The Twelve

What a show!

I screamed so loud Felice was more scared by me than what was on the screen!

Like I said, I base my viewing on recommendations. In this case Jim Urie recommended “The Twelve,” and then just a couple of days later, so did Bob Pfeifer. Did I trust them?

I wasn’t sure, so I went on RottenTomatoes and found…nothing.

This is kinda like the worldwide #1s, especially the hits in the U.K., not crossing over to the U.S. They’re hiding in plain sight, there’s even a playlist on Spotify, but so many records don’t make the transition. It’s curious. If anything it proves there’s no longer any spontaneous combustion, nothing is so good that it blows itself up. It needs focus. Maybe by a label, with its publicity, marketing and promotion departments, maybe social media, with communities spreading the word.

But I heard nothing about “The Twelve.”

It’s Belgian. For all I know there could be a dubbed version, but I always employ subtitles, dubbing makes a show unbelievable, and you soon start to believe the actors are speaking in English anyway. Don’t ask me to explain it, they’re obviously speaking a foreign language, but you’d expect to run into them on the street and have them speak perfect English, with no accent.

So, the “Twelve” are the jury. Yup, it’s one of those shows, what will the jury decide.

But that’s not what makes it so interesting, it’s the characters.

Of course we want to know who committed the crimes. And you’re constantly changing your opinion, but…

For me the star was Arnold. A juror. His wife died and he can’t get over it. He tries to be nice to people and they reject him. His coworkers make fun of him, as do his neighbors. You feel so bad for him. There are so many people like this in real life, especially elders. What they don’t tell you is as you age you will have fewer friends. You won’t hang out at bars, you’ll find it’s hard to get somebody out of their house. And if you’re single, or your significant other dies, or you break up, you’re totally screwed. If you’re lucky, you’ll have people who will allow you to be the fifth wheel, if not…you’re alone, with only words and pictures to keep you company. Of course you can go online and try to find someone new, but even if you have the gumption, to get rejected at this age, to relive high school, to relive your adolescent anxieties, you’ll too often find people just like you…hurt, damaged, looking for someone to save them. I know from experience, in the nineties I had a free subscription to AOL, I lived online, it consumed my life the rest of the decade. And you could meet people in chat rooms, or on Love@AOL, or when the web gained momentum,, to which I still have a free lifetime subscription, if I could ever remember the login and password. It’s bad enough navigating these issues when you’re young, you’ve got context, you see people every day in school, you’ve got commitments, your whole day is scheduled, but when you get old, you’re lucky if you even have a job, and you can join the social groups but what you’ll find is…members are much younger than you are, and you get sick of being labeled the oldster, or they’re the same age or older than you, and half-dead already.

And then there’s Delphine. With her jealous husband. Is it them, or is it you? I had a possessive girlfriend. I’ve never cheated on anybody in my life, I’m loyal, I’m committed, but she was not only jealous of other women, but my time. But there were positives, and you’re always weighing whether it’s worth the sacrifice, you’ve been together so long, they know all about you, can you handle the breakup?

That’s another thing they don’t tell you, how hard breakups are. The only person who really gets you you can’t talk to anymore. And even if your friends listen at first, they burn out, they don’t want to hear it anymore.

And twelve step programs… What does it take for people to jump the rails? I just read a fantastic book. On one hand I’m loath to recommend it, because it’s short stories, and they leave you hanging, as if the typesetter forgot the ending. You turn the page and…there’s a new story, how could this be? But the writing is great. Reading it made me aware that anybody can publish a book, but very few can write. Yes, people can lay out facts, even plot, but to have the words cut like butter, to create images in the reader’s mind, to make the reader eager to read, to forget everything else in their life while they’re consuming, that’s really difficult. The book is called “Cool for America”:

Cool for America: Stories

It’s very easy to read, but it’s not for casual readers. If you just want information, this book is not for you. If you need everything tied up in a bow, this book is not for you. But if you’ve got more questions than answers, if you think about your choices, read it. The stories are about millennials. Not all of them are bankers, techies, living life in the fast lane, at least financially. Many went to college and are drifting, waiting for the world to reveal itself. And a lot of moral issues come up in “Cool for America,” if the person is married…and do you stay clean and do you take a flyer?

And you think you know people by their exterior, even by what they say and do, but the truth is you don’t really know them at all.

And people can be mean. And their priorities can be screwed up. And as a parent, to what degree should you get involved in your children’s choices. When I was growing up, our parents knew little, but if you crossed the line there’d be hell to pay. Today, parents know everything about their kids, they’re their best friends, make me puke, but they want to control them all the while. I went to college and my parents didn’t care what I took, if I passed it was cool, same deal with law school. As far as telling me what courses to take, I was on my own.

And then there are the people who just cannot accept the inherent flaws of others, the baked-in stuff, that cannot be changed. It’s screwing up their life. But if you can’t accept others…

And then there’s the issue of borderline personality disorder. Where they put you on a pedestal, and then tear you down and leave you when you least expect it. That’s an element of this show, and I lived it in my real life, I’m not sure if I’ve recovered yet, it messes up your sense of trust.

And does everybody lie on the stand these days? Do the police manipulate evidence? It seems the richer you are, the less you’re beholden to the rules. The regular folk have a sense of honor, at least more of them.

And then there’s the tell-tale heart, yup, right out of Edgar Allan Poe. Can you commit a crime and get away with it and live with yourself? Can you cope, can you put one foot in front of another? Maybe only psychopaths and sociopaths can do this.

But at first “The Twelve” was not a recommendable show. It just seemed like a genre series. But as the episodes unspooled, the characters became three-dimensional, their identities came clear. The defense attorney bugged me, but over time I came to love him.

And very little is definitive, certainly when it comes to legal issues. The truth may just not be revealed, you’re gonna have to live with the fact that…you might get it wrong. I’m not eager to put someone in jail for thirty years without the evidence being perfectly clear, and as I just said, it’s usually not.

So, as the episodes unfold, you see people’s flaws, their situations come clear to the point where you switch sympathies. And I don’t think every jury would have this many issues, but maybe I just haven’t lived enough, maybe I just don’t know people.

And in this Covid-19 era… It’s like “Groundhog Day,” every day is the same. I’m lucky enough to be busy business-wise, but there are no concerts, no meetings, no get-togethers, and it can become oppressive. And people my age fall into two categories. One, those on complete lockdown, who don’t want to see anybody. Two, those who say they’re quarantining, but really are not, you question them and you find they’ve been to restaurants, they flew on planes, they took vacations, but they’re healthy and they can’t understand why you won’t loosen up. Then you read about people, even young people, who feel this way and then…Covid-19 bites them in the ass.

So, when I find a show I can get into, and most I cannot, it’s the highlight of my night. I don’t see it as entertainment, but life. It’s always strange when you see the same characters playing different roles, you thought you had them nailed and then you do not, like Thierry Godard, who is radically different in “Spiral” than “A French Village.”

And “The Twelve” is not as good as either of them, it’s not in the same league. But the more I watched it, the more I realized it was a cut above most of the dreck people tell me to watch.

So…kinda like with “Cool for America,” you’re on your own. If you’re not willing to commit to “The Twelve,” don’t even bother, because unless you watch it to the end, you probably won’t respect it.

I’m just pissed it’s over.

The Twelve

The trailer at the above link is DUBBED! It horrified me, because the Flemish voices sound nothing like this. If you don’t know how to turn on subtitles, watch this video:

How To | Subtitles & Audio | Netflix

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