Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Random Thoughts about True Detective, Rectify, Andy Hallett, and The X Files

-People seem mostly disgruntled with True Detective’s second season. Vince Vaughn receives the most criticism. His critics claim e can’t deliver stylized dialogue, he’s stiff, no one understands Frank’s story, and so on. His dialogue sucks, though. People miss season 1. Paul’s story draws intense criticism from the more socially-minded critics. Drew Magary ranted about the new kind of criticism awhile ago that only attacks what social issue a movie or a TV show bungled, didn’t address, addressed but in an offensive way, or what a movie and TV show did for gender rights, the history of race relations in the country, without criticizing or addressing the story; that is, ignoring the story in favor of a sociopolitical agenda, which Vladimir Nabokov considered poshlust. Critics don’t like Paul’s repressed sexuality storyline, arguing that in the 21st century such a story doesn’t reflect ‘reality.’ What a terrible way to watch any movie or TV show. If one relies on episodic dramas to portray life as he or she experiences it, or if it should reflect changing attitudes towards sexuality, gender, racism, etc., that person may need to stop doing that. Critics, more specifically, should consider writing less about the political/societal implications of a show they review and more about it as a story, as a work of art, singular and individual, apart, as its own thing. How does condemning the series for its portrayal of Paul add to the understanding of his character, the interpretation of his worldview, or one’s assimilation of the story? The refrain is, “Why’s he so closeted? This is the 21st century!”

I don’t think True Detective’s second season tells an engaging story. Justin Halpern’s imagined last scene of the season finale delighted me and encapsulated the season through the first three. Last season the case didn’t matter; this season the case seems to matter a little more but not really. True Detective also suffers from the popular trend to end episodes nonsensically with plot moves designed to get people clicking links with headlines such as, “About THAT ending,” “Did you SEE THAT?” Yeah, copy editors abuse ‘that.’ I dozed off during “Down Will Come” Sunday night and needed to re-watch most of the episode after waking in time for the shoot-out, which caught my attention. I thought going back to see what I missed would show what amazing story turn led to that plot point. I found nothing. I think the mayor set the detectives up. Try sometime telling an unremarkable story about buying a bottle of milk, lull your listeners to near slumber, and then shout that the person got a bullet in the gut at the milk store. It’s cheap, right? It wakes the listeners up and re-energizes them, but it’s meaningless inside the story.

-I watched Rectify’s first two season three episodes last night because I’m a well-connected TV blogger. No, I’m not. OnDemand added the second episode before it aired. Rectify moves me. TV shows don’t move me quite like they did when I was a bit younger. I felt a sob in my throat throughout Everwood’s first season when I initially watched it and all the times I re-watched it, or LOST every damn week, and of course Whedon’s shows. I can’t think of any other shows as I write stream-of-conscious style. Rectify gets to me. Storytelling blows my mind when it burrows into the depths of the soul, penetrates it, stares at it, and that’s what Ray McKinnon can do with his quiet, sorrowful story of Daniel Holden. Last night I recognized the parallels between Daniel and Teddy for the first time. Small things connect the two. I might write more about it when the season concludes next month.

-I’m listening to Joss’ Comic Con panel as I write. A fan dressed as Lorne asked Joss about good Andy Hallett stories. He told a story about their trip to a karaoke bar on Cape Cod that led to Joss’ conception of a character that could read someone’s soul and their future by singing, the character of Lorne. I love Lorne. After Andy Hallett’s death, I wrote a long article about him for my college newspaper. I worked as the assistant to the entertainment editor (my good friend then and today). Colin, my friend’s name, designed a wonderful cover for Andy Hallett. We found a screencap of Lorne and Angel standing together in the LA night, used it as the backdrop, and ran the text over it. I wanted to dress as Lorne for the last several Halloweens. Finding the suit and the makeup stopped me, though. I’ve no idea how to go about it, of course. I recommend anyone with Netflix or Hulu Plus to watch “Happy Anniversary” from ANGEL’s second season. A guy wants to freeze time because his girlfriend wants to end their relationship. It’s a great Angel/Lorne episode that has one of my favorite scenes between the two characters.


-Finally, I finished season six of The X Files. Three seasons to go. “Field Trip” astounded me. I really liked the season. Mythology episodes were sparse. The writers told some cool imaginative tales. “Tithonus” is a spiritual sequel to “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.”

2 comments:

Colin McGlinchey said...

Tithonus may, may be my favorite episode. I really love that one. Such a great story. Definitely seem the parallels with it and Clyde too

Chris Monigle said...

Ah I never would guessed that was your favorite. Is it one of the more underrated X-Files? I thought Clyde was the episode you hinted as your favorite.

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.