Bar proprietor James Franco has some pimp in him in a new clip from episode 2 of HBO's The Deuce season 1. Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon (The Wire), The Deuce tracks the story of how the porn industry rose in New York’s Times Square from the early 1970s through the 1980s via the experiences of various hard-edged characters, some of whom would wind up as pioneers of the American sex entertainment industry.
Last week's The Deuce series premiere introduced audiences to the various denizens of seedy early-'70s New York, as depicted by Simon and Pelecanos. Franco plays the dual roles of Frankie and Vince Martino, twin brothers working both sides of the river. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Candy, a wig-wearing prostitute working the streets without a pimp.
HBO has released a clip previewing The Deuce episode 2, featuring Franco's Vince in conversation with Candy and her prostitute friend Ruby (Pernell Walker). In episode 1, the forward-thinking Vince spurred the action in his failing bar by dressing his waitresses in skimpy leotards in hopes of drawing in businessmen on their way home from work. In the episode 2 clip above, we see that Vince's ploy is working smashingly, much to the chagrin of Candy and Ruby, who have seen their own trade decline - with rich guys in suits eschewing their services in favor of going to chat up Vince's scantily-clad waitresses.
Vince admonishes the two prostitutes to "be discreet" about plying their trade inside his establishment. In a sharp dialog exchange between Ruby and Candy, the ladies look around the bar at the leotard-wearing waitresses in conversation with various businessmen and discuss the meaning of "discreet." The scene summarizes one of the main themes that The Deuce is expected to tackle: the mainstreaming of the sex industry in New York and by extension America.
At the end of the clip, Ruby somewhat sardonically - and tellingly - informs Vince he "has some pimp in him." Vince may not think that what he's doing is pimping, but it's perfectly clear that the waitresses in his bar are making extra money by prostituting themselves to the business men who are ostensibly only coming in to drink and ogle the women. Candy and Ruby realize that their competition isn't just the other women out on the sidewalks, but now includes "discreet" operators like Vince and his staff.
Episode 1 got The Deuce off to a strong start, with sharply-observed characters, rich writing and an almost fetishistic attention to detail in its depiction of early-'70s Times Square. David Simon delivered a classic with The Wire, and The Deuce looks like it could be on its way to becoming another triumph.
The Deuce continues with 'Show and Prove' on Sunday, September 17th on HBO.