December 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Hunters “While Visions Of Safta Danced In His Head”

Season One, Episode Three

So, I made a note to say the character I was thinking of as “the Wolf” was not the Wolf but some American guy named Travis who is really into Nazis.  Of course, as I was looking into things, as I tend to do to make sure I spell names correctly, I discovered something that is making me rethink the show a bit.

Essentially, I was checking to see if Hunters had been renewed for a second season (so far, no), and I came across some criticism for the show from some Holocaust survivor groups, pointing out that the series seems to be somewhat making light of the Holocaust, or making the whole thing out to be somehow pretty darn outlandish and inaccurate.

That’s a solid point.  Hunters is not the kind of show that is going to go for a realistic portrayal of World War II, the post-war real-life Nazi hunters that inspired the series, or anything along those lines.  It’s already done multiple cutaways to more crazy stuff, like Lonny and a young African-American girl doing a fake PSA on how to spot a Nazi.  Clearly that isn’t actually happening in the reality of the show.  I can chalk up, say, Jonah’s disco dancing flash mob to the fact he is, at that moment, incredibly high, but the rest, well…

Let’s put it this way:  Murray and Mindy crack the code behind the music when they eventually discover there’s some Morse code back there listing various dates.  Most of these dates line up with real world tragedies and political scandals like the Watergate break-in and the assassination of at least one Kennedy brother, with one set for two weeks from the time the episode is set in.  All that means is that a secret cabal of Nazis were responsible for many of the evils that have happened in the world of the show.  Combine that with the musicians forced to play Wagner (which, truth be told, seems like something that might have happened) to the human chess game of the pilot, and the show gets into potentially problematic territory.

I don’t expect this show to be a realistic portrayal of the Holocaust.  But at the same time, making the Nazis responsible for, oh, everything, puts them into a position of more cartoon evil than real world evil.  What are we supposed to think when Biff’s big scene for the episode is a comedic one where his clearly unwanted mother-in-law moves in to help him get past the death of his family, AKA the people he murdered in the pilot’s cold open?

But then there’s Jonah’s plot.  It’s…different.  Tragedy hits when a friend of his dies at the hands of Travis while covering for his friend as the Nazi’s investigation into the deaths of other Nazis brings Travis to Jonah’s place of employment, a comic book store.  Jonah, who keeps seeing his grandmother as she appeared in the camps and learned more about how brave she was while falling for Meyer, is played pretty seriously, disco flash mobs aside.  Sure, he’s obviously going to go back to the Hunters.  He even consults with the Markowitzes this episode, and quite frankly, I think I like the two of them best of the supporting cast so far.  Lonny is fun, but a little over-the-top, and the remaining Hunters aside from Sister Harriet (who may be a double agent from the looks of things) are still just vaguely defined characters.  Roxy gets into a fight to the death this episode, Joe seems to be developing a thing for her, and she has a daughter.  That’s about it.  Harriet tends to swear a lot for a nun, which I am sure is meant to maybe be a little funny since she’s a nun, but it doesn’t really seem funny, so there’s that.

That’s what I circle back to:  what kind of show is Hunters trying to be?  A  pulpy adventure?  A broad, dark comedy?  Some mixture of the two?

I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll have an answer after another seven episodes.

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