The Deuce (Drama) [TV/Review]

9/10

Season 1: 10/10, Season 2: 8/10, Season 3: 9/10

Year: 2017-2019
Genre: Drama
Source: Stream (HBO)

A look at life in New York City during the 1970s and 1980s when porn and prostitution were rampant in Manhattan, New York, and the violence of the drug epidemic is worsening. Twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino become fronts for the mafia while operating out of Time Square, which is also the home of Eileen “Candy” Merrell, a street-level prostitute who exits the dangers of the street by entering the now-legal emerging porn industry as an actress and director.

The Deuce (now cancelled) was a drama TV show that went on for 3 seasons and tells the story of the Golden age of porn. Each season covering a specific era in sleazy New York. Season one focuses on prostitution and pimps between the years 1971 and 1972. Season two mainly on the legalization and the rise of the early porn film industry between 1977-78. Season three on VHS era Porn, the escalating gang crimes and the AIDS epidemic between 1984 and 1985. The title “The Deuce” refers to the famous 42nd Street between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue.

The focus is on the twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino (played by James Franco) that run bars, strip clubs and brothels all with the help of the mafia. The other main character is Eileen “Candy” Merrell (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who from the start works as an independent (without a pimp) prostitute and after some incidents instead start working in the porn industry. We also get to see other famous topics from this era, such as police corruption and the real-estate boom and the attempts to “clean up” this area. Another part they show is gay New York with it’s bath houses and clubs, and all the people who died in aids during the early 1980’s.

This period in New York history has always been on top of my ”if I could time travel” list so I was very eager to dive into this. After 2-3 episodes I called it the best TV show ever, as the show went along I calmed down a bit but still really loved it. I could go so far as to say it’s the best show ever on HBO together with The Wire (Yes, I´m looking at you Game of Thrones). We get to follow the ups and downs of the characters, and it can be pretty emotional. When some of the customers treat the women bad I get so furious I just want to jump into the screen and punch people.

I really like James Franco as an actor, he has a warmth about him that’s nice and his character treats the women very respectfully. Maggie Gyllenhaal makes an amazing performance. Other actors of note are Emily Meade as the porn actor Lori Madison, Gary Carr as the pimp C.C, Margarita Levieva as Abby. Lawrence Gilliard Jr as police/detective and Chris Bauer, who I have liked since The Wire, here as a brothel manager.

No spoiler, but the end sequence have to be the strongest I have ever seen in a TV show. It gave me goosebumps and makes you think about life and time. Eras that means so much of one reason or the other, and makes big impacts for so many people and then 20-30 years later with the next generation is almost forgotten.

I really hope we get a Blu-Ray release of this so I can own it for the rest of my life!

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