“Step Into My Parlor”, Said The Spider To The Fly
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a show about a family and its ties to the Catholic Church. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to watch it because the era does not fascinate me. Corruption in the Catholic Church along with all things mafia, however, does interest me. I decided to fork over an hour of my life to see what this show can do.
Within the first 5 minutes, I figured out why “The Borgias” is on a network called “Showtime”. I am treated to soft porn with a slight serving of incest sprinkled on top. There is something very very wrong about a younger sister spying on her older brother banging some girl in the bedroom. And yet this is the world the Borgias family lives in. Theirs is a world in which the existing laws aren’t only there to be broken but they openly flaunt their ability to destroy them as they make up their own to replace them.
The head of the Borgia family, Rodrigo Borgia, reminds me of some crazy spider spinning this gigantic web over all of Europe and his children are his foot soldiers. In a weird way, he reminds me of Kim Kardashian’s mom because they both pimp out their kids to further the gain of the family. After all, family always comes first.
Rodrigo Borgia, aka Pope Alexander VI, takes his family into the Catholic Church and basically turns it into his base of operations for his mafia-like wheelings and dealings. The fact that he’s supposed to be in charge of people’s immortal souls is something he barely seems to be concerned with but treats as another form of currency to be traded as he sees fit. Gotta love the kind of pope who settles heated moral arguments with a flick of his hand, a subtle roll of his eyes and a sigh of absolute boredom. Despite looking like he’s ready for a nap, you get the feeling he misses nothing and sees everything.
You also gotta love a pope who tells a beautiful young woman her penance for cheating on her husband is to flagellate herself with cords of silk so as not to mar her God given physical beauty. As I watched the episode, I tried to figure out what he was thinking but it’s like trying to peer into a black hole.
His children are merely foot soldiers in his quest to strengthen his family’s chokehold in….well…..everything. Here’s what I think of the Borgia family so far :
– Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons), dad, pope and complete shit head. Where’s my dislike button. I want to mash it into the ground. There is nothing about this guy that I like. He’s immoral. He’s a slimy otter (as opposed to a cute otter. Yes, they are completely different animals). He’s cold, ruthless, conniving, unfaithful but utterly brilliant. I have to admit admiring his ability to stick his grubby fingers into every single piece of pie there is available. Jeremy Irons is absolutely brilliant because I absolutely hate his character and yet I can’t stop watching.
– Cesare Borgia (Francois Arnaud), dreamboat extraordinaire….I mean, poor guy. He really should be in the military because he’s good at swordplay (pun completely intended. Hey, all you have to do is watch the first 5 minutes of the first episode to see what I mean), he’s good at identifying talent and putting said talent to work. He’s like the grandfather of emo because he’s all dark, brooding, rebellious, delicious angst.
– Lucrezia Borgia (Holliday Grainger) is so cute. Dumb….but cute. Okay, maybe “dumb” is being a bit harsh. I should probably say she’s just innocent or something. She’s like a blond burst of sunshine and could almost be the poster child of sweet innocence if only I could stop thinking “incest!!! INCEST!!” Maybe things were different back then and it was okay for sisters to spy on their brothers having sex. Maybe I’m just being a prude….but there’s something not right about the relationship between Lucrezia and Cesare.
– Vannozza dei Cattanei (Joanne Whalley). ….poor woman….I feel so bad for her.
– Giulia Farnese (Lotte Verbeek). SKANK ALERT!!!! SKANK ALLLEEERRRTTTT!!! I don’t care if you’re nobility. That just makes you a high class skank.
1. I hate to admit it but I’m addicted to this show. I’m not sure if it’s the sense of impending brother-on-sister action that keeps me wriggling like a worm on a hook or if it’s because I want to see Rodrigo Borgia eat crow.
2. Does no one else get the sense of homoeroticism from this show? Case in point – the scene where Cesare whips the assassin. Or what about the part when Cardinal Giuliano Della Rovere takes off the top of the whipped assassin? The whole reason why he agreed to be whipped was because it was rumored the other cardinal enjoyed the sight of a man’s torso. And there’s the time when Lucrezia asked Giulia to show her the different kinds of kisses a woman must know and Giulia complies by kissing her. What grosses me out is Lucrezia knowing her new friend is involved with her dad but kisses her anyway. Ugh. Gross. She just kissed the lips that’s done God knows what to her dad. Sick.
3. The strange combination of impending incest (oh, come on. You know it’s gonna happen), sex and corruption has me addicted. I wonder how the Catholic Church is taking all this awesomeness.
I have no idea but let us bow our heads and prey…I mean, pray.