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Fargo S01E01: "The Crocodile's Dilemma"


IMMEDIATE SPOILERS FOLLOW. If you haven't yet watched Fargo's series premiere, I highly recommend waiting until you've finished the episode to continue reading! Trust me! And if you haven't yet watched but you're looking for guidance as to whether you should, the answer is a resounding yes.


When Lester Nygaard (Watson Baggins Martin Freeman) smashed his wife's head in with a hammer toward the end of Fargo's brilliant first episode, "The Crocodile's Dilemma," and a trickle of her dark crimson liquid insides poured down across her face while her surely unconscious body refused to bend to gravity's will, I laughed. A lot. Such a confusing reaction to Noah Hawley's fresh interpretation of the Coen brothers' 1996 film Fargo is only natural, and it really shouldn't be any other way. FX's Fargo is a dark comedy in the extreme sense of both words; it has the rare ability to craft a scene where a man is pushed to such an extreme level of annoyance that he brutally murders his wife, but even as we recoil from the carnage, we giggle at the same time. 

And that kind of twisted humor is right up my alley. So far, I love Fargo. Based on the strength of the first episode, the series already has the chance to become one of television's next great shows, even if it struggles to connect with mainstream audiences because it's endearingly a little off, kind of like a drunk uncle. It reminded me, in a very good way, of early episodes of Breaking Bad (I still think the first season of Breaking Bad is way underrated), when the show was funnier than it had any business being yet the stakes were still incredibly high. And like Breaking Bad, Fargo is a show that excels in every major facet of its being, with a stellar cast, beautiful cinematography, and clever writing. 


Ostensibly about murder in a small town, Fargo is really about the violent disruption of an ecosystem that depends on its denizens living humdrum lives. There's a certain way of life in the stagnant hamlet of Bemidji, Minnesota that's probably never changed: High-school statuses persist well into adulthood, cops crack wise about the negative temperature even though the freshness of the joke melted away decades ago, and the average citizen is nicer than a summer day. And at the center of it all is Lester, who meets the devil on his shoulder in Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), a hitman who just so happens to be passing through town and can't help but turn wimps into manly men. When a conversation between the two about killing one of Lester's enemies was misinterpreted (or did Lorne just feel like offing a bully?), the chain of events that followed—Lorne throwing a knife into the skull of Lester's tormentor Sam Hess, Lester taking a hammer to his wife's forehead, and Lorne saving Lester by shooting police chief Verne—was as delightfully grim as just about anything I could've imagined.

And each violent act was merely a way of bringing the walls in on Lester so we could watch him squirm. Lester isn't an anti-hero, he's an anti-zero, a literal loser who's been pushed around his whole life and who, on the advice from a man he probably shouldn't be taking advice from, finally decided to stand up for himself when he should probably never do anything but sit down. He's like Mr. Bean if Mr. Bean snapped and started committing homicides. And unlike with most other characters on television (Walter White being a recent exception), there's no clear-cut indication of whether we're supposed to root for him or not. Should we be happy that he's finally manning up and trying to escape the terrible rut he's in, or should we be appalled that, you know, he just treated his wife like a nail in a plank of wood? 


Of course, while we struggle with the decision of whether or not to cheer for Lester, there's no doubt that we should also be on the cops' side. These badge-carriers represent the real heart and soul of Bemidji, the kind of people who are just so darned nice that you can't help but like 'em. And front and center among them is... or was... Verne Thurman (played elegantly by Shawn Doyle), the town's hard-working knows-everybody police chief and father-to-be. So of course Fargo killed him off with two close-range shotgun blasts that splattered ribbons of blood all over Lester's home. Damn, Fargo. He was going to be one of my favorite characters, too! That leaves us with Molly (soon-to-be-a-star Allison Tolman), a delightful homage to Frances McDormand's character from the film, as the cop who will be putting Lester behind bars or in a box by the end of the season. 

That's how Fargo is going to work. There are two forces at play: one of violent change, as represented by Lorne, and one of static decency, as represented by the residents of Bemidji. Caught between those two steamrollers is Lester, a man who's been knocked just far enough off his orbit by Lorne that it's causing ripples of upheaval as far as 50 miles away. Just as Breaking Bad wasn't about making meth—it was actually about transition—Fargo isn't about murder. Fargo is about change. But where Walter White pushed forward and welcomed his transformation, Lester Nygaard has already realized that he should have made peace with his life as a boring insurance salesman. I give Fargo two giant thumbs up, eight high-fives, and a 42-minute standing ovation. "The Crocodile's Dilemma" was one of the best pilots I've seen in a long time.



