Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm havin mine served cold.

So the hobo website is listing this episode’s title as “I Am Not the Man You Take Me For” but since I like it better the way the drunk in the beginning says it (with the fine) that’s what I’m going to call it – dammit. ‘I Am Not the Fine Man You Take Me For.’

Loved this beginning! Like you I found myself getting totally carried away by subtext and metaphorical possibili-tays. To go back to our ongoing Shakespeare comparisons, I couldn’t help but think of that famous speech in Macbeth about people (and life) being like idiots on a stage ‘full or sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ Here I looked up the full quote:

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,To the last syllable of recorded time;And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
--From Macbeth (V, v, 19)

Yeah, I did me some book-learnin, once upon a time…

Al is wonderful in that scene, he shows annoyance mostly but at one point I thought I could see a brief moment of what? Compassion, maybe? I dunno, it was great though. Plus Al really rocks those longjohns.

I don’t know what was more upsetting – Dan’s straining suspenders or Johnny’s full moon showing out of his open poop flap.

This episode was so fuckin dense with the language! None of them are lightweight and I’m not complaining – just made me wish I could figure out how to turn on the ‘close-captioning’.

Joanie was great – their story line isn’t my favorite either but the way she delivered that line ‘I don’t wanna run women no more’ was amazing.

I loved Mose’s comeback to Jane!

JANE: "I'm, for the day, off the bottle and about to bathe."
MOSE: "Camp get up a petition?"


I really don’t understand why Alma dissed Ellsworth in her Will. I suppose the romantic view would be that she still loves psycho-hottie Bullock and doesn’t want him to forget her. And the un-romantic view would be that she’s a bitch and he got her preggers and she doesn’t want him TO EVER FORGET HER. But really, who knows? And she didn’t really apologize or explain herself to Ellsworth which is just wrong.

Jane is wonderful with the kids – I would’ve loved to see that go a little longer.

I don’t know why I just thought of this – maybe ‘cause it’s hot and muggy in my apartment right now and I got swamp-ass, but except for the beginning of the first season which was kinda in winter – haven’t they be stuck in summer a lot? Or am I maybe just remembering wrong?

I really love those old windows and how they’re all rippled.

Maybe my favorite line, ADAMS: ‘If he (Al) was trailin’ water we might get took for ducklings.’

It’s weird, I just finished reading The Cider House Rules by John Irving which, as you probably know, is about abortion (and other things) and goes into a great deal of detail and whatnot (it was a very good read by the way) and Alma is getting this abortion. Plus, and it’s been said before (in other seasons) about ‘being of use’ as Cy tells Joanie is a reason for not holding a gun to her head and ‘being of use’ is a very big theme in Cider House.

Despite the wonderful scene with Jane in the classroom and Al’s wounded walk at the end (if Ian McShane doesn’t win an acting award this year…) I think my favorite scene was when Utter talked with Joanie about Bill.

I know Deadwood is keeping fairly close to the actual history of Deadwood and I’m glad I don’t know too much about this part of American history – for example I’d love for Al to kill Hearst but I know he (Hearst) didn’t die in Deadwood so Al’s revenge which he prefers to have ‘served cold’ doesn’t involve Hearst’s death.

Hey, did you see that hobo on demand has an interview with David Milch? It’s called ‘David Milch Uncut’ – did Farnum name that?

About your Duvall post: I love Robert Duvall - but what is his problem with Deadwood? That’s disappointing – is it too modern for an old fashioned (as in old Hollywood) westerns lover? Does he think it takes away from the character’s (and the West’s) honor because they have potty mouths? Is he adverse to nasty language and partial to fruity tea? Maybe he’s just upset he wasn’t tapped to act in it. I wonder if John Wayne would have liked Deadwood…

Body Count: 3½ (including damage done to Al’s hand)
Asses Shown: 2 (including Hearst’s ‘showin Al his ass’)
Beers consumed: lost count, must’ve watch this episode 4 or 5 times.

Dissed by Duvall?

I don't know if you watch AMC much, but they've been all about westerns this weekend, leading up to their two-night mini-series, Broken Trail. Looks chock full of western cred, with Robert Duvall starring and Walter Hill directing.

And while watching Open Range last night (a movie I managed to avoid, despite showing in Iowa City for virtually my entire first semester there), I was reminded that every western apparently has to include Duvall, Tom Selleck, or Sam Elliott as actors, or Hill as director. Well, Kevin Costner managed to get Duvall, which is probably why Open Range was pretty good.

