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November 24, 2014

John from Cincinnati: His Visit: Day 9 (season finale)

by Julia Ward, posted Aug 13th 2007 1:07AM
John from C LAST
(S01E10) We got three great things in what I suspect was the last episode of John from Cincinnati ever:

1. Dylan
2. The Zip is back.
3. Wuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Seriously though, to the three of us left watching this show, WTF?

This episode was, at turns, exhilarating, confounding and disappointing.

The opening was fantastic. Seeing John and Shaun come in on the waves - all synchronized swimmer-style to a Dylan soundtrack was all I really needed. It was nice to see everyone come around and connect a little. Dickstein got his blowjob. Mitch got a helping hand or two to peel him off the ceiling. John got an El Camino, and apparently, got taken offline for a bit while the car salesmen slipped into "my father's words." Linc even seemed to get the picture after his confab with John. I, however, may never get it.

The season finale provided closure for the characters if not for us. Stinkweed is covering for the Monad parade and the Yost family's adventures in innerspace. (Religious people love a parade - a pilgrimage straight to the holy ocean.) Tina is staying in town. The family is back together. Bill got Zip back. Even Teddy found a friend in Freddy's Teddy. (Best line of the night: "Segregated whenever they're indoors.") We, however, are left with a big ole mess of "huh?" The doctor comes back 20 years younger? Cissy gets pregnant? Cass-Kai is the mother of God? Shaun is going to be sponsored by John's father? 9/11/14? Hell. Whatever. Maybe if they stopped introducing so many damn characters, I'd care about the answers to these questions. But, let's focus on the big picture.

What did you take away from the sometimes enlightening, often infuriating John from Cincinnati? Seriously, we could spend a lot of time concerning ourselves with the artists' intentions, but this isn't a puzzle to be solved like Lost or its imitators. (Although, I will say that the green bird in Flaubert's A Simple Heart represents Jesus and art and a lot of other things, and I'm totally down with Zippy being that bird's inheritor.) Anyway, back to my original sentiment, this work stands up if you connected with it. Did you, or do you want those ten hours of your life back?

When the show wasn't boring me to tears, it did make me think. It made me think about liminality and connecting with people and compassion and William James' Pragmatism. Since this is the last review I'll ever have to write of this show, I'm going to share this. (It's not a normal show. I don't have to write a normal review.) I know that the James brothers are an inspiration to David Milch as well so I think it's appropriate, and it came to me again and again while watching John from Cincinnati these past few weeks.

In one of William James' Pragmatism lectures, he speaks from God's point-of-view. Here's what he has to say about the world:

"I am going to make a world not certain to be saved, a world the perfection of which shall be conditional merely, the condition being that each several agent does its own 'level best.' I offer you the chance of taking part in such a world. Its safety, you see, is unwarranted. It is a real adventure, with real danger, yet it may win through. It is a social scheme of co-operative work genuinely to be done. Will you join the procession? Will you trust yourself and trust the other agents enough to face the risk?"

It's a little "we're all in this together," and I'm sure there's more to be taken away from the show than this, but it's what I got for now.

Do you want HBO to renew John from Cincinnati?
Yes864 (73.1%)
No318 (26.9%)

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43 Comments

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Joe from New Jersey

NO, I GOT MY EYE ON YOU!
THIS SHOW WAS A BIT CONFUSING AT TIMES...FLAT AND DULL! BUT I THINK NEXT SEASON IS GOING TO BE BETTER THEN THE FIRST...."I GOT MY EYE ON JOE'S SECOND SEASON."

August 19 2007 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jimby

Ayela,Post # 20 says alot - if you need neat, tidy shows that give you all the answers this one was not for you - but for opening doors, imaginations, possibilities it was a success - it feels good to float free...

August 17 2007 at 5:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bobshuga

buzzkill that this show is off..i looked forward to this each week and will miss each character...the only one i won't miss is mitch who really was the least interesting of all since his character revealed himself on the first episode and never had a decent role as the patriarch. instead the rest of the cast and characters found a way to have a dialog via a series of individual monologues which truly is genius. i loved the show, loved the concept, and can tell you this from a non-smoking, non-drinking, non-drugging point of view. if this was on sci-fi channel, i guarantee you an audience!!!

August 15 2007 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett

TravisH=David Milch.

Thanks for the explanation.

August 15 2007 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scott

also, butchie needs to bulk up for the inevitable chris benoit movie of the week, instead

August 15 2007 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scott

jesus christ jesus christ jesus christ i am gonna miss bill & zippy, freddy & palaka and ramon's cooking.

shoulda given it a shot at a second season. it could have taken place in 2014.

jesus christ jesus christ jesus christ

August 15 2007 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BigMama

Why can't they bring back "Dead Like Me" - at least it made some sort of sense without the constant vulgar language. A 3rd grader could have written this script. You only needed to know how to spell one word.

August 15 2007 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
susan w

Deadwood was cancelled because it was way to expensive for a series, not because they wanted to. As Al would say, don't despair , c*********s, there will be 2 hour finale.

August 14 2007 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sirius

I think this show would have been much better off, and may have had a chance at a second season, if they'd compressed these first nine episodes into an intriguing, if confusing, pilot, and allowed the plot and characters to actually develop a little bit. For my part, I think John was a combination Christ/Gabriel character, which might help to explain his peculiar relationship to Kai (as well as that last comment about Kai being the mother of God). To point: when John goes to Kai's trailer to "bone," he tells her to "see God," and all that wacky shit happens. This incident might be seen as parallel to the original Annunciation, in which the arch-angel Gabriel informed Mary that she carried the Christ-child. Furthermore, when Butchie (clearly Joseph in this scenario, and already father to another savior-like figure in Sean) and Kai finally go at it, the song she plays for him is Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." Any thoughts?

August 14 2007 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ned

I liked the show. It brought you back to see the next episode to find the answers. Not many shows can do that. They all give you the meaning half way through the show or at the beginning. However J from C gave a performance that made us all think to hard for the reason of entertainment. Everyone wants an answer and this show didn't give any answers that I agree with with, but it made you think of answers. Was it a holy experience or an Alien intervention? It doesn't matter cause it did one thing and that was make you watch the next episode. Whether if it was to find answers or to figure out what certains characters roles were or just to prove that there are things you don't know and thing you do. I for one hope to enjoy another season.

August 14 2007 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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