NOTES

– That scene that began when Verne showed up at Lester's house and ended when Lester ran into the wall to paint himself as another victim was outstanding. So much well-crafted tension!

– The Hess kids are fantastic. Someone give them their own show!

– I can't wait to see more of Kate Walsh as Gina Hess. This is the role that Walsh was meant to play.

– "Well if you were a better salesman, I'da bought you a nicer tie" might be the most brutal takedown I've heard on television all year. So painful.

– While trying to fix the gun that Lester broke, Chaz mentioned that Lester had been acting weird "Ever since your..." and cut himself off. What do you think Chaz was talking about?

– My favorite line of the episode, from Lorne to Lester: "You let a man beat you in front of his sons to send them a message?"

– Lester's boss at the insurance company on Sam Hess' death: "Yeah it's a shame. Big policy."



Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/14/2015

Season 2 : Episode 10

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Better call Saul.



Who'd be more perfect to pick up the phone and hand it over to Verne?
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COME ON, TIM! SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVEN'T SEEN THE FRIGGING MOVIE!

Its taken me this long to finally check out Fargo. Those dumb kids are probably homages to the bumbling Thomson and Thompson detective twins from Herge's masterful The Adventures of Tintin. As a man, I would says its not 'manning up' when you go and kill someone or bully people just because its what you want or that's how the circumstances are. That said, I don't like Freeman's character, in a good way, and the episode was fantastic.

P.S: You should probably give it a 70 minute standing ovation (not for the smacking into the wall thing when the officer was in the silent house) since the episode was longer than that, not 42 mins.

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Thanks for putting up the RED SPOILER ALERT, Tim!
It'S taken me a longer time (than GirishKrishna1) to pick up this show and naturally I checked out the staff review - even more since it's a Surette's... but this to be followed in a separate post, this is jus a reply).
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Ah Jeeze. What a dandy shmandy pilot! I'm totally hooked. Highly entertaining. Can't wait to see where these characters go. I don't think I've ever felt like I should be rooting for both sides. I'm already pissed that they killed the Sheriff! He was a likable character from the get go (which is hard to establish) and BAM he is gone. Sad oh well. Give me more!
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It's taken me awhile to watch this and I'm not sure it was long enough. Looks it's interesting enough, the story has been tweaked enough to not be completely derivative and the dark comedic violence of the movie is still there but I have many issues with this.

It felt very clunky to me, especially in the early stages. In each scene I felt this is a scene establishing whatever and then moved on to the next one. The pacing was slow (sort of like taking the first third of the movie and dragging it out to more than twice as long)and the small doses of comedy were far short of Coen standards.

Coen movies are tightly and intricately constructed and their comedies are consistently funny and entertaining. This felt drawn out and nowhere near funny enough. Maybe the long running time had something to do with it, a regular length episode could have achieved just as much far more effectively.

Freeman's casting wasn't a total disaster but his 'acting' style far from nailed the character and we're already seeing how departures from the movie are dulling the experience. In the movie Freeman's equivalent is a similar, likable character who conspire with criminals to kidnap his wife. That made him already far more interesting than the show. Dabbling in crime which inevitably spirals out of control is far more interesting than only resorting to violence following the influence of others. Lester has no motive to commit crime and no genius either. Anything he does will be reactionary and his denouement will therefore be a pretty dull affair. I'm sure the violence begetting violence idea is rich in thematic resonance and seems like a great way for the series to go but having characters actively choosing their own fate is always better than being passively affected by others.

And as for the impetus for his change, the conversation in the hospital room was a gobsmackingly awful use of a sitcommy misinterpretation trope to launch a murderous escapade. At the end of the day everything will come back to this ridiculous conversation. If you're going to murder half the town (presumably) then surely you can think of a better reason for it to start than stupid miscommunication (and don't forget that Lester explicitly stated in that conversation that he did not want the guy to kill Hess. Thornton's assassin is far more plot contrivance than real character, he's certainly not living up to Buscemi and Stormare at this stage.

To the police, watching this I was furious they changed the police chief from a a pregnant woman to a man with a pregnant wife. I thought what possible reason could they have for changing such a pivotal character. Well I got my answer when they killed the chief off at the episode's end, so the deputy will become the real equivalent to McDormand's character. Still why didn't they make her pregnant instead? Why lose that rich element to the character.

