Hi everyone and welcome back to The Deuce where I have my gif-making abilities once again! Yay! Although most of the really good shots (money?) on The Deuce are NSFW and not giff-able, I am still excited in case someone throws out something hilarious, PG-13 and quotable. A girl can dream!
We open with CC (Gary Carr) kicking Ashley (Jamie Neumann) out of the car to go-a-penis-massaging, she wants to know why Lori (Emily Meade) don't gotta? CC 'splains: Lori's in the movies now, she has to rest up. Until Saturday. Ashley and I think that's bulllssssshit.
Darlene (Dominique Fishback) walks past Ashley into the sweatshop, "'nother day, 'nother bunch 'o' dicks" and just as I'm thinking: Ashley should just walk away, she does! Ashley walks away with a "fck this" and we all cheer, yay!
Mob family meeting time! Matty the Horse (Garry Pastore) is still pissed off at Rudy Piplio's (Michael Rispoli) high-handed take of his count last week, but Vinny "The Chin" Gigante (John Dinello) thinks there's room at the porn trough for everyone. Get in there, mobbies! Carmine Patriccia (James Ciccone) is there representing the politician involved and happy everyone is gonna agree to stay in their own zones.
Rudy and Marty Hodas (Saul Stein) are gonna work on the peepshow booths together!
Cleaning those booths, though...that has to be a candidate for Worst Job Ever.
Journalist Sandra Washington (Natalie Paul) and totally not-a-source patrolman Chris Alston (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) are parked across the street from the massage parlour, watching the traffic. There are five places like these in the area, Chris has been watching them all so Sandra asks if he's pulled the titles on the buildings, see if there is a pattern? He's not a gold badge, he just watches the street, lady.
Chris takes Sandra to his place, is she gonna come up? This is where it gets awkward, because Sandra doesn't necessarily want Chris to be more than a source, but he's been super clear that he DEFINITELY wants that: she's going to have to tell him one way or the other. Go up, go away, either way that choice is yours, Sandra. And she makes it, woo hoo! Chris grabs her in a big kiss and she returns the favour, "so I'm NOT a source."
Abby (Margarita Leveiva) is prepping veggies (so slowly and awkwardly, JUST GIVE EM HERE. Gawd) while chatting with Darlene about the fancy invite she just received for a party in Connecticut. Abby asks about Bernice (Andrea-Rachel Parker) and gets a long stare in return, time to go!
Vinnie Martino (James Franco) comes in to break the tension and Abby invites him to the fancy party she just said she wasn't going to. She tells him to wear his leather, her "you're a prize in that" makes me feel worried for Vinnie down into my toes. Because he's so happy that she thinks he's a prize in anything AND she's invited him to meet her parents. I hope it's not Little Miss Rich Girl showing off how well she slums.
At the brothel, a customer comes in looking for a "chocolate cherry", which means...Bernice? I sense a reluctance on general manager Bobby's (Chris Bauer) part to rotate Tiffany (Danielle Burgess) into the lineup, she's there to work, fella. They find Shay (Kim Director) od'd in the back room so Black Frankie (Thaddeus Street) drags her comatose arse to the hospital.
Frankie Martino (also James Franco) gets an eyeful of Ashley sitting at the bar, what's a nice girl like her doing in a place like this? Her frank "I'm a whore" had me snort-laugh in admiration and doesn't dissuade Frankie one bit. "Doesn't make you a bad person, does it?"
Paul Hendrickson (Chris Coy) interrupts coz he has to go, his friend Todd (Aaron Dean Eisenberg) is taking him to see the 100 days opening of his movie Boys In The Sand. Do Ashley and Frankie want to come? Sure! Boys in the Sand, just like Spartacus! Well. Maybe Ben Hur. Which one has more spears?
If Frankie doesn't know what "Fire Island" and a porn movie with only one gender in the title means, he's in for a LOT of fun!
Ahhhh now we find out why Bobby won't give Tiffany any johns, he's not cutting off her working time, he wants her to keep him company. Yikes. Well, it was bound to happen and Tiffany doesn't waste any time capitalizing on his interest.
Let's just say Frankie doesn't like the Gay Erotica Film Of The Year as much as I do! "Fck is this fcking movie??" but this is just like Ashley's day job, so she thinks it's funny. That was a serious amount of scrotum and boi-on-boi for primetime TV and I approve.
Candy's new gig as an escort has her looking a little different these days; sexy (but not sleazy) dress, hair up, jewels and the like. Same rabbit fur coat though, you can take the lady off the streets, but...This john is a fancy john, offering Candy dinner and drinks before the humping. Candy rolls with it, but you can see the switch from by-the-hour is a bit of a difference.
Frankie has taken all the Boys In The Sand he can handle, he walks out and Ashley follows, even though she enjoyed the movie: "artistic with a lot of dick."
Todd is uneasy at the movie after-party, he's getting exactly the kind of questions you'd expect to hear at an artistic movie with a lot of dick and he doesn't want to answer any of them. He wants to go home with Paul, can they do that instead? Yeah they can!
