Hi everyone and welcome back to The Deuce. I’m a little behind because last night my fellow recapper and I broke Twitter with our Chrisii Rhapsodizing. Then my phone died. It was all for a good cause, y’all! Who’s ready for the third episode of The Deuce? Yeah you are! Rolling S1:E3 The Principle is All after the break. Language warning! There be nasty talk ahead!
We open with our Ladies of the Evening discussing the nascent New York pornography scene, Shay (Kim Director) mocks, but Candy Merrell (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is super interested in finding out everything she can. Thunder Thighs (Pernell Walker) aka Ruby, can see how Candy is curious about the business and offers to take her to watch some filming.
The shoot is Lackluster Porn all the way, with a seated audience, terrible lighting, no film in the camera, a bored director and two partially asleep performers. The audience is so that the director (who looks like Ron Jeremy and Rob Reiner had a bebeh) can say he’s making art AND he’s charging $40 a head. Candy is impressed.
Vinnie Martino (James Franco) is settling in at former gay bar Penny Lane, he’s working hard on demo (all schweaty for Ronniebecray) with barkeep Paul Hendrickson (Chris Coy from The Walking Dead!) while twin brother Frankie (James Franco) plays cards and is his usual charming, useless self.
Sandra Washington (Natalie Paul) isn’t giving up that easy on getting a story from the streets, she’s after another our of ladies for information. Melissa (Olivia Luccardi) isn’t giving any of her time for free, she’ll talk but it’s on the clock and I am a poet who didn’t know it.
Abby (Margarita Levieva)’s job search isn’t going all that great, she takes one sniff of a smoky steno pool and she and her braless rack and asthmatic lungs are OUTTA there, to smoke outside while crossing that pit off her list. HEY! Have you ever wanted to do movies, Abby??
Vinnie’s renovation (awesome mirror with gold fleck!) is going well until one of the original part-owners of Penny Lane show up. GingerThug seems to think he owns the machines and is a big, big shots. GingerThug looks like Abraham from The Walking Dead (NEVER FORGET), snarling at Frankie that he has no idea who he’s dealing with because Frankie is breaking all his machines. I sense a Mob Peni Measuring Contest afoot!
I’m guessing Frankie is the brother who’s allergic to authority figures.
Their brother-in-law Bobby Dwyer (Chris Bauer) isn’t having a much better day, he’s ignoring chest pain and dealing with a metric fcktonne of stress on the job: no way he isn’t a walking heart attack waiting to happen.
Candy as Eileen is visiting her kiddo and mom Joan (Carolyn Mignini) who can’t resist taking a couple of cheap shots. Candy spills about the new business venture into movies, dropping a realistic-sounding lie about starting in commercials because we all want our parents to be proud, you know? EVEN IF SOME NEVER READ THEIR KIDS’ RECAPPING WORK.
Family ties has brought a young hippie Ryan (Hunter Jones) into Bobby’s orbit, Bobby is not appreciating a longhair out there agitating at work against the Vietnam War. Bobby shouts a bunch, ignores his left arm cramping and promptly has his heart attack right after trying to lift something heavy.
There’s all KINDS of educational material in the show this week!
Rudy Piplio (Michael Rispoli) isn’t super happy to hear about the dustup at Penny Lane, but he doesn’t look too worried that Mickey Spillane (Mark Noonan) has demanded a meet with Vinnie in an hour.
Mickey Spillane is every inch the profane mob boss to match up with Rudy, but my money’s still on Piplio.
Also: I can’t keep these racial slurs straight, I thought they all meant Irish person or maybe Italian but that wouldn’t make sense in context and I am NOT looking them up.
Abby didn’t take my advice about movies, she got a job at a phone room so she could flash her ginch at a co-worker but I doubt she’ll be there long. She doesn’t seem to understand “work.”
It’s time for Darlene’s weekly movie date with her john; she falls asleep and is late coming back to Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe) well into daytime. She only took what she was owed, not extry, so Larry is confused, and why is Darlene just watching movies with this guy? She offers to let him hit her then work the whole day and night to make this right, she’s the most amenable prostitute ever. The most scared, maybe, as we see when he drops his sunglasses and orders her to pick them up. They’re up and in his hands before the words are fully in the air.
Candy’s set up a lunch with pseudo-porn director Harvey (David Krumholz) to pick his brain about movies; it’s hard to watch her arc during their conversation. She starts out excited, showing him the European porn movie she snatched at her porn shoot, no way this won’t be available in here soon! “This is America, since when do we leave a f*cking dollar for someone else to pick up?”
To trying not to cry when he’s only willing to offer her paid sexwork. She was hoping to learn about how to make movies. She just needs a chance! She’s really smart and she already told her MOM!
Because sometimes when you’re on the streets, Big Mike (Mustafa Shakir) on a bad run of drugs is what you run into.
Rudy and gang aren’t just looking to operate one bar, they’re looking to help out a politician through his aide Carmine Patriccia (James Ciccone – like Madonna!), who may or may not be getting blown by his niece.
The prognosis isn’t good for Bobby, his heart attack is laying him low in the super smokey hospital (seriously, Frankie feeding the man puffs while he’s laid out in a stretcher) and there won’t be much in the way of paid benefits. Vinnie and Frankie ask their sister Fran (Diana Bologna) what they can do to help, why do they laugh when she suggests they take a nephew or two? HUGE help!
