I have to disconnect a bit to truly enjoy this show because, if I don't, the unintentional comedy keeps getting in the way.
1) "Red, no blue...arrrgggghhh!"
Any geek who has ever played an adventure game (from Zork to Grand Theft Auto) knows the routine. The plot is moved by a chain of quests and little else. I need to exit the dungeon, but I need a key. The wizard has the key, but to get it, I need the unicorn. To get the unicorn, I need to get the princess. To get the princess, I need to get the rose. To get the rose, I need to get the painting. ...and so on, ad nauseam...
Once you pick up on that dynamic within this show, it becomes sort of laughable. Every time they encounter and interact with any external person or entity, they are left with a quest. Seriously. They could approach the local grocer to pick up a gallon of milk and, somehow, leave with no milk until a task to set up the grocer's son with a prom date is completed.
This method is not unique to this show, so it is not a deal-breaker.
2) "If it wasn't for bad luck..."
Jack Bauer is the only dude I know that has more problems in a given day than Jax Teller and his pals. I understand why Bauer's day is so unfairly loaded with horrible circumstances - that's the premise of the show 24. With SoA, however, the sheer number of horrible events in a short period of time is, frankly, exhausting. It feels unnecessarily compressed. They finish up their Irish adventure, return home, immediately deal with the Kim Bauer, er (sorry!), Tara kidnapping situation and, whew, relax for 10 minutes. Enjoy it, cuz, tomorrow, you're all going to jail! Real humans saddled with such an utter concentration of tragedy would have an uncommon tendency to find out what the business end of a pistol tastes like. Just sayin'.
I think the show's creators recognize this which is why they, very occasionally, show moments of levity or even (*gasp*) normality.
3) "Imperial Stormtroopers meets the A-Team"
This SAMCRO gang can do *nothing* right. Nothing. Even routine criminal activities reliably end in failure. They are the Gang That Can't Shoot Straight, yet almost always emerge unscathed. Handing off some scripts/drugs to a black market doctor? By all means, do it outside, in full view of the neo-Nazi guy! All the "bad guys" going to a rally? Simultaneously have your club show up with automatic weapons *AND* arrange for the cops to be at the scene! It is confounding. There is very little reason for me to believe this numbskull SAMCRO outfit would remain in business for more than a few weeks. I don't know who would pay them for "protection" or risk getting pinched buying guns or drugs from them.
4) "Beefcake! BEEFCAAAAAAAAAAAKE!"
I get it. Jax is "hot". My wife tells me so. Given we're watching the DVD release and there are no commercials, I actually appreciate the occasional Jax-shirtless-Diet-Pepsi-commercial thing - my cue to hit the kitchen. (Jax's accent - especially when he has to act alongside dudes with any accent native to the U.K. - drifts in and out, which is a riot.)
We dudes are hosed, though. To paraphrase Cleavon Little's character from Blazing Saddles, "Where all the women at?" We got a fairly worn out Peg Bundy, a tramp-stamped doctor with more baggage than sense, prostitutes and porn stars, and psychotic lesbian federal agents. How about throwing us a hot chick with a head on her shoulders and, just for good measure, make her immune (if not hostile) to Jax's, um, "charms".
I'll keep watching in spite of my sneaking suspicion that I have been Jerry MacGuire'd (tricked into watching a chick flick). The writing is pretty nimble - they haven't painted themselves into a corner quite yet. They have a sense of humor about themselves - I particularly enjoyed Jax telling the Porn Lady that he wasn't there to "Adriana her" (a reference to Jax's ex-wife's character on The Sopranos) and Gemma saying she'd rather go bald than red-head (Al Bundy is predictably indifferent on the subject). There are some fine moments with nice payoffs - even if you see them coming in advance to some degree.
So, it's a video game in TV-show form and it will make your wife hot for scumbags. It is simply *loaded* with supporting characters from all over the entertainment spectrum (You will spend a fair amount of time wondering exactly from where you know Characters X and Y...and who knew there was a *low rent* version of Eric Roberts out there?). You know, you just haven't lived until you've seen Gerry Bertier empty a MAC-10 into the back of a chick's head. Strong side, left side, indeed.
By all means, enjoy this show. I know I am. Just, please, please, spare Billy the posthumous gymnastics and refrain from the Shakespeare comparisons. It ain't that, at all. Also, spare us the indignation of decrying the "glorification" of the lifestyles portrayed. Those clownshoes at SAMCRO aren't an advertisement for much beyond making birth control very available and supporting your local law enforcement.
NUTSHELL: A very good watch, but be sure to laugh *quietly* at any nimrods (guys or gals) you see sporting SoA merchandise (cuts, shirts, hats, etc...)...for they know not what they reveal about themselves.
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