Sons of Anarchy
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
The FX cable network has
built its “brand” on “edgy,” adult dramas. FX prides itself on the “realism” of
its shows, all of which feature explicit violence and profanity-laden language.
The network’s claim to “realism” slips more than a little when all of the
bizarre sexual fetishes – sometimes in the unlikeliest places or among the least
likely people – on its shows is taken into account; but this too is part of the
network’s deliberate desire to glamorize the perverse and, like an old-time
carnival freak show, capitalize on people’s fascination with the outré.
But with its newest drama,
FX has taken its love for the corrupt to a new level. Previously, whatever their
individual peccadilloes or flaws, the lead characters on FX dramas at least
nominally represented normal society – tough (if corrupt) cops on
The Shield; psychologically scarred
Rescue Me; surgeons (albeit sex-crazed
Nip/Tuck. But with
Sons of Anarchy, FX has abandoned any
pretense to respect for conventional society – as was shown on the October 20th
episode of the series, shown at 10:00 p.m. ET, an episode which once again
demonstrates why Sons of Anarchy is so often the Worst Cable TV
Show of the Week.
The latest episode finds the
members of the SoA biker gang in prison, following an altercation with a rival
gang, where the Sons must forge an alliance with the black “family” of prisoners
in order to survive. In
exchange for protection, leader Clay agrees to have the Sons kill two
“snitches,” one a convict in protective custody and another a transsexual drug
dealer outside of prison. Clay determines to exploit the convict’s sexual
preference for Puerto Ricans by luring the convict with the promise of sexual
favors, using gang member Juice as bait. Since the liaison is to take place in
the prison infirmary, Tig thoughtfully breaks one of Juice’s ribs for him, as
Clay details the setup:
Clay: “We need you to take
one for the club.”
Juice: “Oh, s***.”
Bobby: “Snitch over there
finds you very appealing. Gotta get him outta PC for the family.”
Clay: “Buys us protection.”
Juice: “Get him out how?”
Bobby makes sexual gestures
and grunting noises. Jax says they will rush in on Deon before anything happens.
Clay: “Fifty-fifty chance
you wind up with no d*** up you’re a**.”
Once in the infirmary, Juice
pretends to anticipate anal sex with the convict (who graphically fondles his
crotch), only to have the rest of the gang burst in and beat the convict
brutally. Leaving the room, Juice gives a thumbs-up sign and smiles at the other
Sons, leading Tig to remark, “Maybe he did take one up the a**.” But violence
erupts when members of the Aryan Brotherhood stab at Juice multiple times, with
the viewer seeing with knives. Viewers see a knife sticking into his body and
watch Juice scream as Jax pulls it out.
The Sons’ plot to kill the
transsexual fails; but an ATF agent tracking the Sons uses the opportunity to
allow Jax and his stepfather Clay to engage in a long, brutal, bloody and
graphic knock-down drag-out fight, as the other prisoners watch but make no
effort to interfere.
While of course brutality
and homosexual rape are real parts of prison life, Sons of Anarchy does
not pretend to be a serious examination of the situation; rather, it uses the
prison setting and the brutal violence therein to shock and titillate viewers.
This is underlined by the episode’s conclusion, in which a wealthy townsman
arrives and bails out the entire biker gang. Thus, “realism” goes out the
window, and violence – even rape – are just more plot threads in FX’s twisted
For its casual use of
violence, Sons of Anarchy is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
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