Dipper. Dipper, you really need to stop listening to Ford, kid. Really.
This is exactly what I wanted to find on the internet tonight. Thank you, internet.
Holy shit. Such a great show. I love that there seems to be this big move in animation away from ~zany~ ~random~ ~humor~ and back to stuff with strong narrative and emotional arcs. And that those arcs focus not just on the child protagonist characters, but deal with a bunch of pretty heavy-duty–and heavy-duty realistic–stuff with the adult characters, too.
(Cutty cut for spoilers and such.)
Kameron Hurley gives a very erudite breakdown of True Detective‘s misogyny.
True Detective was a bit of a love/hate thing for me. The first four episodes had me absolutely enthralled; from the gritty visuals to the mythos references to Rust’s self-aware nihilism. But the show sort of fell apart in the last half, mostly because–as Hurley identifies–it pulled too many punches with its monster protagonists, Marty in particular.
Make no mistake: Marty is a monster. If you don’t read him as such… er. Well. I probably can’t help you. But he’s definitely a monster, a hollow black hole of bile and sexual violence covered by a thin mask of patriarchal civility. Rust is also monstrous, but he’s aware of it and, moreover, so are other people. Marty is the socially acceptable monster, the evil men excuse because they don’t realise just how loathsome it is. Because it doesn’t hurt them. Marty’s attitudes towards his wife and daughter do, after all, come from the same place the as the crimes of the show’s villains. That void-soaked gyre of dehumanisation and privilege, of the ability to see people as prizes and property. Things to use and control.
True Detective might be able to forgive Marty. But I couldn’t. And that, to me, made the ending more horrific than all the murders in all the previous episodes combined. Because Marty’s horror is real, it’s the banal terror every woman lives with every day, knowing the odds not just of her own victimisation, but of the forgiveness that society will grant to her victimiser.
It’s also the sort of thing I like to watch (or read, or play) trashy horror noire to escape.
So… I don’t know. I’ll probably give True Detective another season; it’s slick, and its anthology format means we’ll hopefully get a better protagonist next round. But… I don’t hold out much hope. Particularly given the alternatives on offer right now, specifically Hannibal (a show that goes out of its way not to sexualise gendered violence) and American Horror Story (which is much more up front and unforgiving about men being the monsters in the lives of women).
I don’t watch a lot of TV as it is. I don’t need shows that are only going to disappoint me.
(Also, don’t even get me started on Rust’s last minute conversion to religiosity. It’s like… are you kidding? You stare into the heart of Grim Carcosa and that’s what you come out with? Gods. Ambrose Bierce is rolling in his grave, I swear!)
Much of True Detective’s appeal—the stylized visuals, the over-the-top lyricism of the dialogue, the cosmic-horror undertones, the hallucinations, the thematically significant conjunction of naked lady corpse and decapitated stag head—seems practically airlifted in from Hannibal. But True Detective is almost entirely reliant on the clichés that Hannibal studiously avoids. The plot turns out to be a standard buddy-cops-catch-the-killer mystery, complete with clichéd backwoods pervert in a tumble-down shack. Every single woman, up to and including Marty’s pre-teen daughter, is primarily relevant to the plot in terms of the sexual things she does or the sexual violence that’s forced upon her. It’s not enough to have a cult of serial killers worshiping Lovecraftian Elder Gods: They have to be a cult of Elder-God-worshiping serial-killers who also gang-rape children, or else it’s just not scary. And, whenever the plot stalls, we’re magically whisked away to a strip club or a harlot’s boudoir, so as to revive our interest in the show through naked breasts.
–This reminds me I should really watch Hannibal at some point.
(Spoilers for the show, for those who haven’t seen it.)
I watched True Detective over two nights of four episodes each. By the end of the first night I was itching to finish what looked like it was headed towards a modern version of Twin Peaks or Millennium, set in a Cthulu mythos-favoured world. Kind of like a DARKER and EDGIER version of Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin, to which I would say, “DO WANT!”
Sure, the show wasn’t perfect. It was deeply and casually misogynistic, for starters, and I really just wanted Woody Harrelson’s character to die in a possibly eldritch fire (no offence intended to Mr. Harrelson, who did a fine job, acting-wise). I’ve heard some people opine that the sexism in True Detective is “the point” and I would potentially agree that it is intentional… but I still don’t think it worked. Compare and contrast, for example, something like American Horror Story, which is also about the evil men do to women, but which mitigates that by giving its female characters prominence and agency.
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