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Subject: "Reconsidering HBO's "Oz"" Previous topic | Next topic
Mole
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Wed Oct-26-11 08:29 PM

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"Reconsidering HBO's "Oz""
Wed Oct-26-11 08:30 PM by Mole

  

          

So late pass me if you must, but I just discovered HBO Go has every episode of pretty much every show of the network's last 14 years. Last night I watched the premiere episode of "Oz," which I haven't seen since it originally aired in 1997. I was obsessed with the show back then, at least for its first two and a half seasons, before something happened -- which I can't quite recall -- that went so over-the-top it turned me off to the show completely. I've been meaning to rewatch the show to see if they hold up a decade-plus later, or if I was just impressed because the level of violence and general crazy-ass shit happening blew my teenage mind. And after watching the first episode...well, I'm not sure what I think.

It's certainly way cheaper-looking than I remember, especially compared to today's cable dramas, but I guess you can't really hold that against it. JK Simmons, Lee Tergensen and Eamonn Walker are all pretty great, so the acting certainly holds up (and I completely didn't realize that LaGuerta from "Dexter" is the prison nurse). I thought it was cool they spent half the episode establishing one particular character only to kill him off at the end, letting the viewer know that no one is safe right off the bat, which is a pretty bold thing for a show to do even these days. But I sense a vague air of cheesiness floating through it that I definitely didn't feel when I watched it originally.

Obviously, "Oz" ushered in the golden age of cable dramas we're currently enjoying, so it's an important show, but I'm wondering if anyone else has revisited the show post-"The Wire," "The Sopranos," "Dexter," "Breaking Bad" etc. and what you think of it in retrospect.

___

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"You can't imbue awesomeness into something that actually sucks." - Steve Albini

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
it was prison soap opera featuring a weekly threat of assrape
Oct 26th 2011
1
I still shiver when I hear "spooning"
Oct 26th 2011
2
Ive only seen S1, I need to GO the series
Oct 26th 2011
3
now O'reilly's the super dave of insurance commercials
Oct 26th 2011
4
those commercials are awesome.
Oct 27th 2011
7
      they're ok
Oct 27th 2011
9
The "Tits" scene was one of the greatest moments of tv I've ever seen
Oct 26th 2011
5
That shit kept me out of jail.
Oct 26th 2011
6
lmao
Jan 12th 2021
43
that show sucked.
Oct 27th 2011
8
Just curious: When did you watch the show?
Oct 27th 2011
10
      the initial run.
Oct 28th 2011
33
in a few years, people will say Sopranos sucks, and Michael Jordan
Oct 27th 2011
11
People will never say Sopranos sucked
Jan 12th 2021
44
Some great characters, some good stories.
Oct 27th 2011
12
What he said ^^
Oct 27th 2011
13
I am watching this for the first time ever and at S4. I agree. Some grea...
Jan 10th 2021
42
Hijack Thread: Whats your favorite line or scene from Oz.
Oct 27th 2011
14
"Is that my cigarette hangin out of your mouth" (c) Poet
Oct 27th 2011
15
This was the first thing that came to mind
Oct 27th 2011
16
haha classic
Oct 27th 2011
18
First i was king, then i was looney.... now i am king again - Adebisi
Oct 27th 2011
17
'You're a slut, Beecher'
Oct 27th 2011
20
Kareem Said to Peter Shibetta:
Oct 27th 2011
25
It's remarkable
Oct 27th 2011
19
i watched for the hot gay romance.
Oct 27th 2011
21
That beacher/keller wrestling scene was the gayest scene ever
Oct 28th 2011
38
      did you not see any of the scenes were guys actually fucked?
Oct 28th 2011
40
I watched the entire run. Loved it, but it went waaaay off the rails.
Oct 27th 2011
22
Oz redefined going off the rails
Oct 27th 2011
23
I mean, a dude gets burned alive in the very first episode...
Oct 27th 2011
24
i thought the Adebisi sex tapes were OOC
Oct 27th 2011
26
Sidepost: How did O'Reilly manage to avoid any confrontations?
Oct 27th 2011
27
dunno about that. ryan arguably got punished worse than any other
Oct 28th 2011
28
yeah he mainly just instigated
Oct 28th 2011
31
did yall know they're brothers in real life? am I that late?
Oct 28th 2011
34
Like everyone said, it was good for the first few seasons ***SPOILERS***
Oct 28th 2011
29
Sort of like Lost did when Mr. Ecko died
Oct 28th 2011
36
why'd they wait til the last episode of the series to turn Alvarez gay?
Oct 28th 2011
30
for real, were the writers mad at that actor?
Oct 28th 2011
32
wasn't the last season thrown together due to a sopranos hiatus
Oct 28th 2011
37
Dream On.
Oct 28th 2011
41
shit is changed, ever since they killed Adebisi (C) Lord Jamarr
Oct 28th 2011
35
Probably just a homo-thug like Adebisie (c) Akinyele
Oct 28th 2011
39
I go through it about once a year. I love it.
Jan 12th 2021
45

