What The Deuce gets right about sex on TV
David Simon's study of prostitution and porn in Seventies New York — his best since The Wire — is also the first to be honest about it.
There is no one working on The Deuce I would rather get stuck in a lift with than the Foley Artist: this poor person who had to add all the greasy pumps to the $20 handjobs, the splat of cold Campbell’s Potato Soup as it is propelled from a turkey baster against Maggie Gyllenhaal’s face in a low-rent porno money shot, and the miscellaneous wet spaghetti slops that came with every unattractive sex scene, both paid-for and not.
In a show about the rise of pornography in Seventies Manhattan, the sex could lean hard into the over-glamorised or melodramatically bleak, but The Deuce falls in the middle by being realistically human and awkward: butts jiggle, bellies fold, and bodies come in all shapes and sizes because so do kinks. If you, like me, have ever complained that no film or TV show ever showed the bit of sex where it's not working for anyone so both parties give up and roll over to their respective corners of the bed to finish themselves off, you’re going to have to find something else to complain about. The Deuce has even closed the Twitter discussion about how there are no condoms on screen, or how they're only there for a comedic purpose (like Costanza failing to open the packet in time in Seinfeld). Here they're not only forced on complaining men but unceremoniously snapped off limp dicks and flung into the bin when they're done.
David Simon never sold us a rose-tinted anything, and this new show — created with George Pelecanos who co-produced, and wrote some of, The Wire — is no different.
Read more at GQ Magazine.