Reggie Love (Tariq Trotter) comes into the Hi-Hat with a Shay-shaped chip on his shoulder, Vinnie hustles him outside so fast our heads spin. Ahhhh, he doesn't want Abby to know he's running a massage parlour, even if in name only. That makes sense; she's anti sex-work for SURE.
Candy's fancy upscale date ends just the same as her Deuce dates did, him finishing then with an added bonus of listening to him throw up in the bathroom while her moneymaker cools in the air. She looks so sad, even before he returns and orders her to "get out."
More humping across town, but none of that dispassionate robotic shite that Candy was suffering through, this is Paul and Todd and it is HOT. I was worried for a minute about Paul's boyfriend/benefactor, but they're in an open relationship and this is okay. OKAY? This is smoking hot and hey, it's even Todd's birthday! Paul was the best present he'd gotten in ages! Todd's heard about a big budget fckfilm being filmed right away, get this: $100,000 AND the premise is that a woman has a clitoris in her throat. No way would anyone want to see that!
I have mixed feelings about Deep Throat, but also uninformed, because I've not seen it. I did read Linda Lovelace's autobiography, though, and I've seen the bruises on her in clips, so. Mixed.
Back at the 14th Precinct, there's a change in the ranks; Peter McDonagh (Ed Moran) is now in charge and he makes sure to give our Chris a hard eye as he walks by. What's up with that?
Leon (Anwan Glover) is making Melissa (Olivia Luccardi) hongray in between shifts, talking about food while the pimps commiserate in the corner. They feel like they have no purpose these days! Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe) used to know what he was doing when he woke up in the afternoon. (IN THE AFTERNOON). They've noticed that they're extraneous to the process now, it's like when you used to go to a farmer and pick out a cow to be slaughtered (in a totally humane fashion) and now you go to McDonalds and get a toy with your burger.
Oh and they all think it's hilarious that CC "mighta misplaced a ho." "Cept CC, so I hope wherever Ashley goes, it's away from that guy, he doesn't seem like the forgiving type.
Speaking of Ashley, she LOVES the fancy hotel sheets where Frankie took her! She wants to live in them! It's checkout time, though, where they gonna go? It seems Frankie doesn't have anywhere to go, he couch-surfs from friend and family member and on, doesn't own anything, doesn't live anywhere. He explains slightly sheepishly, but to Ashley is sounds like he's free.
Sometimes I think I know what Ashley's gonna say or do before she does it, I think her and I are same/same.
So remember when I was so excited to see Ralph Macchio lo those 5 episodes ago? Not so much these days, because in between the casual homophobia and cursing, he's also triple dipping on Bobby at the parlour, on behalf of the Morals Something. $200.00 / week starting Thursday. He's not totally useless, he's got some good advice.
But he doesn't know quite as much French as he thinks he does.
It is hella weird to watch The Karate Kid swear.
Frankie's big idea for Ashley is for her to stay with Abby, ohhhh, I don't think these ladies got along all that well the last time they saw each other, what with Ashley calling Abby on her bulllllshhiiiiit.
Tommy Longo (Daniel Sauli) swings by the Hi-Hat to pick up White Frankie and Big Mike for a job, is this to do with the Masturbatories?
Chief McDonagh has requested that Chris take him on a tour, get this he says Chris can speak freely! Chris and I sideeye until Chris can pull over and ask: okay seriously, what? Technically he says "why me?" like Vinnie last episode. McDonagh tells the tale of a mutual acquaintance named Ben Ward who advised him in the beginning of his career to find a black veteran cop who hasn't made rank - he probably won't have a rabbi and so might be outside enough to be honest.
McDonagh goes into a complicated analogy asking whether Chris is a grass-eater or a meat-eater because one of those is going to change and I just pictured a cow with fangs so I missed a lot of the intent. Are you one of Them, Chris?
Melissa and Barbara (Kayla Foster - did you know Barbara was the Kayla of the 70s? Ubiquitous) are still working their two-person sting while Bobby keeps paying Tiffany to chat at the bar with him. They're ordering Chinese food, but Ruby (Pernell Walker) hates Chinese, it's what they get in lock-up! She wants to know why Tiffany gets to sit and visit for money instead of pulling tricks in these "cum-soaked coffins"? Bobby fakes a flabbergast, but Tiffany knows what's up.
The con doesn't go as usual for Melissa and Babs, the customer figures out he's been robbed before he leaves the room and freaks out. It takes Bobby and Black Frankie (Thaddeus Street) to cool him down, but he's not wrong. Bobby's gotta check the cooch-coin purse and lo and behold: there's the money. Thank you for not showing that.
Larry Brown walks the street, sad and alone. Is there anything more tragic than a pimp with no purpose?
Abby gets home to find her apartment clean and sparkling, I guess Ashley didn't steal her shit after all, she just tidied it up because Abby and her roommate are fcking slobs. Abby left early to go get a dress for the fancy party tonight, but she seems hella interested in Ashley's HoUniform.
