Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spurgeon’s General Warning: True Detective

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Like every self-satisfied television dork across America, I am rolling around on the floor with glee over HBO’s hit (?) acclaimed series, True Detective. Crimes! Cults! Nihilism! Obscure literary references! T Bone Burnett (also formerly in charge of Nashville), television’s meatiest music man, is executive music producer for the show, and has done some excellent work so far. My esteemed colleague Stephen Trageser has already covered some of the songs featured on the show, but here are a few more options the show could work in:

Henry Mancini, “The Pink Panther Theme”

Look, it’s America’s favorite insulation salesman! Boy oh boy, what I wouldn’t give to hear this played over a detection scene. It needn’t even be bumbling. (Pretty interesting of Peter Sellers to change his name to Steve Martin for this video, huh.)

Elvis Costello, “Watching the Detectives”

This isn’t truly a spoiler, but one scene of True Detective features a skating rink in rural Louisiana, circa 1995, playing “Tired of Waiting for You” by The Kinks, which I can pretty much guarantee has never, ever happened. “Gangsta’s Paradise” would have been a much likelier choice. Maybe they’d like to throw this Elvis Costello number in a dentist’s waiting room. The world of True Detective may be dark, but it sure has hip taste in music.

Thompson Twins, “We Are Detective”

Speculation: True Detective, Season One, Episode Eight. Cohle and Hart, after an exhaustive undercover search in the bayou, finally catch the real killer. “Who are you?” the scraggly culprit asks. “Us? Heh, we are detective, buddy,” replies Cohle. Smiles. Laughs. High five. Freeze frame. Roll credits over the above song.

Discussion questions: What are other songs about detectives? Do female detectives exist? Who is The Yellow King? What is Carcosa? Do you believe True Detective is more “weird fiction,” or does the overall atmosphere lend itself best to the description Southern Gothic? Do you “get” Matthew McConaughey now? (I do.)

Carry on.

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