Ozark: Blue Cat
July 31, 2017 6:26 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

In the Ozarks, Marty struggles to find a local business he can use for money laundering, while his kids make new friends but neglect a crucial duty.
posted by aabbbiee (11 comments total)
Another setup episode, but I thought that it moved well and establishes the hubris of a Chicago élite who thinks that he can pull one over the local "rubes" and almost realizes that people aren't as provincial/ignorant as he assumes they are (by thinking that he successfully dealt with the Langfords and getting an initial "in" with Rachel/Blue Catfish).

Julia Garner/Ruth is an interesting actress and her performance remains very strong.

Liked Charlotte's budding relationship with the young Langfords. The relationships between all the characters is/becomes nuanced in a really entertaining way.

In retrospect, nice bit of forshadowing for Jonah - who I really get behind for the entire rest of the season.

The show isn't "twisty" per se but I really appreciate the subtle misdirections.
posted by porpoise at 6:54 PM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Being from Missouri myself, I was worried that the show would resort to classist stereotypes, and unfortunately that was the case in this episode. The archives woman talking about the Oprah taping she attended being about "colored people," the house seller gratuitously mentioning that his doctor was a "dot-head" (not to mention the "period plugs")... ugh. People don't talk like this, certainly not as an aside to strangers they've just met. Locals patronizing an intimate, family-run bar are more likely to treat the owner's kid with respect, not call him a "retard." I'm really disappointed to the point that I don't know if I'll keep watching.

The quality of this show doen't seem up to Netflix's usual standards, either. The characterization of the locals is lazy, the dialogue is clumsy, and what was with that scene where Marty gets up to go kill himself and tells everyone to go back to sleep? There was bright daylight streaming through the motel window.
posted by mama casserole at 6:48 AM on August 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

mama casserole, I've never been to Missouri but had the same "Who talks like that?!" reaction. Same thing for Marty, the kids, the cartel guy Del, the FBI guys...I mean, I don't come across any of these people in real life that often, but it's hard to believe people would talk like this.

The writing is clunky. I get the feeling that all the actors are capable of doing more but are being held back by the script. And not much seems to happen per episode. We usually try to give shows a chance, but we've finished the third episode and aren't sure whether to keep watching...
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 2:15 AM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm also from Missouri, and had the same issues with the dialogue at first. White people in Missouri don't say overt racist stuff to other white people in public. There's a reason that white Missourians cling to the idea that we're post-racial, that we left all the racism behind in the 1960s even as our state is highly segregated and unbelievably racist.

So how do the writers handle this so that racism is part of the underlying current of the show but without spending the whole series detailing the insidious Dickensian racial issues that plague the state and particularly this area of the state (which is super white because racism)? They went with the easiest route, having the locals be loudly and aggressively racist to other white people. I don't like it, but I'm not going to be defensive about it because Missouri is racist as hell.

Anyway, the series is good and we really binged the last few episodes.
posted by aabbbiee at 10:45 AM on August 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Another Missourian here and I don't think it's too far past reality, especially for the Ozarks. I grew up in rural Northwest Missouri and spent summers in the mountains around Table Rock Lake (so a little further south than Lake of the Ozarks, but the same general idea), and it seems pretty true to life for me. My family was one of the well respected ones in our small town, and I remember very clearly my Uncle Bob, who worked in sales for a multinational corporation, telling a "hilarious" story about how he accidentally referred to his black coworker as "boy" in front of another colleague. This was in the 1990s.
posted by something something at 10:04 AM on August 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

LOL, I'm not saying no one in the Ozarks is racist. I'm saying racism is not, as this episode would have you believe, the most salient character trait of nearly every person there. I doubt Uncle Bob told that story to complete strangers within minutes of meeting them and if he did I think he's an outlier.
posted by mama casserole at 4:15 PM on August 10, 2017

I haven't seen all the episodes yet, but I don't remember more than a couple of characters saying overtly racist things. Maybe it gets worse.

I was impressed with how the small business owners Marty spoke with were portrayed - clearly intelligent and business savvy, not taken in at all by Marty's attempts to confuse them into accepting him as a partner. It would have been easy for those characters to have been written as dumb, one dimensional rednecks.
posted by something something at 5:56 AM on August 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

It’s Kimmie!!
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:28 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by porpoise at 1:55 PM on April 1, 2018

From The Amercians
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:25 PM on April 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hello, it's me from the future. I appreciate all you in the past reacting to the show as it happened. I'm just watching now and on the heels of knowing it's a successful show, so I'm fully primed to love it. And I loved this episode! While I liked the pilot this improved upon almost every aspect of it and I'm fully on board.

My main complaint now is the show is way too much like Breaking Bad. The whole plot setup, some details of how Marty's character thinks and acts. Even silly things like the "camera inside the container" shot of Marty hiding the money, literally stolen from the Breaking Bad cinematography playbook. But there's enough differences and Bateman is a good enough actor that I'm hopeful it finds its own way.

I honestly didn't think about the caricatured dialog and Ozark stereotypes, I appreciate the folks here calling it out. This whole show trades on its depiction of its location. Given the show's popularity I'm hoping they fix it, or at least provide a lot more nuance than just "bigoted rednecks".
posted by Nelson at 8:20 AM on December 16, 2021

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