Wednesday, March 31, 2004

March 31, 2004
I finally sat down last night and watched the first episode of Deadwood. I can certainly see why it has been picked up for a second season (just happened today and is based no doubt on record numbers of viewers for the first two episodes). The characters are rich, the writing is creative and the numerous references to historical events (Custer’s just been killed and they comment on it) and actual characters (Charlie Utter is quite good).

I certainly agree with the comparisons to Unforgiven and McCabe & Mrs. Miller for the tone. And there is a dark humor I especially love: Al Swearengen (owner of the Bella Union, and a real character from the historical Deadwood), at one point, makes some ugly pronouncement, then turning to leave tells one of his flakey underlings, “Don’t forget to kill Tim.” He says it like, “Don’t forget to turn off the server when you go home,” and I laughed out loud. Very rich. So many Westerns lack a real sense of humor, or try for the hackneyed "Aw shucks Ma'am," kind of hocum. The last real, intended humor in a Western I can even think of was in Lonesome Dove and Rustler's Rhapsody.

Keith Carradine plays Wild Bill like an aging rock star and he exudes a weary authenticity that I especially enjoyed. Plus, even though I’ve been hearing through the grapevine that the costuming, gun rigs and saddles are spotty on authenticity, I think Hickok’s look is dead on. I also think they copied True West on the costuming and look of Jack McCall, but I’ll make that case tomorrow.

I also love the Seth Bullock character (he looks very much like our cover boy last issue, John Escapule as Doc Holliday) with the imperial and dark, brooding eyes. I predict he’s the next Clint Eastwood, or Rowdy Yates, whichever comes first.

Calamity Jane is a hoot and a half. Great hat, bigger than life boisterousness and bawdy to boot, but sensitive. Probably the most accurate depiction of Calamity ever done on film (although it’s not hard to top Doris Day and Ellen Barkin).

I have four advance screener episodes and in fact had them before the series even started but was too busy to watch. I promise to watch another one tonight and the third one before the weekend so I can warn you what to watch for on Sunday night.

Now for the most controversial aspect of the show—the language. Hitting the VCR play button, I grabbed a piece of paper and made hash marks for every cussing category and I counted the F-bomb 48 times. It didn’t really bother me (Hey, I run a magazine), although I think the idea that Deadwood was a lawless place as an excuse for spraying expletives is a little thin, historically. But, it is making waves, something a Western hasn’t done in a long, long time. My hats way off to ‘em, and to the creator and producer, I say, thankyou Mo fo.

"After 12 years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, 'No hablo ingles.'"
—Ronnie Shakes

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post your comments