CALGARY, ALBERTA. There have been so many honors for FX's “Fargo” that it's hardly surprising to find a visit to the set coinciding with yet another award.
In this case, on Thursday (April 16) morning, I found myself with a group of reporters on the Calgary set of the second installment of “Fargo” just as the cast and crew were reveling in the announcement that the show's first miniseries/season had been chosen for the 74th annual Peabody Awards.
It's an award that recognizes not only quality, but a level of cultural importance.
Ahead of a fuller discussion of Season 2 of “Fargo,” I chatted with series creator Noah Hawley about what it meant to have his evolution of The Coen Brothers' Oscar-winner recognized in this way.
“Look, there's no small awards,” Hawley mused. “Know what I mean? Even my award from Rotten Tomatoes for the best reviewed show of the year, it's all meaningful. What I'll say about the Peabody is obviously it's a recognition that comes from outside of the industry that I work in and it's one where you feel like you're actually part of the entire cultural conversation. It's one thing to be recognized for making a show by people who watch television, but then you realize, 'Wow. Even the editor-in-chief of the New York Times watches television' or 'David Remnick watched television!'”
He continued, “We premiered a year ago yesterday, on April 15, and the fact that we have not flashed out? That we have the staying power? That's the biggest factor for me. It really shows that the show made an impact on the world in a way that just might have a chance of being part of our permanent record. Look, there were 300+ shows that were on the air this year. The fact that we've been recognized along with 'The Americans' and a number of other shows, you feel like you're part of the cultural landscape of the country in a way, that when people look back, they might remember you.”
Following on Hawley's mention of FX stablemate “The Americans,” I asked him what other shows he thinks are in the cultural conversation with “Fargo.” He included shows both recognized by and snubbed by Peabody voters this year.
“It's interesting,” Hawley reflected. “I love that they would recognize John Oliver, that show. You would think, in some ways, after 'The Daily Show' and 'Colbert,' that that ground had kinda been covered, but I find that the approach is so different. The in-depth, the fact that he's mixing the outrage with actual reporting and managing to get humor into it, I feel really grateful for that. Obviously 'Game of Thrones,' I feel like that show has had a huge cultural impact, on the scale of it and it's taken a genre that's always been dismissed as 'for kids' and turned it into something that is a Shakespearean model, really. There's almost too many too talk about it. 'Mad Men' certainly I feel still has a relevance and staying power to it. I could go on, but I know I'd leave somebody out and then I'd get in trouble for that.”
The Peabody statues will be presented at a Sunday, May 31 ceremony and Hawley likes the idea of going to this kind of event without the suspense of being amidst a group of nominees.
He admitted, “You don't have to sit there going 'Am I gonna win or not?' Look, it's nice to be given something without feeling like you're competing for it, because if it had come out and somebody else had won, I wouldn't have felt like, 'Why didn't they think of me?' I'm just here looking at my life and to get an award like that — Out of the blue is what it felt like to me — it's an honor.”
Over a long day on the “Fargo” set, I talked with many of the new season's stars, including Patrick Wilson, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Ted Danson, Cristin Milioti and more.
Those interviews will come a bit closer to the yet-to-be-announced Season 2 premiere.