The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Read Richards(on)!

David Milch, if you're out there, I'm begging you for spoilers! Or, you know, the rest of you punks, if you've got anything. I'm talking about DEADWOOD, of course.

Now, while I LOVE watching the show, I just HATE having to wait a whole week for the next installment. So, clue me in on the following, or anything else that may be relevant.

Richardson: Did you guys see Richardson reading the newspaper last night? Richardson! Reading the newspaper! What is up with this character? He HAS to be something more than the object of E.B.'s stinging dialogue, doesn't he?

The Langrishe Troupe: Why are these people in this show at all? Are they relatives of Milch's? Or, like in the case of Gordon Clap, does he owe them some debt of gratitude for previous service? I just can't see where they add ANYthing to the mix and if they have some pivotal part in how things are to play out, well, I want to see it. Because they are boring me to tears in the meantime!

Wu: Where the Hell is Wu? I mean it. I love watching Wu and Al discussing the finer points of the Chinese culture and language. It never gets old. Especially old school Wu. Sadly, I haven't seen Wu in weeks. More Wu. Less acting troupe cocksuckers.

The Ellsworths: Okay, what is going on with these people? Is he going to forever sleep at the diggings while they just pretend that they're still married or something? Is she gonna get the fatal overdose? And if so, will it be an accident or something more? Is he gonna finally, once and for all, get to put the serious hurt on Hearst that he's owed him for years? Or is he destined to take one on the chin for nice guys everywhere?

I realize that there are only...::sigh::...four more episodes of this show left to air. Forever. And that events have us galloping, at this point, up to a pretty major showdown. But where are all the little side stories going to end up? Will Doc die? Will Trixie and Sol quit pretending they aren't in love? Will E.B. betray Al to Hearst (or Cy Tolliver) before all is said and done? Is Harry ever gonna get his fire wagon?

Worse, with all these dangling bits, what does Milch do? Why he introduces new characters last night. Aunt Lou's son, clearly a distraction at best, fizzled into nothingness. Steve getting his come-uppance by a horse was more than a little fitting. Jane and Joanie getting together had been brewing long enough to be a given. Great. Fine. Wrapping up some of these little side stories. Clearly necessary. But, new characters? With four episodes left?

It's maddening I tell you!

So, I beseech you, dear readers. Theories? Best guesses? True fuckin' spoilers if you've got 'em? I'm gone after the canned peaches, so we can discuss this like civilized people. And there better not be any unauthorized cinnamon on the fuckin' meeting table when I get back, either!


Blogger MJ Norton said...

While, in order to avoid stumbling across spoilers, I've likewise avoided the subject, it's important to recall that the show is based on an actual place and time. Once it's all over I'll be interested in digging up as many bones as there are to be found, but since the first season I've deliberately avoided doing any such research and only have what's been brought to me and laid at my feet.

While we know liberties have been taken, there are actual historical figures behind many of the players, and this includes Langrishe. Much as other opportunists flock to wherever there was even a hint of a gold strike, so did groups such as Langrishe's -- once the money was beginning to flow -- in search of the nouwveau riche looking to establish themselves as patrons of the arts and buy respectability for themselves. Much the same can be said of the towns as a whole, as a community forms and wants to distinguish itself as well-rounded and posessing some depth as it seeks to draw new families and expand its service economy.

Richardson... well, based on a riffled montage of scenes it appears he's going to surprise people at least once more by getting on a stage and performing.

Yeah, I miss Wu, too, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him and his people play a more substantial part in the power stuggle about to erupt as Hearst's squad of hired guns has now rolled into town. So much is going to depend upon what Al wants to happen.

The Ellsworths... well, I like him, but have never warmed to the missus. Every time she speaks I think Shelley Long's character, Diane Chambers, has fallen into a time portal in the basement of Cheers and found herself in the old West.

