In today’s day-and-age of content overload, there never seems to be a new frontier to be covered, or old story left untold. It’s just remakes, retellings, digital remasterings, and a lot of Fast and Furious sequels. I mean, seriously, you were fast, you were furious, at some point you’ll have to slow down and gain even-tempered perspective. Either that, or one day Vin Diesel will be 80 and you’ll end up having to rebrand the franchise Slower than Most & Mildly-Senile.
There is one monster of a story that could capture America’s hearts, minds, and souls that has not been properly made: the tale of Florida Man. So imagine the tickle I felt when I saw Jason Bateman was co-producing a new series for Netflix entitled, you guessed it, Florida Man. “Finally,” I thought, giving the American public what they want: a 10-episode season of stealing ice cream trucks, domesticating hammerheads, and treating Bath & Body Works inventory like a Golden Corral. But no. That would be too easy. Instead, listen to the synopsis of the show:
“In Florida Man, when a struggling ex-cop is forced to return to his home state of Florida to find a Philly mobster’s runaway girlfriend, what should be a quick gig becomes a spiraling journey into buried family secrets, and an increasingly futile attempt to do the right thing in a place where so much is wrong. The series is described as a wild odyssey into a sunny place for shady people in the spirit of Body Heat and Elmore Leonard’s Out Of Sight.“
You have got to be shitting me. An “action drama” about Florida Man? I mean, don’t get me wrong. In my hypothetical script for Florida Man, there will be both the action of outrunning the cops on a souped-up segue and the drama of the protagonist losing his girlfriend to a TGI Friday’s daytime bartender, but it is not the entirety of the damn show.
Even worse, and get this, the show is set to be filmed this summer in WILMINGTON F****** NORTH CAROLINA! Wilmington, North Carolina?! The show is called Florida Man and you’re going to try to pass off a sleepy mid-market beach town as the ravenous, crooked peninsula-of-misfit-toys that is Florida?! How dumb do you think the American viewing public truly is? We are supposed to believe that Overtown and Ybor City can be depicted in the place they filmed Dawson’s Creek? You want us to believe that a man wearing a hollowed out alligator as evening wear is just living in the same area as freaking John B? I’m sick.
Hear me out, Netflix. MY version of Florida Man is a parasail company owner played by Walter Goggins who is buddies with a rental real estate agent Dax Shepard and ADP inside sales rep Brian Tyree Henry getting framed for murder by a fraudulent plastic surgeon portrayed by Bobby Cannavale. It’s a comedic drama with hijinx that include posing as a Spring Training grounds crew, leading a getaway on a fan boat, boobytrapping an Alvin’s Island with disheveled hermit crabs, and that’s just the pilot, baby.
So shame on you Jason Bateman, and shame on you Netflix. What is supposed to be a beautiful tale of the shitshow that is my home state, is instead just another “oh look it’s a cop who is hard-headed and serious, but also has a soft-spot, and really just cares about justice and finding the truth despite the pain hidden in his past” cop drama. Enjoy your “North Carolina Man.”