Rutherford Falls: Season 1
April 23, 2021 2:55 PM - All Seasons - Subscribe

Meet Nathan, who's obsessed with history in general and his family's history in particular. He runs a history museum and is very particular about the location of his ancestor's statue. Meet Reagan, his Native American bestie who also wants her own museum, but that's not going so well since her tribe thinks she's a snob. Meet Terry, who runs the casino that houses Reagan's cultural center. He outschemes everybody. Drama ensues.

I'm caving in and just doing all the first season in one go here since it got dumped as a binge watch (sigh...kinda wish they hadn't done that). I'll put more later as I get through more of the show.
posted by jenfullmoon (22 comments total)
Oh, thanks for posting this. We've been watching Columbo on Peacock, so it'd be easy to give this a spin.
posted by rikschell at 4:15 PM on April 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I watched the first 3 episodes last night and really enjoyed it. The cast is terrific and it was nice to see "Brent Norwalk" - (asshole supreme from The Good Place) playing a nice guy for a change. I guess I'm going to have to sign up for a "free trial" to see the final 3 episodes because I have developed a serious crush on Michael Greyeyes.
posted by pjsky at 4:26 PM on April 23, 2021

The show's title deeply amuses me. I have dubbed it "The Narcissism Show" and decided to count how many times Rutherford is said or shown on screen. First episode: TWENTY-NINE TIMES. It's like a bingo game or something!

Anyway, episode 1: Nathan sounds like a sweet, friendly, super nice guy, who is, well, quite hyped up on history, as is his bestie. Until he completely starts losing his shit, anyway--though to be fair, "Let's replace the statue of your ancestor with my dog because of Instagram followers" is pretty irritating. (Though I see nothing wrong with a statue of Lynda Carter, just for the heck of it.) I do really like his friendship with Reagan, which is utterly supportive even though he doesn't quite quite get what it's like for her.

Terry is indeed a shark.

Notes I took while watching:

* He's very practical about asking who has to pee before they start the tour.
* This horny teacher is disturbing.
* "Did they make a statue of any Minishonka?" GOOD QUESTION. "They only had the budget for the one."
* "Different awakenings." Ewwwwww, this chick. Reagan's FACE.
* "This is what I want, but also it's the best idea, and you know it."
* "Feels great to have the support of my community."
* Most Common Reasons People Currently Visit The Cultural Center:
** 70% think they are in the gift shop
** 20% charging their phones
** 5% complain about the slot machines
** 3% to learn about Minishonka culture
** 2% to "escape out the back."
* Nathan has hidden stuff all over his brother's house?! "Listen, if you're going to pull some National Treasure shit in my kitchen, I need to know."
* "I think you should let them move the statue." "I cannot do that."
* "You gotta let the universe know what you want, that's when you get it. That's how it works." "Totally. That's how it works for everyone. For sure."
* "Debbie's on your side. PSYCHO DEBBIE."
* Nathan identifies with the statue way too much. Reagan is all "that's my entire LIFE."
* "This is what I want, but it's also the right idea. and you know it." "Hey, those are my words! But you said 'em better than me, that was awesome."
* Moving Big Larry to the museum and putting a flat medallion on the spot is brilliant, girl. And make a video: "You could finally play yourself!"
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:49 PM on April 23, 2021

Just finished episode 5. This show has made me laugh SO. HARD. I might have to watch the whole thing a second time once I’ve finished the first go round. I love that so many Native voices are a part of making the thing, too.
posted by Night_owl at 9:08 PM on April 23, 2021

Yeah, I watched the first one, half of the second one, then went back and rewatched the first one and am now finishing the second one.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:29 PM on April 23, 2021

Episode 2, Buckheart Lodge: Nathan tries to get help from a drunk podcasting professor who turn out to be racist and wants to brawl at a cabin. Terry tricks/helps Reagan with the community, for both his ends and hers.

Name count: 27 times.

