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Why I No Longer Hate Deadwood

As many of my fans recall, I once wrote this post. In it I attempted to explain why, without ever having actually seen it, I was determined to hate HBO's original series, Deadwood.

Well, it's more than two years later, and I have actually now seen three episodes. And I don't hate it. In fact...I like it. A lot.

It's difficult for me to admit when I've been wrong, but in this case, I was wrong. Dead wrong (get it?!). It's hard to put into works exactly what made me change my mind, but I will now attempt to counterpoint each point I had originally made in order to understand myself and to help you, my readers, to understand why I no longer hate Deadwood.

1. The Old West is my least favorite time period
For the most part, this point is still true. I don't GENERALLY enjoy the Old West as a time period. However, there have been many examples of recent Western era-ish films that have helped me to overcome this dislike, including but not limited to There Will Be Blood, the Coen Brothers' remake of True Grit, and most recently Meek's Cutoff (yeah I know, it's not exactly the Old West, but it's the same general time period I think and they are in the western part of the country and hey...wagons and dust and stuff, so it counts). I'm coming around to this particular period, and I guess it's not all bad. Plus the whole "society without laws" thing is kinda interesting. Plus I realized that I used to like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. So there.

2. Great Example of How Television Need Not be Totally Visually Realistic to be Enjoyable
I've actually found that the show is just visually realistic enough. It's not nearly as icky as I had gathered it to be from the snippets of the show I had seen previously. And now that I've actually sat down and watched a few episodes, I actually really like the visual aspects of this show. There are even some shots that showcase the beauty of this lawless town of no-goods. And I suppose I can appreciate the fact that this show is portraying men and women who are dirty and gritty and probably in many ways truer to the spirit of Deadwood. Meek's Cutoff actually helped me to come around quite a bit on this point, mainly because Michelle Williams can make anything, even dirt, beautiful. 3. Too icky
See above, mostly. I also think I'm developing a higher ick tolerance in my old age.

4. Too Sad
The show is actually not too sad yet. I think this point came from wrongly watching later episodes without getting to know the characters first. In other words, I think I kind of skipped right to the super sad parts. I'm still waiting for this show to get super sad, but so far so good. There are even some funny moments, and I particularly enjoy Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and their relationship. There is a lot of sadness in these characters, but isn't it our sadness that makes us human or something? I like that even Al Swereangen has some sadness--it keeps him from just being a bad guy.

5. That Language!
Yeah, I don't know what my deal was with this point. The language is fine. I was being silly. I actually find a lot of humor in the cursing and again appreciate the show's attempt to capture and represent the culture of Deadwood.

6. Can't tell the characters apart
I can totally tell the characters apart! Al is really ugly in the face but there's something poignant and even charming about his face, too. Seth is handsome, not just for the Old West but for modern times, too. EW is that guy from Newhart, Wild Bill is that guy from Dexter, and Calamity Jane is a woman. And Sol is from that funny show with the baseball player. I'm enjoying getting to know the characters, and can pretty easily tell them apart. My favorites so far are Al, Wild Bill, Jane, and that rich woman from New York City (Editor's note: Alma Garrett, yo!).

In sum, I was wrong. If you haven't given Deadwood a chance, I encourage you to watch a few episodes and not just write it off the way that I did. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, even if you don't like the icky old west.

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  1. Blogger chris | 8:11 PM |  

    Invite me over when you watch episodes, dudette!

    Glad you like it, officially, publicly. I sure did like the pilot.

  2. Blogger qualler | 2:57 PM |  

    Deadwood is definitely, at its heart, the most emo show ever about dirty people in the Old West. They're just so darn nice to each other, even Al, deep down is a real nice guy. Don't get me wrong -- there will be some really sad and scary stuff happening later on in the series, but it's nicely balanced out by people being nice to each other, even while calling each other cocksuckers and stuff. I think episode four, the one we watched last night, is the one where it really takes off.

  3. Blogger Lane | 1:21 PM |  

    Cute, you have grown up. :) Aw life. I actually love this show as well and was spurred on by True Grit.

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