Anyone else watch the second installment of Over There on the FX Channel? (Interesting that the movie Black Hawk Down was on right before it.) I’ve never seen so many unlikable people in one TV show nor heard such a large amount of obnoxiously clichéd dialogue: “My husband makes mules look cooperative.” Additionally, I’ve never heard so many different people ask God to damn somebody or something so many times in such a short interval of time.
As for the combat action, I’m no Iraq vet, but to me that checkpoint looked poorly lit, insufficiently equipped and poorly disciplined. (And that pontificating, whiny guy who opened up the car door in contradiction of his orders made me want to shoot him. Had he shut up for a minute, he might have found the guy in the trunk sooner.)
The series seems just like all the other poorly conceived “war serials.” Only the particulars for the war at hand have changed. The personnel and the personal interaction is the same: dishonest, lazy soldier, the good soldier, the much-noted screaming sergeant (I never had to scream; menace or sarcasm is another story), the “commentator” (the guy I wanted to shoot). Back on the home front, there was the injured guy’s dysfunctional family: his deadbeat dad and his shrewish wife who looked about ten years older that he did. Then, to complete the scenario, there were the cavalier and uncaring officers: the one who notified the wife that her husband was injured and the doctor.
The theme that shot through this episode of Over There was callousness. From the soldiers who left the dead Iraqis they had killed by the side of the road—the vulture was such a “nice” touch—to the casualty officer who “waited” three days to notify the wife of he husband’s injury (but, somehow, the dad found out first), the message was clear. These are terrible, blasphemous people doing unworthy things; the enlisted personnel are stupid, the officers are evil and the families are trash.
Message received, five-by.
UPDATE: Commenter Ckrisz points to a Salon article in which an individual thought to be trying to run a checkpoint is left by the side of the road after being shot and killed by US troops. The only difference: the real-life checkpoint is mobile while the depicted one is stationary.
It's a heart-breaking article.