My Beef with HBO’s The Deuce

HBO The Deuce James Franco Maggie Gyllenhaal
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The Deuce is a gritty drama that traces the evolution of the porn industry in New York City’s Times Square in the 1970’s. The show runs on HBO. I watched it using my Amazon Prime account and paying an additional fee for the HBO add on. Over the last week, I watched the entire first season (6 episodes) of The Deuce.

The Deuce: A Dirty Glimpse into a Vicious New York City
The writing, the acting, the wonderfully decrepit and rundown look-and-feel of 1970’s New York City is an accomplishment to witness. The attention to detail is microscopic. Each episode is like watching a movie. USA Today calls it a “surprisingly sincere story of porn”.

The Deuce Maggie Gyllenhaal

The Deuce misses one key component
the show overlooks one key component. This component acts as the mechanism that compels audience viewers to continue watching. The component is like the hinges on a door. Although small, without the hinges, the door doesn’t serve it’s purpose–it does not open or close. This component is like the rudder on a ship. Compared to the size of an ocean liner ship, the rudder is small. Yet, without it, the ship is unable to move forward.

After watching a few episodes of The Deuce, I found myself unmotivated to continue watching. I asked myself: why?

the deuce pimp and prostitute

What The Deuce is Missing
What is this key component that compels audience viewers to keep watching? The key component is this: The show fails to offer us a reason to care about any of the characters. In order for me to care about the characters, I want to know a few things: What do they want? And what are they willing to do to get what they want? What current struggle or issue do they face? And what are they willing to do to rise above that struggle, to move them to a better place in life?

Because I am not clued in to what-the-characters want, what-their-struggle-is, what-they’re-willing-to-do to overcome the struggle, I’m not emotionally engaged or sympathetic with them.

Is The Deuce Worth Watching?
Will I continue watching The Deuce into the 2nd and 3rd season? Perhaps. Will I be compelled to continue watching? No. So far, the characters have become amusing action figures in a 1970’s Monopoly Board of New York City, specifically the Times Square area, one that’s inhabited by pimps, dirty cops, the mafia, prostitutes, johns, and the emerging pornographic film industry. As the characters are moved, unless I’m given a reason to care about them by finding out what they really want, I have no sympathy, no emotional involvement, and no connection, all of which are needed to establish a relationship with them.

the deuce pimps

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About kris kemp

Hi. I'm a writer, musician, photographer, traveler, real estate investor, and the author of 3 ebooks, a novel, 2 musicals, 5 screenplays, and a collection of journals. Although I have a variety of interests, they share the common theme of freedom--time freedom, health freedom, financial freedom, emotional freedom, spiritual freedom.

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