American Gods: a Czech Immigrant’s Perspective

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Hello Shat on TV,

I finally caught up with American Gods TV show. Just in time for the last episode of the season. Big thank you for your recommendation. Without your podcast I would not even know about this show. I did not read the book but as a Czech immigrant living in the USA it was interesting topic for me. In the Czech Republic we do have a different tradition for Christmas celebration, Easter holiday, St. Nicholas day, and etc. However, I am not living within a Czech community in Chicago and I don’t have a chance to celebrate the holidays the way we do in my country. So I do celebrate them the way as my American friends do. I don’t speak my native language much and most people cannot pronounce my name correctly. That is the part of assimilation with different culture therefore the lost for the gods.

The last episode was perhaps the best so far. I had some moments I really enjoyed and some issues which I will go over in more depth. This episode was a big reminder that there are no good and bad gods. All gods will just mess with human life just because they can as point out by Mad Sweeney. Mr. Wednesday killed Laura just to have Shadow available to him, Ostara took a spring from people just to make a point. No matter how many people will get affected by it as far as they will pray to their gods. At the beginning I didn’t like the way how the new gods were performed by the actors because it felt flat and without emotion. Now I understand that they are emotionless because that is the nature of their worship. Media and Technical boy said that is all game of numbers. They do not care about individual followers as far the numbers are high. Everyone and everything is replaceable and for convenience only. Even within their inner circle (Media, Tech boy and Mr. World) they don’t display any emotions they only coexist. This is exactly how people behave with social media and technology. We do not have a real emotion with our phones and computers. We use our technology only for the convenience and entertainment. We are not keeping black and white TV for the sentiment we just replace the old technology with new.

The best part of this episode for me was the story of Bilquis. Every time when Yetide Bakadi is on screen she steels the show. This time we saw Bilquis in her absolute power. Her orgy scene was a piece of art. Everything was set perfectly, the music did not disrupt the scene, no direct dialog, only the voice of the narrator telling the story. It was a sensational intimacy opposed to sexual aggression as we can often see on TV. I think Technical boy wants to use Bilquis not only to infiltrate the old gods but seduce Shadow and use her gun to remove him and weaken Mr. Wednesday. This episode strongly suggested that Mr. Wednesday is only using Shadow as his backup plan. He picked Shadow as nonbeliever to turn him into his follower and secure his immortality as long as Shadow believe in him. Furthermore, I think that Mr. Wednesday hopes that Shadow will try to protect him even if that could lead to his death. This would present blood sacrifice and great deal of power to Mr. Wednesday.

The weakest part of the episode was Ricky Whittle. To me he is not experienced or talented actor to play this part. When they arrive to Easter party and Shadow sees Ostara for the first time Ricky Whittle – excuse my language“ puts on his idiotic smile similar to 5 years old boy who sees candy for the first time. I thought I am going to turn off the TV. No man in his age would behave this way!! I can list a million reasons why but it is already long email. But the worse was about to come. The most important scene of the episode was the major confrontation between old and new gods and demonstration of Ostara and Mr. Wednesday’s power. Not only we got confirmation of Mr. Wednesday identity but Shadow for the first time admitted publicly and to himself that he believes. I am atheist with respect for all religions out there. If I would have seen what Shadow have, I would have believed myself. To become a believer and have a faith it’s a major personal revolution. Ricky Whittle did not even try to convey emotions but just put on his all occasions face expression and kept the same monotone voice as usual. So disappointing.

Overall I like the show. I think for the most parts it’s smart, sophisticated, and intellectual. I will give a try next season.

Thank you for all your hard work on you podcast.

Greetings from Chicago,
Šárka

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