Fascinating show • Not journalism
by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:
his is the kind of show we need more-a. True-crime is quite possibly the sweetest “sweet spot” genre in the suite of television shows available today. It’s difficult to resist a really good mystery.
“Making a Murderer” is a well-craftedabout how the justice system completely screwed over a completely innocent man (more than once) as well as his completely equally innocent complete nephew.
That said, the show’s ten episodes are a horrendous miscarriage of justice in their own right. The thing is, in the end everyone loses: the pure-as-the-driven-snow Avery family loses; the family of the murdered woman loses; and perhaps most importantly, the viewer loses. That is, if the viewer is even remotely interested in the truth and facts of the actual case. If the viewer is simply interested in riveting and compelling plot, then said viewer is definitely a winner. I consider myself a winner after watching this series. (Heh, heh, heh)
Twenty-first century American viewers (and prolly Canadian viewers too; maybe even Mexican viewers; hell, it’s possible: Tibetan viewers) are more interested in a good story than truth. It is what it is, as they say, and I’m not going to bang my head against that wall, right now anyway. Mis-characterizations, left-out facts and lack of journalistic objectivity aside, MaM is painfully entertaining. I think it’s only fair to state here that the producers prolly never intended to be journalistically objective. Heck, it’s a miniseries designed to suck in viewers, not an accounting of events prepared for admission into court. I think that’s where people have screwed up, judgmentally speaking. There’s a difference.
The popularity of the Netflix series lies in the way people have jumped to conclusions and formed their opinion of the facts. Newsflash: the facts of the actual case are not objectively presented in the show. Again, presenting the objective facts was not the point at all. Getting viewers was. So, I think it’s important to remember that, as we all play armchair judge & jury.
[Before I continue further, I just have to insert this: I really got tired of the “Minnesota” accent (yeah, I know it was Wisconsin, but what’s the dif?). If I hear one more person say the word, “No,” with the resonance of the word dwelling in the arch of their nasal cavity, I’m gonna possibly get violent. Ten hours of hearing that accent was enough for a lifetime. I don’t mean to offend my midwestern brothers and sisters, but I don’t think I could ever be friends.]
Back to the crux of this review: It’s really hard to watch this show without continually blurting out, “You’ve got to be kidding! Are you Sam Drucker-looking judge guy was about two whiskers away from evil itself. He definitely had it in for them Averys. It's jes' not right.? How did get away with that?” I especially thought that
Throughout the story, we are purposely led to root for Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey. If there’s one thing we can all enthusiastically get behind, its injustice. Right?
Wait. What? I meant we can get behind the rage over injustice. Yeah. That’s what I meant.
The Avery family’s lower-middle-class status (the fact that they live inin conditions that are something less than what the Ewing family of Dallas enjoyed) isn’t the only thing that makes us want to root for them. No: Socio-economic status notwithstanding, going up against Uncle Sam (or, in this case, "Cousin Wilbur" [Wisconsin], or even Brother Manny [Manitowoc County]) is a feat no one wants to tackle. But how horrible it must be, to battle the limitless resources of the gub’ment when you’re barely of the means to decorate your with anything more than a ceramic, three-owl lamp placed on top of the end table nestled in the corner, with your 1972 velour couch and love seat set against the paneling.
Again, though, the show is more fun to watch than rearranging the refrigerators in your yard.
Some of us loved it when the filthy-rich American aristocratic Ewings suffered and battled in “Dallas.” “Downton Abby” gives us the same kind of opportunity: to scrape our collective noses on the ceiling against early 20th century actual British aristocracy.
It’s no less juicy to watch lives unravel when said lives are the inhabiters of a shabby, dirty, ugly, auto-salvage farm in squalid, continuously-winter, not-fit-for-cultured-man-nor-beast-rural-WI. Again (and it seems that I'm continually apologizing for my Freedom-of-Speech opinion-giving), I mean no offense against my northern Midwest brethren. I love you. Really. It's just that I am suspicious of that nasal, resonant "No," you keep saying.
Watching MaM is as riveting as watching the rich folks get their due. That’s because the Averys apparently don’t get what they’re due: They get screwed. That’s the only conclusion I could reach (as an unbiased viewer, mind you). Screwed, I tell you. And screwage ofis the worst screwage of all—since, like, the Averys were culturally screwed even before the sonorous cello began weeping with the beginning theme song.
When it comes to raw entertainment, what little resemblance this series has to do with actual truth is irrelevant (not to mention irreverent). But that difference is what makes it so riveting. We think we know what went wrong in the Avery/Dassey trials. We yell at the TV, wondering how the system was allowed to get away with ruining these lives. We watch, mouths agape, as Steven's fiancée (if ever there was needed a definition of, just look her up) dumps him, and Steven reels in despondent grief over said "loss." (Don't get me started.)
The whole spectacle is the personification of entertainment. Truth and objectivity, not so much.
If we later learn incontrovertible evidence that “Avery & Nephew” are actually guilty, well that’d ruin all the fun.
So, what’s on next?
And then, there’s this: