Monday, February 24th, 2014

Storytelling Asses Disdained

"'True Detective' reeks of the [macho nonsense]. The series, for all its good looks and its movie-star charisma, isn’t just using dorm-room deep talk as a come-on: it has fallen for its own sales pitch. To state the obvious: while the male detectives of “True Detective” are avenging women and children, and bro-bonding over 'crazy pussy,' every live woman they meet is paper-thin. Wives and sluts and daughters—none with any interior life."

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alt-text: I'd say interior life is overrated, but it's all I've got left.

Mr. B (#10,093)

@Krugmanic Depressive If that's just your best guess, I'd say it's pretty spot-on.

@Mr. B It made a lot more sense before the SILENT CORREX including the reeking macho nonsense.

Alex Balk (#4)

@Krugmanic Depressive Hahahaha sorry, just seeing this! Yours is much better. Check your email, I am gonna send you my login stuff. You can be Balk for a while.

sarahpm (#13,702)

Huh. that is an interesting take. I don't agree at all and i generally really hate stuff like that. Do you not think WH's wife is pretty interesting?

I love True Detective, as anyone who reads my FB posts knows. My only critique – and it is a big one — is the overly testosteronal nature of the writing. Matthew McConoughey's performance and the smartness of the plot generally offset that. Emily Nussbaum, however, makes a strong case that the lack of an exploration of the interiority of the women characters is too big an issue to overlook.

It is a show about a man who kills women pursued by two male detectives against a very dark landscape. None of the women characters on the show — with the remarkable exception, particularly this week, of Detective Hart's wife — are anything more than ancillary narrative asides, nubile bodies to fuck, to kill or to "defend their honor." I love this show, it is a pleasure to watch, dark and smart, but perhaps, ultimately, profoundly limited. Whenever I get the urge — and it happens often, boosted by any examination of the strength of McConoughey's performance — to name it the best TV show of 2014 thus far, I am deeply struck with the astonishing lack of exploration of the inner lives of the women characters, especially in contrast to the breathtaking richness of the Rust character played by McConoughey, and that, for me, is a pretty major deal breaker. Perhaps I'm overthinking this — making a very good TV drama into the second coming of I, Claudius. True Detective is way more than just a great drama, but far less, I think, than one of the greatest TV shows of the decade. Maybe I should just luxuriate in the pleasure of the show in-the-now? But it is hard.

@Ron Mwangaguhunga: I agree. I'm enjoying the show, but Michelle Monaghan's part is criminally underwritten, given how important her motivations and actions are to the plot.

libmas (#231)

"Wives, don't let your daughters grow up to be sluts. Oops, sorry, there's nothing else available. Except murder victim. Would you prefer murder victim?"

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