The marketing for Reservation Dogs‘ second season seem to showcase what every minute of every episode is like. We see the four characters sitting around looking up at the sky. Then one of them throws a rock or something up in the air. Why? We don’t know. Then she high-fives the person next to her. The marketing also showcases all the accolades and praise it has received.
Last month, there was some controversy as the Emmy Awards snubbed the show’s first season. But if there was an award for Most Pretentious Show of the Year, Dogs would get it hands down. Dogs may have won a Peabody Award but I feel no one sat through one minute of the show. If they had, they would realize just how disappointing it is. Not to say the first season was completely bad. I found the Deer Lady episode to be a nicely done quirky episode. And Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan Postoak seems to be the only one of the main characters who adds any range or dimension to her role.
I passed this off as FX just not wanting to spend too much money on the series created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi. But after sitting through the first two episodes of the second season, co-written and directed by Harjo, it may not be money issues. It might be Harjo himself and his feeling that he’s making the greatest TV show ever. I’ve observed him on social media and I just feel compelled to tell him, “Dude, it’s just a TV show!” Not even Quentin Tarantino acts this way about his works.
When the first season ended, a tornado had gone through the unnamed community (yet leaving little to no damage) and Elora Danen was fed up with her friends’ childish behavior and heading toward California with Jackie (Elva Guerra), the leader of the rival NDN Mafia. The first episode begins with them still on the road not far from home, which leaves me with a lot of questions. Most of the show is set around the Mucogee (Creek) Nation, which Interstate 40 goes right though the middle of, and lead them into southern California. Have they been driving around eastern Oklahoma for days unsure of where to go? Or is there a non-linear timeline? That would make sense. I wouldn’t think these two would be foolish enough to drive up and down county roads and highways for several days.
I mention that because apparently, back in the reservation community, it’s been a few days since the tornado passed. And Jackie and Elora Danen could’ve been in New Mexico or Arizona or even all the way to California. They have car trouble, of course, because they have to keep the show in Oklahoma as much as they can. And they’re picked up by a creepy salesman (Josh Fadem) who says he can take them as far as Amarillo, Texas but soon seems like he has other intentions. They attack him and get out of the car, leaving their bags and money behind.
So, they decided to do the next dumbest thing – steal a car but are unsuccessful. This results in a sequence that’s supposed to be funny but terrifying when some rednecks chase them down as they run away and hide behind hay bales in a pasture. Considering that Indgenious Native American women are kidnapped, sexually assaulted and/or murdered at an alarming rate, this show is tasteless. Does Harjo think this is funny watching them run from people driving miles from home shooting their shotguns in the air in the back of pick-up trucks?
Then, they go toward a country home where they are shown kindness by a divorcee who they quickly rip off by stealing her truck in the middle of the night as she watches from a window and calls them “sluts.” What’s the whole purpose of this part? I don’t know. But this is the problem with much of the series. It sets up a plot point and does nothing with it. And of course the divorcee has to be weird because she likes ranch dressing on her bread rolls and gives a long prayer denouncing her ex-husband.
The problem I have with this how is everyone has to be outrageous and goofy. Back in the reservation community, the plot revolves around Bear Smalhill (D’Pharoah Woon-A-Tai), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) and Cheese (Lane Factor) feeling that a curse has been cast on them and they’re tyring to get it removed. The abandoned dilapidated building where they hang out is being torn down as the property has been purchased to turn into a megachurch by someone from Texas.
So, they mostly seek out Uncle Brownie (Gary Farmer), Elora’s uncle, and Bucky (Wes Studi), an eccentric local artist, to find out how to lift it. Oh, and Brownie and Bucky have a checkered history that is quickly resolved as soon as it’s mentioned by having them perform Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” as Cheese and Willie Jack look bored. And that’s basically what it all boils down to. This show thinks it’s being revolutionary but can’t tell a coherent story without some off the wall ludicrious moment happening in every scene.
I guess I’m not watching the same show everyone else is. Or maybe critics are afraid of calling it bad because it involves Indigenious Native Americans and they don’t want to be seen as racist bigots. According to Rotten Tomatoes, it has 100 percent based from just five critics. That’s five people out of hundreds of millions of people who probably don’t see what the big hubbub is.
Maybe the show will improve later this season. Most first seasons of hit shows have rough patches. The Orville and Schitts Creek didn’t really have the best first seasons. And Cheers would’ve been canceled after three episodes. However, just because a show is about a certain topic doesn’t mean it should get universal acclaim..
While Jacobs is good in her role, the most annoying character is Bear and Woon-A-Tai’s lackluster performance. So far in the first two episodes, Bear could’ve been left out without any notice. Alexis still continues to do her dull line-reading and calling it acting that she did in the first season. And Cheese seems to be the one character that was just added as an afterthought. He was in the Deer Lady episode and it was nice seeing him away from the others.
This show really needs to earn its Peabody and maybe next year, they might get a few Emmy nominations.
What do you think? Please comment.