And Shun the Frumious Bandersnatch: a Continued Conversation about Fargo and the Homage

This is the second piece of an ongoing conversation about Fargo (the television show and the film) and its homages, inspirations, characters, and the world it builds. You can either jump in right here or start at the beginning.  

D. F. Lovett

Okay, so you’ve asked me why I think Milligan specifically recites “The Jabberwocky”, and it if connects to Milligan or the story in a deeper way.

One thing about it: I knew what poem he was reciting immediately. Not only am I rather fond of Lewis Carroll, but I actually worked at a coffeeshop for four years named The Bandersnatch (at Denison University), named for his poem. The moment I heard twas brillig out of Milligan’s mouth, I became simultaneously hyped to be hearing a poem I love and confused about why Milligan would be reciting such a bizarre poem, unprompted.

I’m still not sure why “The Jabberwocky” is the poem Milligan recites, but I think it does connect with the idea of transforming perspectives. It’s from Lewis Carrol’s stories of Alice, after all, in which we see Alice first fall down a rabbit hole and then step through a looking glass. Her adventures leave her changed and with a new perspective, but unlike The Wizard of Oz or The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe or any of the other similar narratives, we aren’t handed a final moral or even a clear explanation of what exactly has happened here. Dorothy and the Narnia children each have lessons learned. Their tales are allegories; Dorothy’s trip through Oz is about America, politics, and money, while the Pevensies are witnesses to a heavy-handed extended Christian metaphor. Alice’s adventure is nonsense.


How does this connect to Fargo and Mike Milligan? Because I think Fargo refuses to give us ever exactly what we expect or anticipate from such a narrative, in so many ways.  Like the Solversons or the Blumquists, Alice enters a universe of senselessness and confusion and comes out the other end changed, but it’s not clear why. (Of course, there is one consistent moral in all three Fargo narratives so far, but we can get to that later).

Okay, so that’s mostly why I think they chose “The Jabberwocky.” What’s your thought on it?

Zach Ellin

Before I say what I think about “The Jabberwocky”, I have to start by noting that a lot of people would find it ridiculous already that we’re trying to draw such meaning out of a poem that has been labeled, literally and accurately, “nonsense.” But I think everything you’ve said is a reasonable and fair observation. And that goes regardless of what Noah Hawley thought when using it, of course. Continue reading “And Shun the Frumious Bandersnatch: a Continued Conversation about Fargo and the Homage”


Beware the Jabberwock: A Conversation About Fargo and the Art of the Homage

Say what you want about the impending year 2017, but there is one thing we know it will bring us: a new season of Fargo, the quasi-anthology television masterpiece from Noah Hawley and FX.

A few months ago, I reached out to blogger and Fargo (the show, not the place) super fan Zach Ellin to see if he would be interested in conversing about what exactly makes Fargo so good, including literary references, fan theories, politics, and more.


Zach writes a blog called Blue Ox Talks, where he explores the world of Fargo, investigating motifs, comparing the television show and the films of the Coens, and interviewing the cast of Fargo, including an enlightening conversation with Zahn McClarnon of Season Two.

The first of our conversation appears below. Over the next several weeks, we will continue to publish installments of the conversation.  Continue reading “Beware the Jabberwock: A Conversation About Fargo and the Art of the Homage”

“Please stop calling here, Adele.”

A dialogue with Adele, from the perspective of the person she should not be calling. All of Adele’s lyrics are from the song “Hello.” The Audience’s lyrics are invented for this dialogue.


Audience: Hello?

Adele: Hello, it’s me.

Audience: Adele?

Adele: I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.

Audience: Why would I want to do that?

Adele: To go over everything.

Audience: I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Adele: They say that time’s supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing.

Audience: ….

Adele: Hello, can you hear me?

Audience: Yes. But I, um, I think I’m gonna hang up. Continue reading ““Please stop calling here, Adele.””

“Yes, Jason, it is kinda weird” : A dialogue with Jason Derulo

The song “Trumpets,” by Jason Derulo, has been around for a while now, but I can’t help but think about the strange questions it asks of its audience, every time one hears it.   It’s the tale of a first person narrator and a second person, the beloved, a female companion of the love-struck narrator who he has already wooed and is now in the process of praising.

But instead of simply being a Petrarchan catalogue of all the things he loves and admires about his beautiful beloved, it is instead a description of the things that Jason thinks about and hears when spending time with her.  Not only that, but he tells us about the things he hears and imagines and about which he thinks through a series of questions, each beginning with is it weird…

Which requires an answer.

And that answer is yes: yes, Jason, a lot of what you are saying in this song is pretty weird.

So let’s take a look at the questions you are asking, whether or not the answer is yes, and why.  If you aren’t familiar with the song, here you go:

But first, what do we know before the questions begin?  We know that a) he often sees her get undressed b) when he sees her get undressed, he hears symphonies in his head  c) he wrote this song while looking at her, although it’s not clear if she was dressed or undressed when he wrote it.  (Note: all of Jason’s dialogue is actual lyrics from the song.)

Jason:  Is it weird that I hear violins whenever you’re gone? Continue reading ““Yes, Jason, it is kinda weird” : A dialogue with Jason Derulo”