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The Show About The 70s Porn Scene That Will Draw You In To The Glory and The Tragedy

9 de noviembre de 2017

Maria Suarez

David Simon's new show takes us straight into the dark side of 1970s Manhattan

It’s hard to imagine that the bright neon theme park of capitalism we now know as Times Square in New York City was ever anything other than what it now is. Yet we know the stories and legends. We’ve heard of how the place with the theater billboards and commercials was once a sketchy part of town that tourists would be told to stay clear from. We know about the peep shows, the movie theaters with the XXX outside, as well as the scary mob guys and pimps that roamed the place. But now we get a new perspective from the creative minds that have taken us straight into the dangerous hierarchy of the drug trade in the American inner-city.


In The Wire, David Simon threw us in the middle of Baltimore, to dissect the criminal underbelly of the United States. It began with a few cops trying to get to the bottom of the drug trade, but ended up unravelling into six seasons that also dealt with human trafficking, political corruption, and the overall end of the American dream. It presented the different levels that exist when it comes to criminality. It’s not black and white, and often the people who want to do good end up screwing up in the worst ways. There’s people on the wrong side of the law who are only trying to keep food on their family’s table. And the so-called “good guys” often neglect or hurt the people they love most because they’re too focused on catching the “bad guys”.



Now Simon chooses the seedy side of Manhattan in a world before AIDS, post-sexual revolution, pre-Roe v. Wade, where the expectations and divisions of gender and class where as stark as ever. The Deuce, which is what Times Square was referred to back then, focuses on the lives of the people in the sex industry of 1971. There’s people who are fronting for the mob, people running from the mob, as well as the ones who live in a sort of careful understanding with them.


What makes The Deuce a nuanced tale about the precarious life of sex workers in this lawless time is the fact that the show has plenty of women in both writing, directing, and producing roles. This means that the hooker with the heart of gold has no place in this gritty representation of the reality of the people involved in the early days of the Golden Age of Porn. We have businesswomen, some like Maggie Gyllenhall’s Candy, who do everything to be their own boss, but there are other characters, like Lori, who strive for independence even when having to answer to a pimp.



In an interview with The Guardian, executive producer Nina Noble explained that, “It’s a fine line between wanting to explore the reality of the women’s situations and yet also wanting to shy away from that reality.”


For Jodi Sh. Doff, a writer, photographer, and activist who’s written extensively about her experiences living in Times Square in the seventies, the show raises mixed feelings. It’s accurate for some things, but still fails to see that beyond the tragedy, people back then found amusement in their reality. She also spoke about how the character of Darlene brought back bittersweet memories, “She reminds me a fifteen-year-old dancer I knew, Lele. Lele eventually disappeared, the way girls did then, and still do, because somewhere along the line you’re going to trust the wrong person.”



So more than focusing on the glamour, we can see this time for a precursor of the massiveness that would be the adult film industry, a multibillion entity that started on a flawed system, with violence and disregard. The problems porn continues to have are rooted in its origins. Because how can we say that porn is not sexist, when it began as a way for certain men to continue selling women or using their bodies for profit? Even though this might no longer be the case, there are several people who find this conflicting, since it’s clear that it has dubious beginnings. 


But Noble also tells The Guardian that, “The key to it is that it’s never sexy or titillating. We’re not trying to turn people on.” And that’s what the show is. A representation of a murky past that continues to makes us wonder whether the sex industry is no free from that dark past or if there’s a part of it that will always continue in this way.



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5 Films From The Golden Age Of Porn That Will Show You The True Meaning Of Sensuality

The Day Porn Became Art And The Erotic Became Porn

TAGS: sex porn
SOURCES: The AV Club The Guardian Bust

Maria Suarez


Coordinadora Editorial CC+

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