American Gods: Lemon Scented You   Books Included 
May 28, 2017 7:00 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Trying to work things out with his dead and unfaithful wife, Shadow's emotional reunion is interrupted when he and Mr. Wednesday are kidnapped by the New Gods.

Shadow and Wednesday have a bad day. Mad Sweeney has an even worse day. Some cops have the worst day of all. But we get not one, but two scenes with Media! And finally meet Mr. World, who seems like he might not be such a good dude.
posted by sparkletone (33 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
AV Club thought it was alright.
posted by sparkletone at 7:18 PM on May 28, 2017

I have a lot to say, mostly about how great the music was for this episode.
, it goes from noir jazz to glam chorus to sleazy riverboat chanson without skipping a best , but what I really want I saybis


Media kissed him and it felt like a hit.

The new Gods are so drunk and powerful and they all hate Technical Boy, ha
posted by The Whelk at 7:19 PM on May 28, 2017 [8 favorites]

posted by The Whelk at 7:20 PM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I also agree with the AV club , the Marylin persona feels off cause it is off, Media isn't a Marylin, soft snd warm and inviting. Media is putting that on as a distraction from how flimted and cynical it really is. It's just more branding.

In the after show they talked about how much they loved writing Laura and sweeny cause they're both assholes and now they get to asshole at each other.
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 PM on May 28, 2017

Also, Media, in Bowie drag (nice job on the frozen pupil there) says there's starmen in the sky and Fuller said we'll get to them in seasin two and I'm like ALIENS ARE THE AMERICAN VERSION OF FAIRY MYTHS YES
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 PM on May 28, 2017 [18 favorites]

I liked this one a lot. I think the New Gods are the most fun part of the series so far. The human-shell Patrick Bateman feeling of Mr. World was very well done.
posted by codacorolla at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am currently afraid we slipped into the universe where Wednesday did strike a deal with Mr. World and we'll hear about the missiles hitting NK any time now.

Anyway. I appreciated the quoting of Cat People among all the rest of the Bowie references. That song doesn't get enough love.
posted by rewil at 9:05 PM on May 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

That animation... wow
posted by pearlybob at 9:31 PM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


like personally speaking I want to align with the New Gods (in a universe where this is a real thing, hurrah pop cultue spirituality) but Technical Boy is textbook 4chan dudebro and Mr World is Mr Colonisation. Media is cool but also probably hella dodgy.

I wonder how those three would be portrayed had the book been written more recently. Would the New Gods be less White, more queer?
posted by divabat at 12:41 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

I wonder how those three would be portrayed had the book been written more recently. Would the New Gods be less White, more queer?

I think those would be separate gods, and generally lesser ones given the smaller population(s) believing in them. The New Gods as we're seeing them would still be there and be sucking up all the oxygen, as it were.

Mr. World, the perfect capitalist that he is, is already on moving in on the territory of the ones you're imagining. We've got Target selling fucking pronoun pins, and so on, and so forth. Doritos rainbow goddam chips. Redirecting belief from the genuine thing to the corporate capitalist version. Or at least making it easy for belief to remain right where it is rather than moving to something better.

As much as it'd suck were it real, I think the updates they've made to those three are pretty spot on so far.
posted by sparkletone at 2:37 AM on May 29, 2017 [11 favorites]

I loved the Mad Sweeney scene with Laura- a total asshole meeting another asshole who has nothing to fear from him. And his slow and halting realization that he can't do what he obviously usually does with women, he can't make demands or intimidate her, because she's dead and can rip his spine out of his back. And still, it takes about three tries before he begins to get the point. That was cathartic.

On the other hand, I actually feel sympathy for that poor detective, who was realizing that everything was off. And then died, along with everyone else, simply because she got in the way of a god.

I was read a story the other day, about how Odin stole the mead of artistic creativity. It included a scene where Odin in disguise meets some slaves to a giant in a field. And he tricks them into accidentally killing each other. Just because he needs an in to get close to the giant. They didn't even get names. And that's kind of what happened here. It's not just that the gods are colossal privileged assholes, it's that they ruin lives and kill people just as a minor consequence of their stories.
posted by happyroach at 2:53 AM on May 29, 2017 [22 favorites]

Also, again, underlining that belief is nice but it's sacfrice that gets shit done. Wednesday even says the New Gods are selfish, they don't give anything back. I think the fact that all of Team New God are white and mostly male is relevant re white patriarchy.

Also who IS that weapon making , vaguely fascist looking dude in the next week on? I don't ...remember that from the books (but fuller said they're adapting the author preferred text which is longer and has more bits in it , fun fact Shadow's hotel room is 55 cause that's the page number where he meets Laura again.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on May 29, 2017 [5 favorites]

MUSIC TIME: the oh oh ohs on the glam part of the soundtrack and actual Bowie samples and Media in Life On Mars drag is introduced with the sound effect of the Martian war machine from the first war of the worlds movie.
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 AM on May 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

Oh hey looks like next week they're introducing brand new characters, Vulcan, who has taken on the portfolio of weapons manufacturing.

That's right he's the American god of Guns.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on May 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

I love that Mr. World has Richard Spencer's haircut.
posted by KathrynT at 12:46 PM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Doesn't this show almost feel like the end result of those interrogation room negotiations? Like... hey Odin, what if we could get you your very own TV show?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:18 PM on May 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

I very much want someone to ask Bryan this in an interview or at a q&a panel.
posted by sparkletone at 7:20 PM on May 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yeah glover has had that hair a ...while now.

