Just hear me out on this one…
Yes, the first two episodes of True Detective have been excellent just the way they are. Woody Harrelson is doing a great job playing the straight(ish) man on the show, to the point that I’m now getting really suspicious of his character, which is just adding levels and levels to the creepy mystery at the center of the show for me. (Related: Hoo boy. Please do not murder me and leave me naked in the woods with antlers glued to my head. I don’t care what you’ve heard, or from whom, I do not want that to happen.) And I’m really digging the structure and pacing so far, too, because jumping back and forth to parcel out bits of plot from a few different sources and time periods gives them lots of options once the table is all set and things really start grooving. The show has a lot going for it already, and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out as the season progresses.
But, like, what if they just scrapped all that and made the whole show the parts where Matthew McConaughey’s character gets interviewed by the police?
I mean that. The whole show. No flashbacks depicting younger versions of him and Woody investigating the case, no interviews with Woody, no Internet-breaking sex scenes where attractive brunettes handcuff people to things, none of it. Just skeevy-ass, wispily-mustachioed Matthew McConaughey laying out the story piece-by-piece between gulps of Lone Star and drags off cigarettes that are so long and luxurious that they make all the ex-smokers in the audience start twitching involuntarily and reaching for Nicorette, and drawing out a “Sheeeeeeeee-it” every now and then like a burned-out white trash Clay Davis. Hell, don’t even edit it, or shoot it on high-quality equipment. Film it all with that police-issued Handicam in eight 60-minute long tight shots on McConaughey’s upper body, then yell “THAT’S A WRAP” and call it a season. I’d still watch.
Now, I hear you out there. You’re saying, “Look, I know you think you want this. But what you’re not considering is that these scenes are best in small doses. By dropping them in here and there throughout the episode, the show is maximizing their value. Think of a television show like a meal. You need a variety of flavor to make it good. So, like, the flashback scenes are the steak, and the interviews with Woody Harrelson are the garlic mashed potatoes, and these scenes are the ice cream you have for dessert at the end. You wouldn’t want to eat a full meal of ice cream, would you?”
MAYBE I WOULD. And who the hell are you to tell me how to eat? Jamie Oliver? I’m a goddamn grown-up. Give me a bowl of ice cream as big as the moon and eight episodes of Matthew McConaughey explaining a grizzly murder while surrounded by a pile of empty beer cans and cigarette butts so deep he’ll need a shovel to get out of the room when he’s done. Give me all of that and NOTHING ELSE. Peak McConaughey. It would be amazing, right?
I believe I am, good buddy. I believe I am.