When we take a day to kick back and relax in the bus, I’m generally out in the living space at my computer, writing, with news on the TV. Deb’s usually in back with some drama or comedy on the bedroom TV.
The arrangement works. She has a lower tolerance for news programming, and I can’t remember the last time I sat down and watched a “TV show.”
Yesterday afternoon I took a break and dropped in on her to see if she needed anything. I sat down on the bed, paying only casual attention to what she was watching. Within ten minutes I was hooked.
And what sucked me in?
We’ve been binge-watching it together since yesterday. I’m not terribly proud of myself right now.
While in college pursuing a religion degree (long story), I took several courses exploring Christianity and popular culture, both intersection and influence. I became engaged in — if not obsessed with — gleaning messages from music, theater, television and cinema. I looked for symbols, extracted parables.
Ozark is a good production overall. It reminds me of Twin Peaks, honestly, though it’s not as entertainingly obtuse. Deb and I have made it halfway through season two. A few observations.
- Don’t mistake Ozark for The Ozarks. Sure, some elements of Ozarks culture presented in the series are accurate and intriguing — like resentment of government seizing and flooding land in the 1930s — but it wouldn’t be much of a drama without exaggeration, implausibility and stereotypes. It ain’t a documentary.
- Trust exacts a price. Notice that I didn’t say, “Trust no one,” since that’s impossible. Each of us must confer trust to some degree in order to survive. But trust always involves risk. It takes skill to identify the risk and then manage it — and, when (not if) trust is betrayed, steeled determination to pay the toll.
- “Some people only respond to a certain kind of pressure.” (Jacob Snell)
- “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.“ That’s usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who also said, “If you would keep your Secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.” As the Byrdes learn in Ozark, the more people who get involved, the more that can (and will) go badly. Legal or illegal, good or evil, popular or not, it’s always advisable to hold one’s cards close.
- You’re the cleverest of all, and not half so clever as you think. That should be self-explanatory, whether or not you’ve watched a single minute of Ozark.
- “Life is simple, really. It’s all about hard work. Honesty. Family. Words have meaning and actions have consequences.” (Jacob Snell)
Yeah, Jacob Snell is a certified quote machine.
Ozark is, for me, an indulgence. You’re as likely to catch me binging another series as you are to see me in the middle of a steak riot at Golden Corral.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.