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Thread: Fargo TV series

  1. #1

    Fargo TV series

    I'm a fan of the movie, and think the TV series is taking a big chance following the Coens' classic. I also think the TV thing is very much a worthy tribute.

    To what, exactly? Well, first to mood, ambience, blackest of black comedy in whitest of white land rhythms and vibes. Second to multiple twisty plot lines. Third to characters normal, very weird, overdone, undone, and malevolent.

    Malevolent as in the close-enough-anagram Lorne Malvo. Billy Bob is wonderful, chaos personified, and he's not the only pitch-perfect actor.

    Last evening's "A Muddy Road" introduced us to what may become the constant theme of the remaining episodes of this first season: the "ten plagues of Egypt." Last night we saw the first of the plagues: water becomes blood. And all that stuff about spiders crawling out of skin may play out in a future episode as lice, flies, or boils.

    There will be far too many references to Coen films for me to catch, and not limited to "Fargo." But just sticking to the 2 Fargo's, we learned last eve that Molly's father, Lou, was himself previously a cop, and was involved years back in some controversial case over in St. Cloud. Didn't the film's central character, Marge, have a dullish partner named Lou?

    Dozens of other things one could discuss. And I will have missed the majority of the clever-to-great stuff in the first 3 episodes. There's a whole lotta stuff going on.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Southern Pines, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by gumbomoop View Post
    I'm a fan of the movie, and think the TV series is taking a big chance following the Coens' classic. I also think the TV thing is very much a worthy tribute.

    To what, exactly? Well, first to mood, ambience, blackest of black comedy in whitest of white land rhythms and vibes. Second to multiple twisty plot lines. Third to characters normal, very weird, overdone, undone, and malevolent.

    Malevolent as in the close-enough-anagram Lorne Malvo. Billy Bob is wonderful, chaos personified, and he's not the only pitch-perfect actor.

    Last evening's "A Muddy Road" introduced us to what may become the constant theme of the remaining episodes of this first season: the "ten plagues of Egypt." Last night we saw the first of the plagues: water becomes blood. And all that stuff about spiders crawling out of skin may play out in a future episode as lice, flies, or boils.

    There will be far too many references to Coen films for me to catch, and not limited to "Fargo." But just sticking to the 2 Fargo's, we learned last eve that Molly's father, Lou, was himself previously a cop, and was involved years back in some controversial case over in St. Cloud. Didn't the film's central character, Marge, have a dullish partner named Lou?

    Dozens of other things one could discuss. And I will have missed the majority of the clever-to-great stuff in the first 3 episodes. There's a whole lotta stuff going on.
    Here in this house Mrs. Jarhead and I tend to avoid gruesome stories. Fargo is the exception. So far, we are intrigued, but let's see where this takes us. It's a comedy, isn't it?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by gumbomoop View Post
    There will be far too many references to Coen films for me to catch, and not limited to "Fargo." But just sticking to the 2 Fargo's, we learned last eve that Molly's father, Lou, was himself previously a cop, and was involved years back in some controversial case over in St. Cloud. Didn't the film's central character, Marge, have a dullish partner named Lou?
    There was a Lou ... he's in the car with Marge when they first visit the highway killings. Remember, he tells Marge that the dead officer had stopped a car and written down the license plate as "DLR". Lou suggests that the officer was killed before finishing the note. Marge says, "Not sure I agree with your police work there, Lou." Then she explains that DLR probably means dealer plates.

    But not sure about the St. Cloud reference ... Marge worked out of Brainard. Not sure how that ties in to St. Cloud?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
    Here in this house Mrs. Jarhead and I tend to avoid gruesome stories. Fargo is the exception. So far, we are intrigued, but let's see where this takes us. It's a comedy, isn't it?
    I'd think it fits perfectly the category black/dark comedy. Another term of fairly recent common usage, dramedy -- a comedy with dramatic elements, or maybe a drama with comedic elements -- might apply, but it seems too mild, given the gruesome, even horrific moments in "Fargo."

    I'd guess this is going to take us to very dark places -- lots of "plagues of Egypt" to go -- but that sometimes we will be unable to stifle laughter all the same. Maybe Molly and Gus will marry up, which would add a sweet touch, but I'm not sure anything will relieve Gus's conscience.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    There was a Lou ... he's in the car with Marge when they first visit the highway killings. Remember, he tells Marge that the dead officer had stopped a car and written down the license plate as "DLR". Lou suggests that the officer was killed before finishing the note. Marge says, "Not sure I agree with your police work there, Lou." Then she explains that DLR probably means dealer plates.