"Can I use that?" "No." "Then I won't."
I will note that Terry speaks the language of who he's trying to appeal to.
We all remember that Madonna performance? "I do not, but go on."
Charles Barkley gin?!
"Why aren't you in school?" "Why don't you have a man in your life?" "Love you." "Love you too." *boggle*
"You gotta read the whole GoFundMe before you donate."
"Most people are too scared to tell me their real opinions. Your rudeness is refreshing."
"I have zero interest in working for the casino. I know I work IN the casino...."
"You're a piece of shit! I KNEW I should have married your brother instead of your broke ass!"
"There's a thing where the kids are eating Rutherford batteries on TikTok. The Power is inside all of us?"
"If we don't move, she won't know we're here." WOW THESE PEOPLE ARE SHITTY.
"Nobody wants to help the cultural center." "That's not completely true. They don't want to help YOU."
* FOUR publishers?!
* Terry goes around to visit various people and makes Reagan do their chores. "I've never caulked anything in my life." "That is why the Creator gave us YouTube."
* Terry has a point about how much work she did to go through school, "but not here, with your own people."
"Dirty dancing classes I taught? We all do the work."
* "He drank that entire basketball of gin!"
* Nathan's idea of fun is to sit around reading Lawrence's journals.
* "You could write quite the manifesto here!"
* Those are some very gay paintings. "I canNOT wait to quorum someday."
* Oh no, "my personal podcast hero, Joseph Rogan."
* Wait, Bobby/Bobbie (I've seen different spellings, unsure which it is) is a HIGH SCHOOLER?! Why aren't you in school, indeed?
* Wow, Terry ripping Reagan a new one in front of her ex's mother. "And it's her fault that Ray married a white woman."
* "I tricked you for my own benefit. But also for your benefit."
* "No one likes a complicated story. That's why nobody liked Cloud Atlas."
* Why is Terry doing this? "Because I think you might be a shark too.....Only a shark would talk to me the way you do!... I need people like you to get what I want."
* "Reagan, I may have just witnessed a murder."
* "Vandalize public property and leave a note. Oh, to live that white dude life."
* "There is an abandoned Sam Goody. You may drop me there. They know me."
* "I stole it." "Chomp chomp."
* "If I need you to come up and get yelled at, I'll let you know."
* "We're going to sue Nathan Rutherford."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:26 PM on April 23, 2021

Episode 3: Aunt Ida's 90th Birthday, in which brother Duz (Duz?!) wants to sell the family house in New Jersey, and Reagan meets a hot reporter who she is TRYING to convince there's no story here. If they're all so Rutherfordian, which is the giant family estate in New Jersey?

Name count: 21.
Rutherford Inc. makes everything from missile systems to wet wipes.
"Please don't make me look up from my phone again."
"Same is better."
"We're going to do the whole scroll thing?"
"It's science. You don't care."
"All alone on the sidewalk. And in life!"
"There are like five age-appropriate guys in this town and I know 'em all!"
"I already gave him my Social Security number, what is wrong with me?"
"This is unfortunately a very accurate first impression," as Reagan's purse strap catches in the car and she spills coffee all over herself.
Josh is dubbed "centaur hot," WHATEVER THAT MEANS.
"Brandy, brothers and.... backgammon."
"The Great Fence Fire of 1847."
"site of 4 debunked Bigfoot sightings."
"You know, the thing about the statue is I don't care?"
"The family did some other shit that sucks, but you don't even mention that."
Josh and Reagan hit it off over going to Northwestern.
And they just made out.
"I love you. Even if you're a fartface."
I will note that somehow Josh has on the "Aunt Ida" shirt that Reagan was wearing earlier. THAT'S A FUN WE JUST SLEPT TOGETHER MOMENT, or else there were extras around the house she gave him. I dunno which.
"I'm being SUED by the Minishonka Nation!" Great timing to yell that out in front of a reporter, just as she was about to get him to leave with no story.
"Why are you wearing my great aunt Ida's birthday T-shirt?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:08 AM on April 24, 2021

Oh, wait, duh, I bet it's in EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey. How did I not guess that ahead of time?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:20 AM on April 24, 2021

