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Latest Member: RosellaCru Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Television  |  Broadchurch: the American Remix Version « previous next »
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Author Topic: Broadchurch: the American Remix Version  (Read 17218 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« on: September 09, 2013, 02:55:14 PM »


I'll post my thoughts on the last four episodes, I've already posted my thoughts on the first four episodes on another board, and I don't like to repeat myself, of this limited British TV series, which is now playing in the U.S. on BBCAmerica.

And being the ignorant, not knowing any better, and arrogant, thinking I can do better, s.o.b. that I am, I'll post a barebones outline: victim, murder, suspects, murderer of how I'd like to see the American version play out.

And then, four things that can be done to make the American version better than the British version, which unlike most British TV, is overrated. For reasons, which I cannot yet grasp.

And concluding remarks at the end.

Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2013, 06:27:49 PM »

Just having seen season 1, episode 5, this is what I found interesting about the episode.

The Reconstruction
A good idea, but like alot of the show, overly dramatic, and I question how realistic the reconstruction was.

The male detective
"He [Tom] did right by Danny." There is an ironic statement if I ever heard one.

The dog lady
Not knowing who Tom is, when his face has most probably been splashed all over the news and the papers. But, we know her for a liar. And how do we know she is lieing? Her lips move.

Neither here nor there, but there are apparently only two minorities in the whole town: the Soco guy and the dopey boyfriend. Thus, it'll be interesting to see how many minorities are shown in the American re-make.

More male nudity than female nudity so far.

The police
When the lynch mob shows up at the suspect's door, where are the police? Of course, the town press has shown it's more competent then the police. Finding out things about the suspect's past, that the police apparently don't know.

"Nothing would have been amiss." WTF! Where do they get these people. Here is man, a music teacher, who is having an affair with one of his female pupils, who is less than half his age. And I don't know about then, but now, even if the girl was 16, he would still be breaking the law, as a teacher cannot have an affiar with a pupil, till the pupil is 18.

The suspect is a pedophile. Just barely. A pedophile has a primary sexual interest in children who are 11 and under, while a hebephile has a primary sexual interest in children 11 to 14, and a ephebophile has a primary sexual interest in children 15 to 19.

Actually, the suspect is a bad candidate for the murder. His previous interest was in a girl, the murder victim was a boy. The girl was 15 almost 16. The murder victim was 11.

And the suspect is more athletic then he looks. As his clothes do not appear to be wet, it looks like he committed suicide by leaping off the cliff, and farther than someone would normally be able to leap.

Next time: Season 1, Episode 6
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 05:27:17 PM »

One of the most interesting character interactions has become that between the parents of the victim - the older sister of the victim -- sister's dopey boyfriend.

He has never been invited, so far, to any function at the family home, nor have they invited him to attend church with 'em.

Nor have they ever said "You're not to see him again!"

Good parenting? Not. Just incompetent parenting, but why am I surprised. So many of the characters in this series are inadvertently shown to be incompetent. The parents have, apparently, as there has been no mention of it, ever talked with their daughter about safe sex, even though they know she and her boyfriend are having sex. As I said, incompetent parenting.

Their incompetent parenting might be due to the fact that they had the girl so early, when both were still in their teens, or maybe it is because they remind the parents of themselves at that age.

One wonders if one cannot extrapolate the idea that the dead boy was the favorite, and this began before his murder, of the parents. Naybe because he was . . .

(a) the boy in the family
(b) the younger of the two children
(c) some other reason.

Which means the sister's reaction to her brother's murder, which is shown in the series, maybe the wrong reaction. More like "I'm glad he's gone!" And then, of course, the guilt reaction to her reaction sets in.

One wonders, while it has not been shown, whether there is a streak of racism running through one or both parents, as the boyfriend is black and the family is white.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 06:59:26 PM »

Season 1, Episode 6

Finally, after 5 episodes of everyone doing something wrong, an episode where everyone appears to be doing something right.

No sirens, but lights flashing, when pursuing suspect.
Solicitor present at questioning of suspect.
How long ago was the murder? But some police do say that if a murder is not caught after 3 days after the murder, the chance of catching the murderer declines each day thereafter. So the budget cuts make some sense.

Some people have criticized Tom's father for interrupting the male police detective, when he was talking to Tom, but the father was right, and the male police detective was wrong. The male police detective should not have been talking to Tom without another adult being present.

Dean finally shows up to offer comfort to girlfriend Chloe Miller.

The Miller family has a funday at the local arcade.

Still there are questions raised, which we'll get to next time.

Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 07:11:48 PM »

Questions raised.

