NECESSITY, NOT DESIRE/OZARK

 Photo: Netflix

Photo: Netflix

What I'm Watching

Every summer, for a week or two, I get antsy, and this usually leads me to either drown myself in books or TV shows. Over the past two weeks, I binge-watched TV Land's "Younger," HBO's "Game of Thrones," and whatever was out on Netflix -- most recently the American crime drama thriller, "Ozark."

I'm not a crime drama fan, but Guru heard that it was really good, and if you know me by now, then you know that I take his recommendations seriously. So, we started watching "Ozark" over the weekend.

There's one thing I should point out. The main character, Marty Byrd, is a financial advisor. But "Ozark" is not as boring as you think.

Jason Bateman's character Marty Byrd may have started the first episode as a financial advisor in an office, but he's a quick thinker with a will to survive and keep his family safe. This takes them from their comfortable life in Chicago to rural Missouri, where crime and drugs are abundant. Marty has to convince the residents of the Ozarks to partner with him to save their failing businesses -- which is really a front to launder money for a drug kingpin played by Esai Morales, who will not think twice about killing anyone who crosses him. Laura Linney as Wendy Byrd is a valuable ally but not so great wife to Marty. Yet, she's smarter than she gets credit for and eventually helps him find businesses he can use to launder money.

The show takes its time in developing its characters, allowing you to understand why they behave the way they do. But at the end of the day, the location, the Ozarks is the most important character. It's a gritty place that brings out the worst in everyone.

Here are a few reasons why it was one of the best shows I watched this summer. [Spoiler alert!]

The Will to Survive

Everyone is doing what they can to provide for their family. Whether it's stealing, selling drugs, corruption, blackmail, or laundering money, the characters know that there are no handouts and that they must fight to live.

Women have an impact

The show would undoubtedly be boring if it weren't for the women. From the beginning, Marty's move to Missouri wasn't as smooth as he'd hoped because of his wife's affair. His life is further complicated or made easier, depending on how you look at it, by a pint-sized curly-haired teenager whose outsized ego, sharp wit, sticky fingers, and murderous tendencies make her his greatest ally or enemy (and again, it depends on how you see her!). At the end of the season, the actions of another woman put Marty in a complicated and potentially deadly situation.

It's a family affair

A recurring theme in the show is family. For Marty, his family gives him strength. He wouldn't have survived if he didn't have a family to think about. The other characters in the community represent a broader picture of how their actions impact their family. Whether it's the pastor who unknowingly gives heroin to his congregation with his pregnant wife by side, to the infamous family living in the trailer park, to the secretive family that runs the Ozarks, the entire show is basically a family affair.

"Ozark" was renewed for a second season!

 

 
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