Not Another Sex Show: HBO's 'The Deuce' Lives Up to Porn Label

The description of the newest HBO show, brought to us by Marxist creator David Simon, The Deuce reads, “The story of the legalization and ensuing rise of the porn industry in New York beginning in the 1970s.” If a plot like that doesn’t make your stomach churn, get your supply of eye-bleach ready for what’s sadly up to be the latest hit show on HBO’s hands - because this story, along with HBO itself, is all too ready to remind us that sex sells.

The September 10th pilot introduces us to New York City in 1971 and follows a variety of characters ranging from mob members to street pimps to sex workers to college students. I would tell you the plot, but this show seems far more interested in sexual imagery than original characters and storytelling that might mean something. The gratuitous sex I can almost forgive (okay, that’s a lie, I never will), but the sheer and mind-numbing boredom is the waterboarding icing on top of this torture cake. And there’s a lot to cover.

Over the course of this way-too-long pilot, we are treated to not one, not two, but FIVE graphic sex scenes. Forget everything you’ve known about the old X-rating, apparently everything goes now on television. Naked breasts or even an exposed penis is no longer a taboo but a feature. This show may try to lean on the “realistic” element of it being based on a true story, but that assumes that people want to get these scenes seared into their brains on a Sunday night.

Hang on, there’s more! One of those sex scenes just so happens to involve an underaged participant with "sex worker" Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal). For a sexually hungry boy’s birthday, his friends pool their funds together for some time in a motel where he fondles her bare breasts. We’re now throwing all forms of morality to the wind for, what the New York Times review calls, “Pure capitalism: desire quantified in $20 bills and in the quarters pumped into peep-show booths.” Sorry liberals, you don’t get to pawn off your failures to society onto capitalism this time. I’ve seen mud puddles less dirty than this show.

Hang on, there’s more! College student Abby (Margarita Levieva) features in a plot that not only has her having raunchy sex with her professor but also escaping a drug charge by going out with a particularly aroused officer. When they referred to The Deuce as “the porn show” I didn’t think they meant actually borrowing plots that belonged in a porn. But apparently, this is now state-of-the-art television writing nowadays, so phooey on me to question them.

If this is all we’ve had to deal with in the pilot, I’m terrified about what the next seven episodes of the season will bring. We haven't even gotten to the plots which will eventually cover the porn industry and the gay community following Stonewall. I can only imagine what the scenes about actual porn will look like, though I don't want to.

What is the world HBO thinks we live in? They cover clearly raunchy subjects but seem to revel in places where f-bombs drop like flies, sex is as common as currency, and anyone who disagrees is a liar who wants to sell you something. Liberal critics just eat this material up like I didn’t watch just porn with a slightly better soundtrack. The newest low of television has apparently found a shovel, and if society is just a result of culture, then we’re digging to hell in a 90-minute hand basket.


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