Sunday, January 17, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Great North' - Ham's Secret Business Adds More and More Pressure to His Life in 'Feast of Not People Adventure'

FOX's The Great North - Episode 1.02 "Feast of Not People Adventure"

Judy is worried that she and Ham are growing apart when she discovers he's been keeping a secret from her. The rest of the family participates in a town festival.

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 next episode of FOX's The Great North.

"Feast of Not People Adventure" was written by Minty Lewis and directed by Joel Moser

Judy and Ham are Alaskan twins. That means that they were born nine months apart. As such, it's understood that they have a close bond. They believe that they are inseparable. And yet, they want to explore their own interests in the world as well. In fact, a lot of the narrative drive of the series comes from the members of this family striving for individuality. Judy wanted a job at the mall. She was terrified to tell her father about it because of the change it would bring to their lives. It's not a big deal. The same applies to Ham becoming the new cake lady in town. It's something he is passionate about. Plus, he happens to be really good at it too. He is helping modernize the business as well. Sure, that just means accepting orders through email. However, that is revolutionary for an area that prides itself on the simple pleasures of life. In fact, the citizens of this town enjoy being cut off from the demands of society elsewhere. And yet, they too need to recognize the collective burden of their past. They celebrate a festival for when the original settlers decided to no longer eat people. It's an absolutely brutal history. One that deserves that recognition and horror. It's also just as important to recognize that the indigenous community was actually here first. The town history didn't start with the decisions these new settlers made once they got lost on their journey to Florida. It's so much more rich and complex than that. That's what this festival memorializes though. It brings the town together for various events. It's a fun time for the whole family. The true meaning can't be ignored though. Judy believes that Ham can only become a great cake lady if he truly connects with the significance of this moment. Once he blocks out the pressure of delivering, he can create a cake worthy of being feasted upon by the whole town. And yes, it's striking when he removes the cover to reveal a cake in the shape of a human. It confuses people because they believe they aren't suppose to be eating people on this day. That is a good message all the time. This celebration helps bring that further into clarity because there is a part of the past that wasn't always this way. Ham provides that lesson and is rightly celebrated for it. Plus, he doesn't have to lose his bond with Judy in order to achieve success. He suffers under the pressure of doing this job in secret. He has kept his family out of the loop for awhile. He has been sneaking to the kitchen at night in order to bake. No one particularly cares that this is what he has been doing. Judy just feels cut off from the one person she has always felt the closest with. It takes awhile for her to reckon with the idea that he has his own interests and pursuits in life. She should be proud of that though. She needs to offer her unconditional support. The family rallying together can allow each of them to thrive. That too is the overall moral of the story. When the van breaks down, every member of the Tobin family comes together to deliver the cake on time. They happen to be in the woods at that moment because of the other events happening during this festival. The A-story works fairly well in this episode. The other plots are a bit more scattered and don't really connect in a meaningful way to the core concern. That too is striking. It provides agency and depth to each of the characters. They aren't all consumed by the same plot concerns. More specificity is being delivered. However, it comes across as comedic situations that have the potential of being amusing instead of genuinely earning laughs. It's a fine but key distinction. And so, Wolf sets high expectations for him to succeed just like his father and uncle have done before. Meanwhile, Honeybee can't convincingly pay a corpse because she loves talking too much. They are minor challenges in the grand scheme of things. They provide some addition shades to the overall ensemble. However, it's also apparent that the show is still finding the right tone and structure for how it wishes to thrive on an episodic basis. That's perfectly fine. The sweet sentiment at the heart of the show remains earnest and genuine. These issues can easily be overcome with more time. Nothing has been so irksome to push viewers away. More time spent in this world will only make the characters and the comedy better.