It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of me to do it, but last night I finally finished the HBO mini-series, Generation Kill. For those of you that don’t know, it follows a group of marines in the early stages of the Iraq war.
Now HBO has always prided itself as being innovative (who knows? Maybe the’s why they chose marines instead of traditional army) but there’s not much to be said about the mini-series. It’s incredibly realistic, but that element of realism is the exact thing that makes it hard to watch. It’s not that I don’t have appreciation for the experience but at the end of every 67 minute episode, I found myself emotionally exhausted and putting off watching the next installment. Luckily, it’s only 7 episodes, but it still took quite a bit of time.
Generation Kill has an interesting perspective. It seems to praise the men who fought, while also being a pretty staunch opponent of the war. Even the men themselves behave reprehensibly (another factor making it painful to watch at times) but in time, they wear down your defenses. In the first episode everyone’s saying “fag this” and “fag that” and I’ll be realistic, it takes a lot to offend me. Maybe offend isn’t the word I’m searching for, it’s simply obnoxious. It adds nothing but machismo to the characters and that kind of one-dimensional, stereotypical (even if its realistic, it’s still called stereotyping) characterization that I was just not in the mood for.
Over time, there’s a sort of rhythm developed with their language, which is truly some of the most offensive I’ve heard on TV. I began to be able to see past it as I began to live through this experience with these men. True, I’ll never really be able to understand, but Generation Kill gives a better idea than most depictions have so far. Which is interesting, but far from entertaining. In the end, Generation Kill is appreciated, but difficult to be enjoyed. Nevertheless, I’m glad I watched it, but I don’t feel the typical sense of loss after finishing a show or a series. I’m glad these characters and representations were shown but I can’t say I’m sorry to see them go.