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Fridge / American Gods (2017)

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Fridge Brilliance:

  • What is the significance of the Technical Boy's goons attempting to hang Shadow from a tree, aside from being a reference to both Norse mythology and the lynchings of afroamericans? They are an Internet lynch mob. This also explains why they don't have faces. Like the members of such mobs, they hide their cruel, thuggish behavior behind anonymity.
  • The Technical Boy's goons receive gruesome, over-the-top deaths in the manner of videogame enemies, with big splashes of fake blood and bones flying all over the place. One even has his spine and skull removed ala Mortal Kombat.
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  • Whil it's hilarious that Media and Mr. World force Technical Boy to apologize to Shadow, not for trying to murder him but for trying to murder him in a particularly racist way, it also makes perfect sense. They're Gods, so to them attempted murder is nothing personal, just business as usual (see: all mythologies), but disrespect is far worse.
  • Upon entering his home and seeing Shadow, then Wednesday relaxing on his couch, Czernobog seems slightly bemused by their presence before exclaiming, “Wotan!” Wotan, is an Old High Germanic translation of, Odin. Though, in Czernobog’s thick Slavic accent it almost sounds like, “а вот и он”,(or, “a vot i on!”). Russian for, “Here he is!”
  • In the book, at least one Native American tried to befriend the Vikings only to be used as a Human Sacrifice by them. In the show the Vikings never even get a chance to step off the beach they landed on before one of them is filled with arrows. Presumably the gods of the Natives were a little more on the ball about the potential danger of the Vikings and warned their followers about this in the show.
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  • Why do we hear Mr. Nancy in English while the African slaves are subtitled? The same reason he's dressed in a modern outfit. Because as a god, we are all hearing him in our native tongues, the men on the boat in the many languages that came with them to America and us, the audience, in modern times. We see him in well-dressed modern garb, where they likely see him dressed in the equivalent outfit through their cultural lens. Being a god, understanding just happens.
  • Anansi makes reference to the fact that slaves will be worked to death for indigo "for a fuckin' purple shirt!" while tugging at his own suit for emphasis. Why would a god wear something his believers had died for? Because it shows that in the end, Anansi, much like all the other gods, only sees humans as tools for personal benefit - something he proves when he convinces them to immolate their slave ship as a sacrifice to him.
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  • In episode 2, why is Mr. Nancy so much more aggressive than he was in the book? Because at that point, the setting is 1697, when his people's suffering and the knowledge of what is to come is all very fresh and raw, as opposed to late 2010s when the events of the show take place.
  • Why is the "Coming to America" sequence from "Lemon Scented You" in animation instead of live-action? Because Nunyunnini is long dead, so long that Mr. Ibis never met him and therefore this story is pretty much all guesswork on his part.
  • Why is Vulcan much more associated with weapons here than with smithies and forges? Well for one, his arms factory does include a large forge, and two, the mythological Vulcan/Hephaestus was famous for having made many a legendary weapon himself.
  • Why is Mad Sweeney fairly in with at least one form of Jesus? When Christianity came to Ireland, it didn't quite wipe out the old religion but in fact absorbed several parts of it e.g. the Celtic cross, the triple goddess Brigid becoming Saint Brigid, etc. Sweeney mentions that Christianity even turned him into one of its saints.
  • Media has appeared in several guises over the series, but all of them are references that are rather dated (Lucy Ricardo, Marilyn Monroe, and even David Bowie from his "Ziggy Stardust" days). She comes off as a Disco Dan to an unimpressed Technical Boy, but it makes sense on a meta level - every form she has taken has grown beyond its original roots and entered the cultural zeitgeist. The implication is that she may only be able to take a persona that has completely disseminated into the public consciousness.
  • Sweeney's Combat Sadomasocism in his fight with Shadow takes on a new light with the reveal that it was Sweeney that caused Laura's car accident in the first place.
  • Mr. World's offer:
    • Why is he so adamant not to make war against Mr. Wednesday? Because he is god of globalization, which prospers in times of peace.
    • Why is he adamant on persuading Wednesday and Shadow Moon to join the new gods? The incentives for one nation to trade with others is for the competitive advantage. Mr. World wants to keep Mr. Wednesday in his organization to boost their own edge.
    • Why Mr. World offered Mr. Wednesday North Korea? North Korea is an isolated country, it doesn't go well with Mr. World's own nature as embodiment of globalization.
  • Wednesday sends Shadow out to buy gifts for the people they're about to visit, saying he doesn't like to show up empty-handed. Why? Because he's a Norse god — and it was a Norse custom for noblemen to bring gifts when visiting their fellows as Sacred Hospitality.
  • Media's appearance as David Bowie is quite fitting. Out of all his various personas, she specifically adopts his appearance from the music video for "Life on Mars", a song about turning to the media as a form of escapism. Ironically, the same song could also be seen as a criticism of the mass media and commercialism in general.
  • Why is Laura so strong? Human strength and endurance is limited by pain and the need to rest. Laura stated that since she came back from to life she doesn't have much feeling in her body, eliminating these restrictions.
  • Mr. Wednesday used to travel around with a trickster and someone who wielded a hammer and is doing so again.
  • Media casually mentions that St. Nicholas took the same deal that Ostara took to become Easter. The modern appearance of Santa Claus (red suit, jolly red cheeks and a fat belly) was created from a series of Coca-Cola ads, the American Santa a product of the media.
  • Wednesday says he likes the Midwestern states because he has a thing for blue-eyed blondes, but that’s because the Midwest ALSO has a huge number of people with German and Scandinavian descent, whose ancestors brought a lot of Northern-European folklore with them.
  • In "The Ways of the Dead", Baron Samedi and Maman Brigette humor Laura and Sweeney about helping resurrect Laura, Samedi brewing a potion that would resurrect Laura if she can find two drops of blood infused with love. Repeatedly it is addressed to Laura that her understanding of love (or at least whatever feelings she has for Shadow) is warped at best, claiming that she is not doing what she does for her husband but for herself. It is very likely that she would not recognize true love when she sees it. This makes a lot of sense when you do your research and realize that Baron Samedi's job as a psychopomp is to ensure that the dead do not come back to life as zombies, so of course he would make Laura's goal as hard to reach as possible.
    • Samedi then exacerbates her confused notions by seducing her, followed by sex and hallucinations of her doing it with Sweeney (with Brigitte having sex with him in the other room) before disappearing the following morning. Among many things, Samedi and Brigitte are known for being tricksters with dirty senses of humor, so of course they would pull a prank like tricking Laura and Sweeney into having sex.
  • Mr. Nancy is far angrier than in the novel or in the source mythology, where he was generally little more than a selfish prankster. Here, though, as the Old Gods' resident deity of stories? Well, what kind of stories have black people been telling in America since they got here? Of course he's angry. His followers have demanded it.
  • Mr. Nancy implies he's slept with Bilquis which, if so, would make him the single person or god so far to have done so and survive. Of course, as he neither worships her nor seeks to topple her from power, they may simply be into each other's company.
  • In "Donar the Great", Columbia (who may or may not be the Columbia) expresses great interest in moving to California. Columbia is often associated with Manifest Destiny, a term used for the Western expansion of the colonies across the North American continent, and California is about as west as you can get in the continent.
    • Wednesday offers Columbia a new role as the "face" of America's future, as her old role as the embodiment of America is being supplanted by the Statue of Liberty. These days, about the only way Columbia is present in modern consciousness is as the Torch Lady for Columbia Pictures, one of the earliest major movie studios, based in California...exactly where Wednesday sent her. Wednesday may have foreseen that motion pictures were about to become the next big cultural movement and want to make sure one of the Old Gods got in on the ground floor.
  • In "Donar the Great", it is revealed that the Technical Boy has existed long before the internet, having originally been a god of telephones, having met with Mr. Wednesday (at that time going by Al Grimnir). Later on the present times, he acts as though he has never officially met Mr. Wednesday, and is later "retired" by Mr. World when he is unable to update their surveillance systems. In "Moon Shadow", the CEO (the same person that had supposedly created Technical Boy out his faith of technology over human ingenuity) ends up created a new, better version of Technical Boy. Mr. World's lack of acknowledgment of his return implies that this was not the first time this has happened, meaning that Mr. World literally throws away old, obsolete Technical Boys and collects newer, more refined versions like one would with cell-phones.
  • Mr. World keeps sending Technical Boy out to stop Wednesday and Shadow, threatening him with horrific punishment should he fail. Yet Technical Boy keeps failing, and Mr. World keeps sending him on missions. Presumably Mr. World, as the New God of Globalization, has thousands of minions at his disposal, so why keep sending the one who keeps screwing the pooch? Because Mr. World and Wednesday are running a two-man con. Mr. World doesn't want Technical Boy to really succeed; he just wants to look as if he's trying to stop Wednesday but keeps getting foiled by incompetent help.

