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“DEADWOOD”…and now for something completely different

deadwood 2deadwood 4deadwood 5has there ever been a show so “completely different”(with apologies to Monty Python) as “Deadwood”? it’s a western for people who don’t (or do) like westerns.with tragedies of Greek proportion and soliloquies so Shakesperean,yet so swearword -laden they take  the form of the theater of the absurd.yet one’s overall impression is that this is probably really close to the reality of the times.and oh,what times they were. there is no justice, not even frontier justice in the gold-filled Black Hills of the Dakotas,ripped off from the Native Americans whose treaties were torn up and thrown away as if never written. Deadwood is run by Al Sweringen(“cocksucker!”) Like Wu, the ironhanded Chinese Godfather of the “other” side of the camp,it is hard to seperate Al from his favorite cussword. although “cussword” is barely applicable when EVERY character’s speech is so full of  f-bombs and scatalogical smutterings thats it seems no more jarring than the eloquence with which they are combined with the Kings English to create very clear communication channels with each other and the audience. most of the main characters wear their hearts on their sleeves and guns and knives under them. the realistic look of  Deadwood is the most authentic i can recall since Altman’s “McCabe And Mrs. Miller”,which,at the risk of offending David Milch(yeah,like he’s gonna read this!) the show must have borrowed just a taste of that masterpiece’s ambience. other than the introduction of surely one television’s most endearing character’s in Al,”DeadWood” is filled to the brim with memorable roles:Doc,Trixie,Joanie,Cy Tolliver. and of course,Seth Bullock, seemingly the only “moral ” protagonist.(but such a terrible temper!) which is not even to mention Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane.Now we know that the latter two are actual people whose exploits became part of the Legend of the Wild West(mostly fabricated by reporters and dime novelists of the time).What is astounding is that most of the other characters are based on real people too.No one taught ME about them in school,anyway. when the pure evil-doings of Woolcot,for example,rise almost to the level of the prepostorous, it was shocking to me that this person is based on one L.D.Kellogg,described by Wikipedia as “a pschycopathic geologist and serial killer who worked for George Hearst”! gee,i wonder if  he put it like that in his resume’ when applying for the position! No wonder the character’s name was changed,probably vetted as subject to lawsuits by the Corn Flake billionaire’s heirs. there is definitely no statute of limitations on the stuff THIS guy pulled, even if he IS dead. a final word of gratitude to Keith Carradine,whose portrayal of Wild Bill in season 1 should have won an emmy or something ! he brought such a sense of gravitas to the show, just like he did in season 2 of “Dexter”. which brings me to my next television blog… stay tuned.


2 Responses to ““DEADWOOD”…and now for something completely different”

  1. I loved this series! I rented every season and watched them back to back when I lived on Bell. It seemed like the most realistic western I’d ever seen. The mud and dirt and corruption! Oh did I mention the opium…

  2. I felt the same way when I watched Deadwood for the first time. I actually picked it up because I was so taken by Keith Carradine’s performance in Dexter S2 that I wanted to see more of his stuff.

    Al Sweringen was great! I was totally repulsed by him, at first. Then he grew on me. At the end of season 1 I felt like he was actually a “good guy”. One moment of hilarity was when Sweringen was asking Mr. Wu a question and because of the language barrier they could not understand each other. Sweringen kept saying “Who?! Who?!” and Wu kept saying “Wu! Wu!” (and calling him “Swiggen”).

    Also, re: “McCabe & Mrs. Miller”. That was one of Mr. Carradine’s first big breaks.

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