Does anybody know British police procedure? If a murder has occured, and the murderer still has not been caught over a month later, would the police still continue to hold the victim's body?

Where did they bury the suicide? It's not that long ago, less then 130 years, that they wouldn't bury a suicide in the churchyard, but outside the churchyard.

So those are the sea scouts. Why haven't they been questioned earlier about anyone getting "funny" with any of them? There's no word that the police have questioned any of them about this.

Where is the landlady's fear that she'll lose her license for being in possession of cocaine?
(a) The hearing hasn't been held yet. Though, it''s been over a month.
(b) The hearing has been held, but the authorities decided on some other penalty.
(c) The show's writers have forgotten about the whole thing.

Why was Mark able to get his job back as a plumber, after being away so long? Didn't he own his own company?

Now for the bizarre parts of the episode
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 07:18:32 PM »

The bizarre bits. Most of which seem to relate to Susan.

That seems to be an odd way to get the victim's skateboard into the hands of the police.

"This is near where the boy died." That's a bizarre thing to say. Either . . .
(a) She's just making conversation.
(b) Or, she knows more about the murder then she lets on.

In a town so small, that everyone supposedly knows everyone else. It is bizarre that she seemingly does not recognize Tom Miller. Though, he has been put up as a friend of the victim.

Finally, this comes across as the most sensible episode yet. Too bad that the previous 5 episodes don't come as being as sensible.

Next time: Season 1, episode 7. With one more episode after that.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2013, 06:21:19 PM »

Season 1, Episode 7

Not the worst episode so far, but not the best, as the characters do not come across as credible as the last episode.

Was the female police detective wearing protective booties when she entered the crime scene? She should have been wearing booties.

They had the male police detective interview the male suspect, and the female police dtective interview the female suspect, as before, but I wonder if it had not been better to throw a twist into the interviews and have the male police detective interview the female  suspect, and the female police detective interview the male suspect.

The mother and son reunion. That was a nice twist in the story.

On the previous case, they still could have gone to trial even with only circumstantial evidence whatever that evidence was. That would not be the first nor likely the last trial to go to trial only on circumstantial evidence.

I would feel better about the series, if the police did not come across as being so incompetent. In books, in films, on TV shows, I have seen American, British, Canadian, Irish, Israeli, and Scandinavian police forces in action, but I have not come across one that comes across as so incompetent, since "Plan 9 from Outer Space," as this one.

To be continued . . .
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2013, 06:38:13 PM »

Continuing . . .

Seemingly, only now, two months later, are they downloading information off of the victim's computer. Something they should have been doing, shortly after the murder occured.

The police might not like the press, but they should be smart enough to know that it is a bad idea to completely alienate the press. Which does not seem to have sunk in in this series.

It is not only what they do or do not do, it is also what they say.

"They [the suspect] will make more mistakes." As if this was the first mistake the murderer has made since the murder, when the whole cover-up of the murder was one mistake after another. Which mistakes we'll get to later.

They talk as if they have, after two months, not eliminated any of the suspects. Those suspects with no alibi or a shaky alibi the night of the murder.

From the psychic: "Someone near to him [the victim.] Close to home." Well, that was useful information for the police. I could have told them that, and I'm not psychic.

They do sometimes get things right. When they find that the male police detective has heart problems, which affect the case, his superior tells him that he has to see the police doctor, and if the doctor does not give him a clean bill of health, he is off the case.

And then they do get it wrong. His superior could have temporaritly suspended him, till he saw the doctor, which she fails to do.

And as an afterthought, I have also seen the French, Italian, and Russian police forces in action in novels, and they all come across as being more competent then the one in this series.

Next time: the 8th and final episode and more comments on the series.

Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 07:26:18 PM »

Season 1, episode 8

Well, after 8 weeks, it's over.

It's interesting to me. That of the two boys, Tom had the messiest room and Danny had the neatest room. A personality trait that made one the victim and one not.

The victim's father talking about his dead son's room: "I don't want to clear the room." Ye-es. Finally, someone said something intelligent. As in real life, parents who have had a child disappear or be killed, often leave the child's room as it was, as it is their way of coping with the child's disappearance or death.

But, for every intelligent thing said, there are two stupid things said.

The female police detective: "I'm worry about another child being hurt." It's been two months, and only now you bring up the fact that you are worried that another child might be hurt. WTF!

The male police detective to a suspect he is questioning: "Did you kill Danny?" WTF! He's only known for two months that the person he is questioning could not be the killer, because the person he is questioning has hands to small to strangle the victim.

With a good writer, the reality trumps the drama, so the drama is changed to fit the reality. With a bad writer, the drama trumps the reality, so the reality is changed to fit the drama.