I love how they said in the after show that Mr. world is basically just what it's like to meet Glover, with his velvet suit and hats.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 PM on May 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

> I wonder how those three would be portrayed had the book been written more recently. Would the New Gods be less White, more queer?

No, because mass American culture is still mostly racist, sexist, and homophobic?
posted by desuetude at 10:15 PM on May 29, 2017 [11 favorites]

I love how the show loves Laura and lets her be awesome. She is one of my three favorite characters now.
posted by corb at 12:32 AM on May 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have an unreasonable love for Crispin Glover. I have his record. Normally, these unbearably affected, outré celebrities just annoy the hell out of me, but, I dunno, I guess Glover is my kind of performed insanity. I like seeing him in anything, but I think he's well-cast here, at least going by this episode.

Yeah, I'm really liking Laura, too. But, also, I'd like to keep seeing more of Aubrey. They should be road-tripping together.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:39 AM on May 30, 2017 [8 favorites]

Small derail, but I just found out that Mr World owns a chateau near Prague, and that it is listed on Airbnb: "not the best place for dogs, but cats are allowed."
posted by elgilito at 8:27 AM on May 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

The person (or people) making these casting decisions need to get all the god-damned awards ever.
posted by bonehead at 7:07 PM on May 30, 2017 [6 favorites]

No, because mass American culture is still mostly racist, sexist, and homophobic?

Yeah. It also occurred to me -- and this is still a half-baked idea -- that the reason the book says so many times that America is not a good place for gods is because we're all about worshiping our individual selves, and that tends to freeze out the things we say we believe in.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 8:12 PM on May 30, 2017 [6 favorites]

And to tack on an afterthought -- Shadow and Laura embody this tendency in opposite ways. Laura affirmatively believes in nothing; her character as drawn in the show suggests to me that she experienced something that convinced her she should have faith in nothing and no one but herself. Shadow doesn't believe in nothing -- he's startled when Laura professes to -- but he doesn't believe in anything either. He just sort of passively doesn't give questions of faith much thought. This makes him an ideal mortal to hang with/work for the old gods: He's not so married to a single vision of the world that he can discount any or all of the gods, but he doesn't have enough faith in any single thing to grasp the dangers of their world.

Anubis calling Laura on her lack of belief and announcing he will consign her to nothing prefigures Shadow's own choice much later. If the show follows the book, it will be a neat bit of mirroring: Laura, who believed in nothing, will be consigned to oblivion. Shadow, who believed in anything, will make an affirmative choice to embrace nothing.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 10:16 PM on May 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Yeah, that "don't give anything back" line is great. Because we see Old Gods trying to actively engage humans in their sacrifices and rituals, which may give anything from orgasms to actual wealth and children who are born demigods. Whereas the New Gods tend to simply kill or trick humans into self-sacrifice without ever delivering on a single promise.

One is a Monkey's Paw, the other is just a timeshare pitch.

Still, humans are simply instruments to achieving a singular goal and ultimately always bite it in the end, regardless of which flavor of God they service.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:21 PM on May 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

Given that this is books included, I think it's fair to point out that Wednesday is, at this point, in the middle of playing pretty the same game, just with a longer con. The main difference between him and World is subtlety and relative power.
posted by bonehead at 10:11 PM on May 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

I always think of the Nam Jun Paik video sculpture of Robert Goddard during the opening sequence.
posted by nonane at 7:30 AM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Media as Bowie throwing the line, "Look at you beating up the wrong guy" had me up out of my seat. And then the overlay of Mars. Well done.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:22 PM on June 6, 2017 [7 favorites]

Wrong thread!
posted by The Whelk at 4:35 PM on June 9, 2017

I particularly loved Media-as-Bowie's line, 'There's a terror in knowing what Mr. World is about.' So perfect.
posted by culfinglin at 8:56 PM on June 9, 2017 [9 favorites]


(doubles and triple-checks that this is the Books Included thread)

My GF and I are watching at a clip of about one episode a night, so we just got through this one. I recently read the book for the first time in anticipation of the series. It's one of her very favorite books and she's read it several times. Aside from having George Guidall's excellent audiobook narration as our baseline for character performances (and the ones in the series have fared very well against that and on their own) we didn't really feel we were in foreign territory until tonight.

Yes, the previous episode's events were all more-or-less new, but they also all fit with our understanding of the story and of Laura. During Mr. World's pitch it just felt like things suddenly didn't make sense to us anymore.

Which is good! I like being confused by a story I think I already know the twists and turns of.

That said (SPOILERS!? I GUESS?!) watching it through the lens of the two-man con, I'm both confused by having a visual representation for Mr. World that is so separate from Low-Key Lyesmith, frustrated by giving him a more explicit basis as the corporealization of global capitalism (though they can walk that back, it does feel like that's the sort of thing that should actually have a New God Representative out there somewhere, and part of the brilliance of Mr. World was that he made the New Gods respect him via mystery and gravitas and just making them assume he was the King Shit of New Gods through newfangled application of old-fashioned Loki tricksterism) and most of all confused as to how this fits in the con.

My best guess, and the one I'm going to settle with now until Fuller proves he's cleverer than I, is that the pitch was primarily a way to bring in Media and Technical Boy. Now they know that Wednesday won't be bought, reasoned with, or stopped. And with Media in complete servitude to Mr. World, they were able to stop Technical Boy from trying to kill Wednesday while they had him. The situation is made clear to the New Gods as the con dictates, and the lines may now be drawn.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:54 PM on June 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

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