Tag Archives: emily nussbaum

Responding to Emily Nussbaum’s reviews of True Detective

Regarding the show’s supposed “shallowness”—I actually think this is a strength: according to (maybe one of your favourite writers?) Elfriede Jelenik “characters should appear flat; they should appear without psychological depth” (its a paraphrase but you can find her essay on theatre somewhere)

The show does a great job of rendering the characters as flat as possible (it can’t escape them having *some* depth b/c its TV not theatre) 

If you read a lot into Russ’s vague pseudo-philosophical musings—then the joke is really on you (comparing it to Nietzsche is obvious and cheap; I think the real allusion is to Vico)

Most of Russ’s “weird philosophy” was a ruse to deflect the detectives interviewing him…they didn’t fall for it

TD represents a narrative of pure surfaces to depict a modern mythology of Man (Marty / Russ / Errol); the triumvirate represents the darkest of mankind’s desires and prides (which is present in all 3) but also what can maybe be described as the “dream that has starred man’s forehead for all the ages”—that is: to discover truth (in this case the truth about Marie Fontineau)

I can agree that women are somewhat mute/muted in the show—and yet all the men’s (Marty/Russ) energy is directed toward the end of uncovering the mystery of their disappearance (to give voice to their untimely deaths)

I can also agree that the representation of women is “unrealistic”—but if you can’t get over the fact that TV is highly stylized and not always an accurate representation of “reality” (that “the map can never be the territory” unless you’re in a Borges’ fable…) then you should maybe quit TV fiction and only cover news media and “reality TV”

You can read her piece on the finale here