Fall is upon us and it’s my favorite season. It cools off, but isn’t cold, which as a big guy, let me tell you, is key to me being able to freely move about the planet without sweating like a mother fucker.
I like the crispness in the air, that little bite you feel when you breath in as deep as you can. I like the leaves changing colors, and how it’s time for bonfires and cider and all the awesome stuff that fall brings.
Then I moved to southern California whose only two seasons are fire and mudslides, but otherwise the weather stays the same, and specifically into the heart of Los Angeles where there really aren’t any trees that change colors or are gathered in large enough numbers to really be awesome.
I brought this on myself, and I accept that, but that leaves me with really only one consolation for LA in the Fall; TV’s back!
Granted there are always some good shows, Mad Men and Futurama stepped up, but otherwise I was spending my downtime in front of the TV getting to know my DVD collection (which is not insignificant) again, and memorizing every episode of Tosh.0 by heart.
Seriously, see the one with the Web Redemption for the World’s Worst Comedian, which, on it’s own, is an awesome bit, but there’s a video with a gross old dude that destroys me. I can’t even talk about it without laughing. You’ll know it when you see it.
Not only do I get TV back, but it’s also football season, again, and that my friends is awesome.
I don’t watch as much TV as I used to, which is apparently a good thing, I call bullshit, but these are the cards I’ve been dealt. Of course I’m excited for more How I Met Your Mother, which is the only three camera sitcom with laugh track I’ll sit through anymore, and once again, I will be flabbergasted that Big Bang Theory and Two and Half Men are both monstrous hits over HIMYM, then I’ll realize that it’s audience of hip, upwardly mobile, twenty-somethings are off having lives unlike my own bad self. Then the drinking starts.
Then there are shows like Chuck, which I enjoy quite a bit, but I’ll miss an episode and never get caught up (this also goes for Burn Notice, which is awesome, AND came out in the summer, derp) and resign myself to finding out what happens later when I’m bored and they’re all on Hulu.
Sorry, Chuck and Michael.
Then we have the junk food shows, South Park and Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which I can watch in any mood at any time. Granted I can’t marathon Always Sunny, but for the most part if it’s on TV or the DVR I can put either show on and be happy. It helps that you are rewarded for seeing every episode of both, but never punished if you dropped one here or there.
However there is one show that I cannot miss. I don’t have to see it right when it airs, but within 24 hours I need to have that show watched.
Sons of Anarchy, AKA SAMCRO. The show is about bad ass bikers trying to make it in this world by running guns and staying loyal to each other. In between all that there’s all that life stuff that makes living so damn complicated. Outgrowing the notions people who have known you since you were a child, struggling for leadership of an extended family, carrying on the family name versus finding your own way, and trying to build something while fighting Neo-Nazi Henry Rollins.
This show, I realized earlier today, is my favorite show because it’s basically a Frankenstein’s monster of all the elements of other shows I really like but can’t bring myself to outright love.
First off, it’s about guys. Not boys or the airbrushed pretty boys now inhabiting all of pop culture, but rather guys. Dudes. Men. The lead, Jax, played by Charlie Hunnam is a good looking guy, but not much, if anything, is made of it, but look at the rest of the cast.
I’m not saying there should be no good looking people on TV, especially with the advent of hi-def, but you believe that these guys are actually bikers. While most are in pretty good shape, it’s ugly muscle designed for work and endurance, not show. I’m a huge fan of the male-bonding moments in the show, something that initially drew my attention to Rescue Me.
However, Rescue Me has recently (well maybe the last two or three seasons) have fallen into a pit of doing the same shit over and over again. Tragedy strikes, the cast endures, someone has a private failing, hides it, it affects them on the job, they recover, things are good, tragedy strikes, the cast endures, someone has a private failing, etc.
Unfortunately, the cast and crew did such a good job in the early seasons that I’m still invested in the characters enough to hate to see them being put through the same stupid shit over and over again. Tommy doesn’t need to relapse again; Sheila doesn’t need to go through another crying jag; Franco doesn’t need to learn another hard lesson about the fairer sex; and the less said about what they put the Probie through, the better.
The light parts, the guys just being guys in the firehouse are basically a farce at this point. They’re writing exercises to see if the staff can still do character work before piling tragedy on top of tragedy. Every episode of Rescue Me ends the same way: me, depressed and drinking.
Sons manages to take the moments of friendship, and gallows humor, but not the overwhelming nihilism that Rescue Me has now become despite Sons of Anarchy going to some dark places.
The next thing Sons does is it combines the “office politics” of Mad Men, the character work of people being who they are on the surface and dealing with all their flaws, but, uh, stuff happens.
I love Mad Men, and I’ll go ahead and say it, I’d watch Jon Hamm read the phone book, but not a lot happens on that show. Maybe this is me being an action movie junkie bleeding into the rest of my life, but the consequences in Sons are swift and damning. When things go wrong, be it someone taking a swing at some else, or even the right word in the wrong ear, there’s no coming back. No handshake. No “it’s just business,” this is life.
Having said all that, here’s Christina Hendricks, because why not?
Finally, and this is the most important part, this show is fucking bad ass. Breaking Bad is a phenomenal show, and it definitely ranks up there with things like the Wire, Deadwood, Rome, as some of the best things that have ever been put on television, but man, I really want Walt to cut loose more. I’m a season behind, so maybe he does get crazy, but I want more of the Walt that walked into the drug lord’s office and blew it the hell up. Except he can’t. Not all the time, because that’s not how his world operates, and doing it more often is sacrificing character for plot. Or would that be plot for character? Walt can go deeper, but he can’t win. That’s not the point of that show. It’s excellent, but it’s a trip down to Hell for a good man.
The Sons are bikers, the one percenters, the guys who kick ass and take names, mostly because that’s how they make their money. They run protection, guns, and lately, bank roll a porn studio and that means when they’re crossed they go ballistic. Not that every episode is them kicking peoples’ teeth in, but man, when revenge comes, it is Biblical.
Mostly because the writers have no problems putting the characters into corners with only the ugly, brutal way out. There are no deus ex machina’s, no last minute save from someone off screen, and even the right decisions made for the right reasons can crush them, forcing them to fight their way out.
In the end, I think that’s it, the reason I like this show. It’s human. It balances our capacity for good and evil. They fight and they kill for money, but also for each other, for their families, for their community.
It’s funny, tragic, brutal, and uplifting, and I will fly SAMCRO’s colors as long as FX will air it.
Posted on September 3, 2010, in Matt Loman, Television and tagged because I'm a puss, Breaking Bad, Burn Notice I'd be a really shitty biker, Chuck, How I Met Your Mother, Matt Loman, Sons of Anarchy, TV. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.