Mailbag: ‘Fargo,’ ‘Undatatable’ and More

malvoMovesA friend writes, of a “Fargo” episode a few weeks back:

How did Lorne Malvo cause the car wreck by storm of fish?’ Since it seems to fall in line with the other biblical plagues he for a fact visits on Oliver Platt’s character, locusts, water into blood. The next one in Exodus is a storm of frogs, no lie. Also seems to tie into the movie Magnolia.

From what happened last night, I won’t be surprised if the fish fall or whole blackmail plot never comes up again.

They explained it briefly in the next episode — in a background TV news report about the phenomenon of a tornado scooping fish out of a lake and scattering them elsewhere on land. This is apparently a real thing up there and I vaguely remember some incidents of it. Once I remember driving in a rainstorm near Bemiji of all places and there were frogs all over the highway. Which I thought at the time was a Doors song prediction. And no, the blackmail thing didn’t come back, did it?

He goes on:

I’m really hoping Lorne doesn’t turn out to be the devil, or anything else supernatural, which if nothing else, I’m almost certain never would be the reveal in a Coen Bros. MOVIE. But maybe mini-series are a different animal. (Hey, did you read the Damon Lindelof piece in NYT mag? I haven’t yet, seems like it might be more honest than most about how very crappy the end of Lost was.) Lorne does seem to have unearthly powers of persuasion with police officers and postal clerks.

Malvo does look darn untouchable and his way with people is rather like the way the vampires “glamour” people in “True Blood.” There’s a moment in next week’s finale that may underscore your point. But I won’t say another word.
On another topic:

‘Undateable’ looks almost like it’s using re-purposed sets from ‘Whitney’ too, that is, besides a cast member. Esp. the bar/restaurant entered by walking down steps center stage.

One is almost shocked to leave the residential set & find we were in a home & not an apartment. And pretend Detroit instead of Chicago.

Pleased to see it also reuses the appealing actress from TBS’ ‘Ground Floor’ (also Bill Lawrence-produced) but oddly, she isn’t the one shown in the title card, who is instead from ‘Rules of Engagement’. And equally lovely, of course.

‘Ground Floor’ & ‘Undatable’ also seem to have graduated from  the Bill Lawrence’ meme of an aggressive guitar underscore, I think. I forget what the interstitial music was like on ‘GF’. Or on ‘Spin City’, but that’s going in the other direction. ‘Scrubs’ & ‘CougarTown’: Big on guitar stings.

I used to hate those things, especially as they were overused in “Scrubs.” It’s almost like say “ta da!” after every joke, as if it were a magic trick. Better to cut to next scene. As a Detroiter I appreciate the setting, which is seen only in the sports attire of the characters, particularly that of Ron Funches.’

He adds:

I’m obsessed with sitcom underscores since, one magic night, a mishap somewhere delivered me about half of a ‘The Middle’ with the dialog portion of the audio somehow set at zero volume but the music track fully loud, intact. I had the captioning on, so the Heck family would move their lips soundlessly but I would still know exactly what was being said. Meanwhile, the odd little rhythmic musical stuff created to set up & counterpoint the jokes & action but not really ever to be considered in or by itself was front and center. The whole thing was an ‘out there’ and strangely aesthetic experience. I sort of wish there was a remote button to press to have it back anytime.

That happens to me too. Sometime I think it’s a track mistake in the feed, or something in my particular TV that doesn’t receive the particular main audio track but has all of the music and effects way loud (This happens a lot in the advance DVDs that aren’t completely finished, almost to a comical degree). It’s like looking at the same thing through a different angle, but maddening if you want to hear the dialog.
And, finally, on NBC scheduling:

Can’t figure out why The Peacock is both giving ‘Crossbones’ a medium to large size promo & ad push AND scheduling it Friday night at 9.

Thursday nights since Community and Parks & Rec ended are probably the first ones in 30 years I haven’t watched something on NBC. And I sort of have the feeling this isn’t going to change back, that their new model of must-see is substandard or otherwise evolved for different tastes than the old one. (And anyway, I kinda think of NBC as the progenitor of now-let-network-primetime-be-crap change because of the Leno to 10 p.m. move.)

Must-see Thursdays are becoming a thing of a past the way Fridays and Saturdays have been demoted (though I think there has been a movement to establish Fridays as a place for fantasy or action shows particularly for kids who won’t have school the next day — that’s why “Crossbones” might work there, next to “Grim”).

Another friend writes about the new Dylan track you can listen to here:

Funny thing is I never had heard of the song “Full Moon and Empty Arms” until this morning and the first thing I thought it that it sounded like one of Hank Sr.’s sad sounding love lost songs.

The lyrics didn’t sound like whatever I would think of as Dylan-esque.  A 1947 Time Magazine review called the lyrics “banal.”  Turns out I had the wrong artist but the right time frame.

It’s a very fetching melody. Seems like Bob is attracted to those old songs the same way he was attracted to the old songs he put on his Christmas album. It will be interesting to hear how the whole album “Shadows in the Night” sounds.

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