Posted by : Patrick | April 30, 2014
When I think about great westerns of the silver screen, like The Searchers, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, or Unforgiven the first thing that pops into my mind is the utterly delightful cowboy ROMANCE. Like when John Wayne as a racist tried to kill his niece so she wouldn’t turn “injun”, or when Tuco the bandit bragged to his priest brother about how many wives he both had and left, or even when Clint Eastwood’s aging killer was offered a “down payment” by a local whore for murdering them two cowboys who cut up her face. Not from her, of course, but from one of the other gals, one that wasn’t ugly now.
Ah, warms my heart.
My point is, that just like there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no kissing in the wild west. I don’t want to watch cowboys get all googoo-eyed unless it’s for their horse. Yep, I just read how that sounds, but whatever, that’s still the most touching relationship a man should be allowed to have on the open plains, bar none.
I say this because The Sundae and I recently had a chat where I was explaining how great HBO’s Deadwood is, and she tried to relate with some namby schlock she’s been getting sucked into, curled up on the couch under a warm blanket, a box of tissues at her side I imagine, really digging the aw shucks story of a tough, east coast heiress making her way in the wild, butting heads with her stubborn but deep-down sensitive cowhand. Or something like that.
Look, western TV shows have never appealed to me much anyway, I reckon because most of them contain too many elements of a soap opera and not enough of what really separates this genre from others. Movies have done a much better job through the years, nailing the scope of the desolate landscapes and the crudity of the towns and their people. Those colorful vests are a little too neatly pressed in Bonanza. Yech.
Forget stuff like Gunsmoke and Rawhide; everyone brushes their teeth and there’s always some angelic beauty telling the menfolk not to kill each other like animals. Who wants to see that? The Rifleman was slightly better, in black and white and basically the same setup as my favorite TV series of all time, The Andy Griffith Show, with a single dad and his admiring son foiling bad guys and solving the town’s problems. And this dude uses his gun.
Still, they’re all pretty tame and hokey. At least until a certain show with a whole bunch of f***ing c***suckers came along that had just the right amount of filth, violence, cursing and codes of male honor to pique my interest. No swooning, no aching hearts, just bloodied heads with their eyes popped out of their sockets; the way it truly must have been…
Sure, there are some folks who get together every now and then, but it’s mainly for lust and release of tension. Just like in real life! Okay, maybe not exactly, but the men and women of the mining town of Deadwood rarely look out for anything other than their own interests, which furthers the western theme of greed, the pursuit of individual wealth that is brought to the forefront when masses of people congregate and have to learn to live with each other.
This is a western staple: the forging of civilization in an untamed land. Gold, whiskey and brothels; turns out that’s pretty much all society needs!
Now Stephanie’s probably over there telling you all (with a contraction) about how she’s from Texas, blah, blah, blah, so when it comes to cowboys, by virtue of birthplace she holds some sort of moral advantage over a wide-eyed kid from the wholesome Midwest, a region that only produced such city slickers as Jesse James (Missouri), Wyatt Earp (Illinois), Buffalo Bill Cody (Iowa) and Wild Bill Hickock (also Illinois).
So where does this bona fide Lone Starlet turn to see how the west was won? The Hallmark Channel, naturally, a station that make Lifetime look rugged. This ranks right up there with Houston changing the name of the Colt .45’s to the Astros. Credibility lost. And in the wild west, where reputation is everything, let’s just say you don’t get famous for going soft.
Git along, little Sundae. Git along.