Though we couldn’t jump on it right away this site did want to take advantage of the Advanced Screening of the premiere of THE DEUCE. We couldn’t wait until 09.10.17 to begin David Simon’s next examination of the human condition.
Our anticipation is high for this one as we go back to New York City, NY in the year 1971. The city is not at its best and there is a story to tell. Here is our take on THE DEUCE: “Pilot.” The story opens up as we focus in on a little corner bar down any little back street of the city and peek through its window to find Vincent Martino (James Franco) counting the night’s till. And as he exits his establishment with the night deposit in hand he finds that he is about to be held up. He is, however, able to drop the money in the drop-off box of the convenient bank across the street before he is accosted and survives with only a pistol whip. Such is the type of violence on the street and his home life ain’t much better. Then cut to title credits.
So, what THE DEUCE is about to tell us is that the lay of the land in the day was on of lawlessness. There was police corruption, a garbage strike, Mob business, hustle and quick scam mixed up with a rampant dose of sex, drug and rock & roll all fused into a seedy, rundown kind of vibe. Out in such a world are such characters as C.C. (Gary Carr) and his homie checking out potential hos in the bus terminal (he snags one named Lori played by Emily Meade) and down at the local diner there is Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe) who is easily pimping his established herd. There are a number of other characters that draw us in just as easily. There is Abby (Margarita Levieva), an NYU student that gets involved in a drug bust & let go by a lackadaisical police force that includes Chris Alston (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) And then there are the rest of the girls. You can’t miss Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and independent streetwalker, the pro, Darlene (Dominique Fishback), and “Thunderthighs, as advertised,” aka Ruby (Pernell Walker). There are even more players introduced in following episodes and, course there are plenty of extras that make ‘70’s Time Square come alive. And they all have a story.
For me, David Simon and George Pelacanos are the ones to beat. They nail this story, they nail the dialogue and along with the production team nail the look, feel and sounds of the decade. The story takes us on a wild, debauched ride through the dismal days of NYC. We have only gotten a look at most of the main players in the first episode, but the drug market, the Mob scene and the Porn industry are our playground and we will be exposed to all of it. Vincent gets misidentified as his Mob-threatened brother Frankie, the girls turn both easy tricks and hard ones, all the characters face their realities of hustling, struggling and surviving.
By “Pilots” end we got Vincent ditching his old bar job and messed up wife for a fresh start; pimps keeping their stables in line either kindly or harshly and the streetwalkers owning the night. Anyone up for a BJ in a phone booth? Hey, for the series it is you can’t ignore the sex and the schlongs. Hell, you even get Maggie G. doing the classic ‘putting the condom on with the mouth’ move.
Don’t miss what has got to be HBO’s next big hit. I’m glad for the advanced look but will likely watch it again on Sunday, 09.10. How about you? Are you lovin’ the groove from THE DEUCE that VINYL couldn’t give us? Visit THE DEUCE.