Channing Tatum has fun turning U.S. TV on its head
But at six hours, the length of the series is wearying.
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The Show: Comrade Detective, Season 1, Episode 1 (Amazon Prime)
The Moment: The drug dealers
Romanian detectives Gregor (played by Florin Piersic Jr., dubbed by Channing Tatum) and Iosif (played by Corneliu Ulici, dubbed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), rough up two coke dealers. “You’re bringing drugs into this country so you can turn our brothers and sisters into addicts?” Gregor thunders.
“You want the streets of Bucharest to look like the streets of Detroit?” Iosif adds.
“The CIA imports drugs so they can destroy their black communities,” Gregor says. “What’s your dumb-ass excuse?
“Money, bitch,” Dealer No. 1 says.
Gregor slaps him. “For what?” Gregor asks. “All your needs are taken care of. Health care, education, food. And you still want more?”
“Think of your fellow man,” Iosif says.
Dealer No. 2 replies, “My fellow man can suck my –“ Iosif gut-punches him.
“Free market, motherf*ckers,” No. 1 crows. “Only the strong survive.”
Gregor rubs coke in No. 1’s face. “He’s not worth it!” Iosif cries. “He’s just a capitalist punk!”
Obviously, exec-producer Tatum is having a hoot here, pretending that he unearthed this six-part 1980s series from Romania — Cold War communist propaganda created to counter U.S. propaganda like Red Dawn — remastered it, and hired friends like Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate and Chloe Sevigny to dub it. And it is fun to watch the tropes of U.S. television turned against itself, and to see how much/little has changed in terms of American self-regard.
But six hours of this stuff is wearying. When Woody Allen did something similar in his 1966 film What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, he was smart enough to keep his parody to a brisk 80 minutes.