Mar 7, 2016

Fargo, the Series: Homophobia, Heterosexism, and 70s-Bashing

I always get sensitive when people say "Life used to be so great, and now it's so terrible !  We cared about each other then!  It was a simpler, more innocent time!"

I have binge watched Fargo Season 2, the tv series based on the Coen Brothers' black comedy, about a simpler, innocent, loving time.

The 1940s.

It's set in 1979, a year everyone hates.  They're always moaning about everything is so bad now, society has gotten so violent, everybody at each other's throats, much worse than the kind, loving, innocent 1940s (really, they say that).

World War II?  Auschwitz?  Really?

And 1979 was the best of times!  Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out, and we were singing "We are Family".

Living life is fun and we've just begun to get our share of the world's delights
High hopes we have for the future, and our goal''s in sight

Maybe 1989, after 8 years of Reagan-Bush homophobia, AIDS, Chernobyl,  and the Iran-Contra Scandal.  But not 1979!

It's about an ordinary couple in "you betcha" small-town Minnesota in horrible 1979, Ed and Peggy Blumquist (Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst), who accidentally kill the son of an organized-crime syndicate, and find their lives unraveling.  They are targeted by the syndicate, dogged by the police.  They have to kill more people.  Ed finds himself tagged as the Butcher, a famous paid assassin with a price on his head.

The crime syndicate is led by the taciturn housewifely Floyd (Jean Smart), who butts heads with her domineering, sexist son Dodd (Jeffrey Donovan), who disapproves of a woman running the empire.

Dodd has a partner, boyfriend, foster brother, or something, the taciturn Indian Hanzee Dent (Zahn McClarnon).

There are two other surviving sons, plus a granddaughter and a  grandson, Charlie (Allan Dobrescu), who has a hand deformity.  Both have been excused from the action due to, but they long to participate in some of the bloodshed.

Meanwhile Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine), a fixer from a rival gang, tries to find out who theis Butcher is, who is disrupting gang alliances in the Minnesota-North Dakota crime game.

Meanwhile the state trooper investigating the case, Lou Solverson (the very ugly Patrick Wilson), has a disgustingly heteronormative wife and daughter.  Oh, so perfect!  They love each other so much!  Isn't that what life is all about, the only thing that makes life worthwhile is gazing into the eyes of a heterosexual life partner and the wondrous new life that your love has created.  Anyone who doesn't have this incredible heterosexual bond is worthless, and probably out to destroy us all.

I'm not kidding.  That's exactly what the Coen Brothers say, or indicate, over and over again.

Well, it's not completely perfect.  The wife has cancer, caused by the 1970s (they do explicitly say that).

No gay people exist, except for a predatory lesbian who paws at Peggy, and is rebuffed.

No beefcake, unless you're a chubby chaser (Jesse Plemons is a little on the pale, portly side).

I'd give it a miss, unless you love heteronormativity and hate the 1970s.

Why even set your series in a decade you hate?