Leon's is still quiet, CC looking for Ashley, always supafly and deadly af. Barbara and Melissa are stuck, they can't work the parlours any more and they can't walk the streets, so what are they gonna do? Leon does not like how bruised up Melissa is, Reggie Love didn't take too kindly to her getting thrown out for stealing.
We're making a movie with Lori! She's not doing all that well, but
I MEAN COME ON BREAK
Honestly: this next part is all about Lori not being able to perform on camera but her body being so amazing that they HAVE to coax the performance out of her. Lori has been a hooking since she was 16. There is no way on god's green earth she doesn't know how to pretend to have an orgasm during sex. Full stop. NO WAY.
Candy completely takes over the set, sending the PA for food and fabric to cover the bed, she's the new Art Director! She stares at Lori for a long moment.
Party time, excellent! Abby is wearing Ashley's hooking dress, Vinnie is wearing his cringe-worthy leather and he's rented a Lincoln to impress her parents, which pisses her off.
Even Mindy (Deborah Twiss) on set wants to help Lori loosen up, but it's Candy who makes the magic work. By that I mean she removes Lori's too-tight bra (seriously? Did they take it off a doll?) and smooths vaseline very, very slowly around her breasts to make them shine on camera. Um?
The other penny drops for Vinnie as soon as they walk into the party in Connecticut, everyone is dressed to the nines in rhinestones and polyester satin, so he and Abby stand out like sore thumbs, just as she wanted.
Vinnie: "what the fck?"
That's just one of the things I don't like about Abby. This poor ahole thinks he's actually dating Abby, she doesn't care that he was excited to be invited and wants to meet her family, he's just a walking Eff You to her parents in tight leather pants. At least Abby's dress goes over well!
That woman is going to pray for Abby's soul later, you watch.
We're back in the studio with Candy watching Lori, she won't let this go, Lori must be made fckable on camera!
OH COME ON BREAK - see above
Somehow, Candy turns Lori on? Or just helps her have better sex with the actor and all of a sudden, everyone is into it and Harvey finally understands what he has here on set with Candy.
I don't know what that was, y'all. Neither did Harvey, we just watched and tried to rank the sexual tension between Candy and Lori.
Abby introduces Vinnie to her dad and goes to work the party while Vinnie tries to apologize for his outfit. This isn't Abby's dad's first rodeo, he knows her modus operandi. He thinks Abby could be anything, if she would just TRY! Something! Vinnie gives her props as a hard-working barmaid so Daddy's at least got something to be proud of.
I think Harvey wants to date Candy! She can't, course, she's got a "date" later, thanks to him, but as I said above, I think he's starting to realise her value. He asks how she got into the game, "daddy issues?" Yeah, but not as he's thinking, what does that mean?
Bernice freaks out during a trick, Thunder intones that "some ain't built for it" while Darlene stares, knowing she's got to put this girl back on the bus.
Ashley isn't waiting for Frankie or going back to CC, she's working next steps and now she's doing it with the help of Abby's daddy's big cheque.
Lori can't stop watching the loops in Fat Mooney's (E.J. Carroll) place, irritating all the raincoaters waiting for a peep. What's she watching? Herself. She's getting turned on watching herself hump on camera and she drags the masturbator next to her over to watch. He starts shouting that she's the one on the loops as she walks out, Fat Mooney's "can I get your autograph, Miss Monroe?" following her.
Darlene and Bernice have their come-to-Jeebus meeting at Leon's, Darlene knows she shouldn't have brought Bernice to the city but Bernice just wants to know how she can shut everything out. How did Darlene find the nothingness, the ability to not feel anything when she's with a john, just the darkness? Darlene is sending her packing.
Leon sets another plate in front of Melissa and juuuust as she's about to start digging in, Reggie Love walks in and starts grabbing on her arm, she's late! Leon says something, then does something, pulling out a gun and shooting Reggie dead.
He calmly calls the police then pours Melissa a cup of coffee before she's off screaming into the night.
AND THAT'S NOT EVEN THE END!
Abby takes Ashley to the bus station, she even pretends she's not gonna watch her get on the bus, she trusts her so much. Ashley (really Dorothy - really? Dorothy?) goes! Without her dress, that she throws to Abby, but off to Lackawanna to see her sister. Look, happy endings everywhere!
It's interesting to watch the evolution of smut as we know it, peepshow booths are just like the things that hold grocery bags: always around but totally invented by a genius. I had no idea back in the day you had to wear a raincoat and conduct your pud-pulling business while a lineup groused behind you, I'm kind of amazed it took until the 70s to develop that particular product.
And the movies themselves! The VHS tapes used to come with "Adult Education" on them (I HEARD) and now I know why: Community Standards.
Go Candy, go! You can do it! And now Harvey knows it too, if he doesn't put her on payroll soon, he will regret it.
Goodnight everyone, Deuces.