It probably sounds like I'm just being a stickler to the movie but I am open to them having their own interpretation, it's just when you start with a masterpiece every mistake you make is glaringly obvious. It's still a decent show so I'll keep watching for now (probably to the 4 episode test) but I have serious reservations about it.
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Well for one, it's not an adaptation of the movie so most of your points are moot. The show needs to stand on it's own and it does delightfully well.
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"He's like Mr. Bean if Mr. Bean snapped and started committing homicides." ROFLMAO, what a brilliant conception that is!
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This episode was amazing and totally agree about the suspense during the murder scenes in Lester's house. The tension was amazing.
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Made me reminisce about David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" series, but more macabre...
If those events really occurred, as they claim in the opening sequence, "Out of respect for the dead..." as they wrote, it's kind of morbid that they turn it into a comedy.
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Of course it's no coincidence that the events of the pilot were so similar to the Coen's 1996 movie of the same name, that one also helpfully informed us it was based on true events being told "Out of respect for the dead...". This is Minnesota after all, things like this happen there all the time.
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Things like this do not happen in Minnesota all the time. When there is a murder that may have many levels to it, the cops get all excited to be doing something besides simple burglaries or domestics. And also, when I worked at the St Paul Police dispatch, most of the calls were domestics, house break -ins, drug cases. Something exciting, and every available squad and then some, go to the scene. Anyway, I really love the new 'Fargo'. It's dark, and funny..I can't wait to see the next episodes. It's a nice break from the other shows I watch... the vampire, motor cycle gang, game of throne type of shows. Love it!
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Excellent. Since you're a local maybe you can remember the events from 2006 and 1987. I've heard rumours the events of the TV show were copycats of the those from the movie.
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The analogy to Breaking Bad is very good, especially with Saul Goodman switching careers from criminal lawyer to small town cop.
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only one word for the pilot-- sensational!
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I spent the entire episode wondering whether that was Billy Bob I was watching or a very good look alike.

LOL.

That man looks younger now than a decade ago.
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Yes indeed!!! and he never could tolerate anything around his neck, like no Turtle Neck, no tie and wouldn't even button the top button on his shirt... and, now we see him with a scarf around his neck!!! I too was kinda like "What? Is that really him?" LOL
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As you wrote, this pilot episode was brilliant. And its nice to know I'm not the only one who found humor in the scene of the wife getting konked on the head with the hammer. The humor from the film was well captured for the small screen.

Very sad about the sheriff because, like you, he was poised to be one of my favorite characters. To off him so soon was cruel. But the actor playing Molly did a great job. Looking forward to seeing her character grow.

At first, I didn't know Billy Bob Thornton was in this and I think it took me most of the way through the ER waiting room scene before something in the way he said something made it click. He is damn good in this role.

I'm excited to ride the wave of this show in the coming weeks.
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Here's my problem with this episode, catching Lester really didn't feel like a thing that was a good driving force for this series. He isn't clever, he isn't daring, he isn't brave, he isn't a criminal mastermind in any sense of the word. So if the Bemidji cops are putting Lester behind bars, that seems uninteresting, he's a victim of a horrible life who made a single mistake (one brought on by Lorne's influence, I might add) and he isn't worth watching squirm - he's squirmed every moment of his existence, so it's grotesque. There shouldn't be any challenge to arresting him and grilling him, if the local cops can't handle it, then bring in the staties or the feds, but it shouldn't take any more time.

So I liked the work in this episode, the acting and the production seem like they really care, but I don't like the script that much yet, and I'd consider that mixed experience.
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I am guessing there are probably a few twists in the events to try to capture him. I am guessing also Lorne Malvo will probably be involved. I am also guessing Lester is smarter than most people think he is. He was not brave enough to do anything till this. He was probably inspired by Lorne turning up in his life.

With such an excellent first episode, I do think (and hope) the writers have more fun in store for us.
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The Hess brothers bring to mind Cole & Bart in NEBRASKA.

