Comrade Detective (2017– )
User ReviewsReview this title
The bare faced communist propaganda presented so matter of factly, viewed now through the lens of history, is gold. The take on the 1980's buddy cop scenario played out hundreds of times in American Films and TV is incongruous to the 'behind the iron curtain' setting but, in being so, works. The material is a cartoon style take on the threats communist Romania may have faced from the West. The dialogue is done in an American style with Eastern European content - again this adds to the unlikely seriousness.
The whole six episodes are a blended mix of the above ingredients. The dubbing into English adds to this the idea of a throw back to another era. The camera direction is superb. The whole thing from start to finish riffs on all of the above elements to provide gloriously knowing entertainment.
The show also manages to add in ideas that will make you think on the whole failed communist experiment but also makes you think on the failures of the capitalist experiment that we are living.
That whole thing nearly, completely, failed too around 2008.
Overall is a good show to watch, ingenious and unique; give it a try, you will have a nice blend mashup when "digested".
After the first scenes, some might initially wonder about what's going on in front of their eyes and stop watching rating this movie as "garbage". I advise them to go back and reconsider: this movie is a brilliant parody!
The initial rolling credits are the first hint that we are dealing with a joke: the cast appears to have Romanian names, but after a few seconds, one can realize that all of them are funny animal names, very unlikely to be real.
But the beauty comes from the absurdity of the plot and the purposely exaggerated situations, full of stereotypes like: - Romanians listening only to classical music - cheering and commenting on live TV chess matches - being obsessed with gymnastics and Nadia Comaneci. - having no idea what "Jeans" are - having no idea what the Monopoly game is, only to consider it a symbol of the "putrid capitalism", once they find out - teaching kids to snitch on their subversive parents - the Communist Party Manifesto is a precious gift one would always carry in the pocket, next to the heart, like a Bible for some Americans. - group of workers strolling in the park and singing the national anthem - belief that western music is in fact propaganda designed to break down your defenses - CIA importing drugs to undermine the black community - the US Ambassador is busy spreading "freedom and democracy" while her schedule contains 2 hours massages at 10AM and 4 hours lunches - some very fat Americans guys are stuffing their mouths with piles of hamburgers inside the American embassy. - Americans are so lazy they can be bothered to wash their cars (when the Romanian detective is questioning what is a car wash good for) - everyone in America seems to have AIDS - the West wants to turn all women in prostitutes. - New York City looks like a nightmarish hell on earth - Americans elect actors and celebrities (like Ronald Reagan) as presidents, a proof of their indoctrination. - When in doubt, Romanian ask themselves "what would Lenin do?", as opposite to Americans asking themselves "what would Jesus do?" - The "traitor" cop, with that large tattoo (something unheard of in 80s Romania) who is "praying" to the American flag, is nothing else than a parody for the American White Supremacists. Just replace the American Flag with the one with a Nazi Swastika and... there you go. ....
And more Easter Eggs quoting from memory: - "There is an as...hole building skyscrapers in NY, putting his name in golden letters on them" - "Freedom of religion is not an right, universal health care is" - "For once, I appreciate your American obsession with the second amendment" ....
Or funny references like - reference to Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" and his "invisible hand", the corner stone of the capitalist economy. - reference to Tuco Salamanca from Breaking Bad: instead being offered a meth deal, the Romanian smuggler is offered a Pepsi deal. ....
Really enjoyed it!
It's basically just really silly and over the top with very subtle lines that I personally found hilarious. For me there was a laugh a minute. I loved it from the get go. I'm lucky to have even heard about it really, I'm a huge Jon Ronson fan, of his books, audio books, and films he's credited with so I was just googling what he'd done lately and that's how I came across this, as I'd not heard about it prior, so I'm glad I did that google search as like I said, I really loved the show.
The only let down for me, and which stopped me from giving it a 10, was the ending of the finale, It is an absolutely stupid show with outrageous scenarios but even with that in mind I felt the ending was just a little too much! I won't go into it with spoilers but yeah, I just felt a tad let down with that.
It did say "to be continued" after that last episode anyway so here's to hoping for a 2nd season.
The Communist propaganda movie heroes did not drink heavy or sleep around carelessly ( albeit seducing an imperialist women in the service of the Party would have been perfectly fine ). The filmmakers there were also all too conscious that the Soviet block realities were grittier so usually the movies would show more prosperity and modernity than was the case for the vast majority of the population. Only the best buildings and the nicest parts of the city would appear on screen. The main character of a Communist propaganda movie would be a happy worker or collective farmer (if he was a policemen he would have started as factory worker and then promoted for his qualities), wise and good-mannered, uninterested in material wealth and devoted to the building of the "multi-lateral developed socialist society and steady advancement toward the golden dream of humanity - the Communism". His parents would have been also of "healthy social origin" - also workers, peasants, socialist intellectuals, etc.
Albeit snitching for the regime was encouraged it would have been glorified - the persons reported to the authorities would be portrayed in a more negative manner and the person reporting to the authorities would appear more heroic and occupying the higher moral ground ( eventually he/she would have tried to educate the "traitor to the people" but be rebuffed/ laughed at).
Communist movie makers watched Hollywood movies and would know how to tweak its recipes in the service of the Party.
The other issue is they couldn't decide whether it's a comedy or an homage to bad TV. There's not enough jokes to be rollickingly funny and the plot is too believable to really sustain jokes. The stuff with chess is great but they should have hit it harder. The profanity seems really out of place to pass it off as an actual TV show. Perhaps that wasn't their vision and this was the product they wanted to produce. However, just throwing a few communist phrases out in the middle of police drama doesn't create a world. It just points out that they didn't fully think the project through.