Reagan’s coffee first impression and the aftermath were completely brilliant. I loved her totally self-aware, unrepentant honesty.
posted by Night_owl at 3:30 PM on April 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I binged the entire season, and loved every single second of it. I’d never seen Michael Greyeyes in anything before, and now I’m completely in love. Apparently this is his first comedic role?? His comedic timing and delivery is perfection, as are his subtle facial expressions. Watching his character show increasing vulnerability over the season, but never having the jokes be at his character’s expense to do so is wonderful.
posted by missmary6 at 9:51 AM on April 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah, now I ran out of the free ones and I'm debating whether or not to cave/subscribe, because I don't want another streaming service and realistically, once you sign up you're not going to actually manage to unsubscribe.... *grumble*
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:20 AM on April 25, 2021

Just finished the whole series. Loved it. Deep, interesting characters, great jokes, a plot that kept me really engaged and so many neat details. A real gem of a sitcom, and such great representation. Worth the subscription.
posted by simonw at 10:38 PM on April 25, 2021

‘Rutherford Falls’ Creator on How Terry’s Casino Speech Avoids a ‘Monolith’ View of Native Americans"
“And then I think a lot of times, the idea of casinos in Native communities is seen one way by non-Native people, and it’s never very positive,” she added. “What we tried to do on the show was talk about [how] some Native people like casinos, some people hate them. Some people see them as just a job. That complexity was always important to us. I think on most shows, a character like Terry Thomas would just be very flattened and would be a villain and just sort of written off as cold and calculating. It was very important to us to really show that every character on the show believes that they’re doing what’s best for their community and what they think is right. We really wanted to give a backstory to him so that you could never, ever write that character off as simply one thing.”
posted by simonw at 8:37 AM on April 26, 2021

Relax, they’re cups!

Loving this so far. Genius to make PFT’s character a podcaster.
posted by snofoam at 6:29 PM on April 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Got a free trial, binged the non-free episodes in a couple of days.

I wasn't a fan of a development that happens in episode 9 (which takes up a lot of space in that episode and episode 10), but overall I liked this a lot. If there is a Season 2, I'd subscribe for one month to binge that and cancel again. (Nothing else on Peacock looks interesting to me, and the interface is kind of annoying.)

I am a huge fan of clever characters who always find a way to get shit done, so of course I adore Terry. The scenes with him facing down high-priced lawyers were deeply satisfying. Michael Greyeyes has superb comic timing; watching his facial expressions during the gaming conference scenes was beautiful. Also, his scene with Mayor Chisenhall ("Sorry, I've been talking to white people all day. That line usually works.") had me and my husband in hysterics.

This was great and I'm sorry it's stuck behind a subscription wall, because I'd love for as many people as possible to watch it.
posted by creepygirl at 1:43 PM on May 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

What a weird show. Ed Helms is just not a good leading man, The Office suffered a lot of because of Andy but they also had more room since you could always hate Andy a little more. The problems are when they try to make that character sympathetic, doesn't work, drags other characters and storylines down. Problem carries over to Rutherford Falls and right off the bat it's hard to make a meaningful distinction between Andy and Rutherford.

The other half of this show was delightful, if it were just that I'd easily recommend it, but it's not, and far too much of the screen time is dedicated to Rutherford, who just sucks. It's amusing to see Terry fuck with Rutherford sometimes, but not enough to make up for the insufferability of his scenes and plots. I'd love if the show removed Helms from season 2 and they renamed it something else. Hell, use Reagan's name, better character and you might lure in some goobers who think it has to do with the evil person of the same name.

