Hi everyone and welcome back to New York in the seventies where bunches of our second line get screentime all at once. Rolling The Deuce S1:E05 What Kind Of Bad? after the break. 14A y'all!
We open in what I thought was Leon's but turns out to be wherever Darlene (Dominique Fishback) came from, a town outside of Charlotte. Huh. I would not have expected that she would have taken Abby's bus ticket to heart, but here she is, making googly eyes at ex-boyfriend Roger and talking about her fancy man and modeling career. "Modeling."
She's not planning to stay after all, she's just there to try to pimp out her cousins, none of whom are interested. The little waitress Bernice (Andrea-Rachel Parker) follows Darlene outside, is she really a model? In NEW YORK CITY? Dayum.
That scene was perfect because it showed two things: once you've tasted the excitement of living in the city, there is no way to be happy gossiping about some yahoo who crashed his mustang, the second is that of course Darlene went there on a fishing expedition with the full knowledge of her pimp. Abby (Margarita Leveiva) and her patronizing "help" just helped the cause, matey. How fcking arrogant do you have to be to decide you know what's best for someone before you even know them?
Candy Merrel (Maggie Gyllennhaal) pulls another trick like plucking an eyebrow, kinda painful but routine.
I guess I didn't understand the business proposition put forth by mafia guy Rudy Piplio (Michael Rispoli) because it turns out the empty warehouse he showed Vinnie Martino (James Franco) is a massage parlour *wink wink*. Vinnie's brother Frankie (also James Franco) is all for it, but Vinnie doesn't want anything to do with pimping. Their brother-in-law Bobby (Chris Bauer) suggest Vinnie at least THINK about it, but Vinnie just got the Hi-Hat and he'd like to stick with what he knows. Bouncer Big Mike (Mustafa Shakir) and barman Paul Hendrickson (Chris Coyne) are down for whatever, Big Mike is surprisingly enterprising.
Sandra Washington (Natalie Paul) may have exaggerated the commitment she had for the story she's been working on, her editor doesn't like her writing, or the fact that it's reinforcing stereotypes. She argues that it's not blaxploitation but life as it happens, but he's not interested. She gets a grudging allowance to write a longer story to see how it fits.
Abby. Abby is a piece of work, she's doing what she can to yerk Vinnie's chain, having old roomie Evan (Nick Rehberger) come by to drop off her camera and make Vinnie jealous. She ends up stuck at a boring party with a bunch of undergrads wanking on about the Revolution on Daddy's dime, serves her right.
It's almost impossible to resist the lure of the underbelly once you've been there, everything else seems lame and out of touch.
Candy as Eileen has sex with civilian Jack (Will Chase) in just as much detail as we saw with her and the john, um, yay? He finishes, but if you have to ask someone if they came, Jack: they didn't. Candy gives him a flat stare and takes matters literally into her own hands, masturbating to a climax while Jack caresses her back. His "so, did you come that time?" made us all burst out laughing, right?
That was awesome.
Loretta (Sepideh Moafi) is tired, Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe)! Real tired! Can't she please take a break? Barbara (Kayla Foster) walks up with $400 and Larry passes on the motivation to Loretta. She gets that kinda money, "you could take a Ho Snowday!"
I WANT A HO SNOWDAY!
Jack can't stop marveling over how different Eileen/Candy is, she messes with him a bit then fends off his advances in the form of an invite to a company party. She dresses at lightning speed while he wistfully asks for a sleepover. Off she runs in the middle of the night, he offers up some cash for the cab home and we all went "ohhhhhh" then, didn't we? Men she screws just can't stop giving her money.
That reminded me of a theme running through Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder series of books: when someone hands you money, you take it.
Frankie does a hella homophobic monologue at Paul at Hi-Hat, he's figured out that lesbians have the least sex and gay guys like Paul it's "all dick all the time." Tommy Longo (Daniel Sauli) wanders in to disbelievingly get Vinnie's pass on the whorehouse while Frankie and Bobby watch sadly from down the bar.
Later we see Bobby being driven out of his mind resting at home after his heart attack, can't a guy smoke and drink post cardiac arrest in peace? I bet he takes that massage parlour gig!
The only one that bit from Charlotte was that young waitress Bernice but Larry Brown isn't impressed. She looks like jailbait and that right there is the only thing that didn't ring true so far. Most of the sex workers I knew started much earlier than 16 and I'm not saying it's right (because it so isn't) but I have a hard time believing Larry cared about her age.
This is when Bernice realises what kind of "modeling" Darlene has been doing, but that's okay. She's "not fixin' to get back on that bus."
Paul's enjoying some afternoon gay porn at a theatre when a well-dressed gentleman asks if he'd like some company? Yeah he would, his hands were getting all chafy anyway, much better to have help. By help I mean saliva and a suppressed gag reflex.
I forgot about the gay porn theatre and bathhouse scene back in the seventies, it seems as though a lot of that history has been heterowashed for the masses. It was glorious back in the pre-HIV age, from what I've read.
Paul doesn't have much time to enjoy his post-coital cigarette, cops Haddix (Ralph Macchio) and Grossman (Brian Miller) pick him up in an extemely objectionable homophobic rigged gay sting as he's walking out.
Bobby makes his pitch to Vinnie, let him run the whorehouse, Vin! He's got supervisory experience, hell, he was shop steward at 26! I've never heard anyone give a resume for a pimpin' job, usually you just need the hat and the hand, right?
Larry Brown is still bitching about his new protege, but Rodney (Method Man) is interested for the right price: 2k? Or say 2.5k? They just traded a PERSON for 2500 70s dollars, that's quite a lot of $20 tunnel rides.