You have to wonder what Moe is thinking as Mickey begins whaling away on him with the hockey stick ! Best "reading of the will" reaction ever !
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To Tim Surrette, your insensitivity is appalling. I certainly did not find the death of lesters wife amusing, something to laugh about. In theworld of the show, lives were lost. The scene between Vernes wife, and Molly. When she arrives with the paint samples , and the bad news is more of a reason to tune in on this show. I think the growing number of shows that are on that indirectly glorify , objectify ordesensitize our humanity by portraying the taking of life, as plot points is a bad sign. The genius of breaking bad, and hopefully fargo is that they will make us squrm with the enormity of the murders. Television needs to drive home the notion that lives are changed some ruined by these acts. The caliber of acting on this show by every single performer was outstanding. I look forward to it. I look forward to the drama, not the comedy (the kid peeing in the bosses gastank being a possible exception)
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@ everyone that feel the need to bring up the dark comedy tag. I think the commonplace use of death and murder desensitizing and inappropriate. The visual medium is capable of inspiring, it is capable of showing us a higher purpose than brutally killing your wife because that is taking your manhood back! I found Marge in the movie to be an exceptional character. The exchanges she had with Bill Macy were comedic gems. Buscemi and his luckless sadsack were funny, Macy trapping himself in his own bs was humorous. In The movie folks that were innocent died, but their deaths were not treated as punchlines. I did not find that hapless woman getting her brains bashed in humorous. My idea of a dark comedy? The series "Bullet In The Face". I still look forwward to this show, I just hope they show Malvo to be a monster, not an anti hero.
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Perhaps you should not be watching this show then :-)
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If you didn't find humor in that scene (even just a little bit)...did you like the movie? Fargo was an incredibly dark comedy and that scene was tame compared to some stuff in the film.
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The death of the Sheriff, yeah, that was bad. I really liked that character and was very surprised when Lorne shot him.

Lester's wife on the other hand... that was damn funny (the first hit and with her surprised face - which probably mirrors ours - was funny, the beat down was not funny but intense and brutal).
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This is a dark comedy just like the movie.
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Simply amazing Love it
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brillant
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OMG, I loved it, specially when Freeman managed to get out of that problem, one of the top show i'll watch.....
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I am in the minority here, but I think Freeman was miscast. It's not that he did a bad job, but just about everyone else seemed natural and organic to the area (or show), as if they were real people. Freeman seemed oddly out of sync or something. It could be it's too soon after Sherlock and I am seeing some of the same mannerisms. It could be knowing he is British makes the accent and character more false. it could be he's trying a little too hard while the others seem more relaxed. I don't know. That said, he did fine, but it could be another actor might have been more believable to me. Maybe in another episode or two, he'll settle in.

Kate Walsh seemed a bit of an exaggeration to me as well, but nice to see her in something like this role.

Sad the chief had to die. In another show, his character would have been great, I think.
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I've always felt Freeman has a fairly limited range and acts sometimes in a forced way. He was perfectly cast in The Office and Sherlock but I don't think he's right for this role, just as I don't think he was for The Hobbit.
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I both agree that Freeman didn't feel organic here, his mannerisms felt more odd and forced. If Lester had been the town's oddball instead of the town's loser, I could have bought it easily, but as good a job as he did, it just didn't feel right to me either.
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Chief had to go. Can't have but one police goody two shoes in one show. Its a rule.
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Anyone who hasn't seen the movie probably got more out of this but I still enjoyed it.
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I remember movie just enough to remember some scenes, things and connections. So there is some link between movie and show but it's more vague.

But great, dark show. Not sure where they are going with various plot lines but will be interesting to watch them unfold.

Maybe I'm a sick individual but whole scene where Lorne calls Hess house and tells older son his father left everything to his little brother which in turn results in him taking his brother outside and beating him with hockey stick was one of the funniest things I've seen on TV lately.
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I thought that scene was hilarious. The cop diving at the kid to stop the beating was priceless.
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Lorne, he does like to sow him some discord. That was awesome.
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Yes omg yes this show!!!
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Since the opening commentary states that this series is based on events of 2006, I can't decide if this is supposed to be based on the same circumstances as the Movie Fargo or if it is an entirely different story. The movie was released in 1996 and based on events earlier than that.

I loved the Premier Episode. Excellent Writing, Casting, Acting, Directing and Cinematography. They have set a very high standard for themselves. Billy Bob Thornton is really creepy in his part.

It didn't seem to me that he threw the knife at Sam Hess I thought he stabbed him with it.
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I was pleasantly surprised to see that, thus far, they've managed to actually make it darkly funny.
Billy Bob is excellent as Loki the trickster. Freeman is good but feels like he's tried to mirror Macy's pronunciation of phrases a tad too much - so much so that it gave me flashbacks. It clearly looks as though Tolman's Molly will be, like McDormand's Marge, the smarty pants overall. Although Molly looks much more action oriented and overt in comparison to Marge's more sublte, quircky and almost Columbo-esque approach.
Lester's kill scene was one of the most bizarrely enjoyable things I've seen on TV for a while. His death stroke was followed by instant regret that led to multiple blows of further regret, which left me thinking how his feelings must've been rotating between sorrow for the act to having hooked up with and staying with such a terrible cunt. He deserved a medal for managing an erection with that.
The only scene that troubled me was the gun falling apart. In that it either suggested that his brother is a tit who can't put one together and should've been an opportunity for Lester to criticise his brother and not the reverse. Or, that it was a lazy piece of writing to emphasize that everything is Lester the loser's fault. Either way it was no doubt sponsored by the Taliban.
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The based on thing is actually kind of a joke even in the movie.

