There should be no surprise, really, despite the whole not a person thing, Deadwood does share a lot of characteristics with most of my previous loves; scruffy, alcoholic, dangerous, sensitive but tough, mean, incredibly sharp and kinda dirty with one hell of a swagger. And totally unrequited but let’s not go down that long, dusty, foreboding road.
If Deadwood were a man, I’d swim a thousand miles in freezing water just to watch him take off his shirt.
I’ve had a thing for the wild West for some time now thanks to Cormac McCarthy and Wallace Stegner (shout out to Blood Meridian and Angle of Repose, yo) not to mention Clint Eastwood, so I was drawn to Deadwood for the setting if nothing else. There is something so romantic about the frontier; about the violence and survival and bravery and lawlessness; it’s all so primal. Whew, I’m giving myself goose-bumps.
So, Deadwood: Wild Bill Hickock? Check. Calamity Jane? Check. Drunken gold miners? Check. Sassy whores and grizzled saloon keepers? Check and check. Alright, looking pretty good but that doesn’t exactly equal unbridled passion so throw in the rest of the motley crew; there’s Doc Cochran, angry, bitter and heart of gold; the mayor, E B Farnum, conniving, sniveling and slimy; Jewel the crippled cleaner who teaches Doc Cochran how to dance; Wu, the Chinese opium dealer who will feed you to his pigs; and Sol Starr, co-owner of the hardware store who is so smitten with Trixie the prostitute (she’s got tricks, see?) that it hurts my heart. And as if that weren’t enough there is Al Swearengen, who runs a whorehouse and all things illegal.
A man after my own heart, Swearengen turns swearing into an art; he talks fast and despite the wit you know he’d cut your heart out and send it to your mother. Some of his amazing lines:
In life you have to do a lot of things you don’t fucking want to do. Many times, that’s what the fuck life is… one vile fucking task after another.
If I bleat when I speak, it’s because I’ve just been fleeced.
Here’s my counter-offer to your counter-offer: go fuck yourself.
I’m declaring myself conductor of this meeting as I have the bribe sheet.
Dan, don’t you agree that truth, if only a pinch, must season every falsehood, or else the palate fucking rebels?
Over time, your quickness with a cocky rejoinder must have gotten you many punches in the face.
What’s not to love about this guy? But really I’ve been saving the best for last: the sheriff and co-owner of the hardware store, Seth Bullock. Sweet baby Moses, that smoldering glare, the way he tears off Alma Garrett’s petty-coat, the sorrow in his eyes as he held his dead friend, how his muscles ripple while he…does anything. I don’t even want to IMDB the actor for fear he’s married.
This is just a perfect fucking show and all you cocksuckers should rent it or I’ll cut your collective throats. Man, it’s just not the same when I say it.
Photo: Ian MacShane as Al Swearengen
Alex Snider is a Toronto-based writer and the co-creator of the Once Again, To Zelda blog. This post originally appeared on her other one, What Fresh Hell Is This?. You can read the rest of her posts here.