Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Television Show's Depiction of Kentucky Un"Justified"

Though I'm not from Eastern Kentucky, I've visited and passed through enough times that I was interested in seeing how FX's new show Justified portrayed the area and its people. I felt like I was watching an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard meets The Rifleman. Though filmed in Western Pennsylvania rather than the scrub hills of southern California, it still has that flavor of Appalachia run through a Hollywood filter: the stubborn, drunken, "aw, shucks" drawling hillbilly vs. the savvy, smug outsiders. You might as well brew a pot of raspberry truffle coffee with Maker's Mark; that's about the taste it left in my mouth.

Does it make for good television? I suppose. The storyline is well-written enough. It's about as accurate to Kentucky, though, as any wild-west trope was for 1950s television. No, you won't see tumbleweeds blowing down Main Street, nor will you see people sitting around a moonshine still listening to bluegrass music and waiting to fill their mason jar (we keep our stills hidden pretty good). So, no offense to fans of the show, but I hope that people aren't watching it and thinking, "Those Appalachians are crazy." Try watching an episode of Jersey Shore and see if you can say the same thing about The Garden State. I would hope not every resident acted like Snooki or The Situation.