The Deuce: Sounds Like I May Need To Get HBO Again

Calico Rudasil is a feature columnist for Sssh.com, the award-winning porn site for women & couples. With over 18 years’ experience under her belt, writing about and for the adult entertainment industry, Calico qualifies as something of a Web Porn Dinosaur; similar to a tyrannosaurus, only with far more attractive arms and a less pronounced overbite.

For the most part, the depictions of the porn industry found in mainstream movies and TV are terrible. They tend to be rife with stereotypes, clichés and misconceptions of the sort many people readily believe about the industry – provided they’ve never actually worked in or around it.

For example, if you see a porn industry figure in an episode of a Law & Order-style cop show or drama, that person is going to be not just a scumbag, but a cartoon character-level in his depth – and I do mean his depth, because it will be a cold day in hell before most mainstream shows acknowledge women in the porn industry who are anything other than performers or makeup artists.

After reading a bit about HBO’s upcoming drama The Deuce, though, I at least have some hope it will be different than its predecessors in its treatment of the old days of the porn industry, and of sex work in general.

If It’s Half As Good As The Wire, It Will Be Great
Part of my enthusiasm for The Deuce stems from knowing who’s behind it – namely David Simon and George Pelecanos, the same guys primarily responsible for the excellent HBO original, The Wire.

If you never watched The Wire, I’m not going to go off on a big tangent about how good it is, or all the reasons why I think it’s so outstanding; I’m just going to tell you to rectify this deficiency in your television-watching history as soon as possible.

What I will say about the show is, on top of being extremely well-written and acted, The Wire will always stand out in my mind as one of the most true-ringing shows I’ve ever seen. This is not to say it was perfectly ‘realistic,’ just that it felt true, from the dialogue to the breadth and depth of its characters. From the cops and criminals to the lawyers and politicians depicted in the show, the more you know about the cultures of each group in real life, the more you can appreciate how well-rounded these characters are in The Wire – and how much they seem like people, not caricatures of people.

Not A Porn-Story For The Sake Of Doing A Porn-Story
I’m also heartened by something Pelecanos said about why he and Simon chose to take on the story of Vincent and Frankie Martino, and what the comment says about Pelecanos and Simon as writers and creators.

“We had no burning desire to do a show about porn,” Pelecanos said. “It’s been done before. But the characters were too rich to ignore.”
One of the things some people didn’t like about The Wire is something I loved about it: The show was ruthless in terms of killing off beloved characters. Of one such character death (I won’t say of whom, just to avoid spoiling it for the true late-comers to the party), I recall Simon saying there was a temptation to keep the character going, but he felt that in real life, people like this character typically get murdered at some point, simply as a function of what they do.

To keep that character alive, Simon said, “would be to elevate character over story” – something which goes against his principles as a writer.

If Simon and Pelecanos stick to their creative guns (as they also did with the vastly underrated Iraq war mini-series Generation Kill and Simon’s New Orleans-based drama Treme), then I expect The Deuce to be another triumph – and another feather in their shared resume-cap, so to speak.

The Down Side: I May Get Sucked Into The Broader HBO Universe
The one problem I have with The Deuce is its platform – not that I don’t like HBO; the problem is I might like it a little too much.
If I subscribe to HBO again, it’s not like I’m going to watch The Deuce and nothing else. I’ll wind up stuck to my couch until I’ve used HBO’s on demand app to binge the entirety of Westworld, caught up on all the Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes released since the last time I was a subscriber and – inevitably – then use the fact I’m already stuck to the couch as a justification for re-watching not only every episode of Deadwood, but whatever crappy movies they happen to be offering at the time, as well.

Oh well; so long as The Deuce turns out to be as good as I hope, I suppose the collateral damage of watching a couple Adam Sandler movies won’t be the end of the world… It might be the final, sad, pathetic, ignoble nail in the coffin of my self-esteem, but that’s a whole other issue.

Calico Rudasil is a Sssh.com (@ssshforwomen) columnist and Sssh will be on Peeperz for fun times again in the near future, meanwhile why not check us out:


  • Bey Ship

    What’s your opinion on stars portraying porn actors in movies, but never show any skin? I know it isn’t essential to every story, but I find it a bit odd.