I find AMC's Lodge 49 — probably my favorite show of last year — difficult to describe.
"Uhhh, it's an ensemble comedy and mystical drama that was almost certainly conceived in a sweat lodge during a peyote binge," I said when voting it one of the best shows of 2018. "Lodge 49 follows a surfer bro who joins a fraternal lodge, where he finds out he might be the messiah, and there's a guy who chases crows and — you know, describing Lodge 49 is a total disservice to the show," I say in a yet-to-be-published write-up of the show. "Super good," is what I say in casual conversation.
So it was good to know that at the Television Critics Association press tour, the people who actually make the show had a difficult time describing it as well.
"I think we stopped trying to sell what the show was about and tried to sell what the vibe is, because I think that's what people show up for," said executive producer Peter Ocko.
"The reason I like the show is because it's difficult to pinpoint one aspect of the show I like most," star Wyatt Russell explained, in the same out-there tone as his out-there character Sean "Dud" Dudley. "It's sort of like when someone asks you, 'What was your favorite part of last week?' You're kind of like, 'Well...' And you think about it for a while, and there's something that I think about that was kind of fun, and that's sort of what life is like. And it does represent life that way, where there are waves and emotions that you go through, and you'll hit some, and you won't hit others. It's a feeling, it's a vibe, it's a way of getting something that you wouldn't normally see on TV."
And Lodge 49 is anything but normal. With themes of spirituality, camaraderie, family, and alchemy (?), Lodge 49 is entirely its own animal and launches its characters on personal quests that aren't always clearly defined.
"We break the stories almost like we're breaking a quest for Dud, Ernie, and Liz, and for us there's a lot of fun in that," Ocko added. "We're always trying to create a joyride for the audience."
But maybe we're just overthinking it. Maybe Lodge 49 is simpler than we think. Maybe it's just about being present.
"At the end of the day, you just need each other," Russell says of the show's message. "It doesn't matter where you are, what system you're living in, how much money you have, how much money you don't have. What really matters is the people in your life, how you treat them, how you're treated, and eventually that will play out in the circles of life moving forward. Hopefully on your deathbed, you will have people treating you the way you wanted to be treated in your younger days."
Lodge 49 returns for Season 2 on Monday, Aug. 12 at 10/9c on AMC.