Recently, I watched El Camino, the Breaking Bad movie. If you are reading a culture site, you probably did as well. I thought Breaking Bad was great, in all its bleak glory. So many of the big, hit shows, and the critically-acclaimed darlings, are dark in one way or another. They are dark like Mad Men, or dark like Game of Thrones. Also, sometimes terrible like Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones sucks. Deal with it. I don’t mind dark at all, but when you get something that is bright, empathetic, and fun, it can be a breath of fresh air. That’s what has been so great about Lodge 49. Well, part of it.
Lodge 49 is the rare hour-long comedy-drama that balances the comedy and drama equally well, and treats them with equal import. The second season just ended. It was really good, just like the first season. It was also barely watched. Lodge 49 is a cult show, but the cult is in love with it because it gives them something that no other show does. It brims with hope and optimism. It’s also beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, and genuinely funny. We fear there won’t be a third season. All we can do is champion the show and hope for the best.
When the show began, I decided to watch it because the ads had a Big Lebowski, Inherent Vice vibe to them. It’s not really like that, even if the show takes place in sunny California and features a main character, Wyatt Russell’s Sean “Dud” Dudley, that seems like a slacker, stoner type. He’s not, though. He’s simply a man dealing with pain, with being lost, while trying to see the sunny side of things.
So many characters on the show, almost everybody buy Sean and his twin sister Liz, are middle aged and dealing with life changes. This is a show with empathy and compassion, but it doesn’t ignore the realities of the world. Characters deal with job uncertainty, debt, failed relationships, and death. They spent their time hanging out at a fraternal lodge, the titular Lodge 49 of the Order of the Lynx. It feels like a hang out show, but then it started to get crazy.