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Complaints about the True Detective finale are grating my nerves

(ETA: Certain complaints. Plenty of criticism is valid, I'm just having trouble with the ones described below.) Fair warning, this is mostly extra-textual grievance-filing rather than analysis — I have more ideas about this show, but I just first want to say how bugged I am that people are complaining about "unanswered questions" or details the creators revealed in interviews that weren't in the show. Great stories do not spell out their mysteries — they require intelligence and a degree of critical thinking from their audience. Most of the questions people seem to have (e.g. why was the old lady yelling about Carcosa?) are things that you can get by thinking for ~20 seconds about the details you get from the show. Given that I came up with answers for those "unanswered questions" that seem to accord with what other people are posting all over the place — and I didn't google, I promise! — it's clear that a smidge of critical thinking is required, yet we're not just throwing unfounded theories out into the world. The show gave you enough to answer your questions, and in the places where things are still uncertain, you're told pretty matter-of-factly that you're not going to get everything crystal clear and the bad guys all behind bars — because that's not how "this world" works.

Further, this show inspired such fanaticism that people read intensively into production details to formulate all kinds of theories — and while it's cool to see a smart show generate that kind of devoted response, you can't hold the creators accountable because they didn't follow up on your pet idea that you strung together. Not all leads are good ones, even among the best detectives.


But the thing bothering me the most is the "they should have put THAT in the show" complaining. For example, I saw someone post on Gawker about how one of the creators said something like after the scarred man (Errol)'s face was burned, he had a speech impediment, and he watched old movies to re-learn how to talk — hence the movie/accent stuff in the beginning. That's a neat production detail, and it's cool they shared it! But people complaining that we never learned that about the character are just so damned wrongheaded about storytelling works. The majority of the background you develop for a character is never going to come out in a story — you need to have it so that your characters are well-rounded and believable, but it is not essential to share in detail to actually tell the story. I mean, Hemingway's "iceberg theory" is a standard way to teach young writers — you should only see 10% of what's going on in a story, with the other 90% under the surface.

Come on, people. Since the show is in large part thinking about how we deal with uncertainty, it's disconcerting that some of its viewers are so unhappy when the very story leaves you with some.


Okay, rant over. Can we talk about Rust's gorgeous monologue last night and Marty's perfect response? What did you guys think?

ETA: Not that this is mainpage-worthy, but I'd rather this remained a GT conversation piece.

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