Monday, July 16, 2007

Logic is a limping stepchild

With this latest episode of John From Cincinnati one has to imagine that JFC could very well be short for Jesus F*cking Christ - both the prophet and the exclamation. Towards the end of the episode, creator David Milch calls David Lynch on the surreal, and raises him a sermon on the mount, with John (as astral projection) delivering what very well could be the Rosetta Stone of the whole series.

Without spoiling it too much, it sheds more light on the interconnectedness of the ensemble, and features 'my father's words,' lots of ones and zeros, the dawn of man, details of the Yost family's past, present, and a hint of future - "we are coming 9/11/14." Which begs a few questions: Did Milch just announce the date of the second coming? Does that mean the series requires seven seasons to get us there? Is it a coincidence that it's marked by the 13-year anniversary of the attack on the twin towers? Or is this simply a reference to the Bible passage Hebrews 9:11-14, which details redemption through Christ? And finally, can GILF Cissy Yost (Rebecca DeMornay) "show me how it's done?"

As to why JFC refuses to progress in logic fashion, Milch recently said: "The tactics of fictive persuasion have nothing to do with reasoned discourse." Furthermore:
The important point that I'm trying to make is that storytelling has nothing, whatsoever, to do with logic. Logic is a limping stepchild of the true processes of the spirit. It's an illusion. It's a defective little parlor trick. Associations are the way that we perceive. Electrical connections caused by the juxtapositions of experience. That's the way we are really built, and storytelling takes into account that truth.
Meanwhile, the show is anchored by John Coltrane's heated version of "My Favorite Things", which ends the episode. The song is the perfect metaphor for JFC: Something that is simple at it's base, yet it's given incredible complexity for the audience to chew on (even if most wind up spitting it out initially.) Freddy also plays the song on his tenor sax, exclaiming "this is how I relax!" Actor Dayton Callie actually used to play sax for a living, so his rendition, while a tad rusty, was his own stunt. Similarly, during John's surreal sermon, Ed O'Neill (as Bill) is actually throwing down some licks on the harmonica, jamming with Callie on the sax. So there's more music on the set then just Milch's dialogue.

For those that passed on this series after a couple episodes, they're showing the past three back-to-back-to-back this Thursday. If you're a fan of Lost, Twin Peaks and Deadwood and haven't stuck with the show, consider yourself warned. The disparate characters and their oddball speech are like the million of actions that come together to form a perfect wave that crashes on the beach, and it's quite beautiful now that we're able to pull back and see it coming. Even it takes seven years.

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2 comments:

bumpershine said...

Sissy is still the most annoying character on TV (yeah, yeah, I heard what John said). I think I'm giving up on this show.

drake leLane said...

I think the character is fine, it's Rebecca De Mornay's portrayal of her that's pretty grating. All the overracting can upset the stomache. Interesting that Greyson Fletcher plays Shaunie with the exact opposite problem... like he couldn't be bothered to act at all. Weird, then, that the only time either of their character's seem to work well is in scenes together... as if they balance each other out... ying and yang.