Monday, August 28, 2006

Well, my beloved Deadwood is over forever. I've read that some people take issue with the florid speech of the characters (no, not the potty-mouth bits, the other bits), but I find this quite a likely form of address for that epoch.
Watch the Ken Burns documentary on letters between American Civil War-era soldiers and their loved ones back home. Personal address was obviously of a much more formal order then than what we see today, and taking that into account, I think the Deadwood writers nailed it. Besides, I love hearing the language so masterfully deployed. The current state of English address (or rather, American, at least) is like having access to a Lamborghini, but opting to take the Yugo everywhere instead. What a waste.

I looked Deadwood up on Wikipedia a few weeks back and saw that Al Swearengen and Seth Bullock were in fact real people. Seth Bullock went on to exalted place in Teddy Roosevelt's inner circle and was instrumental in the formation of the first US lands preserved in the form of a National Park. Swearengen ran several saloon/brothels in Deadwood. Sounds like he was a tragic character, actually.

I have to say that all my loathing in the show finally fell squarely at the feet of one George Hearst, who I dearly hoped would be dished up a goodly portion of lead to the brainpain in this episode. This was not to be. I was hoping he would be unrelated to THE American Hearsts, but, alas, George went on to father William Randolph Hearst, newspaper magnate, and great-grandfather of my favorite bankrobber Patty Hearst.

My favorite moment of this episode was Hearst's cook--Aunt Lou-- tidying up one of the town mental-defectives to bustle him out to vote against Hearst's interests in the election. Aunt Lou had been a devoted servant/assistant to Hearst, yet he had engineered the murder of her son(several episodes back), claiming it was a random robbery-type occurrence. Jerk. Anyway, it inspired Aunt Lou to get out the vote when the chips were down.

The show didn't end with the whole town burning down or anything, and there was plenty of unresolved tension. Final shot of Al is of him scrubbing the blood from the planks of his chamber floor after cutting someone's throat, the Nigger General is in line to vote, Calamity Jane is drunk and weeping for her dear lost Wild Bill Hickock, and George Hearst is riding high.

Not a jolting finish to this television masterpiece, but perhaps more realistic for the laborious creaking wind-down, and a harbinger of things to come for all the characters.

12 comments: said...

I suppose Jane was my favorite character - never lost for words, that one.

phlegmfatale said...

I found Jane to be the most touching character - heartbreaking how she was so in love with Bill (unrequited, apparently) and how bereft she was after his murder. Poor dear. She was really adorable, too. Love that actress. I hope we see more of her very soon.

Just Another Old Geezer said...

I'm not sure who my favorite character was. It seemed to vary with each. Doc comes to mind as maybe my favorite. I was disappointed he wasn't in this episode.

I agree with you phlegmfatale about the language. And as I imagine they might have said it in Deadwood then I look forward with great f****** anticipation to the 2 f******* movies Mr. Milch has stated will be forthcoming in the great hope and expectation they will shed more light on the outcome of some of our friends in that dreadful f******** camp. Especially Doc, who it would seem may have fallen victim to that dreaded f****** disease TB as he was not present among those we were allowed to observe last night.

Becky said...

I though I read somewhere that they were actually going to "end" it with a movie? Or am I wrong?

My step-dad LOVED this show but I never quite "got" it and I can't even explain why.

FHB said...

Now you've got me in a panic. Just surfed the Deadwood site and didn't see anything about them being renewed for a 4th season. Man, they better make another 12 or I'm gonna be PISSED! How does a network just drop one of the best shows on TV? Tell me it aint so.

As far as the frilly speech, these people learned to read by reading the Bible and Shakespeare. Those were the only two volumes most people had. They didn't have the "F" word yet, but they had their own versions. The vibe you get in that show is as true to the real wild west as you could imagine being done. It's the coolest thing on TV, and if they don't make another 12 I'm gonna be Pissed!

You're right about the characters being real. Swerengen is a fascinating guy. They peg him well on the show. That brothel/bar took in about $10,000 a night in it's hey day. That's a LOT of sweaty cooze. But he died penniless after the turn of the century, run over by a train he was trying to jump onto.

Oh well, bring on season 2 of Rome. We'll get to see little Octavian seek revenge. Should be juicy as hell.

FHB said...

...and if that was the last episode ever, then that's got to be the lamest finish to a TV show since Seinfeld. So what if they're real historical characters? It's TV dammit! I was encouraged to expect massive bloodshed. Ok, so the end was really true to what would have happened. The Hearst's of this world almost always get their way. But it's TV dammit! Pissed!

Dick said...

I could never get into Deadwood. I tried, you know I tried.

nongirlfriend said...

I swear one day I'll remember to take my camera with me and get that shot of the Buck N Ruck.

Zelda said...

I love Deadwood and even though I think the speech was excessive, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I think letter-writing was probably more formal, and I can see the literate speaking similarly, but I really have a hard time buying that some of the miners - who couldn't sign their own names - understanding, much less using, that type of language. But that's irrelevant to the show itself which was funny as hell.

Jethro and I tried to take shots every time they said "cocksucker" but after 6 shots apiece in about 4 minutes, we decided we'd better go with "chink" instead.

phlegmfatale said...

Myron - of course, you are right - Doc - Brad Dourif is superb in every role I've ever seen him in. He is an astonishing talent in modern cinema, and I think he's vastly underrated. Actually, I started to watch the pilot episode and stopped rather quickly because it was so unexpected and I just wasn't in the mood. However, when I later learned that Dourif was in the series, I had to start watching. That was a terrible cough - bodes ill for our beloved doc.

becky - apparently there will be one or two movies on HBO wrapping the whole thing up. Yeah, it's not for everyone. I just like it for me.

fathairybastard - Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Yes , we do have Rome to look forward to, and I can't wait to see the wrath Octavian will bring downtown. It gonna git ugly.

big dick - Like I said - it just wasn't for everyone.

nongirlfriend - I'll try to get it this week, hon. Don't worry yer purty little haid.

zelda - *LOL* Yeah, I think "chink" was a better choice. with cocksucker, you'd likely be incoherent by the end of the show. I really doubt people used the word cocksucker that often back then, anyhoo.

FHB said...

Well, if they are gonna do movies, that'll be cool. HBO is like the old BBC. They made 4 or 5 episodes of Faulty Towers and then Pfft. I guess it's ok. In this country we beat a thing to death. Things don't get ended until 2 or 3 seasons after they started to suck. I guess it's cool. I'll get over it.

phlegmfatale said...

fathairybastard - Yeah, I want the movies. Yeah, a pinch-off planned in advance made Fawlty Towers a brilliant thing - always leave them wanting more. We'll all have to get over it, but Deadwood sure was great while it lasted.