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YMMV / American Gods (2017)

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  • Actor Shipping: Pablo Schreiber (Sweeney) and Ricky Whittle (Shadow) have this trope, which plays a major factor in shippers of their characters.
  • Anvilicious: "Come to Jesus" doesn't even bother with subtlety, but outright states that Bilquis' fallen fortunes are the result of men being threatened by a powerful woman.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Laura Moon. Half the fans can't stand her because of her selfishness and Jerkass behavior toward Shadow during the time she was alive while the other half loves her because of those qualities. Another portion don't mind her but is up in arm on her Ascended Extra status on the show and feels that she steals screentime from other more likable characters. The fact that she is Shadow's wife also made her an easy target for Die for Our Ship.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In "Head Full of Snow," Shadow has a dream where he drives his car off a marshmallow in slow-motion.
  • Broken Base: The decision to adapt the novel as a multi-season TV series rather than a simple miniseries. Some fans think it gives the story some additional depth and dimension, while giving the central war story an appropriately epic scope and giving the book's many minor-but-memorable characters a chance to shine. Others feel that it just fills the show with gratuitous padding, and that it's an unnecessary Adaptation Expansion for a novel that—for all its complex themes—boils down to a fairly simple Road Trip Plot with a Final Battle at the end.
  • Creepy Awesome: Mr. World is the incredibly unsettling leader of the New Gods who freaks out even Mr. Wednesday... but he does it all with so much style that it leaves the fans begging for more of him.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Audrey is definitely a much-loved character on Tumblr.
    • All three of the Zorya sisters are beloved despite not being as prominent in their episodes as much as Czernobog. Special mention should go to Vechernyaya for being portrayed by Cloris Leachman and having excellent chemistry with Wednesday.
    • Mr. Nancy, who was beloved by many audiences for his style and his absolutely fantastic speech to the captive slaves in episode 2 of the first season.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Laura and Mad Sweeney by far, having twice the amount of fan works about them than the next most popular couple (Shadow/Mad Sweeney). They even have a Portmanteau Couple Name - MadWife. Fans were not pleased when Mad Sweeney died and Pablo Schreiber was confirmed to have exited the show.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Czernobog calls Wednesday "Wotan", an old name for Odin, foreshadowing Wednesday's true identity.
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    • Sweeney also calls Wednesday by a different name, "Grimnir", another name for Odin, when he talks to Laura.
    • Another clue is when he says that Wednesday is "my day", for those who know what Wednesday means.
    • Wednesday says he knows charms to heal and to blunt the blades of enemies — he's talking about the 18 Runes that Odin learned hanging from Yggdrasil in the myths.
    • In "The Rapture of Burning", Tyr reveals that he was originally the Lord of the Norse Gods before Odin framed him sacrificing his hand to Fenrir as a moment of shame, essentially taking his throne by conning the people into framing him as the real hero. This has historical significance, as scholars and anthropologists believe that Tyr was the original Top God (or at least a more important figure) of Germanic Mythology before Odin Allfather replaced him in the Viking Age.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The scenes with Vulcan and his followers were already a pretty harsh commentary on aspects of American culture in 2017, but the events surrounding the rally held by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 make them even more uncomfortable to watch in retrospect. It doesn't help that Vulcan's town is located in Virginia.
    • Czernobog's tearful farewell to Zorya Vechernyaya in Season 3, Episode 2, airing only ten days before the death of Cloris Leachman, the actress who played her.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Robbie offering to teach Shadow Krav Maga. Sterling Archer once described Karate as "the Dane Cook of martial arts" and regards Krav Maga as superior. Robbie is played by Dane Cook.
    • The show shares a time slot with Twin Peaks, another show featuring a dead girl named Laura, and another girl named Audrey. Additionally, Twin Peaks stars David Duchovny, while American Gods stars Gillian Anderson, both best known for co-starring on The X-Files.
    • Mr. Ibis is played by Demore Barnes, who played the Archangel Raphael on Supernatural. His first story is about Viking sailors who come to America long before Leif Erickson. Guess who is the patron angel of sailors?
    • Shadow and Jesus talking in "Come To Jesus" about a journey to a pre-destined end became this when the actor, Jeremy Davies, got cast as Baldur in God of War (PS4), a completely different god with a destined death. And considering he's saying this to Shadow, who is revealed to be Baldur in the book, the irony is compounded.
