Lost Boys: Tigers Are Not Afraid (Issa López, 2019)

Nothing hurts like hope.

Lost Boys: Tigers Are Not Afraid (Issa López, 2019)
the tiger / he escaped his cage

If there’s one thing I cannot stand, in my prestige cable dramas, it’s grit. I don’t mean storytelling that’s grim, or horrific, or sad, or violent: I like all those things. “Grit” isn’t subject matter — it’s a look, a genre, a set of tropes, slapped on frequently vapid or trivial or sophomoric storytelling because true gritheads believe it conveys seriousness. 

What’s grit? You already know: Ugly, washed-out color schemes. Dollar-store nihilism. Everyone is an anti-hero, and almost everyone is a man. Hope, dreams and morality are bullshit for dupes and suckers. 75% of any given location is made of mud, cigarette ash and cow shit; characters are smeared in said cow shit to convey grit, then miraculously given showers whenever we need to find them sexy. Rape scenes, titties, strip clubs and sex workers; the rape scenes, usually, are woven into the tapestry of sex workers and strip clubs and titties, so that we can simultaneously congratulate ourselves on being opposed to rape and woke to the ills of the sex trade, whilst simultaneously (oh, just admit it) getting off on a violent sexual fantasy containing bare tits, aimed at a woman we’ve been trained to see as subhuman and disposable.  

True Detective, season one: That’s grit. Skinny, sweaty men pontificating on how birth is a trap and humanity is meat with delusions of grandeur; other men getting angry and pounding on things and people; a bunch of rape in the background; boobies and butts in the opening credits; a much-hailed director who eventually got Me-Too’d. 

I mean, think about it: How would I know this was a serious, mature story if everything weren’t gray and brown? The second I see any part of the color spectrum, I think “kid’s stuff;” as a man of the world, I need things to be the color of two-month-old meatloaf, or my intelligence is unforgivably insulted. 

For all that, I didn’t really dislike True Detective’s first season: I can forgive Woody Harrelson nearly anything, as it turns out, and I had fun watching Matthew McConaughey pretend he knows how to button a shirt. Still: I can understand why most people tuned out of the show until the current season, True Detective: Night Country, helmed by Issa López. 

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