I first heard about The Bridge, the original The Bridge, about a year ago in a discussion with a friend about what off-beat television one simply must watch. We had already gone through Luther and Sherlock, obviously. (And this was before Top of the Lake, or Rectify.) The discussion had turned to The Killing, which had just wrapped up its first American season. This friend explained that they had watched the original Danish version of The Killing (this friend is a bit of a show-off, clearly) and how it was so much better in every way, and how you learned who killed Røsalinne Lehrsén in the first season, etc. It was a convincing argument for how The Killing could have been a good show, but I was already pretty put off by the American The Killing. Then he asked if I had seen The Bridge. I didn’t even know what it was! Perhaps this friend of mine should edit Videogum instead of me! Anyways, he explained the basic premise: a body is found on the border between Denmark and Sweden, forcing the two countries to work together to solve the crime. It sounded very good! But before I even really had time to look into it, it was announced that the show would be adapted for American television by FX. OK! For one thing, that is easy, and I am a lazy bones. For another thing, I love FX! (I love FX so much I am even willing to forgive them for the whole Anger Management thing!) Even just yesterday I saw a billboard for The Bridge that was cool and designy and I was like yeah! The Bridge! (I tried to find a photo on line, but basically the billboard was actually two billboards, one on each side of a street, with day of the dead style illustrations of a body severed in half (one half on either side of the road) connected by a bridge. It was a good billboard!)
Then I started actually watching The Bridge, and that is where the trouble started. MILD SPOILERS AHEAD OR SHOULD I SAY ALEGS LOLOL.
Look, there are plenty of good things about The Bridge, and if I could have only one wish in this world it would be for infinite wishes. If I could have two wishes, the first wish would be for infinite wishes, and the second wish would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace. But if I could have THREE wishes in this world, my third wish would for sure be for The Bridge to fully cash in on all of its promise. It has a lot of promise! It looks good, visually. I love a mis-matched police team. The part of the show where they discover that the dead body is actually two dead bodies is great. A sinister, Buffalo Bill style serial killer with a political agenda is intriguing. (Although I wish he would be a little less Jigsaw about it.) Etc, etc, etc.
But there is one problem that I feel is almost insurmountable. And that problem’s name is Diane Kruger.
HOLY MOLY, WHAT IS GOING ON THERE?! I know that this show is based off of another show. And I know that Diane Kruger’s character is supposed to have some form of Aspberger’s or whatever. But, like, if you can’t pull it off, which, like, I couldn’t pull it off, lots of people couldn’t pull it off, but at what point do you say, hey, you know what concerns me as a performer and should probably concern you as a person making a TV show? That I’m creating something unwatchable. When she first came on the screen and started talking I was like, whoa, maybe I’ve never seen Diane Kruger before or something but I do not think I like it! Then it quickly became apparent that her character was, you know, special. Marched to the beat of her own drummer so to speak. But, like, maybe she could march to the believable beat of a drummer whose drumming didn’t make you want to throw your TV out the window, you know? Then again: it’s not all Diane Kruger’s fault. The show in general just doesn’t seem to know how to handle a character like this. Like, she’s driving to the victim’s house to inform the family that their mother/wife is dead. Her boss reminds her to make eye contact, because Diane Kruger’s character doesn’t know how to empathize (because someone read the Wikipedia entry on Aspberger’s), but it’s like, WELL MAYBE SOMEONE ELSE SHOULD GO OUT THERE TO BREAK THIS NEWS YOU DON’T HAVE TO JUST LET HER DO IT IF YOU KNOW IT’S GOING TO BE A DISASTER. And then it’s a disaster.
Again, I want The Bridge to be good. I’m going to stick with The Bridge for awhile, watch it with my fingers crossed. But to paraphrase Richard Lawson from the Twitter exchange we had last night, it wouldn’t be bad, just once, to see a show about a detective who could actually do his or her job without a debilitating quirk. #Ironside #ComingThisFall #ToNBC