“It’s dark, it’s sexy, it has a Yellow King”: True Detective’s best parodies, theories and memes

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A rare shot of the Yellow King The first season of HBO’s True Detective has been such a phenomenon that it’s hard to believe it’s coming to an end for good on Sunday. When I haven’t been watching it, I’ve probably been thinking about it. And while the series is almost certainly to return for further seasons, Sunday will be the last we ever see of Rust Cohle, Marty Hart and the Yellow King.

Of course, True Detective has also been great for the Internet. Not only have bloggers, Redditors and various other web denizens spent the last eight weeks trying to “solve” the show, but it’s also led to some really great comedy- and no, I’m not only talking about the #Truedetectiveseason2 hashtag. 

First among those is “The Yellow King Theory,” a sublime bit of understated brilliance that surfaced on YouTube earlier this week, courtesy of someone named “Kyle” posting on a YouTube account called Big Meeting, which hosts no other videos. Pay extra close attention to the big yellow guy in the background:


Then, as my colleague Hannah Abrams pointed out yesterday, there was the Joel McHale/Jim Rash version, which debuted on E!’s The Soup before going viral. This one concentrates on the heavy accents and impenetrable dialogue:

This one, posted by Jon Rudnitsky, doesn’t exactly get the hair or mustache right, and clearly had no African-American actors available to play the two interrogators. But drawing the parallel between Rust Cohle’s years in the wilderness, and McConaughey’s years making bad Kate Hudson romcoms? Brilliant:

Speaking of the Oscars, you knew someone would tie together McConaughey’s Oscar speech with True Detective. Happy Place did:

The Onion: ‘True Detective’ Fan Develops Elaborate Theory He Will Be Let Down By Season Finale:

“If you’ve been paying close attention to each episode so far, everything points to the fact that we’re headed for a huge disappointment this Sunday,” said Adams, citing as supporting evidence the impossibly high expectations scattered throughout the crime drama’s first seven episodes and listing off a labyrinthine catalog of loose ends and unresolved plot threads that, according to his hypothesis, the HBO series cannot possibly wrap up in the season’s final 60 minutes.

A “Marty is the Killer” hypothesis:

You knew there’d be a “Fight Club Theory”; a Wall Street Journal web series went there:

Of course, there’s also a “The Yellow King is a Boat” theory, from Reddit:

The south coast of Louisiana is mostly water with bayous, the ocean, and related tributaries

Dora Lang was mentioned to be killed by water according Rust

In episode 6,Rust questions the father of a missing boy who’s boat, a pirogue, was torn up by the water

Rust notices a disproportionate number of cases take place by the rivers/bayous

The burnt church is located by the river. The camera intentionally pans to show this at the end of episode


Badass Digest pointed out a shirt that’s somewhat ill-advised:


The obvious “Magic Mike” mashup arrives with the scene of Woody Harrelson watching the snuff film from episode 7 now taking the place of Hitler/Downfall, the Hank/Marie confession reaction and George C. Scott/”Turn It Off.

Someone did the same thing with the “Star Wars Holiday Special”:

Some of the show’s best scenes, drawn in MS Paint: 


Rust Cohle’s Pinterest page (from Slate):


Opening credits, if True Detective were Law & Order: 

Did you watch True Detective the first week and think, “man, that sure did the whole investigating-a-dead-girl thing better than The Killing?” Guess what- according to The Wrap, True Detective‘s creator co-wrote The Killing‘s despised first season finale.

 My own contribution, a list of suggested spinoffs that includes Jew Detective, Moo Detective and Husker Du Detective:

And finally, here’s a lengthy interview with Kate Aurthur of Buzzfeed, in which creator Nic Pizzolatto debunks just about every fan theory you’ve ever had.

So, watch Sunday and see if he was lying.


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