(I was expecting some kind of loving tribute to riding, grazing, cow-poking, and brewing coffee in iron pots over fires, but it was actually kind of dark and violent. Maybe too formulaic, though. And the attempt at romance between Costner and Annette Bening is really forced.)

The whole thing increased my admiration for Deadwood. How did this thing ever get on the air, without Robert Duvall or Sam Elliott in the cast? (Walter Hill did direct the pilot episode, however, so I suppose some conventions can't be escaped.) And I thought I might post a blog about that today. You know, prime the pump for tonight's episode.

Then I read this with my morning coffee. Duvall is apparently not a fan of the show.

"None of the cowboys and ranchers I know think much of it at all," says Duvall, who summered in Montana as a child. Ranch hands there, he says, used a fraction of Deadwood's profanity. "I get the feeling that it's a provincial New Yorker's concept of what the West was like."

Ooooh, that could be enough to make David Milch go all Seth Bullock on Duvall. Or would it be more of an Al Swearengen ("You have no idea how much you're fucking boring me right now!") reaction?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Episode 26: "I Am Not the Man You Take Me For"

I do apologize, dear hooplehead, for my delay in posting a prompt response to last Sunday's episode. It's not like my left hand was smashed by a mining hammer or anything like that. I was just knocked off my routine. Yet another reminder that I need to be in total seclusion (communication silence!) come 9 p.m. on a Sunday night. Like Dan, I'm older and much less friendly to fuckin' change!

So what did you make of the first scene, with a drunken cocksucker slurring his way through his own declaration, only to fall off the speech platform and break his neck? I can be guilty of looking for deeper meaning and metaphors in most any scene (and really, there's no such thing as a throwaway moment in this series), but I was thinking this was symbolic of how powerless the people of Deadwood really are. Other residents of the camp might have their own feelings on how things should be run, but ultimately Swearengen and Hearst have the final say. Anything else is just noise that prevents Al from getting his sleep.

Or maybe it was just an excuse to show Al's minions in various states of undress. Was it worse to see Shirtless Dan or Topless Jane later in the episode? (I'll lean toward Dan - mostly because Jane has boobies, and you know how I feel about boobies.) And how about Johnny's showing off his butt crack?

That led to what's probably my favorite line of the week: "Would you close your flap that I don't forego my boiled eggs?" This is why we need nudity on premium cable.

Otherwise, I think Farnum got most of this episode's dialogue gems (no pun intended). He's never better than when taking shots at his favorite punching bag, Richardson:

"Could you have been born, Richardson, and not egg-hatched, as I assumed?"

"I'd like to use your ointment to suffocate you."

"Do you only feign stupidity while only plotting ways to madden me?"

And then there was his hilariously unsubtle, anti-Semitic campaign speech. His miming of the stereotypical Jew nose. (The fact that Sol doesn't quite sport such a feature made it that much more ridiculous.) His use of the word "exodus." And, of course, the brilliant tagline that should be the bumper sticker that some brilliant entrepeneur is printing up now: "Farnum! Christ knows he's earned it!" Ah, what an unaware moron...

How about Alma throwing up The Seth Bullock Cock Block Will on poor Mr. Ellsworth? Oooh, that had to sting a man right where he feels like a man. As much as I love Bullock, it's difficult not to take Ellsworth's cuckolded side in this one. ("My wife would like to see you.") I especially enjoyed the scene where Seth comes downstairs after talking to Alma and gets glares of death from Ellsworth and Trixie. But after exiting the oh-so-tense Ellsworth home, his best buddy, Sol, is outside to give him the thumbs-up. How touching.

But all that stuff was the undercard to the heavyweight title match: Hearst vs. Swearengen. Let me ask you this, my friend, what was colder shit: Hearst sending over a diagram of where the killers would be (Another great line: "Ask the fella who made these x's if he hires out for portraits") or how Al and crew quickly dispatched them? Whiskey in the face, stab to the gut, and a slit of the throat. Coooolld-blooooded. (And did you enjoy Adams whining that he was sent out on an errand while Al and Dan got to do the killing?)

