Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: deadwood (page 1 of 2)

Sleepy Alligator In The Noonday Sun

bobby poolside.png

Hey, Bobby. Whatcha doing?

“Plotting my next move against Dr. House.”

George Hearst.

“Sure, sure. Gotta get that gold from the hula-hoopers.”


“Gesundheit. Y’know, I’m kinda surprised we haven’t seen a Grateful Deadwood type deal.”

With you guys playing the parts?

“Sure. There’s, uh, Mrs. Calamity Jean.”

Nice one.

“Josh could play the sheriff.”

He doesn’t have the range.

“Mickey is Sol Star.”


“And Oteil could play the–”

Stop talking, Bob.

“Oh. Yeah.”

What are you reading, anyway?

“Checking out your site, actually.”




An Apt Comparison

Hillary Clinton is Al Swearengen, and she will leave some bodies behind on her quest to fleece the hoopleheads.

Donald Trump is Hearst, and he’ll burn the fucking camp down.

A Note About The Donate Button

Ass-fucking is two dollars extra.

Context-less Thoughts On Episode Four Of Season Three Of The Award-Winning HBO Show Deadwood

  • There’s a mirror image in the credits that I never noticed, the last image of the horse, and that’s the one with Milch’s name, so it’s the important one.
  • Aw, Doc, no.
  • Powers Boothe is just fucking evil.
  • Doc, could you not cough your tuberculosis directly into the whore’s mouths?
  • The bank is open!
  • Terrific line #1: “We live in faith.” (Merrick to the thoroughfare.)
  • Brian Cox is so wonderfully silly, and speaks the speech so trippingly, that you almost forgive him for being such a waste of time.
  • What did you say to people who told you they were “just doing their job” before the Nazis?
  • Since the dawn of recorded history, all men have wanted to play fireman.
  • Decolletage.
  • There is absolutely no question that Milch, et al, were setting up the town to burn down.
  • (Mainly because: A, he said it was going to; and B, Deadwood did actually burn down a bunch of times.)
  • Oh, for Christ’s sake, Hostetler and Franklin Ajaye: why would you come back?
  • Terrific line #2: “You think just cuz I got a peppermint, you’re getting it, you sweet-toothed cocksucker?” (Steve the Drunk to a horse.)
  • Please don’t say that word, Charlie Utter: I just spent an hour writing about how wonderful you are.
  • I hate you, Steve the Racist Drunk: why do you have to make everything so difficult?
  • And, Jesus, how racist do you have to be in 1877 to be the racist one?
  • Terrific line #3: “He has appointed to degrade himself.” (Farnum, regarding Con Stapleton banging one of the actresses whose name I am not bothering to look up.)
  • Instead of receiving a toaster for opening an account at the Deadwood bank, you got called a cocksucker.
  • Women had it the worst.
  • Blacks also had it the worst.
  • Black women had it the absolute worstest.
  • Still do.
  • Steve would be a Trump supporter with 40 Twitter followers and 90,000 tweets.
  • Why does Hostetler want to go to Oregon?
  • Does Hostetler know the history of that particular state?
  • Also, Hostetler’s great-great-grandson went on to lead the New York Giants to a Super Bowl victory.
  • Al does his best acting during blowjobs.
  • Terrific line #4 “Titans gather. Do we now assault Olympus?” (Farnum to Al and Powers Boothe before their meeting with Hearst.)
  • There is no ATM in the Deadwood bank.
  • Everyone needs to wash their face, even the clean people.
  • I simply will not allow myself to contemplate the state of these filthmonsters’ buttholes.
  • (Ironically enough, the Cornish miners might have been the cleanest people in the camp due to the daily forced showers. Everyone else took baths, which as we all know, merely redistribute evenly over the entire body the stank that was previously concentrated in the pits and where ya shits.)
  • Steve the Drunk and Hostetler may be deliberately trying to get Sheriff Bullock to murder them both, although this is the first time in the series that Bullock’s temper has been played for laughs.
  • I never understood the Hawkeye thing: Hawkeye was Adams’ partner, and once got his ass kicked by Dan (I think), but now Al hates him so much that when Adams just mentions his name, Al slaps him.
  • I think there was a scene left out of an episode.
  • Or maybe Milch forgot to write this part.
  • I forgive him.
  • Also: Al calls Hawkeye a douchebag, and it may be the one wrong note of dialogue in the entire show.
  • I don’t give a shit if that term was in the parlance at the time, it sounds anachronistic and clangorous, and then they repeat it three or four times.
  • Hit Steve more, Bullock!
  • Terrific line #5: “You know you hurt my feelings.” (Dority to Al, after Al has sent Adams to meet with Hearst. It’s more the line reading than the line, but still.)
  • Two things Alma Garrett loves: looking out windows poignantly, and opiates.
  • Calamity Jane has a feather in her hat, but I do not know what she calls it.
  • How comfortable could the mattresses possibly have been?
  • I have done no research, but I would wager that Memory Foam® had not been invented yet.
  • Terrific line #6: “Kid yourself about your behavior and you’ll never learn a fucking thing.” (Who do you think?)
  • Terrific line #7: “Well, bless you for a fucking fibber.” (Same guy.)
  • Bless all us fucking fibbers.