    • The King of the Dwarves is played by Lee Arenberg, who you might remember as Grumpy (of the Seven Dwarves) in Once Upon a Time.
  • Ho Yay: A fairly minor example, but when Sweeney's arguing with Zombie Laura about his lucky coin, he outright says he didn't mean to give it to Shadow and implies he got distracted by Shadow.
    Sweeney: Damn his dark eyes.
  • I Am Not Shazam: Sweeney's past self as an Irish legendary king is often referred as "Buile Shuibhne" in fandom. This is the title of the story he features in, and translates as "The Frenzy of Sweeney" or "The Madness of Sweeney". It is not the character's name.
  • Memetic Mutation: Fans have taken to calling Mr. World's Danny Trejo form "Senior Mundo", which is just Spanish for "Mr. World."
  • Misaimed Fandom: Mr. Nancy's speech is quite awesome, no doubt, but many people who love quoting the (admittedly excellent) points he makes about the history of slavery and race relations in America seem to forget the fact that he is deliberately provoking the slaves to start a rebellion which will get them all killed - so he can have a sacrifice.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Wednesday killed Laura and got Shadow sent to prison, killed Vulcan for not taking his side, and engineers a famine to instigate a war. And he shows no sign of slowing down.
  • Narm: There are a few scenes from the first episode that shoot for Bloodier and Gorier and just wind up kind of hilarious:
    • The start of the television series first episode has a boat of Vikings come to the New World. As they set out to explore it, all of a sudden the man in front — and only the man in front — is given the Human Pincushion treatment and filled full of dozens of arrows in the span of seconds.
    • Later on, the Vikings are fighting each other to the death. The excessive amount of blood (and its obvious fakeness) already undermines the drama of the scene, but one Viking's arm gets lopped off, goes flying still clutching a sword, and manages to impale another Viking. It's so over the top it's impossible to take seriously.
    • It's worth noting that the scene mentioned in the paragraph before is the only scene in the episode to appear in Letterboxed format instead of standard 16:9, apparently to set it apart from the rest of the show. It was also used to have the aforementioned severed arm break out of the picture frame for a moment, literally flying into the black border.
    • At the end of the episode, the Technical Boy's goons just arbitrarily explode into Ludicrous Gibs while trying to murder Shadow. The blood is no less obviously fake and the whole scene is completely out of nowhere.
    • Audrey's ongoing breakdown at her husband and best friend's betrayal is, while entirely understandable and sad, also unintentionally hilarious.
    • Finding out your wife was exchanging nude pics with your best friend while you're in prison: tragic. Only being able to see said picture when looking at your wedding photo: not so much.
    • Mexican Jesus' death was tragic and all, but then a tumbleweed blew across his face and left behind a crown of thorns. You know, just in case it wasn't clear that this was Jesus.
    • After Wednesday reveals his identity accompanied with thunder and lightning and a grand soundtrack, Shadow feels the need to repeat his name for clarification, and Wednesday bellows it out again.
    • New Media's introduction in season 2 comes off like this, given the use of modern social media terms (subscribers, likes, shares, etc) and the heavy influence of the "Japanese schoolgirl" stereotype in her design and attitude. The scene with her and Argus "making a deal" is also weird, given the Does This Remind You of Anything? aspect of it. It also does not help that she was meant to be a replacement to the charismatic Gillian Anderson as Ensemble Darkhorse Media.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The sex scene between the Jinn and Salim starts with the Jinn appearing with a flaccid, comically large, CGI penis but the tenderness and love in the scene managed to overcome it.
    • Also Mr. World's dramatic salsa speech. It would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn't terrifying.
    • The protagonist's name is Shadow Moon, which bounds to either this trope or just Narm.
    • With all the prior foreshadowing, Mr. Wednesday's real name had gotten to be a Captain Obvious Reveal, but the scene where he reveals it is injected with so much of Ian McShane's gravitas that it is unbelievably badass.
    • Media's speech as David Bowie can come off as this. Especially if you're well-versed in Bowie's music, the constant lyric-dropping in the speech comes off as forced and just a bit cheesy as Media phrases things in... unusual ways to throw Bowie lyrics in there. However, despite this, and in thanks at least in part to Gillian Anderson's performance, the speech still comes off as powerful and is important for understanding the power of human belief in the show's universe, thus making it this trope rather than straight up Narm.
