously good as a moral balance against swarthy Mads. Too many shows these days are like “let’s make everyone morally questionable!” Sometimes you need a good guy. To really hammer in the idea of Hugh Dancy’s goodness his character lives in a house full of adorable stray dogs. Sure he might have a personality disorder that allows him to over-empathize with everyone, but that is a pretty lovable personality disorder.
Hannibal is now on its third season, which I have heard through the grapevine is just Mads and Gillian Anderson swanning around Paris in fancy clothes. I’m so in.