Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Longmire's Magical Realism

I never really expected to like Longmire. But since the advent of DVRs and Netflix I've become a fan of the small screen. With multiple episodes and seasons to delve into character, TV shows have become much more compelling entertainment for me than movies. Now, I—who used to not own a television on principal—enjoy fangirling over my favorite shows.

Back to ... I never really expected to like Longmire. But we were in the middle of seasons with not much to watch and it popped up on our radar. The first show hooked me: the characters, the writing, and that jaw-dropping scenery. I mean, what's not to love about a stoic male hero who looks great in a cowboy hat and boots? Which Robert Taylor does! (What is it with these actors from Down Under ...  Simon Baker?!?) And Longmire is a widower. His wife's ashes reside in a tin box labeled Tea in his kitchen. Her body may have departed from this world, but Martha's memory informs every aspect of who Walt Longmire is and who he remains to become. Did I mention that he refuses to own a cellphone (be still my Luddite heart) and picks up stray beer cans (the treehugger in me beams) because he hates to see them mucking up his beloved Absaroka County?


And then there's his friend Henry Standing Bear—"It's a beautiful day at the Red Pony and continual soiree"—played by Lou Diamond Phillips. His one-liners are some of the best dialog in the show. I want to take a road trip to Wyoming, hang out at the Red Pony, and drink Ranier beer even though I hate beer!


Okay, not enough to love in one show? Then add Vic Moretti (played brilliantly by Katee Sackhoff), deputy to Longmire's sheriff. Her hair is always a mess and her mouth is always sharp. In other words she's real. She doesn't go around chasing bad guys and girls in heels with a blow out.


And then there's deputy Branch Connally, challenging his boss in the upcoming election. He's the prissy one. And Ferg, the young deputy who's trying to find himself, his courage, his sense of purpose.

There are three more elements I love about this show.

Yes, it's a law and order/crime show, but the crimes are not retreads. Each one tugs at your heart and many leave you with a good look at what's wrong with this world. There is little stark us vs. them, cliched dichotomy, right/wrong here. The misguided, wrong-headed, and wrong-hearted wreak havoc on those around them with a reality that is often painful to watch.

Absaroka County borders a Cheyenne reservation. The distrust between the two nations is portrayed with both a simplicity and complexity that feels tense, raw, harsh, and palpable.

The show really shines when it enters the territory of magical realism and brings Native American spirituality and culture into the episodes—Contrary Clowns, Dog Soldiers, Eagle Feathers, and White Warriors. Sigh. I'm so thrilled Netflix picked it up for its fourth season ... which was released on September 10th.

We're currently binge watching Season Four after re-running the first three.

10 comments:

  1. Yes! I saw your post on the fb Longmire posse page!
    This is the first time I've ever been a "fan" of a TV show.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by!!!! I have to confess this is not my first time at the rodeo;) I have loved Dexter, I know, weird, but lot's of dark humor and insight into the human condition if you can get past the gore-scenes. Also The Good Wife, which is something altogether different. But Longmire has really struck a chord. It is such a beautiful show on so many levels. It's lovely to connect with others who are also touched by it's *magic*

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  2. Power to the fans for refusing to let this great series die and cheers for Netflix for snatching up this gem. And Craig Johnson's Longmire mysteries are a wonderful bonus to tide me over between seasons.

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    1. Hear! Hear! Season 5!!!!!! I haven't read the books yet ... but it looks to be a long wait to Season 5, so ...

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  3. Super recap of a fabulous show. I'm a big fan as well and hope it stays around for a long time. They do a great job of character development as well.

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    1. Thank you!!!! Yes, the hope: That it stays around for a long time. :D When we started re-watching the shows to prepare for Season 4, it was amazing to re-experience how the "other world" of Absaroka County just sucks you in ... and you hate to leave:)

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  4. Thanks for the insightful post about a really great show. Kudos to Netflix for picking it up. Have you read the Longmire books? Craig Johnson's writing is very colorful and he brings more of the Cheyenne mysticism into the stories than what is portrayed on the television series.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! And yes KUDOS and GRATITUDE to Netflix for keeping Walt and Henry and Vic and Ferg and Cady ... et al "alive"! No, I haven't read the books, but if there is more of the Cheyenne mysticism in them, then I'm really intrigued. Thank you for pointing that out. Might have to add them to my winter reading list as we hunker down and wait for Season 5:)

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  5. What got my attention was Walt's love for his wife. We should all be so fortunate to find that kind of "Keeper."

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    1. Yes! That is one of the things that I really enjoyed as well. A beautiful love story ... told through his eyes and heart and actions:) Very cool the way they did that, without ever showing us her face.

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