Thoughts On Season 3, Episodes 1-3, Of The HBO Program Deadwood (2004-06)

  • Hearst is here.
  • He’s not the Bad Guy.
  • He is a bad man, but not the Bad Guy: Darth Vader is a Bad Guy, but George Hearst is time, or gravity, or the dawn.
  • George Hearst is amalgamation and capital, and he won.
  • On the show, and in the world that made the show, George Hearst won.
  • Al Swearengen died in a Denver thoroughfare, his skull cracked open.
  • Wild Bill Hickock was murdered in the first season.
  • Cy Tolliver never actually existed.
  • 01_fosterandpartners_hearst_tower
  • Hearst won.
  • The real George Hearst was born in Missouri, and though he liked to mention the log cabin in which he was raised, his father owned a general store and several farms that were worked by slaves; he ended his life with the equivalent of half-a-billion dollars (which doesn’t seem like all that much nowadays, which is completely fucked up) and being called Senator.
  • The American fucking Dream.
  • Hearst was obviously a tough businessman, but most likely not a murderous psychopath who shook with rage every time he had to speak to another human being.
  • David Milch made that up, but he made it up very well.
  • This is George Hearst:
  • George_Hearst
  • Actually, that’s Gerald McRaney, but you take my meaning.
  • One of the visual motifs of Deadwood is the mirror.
  • Scene after scene starts with a character as viewed via a mirror, and this is symbolic doubly: first, it represents one of the major themes of the show, which is Public vs. Private, the office or hotel room vs. the thoroughfare; second, for every character on the show, there is a reflection, skewed and warped.
  • Al Swearengen and Cy Tolliver.
  • Trixis and Joanie Stubbs.
  • Charlie Utter and Sol Star.
  • The fuckwits, Leon and Con, from the Bella Union and the Gem’s thoughtful cuthroats.
  • The Doc and Merrick, too: they are differing takes on what it does to men when they are needed.
  • Some it puffs up.
  • Others find it a burden.
  • Who then is George Hearst’s counterpart?
  • Deadwood is, by its creator’s own admission, a meditation on the formation of society, of how a community comes together, and George Hearst is the nemesis of that idea.
  • To live together requires compromise, and Hearst will not.
  • He is not the enemy of the town, but the enemy to the very concept of “town.”
  • The workers need someplace to sleep, he supposes, and whores to keep them docile, but towns get in his way.
  • Hearst is vulgar and coarse and animalistic, and he takes his meals in his room, and if you did not flash to his psychopathy from his words or deed, then the way he drinks his coffee will clue you in: he pours it from the cup into the saucer and then drinks from said saucer.
  • Which was a thing back then, honestly.
  • Cools the beverage quicker.
  • But it looks so fucking insane.
  • If you did that in Phil’s restaurant nowadays, men in white coats would come and catch you with a net and bring you to the booby-hatch.
  • George Hearst has brought his Aunt Lou along, and we’ll get to her because she is one of the characters on the show that gets more interesting with each viewing like Calamity Jane, and also because Hostetler and Franklin Ajaye are on their way back into camp and you and I both know that Im going to get into a whole 1870’s Black Lives Matters thing.
  • Also: I’m just gonna call Franklin Ajaye by his real name instead of his character’s name.
  • No reason.
  • If Hearst can be compared in opposition to a mortal man, then it is to Charlie Utter.
  • George Hearst is indecent.
  • Charlie Utter is a decent man.
  • There are a few in the camp–Ellsworth and the Doc and Trixie–but Charlie has no inciting incident that spurs him towards rejection of evil and into the service of community, and the camp: he is by his nature a good man.
  • Charlie Utter is defined by his friendships: all of his actions are born from love for his fellow fucking man and woman, no matter what kind of pain in his fucking ass they was.
