Possessed by Al Swearingen

I love the HBO TV series Deadwood, although I have to admit that the dialogue in the show is a language all its own, liberally laced with massive (and I do mean massive) quantities of profanity (particularly the F-word), yet at the same time lyrical, highly intelligent, and complex. Although I find it hard to believe that people really spoke that way (using language so complex and lyrical, that is; I have little problem believing that people routinely cussed like crazy in mining towns in the Dakotas in the 1870's), it's hard not to fall under the spell of Deadwood's language. I do have to admit, though, that the dialogue is sometimes so rapid-fire and complex (not to mention so outrageously peppered with gratuitous use of the F-word) that it's easy to lose track of what's going on or to let the profanity distract you from the intelligence behind the show if you don't pay fairly close attention.

Apparently Salon.com's TV critic Heather Havrilesky agrees with me. She's fallen under Deadwood's spell as well and may even have been hilariously possessed by the spirit of Al Swearingen himself (or perhaps that of Cy Tolliver or E. B. Farnum, both of whom are almost as prone to similar profanity-laced monologues, albeit not as poetic as Al's), so much that she composed this week's I Like to Watch column in Deadwood-speak. Particularly amusing is her eerily accurate use of Swearingen-speak in her analysis of 24 ("Terrorist cocksuckers and the like," as she says about one of my favorite shows) or her take on the Fox family comedy American Dad--or , best of all, her deconstruction of Deadwood itself.

Too bad there are only three episodes of Deadwood left.


  1. That article was hilarious! If I was a man of means, I'd purchase myself a subscription to Salon. It just gave me a great idea for a Swearengen translator, a la Tha Shizzolator.


  2. Awesome idea! I'm surprised no one has thought of it before.

  3. That was one fucking great article! Whoo and I thought I was hooked on Deadwood! (Well...I AM...I'm flying there in 2 weeks!)

    I bought season 2 on eBay and allow myself ONE EPISODE a fucking night. Dont want to overdo it ;)

    BTW W. Earl Brown introduced himself to me as "I'm Dan" when he bought a used copy of the show at my store. I told him I am in love with Ian McShane and he replied "So's MY mom!" Talk about feeling O L D
    Oh well, "Dan" is a real southern gentleman in real life, not a goddam cocksucker by any stretch. ;)


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