kayru99
Member since Jan 26th 2004
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Wed Oct-26-11 08:44 PM

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1. "it was prison soap opera featuring a weekly threat of assrape"
In response to Reply # 0


          

Adibisi was a great character though

  

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CherNic
Member since Aug 18th 2005
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Wed Oct-26-11 09:02 PM

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2. "I still shiver when I hear "spooning""
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I havent watched it in a few years. I'd love to watch it again though. Loved it back then

  

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Ceej
Member since Feb 16th 2006
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Wed Oct-26-11 09:04 PM

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3. "Ive only seen S1, I need to GO the series"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

http://i.imgur.com/vPqCzVU.jpg

  

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Mynoriti
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Wed Oct-26-11 09:08 PM

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4. "now O'reilly's the super dave of insurance commercials"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

:(

--------
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Cold Truth
Member since Jan 28th 2004
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Thu Oct-27-11 12:20 AM

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7. "those commercials are awesome. "
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

  

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Mynoriti
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Thu Oct-27-11 12:58 AM

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9. "they're ok"
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

--------
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southphillyman
Member since Oct 22nd 2003
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Wed Oct-26-11 09:10 PM

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5. "The "Tits" scene was one of the greatest moments of tv I've ever seen"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

~~~~~~

  

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emeyesi
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Wed Oct-26-11 09:54 PM

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6. "That shit kept me out of jail. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

.imageyenation.dot.com.

  

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Bambino Grande
Member since Mar 14th 2019
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Tue Jan-12-21 10:08 AM

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43. "lmao"
In response to Reply # 6


          

  

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ninjitsu
Member since Oct 07th 2011
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Thu Oct-27-11 12:32 AM

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8. "that show sucked."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

  

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Mole
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Thu Oct-27-11 01:00 PM

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10. "Just curious: When did you watch the show?"
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

... In its initial run or after? I can't remember what the general feelings were about the show when it was originally on. I'm wondering if they've changed over the last decade.

___

http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v318/75/122/810420595/n810420595_3955028_32.jpg

"You can't imbue awesomeness into something that actually sucks." - Steve Albini

http://www.mpsinger.com
http://twitter.com/mpsinger

  

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ninjitsu
Member since Oct 07th 2011
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Fri Oct-28-11 07:28 AM

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33. "the initial run."
In response to Reply # 10


  

          

admittedly, it was compelling when it first started. then it became increasingly silly.

  

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Mgmt
Member since Feb 17th 2005
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Thu Oct-27-11 01:19 PM

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11. "in a few years, people will say Sopranos sucks, and Michael Jordan"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

sucked, etc., etc.

Anyway, Oz ALWAYS seemed cheesy and full of cheap shocks, even back then (and especially when it was running alongside Sopranos).

  

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Bambino Grande
Member since Mar 14th 2019
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Tue Jan-12-21 10:09 AM

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44. "People will never say Sopranos sucked"
In response to Reply # 11


          

  

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Ryan M
Member since Oct 21st 2002
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Thu Oct-27-11 01:28 PM

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12. "Some great characters, some good stories."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

It kind of did usher in this new golden age of TV in a lot of ways. I loved a LOT of the characters and a lot of the stories, but it's always been cheesy. Those last few seasons...oh my lord are they bad.

But that said, I remember watching the first 3 seasons like a fiend.

------------------------------
'19-'20 Bubble Lakers

X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X.X

2020 NBA Champions

  

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magilla vanilla