  • This is Charlie Utter:
  • charlie-utter-1920
  • The actor’s name is Dayton Callie, which is a wonderful name, and his face has been punched many times, and he speaks in this oddly-emphasized Southern woof that stands out as lovely and strange even in a show full of actors allowed to do whatever Antebellum bellow they felt like.
  • (In addition to everything else that is just exactly perfect about Deadwood, the voices and accents are gorgeous and funny and absolutely never wrong: most shows, even great ones, have an actor or two who doesn’t know how to say their lines, but not Deadwood. There’s Alma Garrett’s refined elocution, and Dan Dority’s Tennessee twang, and Calamity Jane’s petulant razzum-frazzzum, and the Doc’s tortured whisper, and the Preacher’s melodic yelp, and Wild Bill Hickock’s slow drawl. Yes, the writing is good, but the saying might be even better.)
  • Charlie Utter is first introduced as a friend, and remains so throughout the series: he arrives in camp at Wild Bill Hickock’s side; he does literally everything a man in 1876 could do for another man: Charlie tries to keep Bill from getting murdered.
  • And then Charlie Utter hunts down the murderer.
  • According to custom.
  • But then Charlie Utter–in the company of Seth Bullock–consigns the Coward Jack McCall to the army base nearby instead of stringing him up.
  • I like to think that Charlie Utter just didn’t want to kill anybody.
  • This is not to ascribe pacifism, or even the Deadwood version of it, to Charlie: the man had no compunction about whipping someone in the thoroughfare.
  • But–and here is what makes Charlie Utter a decent man–the people that he beats up truly deserve it.
  • It may, in fact, have been morally wrong not to kick the shit out of Wolcott.
  • His essence can be summed up in one line; he says it to Joanie Stubbs.
  • After Wolcott has murdered the prostitutes, she runs by him without enlisting his aid, but later tells him what’s happened; Charlie spirits the remaining whores out of town so they won’t be killed, too.
  • The past was terrible.
  • When Charlie Utter returns to camp and calls on Joanie Stubbs, he tells her this:
  • “Don’t ever walk past me.”
  • From any other character on the show, it would have been a threat, a warning; from Charlie Utter, it is a promise.
  • The most hurtful thing a person could do, in Charlie Utter’s opinion, was to not let a friend back his play.
  • Charlie Utter will back your play.
  • The story continues: Powers Boothe is recuperating from being stabbed and pretending to not be fucking evil, but Powers Boothe is just fucking evil; Martha Bullock is now the teacher of the school, and the textbooks they used in the past were awful; Adams sells Sol Star his house for the purposes of surreptitious Trixie-fucking; Alma Garrett has an abortion that features Doc and Trixie screaming multi-syllabic obscenities at each other; Cornish miners speak Cornish, and we see Cornish dongs, and they are murdered ruthlessly; Calamity Jane takes a bath.
  • George Hearst and Al Swearengen are machinating against each other, and then Hearst chops off Al’s finger.
  • It looks like this:
  • ep26_06_thugalhearst
  • The goon is Captain Turner and he’s going to be beaten to death in the thoroughfare by Dan Dority.
  • I told you there were going to be spoilers.
  • And this is the moment when you hate Hearst.
  • Al Swearengen, our anti-hero, our blackhearted poetic center of the storm, the slaver and murderer who in the first season only did not kill a child because another option revealed itself?
  • He wouldn’t do this.
  • Al’d cut your throat–Al was always good in close–but he wouldn’t do this to you.
  • Now it’s personal.
  • At the end of the episode, Al stands with his throbbing hand on his balcony.
  • He is talking to Jack Langrishe, who we will get to, and Langrishe says this about the camp:
  • “A thing of this order, you’d not see ruined, or in cinders.”
  • And Al says back:
  • “I will if I have to. Avoiding it if I could.”
  • It’s the last part that’s important.

