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SuperWoman Speaks Out About Boardwalk Empire

June 20, 2012

You may remember that not too long ago, SuperWoman broke new Super-ground and ordered HBO One of the big draws was that she had just finished Boardwalk Empire, Season 1 on DVD, and she was dying to get her hands on more.

The show started out so beautifully. It whisked SuperWoman off to the vibrant ’20s, to flapper dresses and close cropped hair and people sneaking their cocktails in baroque nightclubs. It was so delightful that it inspired SuperWoman’s wardrobe a bit (she bought 1920’s looking earrings that double as laser-beams) and even her date nights with SuperMan (they started frequenting a prohibition-themed bar—those cocktails are ART, people).

But something bad happened to Boardwalk Empire in its second season.

SuperWoman blames Martin Scorsese.

Sure, he looks all innocent, with his priestly Italian artistic-ness, those big classes and coiffed hair a perfect disguise. But the man is a glutton for blood. Where Season One of Boardwalk Empire threw its viewers into this fabulous and corrupt and quite recognizable world of moneylenders, war veterans, and fashionable ladies, Season Two is all about gutting people. Slicing their necks and shooting them in the eyes.

And who wants to come home from work, get comfy on the couch, and watch that?

You may be surprised that SuperWoman says this. You may say, Well, SuperWoman, don’t you use your powers to fight evil when it arises? And aren’t you always extolling the virtues of laser beams?

SuperWoman would reply, Yes. Sort of. But laser beams don’t make people bleed. (If you want to know a secret, they’re just pretend.) And most of what you’ll find SuperWoman doing is baking muffins and helping young children cross the street.

No, Boardwalk Empire is another issue altogether. It went from a show that explored politics and relationships and post-traumatic stress syndrome and women’s rights, to a show about bad people killing other bad people and sometimes only kind-of bad people who deserve to live. And instead of just implying it, instead of any of the forms of subtlety that made gangster dramas like The Godfather and The Sopranos great (okay, The Sopranos was not so subtle), this show has descended into pure violent terror with almost no reminders of beauty and human dignity or integrity. With Scorsese behind it, blood is practically an ejaculation. And it’s happening all over New Jersey. (Hey, Maybe that’s why the place is so weird.) (And hey, wasn’t Marty considering becoming a priest way back? Very interesting.)

What SuperWoman couldn’t help noticing in the last episode she decided to watch, was that there was no such gratuity in the birth scene with character Lucy Danziger. Interesting, isn’t it? The camera stayed carefully on her face and plump breasts, and not on any of the fluids that tend to gush from a woman so pregnant she’s ready to burst. Numerous times, we see her nude and having sex, but God forbid we see what a real birth looks like. In the same episode, the next scene, even, we get to see Jimmy Darmody slice a man’s throat open in a butcher shop. (Superwoman didn’t watch that. She turned away and vowed to be done with the show.)

In general, having access to all of those HBO shows sounded really cool and bountiful, but SuperWoman quickly realized that having access to them made them less special than getting them through the mail on DVD. The more you have, the easier it is to lose appreciation. Still, there is at least one saving grace of HBO before SuperWoman cancels her service: Girls. Girls girls girls. Best damn show on television. Beautiful, perfect. And SuperWoman is only a little jealous of Lena Dunham’s talent as writer and actress extraordinaire. (Okay. Maybe more than a little.)

And SuperWoman is sorry if she insulted anyone from New Jersey. But the place is weird, no?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Meygann June 21, 2012 at 12:57 am

Actually, I am in love with the movies on HBO and most of them are really awesome ones.. Anyway, thanks for this..


Kate June 21, 2012 at 1:24 am

This is why I had to stop watching the Tutors. Too much blood. But the story was still interesting. So sad when you have to look away from the screen for more than half the show. Violence is just gruesome. Not art.


Kameron June 21, 2012 at 10:49 am

I hate it when they feel the need to be so graphic. It is like the porn, ahem, show Spartacus that my hubby watches. The whole show is sex and killing…and sex while killing. It is over the top and ruins any good story that was there to begin with!


Andi-Roo June 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

We don’t pay for cable because our logic is that anything good will eventually come out on DVD. Plus there’s so much “old” stuff that we missed, we catch up on that while awaiting the “new” to become available. For $8 a month, Netflix streaming remains our sole entertainment. It’s so much less expensive, lacking in commercials, & is based around OUR schedule. LOVE it! Haven’t watched the shows you mention… will have to check them out & see if I can overlook the blood & porn. If I can sit through the nonsense in Dexter & Weeds, I figure I can try anything, lolz! :)


Pauline June 26, 2012 at 9:39 am

I love Boardwalk Empire, all of its seasons and respectfully strongly disagree with your statements. The show is about criminals, so the violence, to me, shouldn’t be that shocking. (Or at least less shocking than one other particular scene which I won’t post here out of respect for not wanting to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it)

There was a lot of drama and emotions along with the violence, but considering what kind of lives these people are living, it really couldn’t have lead to a peaceful and happy climax.

Violence CAN be art when it serves a purpose in the storyline and fits into the context.


Jana June 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I agree that violence can be important in some art. And I appreciate your comment, because I have usually been on your side of this, especially when it comes to The Wire or The Sopranos, other shows that I think are really well done. But I don’t think Boardwalk Empire is a show about criminals, or at least, that’s not what it started out as. It started out as a show set in a particular, vibrant period that was about power and politics, how politics affected the lives of ordinary people. (You can even see how Steve Buscemi models his character and charisma after Barack Obama.) But in the second season, I don’t think the show has effectively delved into why the characters have made such horrible and destructive decisions. I really liked the first season, but I think they’ve lost it in the second.


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