'Game of Thrones' and, Well, Nudity

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by Jon Friedman
March 27, 2013 5:52 PM
18 Comments
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I just got a phone call from a journalist friend -- well, we have never met or even spoken. But she is Facebook friend, so that is close enough by 21st century standards of communications, right? 

She wanted to get my "expert opinion" (ahem) about why HBO's hit series "Game of Thrones" and similar Vikings-themed shows were doing so well at connecting with viewers. We talked about it for 15 minutes and I seemed to be coming right back to the same old theme: "Game of Thrones" shows more flesh than, say, "Mike and Molly" (for which we can call a breathe a major collective sigh of relief), which is popular for entirely other reasons. I'll let CBS' crack research department take on this burning question all by itself -- for now.

I've watched "Game of Thrones" a few times -- waiting for "the good parts," admittedly, after hearing all about the media hype and The Nudity.I don't quite Get It with the popularity of this show. Maybe I'm thick but I don't spot a new breakout star, like, say, a Jon Hamm on "Mad Men." Nor is this exactly "Downton Abbey," with multiple sociological lessons to teach us about olden times and how we really can relate to them nowadays.

Let's review: no breakout sensation, for me, anyway. No deep, subliminal message, either.

To paraphrase James Carville, in an olden time of 1992: It's the nudity, stupid!

Right?

If by some fluke, you disagree with my impeccable logic, please let me know in this space.

BURNING QUESTION: How do you explain the major popularity of "Game of Thrones?"

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18 Comments

  • Jesse | January 31, 2014 11:55 AMReply

    Because it's a wonderfully filmed, rip-roaring adventure set in a world far more exciting than yet another modern-day drama about lawyers and/or shoes?

  • Ed | October 3, 2013 8:43 PMReply

    SPOILER ALERT!
    In Book XXXIV, a comet hits the Viking planet and everyone dies.
    Everyone, that is, except...

  • Mike | June 5, 2013 9:55 AMReply

    It's all about the books. It's nearly impossible to do them justice in TV form just because they're so *huge*. But, HBO does as good a job as possible. One thing that is unique about the series is that nothing is sacred. People form attachments to main characters and are shocked when those characters die violent deaths.. See the furor over this week's episode for an example. GoT is one of those series that needs every minute of its length just to get in all of the plot points from the books. Blink and you may miss a crucial plot element. Yes, there is a lot of nudity. It's gratuitous as hell. But, focus on that and you completely overlook the elements that make this series the best one on TV. I'd love to see you watch season one and come back to tell the readers whether you still feel nothing for the series. This is not a series you can get into by watching a random ep or two. It takes an investment of time, and pays a handsome reward.

  • Wildthink | April 28, 2013 8:17 AMReply

    Peter Dinklage

  • Lystra | April 26, 2013 5:31 AMReply

    We live in violent times and we are looking to our violent past for understanding in the hope that we too will find a way through this darkness. We can look at this imagined past of heroes and savages, and victory and defeat, and hopefully learn something from it. There is brutality and debauchery (and perhaps an uncomfortable verisimilitude) on these dark shows, but there is also compassion, honor, loyalty, justice, empathy, bravery, and love. And with all the death and destruction we face in our own lives, we can connect to these characters and their struggles.

    You can learn everything there is to know about life - from the kinds of characters we can be to the forces beyond our comprehension - in the very first episode of Game of Thrones. We should pretty much just send it into space to let the rest of the universe know what it was like to be a human. It's a dangerous game, but it's good.

  • John | April 25, 2013 2:38 PMReply

    To DHEEP: Jon Hamm has been in Bridesmaids and The Town in the past few years, both mega-successful at both the box office and international awards.

  • Rubi | April 25, 2013 12:32 PMReply

    How is Peter Dinklege NOT a break-out star?

  • Sam | April 24, 2013 10:40 PMReply

    If you only watch GOT "a few times" then of coarse you won't get it.

  • Drew | April 23, 2013 4:53 PMReply

    Their terribly ridiculous lives are more interesting than our own. Even if heavily acted with a maddening sense of melodrama, and a campy disjointed interpretation of otherwise fairly intriguing books, these episodes are a guilty pleasure for many to look forward to. The one good thing about them is that they know how to place a show button - and they aren't built on the commercial break model of Network TV - which helps ALOT. Add some situational T&A that implies a world less patrician than our own (wouldn't that be nice???) and you have a hit show ... and giants and dragons and it just gets bigger. It doesn't even have to make sense at that point - just keep an intimation that the story is going in a direction and not violating its own rules and you are golden (Thanks alot JJ Abrams for ruining actual plot lines with LOST).

  • Zach J | April 23, 2013 12:18 AMReply

    A complete and utter lack of Vikings. That's probably the reason...

  • Dheep' | April 21, 2013 5:38 PMReply

    "breakout star, like, say, a Jon Hamm on "Mad Men." - you are kidding right? It doesn't translate to movies. The guy gets garbage parts that barely register. He is so Generic,it's pathetic.
    Jamie (Coster Waldau) Lannister -one of the "Stars" of G.O.T. also get lousy Bit parts in Movies for the most part. At least he is marginally an Actor of some Depth compared to Mr. "Bland" -Jon Hamm.

  • j | April 20, 2013 9:12 AMReply

    I'm glad someone has come to their senses about this show .On imdb alone it has gotten a ridiculusly high rating like a 9 i think .The show has little to no substance in it the writing is horrible the acting is average at best . Also theres the soft core porn styled nudity and sex scenes to boot .This show just proves how gulliable people are to watch something this horrible all because of other things and.Not the story they should flat line this alogn time ago it sucks and its and all around horrible show .Tyler perry's works are better than this and even his stuff is pretty bad .

  • Rob | April 19, 2013 9:23 AMReply

    Don't forget, it has Dragons.

  • BrianD | April 18, 2013 5:33 AMReply

    The answer is at the top of your page

  • Fsaa | April 13, 2013 11:11 AMReply

    I don't understand why you keep making such a big deal about the nudity in this show. The books are amazing. And have a cult following. Do you propose to say that they too are full of "nudity"?? I mean.. come on man, this shit is ridiculous. The books are phenomenal hence the show is phenomenal. Doubt the whole world would be so obsessed with a show just because they show some tits and ass.

  • MDL | April 11, 2013 9:14 PMReply

    There is violence too. I think violence AND nudity in a Medieval setting are all driving forces at work.

  • mk | April 6, 2013 9:42 PMReply

    The brilliant story and powerful characters

  • Captain Basil | April 5, 2013 7:34 AMReply

    Interesting characters in a fascinating world doing exciting stuff.

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