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The Worst Thing About Ozark Is Jason Bateman’s Ringtone
Ozark is one of those extremely Netflix shows, in which all the elements work in a way that makes it feel like a program made by a computer algorithm (which it partially is!). If you made Breaking Bad about the business end of a drug empire rather about the meth cook, you’d have Ozark. Replace the moral dilemma of a mortally ill chemistry teacher with Michael Bluth—that’s Ozark. The performances are great (hence all the Emmy nominations) and, despite being dark as hell, it’s somehow easy to watch. Sit down to watch an episode, and you’ll find yourself five hours later after a blur of overcast blues and Bateman saying “wait, wait, wait, slow down” before offering a sound business alternative.
That is to say it’s totally fine. Except for Marty Byrde’s ringtone.
Fuck Marty Byrde’s ringtone.
Anyone who’s seen this show knows he spends something like 10 percent of it on his phone. It rings—by my estimate—six times an episode. And sweet Jesus, I wish he’d put it on silent or vibrate.
It’s the stock Apple cricket chimes every goddamn time. That’s what it was in Season One, and it was annoying. And, tragically, he hasn’t changed it for the second season. This is a small thing—I get it. But it could have been any sound except for the crickets. This show takes place, and is shot, in the city of Lake Ozark, Missouri. This is a region with a lot of goddamn crickets; therefore, during any night time or evening scene they prominently feature the sound of crickets somewhere in the mix.
By the first two episodes of Season Two, I thought I would go insane. In Episode One, there’s a scene where the family wakes up in the middle of the night, and when I hear the crickets I wonder, Why the hell is someone calling Marty at this hour? Until I realize it’s just the background noise. In Episode Two, he’s sitting with his daughter at night talking about smoking weed, and there are the crickets again. I think, Oh, it’s just a background noise this time. Wrong. It’s his phone!
(It doesn’t help that I used the cricket sound for years as my alarm, so hearing that noise fills me with an existential dread.)
There are nearly 70 pre-installed ringtones and alert sounds on the iPhone. Why—WHY—does Marty Byrde use the cricket ringtone? Clearly someone on this show made a conscious decision to make his phone ringer the cricket sound. Wouldn’t the sound person on this show immediately realize that the ringer could easily be mistaken for a background noise frequently used in a television program called Ozark? Why not use the classic ringer? If anything, this would be a more on-brand choice for a guy like Marty. He’s not someone who would waste time setting his ringer. If anything, he’d be better off having it on vibrate, or just using a standard ringer if he’s gonna have this thing on loud all the time.
At this point I pray for the scene in which someone throws Marty’s phone into the stupid lake.