OZ (HBO show) is pretty good, except...

So I’ve been watching OZ lately. I started it about a week ago and am already on season two (of six).

I’m liking it a lot, so far. I whole lot. It’s very good, I find…

…except for one thing. One thing really bothers me. It niggles at me every time it’s on the screen and always interrupts my enjoyment of it whenever it’s brought up.

And that’s [spoiler]how Beecher now is.
Tobias Beecher, the lawyer who ran over the girl when he was DWI.

Sure he was pushed often and hard by Schillinger in season one, enough to definitely want payback and some revenge, but I just feel it’s extremely out of character how he is now. He seemed to transform from gutless weenie into huge, crazy, vengeful badass in one second.

I can see wanting to get back at Schillinger a little…like when he bust the glass or took a shit on his head…but the level of crazy the show seemed to suddenly put him at seems unrealistic. It just doesn’t seem to mesh with how his character seemed to be. Getting revenge, but still being an overall intelligent and rational person, -yeah…maybe, but being an off-the-wall NUTSO, just because he took one hit of PCP? I don’t buy it. Like I said, it seems so out of character for him to be that way now.[/spoiler]

So that’s my one gripe about an otherwise very great and captivating show.

No spoilers, please, for things beyond season two, episode two…although feel free to tell me what you thought of the show and/or that story line if you’ve seen it.

He already had it in him and the circumstance acted as a catalyst. All the pent up anger as a nerd oppressed by life and all its attendant bullies finally found its voice. All societal niceties stripped away, he found out what was under the civil mask he had worn to that point.

Yeah, I get and understand that. I just can’t see it lasting like that. Getting it out in a time or three’s moment of revenge, when all that anger bubbles over…that seems likely.

it just feels out of character to continue being that way for months afterwards, though, obviously “crazy” enough so that pretty much everyone is afraid of him now.

But meh, it’s a small thing and probably doesn’t matter much. It doesn’t make me like the show any less.

My main problem is that any prison that had as many nurders, especially in its showplace trial unit (Em City), would be closed down if not bombed.

I was always impressed with Christopher Meloni’s character, Keller.

And the big question from OZ is:

How the hell does Adebisi keep his hat from falling off?

Oz is heightened reality (to put it mildly)–I consider a dialogue-based opera. With those bifocals on, I never had a problem with Beecher’s arc, considering the unbelievably drastic change to his life and the torment he suffered from Schillinger early on. The PCP incident gave him the results he needed–Schillinger afraid of him and the others gave him grudging respect–so taking a little break from sanity seemed to work and kept him safe. Sorta.

Anyway I tolerated almost everything that involved Beecher, because Lee Tergesen is one amazingly good actor who had to do take his character through nearly every note in the scale. (And not the weenie Western music scale, but the crazy-complex Eastern one!) Best of all, he was usually acting opposite JK Simmons and Chris Meloni, two other electrifying performers.

Oh man, wait, you haven’t even gotten to Meloni yet, have you? Holy shit. Seasons 3 and 4 are where the Beecher/Schillinger shit starts to get epic.

Ninja’ed by cochrane on the Chris Meloni/Keller love! And yes, that spoiler mystery is perhaps the biggest unsolved thread about which audiences have no doubt been pestering Tom Fontana for years. :smiley:

Since there was so much crossover between the actors of Oz and Law and Order I like to think of Oz as a weird evil alternate reality for the same characters. Somewhere Spock has a goatee.

Just wait til you get to the “Variety” episode from the penultimate season. You’ll either love it or hate it (personally, I adore it).

And as regards the OP, I have never had any problem suspending my disbelief as far as Beecher’s tight embrace of all things batshit goes.

Simmons is one of the few actors who can make you belly laugh in one role and then do an “Oh I know he didn’t- he so evil!” gasp when you switch channels and is perfectly convincing in both roles. He’s the funniest thing about the Tom Hanks remake of The Ladykillers and was the most diabolical character on television in OZ.

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched Oz–probably since it went off air–and I do remember Beecher going a bit nuts early on, but it seems like his character settles into a pretty good spot as the series goes on. Really, consider his situation, where he’s a guy who was generally pretty good, makes a serious mistake and ends up in that hell hole as a result. Now he’s tormented with the guild of his actions and he’s being tormented by Schillinger; it might seem a little extreme, but I could see a number of otherwise decent people snapping in the same situation.

And as someone else posted upthread, it’s not supposed to be realistic, it’s more like hyper-realistic where all of the characters seem to take whatever archetype they represent to the extreme. If you think Beecher is kind of unbelievable now, there’s going to be a few characters introduced later that you may find have even more extreme changes in their character.

That all said, if you’re only early in season two, I think the show only gets better from there. IIRC the seasons correctly, I won’t give any spoilers, but I it’s either 3 or 4 that is my favorite. One of them is really long, more like it’s two seasons put together, and it gets wild.

I heard him interviewed on Teri Gross’s Fresh Air a few years ago. He talked about his Schilinger role and that, in a show all about killers, muggers rapists and the like, he was “the Bad Guy”

What seems more realistic to you, having Beecher “get back at Schillinger a little,” then approaching him and sheepishly admitting that he got in a little over his head resulting in the two of them sharing a good laugh and going their separate ways?

Basically, when the show’s writers made the decision to have Beecher snap and finally stand up to Schillinger, the sociopathic leader of a violent prison gang (IIRC,as someone who watched OZ during its original run, the audience wanted and expected this at some point), they were then forced to chose between either killing off Beecher’s character in the very near future or having him quickly evolve into someone unstable and dangerous enough to make his continued survival in prison credible. Due to the character’s popularity and importance the latter obviously made more sense.

Neither, actually…I don’t see why it would have to be one extreme or the other.
I don’t see him going all out psycho and staying that way, nor do I think one moment of “psycho-ness” and then going back to being a pushover as being good…

…I do, however, think his character seems more likely to be the sort to flip out (like he did), get his revenge, and then adopt a “now stay the hell away from me” from then on assertive attitude. A “look, the shit you did to me is over. Right now. You stay away from me and I stay away from you” type of character.

The way it is NOW though, he’s not like that. He’s a psycho “actually COME LOOKING FOR TROUBLE, trying to get into it with Schillinger, constantly instigating him and actually, actively starting shit” type of character…and that is what I feel is out of character for him.
Not the fit of insanity and revenge he took, which was understandable…it’s the staying in that mode and actively seeking Vernon out again and again, that’s what I have a hard time believing.
But it’s a small thing and it won’t make me stop watching. I still think it’s a great show.

He’s also the yellow M&M and the professor in those Farmer’s Insurance commercials.

Huh. That was exactly what I was planning to post. That, and I’d rather hear what’s-his-name scream WAAAAAAAALT!! for 10 seconds than listen to those boring monologues at the beginning.

That’s the important thing, I envy you for not having to wait what was usually close to a year between seasons.

All this talk of “well, couldn’t he have got a bit of revenge then moved on a bit”, well, it strikes me that you’d not react that way after months of being raped daily with humiliation thrown in and years of it to go…

Fans of Simmons might enjoy a quote from a character he played in the game Portal 2, as usual he knocked it out of the park:

Cave Johnson: “Those of you helping us test the Repulsion Gel today, just follow the blue line on the floor. Those of you who volunteered to be injected with praying mantis DNA, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Bad news is we’re postponing those tests indefinitely. Good news is we’ve got a much better test for you: fighting an army of mantis men. Pick up a rifle and follow the yellow line. You’ll know when the test starts.”