With Sons of Anarchy ending recently, many of the bad boys of the golden age of television are dead and gone (some literally, some just figuratively). Walter White, Jax Teller, Tony Soprano and Dexter Morgan just to name a few. But while these men got away with season upon season of violence and anti-heroics, what might have happened to these characters had they been black? Well, that question is answered in this new video:
In the wake of losing Breaking Bad I, like a lonely person after a break-up, have reverted to bad habits. I wanted to give up on Sons of Anarchy for a variety of reasons. The first was once a biker gang was involved in international arms smuggling and getting in Civil War style battlefield escapades (but with rocket launchers), without a hint of law enforcement intervention I sort of had my eyes permanently rolled back in my head. Then there was the burning of people alive. And this season, in addition to the usual throat slitting and head bashing (this show is on basic cable – they cannot say fuck so they overcompensate with the word shit and insane violence – see this sketch as an example) there was a school shooting massacre by a 12 year old, which felt so out of place that it really just felt like the show’s creators said “I don’t think we are offending/shocking/repulsing enough people – PLOT AND SENSE BE DAMNED!”
On the other end of the living spectrum, but even further along on the violence spectrum is The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead is like Breaking Bad’s dumber, sluttier, less attractive sister that I have decided to hook up with in an attempt to hurt Breaking Bad’s feelings. Thanks to Netflix I have been able to “binge watch” The Walking Dead. It is a show that I must admit, considering I bashed it for an entire podcast episode, that benefits greatly from the cinematic feel of binge watching. I always maintained that the first season of Walking Dead was a strong season and that season two, for several reasons articulated on the podcast, was weak. I actually enjoyed it a lot more on a second viewing (in two days), though my main complaints are still valid (lack of black people in Atlanta, Shane’s varying accent and enhanced physique despite wandering the earth in a gym-less apocalypse, etc). But watching the show in the aggregate like that led me to see about 1000 head smashes, ligament tearings and eye gouges in a short amount of time. The show really is incredibly violent and it is not restricted to “dead” people. As season 3 progressed (I am 4 episodes in) it seemed more slashes and rips and blood poured forth from living people.
The fact is with language restrictions and sexual restrictions still on basic cable shows it seems like the only envelope they push is violence and it is now pushed to the max. I hate to sound like an old fogey (for the last time stop texting and walking!), but the violence on basic cable in these two shows is ridiculous. I am just assuming that child rape is really the only place left to go. And I am betting that Sons of Anarchy will be the one to do it. It would make no sense on The Walking Dead, since most of the villains are zombies, though in season 2 a now-deceased character alluded to a roving gang that raped two teenage girls while their father watched. But I think Sons of Anarchy is the show with the “courage” to actually showcase this as a climactic scene. That show literally has nothing left to do except that when it comes to a checklist of awful things to show on basic cable, other than make Ariel Castro an honorary executive producer. Either way I think we can all agree that the parents who bring their children in for that fateful/eventual audition should be arrested on the spot, or at least be featured in Bruno 2.
On a lighter note, it has inspired one of my new sketches for this month. Considering how crushing a skull to the point of hearing a brain get squished (that sound that sounds like moist fruit being stepped on) is the most in-demand sound in cable television (Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy to name a few that now show that merely beating a guy to death just doesn’t get America hard without hearing the brain squish), my next sketch character will be the Spielberg of Skull Crushing Sound Effects. Look for it in a couple of weeks, along with my Dante de Blaiso/Bill de Blasio parody.
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I am in DC currently providing babysitting services for my two nephews so I have not had many funny or angry things to report on. I return to NYC tomorrow to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday (Black Gandalf), so I am sure I will get my writing mojo back soon. But in the spirit of both Crazy Stupid Love and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, both of which I saw last weekend, I am providing my own contribution to excellent entertainment.
