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Nic Pizzolatto and His Faithful Have Lost Touch with Reality

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | February 22, 2024 |

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | February 22, 2024 |


Not everyone has loved this season of True Detective as much as I have (or as much as my podcast co-hosts have). I’m the person who writes about it for our site, but even among the staff, it’s about 65-35 like/dislike. I don’t read the entire Internet, either, but thanks to the best newsletter on all of Substack — TVTattle — I know what the general consensus among critics is: It’s about the same: A 65/35 split among those who like it or dislike it.

Those of us who love it have our reasons (strong characters, compelling mystery, great vibes), and those who don’t have their reasons, as well (slow, plodding, awkward dialogue, bad vibes), but among both the critics and the reasonable people who like Night Country or hate it, what I don’t see is a lot of discussion of identity politics. Is it cool that this season centers on two female detectives and indigenous women in Alaska? Sure! Do we appreciate the lesbian subtext? Maybe! But that’s not why it’s good. It’s also not why reasonable people dislike it.

What’s interesting, and what I can’t seem to avoid on social media (in particular Reddit), is this belief among many that the only reason critics like it is because it’s “woke” and that anyone who dislikes it is a racist misogynist. These people have taken the mostly positive reception of the show as a personal attack on them, as though by liking the series, we’re calling them out for being racist or misogynist.

No one is talking about racism or misogyny or wokeness except for them. There’s an entire community of people who insist on defending their criticism of the show from a woke straw man who does not exist. This extends even to the show’s creator, Nic Pizzolatto, who opened an Instagram post yesterday to allow people to vent, writing, “This here is the place for all your trolling/support/infighting around True Detective and the absolute moral degeneracy and misogyny of anyone who did not think it was good.”

Pizzolatto has gotten a lot of shit this week (and in past weeks), not for being a moral degenerate or a misogynist, but for being an asshole about passively aggressively calling out the fourth season of True Detective before deleting his posts (or others reposts) instead of collecting the checks and letting the work of Issa López speak for itself or at least having the courage to call the season out directly.

“It’s not a good look for a showrunner or even an ex-showrunner,” The Good Wife/Evil showrunner tweeted. Likewise, Will Landman American Gods, Raised by Wolves) tweeted: “If I was an creator of a TV series that I was now only getting money from it by the executive producer clause in my contract, I would simply shut the hell up when the series I crafted is doing the biggest numbers it ever produced. But that’s just me I guess.”

There is no cancel-culture mob trying to cancel True Detective naysayers. It is all in their heads. The critics are not trying to gaslight them. No one is being paid by the woke lobby to write effusively about the show because “it’s a women-led show that concerns indigenous people.”

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Here’s a sampling of comments I saw from Night Country haters just this morning:

— “Lesson to future directors / showrunners … This is why you hire actors and not washed up old boxers to be in your project. This is embarrassing for everyone involved.”

— From the “Well, actually” files: “I’m a clinical psychologist, I mainly work with children, but I’ve worked as a forensic consultant … Issa Lopez is not a skilled writer, has no clever ideas and clearly hasn’t spent any time researching into the topic.”

— “Jodie Foster must SO regret signing up for this shitshow.”

— “They all know they made something horrible. They don’t feel good about it.”

— “That’s the only explanation why Kali and Issa are defending it so hard, and why there is such a coordinated effort from HBO and critics to pump the scores and turn the narrative into how many viewers the show had and how people are review bombing. They know it’s bad.”

— “Kinda wild how unprofessional these folks are. It’s almost like their defensive over their shitty project because they’re embarrassed by it.”

— [On Kali Reis] “She obv must have CTE”

— “This crying emotion that everyone constantly fakes makes people look like complete and total morons. There is no way anyone involved in this show is authentically feeling happy and proud of what they’ve done. Reis can’t act in front of a camera or even in the absence of one. True Dogshit.”

— “Can’t escape culture war bullshit … It feels like every show or movie I watch now is just some political lecture … You have scores of reviewers just lying through their teeth about how amazing season 4 is it’s just so depressing, it makes me feel like I can’t trust anything to do with media and TV itself is just propaganda and advertising with no substance.”

— “Yeah it’s a culture bash at this point. It was a horrible show and we’ll be called racists, fascists, homophobes. It’s sad but at this point we’ve seen it over and over.”

I could go on for days with these quotes, but you get the point. What’s disconcerting is that this feels like a microcosm of our larger culture: When certain folks see people on screen who do not represent them, they feel attacked. They lash out and then blame wokeness or identity politics for their anger. They live in a world of their own making where they feel like woke mobs are constantly trying to cancel them because people like Nic Pizzolotta, Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, and even Dave Chappelle tell them that woke mobs are trying to cancel them. And then they join these communities where they work themselves up into tizzies that feel disconnected from reality.

When Alan Sepinwall wrote that this season “Gave the Series Its Best Finale Ever,” he made no reference to identity politics, culture wars, or misogynist haters. He stuck strictly to the material — the story, the acting, the resolution. But the Pizzolatto faithful were furious. They felt called out and gaslit when no one was talking to them. And that’s where we are now: We can’t even like something with a diverse cast anymore without being accused of attacking its critics.

As far as I have seen, the only response that Issa López has had to Nic Pizzolatto’s criticism of her season comes from a weeks-old quote where she basically said, “He’s entitled to his opinion.” That hardly sounds defensive. She did not call Pizzolotto a “racist, fascist, homophobe” and she barely even references critical fans of this season except to call out the absurdity of the conspiracies spreading online.

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Chill, y’all. As the kids say, go out and touch some grass. No one cares what you think. Genuinely.