Wanting to escape your hometown is the birthright of every young person. In America, pulling up stakes and hitting the road is built into the popular culture — it’s “Go west, young man”; it’s a Bruce Springsteen lyric.
For some Americans, however — like the four teenagers on an Oklahoma reservation in FX’s sublime coming-of-age comedy “Reservation Dogs” — the idea of home, whom it belongs to and who belongs to it, is more complicated. The romance of the road, after all, is bound up with a history of seeing North America as a frontier. When your ancestors lived in the place that others saw as a blank space to fill in themselves, that American myth hits a little differently.
The push away from home and the pull toward it form the dynamic that powers “Reservation Dogs,” which emerged out of the box last year as one of TV’s most lived-in, specifically drawn comedies. The terrific first season focused on the urge to get away; the second, which returns to Hulu on Wednesday, is about what it takes to rediscover your home.
The pilot episode bursts onto your screen like someone is chasing it. Its self-styled gang of four (the show’s title comes from their nickname, a reference to the Quentin Tarantino film “Reservoir Dogs”) are introduced in the midst of jacking a snack-chips truck. Their plan is to raise money, head to California and leave behind the reservation that they blame for the suicide of their friend Daniel (Dalton Cramer).
Like many improvised schemes, this takes some turns, and the season fleshes out the kids in a laid-back, observant character piece. Elora (Devery Jacobs) is a walking heartbreak who feels Daniel’s loss especially heavily (we learn eventually that it was she who found his body). Bear (D’Pharoah Woon-A-Tai) is a lanky boy stumbling toward being the man he outwardly appears to be. Cheese (Lane Factor) is deadpan and thoughtful; Willie Jack (an instantly winning Paulina Alexis) has a prodigiously foul mouth and a loyal heart.
California is less a concrete destination for them than an idea, a stand-in for “not here.” But “Reservation Dogs” is deeply in touch with the feel and flavor of the here that it portrays.
The creators, Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, produced a story about Indigenous people by Indigenous people, shot on location in Oklahoma, with the nubbly texture of great regional TV. (It’s both a welcome example of TV paying attention to rural life and a reminder …….