It was a mixture of events that inspired the Coen brothers. That is what they claimed.

It was never truly based on a single person or a single story. It was kind of funny because the movie was a dark comedy and I would not be surprised if it was all imaginary. The brothers have admitted the movie is fictional. Just goggle it and you can see there are news about the authenticity.

That is one of the reason why I find it so funny that there are doing it again but this time changing it to 2006. It is a way to pay homage to the original movie. I highly doubt the series is based on anything in real life.


This is an an excerpt from Joel Coen on Wiki page.

Joel Coen noted:
If an audience believes that something's based on a real event, it gives you permission to do things they might otherwise not accept."[4]The Coens claim the actual murders took place, but not in Minnesota.[5]
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"... Molly looks much more action oriented and overt in comparison to Marge's more sublte, quircky and almost Columbo-esque approach.."
Ya reckon ?? Marge was about 13 month's pregnant !
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Yeah, but Marge was more of a stand back and have a think on it and, not an elephant!!!
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I've got to say that was the best pilot I think I've ever seen, and I watch a disgusting amount of shows. I feel sorry for my friends, family and co-workers, since I know that I'm going to annoy the hell out of them to watch it.
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It was really up there for me. I still think Justified is the best pilot episode I've seen.
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Damn wish I could get out of a ticket like that like a boss.
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If Lester had never met Lorne Malvo, would he have bonked his wife on the head with the hammer? I'm thinking probably not; anyone else think differently?
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I yelled, shut up Skylar ! every time the wife opened her mouth.
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OMG I totally just cracked up, hilarious!
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OM*EFFING*G......that was some FANTASTIC televison.
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Well, that no violence kinda deal just headed south didn't it?
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Great review of a very promising pilot. Two things stood out for me:
  1. The plot in the tv show has changed almost totally from the movie so plenty of thrill ahead even if we all suspect Lester will be caught/dead by the end of the season. But what fun it will be to see him struggle and Freeman (right accent or not) is the right guy for such acting challenge
  2. One would almost be tempted to root for the bullied underdog Lester and his psychopath guru except... THOSE PAINT CANS!!! The scene where Molly brings the cans to Verne's widow is heartbreaking in a very subtle way, in contrast with some of the dark slapstick humour around Lester
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Inevitable comparison to From Dusk til Dawn as both are remake of a cult movie and is showing around the same time but Fargo is way better than FDTD !

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I've only watched one episode of the TV FDTD but that was enough--couldn't get into it.
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It does not have a good cast as the main leads and the story only gets better around episode 4-5.
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While I did not agree with most critics raving about how great True Detectives was, I definitely agree with this one. The premiere was fantastic. This is a clear example of how to make great TV with great tension. I am wishing the rest will be just as good and we will witness the birth of a new great TV show.

I am a fan of Coen brothers and was going into this half hearted and expecting the series to be a poor remake of the original movie. I was delightfully surprised to find it was a totally different story yet done in a tone paying homage to the original. Considering this was not even done by the Coen brothers, I found the style very similar.

The cast is perfect. Martin Freeman is most suited to play this type of role but Billy Bob Thornton blew me away. I was not a fan of most of his movies but he does this role perfectly. His scene with the motel lady owner was hilarious !

The rest of the cast...

Bob Odenkirk (surprise thought he was busy with Better Call Saul)
Kate Walsh (one of my favorite actress, hope they give her more to do)
Shawn Doyle (Loved him in Big Love but too bad he was killed off so early)
Colin Hanks (Dexter fame)
Oliver Platt ( The Big C fame - Have not seen him in the pilot but I bet he will be very funny)

For those who needs a hero with good morals to root for, this is not a show for you !

Two critics I found on the net sums it up perfectly.

Hank Stuever, Washington Post:
In the ways that matter most, this Fargo does everything a TV show should do when it’s based on a movie — it makes you recall how much you loved it the first time around while advancing a new tale in the same snow-blown, upper-Midwestern milieu …

Mary McNamara, LA Times:
Written by Noah Hawley (with the Coens' blessing) this Fargo is at once eerily similar and completely different. The first episode especially is a bit like being caught in a dream; everything's intensely familiar, yet several ticks off.

