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True Detective S.2, Truly Terrible!

Not since the drop in quality from comedy giant Caddyshack to cable reject Caddyshack 2 has a franchise suffered such a massive defeat. The last Roman, Prius Androgynous, watching as the Visigoths burned his once great city, playing football with the severed head of the last Emperor,  the guy from that China movie in the 1990s, might have suffered similar misery, remembering past grandeurs and lots of free orgies… but I’m pretty sure the shitshow that is True Detective, Season Dos, puts any prior fall from glory to shame. Put simply, the show sucks. Which pisses me off, given how amazing the first season was… or was it? Did McConaughey really carry the whole show, as some critics claim? Up until Season 2, I would slap such bastards with my white glove and challenge them to a duel. But after seeing Season 2 and its first-grader level writing, I fear this whole Detective enterprise may indeed be built on sand.

Now let’s talk turkey. What’s my beef? Hmm, where to start? Lets start with the start. Our intros to the characters, four major ones. They are…

Look how villainy Vince looks.
Look how villainy Vince looks.

Vince Vaughn, playing Frank Semyon. He’s kinda the villain, which we know because when we meet him he’s bathed in hellish red light, which the writers are sure make anyone evil. Frank Samoa seems to run a casino and be kinda a part-time gangster, which we learn more about in episode 3 where he boxes one of the fat guys from Mexican rock band Los Lobos – pulling out a gold tooth to show us how badass he is. That said, I don’t remember anyone in Los Lobos having gold teeth, but they’re old now, and tooth decay.  But I digress.  

To get a better idea of what an amazingly poorly written character Frank Semyon is… that really is his name according to IMDB… lets’ look at some of his dialogue gems – and these are actual lines from the show. I’m not kidding. People got paid millions to write this stuff:

“Never do anything out of hunger. Not even eating.” In most writing rooms, suggesting such dialogue would get you immediately fired, your parking pass shredded, and your fat guys shoes burned. But on TD2, you get to see it come out of Vince Vaughn’s mouth. Did HBO even read the script?

Off Colin Farrell’s character telling Frank he’s gonna lose custody of his son: “You got time. Have more kids.” Ah, Vince. World over-populated. Terrible advice. Not to mention as discussed below, Ray Velcro, Colin’s character is an AWFUL DAD. 

“Everything’s papier mâché.” No, actually it’s not, Frank Seminole. That’s something a wasted teen girl says to be interesting. Then is thrown out of Coachella by her Nanny.

Discussing being locked in a basement as a child with rats by his alcoholic Dad: “What if I’m still in that basement in the dark? What if I died in there?” Get over yourself, Frank. Who the F talks like this? Ah… apart from the the guys being paid $1200K to write your dialogue. The world really needs to be purged in a firestorm.

And if that’s not bad enough… Frank Semyon’s actually delivery of the lines is pretty damn awful. Vince, you need to change your inflection once in awhile. Or do radio. 

Vince Vaughn beats the bag out of this rock star.
Vince Vaughn beats the bag out of this rock star.

Then there’s Colin Farrell as hard drinking Ray Velcoro. How do we know he’s hard drinking? Cause he drinks in every scene, including draining a full bottle of Jonny Walker Blue. Wow. I’m so impressed. Please. My Mother polishes two liters of Smirnoff before noon. But enough quibbling about weak drinkers like Ray Velcro (that’s what he should be called). Apart from being a drunk, what else is Ray Velcro?

He’s a bad Dad… only his kid isn’t his. A storypoint the writers hammer our head with fifty times, by referring minutes into the pilot to the rape of his ex-wife nine months before the birth of his chubby red-haired kid – and by casting a chubby, red-haired kid that looks nothing like Colin, and I believe having dialogue where the ex-wife says:”He’s not your fucking real kid, Ray Velcro!” For some reason, this is an important storypoint to the creators. Why? I don’t know or care. But it’s making them rich.

And this is Ray Velcoro. Doesn't he look like a blast in a glass!
And this is Ray Velcoro. Doesn’t he look like a blast in a glass?

Other fun Ray Velcro facts. Ray can survive being shot by shotguns. Ray can show up at the homes of parents from his son’s school and beat the crap out of them, while terrifying their children, without any repercussions. “Your 12 years old, and already as evil as fuck.” This to a 12 year old, after he breaks his Dad’s face. Apparently, despite identifying himself as a school parent, giving his real name, his victim just decided not to press charges.  Despite the fact that Colin shows up at the school his kid goes to routinely. Hmm, in a world where Bravo Real Housewives sue each other over implant slander, I find this storypoint highly unlikely. But not the guys flying private behind the dialogue. What a racket they got going…

Next up, our female lead, Rachel McAdams. This section will be short, given she’s barely written as a character. She’s some type of cop, who we learn in the opening scene is into anal. I kid you not. That’s not a joke but a fact. This is a key characteristic of her that the writers felt we needed to know. Now, given that the second female character we meet is a prostitute, and the third an actress that blows a cop to get out of a speeding ticket, you seeing a theme here kids? Hello He Man Woman Haters Club. Now that I think about it, this show might have been written by the people that brought us The Little Rascals… and racism. Oh, did I mention that there are no non-white major characters? Yup. Guess Empire was a fluke. Though I bet Empire’s writers made a fraction of what the gang behind TD2 are banking. Why? A lot of them aren’t white.

Rachel aiming a gun at someone who won't give her anal.
Rachel aiming a gun at someone who won’t give her anal.

Last, and definitely least, is Taylor Kitsch. The same superstar who brought us such box office disasters as Battleship, John Carter of Mars and The Bang Bang Club. Sure he was in Friday Night Lights, but that was like 5,000 years ago, when he only had an 18 pack. Anyway, Taylor’s lack of acting isn’t his problem. It’s the utter lack of character that is Paul Woodrugh. Which is the show creator’s problem. So who is Paul Woodrugh? And yes, that’s the character’s name, in case you though Ray Velcro was our low. Paul Woodrugh is a motorcycle cop, who only likes “riding the bike.” He also likes blowjobs, as we learn in his first scene. But wait… there’s a crazy secret about Paul Woodrugh. He’s probably… gay! OMG! That is so shocking in 2015. And totally unforeseeable, given the creators cast an underwear model like Taylor Kitsch, and in forty seven scenes, people say, “I think that John Carter guy is gay.” This is a character that could be completely cut from the show, and nobody would notice. Not even Taylor Kitsch, who I’m pretty sure operates on an awareness level equivalent to Paris Hilton.

Plotwise, I need not ramble. It’s Weekend At Bernie’s II. Literally. A dead body, wearing sunglasses, is driven around California in the pilot. I swear to God. And that’s the “victim” we are supposed to care about – so much that we’ll endure the four pencil sketches that are considered characters in True Detective 2. Do yourself a favor and skip Sunday nights on HBO (since Brink and Ballers fail too) until better stuff re-appears. Can’t wait till Game of Thrones returns!

Believing that this guy is gay is supposed to be a shocker.
Believing that this guy is gay is supposed to be a shocker.  

 

About Marty 85 Articles
Hollywood screenwriter, reformed attorney and worshiper of the tiny princesses on Monster Island. Became a nerd as a child, thanks to lack of athletic ability, which turned me on to fantasy novels, scifi movies, and not having girlfriends. Favorite projects I've worked on as writer - adapting BBC SILK for the U.S., the Japanese anime BLACKJACK and currently my passion project, PANDORA. Soon to be a major comic book.
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