Still, it's a good effort.
I wanted to give this show a 10-star rating, but I had to hold back a couple of stars for a very important reason - it is clearly propaganda. It is meant to poke fun at socialism and the socialist countries; as you watch this will be quite obvious. However, if you can forget everything you think you know about socialism and the Cold War and pay close attention to many of the statements of the protagonists of the show, you might find that they make quite a lot of sense. In fact, they are stating a lot of indisputable facts such as how the socialist countries really were targeted by the US and the capitalist West with propaganda, sabotage and subversion. If you doubt this, then I suggest you check out the documentary, Chuck Norris vs. Communism. Also, in many instances, our hero cops convincingly explain key points and arguments in favor of socialism and against capitalism.
Don't just turn off your brain and laugh when you watch this. Pay close attention and you might just learn something.
I grew up in the coldest years of the Cold War: hearing the Communist spin on the evils of capitalism, how America always rigged Olympic judging, seeing their version of dangerous New York or the decadent/slutty American ambassador with her minion eating a mountain of hamburgers for lunch. It was eerily similar to the stuff I was taught about the Soviet Union.
I'm a little confused by the reviewer who seems to think this is a spoof--I think that reviewer probably thinks the moon landing was faked too.
Now Americans mock that time in sort of irony of TV series like was a Coen Brothers movie: All the events are real only people changed, type of deal.
The show is not funny all time only when making propaganda against capitalism and US lifestyles of narcissism and individuality. And of American diet high in saturated fats. But mostly not laughing all the time, just on state ministry type Marxism dialogs.
The show is really improved on TV made at that era and application of propaganda too obvious when ethical qualities of life in countries of old Soviet bloc were much clear to people.
Still, the shows is going good so far and with much online review adopting bourgeois conformism to all other comments saying that it is all good time and having fun, a second season is as inevitable as the march of historical materialism.
There is little attempt to make this persuasive; the show is shot in wide-screen, the show looks better filmed than even American TV series of the period, and the constant swearing seems like it would be no more likely in Romanian series of the period than in American ones. (I don't know what to make of the numerous user reviews that seem to believe this series really is an old Romanian series; it doesn't strike them as silly that Romanians in the 80s wouldn't even know what blue jeans are?)
The most amusing part of the one episode I saw were those that had characters spouting propaganda points, as when the detective lectures drug dealers on the CIA bringing drugs into black neighborhoods or tells his commander that he knows there can't be a mole in the police force because there is no corruption among the Roumanian police. It's also amusing to see two cops eagerly watching a chess tournament or the portrayal of the U.S. embassy chief as a conniving, overly-made-up woman in a ridiculous fur coat.
I found myself never really understanding what Comrade Detective was trying to do. It had some of the style of '80s series, but it didn't hit the era's tropes all that hard and doesn't come across as much different from today's cop shows. The political satire is fitful, as though the series keeps forgetting it's supposed to be a parody of something. It feels like the creators felt that once they had the basic idea the series would write itself, so they just let it spool out without ever deciding what kind of thing they were making.
It's not quite satire, not quite parody, not quite cop drama. It's not quite anything.
If you want to see someone who gets east European parody, find the user review of this series by ferdinand1932 called "Historical materialism." He wrote his review in fractured English that is full of badly- expressed communist nonsense So far it's gotten all down votes, probably by the same people who don't know the series is a fake.
The communists did not film this way. There's too much of...oh well, everything. Also, communist movies have a background noise, a certain buzzing sound. Recording sound in a studio was not the common practice in that era. Seems to me like they did not do any research regarding how communists filmed things. But no matter, moving on.
Everything unfolds rapidly (too rapidly for a non-American film) and yet somehow manages to bore the life out of you. It lacks that special glue that sticks scenes together, it's called, hmm, let me see... coherence. A general perspective that can hold things together to create a story. A lot of stuff is happening, too fast, all over, and with no real impact. We cannot linger on an idea or aspect too long, cause you know, more ideas are coming our way.
As a result, I am forced to piece things together myself, which even if I wanna do, I can't, because I don't know how. There are no hints to what is actually important here. Too many references with no actual point to support. I am not pretentious and looking for anything big, like ideologies and propaganda machines, or any of that other blah blah, I am sick of it. Just give me something to grab on, please.
Either way, watching this was exactly like eating a piece of overpriced chocolate that tastes horrible. You cannot exactly point to what makes it horrible, but you are super upset that you bought it.
You could almost believe it was done as propaganda.
Season 2? I want to see it but I am prepared to be a little disappointed because you can't polish perfection
It delivers a biting satire on the role of the players of the Eastern Block society - the servile state police, the black market as a door to the inaccessible world of the West, the total social and moral corruption of a nation numbed by the vicissitudes of the history.
Corneliu Ulic, Florin Piersic JR, Olivia Nita, and their US dubbing counterparts, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Channing Tatum, Jenny Slate as well as a plethora of other Romanian and US actors are getting the viewer into binge mood for the series.
The dubbing idea is interesting, gives a special flavor of the concept, but you must adjust and go past the first episode. The US crew did a great job, making the film very unique!
An original Romanian track with subtitles would be interesting to watch as well, but might lose some of the charm.
I was literally going to turn it off due to the dubbing, cheesy low quality music, & the 80's low quality flavor, but something kept me watching.
The acting was good, the story line was also very good, & I was torn by both sides of the fence/culture.
Then I started to chuckle as we got closer to the end.
It was a very good show, I hope you will give it a chance even if you are a TV snob like me LOL.