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Why I Hate Deadwood

Qualler and I have been arguing nonstop (seriously...it's ruining our marriage...) about the merits of HBO's Deadwood. He loves it, I don't. Here is my attempt to verbalize why. *

1. The Old West is my Least Favorite Time Period
Ok, so, we've got western civilization, with all its "modern" conveniences, and then we go ahead and, as a nation, go backwards. Suddenly, there is no law. There is no hygiene. I know that other olden time periods were unhygienic as well, but this was ridiculous. I would never have made it in the old west. I would have died of one of the various vaguely described diseases right away. If I have to watch a period piece, then I'd much prefer one of the more decadent periods and places in time, like, say, Marie Antionette. It's like a whole society decided to say "hey, no more rules!! no parents! You're not the boss of me!! Let's kill some Indians!" well, you know what guys? Rules are there for a reason!!

2. Great Example of How Television Need Not be Totally Visually Realistic to be Enjoyable
I've (hopefully) already described the negative aspects of the Old West. Now, when portraying the Old West in movie or television form, it's OK to take some visual liberties (re: the actors don't have to look so dirty and sweaty). I don't really need to see just how dirty the men's mouths were when they had quiet conversations with each other in the filthy, disgusting bar. I can almost smell their unbrushed teeth. Gross. If I have to watch something that takes place in the Old West, then I'll watch, oh, say, The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Take a look at these guys! Not at all dirty! Hot, in fact. See how they manage to PORTRAY the gritty toughness of the old west without actually having to stop bathing, as actors, to give us the same effect? Or, how about Back to the Future Part III (which is still my least favorite back to the future movie because it takes place in, you guess it! the old west!) or even Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman, which we used to watch as a family every Saturday night? Also, this is a good argument of why I don't really think that High Definition is necessary. People are gross sometimes. I don't need to be blown away by that fact with a larger than life picture of people close up and dirty and being all gross. Which brings me to my next point:

3. Too Icky

There is so much blood in this show--and not just blood, but blood mixed with dirt. Everyone was constantly dirty. Ever heard of soap?? Or streams? I'm sure you had streams to wash in at least once in awhile. Which goes back to my point that the Old West was a terrible time to be alive. Everyone's dying because you're just filthy. They have more sex scenes than I care to watch, more bloody scenes than I care to see, and even the every day conversation scenes are full of really gross, dirty men and women, so...there ya have it. Too icky. I really don't want to see anyone pummel a con artist and her brother to death, especially when they're doing it out in the dirty street, surrounded by horses and filth.

4. Too Sad

Even when I can get past the grossness of the show (which essentially my other points all added up to) this show is way too sad. People seem to die left and right. All the women (besides Calamity Jane and a few others) are terribly mistreated prostitutes. Everyone is just so mean to each other! And then there's that little orphan girl who doesn't even speak English...way too sad. I don't want to cry over a show that I also can't get into because it takes place in my least favorite time period. I'll save my tears for the HBO documentaries, thank you very much.

5. That Language!

Enough said. Bad language! Very bad! But that's realistic, you say? See point 2.

6. Can't Tell the Characters Apart

I can't tell them apart! All old, dirt covered unshaven men look the same. True, the main character is somewhat handsome, but...at times I even have a difficult time picking him out of a crowd. I can't follow their storylines because I can't tell which angry brothel running outlaw is which.

So there you have it. I don't like Deadwood.

*Author's note: I have never seen an entire episode of Deadwood.

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  1. Anonymous Anna | 8:52 AM |  

    Oh Brigitte, I hate the Old West, too. You're not alone! I think it's because it's the time period/geographical location that I would least like to live in myself. I was totes watching Marie Antoinette last night and thought of you, btw.

  2. Blogger qualler | 9:31 AM |  

    I told you when I edited this post that I would give you a point by point counterargument, and here I am doing it!

    1. OK, the old west isn't my favorite time period, either. But I've realized that's been a function of what I believed movies/TV shows in that time period had to be. Deadwood breaks the mold by being gritty, darkly humorous, and full of deep thematic elements.

    2. If Deadwood were totally visually realistic, Seth Bullock would look like this on the show, not like this.

    3. Again, if you can get over the icky parts of the old west and enjoy that anything that is good can be at any time period, then you're OK!! I used to hate old clothes movies because I couldn't get over the old clothes, but now I know that old clothes don't mean a movie or TV show are bad! You can still relate to characters!!!

    4. Life is sad!!!!!!

    5. Yeah, well, Al Swearengen thinks you're a cocksucker!

    6. If you watched an entire episode of Deadwood or two, you'd be able to tell them apart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I want a divorce.

  3. Blogger Lady Amy | 10:32 AM |  


    Thanks, Brigitte. Now I'm going to be frustrated all day.

  4. Blogger DoktorPeace | 10:45 AM |  


    Also, Deadwood actually made me nostalgic for a time when civilization was not all prefabricated before you. Anarchy is, in many ways, a more natural state of being; and imagining that this "chaos" existed just a hundred odd years ago in the state two doors over makes me want to train out to a cabin in the South Dakota hills... so long as the cabin has plumbing.

  5. Blogger chris | 11:29 AM |  

    I lurve the Old West. Hated Westerns as a kid, saw Unforgiven when I was 17, and my life was changed. Then came Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, Butch Cassidy, and Once Upon A Time In The West. Every great Western explains how America is so screwed up now by showing us how screwed up it was when people were reclaiming land and killing each other, so of course nothing would have changed, we just put on suits and smiles when we do it now. I still think Old Clothes movies are boring (aristocratic old clothes) but there are exceptions as we have learned.

    Oh and you really think they were hygienic in Marie Antoinette? They were just as nasty - they just covered up everything with make up! I think that's way grosser actually...

    Oh and the soundtrack is the only reason Marie Antoinette was good. If it was not directed by Sophia and had a James Horner score, it would have been dreadfully boring (it still was kinda boring).

    I've only seen 2/3 of the first episode of Deadwood, but I'm definitely on board for the rest of it. And yeah, I couldn't tell some people apart on The Wire at first, but then that turned out to be the best show ever.

  6. Blogger Brigitte | 11:38 AM |  

    i don't think they were more hygienic in that time period, necessarily...the movie was just more hygienic. the actors looked clean. i like that. and it was beautiful to look at.

    i like some new westerns (i would place the three burials into this category). i just hate the old west.

  7. Blogger qualler | 11:43 AM |  

    Deadwood's also beautiful to look at!!!! It has great, haunting cinematography!!!!!! ROAR!!!!!!

  8. Blogger Sean | 12:33 PM |  

    i looooooooooooove unforgiven. whiskey makes me turn into a jerk, too.

  9. Blogger Lady Amy | 1:17 PM |  

    Have I mentioned how HOTTT Casey Affleck is?! I wouldn't even care if he were as dirty as the guys in Deadwood. Still HOT!

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