Lieutenant Gerald Sweeney (Shaun O’Hagan) is explaining the new rules of downtown to Officer Chris Alston (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) and Officer Flanagan (Don Harvey); several areas have been designated as “no-go” zones for arrests. Nothing on the books, but don’t arrest anyone there and Chris doesn’t like it one bit.
He muses over where the order could have come from at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, which is where Lori (Emily Mead) is negotiating for a Tunnel Date. She charges an extra $10 for oral because the traffic is heavy on the way back and “you have to factor in” her time.
Let’s just say that Lori sounds as much like a long time streetwalker as Denzel Washington does.
They make it through the tunnel where disguy at least 40 years older than Lori realises she’ll be working the way back. The extra $10 was for losing SOME time, not a, er, empty trip back. She can’t believe disguy is arguing about a tenner after her hummer, but he defends himself, “it’s the principle, is all.” He does not like her smirk and sarcasm in return.
Abby quit her job, so did her co-worker Billy Donovan (Josh Salt), so now the banging. Remember when you thought it was totally cool to throw down next to your roommate? Me either!
CC (Gary Carr) doesn’t seem very happy to see Lori and her big wad of cash, he thinks she needs to shift her paradigm. Specifically, she needs to stop playing it safe with Tunnel Dates and get herself some regulars. CC says taking someone into a hotel room might seem more dangerous, but I thought getting into a car would be? I guess there are lots of cars around, though, maybe safety that way? ANYWAY, sorry, she needs to get out on that corner and not hide in the tunnel.
Abby’s new manfriend stole all her mom’s money, so maybe she might have to actually have to “work.”
Penny Lane is ready for it’s first night!
It’s very difficult to not see Abby as a spoiled brat, especially when a roommate asks her to pay rent and she borrows another roommate’s $8 for her share. I bet she has big vague dreams, though!
Candy’s living in reality, listening to message after message of apologetic / horny men looking for a date, her to not talk to their wives and oh, there’s one tiny a case of the clap, possibly from a hot little Latina number who was wrong. She laughs then stops, this is not a life made for longevity, how will she get out?
Years ago I used to watch a Canadian show about sex workers, I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me, but there was this big beefy French Canadian dude approaching a similar point in his life. He performed in gay porn films, was on a contract for his very last shoot and was trying to work up his nerve to ask for a role behind the camera. I can’t remember if he ever got to the next level, but his wife was super supportive in the meanwhile and maybe that’s what Candy needs. Being alone is one thing, being without support is a whole ‘nother.
Abby found Vinnie at his new bar! And wants a job, course, but all Vinnie has is the bar, she can totally start in an hour or she can find her way oot. She goes, and comes back, which puts a huge smile on our Vinnie’s face. Hey. she can put it in her memoirs!
See, Abby is a super smart girl, and beautiful to boot, are we supposed to be surprised that she ends up working in a bar flashing her bum for tips? She hasn’t one practical skill and no concept of work, she’s practically a blueprint for a modern society’s parttime Craigslist escort.
Candy is laying some hometruths on Leonard (Vin Scialla)
Maggie Gyllenhaal, ladies and gents: sublime
A nearby stabbing sends everyone but Candy scurrying into the shadows. Eventually, she walks by too, tough part of town to get stabbed in, dude. Can not recommend.
It’s looking…a little slow over at Vinnie’s new joint, until everyone shows up at once! Rodney (Method Man) is there and so is Big Mike, who appears to have calmed down some and be capable of speech again. Rudy walks in so Vinnie sends Ellen (Amber Skye Noyes) to scrounge up a clean table for the boss. GingerThug from earlier is there for the party too, NO he doesn’t want a drink, Vinnie!
Big Mike proves his usefulness a little later on, when he takes a gun off GingerThug and then inexplicably runs away. Vinnie has to talk BigMike back into the bar, where every single pimp and hooker we know is partying. Darlene got a night out after her double shift, she’s reading Great Expectations and bonding with Abby while Larry Brown watches suspiciously. What if Darlene is our Maya Angelou, Abby our Gloria Steinem and Candy our Nina Hartley? Wouldn’t that be awesome??! Yeah it would! And we’re out to Vinnie trying unsuccessfully to get a date from Abby and walking out of his brand new bar alone.
I could stand the Francii together this time, but James, come on man. I know you’re excited, you’re directing yourself and yourself and it’s your show! You have a bestselling author and the guy from The Wire, this is a truly awesome opportunity. I don’t need to see how happy you are with a shit-eating grin gracing your face every single second of every shot, save the ones where you’re slinging racial slurs or looking overly concerned *acting frowny face*.
Everyone else was good too. This is a deep, deep cast. I do question the glamorization of sex workers, though I’m not familiar with that era, really. I fully support people’s rights to use their bodies however they want, but let’s just say that on balance, the average sex worker that I’ve come across is dealing with a host of issues, none of which we’re seeing here. And not one of the ladies I knew would have emptied a john’s wallet of HALF of what was in there, it’s a dog eat world out there and they’ve missed the trough often enough. Is that vague enough? I don’t know. It’s tricky to talk about because it’s impossible not to generalize, so I will just sum up that the pollyanna-cum-hewer roles that we’re meant to be swallowing *coughDarlenecough* makes for one giant OH COME ON.
Until next time! Cheers!