Fargo Season 5 Showrunner Explains Nightmare Before Christmas References

Fargo creator Noah Hawley explained the multiple The Nightmare Before Christmas references in the fifth season of the black comedy crime drama. 

While Tim Burton’s 1993 Holiday classic and Fargo seemingly share nothing in common, Hawley has various reasons as to why referencing the Henry Selick-directed stop-motion film is essential to the series. In fact, each episode of Season 5 contains references that longtime fans of the film will undoubtedly recognize. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hawley says Joe Keery’s Gator Tillman character is similar to Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and that one trait that they share, in Hawley’s eyes, is that they are both trying to be intimidating despite actually being soft on the inside. 

“I like that movie! It’s a specific choice, and I chose that movie because it’s a favorite of my house. My kids will grow up and watch Fargo one day and it will feel meaningful to them,” said Hawley, adding that they even got Burton’s blessing before referencing the film. 

He continued, “(Jack is) someone who, much like Joe Keery’s character, is trying to be something he’s not … which is an evil, scary dude when, really, he’s a softie.”

According to Hawley, Gator — who seems to blow up every task his father Roy (John Hamm) assigns to him — is just under “too much pressure,” much like Jack, who always gets chaotic outcomes.

“There’s just too much pressure on Gator, and he’s always trying to live up to those expectations while at the same time, deep down, with a different father, he would have been a kind soul,” the showrunner added.

Moreover, Hawley explains that both The Nightmare Before Christmas and Fargo Season 5 blur the line between two considerably different themes: a chilling genre against a holiday-inspired setting.

“There’s two feet of snow on the ground on Halloween. It is sort of both those things as well,” Hawley pointed out. 

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What is Fargo Season 5 about?

The synopsis for Fargo Season 5 reads: “After an unexpected series of events lands Dorothy ‘Dot’ Lyon in hot water with the authorities, this seemingly typical Midwestern housewife is suddenly plunged back into a life she thought she had left behind. North Dakota Sheriff Roy Tillman has been searching for Dot for a long time. A rancher, preacher, and a constitutional lawman, Roy believes that he is the law and therefore is above the law.”