The male police detective walks into a situation, where he may have to arrest a suspect. A suspect that he knows has already killed once and may kill again. And he walks into the situation without back-up. Maybe dramatic . . . ? But realistic . . . ?

One guess as to the writer who wrote this is a good writer or a bad writer.

Well, that explains that.
Why the victim's hand was bleeding.
Who cleaned up the murder scene. It was not the cleaning lady, but the killer.

What the British call a rowboat is not what we Americans call a rowboat. I have been out in rowboats with my grandfather and my aunts' husbands, and those rowboats looks nothing like the boat in the TV series.

If there was ever a time that the saying "Trying to kill gnats with an elephant gun" is applicable. It's for this episode.

The writer's appeal to the emotional tragedy in this episode is so overplayed, that I can't take any of it seriously. In fact it is . . .
(a) a turnoff
(b) almost unwatchable
(c) unbelievable
(d) ridiculous
(e) all of the above

It would be a much better episode, if the appeals had been underplayed instead of being overplayed.

And even with all that, the writer had to throw in a scene that verges on the ridiculous, when the victim's father confronts the victim's killer, when the killer is finally confined into a jail cell. No competent police force would let a relative of the victim near the killer under the circumstances seen in the episode for the fear that the killer may come to some harm at the hands of the relative. But, this is not the first time that the police force represented comes across as something less than competent.

I think part of the problem with the episode and the whole series is that they try to make the pedophile killer sympathetic. Understandable as to the why. Yes! But sympathetic? It never works.

A good idea for a series that is badly executed.

And that is all for the specific comments for each episode, but the next time I come around, and each time after, I'll have some general comments on the series.

Till then . . . ?
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2013, 05:09:07 PM »

A good opening in episode 1. Good, solid writing in episode 6. And a good, surprising twist in episode 7, does not make make up for the following written series of acts, which more accurately reflects the typical writing of the whole series.

(1) He remembers to cover his feet in plastic to avoid leaving a trace, but fails to wrap the victim's body nor the victim's skateboard, thus leaving traces of the victim and his skateboard in the truck and later in the boat.

(2) He just happens to have a handy boltcutter availabe, so the chain attaching the outboard motor to the boat, can be cut.

(3) Turns boat over singlehandly. Throws back out. I'm making this up, but in real life it'd be possible.

(4) Drags boat across beach to ocean. Again singlehandly. Gets hernia. Again, I'm making this us, but in real life, again it'd be possible.

Murderer now has a bad back and a hernia.

(5) Makes preparations not to be detected, such as cleaning murder scene, but then does things to make sure he is detected, such as leaving the victim's body out in plain sight. Not even trying to make it look like suicide.

(6) Instead of getting rid of dead victim quickly, proloning the time that dead victim is in his proximity. Thus, increasing the risk of discovery.

(7) Instead of returning boat, when done, to where it was taken from, takes boat into harbor, where it might be seen and recognized.

(8) Then removes boat from harbor and burns it. Bringing attention to boat.

And isn't it odd that they were able to find traces of the victim and the skateobard in the little area of the boat that was not burnt?

This has been called amateurish, but it does not even rise to that level, as this whole series of acts is illogical, unbelievable, and unrealistic. And thus uninvolving, but involving writing that is both shoddy and poor.

Next time: Something similiar, but with much better writing.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2013, 05:21:29 PM »

Why do we overrate something?

Since some of us have a tendency to ignore anything that is bad in something we like. Of course, the opposite is true, if some of us dislike something, we ignore anything that is good.

We may think something, here "Broadchurch," is the best we have ever see, if we are ignorant of something out there, that is better. And a good example would be something I came across, when I was watching "Broadchurch," which had a surprising number of similiarities to "Broadchurch."

A dead child
Town terrorized and traumatized
Strangulation murder
Accidental death
Sexual motive for murder
Murderer's panic
Attempted cover-up
A child as suspect
Younger brother of suspect
Parent(s) of suspect also suspected
Abuse within family of suspect or victim
Victim's cellphone as solution to murder
Murderer's confession
Funeral for victim (And there may be reasons to wait to the end of the TV series to show funeral, but the scene actually works better as drama in the middle of story, as in "Bitter River," than at the end as in "Broadchurch.")

