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David Krumholtz (#110 of 5)

The Deuce Recap Season 1, Episode 6, “Why Me?”

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The Deuce Recap: Season 1, Episode 6, “Why Me?”

Paul Schiraldi

The Deuce Recap: Season 1, Episode 6, “Why Me?”

The first five episodes of The Deuce foresaw the drastic transformation of New York City's sex trade, and in “Why Me?” a new framework finally materializes. The brothels are open. Porn is here. And keeping with the show's devotion to historical accuracy, the revolution is far from explosive.

The Deuce Recap Season 1, Episode 5, “What Kind of Bad?”

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The Deuce Recap: Season 1, Episode 5, “What Kind of Bad?”

Paul Schiraldi

The Deuce Recap: Season 1, Episode 5, “What Kind of Bad?”

Tonight's episode of The Deuce, “What Kind of Bad?,” opens with Darlene (Dominique Fishback) in North Carolina, after a well-intentioned Abby (Margarita Levieva) bought her a ticket out of New York last week. Instead of reuniting with family, though, Darlene lures her friends to the Big Apple with a series of lies about her lucrative “modeling” career. The scene upends our perception of Darlene, the sweet bookworm and budding cinephile; here, she's a calculating predator, duping anyone naïve enough to return with her and work for Larry (Gbenga Akinnagbe)—ostensibly because it would boost her seniority, or at least shift Larry's attention away from her for a while.

The Deuce Recap Season 1, Episode 3, “The Principle Is All”

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The Deuce Recap: Season 1, Episode 3, “The Principle Is All”

Paul Schiraldi

The Deuce Recap: Season 1, Episode 3, “The Principle Is All”

The Baltimore Sun reporters from The Wire described their city as “Dickensian,” a comparison that stuck as a critical shorthand and pervasive cocktail-party quip about the HBO series itself. The Deuce seems intent on recycling the parallel: In “The Principle Is All,” Darlene (Dominique Fishback) reads A Tale of Two Cities, curious to acquaint herself with the source material of the 1935 Jack Conway film adaptation that moved her to tears in “Pilot.”

Bloodless: Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

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Bloodless: <em>Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay</em>
Bloodless: <em>Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay</em>

Somebody needed to do a merciless sendup of Homeland Security bullshit, but are Harold and Kumar up to the task? Not quite. The indelible characters from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle are not political creatures. They tweak and diffuse class and racial tensions by rendering them silly and inconsequential. Like Team America creators Trey Parker and Matthew Stone, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg seem to believe that America’s problems are just a matter of a few uptight douchebags spoiling the party for the rest of us level-headed dudes. (If Al Qaeda and the Pentagon would just chillax...) This is satire for unapologetic stoners and frat nerds who engage politics only when something of a political nature butts in and cock-blocks. Missing from this and most other post-9/11 lampoons are the element that would give them real electricity and bigger, longer laughs: the rude fact of power and powerlessness. Great satire requires a dash of blood.

Mocku Vague: Bill Guttentag’s Live!

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Mocku Vague: Bill Guttentag’s <em>Live!</em>
Mocku Vague: Bill Guttentag’s <em>Live!</em>

To hear Eva Mendes’ television network director, Katy Courbet, pronounce the word “indelible” is to bear witness to the end of civilization—the woman could no more move a room of stolid ad execs to tears, as she does in Bill Guttentag’s hi-def mockumentary-cum-toothless satire Live!, than induce a famished canine to sit up and sing for its supper. (So spake that prescient philosopher Julie Brown: “Just be vague, there’s nothing to it.”)