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Arts and Entertainment

Even The City 'True Detective' Is Based On Isn't Stoked About The Show

Water tower that says "City of Vernon" (Photo by Laurie Avocado via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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We have just two episodes to go until Season 2 of True Detective wraps up, and we can all agree that we still have no idea what's going on in the show. Even the spokesperson for Vernon, the SoCal city that HBO's crime drama is based on, admits that the series isn't all that great.

"It moves around, and sometimes the pacing is slow," Fred MacFarlane, the spokesperson for Vernon, which is basically Vinci in the show, told Fusion. "And, sometimes connecting the dots…it’s hard to go from point to point."

MacFarlane said that some of these reasons had to do with how he couldn't get through a full episode, except the fifth one, and even then that was a struggle. "I was trying to understand why they are making these characters do this stuff," MacFarlane said.

You're not alone, man. A number of critics have said folks watching Season 2 are basically hate-watching it. Some are doing it out of loyalty for the transcendent first season starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, still holding a glimmer of hope that creator Nic Pizzolatto will wrap this all up into a neatly-tied package. Some are enjoying taking to social media to mock this slow-as-molasses season that's full of convoluted narratives; tired tropes; intense staring from the characters; and ridiculous, long-winded dialogue coming from our loquacious mob boss, Frank (with Vince Vaughn reciting lines like, "It’s like blue balls…in your heart"). The list goes on and on. Maybe the saddest part is that Colin Farrell lost that handlebar mustache in the fourth episode that we had grown to love. Just kidding.

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Many of us are still asking who the true detective really is since we're following so many leading characters: the brooding Ventura County Sheriff's deputy Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), ethically compromised Vinci police officer Ray Velcoro (Farrell), and closeted California Highway Patrol Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch). Since this season is so wrapped around the personal drama in these characters' lives, it feels like we're not getting that much closer to figuring out who killed Vinci City Manager Ben Caspere, the real mystery of the story...right?

It's probably unfair to compare Season 2 to the groundbreaking Season 1. After all, it was a perfect storm with a story about buddy cops in the Bayou, complete with deep philosophical talks and a really compelling mystery about the Yellow King. McConaughey's Rust Cohle was a character that could not be replicated: a really likable nihilist. Plus, McConaughey revealed to Rolling Stone last year that he wrote out a 450-page graph breaking down his character over the span of 17 years. We doubt Vaughn did that. Comparisons, however, are inevitable.

It seems like the rest of the tiny industrial city of Vernon, which has about 112 people living in it, hasn't really taken notice of the show, or watched it. MacFarlane told Fusion that Vernon's mayor W. Michael McCormick hasn't even viewed one True Detective episode this season.

It's a little surprising that Vernon gave Pizzolatto their blessing for a show featuring a corrupt fictional city loosely based on their own, which also has a long history of corruption. The series focuses on the web of politics, policing and newspapers, as well as the corrupt and seedy underbelly of Vinci. Vernon even gave the show permits to film in their city.

MacFarlane, though, isn't too fazed about the whole situation. "[The city] has garnered some attention it would otherwise not have gotten at this level," he told Fusion.

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