Thoughts On The Rest Of Season Two Of Deadwood

You throw the dice, but the table sets the point,
And the day will choose how it turns out,
And death is waiting,
Or checking his watch.

And all will mourn,
And none will notice your absence,
And God is not mocked.
And God is not mocked.
And the stage comes and goes,
And the sun tells us when to work,
And the bottle tells us the rest,
And everyone knows Colorado seeds won’t flower
So far from home.

How did you get so far from home?

And your kindness will be
Recompensed by
Wild-eyed horses, and
Child-sized corpses, and
A sudden need for a Preacher.

Do you need the Preacher?
Should I run for the Preacher?
I’ll go fetch up the Preacher.
And get word to the Doc.

And the winter will be here
Soon, and the future will not be
Negotiated, and the dice are in the
Hand of the shooter, and the point is the
Table’s responsibility.

There is music tonight
On the thoroughfare
Which is an avenue of shit
And God will not be mocked.
But there is music tonight,
On the thoroughfare,
Which is not far from home.

The Past Was Terrible

According to the Israeli Redneck, though, “Possession is ten tenths of the law around here. If you can hold it, it’s yours.”

He continues his speech. “The people in the Hezbollah are committed,” he tells us. “The Palestinians are committed. Some may want peace. Some may not. It doesn’t matter, but they’re committed to the destruction of Israel one way or another.” He adds, “In this part of the world there’s no such thing as innocent civilians. There’s combatants and non-combatants. Nobody’s innocent except children. Children are always innocent.” – “My Holy Land,” by Tom Bissell, Harper’s Magazine

Thank God we left Deadwood so long ago.

People Who Should Find A Place Where Fucking Of Oneself Is Possible, And Go There Post-Haste

  • Everybody on Twitter.
  • People who had to be told not to play their little video game in the Holocaust Museum.
  • Cops.
  • Criminals.
  • Sinners.
  • Saints.
  • Whoever prices blueberries. (Seriously: they’re two bucks a pint one week, and six dollars for the same amount the next. I cannot figure out the economics of the situation.)
  • Jews supporting Trump. (More than you’d think.)
  • Bernie Sanders, and his childish fans, and everything about all of that nonsense.
  • Mean Phish Persons.
  • My garbage-human neighbors still setting off fireworks a week after the Fourth.
  • Yankton cocksuckers.
  • This guy over here.
  • That lady right there.
  • All those assholes.
  • Depending on what word you put in the phrase “______ Lives Matter,” you may or may not need to go fuck yourself.
  • Johnny Depp.
  • Who ever designed the parking lot at my pharmacy, because it is too small for the amount of cars that go in and out, and Florida is full of old people who go to pharmacies constantly, and one day I am going to run one of them over and it will sound like a fallen leaf being stepped on.
  • Anyone–anyone at all–who’s got a hot take.
  • So: me, I guess.

Differences Between My Doctor’s Visit This Morning And Al Swearengen’s Medical Experience

  • Whores and cutthroats were not drafted into nursing duties.
  • In fact, there were neither whores nor cutthroats in the room at all.
  • Examination took place in a doctor’s office in a medical building rather than a saloon.
  • At no point was anyone called a cocksucker.
  • Physician had not been broken by events he witnessed in the Civil War.
  • Physician was not a “he” at all.
  • Doctor neither came to my residence, nor was I dragged via sled through the quagmire of shit that is the thoroughfare.
  • Not one lofty and well-written speech about the inevitability of death and the inviolability of the human spirit.
  • I was never in danger of being taken to the woods and left to die. (I hope.)
  • Thanks to Obamacare, I had a $1 co-pay for my visit, whereas Obamacare was not possible in Deadwood for so, so, so, so many reasons.
  • Received prescription for a topical ointment and an antibiotic, rather than a slug of dope forced down my throat.
  • Magazines in the waiting room were in color.