No way Hearst's balls are as big as Al's, though. Everyone at the Gem knew Hearst was going to try something on Al (and it was almost touching how worried Dan was about that). Yet Swearengen insisted on going over there alone, because of the message it sent. I guess we'll see if Al's hubris cost him the use of his left hand. But you had to admire his insistence on standing tall and not showing his pain while Hearst stood up on his terrace as Master of the Domain (for now). Cool as the other side of the pillow. You have no idea who you're fucking with, Major Dad...

Other quickie notes that Merrick might put in the Deadwood Pioneer:

▪▪ Is it bad that I'm not giving a shit about Joanie and Cy right now? I bet Cy's going to have something to say in this Hearst-Swearengen feud before the season is over. But for now, I could almost do without his scenes. I did like, however, his Jim Bakker-like revival ("Where is this strength coming from that I feel flowing into me?").

▪▪ Okay, I am curious about Joanie. We've known Charley Udder's been sweet on "Ms. Stubbs" for at least a couple of seasons. I'm not sure if their hand-holding will lead to anything, or was just an indication that Joanie's not as alone as she might feel. But I'm already tired of seeing her play House Mom to that drugged-out whore, Lila. Even if that's "her gift," as Cy said.

▪▪ Trixie's had seven abortions! (And is "as healthy as a horse"!) How many of those fetuses do you think belonged to one Mr. Albert Swearengen?

▪▪ I also liked Trixie playing vagina stand-in for Doc.

▪▪ Martha had some good small moments, too. The sexual tension with Seth over the strength of her tea. ("I do not make weak tea.") I also loved the amused look on her face as Jane was speaking to the schoolkids. (And how about when Jane called her "brave"? Another strangely touching moment, to me.)

I look forward to seeing what your post might portend. Don't get scalped!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The man called Hearst

Here's a feature on Gerald McRaney, who plays Hearst. A small part of me will always think of him as part of "Simon and Simon," though I never watched that show. (And for some reason, the theme to "Magnum, P.I." is in my head as I type this.)

But to me, he's pulling off quite a feat as Hearst, appearing on the surface as a decent - though unquestionably powerful - fella who has the best interests of the camp (elections, laws, schools, etc.) in mind. Yet we know he doesn't care about anything else except acquiring land and getting gold. But most of all, he has to be someone who can believably stand up to Our Man Al. And so far, he's doing it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Tell Your God to Ready for Blood"

or 'Who the fuck are the Cornish?"

Well this is woefully late but I had solid reasons and unavoidable commitments and since the second ep. hasn’t aired yet I consider it still within the deadline, if barely. And let me say your post, oh one below me, was excellent – was that too ‘mutual admiration society’? Well, all those who think so suck cock by choice.

I’ll begin with some of the questions that you ended with. As to Joanie and Cy ‘when will that cocksucker die’ Tolliver: I can only think that like the loyalty Al inspires, his deservedly so, Joanie feels beholden to her once pimp although she certainly shouldn’t but we’ve seen before how classically ‘big hearted whore’ she is. Her serious thoughts of suicide (Don’t do it Joanie!) show how that’s working for her.

I have no idea who this Shaunessey person is or where he came from but I’m glad he’s not being played by Garrett Dillahunt. Not that old Gar hasn’t done a good job with both his characters from both seasons: Francis Wolcott and Jack McCall - I just don’t want them to do that David Lynch shit again. And I love me some David Lynch just not in my gritty, grimy, gofer guts westerns.

So, to begin proper now, episode 25 – first of the 3rd season and what looks to be the last season of Deadwood (hobo cocksuckers!) is titled ‘Tell Your God to Ready for Blood’ Whoo-Hoo! Excellent title and so aptly delivered by Al (to 'fuckin' pagan' Richardson, do you remember who gave him those horns? If I remember correctly, it was Alma who gave Richardson his ‘god’). My title however would have to be ‘Who the fuck are the Cornish and where the hell are they from?!’ Was that the most made up, pidgin, pig latin sounding language you ever heard? I was totally perplexed and had to look it up but that’s just another thing I love about Deadwood; it makes me have to go look shit up – how much t.v. does that nowadays? So, yup, they’re real, so is the language and they’re not related to the hoopleheads – if you want to know more go look it up ya lazy cocksuckers and spare me the hen jokes!

I definitely should have watched, at very least season two, again before last Sunday’s premier – it had been so long I just sat there dazzled and dumbfounded (mostly by the language) on the first viewing.

