By Rosalyne King
Much to the shock of many, I’m not a big cable tv show watcher. I didn’t do The Sopranos, Big Love or any one of the other popular cable tv shows. It’s nothing personal, mostly it’s just because of time constraints. But this has resulted in some awkward demonstrations of a lack of pop culture knowledge. I was one of those people who were left completely in the dark at the rage people felt in regards to the moment when seemingly the whole world asked ”What the hell happened to Tony Soprano?”
But thanks to the invention of On Demand I have since caught up with the times. The one show that from the beginning made me say ”I’m so watching this…do or die” is Boardwalk Empire. Yes, of course anything billed with the sentence “series premiere directed by Martin Scorsese” is enough to make anyone pause and look at the screen reverently. But seeing something so new and fresh like this has actually made me sit up and applaud.
As a writer, the show has me in awe. All the different facets, plot points, and character work. I’m amazed how the show accurately demonstrates that power truly is an aphrodisiac. Because let’s be honest. In what other world is Steve Buscemi a sex symbol?
But in this world he is. A real SEX symbol. That’s right.
He plays a character so alluring that every woman around would KILL to be the one he comes home to. Seriously. They would KILL to be with him. As strange as that sounds, in this setting, during this time period, it makes complete sense.
If the reader has not watched this show, the whole series revolves around the events occurring around the Atlantic City Boardwalk during the time of Prohibition. Which in my opinion, is completely refreshing. Seemingly every story we have seen during this time period is usually centered around Chicago, with Al Capone. While Al Capone does appear in this series, we see the young version and the character is mostly regulated to the background of the main plot points. The power, the REAL power belonged to the people who could get the liquor to the masses. During this time, at one point, all roads had to go through Atlantic City.
Which brings us to the character portrayed by Steve Buscemi. In reality, the most powerful man at that time in Atlantic City was Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. His name was changed to Enoch “Nucky” Thompson for the series and is played by Steve Buscemi. Much of the series is fiction, but the aspects of the real Nucky are very much dead on. As a history buff this is also immensely appealing to me.
While I have always enjoyed Buscemi’s work. And regard him as one of my favorite actors, this series truly makes the audience fall in love with the man. In a lot of ways, Buscemi has always been a true character actor. Usually playing supporting roles that weren’t fully fleshed out, but he has always played them like no one else could. His portrayal of Nucky is unlike anything you have ever seen from him, but his performance still manages to have the Buscemi signature. The audience roots for Nucky. We want him to win. We want to see him throwing those bills around, wearing his red carnation, knowing just how to get what he wants without ever messing up his sexy pin striped suit. The viewer understands why the people around him either want to take him down or are so loyal to him that they find themselves doing things they would have never considered before.
Most of all we completely buy into the notion that he’s the most irresistible man in the world. Mr sexy.
There are so many other characters and actors in this series that makes it more than worthwhile to watch. But do I think the series would or could have been just as successful without Buscemi?
No. In all honestly, even though the real Nucky Johnson looked absolutely NOTHING like Buscemi, this role seems to be tailor made just for him. Magnetic sexiness and all.
No pun intended.