Monday, September 11, 2017

Dr. Lizardo's TV Club: "The Deuce" - Episode 1 "Pilot"

Doc here, a man who some say put the "Bert" in the former Liberty Theater on The Deuce, with our first discussion on HBO's brand new series focusing on 1970's 42nd Street, "The Deuce". 

Why are we interested in this mainstream, premium network offering?  Because this tells the story of the birth of the porn industry and the adult theater scene.

This series of reports is about you, the good readers of The Journal. What was your take on this episode?  Was it what you expected? What was your favorite WTF moment? And, what questions might you have for The Good Doctor on what this adult theater scene was like?

E-mail your reviews and questions (300 words or less, please) to me directly at

To kick the reviews off, please welcome back to The Journal my good friend, and hubby of the amazing Khaleesi, Khal!  What was your take (and your bride's) on "The Deuce", sir?

Hi Doc,

Okay, HBO. You have our interest.

After one episode, it is a conversation between Vincent and Abby about objectification - treating a person as a thing - that tells us what this series will be about. Vincent and Abby are just starting to see it. For the pimps, it's a livelihood.

The costumes, sets, and a great soundtrack make for an immersive experience, even if the grittiness of 70s NYC as a backdrop is getting to be a little overused and overly romanticized. James Franco is great in roles - yes, two roles - pretty much just being James Franco - simple, but definitely charming.

It's not sexy. Be ready for that. The sex is work. And it's harsh.

Where this all goes... Well, we know what we know from the trailer, but allegiances and how characters connect isn't clear yet. We like it and we'll be tuning in again next week to find out.

And a hat tip to Khaleesi for recognizing a clear nod to Saturday Night Fever, with Franco on the sidewalk strutting - minus the paint can.


Doc's Take: I agree on most points. Pilot episodes need to introduce a ton of characters as exposition, before we get to the meat of the series. The episode did it, and now we can get on with the series. 

I'm glad "The Deuce" is rendered as I remember it: dirty, with garbage bags everywhere. I didn't find it over-romanticized, but let's see where this may take us. 

And the sex?  There is a lot of it, and it happens (with one amazing exception), in the cramped quarters of NYC's tiny apartments in this episode. The show appears to be be an equal opportunity offender, with healthy 2:1 ratio of boobs to dicks. And the hard-edged sex in this episode hopefully gives way to the filmed sex in the birth of this thing of ours

Thank you Khal (and Khaleesi) for your terrific takes!

Want to be next to voice your opinion? E-mail your reviews and questions (300 words or less, please) to me directly at . Please put "The Deuce" in the subject line.

"The Deuce" is available on HBO, HBO On-Demand, and HBO-Go.