Murder, torture, rape and drug taking are okay, just don’t touch the putty tat…
It’s one of the most famous scenes in movie history. When big-shot movie producer Jack Waltz won’t play ball and cast crooner Johnny Fontaine in his new flick, he gets a horse’s head in his bed. Yep, it’s The Godfather, one of the best gangster pictures ever made, and the scene, filmed using a real horse’s head, is now iconic. Skip forward four decades, and a teenager has a pop at a cat with a machine gun in Love/ Hate (Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm) and animal rights bodies go, eh… ape? My guess is we won’t be talking about this next year, let alone in 2053.
While the poor horse whose head ended up in Jack Waltz’s bed was already being turned into Fido’s dinner, the feline star of Love/ Hate who hit the headlines this week is alive and kicking and enjoying his brief celebrity status. That’s not the point, say the animal rights people, it’s the example the programme makers are setting. I may be wrong, but if you’re the kind of person who is sick enough to torture or kill an animal for kicks, and happen to have an Uzi lying about the house, then the idea has probably already occurred to you.
What bugs me about kitty-gate is that it is seemingly intolerable to depict a poor animal being mistreated, but we can show human beings torturing and killing fellow human beings in all sorts of imaginatively cruel ways at any time of the day or night on TV. Just because we watch Love/ Hate doesn’t mean we’re going to go out and murder people we don’t like at work because they annoy us (no matter how tempting). Making a show like Love/ Hate means creating a believable environment. If you’re aiming for a realistic show about ut gangsters, then it stands to reason that t you’re going to have lots of violence. Just t as if you’re growing up in an area where e human life is cheap, then you’re not going g to be too bothered about shooting a cat.
On a similar note, Caroline Downey y was ruthless on Celebrity Apprentice e this week. While the consensus may have e been that Maclean Burke was unlucky to o go, it was Belfast boxer Michael Conlan n who won my admiration. Did he want to o stay? Not really. Why not? Because he e had to go and train for the Olympics.