Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Deadwood - "I Was Going to Tell Him Something Pretty"

Nobody I work with watches Deadwood first run. Well except for one guy in upper management, and we don't chat casually about television shows. Hmm, in fact we don't chat casually at all. I don't think he's speaking to me. Do you think it was something I said?

Anyway, I was hoping to talk to someone about the episode because it was disturbing in a horror sort of way - Deadwood's not horror but it certainly has horror fiction's grim, take no prisoner's attitude.

To deflect a gunbattle and save Trixie, his former prostitute "lover" who's left the trade, Al Swearengen had to kill an innocent hooker from his brothel to appease season-long villain George Hearst (almost as casually as say, Hearst Magazines recently killed off underperforming mags Shop Etc. and Weekend.)

When told that wasn't fair, Al--who's had some actually heroic moments this season--asked: "Since when did that enter into it?" (Thanks to Entertainment Weekly's review for that quote.)

Of course we've known all along that historically the real George Hearst not only secured mining interests in South Dakota as he's been seeking all fictional season but also went on to hold higher office. Yet the hope still lingered for some satisfying resolution within that arc.

'twas not to be and what remained was a grim slice -- take that however you want.

Hearst rigged an election, a girl died and even stalwart and perpetually pissed-off lawman Seth Bullock barely batted an eye, though he noted he would lose sleep over the death.

Yep, that's what horror fiction often says. Good guys and bad lose in horror fiction all the time and the only message from the usual omnipresent narrator is pretty much what the average counselor says every day:

"Life's a bitch, learn to live with it."

Counselors and psychologists just put a little more glitz on it.

Kind of like Al apparently meant to do when he told his barkeeper, Johnny, that killing the prostitute had been a necessity.

Only later does the episode's title come into play when he sadly mutters: "I was going to tell him something pretty."



Charles Gramlich said...

I may have posted on this already about Deadwood, but I've just watched one episode and the modern dialogue really threw me. Way too much use of the F word.

Sidney said...

Well #@&^%! The #3*&^%ers on Deadwood talk that way because the real Deadwood, SD residents of the day had a reputation for talking like a bunch of %^$#@! hoopleheads. Word has it was so bad they passed an ordinance about the language on the street. But the bad words that were bad then aren't so bad now, so David Milch created a blend of old slang and new to affect a similar impact reflecting the town's lawlessnes and #@!%&*+ing coarsness.

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