Narcos, Season 2 (USA, 2016)

narcos-season-2-600x890Created by: Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. When I wrote about season one of this show, I mentioned the mild currents of dissent that were floating in the air, and even though I never read one great, well-reasoned argument in that camp, those concerns were still in the back of my mind as I checked out season two. Maybe it was just me, but the second season really did seem to take a more solidly sympathetic stance towards poor, mopey, sad-puppy-faced Pablo Escobar. I’m no historian, but this is Pablo Escobar, right? Let’s not forget all the stuff we know about him, if only from watching season one of this TV show. He killed tons of people, and for what? To make tons and tons of money for himself (and he made that money by selling addictive and deadly narcotics to millions of addicted people). I guess my point is that, I know it’s a post-Tony-Soprano era, and we need to present our bad guys as humans, and I fully agree with that. Pablo was a human. But this fictional, stylized TV show is not objective reality, it’s the result of the creative choices of artists. And this dovetails with my other soapbox about the intersection of history and film, but it does kind of drive me nuts that very likely, there are thousands of people now whose image of Pablo Escobar the person is 100% aligned with the sad, fat, likeable and even lovable “Pablo Escobar” character so brilliantly portrayed by Wagner Moura in this show. It bothers me that a lot of people are going to take the emotional resonance that this TV series was so adept at producing—which again, is what a good TV show ought to do—and making the assumption, as fact, that any of that stuff has literally anything to do with any of the objective reality of what went on in Colombia between Pablo Escobar and the government forces and U.S. foreign policy in the 1980’s and 90’s. It’s a TV show, folks. “Oh, but it’s based on real people and events!” Yes, it’s a TV show based on real people and events. “Oh, but they did historical research!” Yes, it’s a TV show that did historical research. “Oh, but they have real news footage from the time!” Yes, it’s a TV show that uses real news footage from the time. It’s a TV show, folks. It’s a TV show, folks. It’s a TV show, folks. In my opinion, a very well done TV show, but it’s not the same as life. And I’m afraid that now that we’re in a Trump era, I’m going to have to insist that grown adults make the distinction between TV/movies and life. Off the top of my head, I’ll blame all of this on reality TV, which in turn I blame on capitalism. But in the meantime, please remember: TV is just TV. It’s satisfying, but it’s inherently dumb. And also, it’s okay that it’s inherently dumb, as long as we grown adults don’t put too much stock into it.

One response to “Narcos, Season 2 (USA, 2016)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2016 | Offhand Reviews·

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