Why People’s Choice found Netflix’s ‘Dahmer’ Most Bingeworthy show – Show Snob

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 27: Evan Peters and Niecy Nash at Directors Guild Of America on October 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Netflix)
On December 6, 2022, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story won the People’s Choice Award for the Most Bingeworthy TV show. Of course, every time serial killer content happens, it will generate some controversy.
Some will object to the serial killer receiving any more attention (publicity) at all, and you will hear that the victims should receive more attention. Surely, others will criticize the film or series for things it gets wrong, factually, or if aspects of it are done in an irresponsible manner.
It’s one of those things where most people will have an opinion. Still, what can’t be denied is that there remains a fascination with violent crime, and perhaps with serial killers especially.
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was successful enough to become the third Netflix series to pass 1 billion views, according to Deadline. So, whether you agree with the series or not, there is an incentive to make more episodes, and Netflix will apparently have some new seasons of Monster.
So, why do audiences connect with such material, and is it always sick to watch such fare (or at least equally sick for everyone)?
Obviously, those who lost loved ones to Jeffrey Dahmer have reason to be upset by Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (and so would others linked to such events). Sure enough, on the surface, it might seem pretty offensive to derive any entertainment value from such things.
Nevertheless, the dark reality is that many people do, and they are not necessarily villains themselves for doing so. Yes, I am daring to say that, and I think others may be able to follow my logic.
In addition to the basic questions of how someone like Jeffrey Dahmer could exist, there are many other, perhaps emotional, reasons to engage with material like this. In fact, there are some philosophical and ethical questions that are just as interesting as shock value or wanting to watch something creepy to be scared.
One might also wonder, “Does this story offer insight into how I could survive an encounter with a maniac?” To be fair, these films and shows will inevitably paint an incomplete picture and get facts wrong, but they nevertheless can provide insight that some might not give credit for.
Also, Evan Peters does a great job as Dahmer. Then you have memorable performances by Richard Jenkins as Dahmer’s dad, Lionel, Molly Ringwald as stepmom Shari, Niecy Nash as nosy neighbor Glenda, and Michael Learned as grandmother Catherine.
Sure, some events didn’t unfold quite as depicted, and some did not happen at all. But overall, this is probably one of the most accurate depictions of Dahmer you will find.
This series has made its mark. There is another factor in why people watch these things: They can actually be relevant to where we live.
Jeffrey Dahmer poses for booking photographs at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department in a 1982 arrest for indecent exposure, several years prior to the discovery of his serial murders. In 1992, he was convicted of murdering and dismembering 15 men and convicted to 15 consecutive life terms in prison. (Photo by © Ralf-Finn Hestoft/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
No, by that header I don’t mean we live vicariously through the killer’s deeds (though, unfortunately, that can happen). Instead, I mean that, over the course of time, we understand that crazy crimes are part of life, and we might regard them as historically relevant, as well as personally relevant somehow.
They become part of our culture, and we might even remember where we were when a certain crime made major headlines. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story also happens to be relevant to some specific political issues as well.
Oddly enough, some of us even have more direct personal links to such events (Warning: This is where I annoyingly talk about my own area’s coincidental links to serial killers, including Jeffrey Dahmer). As an interesting fact, Steven Tuomi, one of Dahmer’s victims in the series (played by Vince Hill-Bedford), was originally from the small Michigan town of Ontonagon, about 37 miles from where I grew up (the puny little town of Toivola/Misery May, Michigan).
So, can you really blame me for having some interest in seeing this series, based on that information alone? Here’s another thing: My occasional regional personal interest in serial killers/mass murderers does not end there, either.
I have a cousin named Dale who swears he was almost a Dahmer victim (he says Dahmer offered him a ride from a mall). One of the reasons I believe him is pretty simple: My cousin grew up in West Allis, Wisconsin (Dahmer’s area), and I still have relatives there.
There are a few other interesting facts, too. Richard Speck, who infamously murdered eight nurses in Chicago, once spent time in my area.
He apparently got in a bar fight at a place my dad used to frequent, and even visited a local nurse’s aide. Then, of course, there is the fact that the mother of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, used to live about 12 miles from me.
Honestly, how could I not find these facts sort of interesting? Where I live has a low crime rate yet, somehow, still has some bizarre connections to infamous criminals.
So, hopefully, based on these examples alone, one might understand that these issues can be interesting not just as entertainment, but because these freaky people are out there and not always that far away. Some people watch, and perhaps to some extent enjoy, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story because they know they must face life’s boogeymen and these are relatively safe ways of remembering “Oh, that’s right, you cannot trust everyone.”
We should not perpetually live in fear of such people, but they are out there. I would just agree that sometimes it’s healthy to watch something less macabre, for sanity’s sake!
What are your thoughts on Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and the relevance (and “binge-worthiness”) of such creepy people? Let us know in the comments!
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