That ridiculous thing, Sons of Anarchy, begins its second season – of a proposed seven seasons – tonight, Tuesday, September 8th, at ten o’clock Eastern.
And apparently, 5.4 million of you have had this day marked on your calendars for ten months.
Three weeks ago, according to the Manteca Bulletin, a “mind-boggling” number of the show’s fans waited in “the mid-day heat” at a Lathrop, California Harley dealership to beg autographs from six members of the show’s cast. Some signature seekers actually waited in line for two hours before being turned away.
Last month in Sturgis, publicists for the show built a pretend biker clubhouse at one end of Main Street. The interior featured mug shots of actors with jobs on the show; two sets of “club colors” framed behind glass like a couple of Kobe jerseys; and plaques commemorating the 25th or 30th or 35th anniversaries of imaginary chapters in Sturgis, Laconia and Milwaukee. One of the cuts even sported a “Men of Mayhem” tab. You know, like the “Filthy Few.”
The Sturgis clubhouse gave away bandannas. I demanded and got two of those because my bike had rain spots and I wanted it to look nice and just one bandanna would not do. I was going to stick around and see what else I could demand. But then I saw grown men with tattoos, bellies and beards buying Sons of Anarchy tee-shirts. So, then I ran away because I was afraid.
I still don’t get it. Personally, I would rather watch The Terror of Tiny Town, the musical western with the all midget cast that is usually considered to be the worst movie ever made. For that matter, I would probably prefer to watch the new Sandra Bullock stalker “hit” All About Steve. Instead this weekend, before I started to write whatever this is going to turn out to be, I watched two episodes of Sons of Anarchy. It took me fifteen hours. I kept falling asleep.
I Am Sorry I Tried
“This season,” according to a blizzard of press releases, “Jax and the club must deal with the fallout from Donna’s death bringing internal tensions to an all time high while a new enemy takes root in Charming. The League of American Nationalists, a white separatist organization headed by Ethan Zobelle (Adam Arkin) with help from his lieutenant, AJ Weston (Henry Rollins), integrate themselves in the community in efforts to force Samcro (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals) out. An antagonist not to be underestimated, the club soon realizes to what extent Zobelle will go to destroy the Sons of Anarchy.”
I was disappointed to learn that the series’ producer, Kurt Sutter, has ignored all of my suggestions about how he might improve this show. Consequently, this year Sons of Anarchy will not feature burnouts, wet tee-shirt contests; wet tee-shirt contests starring a brunette named Heather, best breast contests, whore house runs or gang bangs.
I really thought Sutter would buy my idea for a new character, an obsessed and vindictive ATF Case Agent played by Vern “Mini-Me” Troyer. But, it seems not. So, there will be no scene in which Katey Sagal and Ron Perlman are about to have a really tender Viagra movement when ATF Agent Vern Troyer kicks down their security gate, front door, bedroom door and shoots their puppy before announcing, “Search warrant! Demand entry!”
I Really, Really Tried
Sutter also rejected my suggestion for a chapter meeting in which a brother named “Wolf” rambles on about “security” and “intelligence” for a full six hours before another brother named “In-Country” thinks to ask, “Wolf, are you tweaking?” Also there will be no scene in which a pack of Sons is detained for two hours and subjected to strip searches by the side of the road during a “courtesy, safety stop.”
Nor will there be a scene in which an ambition-crazed cop travels to a nursing home in another state to interrogate the 95-year-old grandmother of a Sons hang around. “You know what you did Granny,” he could scream.
“Wuh-wuh-what Sonny. What did you suh-say?”
Pulling Granny out of here wheelchair and slamming her against a cinder block wall, the cop threatens, “Don’t you play deaf with me, bitch! Don’t you know who I am?! I could have you renditioned!”
No Sons of Anarchy calendars or support tee shirts will be seized. And, Jax’s motor home will never be stopped on a lonely highway in Wyoming for failure to properly signal a lane change. After the stop a local cop might develop a reasonable, articulable suspicion that Jax is an international arms dealer. That might lead to a search of Jax’s personal computer because the cop is looking for trophy photos of arms deals. Which is what could lead to Jax’s trial for conspiracy to sell atomic weapons to Al Quaida. Sutter didn’t like that story either. So you will not see that.
Nobody in this show will ever use and properly define the phrase “Terry Stop.” Nobody will ever discuss the merits of competing exhausts. No bike will ever go up on a dyna. No old timer will ever proclaim, “Points were better.” There will be no gun shows, no trips to the border, and no mandatory runs. Nobody will ever break down in the Mojave in the summertime.
Instead, the new season “promises to be filled with more bikes, more guns, and a great ride.” And, as if that was not already enough to rattle your soul and wrench your gut, “Also this season, we have our very own Katey Sagal singing a rendition of The Rolling Stones’, ‘Ruby Tuesday.’ This haunting rendition will rattle your soul as it plays through a gut-wrenching scene in episode 202.”
What do you think?
