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May 18, 2023 — “Lodge 49,” a comedy-drama TV series that ran on the channel AMC for two seasons, is about an ex-surfer named Dud (Wyatt Russell) who’s drifting through life after the loss of his father and the closing of his family’s pool supply store. He stumbles into a rundown old fraternal lodge belonging to a group called the Order of the Lynx. (Think of the freemasons or the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.) At the Lodge, he meets a luminous knight of the order named Ernie (Brent Jennings) who’s also a plumbing salesman. Ernie welcomes the much younger Dud with open arms.

And so begins host Mike Jordan Laskey’s favorite onscreen friendship in television history, these two guys of wildly different backgrounds and personalities hanging out and having some truly wild adventures together. Because running alongside this story of friendship and community in the face of economic downturn and social erosion is the mysterious legend of the Order of the Lynx itself, which is centered on some sort of alchemical philosophy that may or may not be true. Mix all of its ingredients together and “Lodge 49” is one of the strangest, most beautiful works of art you can find on television or anywhere else.

The wildly original creative mind behind “Lodge 49” is Jim Gavin, today’s guest. A writer, Gavin published an acclaimed collection of short stories called “Middle Men” in 2013 before making the transition to TV. Gavin grew up in an observant Catholic family and went to Catholic school all the way through his college years at the Jesuit Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Both the show and the book are shot through with Gavin’s Catholic imagination, calling to mind work by other Catholic and lapsed-Catholic authors like Walker Percy, Don DeLillo, and George Saunders as we meet wounded characters searching for meaning and mercy.

Mike asked Jim about his Catholic background and its influence on his work. They also talked about the current writers’ strike in Hollywood, which Jim is participating in.

Watch “Lodge 49” on Hulu and read “Middle Men.”

AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

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