Various Lies

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gotta go find my kid

One of my favourite  TV shows of this year is Sons of Anarchy - I guess the the show actually started a couple of years ago; season four starts in a couple of weeks. I found it on Netflix, and with the urging of some friends started watching. I was hooked almost instantly, and was furious when I got to the end of season2 and found that netflix wasn't showing season 3.

Then a buddy pointed me at iTunes and I bought it! Alas, each episode is about 750MB and I was using my Android cellphone as a portable wifi hotspot so it took about 21 hours to download each episode.

So I called AT&T and dropped a wad of cash on their Uverse dealio so I could get fast wireless in my house and thus download the whole season in minutes instead of weeks.Not cheap, but worth the money.

For the uninitiated the show follows the trials and tribulations of a rather nasty "Hell's Angel" motorcycle club in California. These guys are portrayed as the "good guys" because they only deal in guns, they don't like the drug scene (the irony being that they sell the guns to their rival clubs who are then using them to protect their drug turf...). They work "with" the corrupt sheriff of their little town to keep the pace locked in a kind of 70s time warp. The baddies are the rival gangs, as well as the big corporations who are trying to muscle in on the town of Charming, as well as the "Feds" - the corrupt and avaricious DEA & ATF agents who are trying to shut down the gangs.

The club is known as "Samcro" - Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original" - they are the original charter, founded by 9 disillusioned young men looking for a way to fight back against a society they had learned to hate.

I don't know why, the excellent writing and casting I assume, but this show resonates with me and tugs at the angry young man I used to be. I wear my suit and tie, and do my science now, but I used to be a very different person. But that's another story for another day.

(screencap from here)

The leading man is the dreamer (and utterly dreamy) Jax Teller, club scion, son of the first president.  In the first episode of the show we see Jax's estranged partner give birth to his son and the subsequent weight of responsibility this brings to this formerly free-spirited young man. That too resonates deeply within me. Needless-to-say the child is a key plot device and most of season 3 is spent in the hunt for him after he's been kidnapped by a rogue IRA member. One issue with this whole story arc really struck me though. At every turn in the plot Jax keeps saying, "I gotta go find my kid." And after about the 50th time it became a real annoyance to me and jarred the script. The "Kid" had a name, and a gender - he was a son. But more important than the lazy writing was Jax, or rather the actor Charlie Hunham's lack of authenticity (to my eyes). The child had become too obviously part of the story, "I gotta go find my bike."

This morning my partner turned to me and asked about daycare services at my institution. I know we have them and I know they're awesome and thus I know they're usually full. So, I was duly told to call and find out, and I dutifully did so.

"Hello, campus childcare, this is Mary, how can I help you?"
"I'm inquiring about your services, uh, childcare?"
"Yes, we have a full daycare center here. Is that what you mean?"
"Yeah. I need to know about daycare for my kid."

My kid...did I say 'kid' because I don't know gender yet, or because this early on I feel ridiculous saying child? Or was it, as I suspect, because kid is a distance term - he or she isn't real yet. Just a plot device. I need to pay more attention to the script I think.


Austin Elliott said...

I like Sons of Anarchy too - I think it helps to fill the holes in my US crime saga addiction once filled by The Sopranos and The Wire.

One of the weirdest things about watching SoA, for UK TV aficionados, is that Charlie Hunnam is English and got his first big break playing gay 15 yr old ingenue Nathan Moloney in the Manchester-set Queer as Folk, which we naturally used to watch avidly here in the late 90s. Can't really judge young Charlie's American accent, though to me it seems a whole lot better than the bizarrely wandering Oirish accent of the (American) actor who plays Jimmy O.

Of course, seeing Nathan from Queer as Folk as a grown-up biker dude is no more weird than seeing Peggy Bundy from another old favourite show of mine, Married With Children, reincarnated as Biker Queen Gemma Teller.

Many congrats on the impending parenthood, BTW.

tideliar said...

Hey Austin, so Charlie is a Brit?! No way! His accent is impeccable!

I'm working my way through The Wire now and I couldn't understand why some of the actors either seemed so familiar or so...wrong. Turns out (thanks to my brother, The Beasel) that a bunch of the cast are English!

And Peggy Bundy...yeah, I knew she'd end up going bad after Al moved on...

Austin Elliott said...

There's an interesting interview with Hunnam here. He's been living in the States more than a decade now, which I guess may explain the accent.

If you can track down the UK Queer As Folk, you might recognise the guy de-virginizing Hunnam's character as Irish actor Aidan Gillen, who in the latter series of The Wire plays Baltimore mayor Tommy Carcetti.

BTW, the other two Brits in The Wire are Old Etonian (sic) Dominic West as McNulty, and (best of all) East Londoner Idris Elba as Stringer Bell.

tideliar said...

I think I'll leave poor Charlie's deflowering..uh, alone.

Dominic West - that's the chap. From the first episode there was something odd about the character/actor..something. When I heard he was English it made sense: He doesn't 'look' American. I dunno about founder syndrome or anything, but there are certainly traits, on average.

Penny Dreadful said...

I love Sons of Anarchy..typical me, four months later I realize you're back.
Humble apologies.