Lake area locals react to 'Ozark' Netflix series

Lake area community members react to the new Netflix series, 'Ozark'. (File)

While the new Netflix series 'Ozark' put the lake area in the national spotlight, some community members said Monday the show projects a not-so positive image of its locals.

"I've watched one of the episodes and it really portrays us as being more hillbilly, really backwoods, not a lot going on," said Jessica Bruce, a realtor for RE/MAX Lake of the Ozarks.

'Ozark', which was released July 21, has created some commotion on social media over its portrayal of the people who live at the lake.

The show is about a Chicago family who moves to the lake to launder money for a member of the Mexican Cartel. Some lake businesses are seen in the series, but the show projects the area as having a 'middle of nowhere' feel, portraying the lake as having only one or two grocery stores. One scene takes place inside of a Piggly Wiggly.

"No Piggly Wigglies here," said Michelle Marshall, also a realtor for RE/MAX Lake of the Ozarks. "We have a Dierbergs, we have Hy-Vee, we have Woods."

"We have Starbucks!" Bruce interjected.

In the show's introduction, Jason Bateman's character, Marty, paints a picture of the lake as an area free from federal law enforcement.

"It's not like we're out in Siberia and we have access to nothing," said Lake Ozark Police Chief Gary Launderville. "We live halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis. I think we have enough access to federal agents to assist us," said Launderville.

Launderville said a handful of his officers have seen the series, some have already watched it in its entirety. Launderville said he has not yet watched it, and isn't sure if he ever will.

"I understand, it's fictional, it's not real," said Launderville. "But the unfortunate part is, a lot of people watch that and they take it as it is."

Lake Ozark police served as security when production crews filmed some 'Ozark' scenes at the lake. Launderville said at that time, he asked how the series would portray the area.

"I was told it was going to be in a positive light. Well, then I hear how this comes out in its final edited version, and it's not what I was told," said Launderville. "Personally, I take offense to that."

Tim Jacobsen, the executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Burea, wrote in an email to KRCG13 the CVB had no comment on the show.

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