    But not sure about the St. Cloud reference ... Marge worked out of Brainard. Not sure how that ties in to St. Cloud?
    Let's solve this mystery. First, the geography: We got Bemidji to Brainerd to St. Cloud to Twin Cities on a roughly NW to SE line, about 200+ miles total. Obviously this means driving time between any but the end cities would be an hour or so, doable, depending on what needs doing.

    Then, some chronology, taking into account what happened when in the film and in this TV series. I list this for me, not just you.
    • Film Fargo released in 1996, but tells the story of events in 1987.
    • TV Fargo is 2014, but tells a story set in 2006.
    • The early-middle-aged Gus from 1987 could be the late-middle-aged Gus in 2006.
    • A controversial case in St. Cloud from 1987, or possibly a few years later, would have been close enough to Brainerd [60 mi?], which is where Madge and Gus worked in 1987 story.

    Maybe, probably, the references are not to be taken literally, and serve more as homages to the original. We'll see, as the episodes unfold.

  6. #6
    We've got it all tivoed, ready to consume but I'm just not feeling the urge to get going on it...
    Nothing incites bodily violence quicker than a Duke fan turning in your direction and saying 'scoreboard.'

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by gumbomoop View Post
    Let's solve this mystery. First, the geography: We got Bemidji to Brainerd to St. Cloud to Twin Cities on a roughly NW to SE line, about 200+ miles total. Obviously this means driving time between any but the end cities would be an hour or so, doable, depending on what needs doing.

    Then, some chronology, taking into account what happened when in the film and in this TV series. I list this for me, not just you.
    • Film Fargo released in 1996, but tells the story of events in 1987.
    • TV Fargo is 2014, but tells a story set in 2006.
    • The early-middle-aged Gus from 1987 could be the late-middle-aged Gus in 2006.
    • A controversial case in St. Cloud from 1987, or possibly a few years later, would have been close enough to Brainerd [60 mi?], which is where Madge and Gus worked in 1987 story.

    Maybe, probably, the references are not to be taken literally, and serve more as homages to the original. We'll see, as the episodes unfold.
    Nice detective work ... I would add one thing. Don't take the "True Story" nonsense seriously. I know on the movie at least, the Coen Brothers did that as a joke ... and were amazed how many critics swallowed it without checking or even asking.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    Don't take the "True Story" nonsense seriously. I know on the movie at least, the Coen Brothers did that as a joke ... and were amazed how many critics swallowed it without checking or even asking.
    Sorry, I may have left the impression that I myself thought that the intro's ref to "true story" was to be taken seriously. I don't take it seriously, and realize it's just their joke. My refs to "the story of events in 1987" and "a story set in 2006" were meant to focus on the years 1987 and 2006, rather than to the (fictitious) story/events being told in the film and TV series. I was trying to see whether the Gus from 1987 might be the same Gus in 2006.

    On that point, it's a maybe, we'll see. Hope so, but if it's just an homage, it's a nice little touch.

    Talk to you and maybe others mid next week.

  9. #9
    Spoiler alert: Don't read this post unless you've seen the series through the episode televised Tues eve May 6.

    Well, this episode began with a scene that was no mere homage to the film. Instead we get a literal link, an answer to the question left hanging at the end of the film: "Wonder what will become of that stash of cash buried by that fence?" Although the TV series is set in 2006, this episode begins with a flashback to 1987 -- the year of the story told in the film. A young(er) Stavros Milos drives by, runs out of gas, spots that red-handled ice scraper, finds the loot, and realizes "God is real."

    We now know how Stavros got his start on the road to wealth. And why in God's name, to coin a phrase, he had that ice scraper framed on the wall behind his desk. I see this as a hilarious analogy -- put into Stavros's mind by the scriptwriter -- to either the first dollar he ever made, or more likely a painting of Jesus or the Virgin Mother.

    Unfortunately for Stavros, God remembers. By the end of the episode, Stavros is "plagued" by the belief that God punishes broken promises. As I suspected, the plagues of Egypt continue as a central motif, and crickets are close enough to locusts.

    It can't be a coincidence that the malevolent Lorne Malvo chooses as his alter ego a Lutheran minister. Billy Bob Thornton's transformation is so thorough that while in custody he shrinks with every Minnesota-meek utterance. Malvo's audacity is also hilarious, including the lovely little touch of stealing the desk officer's glasses. In a scene a few minutes later, we see in the background said officer squinting to read something .... as he's misplaced his glasses ... which adorn the face of the now-released malevolent minister who's on his way out the door.

