Some of the Pre-Show Hype for Mexican Border Drama “The Bridge” Is Just Sad

You should read what some of the people associated with FX’s “The Bridge” are saying about the show. As FX promotes this Mexican border drama —based on a similar show from Scandinavia— to the expanding Latino demographic (“Hey, everyone, Latinos sure want more border shows!”), the publicity machine is in full gear.

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The July 10  pilot was directed by Gerardo Naranjo, who also did Miss Bala in 2011. By the way, that movie was about a young woman who enters a beauty contest in Tijuana, but then witnesses drug-related murders and is forced to do the gang’s bidding. That movie earned Naranjo Hollywood’s attention, yet we still wonder “The Bridge” will be like. Complexity? Reality? Or just more exploitation in the style of Univision, Televisa, Telemundo, and Mundo Fox? The jury is still out, but some of the quotes being shared are quite sad. Ugh.

From The El Paso Times:

This week’s Entertainment Weekly names it one of its “12 Killer Summer Series,” and features a picture of stars Demián Bichir, who plays a Chihuahua State cop, and Diane Kruger, as an El Paso Police detective, on one of its alternate covers.

The magazine ranks it No. 5 among its killer dozen, calling it “a story you’ll be talking about all summer.”

The show, about what happens when a body turns up on both sides of the border, debuts July 10 on FX.

The EW story notes that executive producer Elwood Reid and Kruger walked across one of the of the bridges into Juarez as part of their research. “It was actually really nice. To be fair, we didn’t go to buy drugs or to pick up a hooker, and it was daylight,” she said.

Reid said he was scared and worried about losing his job, since he didn’t tell anyone at the network about it. “But we had great tacos,” he said.

FX President John Landgraf said this earlier this year: “For years networks having been trying develop a drama series set on the U.S.-Mexican border without any success. I’m thrilled to say that Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid have become the first to crack that creative code and they have done so magnificently. There have been great films set in that world – No Country for Old Men and Lone Star come to mind – but never a great TV series. This one is special. The setting, the writing, the direction, and the way it is brought to life by Demián Bichir, Diane Kruger and the rest of the cast makes for truly riveting drama.”

Yes, because that is exactly what this country needs right now: a show about the US-Mexico border billed as reality, but clouded more in fiction.

Here is what Bichir told EW: “If it was up to me, I’d just do films or projects that could try to make a difference while we’re entertaining you.” We are really hoping, Demián, that you signed on to a show that will not sensationalize the myth of a dangerous and lawless border. We don’t need Jeff Sessions or John McCain using “The Bridge” as their “proof” that there should be even more fencing.

Kruger, however, might have given the show some hope when she said the following:

It’s definitely entertaining. But it also tackles some – not just problems, but things that are very much in the newspapers right now. What is also very interesting is that it is about the meeting between two very different cultural backgrounds and how they can take away from each other something that is other than just having a working relationship. I think that’s what makes the show very rich, it’s not just another cop show of which we have many of on television. We’re trying to make something that is very character-driven, entertaining and hopefully just very moving as well. We’re trying to bring emotion into the show.

We really hope that Kruger is right and that “the meeting between two very different cultural backgrounds” is not slanted towards the U.S. You know, United States is good and more, Mexico is corrupt and chaotic. The border is a hellhole, etc. etc. A true exploration of the issues could be the show’s saving grace, And please stop the talk about how “The Bridge” will instantly appeal to U.S. Latinos and where to get a great taco.

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