Julia Keller's
Bitter River
the 2nd in a book series about a crusading female D.A. in the hills of West Virginia

Next time: the one major difference between the book and the TV series. The book is far better written.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2013, 06:27:34 PM »

As I said previously, there's not one aspect of "Bitter River" that's not better written than "Broadchurch." Of course, some of those aspects are my personal preference, and your preferences may differ, but . . .

bc = Broadchurch
br = Bitter River

br: understandable realism
bc: unrealistic sympathy
"Broadchurch" makes the same mistake that "Happiness" made. One cannot make that type of villain sympathetic without twisting the truth so far out of shape that it's unrecognizable as the truth. (And we'll talk about him next time.)

bc: blank slate
br: blanks filled in somewhat
The victim is such a blank slate that one has less empathy for him than one should. (And we'll talk about him later.)

bc: 15,000. Too large for the story that it wants to tell.
br: unknown, but less than 15,000 and the right size to tell the story.

br: 4 or 5.
bc: 7 or 8 or too many to tell a good story.

Story telling
br: direct
bc: wandering

bc: too busy for its own good
br: simpler and better

br: competent
bc: incompetent
And it is not as if they are written as being incompetent, but as competent, but they come across as being incompetent, which is the first time I have seen that. And I seldom have seen a more incompetent group of police, and I have seen law enforcers in ancient Greece, China, Egypt, Japan, Rome, South Africa, etc. etc. (And we'll talk more about 'em later.)

Murder scene
bc: poorly staged
br: unknown

bc: weak for the most part
br: stronger

Grief (Group)
br: personal
bc: impersonal

Grief (Individual)
br: quieter. right time.
bc: too loud. too late.
I am not talking about the mother's grief at the death of her son in the first episode. That is one of the few times I've seen grief done right. I am talking about the father's grief, which comes in the last episode, where it is less believable, and comes not when he first hears about the death of his son, like the mother, but after he confronts the murderer, which is itself unbelievable.

bc: less
br: more
Which gives more motivation to the characters and less plotholes in the story.

Emotional resonance
bc: less
br: more
Especially when the heroine's older sister, who she has not seen in years, shows up unexpectedly at her door at the end of the book.

bc: poorly placed
br: better placed

bc: little or no understanding of characters. (And we'll talk about 'em more later.)
br: understands all characters.
Which includes . . .
physically challenged-other
mentally challenged-other

br: believable story
bc: unbelievable story to some extent

Behavior change
br: 3 or 4
bc: 1 or 2, if that many.
They come. They go. They live. They die. But their behavior never changes during the entire series. They are the same at the end as they are at the beginning.

And finally characters again
br: interesting.
bc: uninteresting
They could have been, they should have been, they would have been interesting, if they were not so poorly written.

Next time: the villain

Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2013, 04:34:14 PM »

Whle there is some confusion, due to poor writing, as to whether the villain is a pedophile or not. If he is suppose to be a pedophile, then what we have is an ubelievable and unrealistic portrait of a pedophile, as he does everything that a pedophile would not do, and nothing that a pedophile would do.

bc: Broadchurch
rp: real pedophile

1. bc: does not show any indication by word or deed that he has an interest in pre-teen boys, except for one supposed instance at the skatepark.
rp: shows by word and/or deed that he has an interest in pre-teen boys.

2. bc: chooses victim from 2-parent household.
rp: would most likely chose victim from 1-parent household.

3. bc: picks wrong victim.
rp: picks right victim.
Out of a school class of 30, they say that within 5 minutes, they can pick out the most vulnerable victim.

4. bc: panics and kills victim, but see #3, #5, and #14.
rp: panics and kills victim.
The one thing, besides the victim's age of 11, that the series got right, when it comes to pedophiles.

5. bc: uses violence.
rp: because rapists use violence, and pedophiles think they are superior to rapists, they seldom use violence.

6. bc: does not use his son, victim's best friend, as effectively as he might.
rp: "Hi! My son Tom and I are are going camping this weekend. Would his best friend Danny like to come along?"

7. bc: does not use drugs, liqour, porn, etc. to subvert victim.
rp: would use drugs, liqour, porn, etc. to subvert victim.

8. bc: not seen showering or bathing with victim.
rp: seen showering or bathing with victim.

9. bc: uses money.
rp: uses out of town sporting events. ("Hi! Tom and I are going to Cardiff to watch the Wales National Rugby Union or the Wales National Football Team. Would Danny like to come?")

10. bc: uses too much money. Over $800.00 in American.
rp: would peel off $10.00 or $20.00 or its equivalent in British pound sterling off of a roll of money.

11. bc: does not use the right expensive gift.
rp: would use the right expensive gift. ("Hi! I bought this skateboard for my son Tom, but his grandmother/aunt/cousin already bought him the same one. Would Danny like it?")

12. bc: but he does use the wrong expensive gift. ("Who bought you that expensive smartphone?"-- "Tom's father.")
Which should have brought suspicion down on Tom's father, when the victim was found dead.

