For some reason I sat down and watched Fargo (the new FX series) last night, and was totally disappointed. I assume the show is being praised from coast to coast, and I have no idea why.
They have the audacity of starting off with the same untruth that the movie starts off, namely that this is a true story. I never understood why the movie did that. (Maybe to tell us that the show itself is unreliable in any of the conclusions it draws about human nature? That would certainly be warranted.)
The thing that struck me is that, besides Billy Bob, there are no interesting characters anywhere in sight. In fact, all the people in this small Minnesota town are remarkably dumb. They are viewed as creatures lacking free will and not having reached any advanced stage of consciousness. The scene with the bully and the insurance salesman was particularly bad. No adult bully behaves with such overt intimidation. The grown-up world has its bullies, of course, but they have learned some measure of subtlety and how to fain maturity in the course of their demeaning.
It came across as a fantasy of resentment, as did the scenes with the insurance salesmanís wife. Any such wishful abuse-taking arouses my absolute distrust. Such nonsense tells me more about the person who wrote it than about human nature or the sort of people one might meet in upper Minnesota.
Billy Bob Thornton is obviously a jewel. I could easily watch him for an hour a week. Thereís definitely a snake in the garden motif to his behavior, and it is entertaining. He seems to work for a mysterious killer for hire agency somewhere far away, and may have a business interest in stirring up trouble. He will presumably tell the people in his most convincing and charming manner what they want to hear, and unleash a chain of depressing brutality.
That might be enough for a Stephen King story with some supernatural hijinks thrown in, but I was expecting more. There are no interesting characters for Billy to interact with, and the boring characters themselves certainly wonít make for interesting relationships. The only character with any sort of mind or spirit who could have possibly antagonized Billy was offed in the first episode.
Like I said to begin with, maybe the whole thing is supposed to be unreliable, and tells us so, but what are we left with? Certainly nothing on the level of Mad Men, Justified, The Walking Dead, The Americans or even (coming down one step) Game of Thrones. I wonít be back for any more episodes of this one.
So, this is a forum, someone tell me how hilarious you thought it was.