TV Tuesday: The Get Down

So, I have been watching The Get Down, Baz Luhrmann’s kinda-sorta music-history piece about the birth of hip-hop in the Bronx in the late 1970s. There’s been a lot of argument about historical inaccuracy in this show, and I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable to weigh in, except to say that I can definitely see a few places where things have been compressed, simplified, told out of sequence or reduced to a sort of cartoon of the reality.

Which … I said Baz Luhrmann, right? He’s not the only one involved, but he’s got previous for hearstring-tugging but not-exactly-coherent stories about the transformative power of music. Also for wild tonal inconsistency, which this also has. I enjoyed watching it, but it’s definitely kind of sloppy, less in a lot of ways than the sum of its parts.

But for me, I think the thing that really got me was that one of the storytelling choices was a real tough one for me to watch. So: two of the protagonists (well, at least two) are sort of torn between two worlds. Ezekiel (Justice Smith) is torn between a potentially bright future, going to college, pursuing a career in politics, his love interest Mylene (Herizen F. Guardiola), etc., and the music he loves so much, while Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore) is torn between the same music and his commitment to the streets, the gang that raised him, etc.

The way in which this conflict is represented is … time-management anxiety. Lots and lots of anxious scenes about being in one place while you have to be in another, or fighting over competing demands on time. So … for me, that was not fun to watch. I get to see that stuff while I’m sleeping already.

It’s only a minor part, and it mainly illustrates what a weirdo I am, but there you go.


TV Tuesday: The Get Down

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