Why you may not want to re-watch Northern Exposure

With all the deserved love of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, there is a certain amount of “remember John Corbett as Chris in the Morning in Northern Exposure? I should rewatch that,” in the air. But it’s not on any streaming service nor is it for sale on iTunes.

But, I happen to own the first season of Northern Exposure on DVD, so I watched the first four episodes recently. A few notes:

  1. Chris in the Morning is used sparingly in these first episodes. He comes off as a David Foster Wallace type in the few scenes he’s in, which I wasn’t aware was a thing in 1990? But apparently it was.
  2. Joel Fleischman is not a nice person. At all. As a teenager, I thought he was charmingly grumpy – after all, he is stuck in a situation he wasn’t expecting. As a grownup: the dude is an entitled jerk and needs to get over himself. Which leads me to….
  3. Maggie is awesome and opinionated and very much her own person. Her character deserves more than to be Fleischman’s love interest, which is sadly the trope she was unnecessarily shoehorned into.
  4. The 1980s greed-is-good Wall Street ethos was much more present than I was expecting.
  5. The whole Holling-Shelly-Maurice love triangle is ICKY AF. Props to the writers for presenting Shelly as being the one who makes the decision and is in control, but the whole 18-year-old girl being fought over by two 60-year-old men? IS DISGUSTING. It reads more as a male TV exec’s fantasy than anything that would actually happen in real life. I haven’t continued past the first four episodes largely because of this dynamic.
  6. It’s jarring every time anyone on the show says “Indian” instead of “Native American”.

Ed is a damn delight. Native Americans controlling their own destiny is a great theme in these episodes. But Northern Exposure is largely more problematic than I expected. The nostalgia value is nice, but I’ll not be showing it to my daughter.