Abby's using her camera to piss off the bar patrons. Reggie Love (Tariq Trotter) can't believe she didn't even ask him, and now she won't serve him a drink, either after insulting him left, right, and centre. He gets creepy and Vinnie has to break it up, I hate it when I have to agree with a pimp. Abby, cut it out!
I now wonder if Abby will be Marianne Faithful or something instead of Gloria Steinem.
Just as I was thinking 'I DON'T LIKE CANDY'S DATE!!' he starts beating the ever-luving shite out of her and I have to watch from behind my fingers. She almost gets away, but doesn't and sustains a terrible beating.
All I will say is that I knew that guy was wrong the second I saw him, you're telling me someone on the game wouldn't have smelled that guy?
The young doctor tells Candy later that she's lucky, she didn't lose and eye and it could have been much worse. "Lucky me" she says from somewhere inside a bruised, swollen and bloody face.
Sandra doesn't seem to understand how she comes across, she's on a ride with Officers Chris Alston (Lawrence Gillard Jr.) and Flanagan (Don Harvey) and while Chris helpfully explains how the cops game the Vice system, she's busy snarking about cops making money for doing the very least bit possible. Flanagan does not like her tone and reminds her that they aren't there to entertain her and actually have EARS, SANDRA.
Rudy is more than willing to let Vinnie change his mind about the massage parlour, he can hire Bobby or anyone he wants, but this is his deal. See, Ruby thought Vinnie had some pimp in him! Now he's got his own massage parlour, Tommy is there to give him some tips. First: you gotta have a back entrance (hahahaha sorry, sorry) for famous/married/famous married people and also a VIP room for frequent flyers. Keep it "classy but simple" because "not everything in life is a 20 dollar jerk job." I should get that on a TV shirt, along with "I WANT A HO SNOWDAY"
Chris agrees to set up a meet with Sandra and a pimp or two, we see him later chatting up Reggie Love for just that reason. Reggie do like to hear himself talk, so he's in.
Bernice gets traded to Team Rodney, the only good thing about that is she'll have Ruby Thunder Thighs (Pernell Walker) looking out for her, along with Tiffany (Danielle Burgess) who seems protective as well. She is re-christened Ginger, because apparently nobody wants to hump a Bernice.
Bobby is right in his glory coordinating the construction at the brothel, I am just going to suggest that running water and a lube pump might go a lot farther, FunBobs. He keeps trying to make "fucko" be a thing. It is not a thing. Use regular swearwords we already know and misspell for search engines!
Paul gets bailed out by Big Mike and heads out on the town for a night of dancing sans boyfriend. At this point in time, homosexuality was still illegal, hence the sting earlier, so the club he and a friend are at has no drinking or sign on the door. It DOES have a lineup and a huge room full of shirtless men sharing drugs, so woo hoo!
Paul makes a new HAWT friend on the dance floor, Frankie was right, Paul is up to his ears in dick!
Rodney sees Candy's poor face and makes another run at her, this time reminding her of every single time she's been beaten up on the stroll. It grows into a real fight, nobody is stopping Rodney's verbal attack on Candy but everyone is watching. Candy deflects, then cries, then hides then finally walks away, all the while Rodney is laying her bare for everyone to see. She does think she's better than everyone else, how else could she get up and do that every night? She is so alone, always alone.
After, she walks away from a john and he says the same thing " you think you're better than me?" and we may have seen the last of Candy's ho stroll for awhile. A change has gotta come.
Paul's brought his party favour home, high AF and making out with the hawt guy from the club on his couch. Out pops Paul's upset boyfriend, Arthur (Sean Meehan) but he isn't mad for long. The hawt guy sparks a jay and asks him to join in the fun and I'm left counting how many different guys Paul's banged in this 24 hour period. At least three, but I didn't see him until noon, so it could be double that. Gay guys have all the fun!
Cold shower break!
Barbara (Kayla Foster) and Melissa (Olivia Luccardi) aren't just lovers, they're business partners too! They're stealing from johns while they're "distracted," no way Larry Brown isn't going to want a cut.
Thunder Thighs is running the rules past Ginger when Abby walks up, how is Darlene doing back in Charlotte then? Guurl, she isn't even there, so how you gonna make this about you? Can't wait!
Inside the Hi-Hat, Abby pouts as Darlene ignores her, C.C. (Gary Carr) scares me and Lori (Emily Meade) cries. It's Ashley (Jaime Neumann) that sets Abby straight for all of us, asking her who paid for her university? Oh, daddy. Is he paying your rent now? Fck no! "Daddies, husbands and pimps love you for who you are until you want to change." Best line of the night:
"Maybe she likes her like the way it is."
And maybe she do, Abby, you need to take your sanctimonious arse elsewhere. At least put on a leotard like everyone else, it's the uniform and Ellen (Amber Skye Knowles) doesn't see why she has to if Abby doesn't.
I take that back, those uniforms are bullshit, but everything else I said about Abby stands.
Sandra and Reggie get set up on their blind date, she's paying him $40/hour so I expect this to be a shorter story than she thought.
Candy takes her and her bruised face back to see Harvey (David Krumholtz) who tells her the rules have changed. They're filming now, seems New York has its own rules (i.e. none) so she should come back in two weeks after her face has healed. He's kind and she's quiet and all I could see was grief radiating in the air from her. Man.
Bobby shows Vinnie everything he's done for the shop, he's doing great! They even have those plastic accordion fake-panelling doors that I remember so clearly from the seventies, hahahaha! You know the ones!
We're out with Vinnie standing behind his new bar looking conflicted.
I liked how we got to see so many backup characters jump into the light this episode, in particular the scene with Candy and Rodney arguing was so authentic I could almost smell it. I may have thought Method Man was in this show because he's supafly, but he brought a realness to that role that was unexpected. Maggie Gyllenhaal continues to be everything you could ever want in an actor.
Until next time!