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Giant Misfit

S01.E03: Episode 3

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Again, beautiful set direction and providing the feeling of 1940. I just don’t see the story arc. The Levins just seem to be floating along in this alternative history.

i know it’s HBO and they like their sex and nudity, but please not 63-year-old John Turturo fking. The actor who plays Herman only seems to have one speed — indignant anger. But a man who can’t control his temper in front of his wife and small children is a jerk, even if he’s correct in a political sense.

Thought it was ironic that Lindbergh was setting up concentration camps for Jews in this alternative history when Roosevelt set up relocation camps for Japanese at the same time in the true narrative.

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12 minutes ago, Concerned said:

I just don’t see the story arc.

The story arc is America's march toward fascism. The Levin's are there to show the effects.

I figured Alvin would get in a little more action before being maimed, but this ain't that kinda show.

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Does the book have Alvin not getting maimed so quickly?

Yeah Herman is too outspoken for his own good (and his family’s) sometimes but also can be charming too.

He must know how to turn it off for his work selling insurance so maybe he thought the boys needed to see him speaking out like that?

Because he still believed in America and his place in it, rather than looking to flee as Bess wants to.

Mr. Taylor the guide was great.  Hope they paid him for the second day.

 

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A Jew myself, I find the show incredibly powerful, and true about what it means to be a Jew. I'm not sure I've ever seen any work of dramatic art do a better job.

Separately...I usually find shows that are obviously allegorical to the present time to be irritating. I'm saying to myself, "Yeah, I get it, I get that you're really talking about the madness we're living through now. My, aren't you the clever one." That stuff is all David Simon, because when Roth wrote the novel, the past wasn't a presage of the present. But this show feels so emotionally true about both the past and the present that I'm helpless but to go anywhere it wants to take me.

 

 

Edited by Milburn Stone
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As a minor "real history" thing, Herman's friend remarks that there aren't enough Democrats in Congress to oppose Lindbergh's foreign policy is emblematic of a trend in the show's writing to essentially transport the 2020 party system back to 1940.  Neither the Dems nor the GOP were anywhere near as ideologically homogeneous as they are now, nobody in 1940 talking about Congress would assume that all Democrats were pro-Britain/anti-fascist or that the GOP were the opposite.  Both parties had strong, vocal isolationist and internationalist wings at this time.

I liked the way the episode captured the experience of paranoia when you aren't really sure who to trust, with some people (like Taylor or the first cop they meet) being totally innocuous while others aren't.

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I think I might have to put this show on pause for awhile. Maybe I will pick it back up again later. But it's a real downer, and with everything that's going on right now, the last thing I want to watch is some doomsday scenario story.

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22 hours ago, SeanC said:

As a minor "real history" thing, Herman's friend remarks that there aren't enough Democrats in Congress to oppose Lindbergh's foreign policy is emblematic of a trend in the show's writing to essentially transport the 2020 party system back to 1940.  Neither the Dems nor the GOP were anywhere near as ideologically homogeneous as they are now, nobody in 1940 talking about Congress would assume that all Democrats were pro-Britain/anti-fascist or that the GOP were the opposite.  Both parties had strong, vocal isolationist and internationalist wings at this time.

I think you can fanwank things to say that Lindbergh's apparent landslide brought in Republicans with him who shared his isolationist philosophy, while wiping out more moderate persons from the Democratic and Republican parties.  I think it was mentioned that Lindbergh's VP was a Democrat? Or used to be a Democrat?

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1 hour ago, txhorns79 said:

I think it was mentioned that Lindbergh's VP was a Democrat? Or used to be a Democrat?

His VP is Burton K. Wheeler, a real-life US senator from Montana of the period who was a progressive Democrat and leader of the anti-interventionist wing of the Democratic Party before Pearl Harbor.

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Have they moved past the point in time where Pearl Harbor was attacked?  Because in real life that was what moved the US past isolationist leanings.  If you are attacked, you fight back. I thought they said that it was 1942, but could be wrong.

 

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Since America is neutral in this, and even secretly supplying Hitler. No reason for Japan to attack. Most likely Lindbergh would cede the East Pacific to Japan

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I’m also Jewish and I find a strong story arc and tension.

there were programs for Jewish kids to go to farms in real life- but they were run by Jewish groups, and were not “absorption,” they really were for poor inner city kids. 
 

I thought Taylor told everyone at first. I was glad he turned out to be just what he seemed, a nice guy who figured out they were tourists from the plates and the hotel. 
 

I don’t know if people got kicked out of rooms like that once they were in but in GENTLEMANS AGREEMENT we do see a Jewish man (who isn’t even Jewish just a reporter trying to learn what it’s like) being told there was a mixup with his reservation.

pooe Little Philip and his nightmares!

i don’t mind seeing an older guy getting it on but that looked like some pretty bad sex.

ans who wants to wear another woman’s ring? Ew.

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2 hours ago, edhopper said:

Since America is neutral in this, and even secretly supplying Hitler. No reason for Japan to attack. Most likely Lindbergh would cede the East Pacific to Japan

The opening of the episode said it was May 1941.  I don't know that I believe even Lindbergh would simply cede American territories in the Pacific to Japan.

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I believe Pearl Harbor roused a lot of passions, so the Lindberg neutrality wouldn't hold.