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Thu Oct-27-11 01:42 PM

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13. "What he said ^^ "
In response to Reply # 12


  

          

Plus, if I'm not mistaken, there's kind of an "Air Coryell" tree from Fontana to some of the other guys that have been kicking around HBO and AMC. Or maybe I'm remembering his connection to Dick Wolf.

Either way, it was pretty good up until they made Adebisi into superman.

---------------------------------
Photo zine(some images NSFW): http://bit.ly/USaSPhoto

"This (and every, actually) conversation needs more Chesterton and less Mike Francesa." - Walleye

  

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SuiteLady
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42. "I am watching this for the first time ever and at S4. I agree. Some grea..."
In response to Reply # 12


  

          

characters, some bad characters. Some good stories, some bad story lines.

I am going to finish it out, even though I see some comments in here that it becomes outlandish as it moves forward. I mean, even at season 4 some of this stuff is absurd.

Good enough winter COVID quarantine tv though!

♥ Inescapably Me ♥

"Love is never any better than the lover" Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)

  

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debo40oz
Member since Apr 16th 2003
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Thu Oct-27-11 02:25 PM

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14. "Hijack Thread: Whats your favorite line or scene from Oz."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

.

  

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debo40oz
Member since Apr 16th 2003
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Thu Oct-27-11 02:29 PM

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15. ""Is that my cigarette hangin out of your mouth" (c) Poet"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

I think thats what it was its been a decade since I have seen that show and that part of Poet's poem always stuck in my head.

  

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Melanism
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Thu Oct-27-11 02:30 PM

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16. "This was the first thing that came to mind"
In response to Reply # 14


          

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFm6oakSPf4

-------------------
<---YOU OUT!

http://blog.melanism.com
http://twitter.com/Melanism
http://seanlovesthis.tumblr.com
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Mynoriti
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Thu Oct-27-11 02:52 PM

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18. "haha classic"
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

--------
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Mynoriti
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Thu Oct-27-11 02:51 PM

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17. "First i was king, then i was looney.... now i am king again - Adebisi"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

--------
http://ambitiondeficitdisorder.tumblr.com/

  

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SoWhat
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Thu Oct-27-11 04:37 PM

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20. "'You're a slut, Beecher'"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

fuck you.

  

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disco dj
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Thu Oct-27-11 05:17 PM

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25. "Kareem Said to Peter Shibetta:"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

Kareem: "here in Oz you will always be known as one of Adebisi's bitches..."


______________



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Numba_33
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Thu Oct-27-11 03:40 PM

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19. "It's remarkable"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

how huge the show was and how much the last season has tarnished the memories of the show. I remember the show having a pretty fevered following before it started going downhill.

  

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SoWhat
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Thu Oct-27-11 04:39 PM

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21. "i watched for the hot gay romance."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

i stayed for the hot black manhood.

Beecher & Keller, man. MAN. i still have a crush on Chris Meloni b/c of Oz. initially, i watched L&O SVU b/c i recognized him from Oz. that was a compelling love story.

Adebisi was 1 of my favorites, of course. i quickly developed a crush on him. and on that light skinnded dude who ended up on The Wire. i can't recall any of his names. but, him.

so much hot manhood floated through that show.

fuck you.

  

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debo40oz
Member since Apr 16th 2003
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Fri Oct-28-11 12:33 PM

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38. "That beacher/keller wrestling scene was the gayest scene ever"
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

.

  

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SoWhat
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Fri Oct-28-11 02:41 PM

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40. "did you not see any of the scenes were guys actually fucked?"
In response to Reply # 38


  

          

LOL

j/k

fuck you.

  

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disco dj
