Characters live in an alternative history in which Franklin D. Roosevelt was defeated in the U.S. presidential election of 1940 by Charles Lindbergh.Characters live in an alternative history in which Franklin D. Roosevelt was defeated in the U.S. presidential election of 1940 by Charles Lindbergh.Characters live in an alternative history in which Franklin D. Roosevelt was defeated in the U.S. presidential election of 1940 by Charles Lindbergh.
But some of the reviews here definitely expose the Philistinism of some reviewers. Philistinism...and narcissism: this production is not about you and your shortcomings. A few points, in no particular order...
Lighting: The show is lit dark. This is for two reasons. Metaphorically, the story is dark. Literally, the lighting is accurate: incandescent light bulbs in the 1930s & 1940s did not emit as many lumens as they do today. Likewise, many houses were retrofit from gaslight to incandescent so there just weren't as many overhead lights at that time as there are today. It was a major improvement to go from gas light to incandescent, so one should try and think of it in those terms. If you're expecting this to be lit like a toothpaste commercial, you will be disappointed.
The Pledge of Allegiance: As was previously noted, 1954 was the year "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. Assuming it was deliberately left out is a cue to manage your own issues by doing some research before you start stating things that are inaccurate.
Trump: "The Plot Against America" is not an allegory for Donald Trump. Philip Roth did not need Donald Trump. In 2005 when Roth wrote "The Plot Against America" Trump was little more than a Miss. Universe judge. What this country is facing now doesn't hold a candle to what we faced in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Books: There is mass market fiction (like Tom Clancy and Stephen King) and there is literary fiction (like Philip Roth). Mass Market fiction tends to have lots of action and literary fiction does not.
Storytelling: There are 8 elements of a story. Really. Look it up. They include theme, characters, setting, conflict, and plot. Action is not one of the 8 elements. Action is a word used to describe (some) plots. You can have a plot with action, but too often action is a substitute for plot. Most of the action in "The Plot Against America" is suggested and happens off screen. You will, however, find compelling characters, a fully realized setting, a major conflict, and-most of all-themes. "The Plot Against America" is abundant with themes, including, what it means to be an American, what it means to be Jewish, and can they co-exist?
Southern accent: John Turturro has a Southern accent because his character is from the South. He comes from a family of confederates. Not all Jews live in the New York tri-state area. This should not be confusing to people. You can wear a yarmulke and be a rabbi in a southern synagogue. It even happens today. Really.
Antisemitism: Unfortunately, it helps to be Jewish to appreciate this story. If you are gentile and appreciate it: kudos to you. Most gentile Americans have no understanding of Judaism or Jewish people. They don't understand the difference between conservative, orthodox, and reform. They don't understand who keeps Kosher and who doesn't and what it even means. They don't understand what happens on Friday nights and what Passover is. They think of Jewish holidays as the times when some of their bosses and co-workers take time off from work. That being the case, most reviews seem to largely ignore antisemitism, which is a foundation of "The Plot Against America." Many people have always hated Jewish people. That included Lindbergh and Henry Ford, historically verified anti-Semites. The hate goes in waves. Jewish people have been rounded up and segregated-or murdered enmasse-throughout history. At the same time, there have always been Jewish people who tried to assimilate religiously, culturally, or both.
The production: Top notch. Tommy Schlamme and David Simon already have their bona fides, but the casting is terrific. Even the child actors are exceptional.
If it wasn't clear already, I have really enjoyed this miniseries. An added bonus is that unlike some other shows that should end in their first season but just keep going on and on and on, "The Plot Against America" has to end after these 6 episodes.
- Apr 14, 2020