FOX NETWORK, Tuesday nights
It’s the Hat. That great big hat wearing Timothy Olyphant. It’s the testosterone. It’s the whole idea of a grown man “getting the draw” on another grown man…in the 21st century. Justified has to be the stupidest television show I have ever sat through. But it’s not bad. Stupid doesn’t necessarily translate to bad. What I like about the show is the liberal sprinklings of the words, “shit,” and “bullshit,” apparently allowed on Fox TV. Four letter words, a six gun and a large white hat..somehow they all go together. I should also add that the network that has brought us Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, “Fox and Friends,” and Sarah Palin should use the word “bullshit” early and often.
The name of the show should be “coincidence.” I am not an Elmore Leonard fan so it is not clear to me if the short story that was the inspiration for the series also depended upon an unlikely chain of coincidences. The main character, “Raylan Givens,” is a United States Marshal, perhaps the excuse for The Hat, who has been transferred to his hometown in Kentucky, where coincidentally he knows everybody. Granted, Givens shot a man in a Florida hotel because he was a bad man who was too slow on the draw, but is that any reason to send him home?
Watching Justified is rather like watching a Jackie Chan film—everyone just happens to know kung fu and other useful martial arts moves. I have always wondered about the strange rule of waiting politely for the hero to fight one villain at a time, while the others quietly wait their turn. And I have always wondered why no one just takes out a gun and shoots Jackie Chan. It could be because all the guns are on the Justified set.
In Justified everyone is obsessed with being Quick Draw McGraw. And, coincidentally, Givens best friend, from his days as a miner, just happens to be the local white supremacist. Playing “Boyd Crowder,” Walton Goggins, who is apparently still on the run from The Shield, a far superior show, makes a really good cracker. So far everyone in Harlan County is a cracker, and they all carry guns. Even the women. Joelle Carter, who is actually from Georgia, plays “Ava Crowder” who shoots her husband for being annoying. Divorce is so expensive. Spoiler alert: Givens shoots Boyd Crowder but Walton Goggins proves to be to well paid to die. Crowder will cling to life and will rise again, like the South. In other words, there will a lot of shooting going on in the county, all of it “justified.”
I am sure the good people of Harlan, Kentucky are amazed to see shootouts in their streets. I know how they feel. I live in Los Angeles. I mean, I in live in Laguna Beach and commute to Los Angeles regularly on the freeways, and I have never seen a high speed chase or a shoot-out, except on television. But, then, I don’t have The Hat.
Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette
The Arts Blogger