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22. "I watched the entire run. Loved it, but it went waaaay off the rails."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

towards the end it was just plain ridiculous ( in a bad way). Even if you suspend disbelief, it was impossible to believe that all that shit would happen in a prison.

Somebody got killed on damn near every episode towards the end.

And that shit when Querns took over? C'mon. NO Prison would be THAT outta control.

______________



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Melanism
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23. "Oz redefined going off the rails"
In response to Reply # 22


          


-------------------
<---YOU OUT!

http://blog.melanism.com
http://twitter.com/Melanism
http://seanlovesthis.tumblr.com
http://www.formspring.me/seanathan
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Mole
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Thu Oct-27-11 05:03 PM

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24. "I mean, a dude gets burned alive in the very first episode..."
In response to Reply # 22


  

          

... Of all the ways to kill a guy in a prison, why would you choose to light him on fire? In light of that happening in the damn premiere, we probably should've seen the ridiculousness coming.

___

http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v318/75/122/810420595/n810420595_3955028_32.jpg

"You can't imbue awesomeness into something that actually sucks." - Steve Albini

http://www.mpsinger.com
http://twitter.com/mpsinger

  

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SoWhat
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Thu Oct-27-11 05:26 PM

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26. "i thought the Adebisi sex tapes were OOC"
In response to Reply # 22


  

          

until similar tapes leaked out of an Illinois prison. LOL

fuck you.

  

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disco dj
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Thu Oct-27-11 06:47 PM

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27. "Sidepost: How did O'Reilly manage to avoid any confrontations?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Notice how at one point or another, EVERYBODY on the show got their comeuppance.


Except for O'Reilly. He wheeled and dealed and had his finger in every pie, yet somehow, he always avoided that ass whipping.


______________



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Cold Truth
Member since Jan 28th 2004
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Fri Oct-28-11 12:05 AM

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28. "dunno about that. ryan arguably got punished worse than any other"
In response to Reply # 27


  

          

cyril was the ultimate victim of ryans schemes, and ryans love for cyril was as great as any man for his baby brother. ryan ultimately paid for his sins by having to watch cyril's downward spiral, knowing it was literally all (well... mostly) his fault.

ryan still skated, but he suffered in a way that cuts deeper if you ask me

still, truth be told, NOBODY on that show had more gangsta than ryan o'reilly. he manipulated everyone to do his bidding from the get go and never let up.

  

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Mynoriti
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Fri Oct-28-11 03:22 AM

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31. "yeah he mainly just instigated"
In response to Reply # 27


  

          

to take care of his enemies

which got pretty funny because everyone knew how he was and would still be like "he said what about my mama?!"

--------
http://ambitiondeficitdisorder.tumblr.com/

  

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CherNic
Member since Aug 18th 2005
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Fri Oct-28-11 08:13 AM

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34. "did yall know they're brothers in real life? am I that late?"
In response to Reply # 27


  

          

Jeevus. No wonder it was so real

  

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mrhood75
Member since Dec 06th 2004
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Fri Oct-28-11 12:57 AM

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29. "Like everyone said, it was good for the first few seasons ***SPOILERS***"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

(For anyone in here that hasn't watched it)





It really never recovered after Adebisi died. Once you kill a monster heel like that, there's no where else to go.

But yeah, those last few seasons got SUPER ugly. The aging pills (though apparently based on reality), the Chinese refugees, the unrelenting misery poured on Beecher (dude's wife and father were killed, I think one of his kids were killed, gets both his arms and legs broken, he gets out only to have Keller send him back in). In general, the Beecher/Keller romance was interesting for maybe three seasons, until you found out Keller's motivation behind it. Otherwise, it got beyond retarded.

In general, there was just too much misery, even for a show about prison. I mean, after it was all over, NO ONE was redeemed, except maybe O'Reily.

-----------------

www.albumism.com

Checkin' Our Style, Return To Zero:

https://www.mixcloud.com/returntozero/

  

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debo40oz
Member since Apr 16th 2003
4081 posts
Fri Oct-28-11 12:20 PM

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36. "Sort of like Lost did when Mr. Ecko died"
In response to Reply # 29


  

          

.

  

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Bombastic
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Fri Oct-28-11 01:16 AM

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30. "why'd they wait til the last episode of the series to turn Alvarez gay?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

