August 9, 2017

Must See TV

We all love that the ThreeSources banner shows the philosophical and economic poverty of Communist North Korea.

NED bless the actor Channing Tatum. He has worked tirelessly to bring this odd project to fruition:

comradeDetective.jpg

It is a six-episode depiction of the 38th parallel: comically funny and stunningly enlightening about the perils of taking Marx too seriously.

It is a Soviet-era TV show that Channing and his pals have restored and dubbed in (cable-TV) English. Detectives Gregor Anghel and Joseph Baciu are the "Starsky & Hutch" of Bucharest, consigned to attempt coolness in those horrid little soviet tin can automobiles.

The entire occupation is dubious because "there is normally no crime" in Communist paradise. Sometimes, they'll respond to a break-in just to find some over-enthusiastic neighbors (and, no, I am not making this up) had redistributed a person's wealth to the less fortunate in the neighborhood.

And they smoke a lot.

In the first episode, titled "The Invisible Hand" (not making that up either), a Jordache label found at a crime scene leads them to the American Embassy where they meet the buxom, decadent Ambassador, and a shadowy figure who operates a casino and sells jeans.

This was developed by the Soviets to make us look bad ("Partner, isn't it redundant to say 'Capitalist whore?'") but I think it would make Rev. Jeremiah Wright put on a Lee Greenwood album.

We'll see if the magic holds through all six episodes (I'm leaning yes), but you have GOT to see at least one.

Television Posted by John Kranz at August 9, 2017 10:18 AM

Four (out of six) episodes in. It has turned from campy Communist propaganda into very artsy Communist propaganda.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2017 2:13 PM

I watched episode 1. It has its charms. I'm planning to go on from there soon. I only have the series finale remaining from my latest fave - 'Strike Back.' American Damien Scott and Brit Michael Stonebridge are admirable heroes, although the gunfight scenes are less believable in the later seasons than in the first couple: There's no way they both should be unscathed from the hail of bad guy bullets on so many occasions.

Posted by: johngalt at August 15, 2017 1:46 PM

Finally finished Episode Six last night. I'd suggest sticking with it. It changes quite a bit.

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2017 4:49 PM

Watched episodes 2-4 last night. Hilarious in places. Episode 3 was best. Some highlights - "evil capitalist plot" is referenced, as shadowy characters distribute free "Jor-DACK-ee" jeans in the streets. In a difficult moment, one of the communist detectives asks the other, "What would Lenin do?" "He'd kick his ass," came the response. Alas, the suspect had already hanged himself to avoid torture. "Why do we torture people?" "Because it works."

A touching scene when one detective's teen daughter is found surreptitiously listening to western music (after her father explains to her little brother that "it's your duty to inform on your sister) but the father doesn't get angry. He calmly explains that it's not "just music" but it's propaganda, designed to seduce good communists into the wicked ways of capitalism. "The west wants to make all of us prostitutes."

Earlier that same detective related a story about his uncle who emigrated to New York. "They made him start his own business just to survive." I guess that passes for "prostitution."

The funniest yet was when Jane, the young woman from the US Embassy, said she misses her home country (although nobody makes love like Romanian men.) "Of course I don't miss the poverty, the racism and the crime. Or the AIDS. Just about everyone in America has AIDS."

The opening credits include the seal of approval of the "Ministry of Acceptable Diversion for the People's Republic of Romania" or something to that effect. #propaganda

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2017 11:06 AM

Yet, we're into incredible Harrison Bergeron territory here, They try so clumsily to bash the West, yet it would turn George Monbiot into Lee Greenwood. They cannot hide the repression, poverty, and lack of individuality.

The scary dream sequence of New York opens with a cool Starsky & Hutch car. "Game, set, match West."

Posted by: jk at August 18, 2017 2:51 PM

You make an excellent point that I had not fully appreciated, although there was a scene that I thought proved it. When Gregor brings a pair of the Jordache jeans to the partners apartment, partner's wife seems to long for a chance to touch them, much less wear them, without the inherent guilt of "materialism." In that one moment of acknowledging human nature, communist propagandists admitted why they are destined to lose.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2017 5:02 PM | What do you think? [6]