  • One-Scene Wonder: More like two scenes wonder: The bartender appeared in episode 1 and 3 for her hilarious interaction with Shadow and Sweeney.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Media. The idea that every time you sit down to watch one of your favorite shows, you are unwittingly making a sacrifice to a modern day goddess, is pretty terrifying, especially when the series shows that sacrifices to gods generally end in death.
    • Mr. World is this on another level - he displays the ability to watch through the satellites in orbit and also claims to know everything about every human.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Book counterparts of Laura and Audrey are hated for respectively being annoying and having little characterization. The show's portrayal of them receives much warmer reception.
  • Ship Mates: Those who ship Shadow with anyone who isn't Mad Sweeney tend to pair the latter up with Laura due to the latter two's chemistry together. It helps that Essie McGowan, another character who has significant interaction with Sweeney, is also portrayed by Emily Browning.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Bilquis swallows the man she was on a date with through her vagina in the first episode.
    • Mr. Wednesday revealing his true identity to Shadow in the final episode of Season 1, listing the names and epithets he's known by, along with his ravens and wolves, while thunderstorms brew around them.
  • Sophomore Slump: Many critics have been disappointed by Season Two, citing it has potential but it's wasted and that Fuller and Green leaving the show was to its detriment as the direction of the new showrunner, Jesse Alexander (who incidentally was fired from the show during production), just doesn't have that same spark. Indeed, viewership for the show fell rapidly from the first episode of season two, ending at 0.272 million viewers for the finale (compare that with the 0.774 from the first season's finale).
    • It Got Worse in season three, where viewer numbers declined to the point where the show only broke 0.200 million twice - at one point viewership dipped to 0.110 - and the season finished out at a positively anemic 0.182 million viewers.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: While the story is chock full of Old World gods and mythical creatures to build the lore, many found it disappointing that there weren't that many New Gods in comparison. While Technical Boy, Media and Mr. World had plenty of time to be established and were entertaining in their own right, every other example either only make brief appearances (like the Bookkeeper and his girl-scouts) or had very little development (Mr. Town and the Director), with the rest of the pantheon having been modernized Old Gods or their Faceless children acting as generic mooks. The book alludes to various New Gods they could have used (gods of trains, planes, junkies, etc.) but chose not to. The season 3 finale revealing that Technical Boy and Mr. World are also just Old Gods with a new modern look just compounds the problem further.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Bilquis's backstory as told by Mr. Nancy is framed as though she's on fallen fortunes because of men being threatened by a powerful woman. Which is indeed shown to be true throughout... except for the part that her followers died because of HIV. There's also the whole "swallowing people whole through her vagina" thing. Especially since her unwitting victims include people on dating apps, or just random strangers with the misfortune of sitting next to her on a plane or a bus. The first on-screen sacrifice in her name is a lonely man whose kids convinced him to start dating again.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The first episode of season two has the meeting between the Old Gods at the House On The Rock, while the actual meeting takes place inside Odin's head, where everyone has forms that are exaggerated, glowing versions of themselves. Special mention to the triple-headed Zorya sisters and Mama-ji's multiple, weapon-wielding arms.
  • What an Idiot!: The Technical Boy was supposed to just ask Shadow a few questions, but instead wound up hanging him, which just drove him closer to Mr. Wednesday. "You tried to put out a spark by pouring gasoline on it." On top of that, it honestly didn't occur to him that trying to lynch a black man could be seen as racist. The other New Gods like Media berate him for this and force him to apologize to Shadow for it.
    • Tsk tsk tsk, Vulcan. You really screwed it up. So Vulcan sold Wednesday and Shadow out to the New Gods. He has just finished forging the Big Freaking Sword that Wednesday asked for while Shadow and Wednesday put two and two together.
      You'd Expect: Vulcan to remove the sword from the room in this case. Revealing that you've betrayed people to their sworn enemies is going to probably piss them off. Or he could just stand near it, to make sure that Wednesday doesn't use it in a betrayal-induced rage. Or, failing either of those, he could use the sword on Wednesday and Shadow. And the Old Gods would never have to know. After all, he could just pin the deaths on the New Gods.
      Instead: He walks away from the sword, and gloats about how Wednesday is to be the martyr of his religion. Meanwhile, Wednesday is walking towards the sword.
      You'd Never Guess What Happens Next: Wednesday decapitates Vulcan, takes the sword and Shadow and leaves.


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