    I'm looking forward to next week's plague. Eight more to go, but only 6 episodes left.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    Billy Bob

    So tell me, who better than Billy Bob can deliver the line, "Do I look like someone who would buy a pink police scanner"?
    He's a treat to watch.

  11. #11
    Just bumping this up to the top. I won't go into any of the last several episodes, except to say they continue to amaze. More links in the series to the film -- and I suspect more to come in final 2 episodes -- but the series is brilliant on its own merits: plot lines, acting, mood, surprises aplenty, including a neat story-advance in last evening's episode.

    It does appear that ex-schmuck Lester Nygaard is drifting into Walter White territory. And Lorne Malvo is still a near-anagram for "malevolent." As it has to have been a deliberate near-anagram, don't know why they didn't name him Elten Malvo.

    Highly recommended. It's surely available on other platforms, and sure to be rerun, probably sooner and later, marathon-style. If you liked the film, you gotta see this.

  12. #12
    Lester is the worst. Just the worst. Walter White sees that guy and goes "geez". And I HATED Walter by the end.

  13. #13

    Season 2

    Bump, as the previews claim season 2 will top season 1, which was brilliant in all ways, right? Starts tomorrow night (actually tonight, Monday 10/12, 10 p.m., FX).

    Totally new story, but related to season 1, as Molly Solverson's dad, cafe owner Lou, is a central figure. Remember the porch scene in season 1 finale, Lou sitting there with Gus's daughter, telling her about something awful back in 1979? Well, season 2 is that story. All new actors, almost all new characters. Looks as if the 27-years-younger Lou is the link between seasons.

    Here are two previews. As previews, I guess by definition they contain some info that would be considered minor spoilers.

    http://www.stltoday.com/entertainmen...8fbbaeda3.html

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/rev...-review-830204

  14. #14
    This season isn't to be principally about the Vietnam War. Nevertheless, we learn that last season's Molly was, as a six year old, "not Pol Pot." Also, and I'm sure many of us suspected this all along, "Ho Chi Minh was just a front man."

    I'm prepared to believe season 2 will be the equal of season 1.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by gumbomoop View Post
    ...I'm prepared to believe season 2 will be the equal of season 1.
    I'm in. Actually haven't watched season one yet (I'm pitiful) but last night was a boffo start.
    Kieran Culkin, was terrific!
    Nothing incites bodily violence quicker than a Duke fan turning in your direction and saying 'scoreboard.'

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by weezie View Post
    I'm in. Actually haven't watched season one yet (I'm pitiful) but last night was a boffo start.
    Kieran Culkin, was terrific!
    Well, I messed up in not posting last week that FX was running a season 1 marathon on Sunday (2 days ago). No guarantee that you or others could have spent all aft and eve watching it.

    But honestly, although there may be references to season 1 in season 2, maybe not so many. And there's one slight advantage in not having seen season 1, in that you won't be trying to connect the 1979 Lou Solverson with season one's Lou, nor this season's 6 year old Molly Solverson with 33 year old Molly, the smart hero of season one.

    Double boffo, absolutely.

  17. #17
    Weezie, you still watching this? Others out there?

    It's brilliant, arguably superior to season 1. We've just finished episode 6, with another 4 to go, leading to a massacre at Sioux Falls, presumably.

    Nick Offerman seemed strangely underused through episode 5, but Monday night, wow.

    If any of you are even vaguely considering catching this later -- reruns, streaming, whatever -- I heartily recommend it. Seasons 1, 2, and I hope more to come. Wonderful, truly quirky but almost believable story lines.

    Btw, you needn't have seen season 1 to understand season 2. Chronologically, in fact, season 2 precedes season 1.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Deeetroit City
    Quote Originally Posted by gumbomoop View Post
    ... Chronologically, in fact, season 2 precedes season 1.
    Preceason?

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by BD80 View Post
    Preceason?
    Um, I guess my use of that word chronologically might be perplexing. What I meant was that the events depicted in season 2 occurred (i.e., "occurred") 27 years prior to the events depicted in season 1.

    But your word should be added to our telelexicon, definitely. Myself, I'm pushing redundundant. I'll vote for your word if you'll vote for mine.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fayetteville, NC
    I watched the first episode of Season Two and it had me hooked.

    I love the vibe, as it's a lot like the movie was.

    Definitely very quirky, but in a good way.

    Unfortunately, my wife just couldn't get into it, so I watch solo.

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