Cannot wait for the next episode !

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I love the whole broken washing machine deal. Constantly hearing that whirring and banging throughout the episode was a nice touch. I just started laundry and now thats all I can hear.
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I like that they kept that "true story" bullshit from the original. Always cracks me up :D
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Those who are new to the series without watching the movie might not catch the joke ! Ha ha !
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Actually, I'm not a fan of that part, what the logic behind it?
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The movie was based a mixture of events that inspired the Coen brothers. That is what they claimed.

It was never truly based on a single person or a single story. It was kind of funny because the movie was a dark comedy and I would not be surprised if it was all imaginary. The brothers have admitted as much the movie is fictional.

That is one of the reason why I find it so funny that there are doing it again but this time changing it to 2006. It is a way to pay homage to the original movie. I highly doubt the series is based on anything in real life.


This is an an excerpt from Joel Coen on Wiki page.

Joel Coen noted:
If an audience believes that something's based on a real event, it gives you permission to do things they might otherwise not accept."[4]The Coens claim the actual murders took place, but not in Minnesota.[5]
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Well in the beginning they say it is based on a true story etc.
But in reality there never was this exact story. And they used the exact same wording in the tv show.
Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fargo_(film)#Production
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I agreed. There is no way this series is based on any real events. They have pulled a fast one without the audience knowing.
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For about the first 45 minutes I wasn't sure if Fargo was a show for me, but then I was hooked. I'll definitely be watching the rest of the series.
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I liked it too. It has the same feel as the movie.
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It has got to be REALLY REALLY tough to shoot a scene that shows a guy that has been pulled over by a cop realistically punking out that cop. Even though it's still very far fetched for something like that to happen, Billy Bob and Colin Hanks pulled it off pretty well. Colin seemed genuinely at a loss for words and Billy Bob had that cold, psychopathic stare down perfectly. If it were done by any other actors, there's a good chance that it would of looked silly and lame..

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Does anyone know if we're going to see anyone from the original Fargo on the show as well? I'd love to see Peter Stormare or Steve Buscemi show up for a cameo.
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I love master manipulators!! Billy Bob is perfect as a psychopathic trickster
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****Spoilery gifs ahead****




Source

Lester Nygaard ladies and gents. LMAO!

I'm all in with this show.
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:) That bully was such a dick. I laughed like hell, when he was tormenting the guy in front of his kids. I hate to say it, but he deserved a damn knife to the rear skull.
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Still can't get over the fact that's Bilbo Baggins.
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Still cant get over the fact that's Dr. Watson
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I love Lorne as the agent of chaos. Sowing seeds like and evil Johnny Appleseed. The scene with the Hess men where he calls the boy slow, telling the motel aide to pee in his boss's car, and then telling the older Hess boy his brother gets the estate. I just love that kind of stuff.
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He reminds me of Leland Gaunt from "Needful Things"
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I really need to read that novel.
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YES! He absolutely reminded me of him. The way he is just constantly instigating trouble between the citizens and giving them exactly what they wanted most.
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Did they air shorter version? I've read some reviews yesterday and they said the pilot has 90 minutes.
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It was 90 minutes, including commercial breaks, of course.
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The movie is one of my favorite films. The tone, atmosphere and performances were brilliant.

Martin Freemans accent was hard to get used to though, I am sure it will settle after and episode or two.
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The speed with which Freeman's character turns to hit the glass when Hess flinches him had the entire 20 years of Pavlov-type abuse behind it - absolutely brilliant! One hell of a start!
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Agreed. Love it!
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What I liked was that four people got killed right off the bat, and that Malvo likes to pit people against each other.

