So what do you all think of HBO’s new series Deadwood. I absolutely love it. I think Robin Weigert, who plays Calamity Jane, does incredible, as does Timothy Olyphant, who plays Seth Bullock.

Damn, but doesn’t “DJ Qualls” (Road Trip and The New Guy) look eerily like John Hawkes (Sol Star in Deadwood)?

Ehhhhh, It’s an interesting show, I’ll say that much. I have had a hard time following what exactly is going on in the plot lines, and this is hard for me to say, the show is just too profane. It seems that someone took the script and “spiced” it up by adding as many four letter words as they could fit. I’m not offended by it, but I think that it seems overdone and pointless. I don’t know if this one will make it. Oh well, maybe they’ll bring back Mr. Show…

Between ‘The Sopranos’, ‘Deadwood’, and (after last night) ‘The Shield’, I think that it is safe to say TV is obsessed with cocksuckers. . .

An earlier Deadwood thread

This is my favorite TV right now. I’m watching each episode three or four times and I’ll be buying the DVDs. It’s been renewed for a second season.

I hadn’t really heard much about Deadwood when I rented the first DVD a few nights ago, so I decided to browse around some old threads. I was certainly surprised to see that someone was using a quote of mine as their sig!

Anyway, my girlfriend absolutely hated it and refuses to watch anymore of it. She says the acting is horrible, the lines are bad, and the story is boring and incohesive. I . . . couldn’t really disagree.

Despite not being overwhelmed, I would like to give it another chance, and at least see the first 5 or so episodes to see if it gets any better. I like Wild Bill (historically, that is), and I think Brad Douriff is a pretty damn good actor (though I don’t see him living much past the two episodes I’ve seen.)

What do you guys think? Is it really that good? If I thought the first two episodes were “eh”, should I keep watching, or is it more of the same?

Oh, and what in holy hell, exactly, is a limber-dick cocksucker?

That was a big old resurrection, Cisco.

You’ll find that there are plenty of us here who love this show. It might be my favorite HBO show, ever.

I also can’t stand “Carnivale” or “Six Feet Under”. HBO shows can be polarizing. They’re not made for the masses.

I don’t mean that to sound like you’re the ‘masses’ and can’t really appreciate good TV. I’m just saying they put shows on that are strong and pull no punches – they don’t come out of focus groups. Every HBO shows seems to get a group of people who despise it, and a group of people who worship it.

We watched the first two episodes on DVD last night, and we liked it enough to rent the next ones. Still, the swearing was distracting. I’m not offended by swearing at all, but the way it was used seems out of place. I don’t know what cussing was actually like in the Wild West, but hearing them say “fuck” so much seemed as out of place as if Wild Bill had showed up wearing Nikes and a baseball cap.

I question why they scripted it like that.

It’s scripted like that because that’s how they actually talked.

Deadwood isn’t my fave but I can appreciate it.

I love both of these shows and sad that SFU a done deal. I don’t think they’re polarizing?! That’s what cable programming is for – niche programs – if I wanted a show that appealed to the masses I’d watch something on Fox or whatever. Just my opinion – def not trying to tear yours apart :slight_smile: but saying I don’t mind tht they’re so particular in genre. And ps…so is Deadwood?!

I disagree. While it’s true that cursing was rampant, I believe the style of cursing was different.

What especially bothers me about this show is what I believe to be its anachronistic use of the word “fuck.” It’s an old word, to be sure, but as a synonym for “copulate,” not as an intensifier. I doubt that “fuck off” and “fucking bastard” and just plain “Fuck!” were used in 1870. More likely in that period would have been “go to hell” and “goddamn bastard,” and “Shit!”

I cite as a source (as I have done in other threads on this topic) my dad, born in 1920 and an accomplished cusser. He was not shy about using the word “fuck,” but used it only in its original sense as a verb. Or occasionally in the construction “mother fucker.” Or, if really angry, he might say “go fuck yourself.” (Again, using the word as a verb.)

Never did I hear him use the word as an intensifier (as in “fucking idiot” or “I can’t fucking believe it”). I believe that usage is more recent. And it has really exploded in movies over the past 15 years or so. I call it the “Tarantino Effect” (and I’m not a big fan of the trend).

I’ve read well-researched articles that say you’re wrong. Until someone can cite better sources, I am going to go with the well-researched articles.

I just mean “polarizing” in the sense that one either loves them or hates them. I don’t mean that to reflect negatively on any particular show. They’re not watered down entertainment.

And, being in specific genres would be part of that.

How’s about you cite your “well-researched articles”? This is the Straight Dope, for fuck’s sake! Just saying you have your sources ain’t enough!

The most recent one was in True West magazine. I don’t have an online reference for it…I read it in black and white.

I don’t have any sources to legitimize the foul language, but Milch says he’s done his research and that all the words except for “motherfucker” are accurate to the times.

He’s said in interviews and in the DVD commentaries that language was used then (as it is now) as a way to set yourself apart, define who you are. Talking rough in Deadwood let others know that you’re part of that rough community.

Al Swearengen (“swear engine” as a wag pointed out) is the worst offender, by far, which fits his character.

If you let yourself be distracted by fuck and cocksucker, you’re missing some exquisite, often complicated dialogue. E.B.'s soliloquy as he scrubbed Tim Driscoll’s blood from a floor in his hotel room is positively Shakespearean.

Al’s speech (mostly to himself) as he talked about trusting someone, when he demanded that Sol Star pay five dollars for fucking Trixie, is positively lyrical.

But again, it’s not the words I’m questioning; it’s the usages. “Fuck” was certainly known and used at the time. I just don’t think it was used the way they are using it (as an intensifier or an exclamation), or for that matter, with the frequency they are using it.

I have seen some of Milch’s sources. The one I recall is a contemporary source expressing shock at the language used in the mining camps. But one has to remember that it might have taken less to shock in those days. A “Shit!” or a “Damn!” might have done the trick. Recall that the nation was scandalized in 1938 when Rhett Butler uttered the relatively mild retort, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” The “shock” threshold was considerably lower.

Here’s a discussion with some historians about the usage of the f-bomb in the old West.

Note that (as I suggested in my last post) “God damn” seems to have been the preferred intensifier of the day:

I still need to see a source that supports Milch’s lavish use of “fuck” variants. I haven’t yet seen a contemporary source that supports it. Anyone?

I’ve been looking and haven’t found anything.

For what it’s worth, I’ve read a lot of western fiction by writers who don’t shy away from showing the vile underbelly of the times. Their characters rarely use the F word in any fashion. They’re more likely to use made-up words, or words that were imaginatively crude but never caught on, or went out of fashion.

I tend to agree that the use of the F word in Deadwood is overdone and not authentic, and I wouldn’t mind if they stopped. It just doesn’t matter to me that much, one way or the other. It’s not as distracting for me as it might be for others.