But as people noted, with an alliance with Germany, no reason Japan would attack, though they'd run rampant in Asia and most of the Pacific.

 

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2 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

The opening of the episode said it was May 1941.  I don't know that I believe even Lindbergh would simply cede American territories in the Pacific to Japan.

If Lindbergh was willing to accede to Japan absorbing the British and Dutch possessions in east Asia, I don’t think they’d be bothered much about the Philippines or a couple of small island chains.

Edited by SeanC

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On 3/30/2020 at 8:33 PM, scrb said:

He must know how to turn it off for his work selling insurance so maybe he thought the boys needed to see him speaking out like that?

Because he still believed in America and his place in it, rather than looking to flee as Bess wants to.

Sometimes all it takes is one person to put their foot down and say 'no.' He was saying right at the start at the cemetery that he wasn't going anywhere. I don't really blame him blowing up about the farm either. (After seeing the president shake hands with Hitler to boot). Great job on the end around of asking her when a black kid would be going to the farm without really yelling either. 

The actors playing Herman and Bess are doing a stellar job for me as a married couple. I don't really fault her for wanting a back up plan and just laying the issue out there. But I wouldn't have canceled the DC trip either. I know she was getting a little frazzled, but you let too much slide and people are going to walk all over you. 

It's funny how people made 'wrong turns' at one time. 

On 3/31/2020 at 8:52 PM, txhorns79 said:

I think you can fanwank things to say that Lindbergh's apparent landslide brought in Republicans with him who shared his isolationist philosophy, while wiping out more moderate persons from the Democratic and Republican parties.

I'm surprised it was only a 2 person race without a third party sucking up some votes from FDR to throw it more to Lindy. Wasn't there like a 'workers party' or something back then. 

On 3/31/2020 at 10:38 PM, SeanC said:

His VP is Burton K. Wheeler, a real-life US senator from Montana of the period who was a progressive Democrat and leader of the anti-interventionist wing of the Democratic Party before Pearl Harbor.

I suppose that's fair enough though. I could buy the race being close because Lindy is a celebrity but I was thinking after last time that there needed to be some edge for him. I'm having a hard time buying that he won in a landslide though. 

I do feel bad for the kids having the nightmares. 

I'm wondering then if the battle at Stalingrad is going to change at all. 

So the rabbi's horse's name is Horse? 

Edited by DoctorAtomic

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The father is a big mouth, even his wife is fed up with him. Don't really like the show. I didn't know it was "historical" fiction or whatever this is called. Liking the 40"s sets but otherwise it's not my cup of tea. I'd rather see a story about actual history instead of this alternate universe but I will keep watching for now. Boy does Winona Ryder bug for some reason. 

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On 4/1/2020 at 11:09 PM, lucindabelle said:

i don’t mind seeing an older guy getting it on but that looked like some pretty bad sex.

I think that was the point -- he's a 60 year old widower who's only ever been with his late wife, until Evelyn.  He was probably either impotent or way too quick on the trigger, because she sure didn't look satisfied.  But she's also caught up in the cause, and basking in his admiration and companionship -- after all, he's a powerful, charismatic guy (aka, a pompous ass!) who has the ear of the president!  And she's his right-hand woman!  So Evelyn may be willing to settle for lousy sex (for now, anyway.)

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On 4/1/2020 at 8:47 PM, meep.meep said:

Have they moved past the point in time where Pearl Harbor was attacked?  Because in real life that was what moved the US past isolationist leanings.  If you are attacked, you fight back. I thought they said that it was 1942, but could be wrong.

 

 

On 4/2/2020 at 6:18 AM, txhorns79 said:

The opening of the episode said it was May 1941.  I don't know that I believe even Lindbergh would simply cede American territories in the Pacific to Japan.

 

On 4/2/2020 at 9:07 AM, SeanC said:

If Lindbergh was willing to accede to Japan absorbing the British and Dutch possessions in east Asia, I don’t think they’d be bothered much about the Philippines or a couple of small island chains.

Seanc is right on the right track. The crux of the matter is Japan absorbing the British and Dutch possessions in east Asia.

Also, Roosevelt had refused to sell oil to Japan. That was of course the consequence of Japan's own aggressive policy but it pushed the country further into the corner. In order to get oil, Japan had to conquer the Dutch East Indies which would lead it also to a conflict with Great Britain and most likely also with the US. These three countries were also bound up with the fate of China where Chiang Kai-shek had been in conflict with the Japanese. (My source is mainly Fateful Choices by Ian Kershaw.)

As Lindberg wouldn't have minded about the British and Dutch and allowed to sell oil to Japan, there would be no reason to Pearl Harbor.

Instead, Japan would have chosen the other option that its leaders also pondered irl: the attack on its traditional enemy, Russia that would have been unable to move fresh troops from Siberia against the Germans. And of course, Lindberg wouldn't have given Russia any lend-lease aid. 

Japan had just made a non-aggression pact with Russia but, as so had Germany and Russia in 1939-41, so it would have been no obstacle but rather an advantage in the surprise attack.

 

 

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Giant Misfit

This is an episode thread. Do not use it to discuss the book or anything else that didn't happen in this or the previous episodes. Do not use any of the subject matter as a jumping off point to draw parallels to any modern-day politicians, political parties, or movements.

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