What was the point of that 'development'?

Anyway, I enjoyed Oz at the time (used to watch it I believe right after the Chris Rock show) but it's definitely in that 'Dream On' territory of cooler-at-the-time but upstaged by later HBO shows.

I haven't watched it since it was still airing, the last season (maybe two or even longer but especially the last) ended up being pretty bad because they'd just killed off too many key characters after awhile but it was definitely entertaining for a good stretch in the early years.

Always found it funny that Lord Jamar was on that show, not that he really did much on it, I think I remember more about Treach's short stint on there than Jamar's whole stretch.

www.somethinginthewudder.com

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Mynoriti
Charter member
36128 posts
Fri Oct-28-11 03:27 AM

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32. "for real, were the writers mad at that actor?"
In response to Reply # 30


  

          

he became a bitch to some gay raver weirdo because he was tired?

too fucked up

--------
http://ambitiondeficitdisorder.tumblr.com/

  

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debo40oz
Member since Apr 16th 2003
4081 posts
Fri Oct-28-11 12:26 PM

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37. "wasn't the last season thrown together due to a sopranos hiatus"
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going longer than expected?

  

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SoWhat
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154163 posts
Fri Oct-28-11 02:42 PM

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41. "Dream On."
In response to Reply # 30


  

          

i forgot that show. i used to think the lead actor was sexy. in an odd way.

i have to go read about the show. i don't recall the premise.

fuck you.

  

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Beamer6178
Member since Jan 09th 2006
5954 posts
Fri Oct-28-11 09:30 AM

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35. "shit is changed, ever since they killed Adebisi (C) Lord Jamarr"
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That show fucking launched the careers of like EVERYONE who's been on TV over the past decade

Sopranos
Wire
Dexter
Law and Order
Lost
Spiderman/The Closer

I fucking loved the early seasons but didn't have HBO all the time so never saw it through. Recently watched from beginning to end. The writing and plots were much better early on, but it really did lose focus when Sayeed killed Simon. The warden getting with McManus's ex and later being killed just all went kind of out of control. And the Beecher saga wtf. Thought it was fucked up how they killed Augustus too, enjoyed his narration and dropping of some real ass facts about the prison system. That shit about how while not being able to vote prisoners count as numbers for voting districts blew my mind.

some GREAT acting performances in there. the only Law and Order I've watched more than two episodes of are SVU but I still see Chris Keller bout to fuck up and rape someone. Kathryn Erbe played the shit out of that broad on death row.

Besides a brief tour of one, I've never been and never plan on occupying space in prison so I can't say how "accurate" the depictions are but it was some good shit.

  

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spenzalii
Member since Jan 02nd 2004
10369 posts
Fri Oct-28-11 01:22 PM

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39. "Probably just a homo-thug like Adebisie (c) Akinyele"
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How the hell did he keep that hat on the side of his head?

But on the real, that was one trill ass show

<-- Dave Thomas knows what's up...
__________________________

Jay: Look here homie, any nigga can get a hit record. This here is about respect.
Game: Like Gladys Knight.
Jay: Aretha Franklin.
Game: Word, I like her too.
Jay: Nigga...

  

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Cold Truth
Member since Jan 28th 2004
41660 posts
Tue Jan-12-21 02:16 PM

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45. "I go through it about once a year. I love it. "
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like 48.7% of the show is "just go with it".

So that can be a difficult sell for people that weren't all in from jump.

To me Oz felt ridiculous pretty early on, but the characters were generally so engaging that I didn't care.

Later seasons doubled down on the absurdities of it, but there's still a lot of powerful moments to be had.

They managed to make Robson a sympathetic character, for example. The bit with Cutler was a hard watch, and despite the horrific nature of Robson's therapy sessions, those are some of the most human moments on the show.

Season 6, getting the dead to take on Augustus' narrator role (Augustus included), was fantastic, and a solid love letter to the fans who rode through to the end. I loved the surprise of seeing Tizi Ouzou narrating.

There's a lot of facepalming to be had, and the show looks and feels extremely dated. For me that's much of the charm. It's a perfect storm, to that end. Even worthless oafs like Ralph Galino, and they're otherwise stupid story lines, have a certain charm to them.

The show is well worth watching, particularly for the arcs of Sayid, O'Reilly, and Beecher. But there are so many more.

IMO this is a deeper, wiser show, with more heart, and with more profound things to say, and questions to ask, about the human condition than it's betters.

And yeah... it's the joint that kicked off the golden era. Not in many ways, not in some sense, it straight up is. The Sopranos nailed the shot, but Oz helped get that ball in play.

I fucking love this show.

  

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