Sunday, January 3, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Great North' - Judy Struggles to Tell Her Father About the New Job She Has at the Mall in 'Sexi Moose Adventure'

FOX's The Great North - Episode 1.01 "Sexi Moose Adventure"

The family's plans to celebrate Judy's 16th birthday on the family fishing boat go awry after a moose breaks into the Tobin's home.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of FOX's The Great North.

"Sexi Moose Adventure" was written by Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin, Wendy Molyneux & Minty Lewis and directed by Carlos Ramos & Casey Crowe

On her 16th birthday, the biggest change that Judy Tobin wants to make to her life is getting a job at the mall. That's the aspirational idea of obtaining something that seems glamorous and different for her even though it's a very relatable central conflict. She is growing up. She is surrounded by a loving family. However, the Tobins are defined by family patriarch Beef refusing to accept change. He doesn't want anything to differ from the success and happiness they have found together after his wife left him. He doesn't even want to acknowledge that she abandoned the family. It's easier for him to believe that she was killed by a bear. That makes it into an entertaining though tragic story that remains centered in the Alaskan landscape. This is an environment where people react a certain way. The tone and comedic style of the series itself is very reminiscent of Bob's Burgers. That's understandable given the creative auspices behind the show. It's also a winning formula as well. It's clear that this family loves and supports each other. They have their quirks. They struggle. And yet, they all operate with the desire to keep the family as loving as possible. That will include change. It's not fair for Beef to force this one particular life as the only thing acceptable for his children. They have interests as well. They do line up with a lot of what this environment brings out of people. They are all choosing to be here and love one another. Dynamics can change. Life is fluid in that way. Judy taking this job at the mall is essentially her expanding her horizons. It's a way to grab ahold of something with confidence that is uniquely her own. She is more terrified about telling her father about it. That's where the anxiety comes from. The family has fallen into a pattern based on how he reacts to everything. They are happy and willing to do it because life with their mom wasn't actually all that great. It's much better now. It's something that people have to be inside of in order to truly understand. However, the audience is likely to already have affection for this family by the conclusion of this premiere. Sure, the storytelling still needs specificity to it. The Tobin children largely work in tandem with one another. They are grouped together as they have to rescue their dad after he falls and breaks his foot. He is willing to accept death because that's the fate he deserves based on how he has foolishly acted. He shouldn't have to accept that. Nor should the family just leave him behind to die. This isn't the end of the world. This is simply their lives continuing to evolve. In fact, it is glorious to watch all that they are capable of doing. Sure, it's dangerous and reckless that Moon jumps onto a moose in order to scare it away from the family. But that's the action that brings this story to a close that provides safety and salvation to everyone out there in the woods. The narrative declares that Moon is the brave one amongst the siblings. This action proves that. Meanwhile, Judy and Wolf are the ones who want to embrace a little change. That means this job for Judy and moving into the guest house for Wolf and his new fiancé Honeybee. The siblings rally together in support because they don't see any of this as life-changing. They don't believe in the fantasy that their father has created. They still encourage him because he is so loving and supportive. He eventually comes around in total acceptance of what his children want to do. He notes the beauty of the Alaskan environment. He complains and storms off when things don't go his way. He tries to control the world. He can't though. All he can do is offer this love and support. That makes him a great father. He is still flawed. That remains apparent. But it also ensures that this comedy is aware of how to make fully-dimensional characters while always allowing comedy to shrine through the particular story. That creates plenty of hope for the future. Again, more specificity is needed amongst the entire family. It's amusing to see Judy talk with an imaginary version of Alanis Morissette. That too highlights how the dreams and ambitions of people in this specific community are still universal to the world at large. It's fun because it's random. That offers reassurance because it signals a bright future ahead.