It wasn’t until The Office ended that I truly gained an appreciation for the television show Hannibal. Immediately after the finale to the sitcom’s ninth and final season the eighth episode of Hannibal, “Fromage,” aired. It revolved around a cellist found murdered and displayed on stage with a cello neck shoved down his throat so his vocal cords could be played with a bow like strings and it culminated in a Hannibal Lectre setting a death trap for unknowing FBI consultant Will Graham to test them for the secret position of Hannibal’s BFF.
It was awesome. And so, so weird.
I’m pretty bummed that Hannibal will most likely be ending this Saturday after the finale of its third season, but when I look back on all the little things I loved so much about the show I have to wonder how the hell the show managed to hang on as long as it did.
The show is an asexual, homoerotic love story told against the backdrop of a surrealist world where serial killers are artists displaying their work for law enforcement to ponder like ravenous critics. It’s a world wherein no one says exactly what they mean and speech is seemingly impossible without lavish metaphor and allusion. Oh, and half the things that occur on screen aren’t really actually “happening” so much as they are just sort of thematically complimenting whatever is actually going on. And then there’s the fact that the titular character is at once both a more dramatic Frasier and the devil incarnate.
In retrospect so much of Hannibal was close ups of fluids and lengthy metaphorical conversations on comfy armchairs that it makes exactly no sense that the show even got to the aforementioned episode eight. How many times over the last three years must some unsuspecting grandparent have flipped the television to NBC to be greeted by naked corpses held up with fishing line, backs split open like angle wings? Or an extreme close up of a square of paper soaked in a child’s tears being dropped into a martini glass? Or a slow motion sequence of a teacup shattering in reverse?
What the hell?
So far as I’m concerned Hannibal has been the best show on television for the entirety of its run. But it isn’t for everyone and it doesn’t take many ads for NBC’s other programming to figure out just how woefully out of place it was.
As bummed as I am that Hannibal is ending this Saturday, when I picture a tired but sleepless grandpa easing back in his arm chair and flipping on the tube to a psychological fivesome where one of the participants is a pitch black deer man I have to laugh. As a fan, it feels like Hannibal has been getting away with something for the last three years, making faces at the teacher behind their back for the amusement of us few goofballs that noticed. Eventually, inevitably the teacher was always going to turn around just quick enough to figure out what was transpiring. It was only a matter of time. So Hannibal is coming to an end, and it sucks, but man, remember that time that kid kept making faces at the teacher in class and it took them forever to notice?