Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TV Tuesday - Let's talk Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy is one smoking hot show. I had noticed it in the popular category on Netflix for quite a while. And then I heard that Katey Sagal was in it. I've always admired Katey Sagal famous for the role of Peg Bundy in the hilarious show Married with Children.

So even though Sons of Anarchy is decidedly not a comedy, I still chose to watch because of her. As expected, Sagal is majestic in the role of Gemma, the old lady queen of the president of SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original). She's married to Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman), who's a frightening gangster. His Sons of Anarchy runs guns and dabbles in all profitable forms of vice and theft. They are based in Charming, California and they keep the meth trade out of the town along with development. Clay likes to be the kingpin of a quaint little town that he can keep under control. He's completely protected by the local sheriff, but there are always enemies sniffing at the edges. Rivalry with other gangs is common, and then there is the threat that Clay considers the most formidable: "Old White Money". He doesn't want developers with deep pockets to come in with their bedroom communities and strip malls. They'll make Charming bigger and more profitable and sooner or later SAMCRO will get cleared out by bigger thugs who don't want any pesky hill bandits around.

Gemma and Clay have an interesting relationship. It's kind of unique because it shows an older couple, which is rare in youth-obsessed TV culture. But nookie with people who definitely don't get carded anymore only takes a show so far, which brings me to Jax, or Jackson Teller (Charlie Hunnam), the heir apparent of the club and a man who billions of women would place into the "yes" category without hesitation. He's quite the attractive individual. Add his roguish outlaw alpha male intensity and he's positively ovulation inducing.

He knows it too and obliges women as necessary.

Jax is also a very complex and carefully crafted character. He's been raised within the club culture. Being a murderous criminal is all he knows, but when he stumbles across a memoir written by his dead father, his mind is opened to other possibilities. His father had wanted the club to move out of gun running and invest in new directions. He'll struggle with his growing realization that being a criminal might be wrong and won't lead to happiness.

Sons of Anarchy also has fascinating subplots. A particularly touching one is the story of Opie, Jax's best friend. After doing prison time he's back with his family and trying not to be a criminal anymore, but he just can't make ends meet working at the mill. It's a heartbreaking commentary on our cruel economy. He can't work all day and make enough money for his family. Crime beckons him not only with a chance for better income but also dignity.

I'm only as far as Season 2 with Sons of Anarchy. It's hard to know what will happen next. Something awful to be sure because it's a violent and gory show worthy of Mongol raiders. It's also a visceral and sexy and exciting show full of thoughtful storytelling that anyone can relate to, especially its illustration of generational dynamics. The elders are slowing down. The youthful are rising, and the tension between them is unavoidable.