If there is one thing the premiere of HBO’s The Deuce did on Sunday night, besides leaving the viewers awestruck by what they witnessed, was to introduce us to a side of Maggie Gyllenhaal we didn’t know existed. When you think of Maggie Gyllenhaal, you think of her as playing someone’s big sister. You certainly don’t picture her in a scene that aired Sunday night with her holding a condom in her mouth and a teen’s manhood in her hands on HBO’s new series, The Deuce.
As a fan of Maggie’s, you might have found yourself a bit unnerved by what you were seeing, as she is one actress who can make any character believable. She plays a hooker walking the streets of Times Square in this show, which is set back in the 1970s. When a car full of teenage boys pull up to the curb to proposition Gyllenhaal’s character, Candy, she agrees to take on one of the teens for his first sexual experience on his birthday. It’s a venture that costs him and his friends $30 bucks, plus $10 for a room.
While there are no questions about what Candy is about to do with this kid, the viewers might have found themselves a bit shocked by the scene’s explicit nature, which left little to the imagination. There’s a bare-chested Maggie tweaking her own nipples in one scene before she takes the kid’s hands and places them on her bare breasts.
When you see her put her hand down the pants of her teen customer, you know what she’s about to do; it is obvious, and it’s a scene that’s played out in many movies and TV shows before. The scenes in movies and TV shows usually cut away before any skin is seen, but not this one.
This scene makes sure nothing escapes you as her hand is seen actually holding this kid’s manhood. By now, your jaw at home has dropped, but if this wasn’t enough, you next get to see Maggie with a condom in her mouth, positioning it over her customer’s — well, enough said there.
However, the scene cuts as Maggie’s head goes down. Still, seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal with a condom in her mouth, ready to install it for her teen customer, was surreal. She plays this part as comfortable as if she was sitting playing with a kitten on screen. Once it is all over, you do find yourself asking the question, “How does she do it?”
How? Just by wondering this, it is a tribute to her acting. According to the New York Times, this show is setting the parameters to explore the porn scene of the 1970s, and in the premiere, we, as the audience, are getting to know all the players.
Another player turning heads is Jame Franco’s duel role as Vincent Martino and his brother, Frankie. As Entertainment Weekly suggests, to lessen the confusion for the audience, one of the characters needed a scar that was visible enough to avoid any issues when one of them appeared on the screen.
That was remedied right away as Vincent, who is a bartender, is mugged while making the night drop of the bar’s money. This leaves him with a very visible scar on his forehead after he is cracked over the head. Vincent is the person the premiere seemed to concentrate on, and this guy couldn’t have a worse existence if he pulled up a chair and set up housekeeping under a bridge.
He’s being hunted because his twin brother “owes everyone in New York money,” which is what he tells a couple of mob-like guys who show up wanting money. Whenever he goes home after working long hours, his wife’s crass, chain-smoking mother is plunked down in front of his TV set babysitting as his wife is at the bars.
After seemingly having enough, he goes into a bar to get her, but the group of men she’s playing pool with don’t want her to leave. The guys stand up to Vincent when she refuses to leave with him. He throws out somewhat of a plea to these guys by declaring she is his wife, but they don’t care and circle him, ready to fight. Vincent turns and goes, leaving his wife behind with these men.
He has a scheme, one that might help the failing bar he is working in and, at the same time, make him enough money to pay back his brother’s debts. Will he be successful, and will the audience stop feeling sorry for this poor sap? He seems to avoid confrontation at any cost, he begged for his life in the mugging, he didn’t want to put up a fight for his wife in a bar, and he agreed to pay back his brother’s debts when hoodlums demand he needs to step up for his brother.
Only time will tell, but it looks like Vincent and his sorry life may be the precursor to the porn industry that this show is working up to. Somehow, you can’t help wondering where Maggie’s character, Candy, will fit into this future venture as well.
[Featured Image by Andy Kropa/AP Images]