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Why Lovecraft Country did not work for me.

I have to start by saying that I did not dislike this series. But I think like many that I was somewhat disappointed by it. There are some things that is expected when you hear the name Lovecraft. Otherworldly horror beyond the comprehension of mere humans, fear of the unknown, subtle suspense rather than outright horror. Racism. Now I am aware that this show is based on a book from 2016 by author Matt Ruff, and not actually any of Lovecraft's work, if that was not obvious from the fact that Lovecraft was as racist as you would expect from a shut in born in 1890, and Lovecraft Country, both the show and the book, is very much the opposite of that. Still, the name gives expectation, and I think that is one of the reasons for the polarization of it.

But lets start right here, with what works even with the Lovecraftian name attached. And obviously, spoilers are in effect. The first episode is pretty strong, even though it shows the monster in full view. It is genuinely scary at times and sets up the world in a good way. There is an episode towards the end of the show about a woman going through time and space, becoming whoever she wants to be, that comes close to the otherworldly feel of Lovecraft, but skips the horror. It is interesting and fun nonetheless. There is also an episode that features creepy little girls, that is the shows best episode by far, haunting and horrifying.


The fact that segments of the series work well is attributed to the fact that the show is very segmented. Isolated events sort of connect, but stand as separate stories as well. This is very much a personal taste if you like it or not. For me I think it works, because it gives me something to look to and experience besides the main story. It is a good thing, because the main plot isn't very good.


This has to do with a few things, the fact that I did not connect with our main lead, that I think that the villain is pretty bland, that the story seems to steer away from the main story from time to time completely, and making me realize that I like the side stories more than when they try to focus on the main plot. All of these things might have something to do with one thing, and this is also one of the reasons why I think that, despite not liking Lovecraft Country that much, I still think it is one of the best and important shows of this year. It is also why my opinion really doesn't matter outside of myself. The show was never made for me to begin with.

The show features black leads in 1950's southern US, coming face to face with the racism and Jim Crow laws of that time. But I don't think it's made mainly to show us white people how horrible black people had it, and still very much does. It might still have you come to that realization, but in my opinion, Watchmen does it much better. No, I would rather say that this is to show empathy for the main characters, that very much can take the horrors of the supernatural, since they already live in a horrific world of their own, one I can never fully comprehend, so they never try and explain it to me. This is not made for me, it is made for the people who can connect and understand our main characters, and the supporting characters as well. I have no characters that I can put myself into, and white are not supposed to either, unless you too are as racist as a shut in born in 1890.


Does this excuse the thinks that does not work from a storytelling perspective? Yes, I imagine that for many people it really does. That is the thing about stories, you can excuse a lot if something really appeals to you. I really love the first Thor, despite it honestly not being very good. But it's about two very different brothers, who are brothers despite this. I can relate, even if my brother is more like Thor than Loki. I think that's why so many people hold Frozen in such high regards as well, despite it being nothing really that special, the splendor of "Let it go" not withstanding. But it is ultimately about true love not necessarily being romantic love, and that the main women really does not need a dude to come rescue them. If you are a woman, that is probably going to resonate with you. Much more than it does with me. Same goes with Lovecraft Country.


So, how to end something like this. I think that we need to be a lot more aware that not everything we experience or watch is for us. That does not mean it's bad. It does not mean that nobody could enjoy it, nor does it mean that your experience with it isn't valid. It just means it is your experience, and if someone else has another experience, good for them, be glad that there finally is a show that is created for them. Can you enjoy Lovecraft Country and be white? Yes, very much so, just as you don't have to automatically love it if you are black. But I do think that it is harder than if you were part of the intended audience. But what do I know, it's not for me, and the nuances flies right over my head. If you want an analysis of what the show actually means to the black community and to the people that loves this show, ask someone no so white.


On to something a little more white next time, like a show about white people solving murders of while people made by white people. In Scandinavia!

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