fargo-season-2-cast-imageWhere are we at right now?

I was just talking with Scott about hitting creative blocks. Or motivational blocks. Or output blocks.

Or Lego blocks.

This blog seems to just be me complaining about motivation lately. That’s fine. Sometimes it’s just nice to do something and post it, without worrying about the audience.

With the ever looming goal of actually writing a novel, I think it’s not the worst idea to make sure I blog from time to time. If writing a book is playing a professional sport, blogging is hitting the exercise bike. It’s certainly not a full application of “writing” but it’s still good to stay in shape.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been watching, listening to and thinking about. Think of this as stuff that I didn’t get around to talking about on 9ES.

What I’ve Been Watching:

We just finished up Season 2 of Fargo. Pretty hefty spoilers ahead for a 2 year old show.

I often take a step back and wonder whether or not I would enjoy Fargo as much if it wasn’t full of delightful mid-Western accents. Would the show be as charming and engaging if it was just set in upstate New York? Probably not. But I don’t waste my time thinking about that too much because it DOES take place in the mid-West. With all of Season 2 alternating between Minnesota and the Dakotas as we build towards the “Massacre in Sioux Falls” that was referenced a few times in the first season.

Overall I don’t know if I enjoyed it as much as the first season. I still enjoyed it quite a bit mind you. It was just missing a driving antagonist as strong as Billy Bob Thorton in the first season. Bokeem Woodbine as Mike Milligan is actually pretty endearing as an up and coming gangster from Kansas City and most of the Gerhardts just seem to be doing their best at hanging on to their livelihood (which happens to be crime). Nobody really had the gravitas that Thornton brought to Lorne Malvo.

Also, I’m not super sure about the UFO angle. Showrunner Noah Hawley doesn’t seem to have much more of a justification other than “it was fun.” Which I guess is ok. It kind of reinforces the idea that the show skews the idea of truth (“Based on a True Story” and all that). Maybe that the UFO is just the truth of the people who witnessed it? It doesn’t really matter if it was real or not, it’s the truth of the moment.

Finally, one thing that kind of stuck out to me was the scene in Episode 8 (I think), where Ed runs down the road away from the cops and then somehow gets to his house before the cops. On foot. While the cops are in a car. And has several minutes in his home before he can get away before the cops show up. I like to give shows a wide berth when they’re dealing with character comings and goings for the sake of dramatic effect. But sometimes something just requires too much mental acrobatics (hey there Game of Thrones) to justify that it pulls me out of the story.

All that to say, I would say A- television. Individual performances are top notch all around and other than a few minor stumbles here and there it does a great job of capturing the essence of what made us all love the Coen Brothers’ film in the first place.

0004619802-a22ad526-7f9a-4752-8b11-e575279496eaWhat I’ve Been Listening To:

Sarah and I bought tickets to Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen next month.

Even if I wasn’t a fan of Leonard Cohen, I’m a big enough fan of so many of the musicians paying tribute that the concert would be a no-brainer. Elvis Costello, kd lang, Feist, Lana Del Rey, Phillip Glass and a bunch of other talented people will be paying their tribute to one of Canada’s greatest singer/song writers.

Obviously I’m looking forward to whoever sings some of my favorites (Famous Blue Raincoat has to be sung by someone, right?) and it’s kind of obvious that Sting will likely perform his rendition of Sisters of Mercy (since he has a version at the ready from 1995’s tribute album).

However, I realized that other than a single listen when it came out, I had never really put any time into “You Want it Darker”, Cohen’s swan song of an album released just a few weeks before his passing. So I’ve been putting that into heavy rotation.

As cliché as it might be, I am absolutely in love with the title track.

If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame

Chills just reading it. Chills. The man was one of our greatest poets. I am not sure exactly in what capacity, but I feel sure that I will be listening to this song to get my head into the right space for something. The fact that Cohen returns to the lyric “I’m out of the game” in “Leaving the Table” just gets me in the guts.

I also really enjoy “Treaty”. It reminds me that Cohen’s style is right at home with heartache as well.

Much in the same way that “BLACKSTAR” served remarkably well as a farewell to the fans of David Bowie’s music, “You Want It Darker” serves as a rare example of an artist having the chance to handle their own sendoff.

Great stuff.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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