It's really hard watching the women of The Deuce get f*cked even when they're not working the streets or having sex for pleasure.
We're only on The Deuce Season 1 Episode 3, and the certainty that women will always come out on the bottom end of the ladder is the only certainty we have so far.
God love 'em for trying, though.
One of my favorite stories at this point involves Darlene. She's not only all kinds of adorable, but she's intelligent even if she appears to be uneducated.
She soaks in every opportunity she gets from watching movies with her johns to chasing down the brown bag porn if it might make her more money if it was sold as a proprietary product.
Even when she knows taking chances could get her into a pickle with Larry, she does it anyway. Her preference, of course, would be to hide what she's really doing by getting extra money for staying too long to finish a movie, for example.
Sometimes it works. Other times, she's on her own. When she came creeping back to Larry on the street well after daybreak, she told him the truth.
We've already seen how these "relationships" work out. CC has been bad with both Ashley and things are going downhill with Lori. But the way it went between Larry and Darlene, I can't help but hope it rolls differently.
He discovered he liked talking with her. He didn't want to punish her and make a false play to look good in case anyone was watching. He wanted to turn in together after drinks, and when he saw her discussing books with Abby, the look on his face was one of fear, not anger.
But we know men do bad things when they're afraid.
I don't think CC is afraid when it comes to Lori and her fear about walking the streets after she was almost kidnapped or worse. He wants her to get over it and get back on the street and get some regulars.
He was, at first, treating Lori special. That honeymoon phase appears long over. CC is a fickle and angry little man. He's about the money, even if some of the others might have a more difficult time determining their exact reasoning for being out there.
If I didn't know Eileen's future held success in the porn industry, it would be too difficult watching her dreams be crushed so liberally when she wants so badly to work her way out of the streets.
It's weird to have respect for a prostitute, but when you think about what it takes to steer clear of pimps and risk their retaliation for not caving to their wishes, the street thugs she can't physically match and desires to at least make porn instead of being in porn, well, she deserves it.
I'm still not sure why she doesn't believe she can do something other than prostitution or porn, but she's definitely not going to make the money she does currently.
The tear streaming down her face as she told her mother she was going to get into movies, maybe cameras or lighting, was more heartbreaking than the flood she was holding back when the producer told her she could stand in front of the camera instead of behind.
At that time, nobody understood women didn't want to do porn, didn't want to walk the streets and didn't want to be told they were pretty and pacified. Eileen's obviously going to find her voice for everyone else, just like the one she uses for her johns.
Candy: You know, I don't think you have enough money in your wallet for that tonight.
Leonard: Come on, Candy. You get paid more than usual for it. How do you know?
Candy: How do I know?
Leonard: Yeah, how?
Candy: Because nobody actually likes getting fucked in the ass, even as pretend. You don't walk right after. And look at this. Right here I'm fuckin' walkin'. All night I'm fuckin' walking, in heels even!
Leonard: Come on, Candy. None of the girls?
Candy: No. None of the girls. None of the girls want your dick, really truly want your dick up their ass.
That little john reminded me so much of Paul Simon it was a little bit distracting, but the conversation was hilarious.
If Candy can go toe-to-toe with johns in the street about what they want to do, and in the bedroom explain how her job is like that of a car salesman, Eileen can explain why she deserves to work behind the camera. Get yourselves together, girl!
I still don't understand Abby's story, either. She had such a look of determination on her face when she decided no more school; it seemed like she had something particular in mind.
Working in smoke-filled offices and market research call centers were not for her. She didn't want to work in the Hi-Hat, either, but hanging out with a friend seems much better than the alternatives.
Like everyone else, she was effed when she slept with her supposed friend from the market research job, and he stole her money. There isn't anybody to trust in the city except Vincent.
Just before the Hi-Hat opened, Frankie ruined all the machines in the place looking for cash to a table game of poker. I hope Frankie also replaced all the machines after Vinnie's new partner was revealed to own them.
That was an odd reveal and seemed highly unlikely given Rudy is Vin's partner. The guy does his homework. How could he have missed a man like that being in on the deal?
While I think something is fishy, I couldn't possibly be more confused about what Rudy is doing anyway.
He's doing something in conjunction with the mayor and available properties in town. Rudy's new lawyer had a map with spaces marked out that would work, and at first, I thought it was just an OK to use those properties without running afoul of the mayor.
But saying "time is of the essence" threw me right back into left field. What am I missing about Rudy and his operation?
What do you guys think of Darlene? Is she the cutest thing? Did you expect Abby to have more of a plan after walking out of school? What are your hopes for Eileen/Candy?
If you're here, drop me a line. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth reviewing shows that aren't soapy and Shonda because I get so few views and no comments. Is it worth it or not? Should I work harder and write better or just let them go? Tell me!!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.