13. bc: all seems to have happened almost overnight.
rp: would work weeks even months to subvert victim.

14. bc: after killing victim, does not strip victim of clothes and shoes.
rp: strips victim of clothes and shoes then wraps nude victim in plastic and buries body in the sand, or just drops naked victim on the beach somewhere.

15. bc: does not move on to next victim.
rp: would move on to the next victim.

16. bc: turns himself into the police.
rp: turned in by one of his victims or caught with something like kiddie porn.

17. bc: denies that he is a pedophile and that he hurt victim.
rp: would admit to being a pedophile, but would deny that he hurt victim or did anything wrong with victim.

And an 18th reason.

bc: Victim was not taken by surprise nor had his head smashed into the wall or floor, thus would have instinctively fought back, clawing at the murderer's hands around the throat, but, afterwards, there are no claw marks on the murderer's hands or arms.

And thus, after all is said and done, everything listed under rp or real pedophile is something at least one real convicted pedophile has said and/or done.

Next time: I was going to go with the young victim, but I shall put that off to later, as next time I want to talk about a novelization of the teleplay that is soon to be published.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2013, 03:46:41 PM »

The novelization of the teleplay by Chris Chibnall.
Novelization by Chris Chibnall and Erin Kelly.

I know nothing about Ms. Kelly, but we will see if Mr. Chibnall is a better novelist or screenwriter, because in this case, as a screenwriter, frankly, he sucks.

We are promised we shall see . . .
01. More background on the characters.
02. More material not in the TV series.

What I'd like to see, and I'm unlikely to get everything I want, as it would be basically a total rewrite of the TV series, but maybe I can get some of what I want, which is . . .

03. A rewrite of the villain, so he is less confusing. Was he or was he not a pedophile? He cannot, as in the TV series, be both at the same time.
04. Also rewrite the villain to make him less sympathetic, which does not work, but more understandable, which does work.
05. His victim less of a blank slate. And a more empathic characters.
06. The police less incompetent. More competent.
07. The townspeople less stupid. More realistic and believable.

The Murder
08. One of the first things you see. Not one of the last.
09. Something anyone could have done. Not a strangulation.
10. A better motivation for the murder.
11. A more realistic and logical disposal of the body.
12. A less anti-climatic revealing of the murderer.
13. More and better clues as to who is the murderer.
14. A simpler murder. One that is not so "busy."  (i.e. too much happening as in the series.)
15. A list of the suspects at the beginning of the investigation, then eliminate 'em one by one. Not keep adding to the list as the story continues.

16. Time it occurs shorter. From 2 months to 2 weeks. That should be enough time.
17. Town where it occurs smaller. 15,000 is too large for this story to work right. And here I may be wrong, as in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs, who I trust to know what she is saying,  our heroine is in Yellowknife, Canada, which has a population of 20,000, and the authoress says that everyone in town know each other. So 15,000 may not be too large for everyone to know each other, but I'd still like to see a smaller town in which the story occurs.
18. Fewer storylines (such as the drug one) or some explanation as to why this storyline or others affect the story, and resolve it by the end. Do not leave this plothole and other plotholes open.

Next time: we'll talk about the young murder victim.
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2013, 04:35:18 PM »

Was the young victim gay?

I think he was gay, though we do not see any clues that he is gay, unless neatness is a strictly gay trait, but we do not see any clues that his murderer is a pedophile, but he is seemingly meant to be a pedophile.

What I have seen in children's deaths . . . I have seen 'em jump (suicide), die of a broken neck, heart failure, and premature aging, I have seen 'em die in an accident, and seen 'em burned in a fire, decapitated, drowned, hanged (again suicide), impaled, shot, stabbed, and strangled, as here, but I have seldom seen a death as mishandled and mismanaged as the one here. Thus, from the deaths with meaning in "The Adventures of Huck Finn," to "Doctor Zhivago," to "Intolerance," to "Lair of the White Worm," to "Zulu Dawn," to "2020 Texas Gladiators" and a score or more more to the meaningless one here . . . ? But, what does one expect from the writer, and what can one say?

That maybe the American remake will finally do it right and give the young victim a more meaningful death is more realistic, more logical, more involving, and more believable.

Or, more like the boy scout victim in "Lair of the White Worm." No one wants to be the victim in this one, except--perhaps--me, and that is because of the empathy I feel for this victim and this type of victim, but there are men who would want to be the young victim in "Lair of the White Worm," again including myself, as sex will ne'er get any better than that, ere we die.

The young victim in this deserves better.

Next time: Why the portrayal of the victim is so unrealistic and illogical to be unbelievable?
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