Who cares what you think?
Because sucker critics already love this can of soup. Robert Lloyd, a media whore for the El Lay Times does concede, “There are moments (in this piece of crap) that require you not to think too hard, and some of the black humor doesn’t overcome its fundamental nastiness. But on the whole, it’s a superior package, intelligently constructed and handsomely executed.”
What Lloyd’s review really proves is that the gutless, pointless, dying Los Angeles Times must no longer subject its editorial employees to drug tests. Because the only the way anyone could ever see this show as intelligent is if he was chasing a dragon past cloud nine.
For more than a year, the show’s deluded producers have been grandly comparing this waste of so many of our precious natural resources to the well known drama Hamlet written by the well known Inglese William Shakespeare.
In the Fox television show, club dreamboat, Jackson “Jax” Teller, is supposed to be the sensitive Hamlet. And, the ghost of his dead father, rather than urging him to seek revenge, is personified by an unpublished manuscript written by his old man, which laments the de-evolution of a “Harley commune” into the “chaos” of a motorcycle club.
I admit that I may be too stupid to get this masterpiece, but the connection to Hamlet eludes me. It really does. It reminds me more of Macbeth. At least it reminds me of Macbeth’s line about, “…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
The Last Frontier
The show’s marketing plan is fairly obvious. Sons of Anarchy is intended to add another few dozen buckets to the running river of books, television documentaries and feature films that promise an “insider look” at the motorcycle outlaw frontier.
In reality, nobody who pisses in this river is really an insider. If he were he could see that the biker subculture is transparent and self-evident. There are no insiders. There is only them and us.
What “insiders” grope to describe is really a political ideology, the ideology of the frontier: People should be let alone to do what they want; be self-reliant; earn a living however they can and settle their differences among themselves; mind their own business; form their own communities; take calculated risks; live dangerously; distrust authorities and experts; be free and so on. It is an ideology that seems increasingly perverse, criminal and anti-social to many people. But, even they can feel this frontier’s allure.
Wouldn’t it be nice to do what you want?
Yes, It Is
Twenty-five years ago the foundering Harley-Davidson Company was shrewd enough to turn this excitement that brave and ornery men know into a commodity that even timid and well-behaved men could buy. But, not everybody could afford an overpriced motorcycle. So next, the last American motorcycle company largely transformed this vanishing frontier into a line of overpriced tee-shirts. And, once people began to think of the frontier as a fashion show, a television soap opera about outlaw bikers was only a matter of time.
All the Gangland episodes, the undercover agent memoirs, the “insider ” revelations by paste-eating geeks like Yves Lavigne, Julian Sher and Kerrie Droban, even that 213 pages of fluffernoodle that Doc Cavazos published last year are meant to be travel guides for first time visitors. Did you just spend twelve grand on an 883 Sportster yet all the other accountants still don’t think you are dangerous?
Here is what you need to know! Bikers refer to women as Mamas! That thing they ride is called a Hog! The Mongols and the Hells Angels are the two most evil forces in the history of humanity and they do not get along! Bikers like women, drugs and guns! Hollister! Vietnam! Laughlin! Crank! Patch! Prospect! Spark plug! Clubhouse! Lube!
The Inside Scoop
So Sons of Anarchy was an historical inevitability. And, to keep this big money train rolling the producers must ceaselessly insist that they are biker insiders. Kurt Sutter we are to believe, has descended into the netherworld of the outlaw frontier, undergone many trials and come back changed to tell us his hair-raising tales.
I might be convinced to willingly suspend my disbelief about this – this idea that Kurt Sutter had a quick beer one night in a bar in Pueblo and came out “Mad Dog” Sutter – but for the fact that so far none of Sutter’s tales are any more hair-raising than they are Hamlet. Nothing in the plots makes up for the insipid dialogue, the contrived characters, the stock locations or the rock bottom production values. The fact is, neither Sutter nor anyone else connected to the manufacture of this biker commodity actually has anything to say.
Which may explain why the show is really nothing more than mere, gauzy atmospherics. Dyna! Springer! Major Service! Pull a train! Club! ATF! Oil change! Mach 10! Uzi! Hay-Kay! Go! Go! Go!
In an attempt to brag these atmospherics credible, Sutter has, on several occasions, linked himself to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club He has even publically stated that the show is an “homage” to the HAMC.
You know, an homage. Sort of like if the Jonas Brothers covered “Ain’t Nutt’n But A G Thing” as an homage to Compton. Or if Miley Cyrus’s recorded her own very special version of “Fuck Off” as an homage to Kid Rock. Or say, if Michael Cera described his role in a new, light hearted, musical, comedy version of Full Metal Jacket as an homage to the Tet Offensive.
No, really. This is how the Entertainment Industry really thinks. This is how Sons of Anarchy got renewed for a second season. And, apparently everybody except me loves this big, brown, smelly pickle. So, who am I to say. Go ahead. Enjoy. Just, don’t blame me for the plots.