We know that Hearst attempts to go into politics in the 1880s, and the show's still set in 1876, I believe, or early '77 at the latest. So he survives all this as much as we might wish otherwise.

We also know that Jane lives until 1903, and was definitely out of Deadwood by sometime in 1884, when she moved to El Paso, so she, too, survives what's about to happen.

Of course, Milch's free to end the series with an alien invasion if he so chooses, as it's not claiming to be a living history project. Still, I'm expecting that he'll largely stick to letting history draw the boundary lines and leave his talents to coloring what's in between and making illuminations of what might be in the shadows.

Keep in mind that Milch's planning to come back with two movie-length stories instead of a season next year, about which I won't bother to make much of a guess.

However, I also happen to know that something happens to devastate Deadwood on September 26 of 1879, and that strikes me as a likely subject for the latter of the movies Milch has planned for next year.

7/31/2006 4:37 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Like you, Mike, I've deliberately avoided doing historical searches on Deadwood, but more because tv history, especially the fictionalized variety, isn't always particularly true to the reality. I didn't want to be expecting something that never happened or find myself criticizing Mr. Milch for omitting something.

While I understand that the Langrishe's are the type of folks that (like hookers) would be drawn to a booming economic situation, I just don't get why Milch would choose to include them unless they had some relevant role to play in the drama unfolding. And I guess I could be expecting far too much in that regard.

Thanks for the news on Richardson. That, I'm certain, will be entertaining!

Yeah, I suppose Wu would have to come back around for the "party", so I'll look for him then. Though he's gotta have "casualty" stamped on his forehead already. As I suspect Dan Doherty and Al Swearengen do. Though, that's just a feeling.

I'm not much on Alma Garrett-Ellsworth, either. And while I hadn't really given it much thought, she does bear a striking similarity to Diane Chambers.

I know Hearst has to survive the "whatever" (though it was my understanding that Calamity Jane was buried in Deadwood...I guess she could have come back or been moved post mortum), but I didn't know about two movies. Something to look forward to, I suppose.

I'll deeply miss Al, though. And Trixie's pretty much permanent bad attitude. And E.B.'s (though I can't stand the character, he's well written/acted) grandiose and flowery take on the language. He's just a crack-up!

7/31/2006 7:34 PM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Yeah, Jane was buried beside Hickock according to her stated wishes even though she died wherever the Wild West show happened to be playing... huh! I just noticed, it's TODAY, August 1st, albeit back in 1903.

I'm hoping Milch sticks to as much real history as possible, since it still leaves him so much open space to work in. Knowing that, among other things, there really was a smallpox outbreak there and Jane really did distinguuish herself in tending to the sick are elements that give me hope in this regard.

The real Jane came to tell the tale that she and Hickock had actually been married prior to his death, though all indications from Hickock's biographers discount that as anything more than wishful thinking. She also at least claimed to have had a child by him three years earlier (1873) which she gave up for adoption.

Whether or not that latter element's supposed to be playing around in her head in the series is uncertain, but it does add a dimension to her sense of protectiveness over the orphaned Sophia Metz. It would fit in the way she hovers around, protectively, viewing Sophia as a surrogate for the child she'd given up three years earlier, and how she keeps at a distance as she considers herself unfit for motherhood.

8/01/2006 7:43 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

I suppose if you're looking for suppressed maternal instincts in Jane, you could just as easily look at how she is with school children and how protective she has been about both them and the school itself.

8/01/2006 8:08 AM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Certainly, that too, though it's debatable whether or not she'd have come to hover around there were it not for Sophia's being there. It all fits, either way. Since Milch did a great deal of reading on the time, place and characters it seems unlikely he'd be unaware of Jane's (later) claims and deciding to act on some of them makes sense even if he's (wisely) not laying everything out for the audience. After all, having her watch out for the children in her own way can just as easily and superficially be read as an expressin of a perfectly average feminine side, something that only comes out when she's feeling unthreatened.

8/01/2006 8:56 AM  

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