The only thing that bothers me with this show, and so many similar ones is, that the truly standout characters (so far) are played by men. What would this show be like if the philosophical Malvo with a bad haircut or the wimpy Lester were played by women? It's very hard for me to imagine Hollywood writing similar female characters.
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I think the officer (Molly) and Hess' wife will be stand-out characters. Of course, that's only two.
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Molly, definitely, but Hess' or Thurman's widow, they'd need a lot more screen time to develop, and at this stage I'm not interested in following either of those two characters.
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I loved the pilot. This is sth I like. Can't wait to see how this pans out
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Really good pilot. Can't wait to see how this show develops.
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Ok, the good feedback convinces me to give this a go. I thought the movie was great but I am not a big fan of Martin Freeman - there is something slightly annoying about him that I can't quite pinpoint even if I recognize he's a very good actor. He's one of the (many) reasons I was very lukewarm about "The Hobbit," so I was gonna give this a pass. But hell, Kate Walsh is in it, and even though I didn't watch Private Practice, she was great in Grey's Anatomy.
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I know what you mean about Martin Freeman, but honestly he's kinda perfect when it comes to really making Billy Bob stand out. Definitely give the pilot a shot
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Ok, I'm not American so I gotta ask: Do they really talk like that in Minnesota?? Or is that just a Coen brothers thing? Because it's hella annoying - to me. Other then that, the show has promise.
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I vaguely remember an interview with William H Macy after the film was released he was approached by someone from Minnesota who wasn't fond of the accents used in the film, appearently the Minnesotan(?) said something along the lines "Aww geez, we really don't talk like that."
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Ha! You see? I'm not the only one who thinks it's annoying. ;)
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I live in Minnesota and it is blown a little out of proportion. We don't sound like that - at least where I live. But I'm sure there are accents like that somewhere.
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Well, finally an answer from someone who knows. Lol Not that I don't appreciate the other answers but I think It's safe to say that yours is probably the most credible. Thanks :)
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I've visited Northern Minnesota a couple times and that is pretty much how they speak
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Oh wow. Ok. Guess I'll have to get used to it.
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I use to place monthly comic orders with a business in Chicago. The very nice customer service woman had a similar accent, so yeah, to some degree that accent is real, but may be exaggerated by Hollywood standards.
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Thought so. :)
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It annoyed me in the trailer, but once I got into the premiere, I didn't really notice it. The rest is too good to care.
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I'm Australian so it's probably just me. I'm sure I'll get used to it though.
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Me too lol
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Well, hello there! ;)
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I'm not sure if that is a true dialect or accent, but I think it is close. Of course, as a southerner I am used to Hollywood's play on regional accents. There are many southern accents, but Hollywood usually uses the Gone with the Wind type ("Oh dahling, I do declare!") or the redneck/hillbilly version. So Fargo could be exaggerating the Minnesota accent, but it adds to the quirkiness of the show as it did the original movie.
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Yeah I'm Australian and they tend to exaggerate the Aussie accent in U.S. TV shows too.
However, Fargo (both the movie and now the show) really got me wondering if people actually talk like that in Minnesota. Or anywhere. Lol I guess it's a slightly exaggerated version then?? Either way, looks like I'll have to get used to it if I want to enjoy the show. Thanks for your answer. :)
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Lots of stereotyping in TV--accents included. However, we probably do need proper education on other accents. I met an Aussie lady on a trip to Italy and she was quite quick to correct my pronunciation of Australia, which is a good thing--that's how we learn. She told me not to put the accent on the first syllable (Au...) which is what I had always done. I believe she put the accent on the second syllable. Is that correct?
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Yeah...when American say "Australia" it sounds like "Ostralia". But when Aussies say it, it sounds more like Austra-liah. But, I mean there's really no right or wrong way of saying it. You say it how you say it, depending on your accent. Lol

I actually migrated to Australia when I was 12. So I don't have a "proper" Aussie accent. I learned English when I was very young (before I came here) and my teacher was Canadian. So my accent is a mix between Australian and Canadian. Lol
I don't know how many Australians you've met or heard but John Noble's real accent is a pretty proper & spot on (and the most common) Australian accent. As is Anna Torvs. (I added a clip below)
So, none of that "The Simpsons" or "Crocodile Dundee" over-the-top stuff. Unless you're way out in the middle of nowhere and even the "country bumpkin" version isn't as extreme.
But if you watch any Australian TV commercial or news footage on YouTube - that's pretty much the Aussie accent.
Like for example, this Kleenex commercial. :-)
John Noble and Anna Torv here are a very true example of the common Australian accent.



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The Australian accent sounds awesome. The pronunciation of the word "knife" is the best
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Lol. Yeah that's a good one. Although very, very exaggerated in the "Crocodile Dundee" version.
"That's not a nooifff, this is a nooifff!" Lol
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I'm from Canada and I've never once heard anyone talk with the accent they use for us. I've heard that some people from the maritime provinces might talk like that, but those provinces combined only make up appprox. 4% of Canada's entire population and I doubt that the majority speak that way. Yet that is how we all apparently speak. It's a'boot time we set the record straight, dammit!
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Lol...you're right. I'm Australian and I know a lot of Canadians but I've never met one who talks with the "a'boot time" accent. It's all just Hollywood exaggerating everything. They do the same thing with the Aussie accent.
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oh you betcha!
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Awww geez!
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Sort of the way most of the world feels about the word hella?
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Well obviously you have zero sense of humour because that is precisely why I used that god-awful "word".
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If you happen to watch South Park. Eric Cartman is an exaggerated midwestern accent.

