Saturday, January 09, 2016

[TV] Fargo, OK Then

It's brilliant, Fargo is. At least as brilliant as everyone says. Almost certainly the best drama on TV for 2015 and pushing at the edges of the Pantheon. There are so many good aspects to Fargo it's hard to know where to start but let me try an unconventional place: Tone. A multi-point balance of absurdity and earnestness, satire and reverence, triviality and moment. It amazes me how this can be kept up over ten hours of drama. You feel for these characters; they suffer and you want them to overcome, and yet everything about them is utterly surreal.

One key to this is the acting, and it is uniformly great. Jeffrey Donovan, fattened up as a semi-psychotic, pouting, North Woods gangster, is a long way from Burn Notice, yet he's perfect. Ted Danson as a gruff, old cop -- also a long way from his Cheers safe zone. Kirsten Dunst has always been a wonderful actress and she just nails the role of self-absorbed, deluded housewife. Everyone is playing a role that is either cliche or caricature, but it's done with such reality that you buy in instead of just smirk.

And in the end, as with the previous season and the movie, the good guys win. And by good I mean the sincere, helpful, faithful Minnesotans with their laughable accents and their ridiculous weather and their bland folksiness. They are prodded and teased, but not belittled or sneered at. The reward for their victories is the continuance of their lives and loves and hopes -- no ugly, angry, or cynical comeuppance. It's like nothing else on TV. Should you binge it? You're darn tootin' you should.