Television

We Need Another Show Like The Sopranos

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The Deuce has a lot of things going for it, and this is as close as you’re going to get to actual adult programming these days:

“Who would have thought the most boring part of this whole thing would have been the fucking?”

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s prostitute turned adult filmmaker gets the line of the episode in Sunday night’s season two premiere of The Deuce, the ‘70s-set look at the sex workers and vagrants populating Times Square from The Wire’s David Simon and George Pelecanos

The quip doubles as a keen mission statement for a subtle, culturally mandated redirection in the series’ new season. To continue to merely titillate, scandalize, or expose the seediness of the sex industry, no matter what truths or humanities are revealed along the way, would be mundane to the point of problematic. 

This is a season that centers around female sex workers finding their agency, learning that they have a right to be protected, discovering their worth, and taking control of their rights and bodies. 

It’s a slight shift. Season one of the series was always headed in this direction, but season two accelerates down that path with showy purpose. And, despite his continued presence and entertaining dual performance as brothers Vincent and Frankie, you can’t help but suspect that the person—or at least the story—The Deuce is speeding away from is James Franco.

When The Sopranos appeared, it was actual adult entertainment for thinking people. It wasn’t just the sex and violence; it was the thinking that went into how the sex and the violence were used to tell the story. The same thing can be said of Breaking Bad and whatever else you like, but there is a real absence of television for thinking adults.

Anywhere you find David Simon, prepare to use your brain. My brain tells me James Franco probably isn’t going to make it to a third season, if it happens at all.

Yes, You Can Ignore Roseanne Barr From Now On

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I'm so glad that I don't have to pay attention to anything Roseanne Barr says after her recent foray into American political discourse. I don't get the sense that she actually believes what she is saying. I think she's smart enough to know that there's a market for her show's revival and that, if she can tap into the audience that Tim Allen's show had, then that's what she is going to do.

The audience for Last Man Standing is perfect for what she's selling now. I don't get it--I really don't. Roseanne was supposed to be about working class people who knew that the coastal elites didn't care about the so-called heartland of this country. She made a brilliant show out of the ordinary and she made art out of something as common as can be. What she's doing now is a masterclass in trolling people and carving out a niche market in a wasteland of fractured attention spans.

Why not be honest and say, look, there's a conservative audience for a sitcom and this audience is being under-served? Go for it. Everyone is entitled to make a living. But don't try to bullshit people by pretending to be all Make American Great Again. No thinking person actually supports Trumpism. There are those who believe in it, and they know nothing about this country. Then there are people who are complicit and won't admit it. Fuck them.

And, no, the person who put this on TV back in 1994 wouldn't have anything to do with the Trump regime today. There's a cognitive dissonance here that speaks to how ugly Roseanne's thinking is today.

Who Was This Guy on Frasier?

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It may be a personality defect of mine or completely unfair, but I fucking hate Frasier and I thought he was the worst thing about Cheers every time I saw it. I hated his fucking show and I still can't believe it was on for eleven seasons.

The guy on the end is Dan Butler, who was on the show from 1993 to 2004. I have no memory of him being on Frasier because I never watched Frasier. Isn't that weird?

Anyway, my gripe against Netflix is--quit with this crap. I don't want to see Frasier. How do I block this from showing up in my recommendations and how can I let everyone know how annoyed I am?