As for my attitude, you can't tell me America's legendary asshole reputation hasn't reached Australia yet. We hella earn it.
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Hahahaha. We know. But our heads are way too far up your asses to say anything.

WE RESPECT YOUR AUTHORI-TIE!
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I'll just bathe them in saline. It's hella refreshing.
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Aww geez...now you got me hella "LOLing". Nicely played.

P.S. I actually just took my contacts out (and rinsed with saline). True story.
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So, you used a word originating in San Fransisco to make fun of the way mid-westerners talk? Well shit, I apologize. Your sense humor is just WAY too sophisticated for the likes of me.

In other news, I just sprained my eyes from rolling them too hard.
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Btw, I wasn't making fun of the way they talk. I was asking a legitimate question because I'm Australian and I really have no idea what people in Minnesota sound like. But it's nice to meet your attitude, I guess I better watch it when commenting on this thread.
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I'm really sorry about your eyes. I hope they get better soon. :(
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On Lester's likability, and I'd love others to tell me their opinions, it's definitely not as ambiguous as you would make it seem, Tim, at least not for me personally. He's just such a relatable character, like I said in my previous commented, I wanted him to kill his wife, and I wanted him to not regret it. As for whether or not I want him to get away with it, well supporting the crime would suppose I would, but I think the writers would have to do a whole lot more work to make me think why he deserves to get away with it (and I certainly hope this is the direction it goes in).

Anyway, this is not saying I'm not rooting for Molly and the police of Bemidji either, again, in my previous comment I stated how I'm glad a strong and entertaining female character will be leading the chase against Lester.

So at this stage I want everyone to win, which I know can't happen, but what does everybody else think?


Poll

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I'm voting for Lester now, but I may change my mind as the series unfolds.
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Good point. I'm sure there were plenty of people rooting for Walter at the beginning of Breaking Bad, but changed their minds as his character developed. I wasn't one of them (I was indifferent to him at the beginning of the series, but I loved him by the end). Anyway, a similar sort of thing could happen here is Lester's character continues to digress, if you will.
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I didn't like Walter White much by the end of Breaking Bad, but I didn't like his wife either.
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Haha, don't feel bad, no one liked Skylar.
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I was going to come on here and complain that I found the series too cringe-worthy to watch, that I didn't particularly want to follow the boring and disappointing life of insurance salesman Lester Nygaard as everyone around him constantly berated him. I didn't want to watch that unless he would eventually crack and hit his wife in the head with a hammer.

It's like Fargo immediately set itself up with problems that would hinder my enjoyment of the series, such as annoying characters like Sam Hess and Lester's wife, and then immediately fixed them by gratifying by desires; having them brutally murdered. Now there's a good salesman, give a man a problem, and make him buy what he needs to fix it. And I'm happy to say that by the end of this first episode, I am fully invested in Fargo.

Billy Bob's Lorne Malvo is already as charismatic and full of philosophical insight that by season's end I wouldn't be surprised he if surpasses Rust Cohle in greatness.

I was initially disappointed by the addition of police chief Verne Thurman, because I thought it was at the expense of the strong female character Frances McDormond played in the film, but again, the series tricked me, and like you said Tim, the character of Molly will be front and centre on the investigation, so I'm very very glad they killed off Thurman so early.
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Malvo made me think of Rust Cohle, in that I think Malvo is the anti-Rust. Same guy but evil this time.
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Did you see the movie Fargo? The tv show has the same flavor, and all of that "cringe-worthy" stuff you mentioned is part of the whole experience.
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Wasn't a huge fan of the film. For me, everything sort of came off as a random series of events, while the series (as least in the premiere) seems more intent on linking the events of plot to emotional and/ or philosophical ideas with its characters. It that makes any sense.
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I am a fan of the original movie and I thought this remake will be as bad as From Dusk Til Dawn but it was surprisingly good. The premiere was more than good and I hope the rest of the series will be as well. My expectation had been raised very high after this premiere
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I was afraid it would be just a remake of the film Fargo--or just a bad TV version, but the cast was a definite draw to watch the pilot and I'm glad I did.
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I'm actually liking From Dusk Till Dawn.
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you have good tastes;-)
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Story wise - It starts to get a little better by episode 4 but still the two main leads are not too good. The Mexican police really knows how to stare. I do not mean that in a good way. Don Johnson and Robert Patrick are experience and better but Johnson get so little screen time.
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Yep, it was some brilliant writing
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