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The Worst Cable Content of the Week

 

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Sons of Anarchy on FX

Episode Summary

 

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 firefighters on Rescue Me; surgeons (albeit sex-crazed ones) on 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 skein.

 

For its casual use of violence, Sons of Anarchy is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

 

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