FILM | TELEVISION | DRAMA | ACTION
SONS OF ANARCHY
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and since I am American I must, like all Americans are doing across the nation and all over facebook, offer my thanks.
There are many things for which I am thankful: my family, my health, my freedom, football (football, the real kind, not soccer), you know, all the standard things a standard American is standardly thankful for.
But in addition to those standards, I am also thankful for the miracle of technology, for it allows me to experience right from my easy chair such wonderful, and cheap, mind melting joys like this and this and Netflix.
And I am especially thankful for Netflix, for it allows me to watch movies and television shows and documentaries and even some cartoons “on demand” (which is a very American way of putting it, no?).
And, of course I’m thankful for Hollywood, too, for without Hollywood, how else would I and the rest of the world know what it truly means to be an American?
And because of Hollywood, and Netflix, and technology, and my health (and all the free time it affords me), I just spent the past three or fours days (I’m not exactly sure how many it was because by the second day it all became a blur) watching a delightful, family show called Sons of Anarchy.
Well, it may not necessarily be a show you would want to watch as a family, but it is undeniably a show about family and the many challenges a typical — and non-typical — family faces.
Yeah, I know, as usual I’m late to the party. Four seasons late, to be exact. Season Five is already close to a wrap. Unfortunately, I will not be able to see it until sometime next year, probably right before Season Six kicks off; that is, if Netflix graciously makes it available for me to watch.
So much for “on demand” I guess.
Anyway, now, after that marathon of anarchy and mayhem I willingly subjected myself to, I can’t stop thinking, “What the hell just happened?”
You know, I’m not really sure. After four straight days of watching four straight seasons of head bangin’, rock n’ rollin’, face tattin’ motorcycle clubbin’, gun runnin’, drug slingin’, porn flickin’, bombs explodin’, race baitin’, back stabbin’ drama, I’m not sure of anything right now.
Except that the show is good.
Once again, Hollywood did what it does best: exploiting, romanticizing, and glamorizing the most extreme of man’s deviant nature.
Hollywood did its job so well and the show is so good I gave it a Netflix rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
I briefly considered giving it 5 of 5, but it does have a few superficial flaws; however, over the entire well thought out and executed arc of the show, those flaws mostly become forgotten.
But for the curious, here are a few of the annoyances I noticed:
— A bizarre Irish Republican Army connection that put a bit of a drag on the pace and feel of the show for one of the seasons, season two, I think.
— A couple of cheezy reveals, especially at the end of season four, that pissed me off.
— Chuck Hunnam’s British accent. Mostly it goes unnoticed, but it is noticeable. It especially gets thick when he is talking with/screaming at Irish dudes.
But other than those minor flaws, the show is a masterpiece, as in Masterpiece Theatre.
Well, perhaps not but speaking of theatre — dammit, I’m American! — speaking of theater, Kurt Sutter, the show’s genius creator, is in no way shy about the show’s obvious draw off of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For example, we have our conflicted prince (or Motor Cycle Club Vice President), we have our surrogate father king (or MC President and step-father of the VP), we have our ghost of the dead former king and father of the prince (or a manifesto written by the dead former MC President, which is found and read by the son/VP of said dead former MC President, and which conflicts said son/VP even more).
There are more parallels but I think you get the point.
Hey, if you’re gonna rip off someone’s storyline, who’s better to rip off than the Great Bard himself (who, by the way, is also accused of being a first class storyline ripper-offer in his own right).
Yeah indeed, it’s a raunchy, guns/drugs/sex-laden American version of Hamlet (heck, to make sure we slow on the uptake Americans didn’t miss the Hamlet connexion, Mr Sutter even titled the last two episodes of Season Four as “To Be – Act I” and “To Be – Act II” for us).
I haven’t watched such a deviantly fine contemporary adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays since My Own Private Idaho (yeah, I know — Keanu Reeves. But hey, his “style” of acting works in this flick and, besides, it also has River Phoenix (MHRIP)).
Yes sir (that would be a non-gender specific “sir”), Sons of Anarchy just about has it all; all, that is, except…anarchy.
Sure there’s all the killing and all the other subversion of societal “norms” one could imagine, but all that is done within the context of maintaining a structured and orderly, albeit somewhat illicit, motorcycle club. And clubs, especially those that are guided via vote and majority rule like the SAMCRO is (if you aren’t an SOA fan, you’re probably just as confused about the meaning of SAMCRO as I initially was when I first started watching the show…if you want to know what it means, ask Mr Google like I had to), represent anything but anarchistic ideals.
Clubs, especially those of the motorcycle variety, do not represent anarchy, they represent democracy and freedom.
And democracy and freedom, damn it, represent America!
Yes, the Sons of Anarchy, with its British leading man, and its British-owned storyline, and its Irish Republican Army and Mexican Drug Cartela dependencies and connexions–er, connections, is about as American as any television series could ever strive to be…
Or not to be.
Oh well, I tried.
While my dubious and corny conclusion may be in question, there is no question that, with Sons of Anarchy, Hollywood has served up yet another feast of a show for us turkeys to feed upon in our unending quest to fill our insatiable viewing appetites.
And for that, I also am thankful.
One thought on “Sons of Anarchy: Hollywood’s Shakespearean Expression of the American Way of Life”