S2, E5 In Real-Time And Without Context

  • If you are a woman and you vomit onscreen, you are pregnant.
  • I haven’t mentioned the cinematography yet, but it’s glorious: scenes build up to exquisitely staged shots like this one:
  • gleet aftermath
  • That’s from the previous episode right after Al passed the gleet, but it’s just an example.
  • Don’t get all point-stuff-outy.
  • Al has been conscious for 30 seconds and people start bothering him.
  • Sanderson’s soliloquies: loser’s prayers.
  • Brilliant line #1: “I have great respect for the Fourth Estate. Here’s a statement to be printed.”
  • Richardson makes a run at Alma Garrett, but she swipes left.
  • Can’t blame a guy for trying.
  • Antlers.
  • How is it that Deadwood does not burn to the ground nine times a day?
  • I know it burns down eventually, in the unfilmed Season 4 and in real life, but it should have happened every single day.
  • Nine times.
  • I’ll just pretend I know nothing about Jeffrey Jones and enjoy my Western, thank you.
  • Old-timey abortions!
  • Brilliant line #2: Trixie refers to her studies in accountancy as “Jewish lessons.”
  • Deadwood kind of passes the Bechdel Test: there are many scenes with two women, and they are not talking about relationships or men.
  • They are almost always discussing the trouble created by men, though.
  • Although: what else were they going to talk about, baseball?
  • Ah, fuck: it’s Sarah Paulson.
  • Women are not to be trusted in Deadwood.
  • Men, either.
  • But women, also.
  • Goddammit, it’s the N****r General.
  • I’m gonna call him NG for the rest of whatever the fuck this is.
  • He is returned to Deadwood from San Francisco with a horse from the livery, which is run by Hostetler, the only other black character so far.
  • San Francisco to Deadwood is 1300 miles.
  • On a horse.
  • Holy shit, I could not live in the past.
  • I couldn’t travel in the past, at least.
  • I would stay where I was.
  • Powers Boothe is just fucking evil.
  • There is no railroad that goes to Deadwood, but if there were, Powers Boothe would have been tying women to the tracks left and right.
  • Besides Trixie and Joanie, all the whores with speaking roles deliver their lines in a robotic monotone; if one had done it, I would have assumed a bad actress, but they all do it, which seems like narrative choice.
  • You’re going to die, Isabella Miko, but you are so hot.
  • Brilliant line #3: Calamity Jane’s opinion of Custer is that he “could have saved a lot of lives by drinking more and being less ambitious.”
  • That’s good advice across the board, really.
  • Doc Cochran should not be a pediatrician.
  • I know kids were tougher back then, but Doc Cochran looks like this:
  • wormtongue-4
  • That’s going to scare a child, no matter the era.
  • Season 2 has way more smoking than Season 1, and it may reflect the gathering wealth of the town, or they may have just forgotten to hand actors cigars in the first season.
  • The town of Deadwood is powered by belligerence.
  • Everyone’s first choice is start bellowing obscenities at a problem.
  • Next time you meet a Libertarian, show them Deadwood.
  • This is what a Libertarian society looks like.
  • Brilliant line #4: Al Swearengen thinks Yankton is “too busy stealing to study human nature.”
  • Brilliant line #5: “You cannot fuck the future; the future fucks you.”
  • That may be overarching lesson of Deadwood.
  • The show is often praised for its authenticity, but like in every silly shoot-em-up, pistols can be discharged indoors right next to peoples’ heads with no damage to anyone’s ears.
  • Please stop saying that word, Calamity Jane.
  • In the past, murdering a black guy that hadn’t done anything was a viable distraction.
  • This is because the past was terrible.
  • Hey, it’s Charlie Utter!
  • I can’t wait until you get kicked in the head by a horse, Steve, you cocksucker.
  • John Hawkes, the actor who plays Sol Star, is not DJ Qualls.
  • You can get opium or whiskey or anything else in Deadwood, but there is apparently no weed.
  • Fuck that shit, man.
  • Wolcott (who is played by Garrett Dillahunt) reads the last letter Wild Bill Hickock wrote before being shot by the Coward, Jack McCall (who was also played by Garrett Dillahunt).
  • Freaky, man.
  • Let’s not talk about Wolcott’s fake beard, though.
  • Hearst comin’!
  • I will pay good money for everyone to stop saying that word, or at least stop saying it so casually.
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