Saturday, August 1, 2015


When you're trapped on a plane for 14 hours you watch things you otherwise wouldn't. I'm proud to say that I never succumbed to Marvel Age of Ultron or other teenage boy horse-shit like that but I did watch the box set of Fargo a show I'd no interest in watching at all previously. With a thematic and one actual plot link to the original Coen Brothers movie Fargo was an odd little TV series that never quite got the tone or the characters right. Martin Freeman plays a henpecked and bullied life insurance salesman who cracks one day and murders his wife and enlists the help of Billy Bob Thornton playing a charismatic drifter (who turns out to be a hitman). Allison Tolman is the best thing in the show as a local police officer who is just that bit smarter and more perceptive than the cops around her. There's a lot to like in Fargo: a fast moving story, strong visual storytelling, some surprising moments & a welcome return to form from Thornton. There's also a lot not to like: the entire Oliver Platt subplot (the link to the original movie), Martin Freeman's accent, the appearance of Colin Hanks and the disastrous lengthy cameo from 'comedy' double act Key & Peele who - amazingly - are worse actors than they are comedians. 
I suppose my biggest issue is with the tone. The Coen Brothers movie Fargo had a very clear tone: its a tragedy with some black comic elements, the TV series doesn't know what it is: a black comedy, a noir, a satire, a tragedy...a bit of everything? There's a scene where Billy Bob Thornton kills 20+ people in an office rampage that is played for laughs...I think the Oliver Platt stuff was supposed to be funny and the laughs don't get any better when Key and Peele show up: to paraphrase Sam Kinison...the only explanation for Key and Peele is that the whole of America must have had a meeting in my absence where they decided that they were going to pretend that Key & Peele were funny. 
Anyway Fargo passed the time and Allison Tolman was a revelation. If you're stuck on a plane or recovering from an operation or something I'd recommend it.