Fridge Horror:

  • It is established that as a deal he had made with the New Gods, Vulcan has been appointed as the God of Firearms. Every bullet fired, every gun bought and sold, every decision made in-favor of guns, their ownership and use is considered a formal prayer and every life taken in a public shooting is an offering given to Vulcan. The New Gods are established as being the absolute highest authority in America. Polls have shown that issuing gun control laws are overwhelmingly popular among American citizens, and yet so little has been accomplished. Is this due to negligent politicians that profit off of gun-sales, or could it be that the New Gods have rigged the system to prevent the decline in sacrifices? Do those "thought and prayers" anti-gun control politicians always ask from the public all go to the New Gods?
    • In "Lemon Scented You", Mr. World and Media offer Wednesday the full-on genocide of the population of North Korea using a military weapon named after him, and in "House on the Rock" Mr. World describes the President as nothing more than "a cardboard cut-out" under his power, so exactly how much of the American government do the New Gods have an active, physical presence in?
  • Why did Technical Boy get so angry about New Media's contemplation of her future successor in "The Greatest Story Ever Told"? He knew what happened to his prior incarnations and didn't want to consider his own impending obsolescence.

Fridge Logic:

  • What would have happened had the New Gods not escalated the confrontation at Ostara's Mansion by summoning more of their Mooks? Had it just been Media and possibly Technical Boy, Wednesday would have had nobody to sacrifice to Ostara, and thus she wouldn't have had the power to take away spring, throwing a spanner in his plan.
    • Possible Fridge Horror: He may have been willing to kill other partygoers in a pinch. Remember, he doesn't consider the Jesus-s Gods. But given Odin is sometimes attributed the ability or prophecy he may have forseen they'd summon backup.
    • In the original book, it's because Mr. World is Loki, and working with Odin.
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