Maybe Helms only had to be there to help ease this project into place and now they've proven they got some legs and will get to stand on their own next season? I can hope.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:29 AM on May 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

I really liked the parts of this where the Native American characters were there doing their thing, but I too really disliked Ed Helms. I get what they were trying to do with his character and show how a "nice guy" can be wildly off base and needs to listen to the people around him, that I very much support, but I wish it had been anyone else but Ed Helms, or not include him at all. I would love it if next season had no token white guy at all.
posted by bleep at 1:21 PM on May 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I just binged this since I found out Michael Schur is one of the creators. I agree with it being a bit hit or miss, and the Native American bits are better than the Ed Helms bits. Also nice seeing Dustin Milligan who is Ted on Schitt's Creek.
posted by Marticus at 5:43 PM on November 3, 2021

Just binged. At the start, I got Parks and Rec vibes. Pawnee had a raccoon problem, Rutherford Falls had a possum problem.

The problem is, Nathan ain't no Leslie, but a relentlessly self-involved twit. Not supportive of his best friend, zero chemistry with the brief love interest ( the mayor).

When he learns his supposedly good ancestor might actually be the bad guy in a Native legend, the show could've done so much more with that. Instead, it pivoted to him learning he's not a direct heir anyway.

The Native people's storylines, and the important issues behind them- the ongoing question of how Native Americans and Black Americans, etc., find a place in this country, is just much more interesting.

Other characters like Bobby are intriguing too. And I was fascinated by Terry/ actor Michael Greyeyes.

Side note: Glaring continuity error in episode 9 had me unable to follow the dialogue. The case of the disappearing and reappearing Chinese food container. (When Reagan is breaking the news of Nathan's real father.)
posted by NorthernLite at 8:57 AM on November 7, 2021

The problem is, Nathan ain't no Leslie, but a relentlessly self-involved twit.

I always thought Leslie was deeply self-absorbed. She doesn't give a shit about Jerry's painting talent until he creates a painting that flatters her and then suddenly, she's a champion of his art. She's told very bluntly re: Jerry that it's a problem if an employee is so afraid of workplace bullying that he makes up a mugging story--and she does fuck-all with that information except keep making Jerry the butt of every joke. She microaggresses in the "nice white lady" style all over the place (she can't remember what country Tom Haverford is from, even after he tells her multiple times, does the "ooh, you're so ethnically ambiguous" blather to Ann on multiple occasions.) She lashes out at other people when she feels the slightest discomfort (like yelling at her staff for failing to come up with post-Harvest Festival ideas when she can't cope with the reality that she is out of ideas.) She gets nuclearly angry when an apartment complex gets built on the site of Ann's old house--because she honestly feels that her memories (and those of a half dozen of her friends) are more important than giving hundreds of people a place to live. But the narrative is on Leslie's side, so we don't get much visibility on how much it sucks to be on the receiving side of her issues.

I felt like Rutherford Falls was a more honest look at what it's like to be on the receiving side of things (through Reagan's POV), and it felt to me like an acknowledgment of the pathology that some "nice" white people bring into the world. I didn't like Nathan at all, but I didn't feel like I was supposed to, which to me is an improvement over P&R. YMMV.
posted by creepygirl at 2:57 PM on November 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oof thank you, all of that stuff bothered me about Parks & Rec too but I found it hard to articulate, I really disliked Leslie Nope, there just seemed to be so much underlying nastiness there but that like didn't seem like it was supposed to be there or like we weren't supposed to notice it, but it's almost like such an indelible element of what happens when a certain kind of person has access to any level of societal power that they had no choice but to include it in her character for it to feel "right" even if they didn't realize why or how they were doing it.
posted by bleep at 12:08 PM on November 11, 2021

I found it really interesting that the show is structured to make Nathan the protagonist and Terry the antagonist, but all the story and character parts make you root for Terry and root against Nathan. Nathan is constantly spouting off to Reagan things she could (and should) be saying to him. Will he ever learn how swaddled in white fragility he is? He's a terrible main character, but the show knows that and surrounds him with better people.

I know I'm catching up on this late (after finally subscribing to Peacock for Poker Face and looking for what else is on the service), but it has some similarity to Paul T. Goldman, with a main character who seems obsessive but harmless and cheerful who is revealed to be more and more toxic and delusional as the show goes on.
posted by rikschell at 6:03 AM on February 12, 2023

« Older Poldark: Episode 1.3...   |  Movie: Concrete Cowboy... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments