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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lone Star Pilot Review

We were not excited about Lone Star because of the premise. Modern TV loves an anti-hero (Dexter anyone?), but asking the public to symathize with a con man in love with two women might be taking it too far. The ratings for this show were low, so apparently other people agreed with us. Characters should always be well-rounded and should possess flaws, but people like to root for good to overcome evil sometimes. This is the appeal of movies like Braveheart and Forrest Gump.

But this main character’s life is not a box of chocolates, and he doesn’t have a lot of freedom either. Bob Alan (who looks like the lovechild of Jon Krasinski and Kyle Chandler - gorgeous, is what we're saying) is a Texas con man who tricks would-be investors into signing over their savings to him to get a fake piece of imaginary rock. He has a rich wife, Cat, with a spitfire, bad girl personality and a middle-class fiancĂ©, Lindsay, who is very sweet. They are both very much in love with him, and he loves them both too. We're supposed to buy this because, you see, Bob’s conning ways are not HIS fault. His dad made him participate in his schemes since he was a young boy. We think Bob is lying to himself about his intentions and doesn’t know what really drives him. He thinks he is driven by love for his dad and two women, as well as a search for something real, but his actions reveal the truth. Then again, that dad seems pretty heartless. If Bob stopped playing his game, maybe he would reveal all of Bob’s lies and cons. Even then, that would mean Bob's motivation is fear, not love.

Bob’s shady, interesting, and powerful father-in-law offered him a job with his oil company, and now Bob wants to take it rather than simply pull a planned long con on the father-in-law. Bob wants to take this job and start living a straight life. Er…two straight lives.

Now, in order to cover up his former lies and live out his polygamous dreams, Bob has to steal from his father-in-law’s oil company to pay back what he stole from the people in Lindsay’s town, or he has to leave Lindsay.

Bob’s dad has him on a tight leash. When Bob tried to give up the con man life, Bob’s dad knew just how to manipulate him. He said, “You’re a con man son. This is what you do. This is who you are. I'm the one who loves you for who you are and not who you pretend to be.” In addition to the love Bob feels for his father, Bob has an identity to keep up. Identity is related to your purpose in life, which is central to being human. Without a purpose, real or shallow, people become depressed and lethargic. We all have bits of our identity that are false or harmful, but they makes us who we think we are. Bob is becoming who he pretends to be, and he’s losing track of what’s real and what he was intended to be. When we don’t know who we really are, we have to take on a constructed identity. Are you “a stylish, pretty girl,” “a smart guy,” “a devil-may care guy,” "a good person," or “the funny one?” Or is your identity your job, like Bob's? Is your identity, like Bob's, built on something you can lose if things go badly?

Bob’s father has encouraged his son to take this human behavior to the extreme. The strength of this show is that we can all relate to Bob. We have all felt the moment when we’re afraid our lies have caught up to us. We all want someone to know us for who we really are and accept us. And we all have had habits, fears, and parental pressure that keep us trapped. Before you write this show off because you can't stand the actions of the charming main character, ask yourself what you think is the basis of you. If you lost it, would you be you anymore? And what would you do to keep it?

We are rooting for this show. And we are rooting for Bob.

Episode Grade- B


  1. I put this show off for five days because I just wasn't excited about the premise, but I got sucked in. There's the potential for very good character development here, and even excluding the main character's, um, assets, he's very likable. I think FOX is going to drop the axe on this one pretty quickly if it's numbers don't start pointing up, but I hope they don't.

    Point taken about the anti-hero being current, btw! This show felt a little HBO-y, in a good way.

  2. We definitely had flashbacks to Big Love.