Famous tagline "no limits" is one of the best advertising strategies from HBO. Is it really true though? Yes. We get to see things on HBO that an ordinary broadcasting station wouldn't dare to show. And though Showtime and AMC have a fair share of shocking things in their shows, HBO still takes the prize for the most courageous station.
Let me clarify three things. Firstly, the reason for this post is my peace of mind. I'm trying to convince myself that HBO executives won't chicken out while showing two particularly horrible things in this season of Game of Thrones. Those things are very important and without them, the magnitude of certain events won't be the same. While tonight's episode ending will have people asking "did what just happen, actually happened?" there are two particularly cruel things about to come. I have confirmation on one and the rumour on another. Those are gruesome, gruesome things but if they will be shown correctly they will also become horrifying. And one of them will exceed all the scenes on this list. Combined.
Secondly, the sickest thing I have ever seen is Nip/Tuck. HBO won't trump it, ever. This show was so disgusting it almost made me puke. And I don't mean the surgery scenes - the amount of purely fucked up things that happened there was sickening. I've seen autopsies, dead bodies and a lot of disturbing things but this right there was the worst thing ever.
And lastly - I could prove HBO has no limits simply by including any number of scenes from Girls. But seeing how - 1) I just ate 2) I do not hate my readers - I'm not going to do that.
Note: I have not seen Oz. I'm sure it would be on the list if I did.
10. Nate burying rotting pieces of Lisa / Six Feet Under
Many times the reason why something is so affecting is heartbreaking aspect of the scene. Here Nate buries his wife Lisa (or what's left of her, she was in the water for a long time). He is gagging because of the awful smell but he manages to put her in he ground, just like she wanted. The scenes that show us that people are really just biology are the hardest to watch in that legendary show.
9. Long Term Parking / The Sopranos
Sometimes the worst thing to have while watching HBO is hope. That episode was as heartbreaking as it was shocking.
8. Dan vs The Captain / Deadwood
I'm not sure how realistic that scene was but the fight to death between two men was insanely gory and brutal. I don't think I've seen a fight like that one in any other HBO show. There are usually guns or swords involved. Here there was just hatred and bare fists.
7. Jaime pushes Bran out the window / Game of Thrones
This happens in the pilot episode. While you were watching it you probably thought, oh here is the Queen and her brother, the brave knight. They seem to be plotting, but that's not so bad. Oh, wait. They are fucking each other? But they are related! Oh, wait! The brave knight pushes the child off the tower! What is this?!
6. Dora Mae / Carnivale
Dora Mae is murdered in the city of Babylon and she is forced to stay there forever in afterlife, as a sex toy for terrible and dirty miners. The show was filled with genuinely creepy and unpleasant events, but this whole episode was just nightmarish.
5. Russell and the spine / True Blood
He just ripped it out with his bare hand. Just like that.
4. Bill and Lorena fucking in their victim's blood / True Blood
I was genuinely shocked when I saw that.
3. Ser Rodrik's execution / Game of Thrones
It took Theon Greyjoy 3 strikes to behead this man. Charming remainder to the one truth - Theon can't do anything right.
2. Angela's death / Boardwalk Empire
While a lot of people will say it's Jimmy's death they found to be the most shocking I was genuinely in the state of shock when Angela and her lover were killed. What a horrifying and saddening scene.
1. Oh, my dear, dear Celeste. I will show you things; wonderful, terrible things. / Carnivale
Even though HBO could show us things sometimes they don't and it so much worse than if they did. After the main antagonist Brother Justin Crowe leaves his home, his sister sees that the new maid, Celeste, is naked and cuddled on the floor next to his bed. As she raises her head, Celeste has insane grin on her face, being literally raped, tortured and abused into insanity. Crowe's sister sits beside her and embraces her, unable to do anything more. Carnivale was a bit like Twin Peaks. Far more creepy, nightmarish and disturbing Twin Peaks.
Once again, thank you for the nightmares.