We start with a beautiful sunrise and a killing...
Al drinks his morning coffee like it's fuckin whiskey – well, maybe it is.
Why is Wu out of camp?
Who is fuckin sweeter than Ellsworth? I tell ya, if I was knocked up with the sheriff’s bastard there’s no one I’d rather have around.
God I love Jane, I can’t wait to call someone out on their ‘man-toad figure’.
‘Wash and stack shitmonkey or ready yourself for worse.’
I don’t believe for a second that Cy has found religion.
Speaking of Shakespeare – Al scrubbing out ‘that damned spot’? Nice. He did that once in the first season too, I believe.

‘I’m in crisis too, needing awfully to piss’ Oh, I been there. ‘Why not cork up and go on stage with that tragic fucking mistral turn?’ – ho-ho, Trixie ain’t buying Silas’s bullshit for a second! I can’t pick a single favorite line from this episode – sometimes one will echo in my head longer that others and it’s clear but not for this ep. but I think Trixie on the whole has more than her share of great lines this time. ‘Yes, Miss Bernhardt, I am.’ So great. And if ya don’t know who Sarah Bernhardt is, than look her up ya ignorant, lazy cocksuckers! Trixie really looks like a whore, too. She’s got a hardness to her jaw and thin lips that really conveys the hard life she’s had. Love her for that, and the casting director. Oh, and the actor who plays Silas – his real name is Titus Welliver, which is kinda amazing and great - he coulda kept his real name and fit right in Deadwood.

Al has great hair.

Oh my gawd, Bullock’s face when meeting with Hearst! Like he was suddenly beset with bad allergies and some serious acid reflux.

Ok, E.B.’s beating was random and fierce but deserved in the karmic sense, I suppose. As Al put it ‘He’s still way ahead of the game.’ I assume in terms of all the beatings he’s deserved and escaped.

Oh, Bullock’s guilt and rage – sitting himself down in the jail cell. Only Charlie Utter could could talk him into seeing reason and some perspective.

Why doesn’t Joanie sleep at the Bella Union, now school house? Too many bad memories? Oh, I get it – she does sleep at the Bella, perhaps she just rents that room to kill herself in? How considerate.

I love that Al played drunk – as if! For Hearst. So clever, trying to get him to underestimate him, I presume. ‘I’ll not have myself called powerful in your company – or the Captain’s’ Dangerous, yes.

So, is Hearst the grizzly bear?

Body Count: 1
Garrett Dillahunt sightings: 0, so far…
Ominous Al looks: 2 by my count, although he kinda always looks like that.
Beers consumed (by me): 5, includes both viewings.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Episode 25: "Tell Your God to Ready for Blood"

"Words... doin' the wrong jobs. Pile it on too heavy or... at odds over meaning."

-- Seth Bullock

Okay, let's start prospectin' for some blog posts. Or as "Albert" Swearengen might say to break the ice, "Trick-suck, Sheriff?"

I've often kind of half-rolled my eyes at any critics who say Deadwood's dialogue is Shakespearean. But after watching the Season 3 premiere again (On Demand!), I think I finally see where they're coming from. The banter back and forth, the grand gestures and declarations, the sheer power of so many lines - it'd probably work really well on stage. Yet it's better on TV, so I can rewind at least 25 times an episode to hear the dialogue over and over. (This is probably why I watch most episodes alone.)

I know we said we'd make note of our favorite lines from each episode, but there were just so damn many in this first one that I don't know where I should cut myself off. Cop-out? Perhaps. Or maybe I'm still just too damn excited to have Deadwood back on the air. Anyway, I'll give it a try. Just like Seth and Martha Bullock.

I liked what Seth said to Martha while he's going over his speech because it seemed to capture - as we see later in the episode - why Bullock's taking sort of a back seat in the political machinations occurring in camp. He's a man of action, letting his fists (and hot-ass temper) do the talking. When it comes to deliberation and strategy against Hearst, he has to defer to (and make a wary alliance with) Al. Bullock's way out of his element.

One more note about that exchange: When Martha says to Seth, "Shall I gather my school supplies?" was that the sexiest thing she's ever said to him on the show? To me, it sounded strangely seductive. Maybe because she had leverage over him in that situation.