Here is the behind the scenes look at FX’ new show: Tough White Guys Who Say S**t A Lot. If you are a fan of any shows on the FX network I think you will see that we are very true to their brand. Enjoy:
The FX channel broke into the big leagues with the show The Shield about a decade ago. The show focused on a quartet of caucasian cops who murdered and robbed with impunity. In other words it was a ratings and critical success and the formula was simple: eliminate the realism and the African-American protagonists from The Wire. It was over-the-top entertainment, but taken for that it was a solid show (with one of the greatest final couple of episodes of any show I’ve seen not named Six Feet Under). But The Shield was a sign of the future at FX, which is owned by the News Corp, which owns an even more well-known producer of over-the-top fiction, Fox News. Here is where FX fits into the pantheon of non-network television show producers:
HBO– The Untouchable Legend. Even though their shows now are not as great as the Sopranos/Wire/Six Feet Under heyday HBO still makes uncompromising high quality drama and comedy (with the exception of the increasingly Glee-ish True Blood).
Showtime– HBO’s likeable, but much dumber younger sibling. Dexter is a very solid, but slightly overrated show, Weeds is a piece of sh*t and I think Californication is actually the best show on the Network, but what do I know – I write a blog for 15 people.
USA – Annoying Puns. it seems that USA has one requirement: the show must be able to be summarized in a pun-filled title. Royal Pains, Burn Notice, White Collar and their newest featuring a hot chick in the poster – Fairly Legal – Less Lawyer, More Appeal (get it!!!!!). Which is leading to the their next big show – Dr. DoMore – Less Sore Throat, More Deep Throat.
TNT– My sister-in-law likes The Closer. That is basically all I know. And they picked up Southland, which is the shittiest of the “gritty cop dramas.”
AMC– The “We are better than you network” and the only potential challenger to HBO. Everyone loves Mad Men, but anyone who reads these posts, my tweets or my Facebook page knows that the best show on television right now, by a mile, is AMC’s Breaking Bad.
That leads us to FX:
Platonic Porn For (Preferably Conservative at Heart) White Men
Here is the evidence of all the shows I can think of from FX:
The Shield– angry, white cops take on foreigners, and Mexican and black gangs in LA. They kill at will, drop the occasional racial slur, but are always the badass heroes.
Nip/Tuck – Two white dudes give chicks boob implants and have lots of sex I think. This is the one I never saw, but I think that is a fair assessment.
Rescue Me – A bunch of white firefighters and their light-skinned minority firefighter friend have lots of sex working as the number one non-celebrity/investment banking/athlete profession for getting women for white men.
Sons of Anarchy– A bunch of white, anti-big government, motorcycle riding men and their one Puerto Rican member pit Mexican and black gangs against each other through gun running (but they also fight white supremacists to show that they’re not THAT bad). They manage to keep corporate America and big government out of their sleepy town that they rule with a leather-clad, tatooed iron fist.
Justified – A white US Marshall returns to his Kentucky hometown where he doesn’t quite play by the rules, in a place where everyone has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. There is a black woman on the show.
Archer – an animated show that is presumably a tip of the cap to the hipster comedy crowd (which is pretty big in urban markets the same way Mitch Hedberg was huge in Camden, New Jersey). There is one black character as well.
And their newest show, which I really do like a lot – “Lights Out”. It is about an American born heavyweight boxing champ making a comeback. Other than Nip/Tuck’s abundance of fake boobs, the white Heavyweight champ is right up their with Sarah Palin as the conservative white man’s fantasy.
So basically, FX has become the official channel of the Tea Party: the “keep your taxes out of my town, keep your hands of my guns, keep your minorities off of my screen and let me see some fake tits” channel. I enjoy Sons of Anarchy and Justified, but they are not great shows. They are solid shows. I think my favorite is Lights Out, but most of these shows just feel like someone has taken Fox News pundits and made them actions stars. Individually, the shows are entertaining, but in the aggregate it is hard to ignore the overwhelming trend, even if I sound like a 1986 Al Sharpton. So I guess for all those tea party folks who have been begging for their country back, their prayers have been answered. Just turn on FX any night of the week.