AMBER LOVE 15-MARCH-2014 It took about a week but I finally found someone else out there who agrees me that TRUE DETECTIVE Season One by Nick Pizzolatto was hyperbolic and a poorly crafted mystery. My hat goes off to Jimmy So of The Daily Beast who eloquently dissected it and expressed perfectly how I also felt. It was a show that took itself way too seriously and made not a damn bit of literary sense.
I am not a well-read person. I read in a year what my friends read in a month. However, at my slow and less than educated pace, I’ve been reading mysteries since I was a teenager. My mother started me off and she made sure to start me with the best, Agatha Christie. I’ve rarely found anyone else that can hold a candle to those. Christie was able to craft plots in a short story that creators like Pizzolatto couldn’t do if they had an eight-book deal with Simon & Schuster. Christie’s plots are the only example I’ve seen where the phrase “economy of the page” makes sense. That’s a phrase used in comics a lot and I’ve yet to see a comic page that gives me a visual clue as to the meaning of that phrase. However, thinking back to Christie’s short stories, I had my Ah-ha! moment. That was it right there. That was having a stable and productive economy of her pages.
I’m not saying I “hated” TRUE DETECTIVE but I enjoyed very little. I find Rust Cohle, Marty and Maggie Hart really interesting as character studies and the actors were truly perfect in their portrayals. I think the entire secret cult, ritual killings plot was uncreative and borderline insulting to the viewers especially considering how many holes there were in it left unaddressed. The show did one of the things it meant to: I was terrified and couldn’t sleep after watching it. Then again, this is me and I’m pretty much afraid of anything. Questions were left unanswered all the place like how did Marty’s daughter know about the crime scenes? As far as they addressed, no one taken to a murder ritual ever got away. There was that lovely transgender person in the bar that gave them the details about the men in animal masks; it sounded like the entire buildings full of children were molested on a regular basis but we’re to believe not one ever told an adult. Marty’s daughter didn’t go to those Tuttle schools, so….. ???
A few years ago when I was in Comics Experience workshop, I posted a fun little short story about a British spy. In my head I needed to set the scene of her home so any perspective artist would know what to draw and what I had in mind. It seemed perfectly logical to me that my spy Cam would have guns in her house. I got critiqued by editor Nicole Boose who reminded me of Chekhov’s Gun: you aren’t supposed to show a detail like a gun unless you plan to have someone use it by the third act (or something along those lines). It doesn’t need to be a gun but the “rule” fit with my scene and story literally. I respected the criticism but still don’t understand why I can’t have my spy in possession of tools she may not need. I try to be prepared every day. I pack a luggage size bag with gym clothes (even if I don’t go), makeup (which I may never reapply), all sorts of medicine, etc. I know I might need one of those things and I’d rather have it with me. That’s how I saw my spy’s need for guns she might not use.
Chekhov’s Gun is applicable about every ten minutes in TRUE DETECTIVE’s episodes. Was it necessary to have Marty’s oldest daughter sexualized and engaged in a teenage orgy? No. It’s never addressed. In fact, other than showing that Marty is empathetic with children, there’s no reason at all to ever show his daughters. They could be replaced with characters that have no speaking lines, unsexualized, and still have the same impact on the plot because his children were irrelevant as was the entire backstory that Rust even had a family at one time. I was expecting Rust to express his determination the way Monk or Patrick Jayne of The Mentalist would. Rust’s family tragedy wasn’t tied to any overall story arc. His PTSD synesthesia wasn’t either. That was yet another thing that would pop up for a few seconds and disappear. It made Rust stand out a little because it’s such a unique condition but it was unnecessary and served in no way to drive the story. It’s like a writer specifying a character absolutely must be a straight white heterosexual but never say why.
Somehow the gravitas of TRUE DETECTIVE tapped into the social media vein like a cyber-meth and created a hive mind out of nothingness (do I sound like Rust yet?). I have appreciated a lot of the fan critical reviews too because all the theories were better than the actual show.
Does anyone besides me remember MURPHY BROWN? It starred Candace Bergen as a top-notch news anchor who eventually became an unwed mother. In one episode she took her toddler’s splatter fingerpainting and secretly exhibited it in a frou frou art gallery. Then Murph stood back and listened to all the bullshit praise from society’s most respected art critics who deemed this piece brilliant high art. She, of course, revealed it was by her toddler who can’t even use a paintbrush. This is how I feel about all the people who have not been able to say a single negative piece of criticism about TRUE DETECTIVE and writing ejaculatory blogs that’s the greatest detective story on television.
As So pointed out in his synopsis, TRUE DETECTIVE is an homage to David Lynch. I don’t like Lynch so that pretty much explains why I wouldn’t like Pizzolatto. I’ll hold out some hope for Season 2. I’m hoping the success of the show equates to hiring some better writers who aren’t dropping X when creating a plot.
Oh but the theme song was great. It was “Far From Any Road” by The Handsome Family.