But the best scene, to me, was Trixie (that "loopy cunt") going off on Sol after she spoke to Al about Adams wanting to sell his house:

"We'll move in your 12 possessions... And as you lay in your beddy-bye, I'll pop from the wall like Grandma Groundhog in a storybook -- and attend to your johnson!"

And the perplexed look on Sol's face is so classic. He has no idea what the hell is going on, and all the interest in him behind the scenes. But maybe we, as viewers, get an idea of just what he digs so much about Trixie. The girl's got fire! Moxie, I say!

Coming in at a close second was Jane's "Custer was a cunt. The end." How fucking great was Jane throughout the entire episode? In some ways, she has nothing to do with what's going on in the big story picture. But who cares when she's so damn entertaining? Busting the fat man's (can't remember his name) balls, calling him "man-toed." Giving Charley the finger from across the street, which makes me laugh every time I think of it. Sitting in her puddle of piss, while waiting for Joanie. And just how many fucking bottles does Jane have stashed around the camp? Maybe one of the schoolkids will find one during the season.

And speaking of those schoolkids, when the hell did Deadwood get so many kids? I thought it was just the devil child, Sofia, and Bullock's dead son/nephew.

Oh, and I have to point out that no one - NO ONE - scrubs out a blood stain like Al Swearengen! I could watch him do that for a whole hour. "That's it - that's how you clean a fucking blood stain!" It's like he needs a cigarette afterwards.

When we first talked about the episode, I think I was overwhelmed because I had so many questions. There was so much thrown at us. But after watching it again, and collecting my thoughts, I realized that's exactly what a season premiere should do: set up everything to come. It could be fascinating to go back and watch this after the entire season's played out.

So here are some of the questions I hope are answered 12 weeks from now:

▪▪ Why does Joanie feel so obligated to Sy? I feel like those two could have an entire episode to themselves.

▪▪ Who the hell is this Shaunessey ("Disarray!") guy? And how soon before Joanie hauls off and pops him?

▪▪ How many times will Ellsworth move that day bed before he shoots himself?

▪▪ And will we ever find out who that lady is, in the opening credits, getting in the bathtub? I've been ogling the left-side view of her breast for three years now.

I could really go on and on, especially about Hearst pushing Bullock's buttons with the Alma thing, but I don't want to bogart your (our) blog, man. Let's see what you have to say.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fetchin' toward a bloody outcome, boss

I'm not sure if linking to other articles is the best way to break the seal on this here new blog, but just in case you haven't read these, this seemed like the place to post them. Especially since we're still working on our thoughts for the first episode (and subsequent posts). Consider this priming the pump.

Oh, how I've missed Heather Havrilesky sprinkling some Swearengen-isms through her reviews at Salon. Any article that has "tender cocksuckers" in its first sentence is probably one I'm going to read. She rips HBO a new asshole for its short-sighted decision to pull the curtain on Deadwood after this season, opting instead for a couple of two-hour movie table scraps. Like a warm, strong shot of whiskey down the throat:

I won't stand for those who trumpet my intentions or herd me like a steer or question my cleanin' up a little yella for my goddamn efforts. I've acted on your commission all along, keeping my eyes on whatever frivolous fucking tripe I figured you might relish whilst you pursued your preferred activities, and I'm mighty grateful for your fucking attentions. But I beg you to remember, them that butt into other people's business and make the business of others their own are meddling no-good cocksuckers. I can see to my job the way I'm goddamned able, and that's all I can goddamned do. The gist is, fuck yourself.

Ah, yes. I don't know if Heather kisses her mother with that mouth, but she can kiss me any time she chooses. Unless she asks me to try and spell her last name first. She also reviews the first episode after venting her spleen.

Back to HBO's decision to cancel the show, yesterday's New York Times had an interesting blow-by-blow recount of events leading up to this point, and the influence that fans played in the series getting a proper send-off - albeit less than what it truly deserves.

Is it possible that David Milch's own creativity came back to bite him in the ass? What if he'd never gone to the HBO suits with the idea for his new show (about surfers living on the California-Mexico border)? Could he have just sat on the idea or did they want to hear what else he had cooking? Would HBO have just gone ahead with plans for future seasons of Deadwood, if they thought that was what Milch had in mind? Or was the show on shaky ground because of the cost of producing each episode?

I guess we'll never know. But it's an intriguing, infuriating question to consider... as I imagine Milch going off on the HBO suits like Bullock on Farnum last night.