Oz (American TV series)
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Welcome to Oswald State Correctional Facility, nicknamed Oz. I'm Augustus Hill, the guy in the wheelchair who introduces each show, a metaphor about how the lives and souls of prisoners are compromised by societal norms and circumstances revolving around getting caught. Many of us live in aquariums in a large test-tube named Emerald City. There are cliques here, and you can separate us into me--the cripple--and then the spics, the fags, the niggers, the mecca freaks, the swat team, the dagos, the nun, the nazis, the old people, the women visitors, the chinks, the bikers, the guards, the administrators, the brain injured, the medical geeks, the relatives, Miss Sally, and a rat-like governor who hangs around all the fucking time. There are so many of us that you can hardly keep us straight in your head. Me, I mainly talk at the beginning. And later on I sell tits.
Before we enter Emerald City there are some ground rules. No drugs, buggery, cussing or violence of any kind. No tattle-tails, worry warts, liars, or hissy-fit temper tantrum pussies. Love your neighbor as yourself, work towards world peace and an end to deforestation, and petition for full funding of the James Webb Space Telescope and an continuing expansion of space exploration in general.
Now stand up and shuffle your shackled feet and let's pass through the gates of Emerald City, gates which you can hear opening and closing all during the 56 episodes of this fuckingingly two-sided cock attack of a show. What show? The best Miss Sally Show ever!
The scene: Em City. We see men. Lots of men. Either sitting or standing, walking or pissing. This is what they do here.
Upstairs Beecher, a drunkard lawyer newbie convicted of the booze-induced vehicular homicide of a young girl, is getting involuntarily butt-fucked in his aquarium by a bald nazi. Other nazis watch and take bets. On the stairs leading to the top row of glass-walled cells sits Simon Adebisi, a large mandingo who inexplicably - and against both the law of gravity and the penal code of whatever state this show is set - balances a tiny cap on the side of his head. He smirks at the top of his voice at a group of dagos, gets to his feet, and walks down the stairs as his buddy Poet, a poet, follows and mouths the word "Word". The wops pass by and give them multiple fingers, some to the solar plexus. At the card tables on the main floor a biker gestures towards the guards and seductively runs a finger across his neck. A bored guard, looking for a kick or two, runs a finger across his own neck - and then they both do this for about half an hour to see who will blink first. Inmate Alverez speaks to Omar White, who's standing in an elevated ape cage set up in the middle of the floor. The cage is meant to publicly punish and humiliate the prisoners, but only amounts to giving guys a stage to spout off from.
"Man, what you doin' up in a cage bro, whad you have to do to get up in there?" "Nuttin', man, nuttin. I swear man! Jus' kill a guy, grab nun tittie, saw a woman in half, plant an IUD, man, she told me she was 16 man. Hey, just tell McManus to open up the door, c'mon cuz bro home." "Nah dude, you stay in there. We need something to point at." "Gonna kill you I get out!" "Man, chill, could be worse, could be in the tits anom meeting!"
On the ground floor of Em City a priest pretends to pray while making a shiv from a toothbrush. an old man wearing a hat you wouldn't be caught dead in digs a tunnel with an Easy-Bake Oven spoon, and a fag counting his french-kiss earnings gyrates, jitterbugs, and twerks to scare up his next customer. Two nigs sandwich a tatted hindi, a pollack short-order cook dribbles a basketball with one hand while dribbling ground glass into prison-issue porridge with his mother, the guy in the ape-cage screams ""Who the hell brought these fucking cameras 'n scumbag non-union sound-crew into the lockup, bro?" as the muslim chieftan rug-squats with his posse. And last but not least, a partridge in a fucking pear tree. Something wheely moves into the scene and the crip speaks to us.
"The philosopher Baruch de Spinoza, a historically important personage, was a wise teacher who purposely drove a Buffy-like wedge between philosophy and religion. He tells us that man, stripped by circumstance and civilization of all dignity, repose, sexual preference, good soap and freedom, reverts to his basic state of primate mammalhood. He then reacts to the world from the decisions he's made while existing in this state of being. This thus necessitates that his interreactions with his fellow man come from a mindset of caution, selfishness, and subligated aggression. Soon, before you can say 'biggity bobbity boo', all the world is following his lead without...even...knowing...it. Me, I'm just trying to get my dick sucked before gametime."
Fights break out all over the fucking place in the gym between fags, jews, and tex-mex nigs. Within 10 seconds a fully armored SWAT team runs in and chases the prisoners willy-nilly in-between the weight machines. When they catch them they swat them with shields, powerful and colorful strength-enforced fly swatters, and armored and teflon coated tennis rackets. The SWAT goons blow whistles, break heads, play chaotic music, and give the more-moronic prisoners their due. The mobbed-up dagos look on and smirk. Two of them tag-team and continually trip and then pick up Tommy Chong. Everyone smirks again, chaotic music fades, weights are lifted, bags are punched, basketballs are bounced by administrators and ex-wives, and in the corner Mexian gang leader El Cid "accidently" dies from a metal overdose and doesn't plan to be found until either round three of the rigged fight or half-time of the pick-up game.
McManus, who came up with the idea of Emerald City - he thought a modern prison wing with trendy glass cells instead of standard steel bars, where rehabilitation is the goal, and humanity gets consideration, realizes he was so wrong that he probably should have himself tested for something - complains to the warden about man's inhumanity to man. "I don't want to hear about it, McManus. What are we gonna do, huh? You tell me that! What do you expect me to do?" McManus is stumped. "Leo, I'm tempted to just free everyone from their aquariams, which I call squareiams. Let them out, just let them have their way with each other. Winner take all."
An undercover cop pretending to be Leo's receptionist face palms, shakes his head, and shows McManus to the door. "Get some rest," he tells him as he shoves the shaking innovator towards the door. McManus goes willingly, bids Leo and the narc goodnight, and finds his way home to dog-style his real world wife - Shirly Bellinger - knowing that he'll be hanging her on the show and in real-life within the week.
Meanwhile, back at Oz, Warden Leo eats a healthy snack, does a few job interviews, hires another homicidal guard, and together they wall-up Mrs. Soprano. Leo then changes his shirt before turning out Cyril's lights and going home.
The sound of doors opening and closing. Other sounds, tiny sirens - tiny screams? - background voices. We, like the inmates, soon get used to these sounds and don't even hear them. Around the TV set the prisoners watch Miss Sally put on her combination childrens/exercise/adult titillation show, outdoing herself daily in the twisty and the bouncy. Just biding time, we see the Catholic psychologist, Sister Peter Marie, get gut stabbed by a tough-talking but kind-hearted shanty Irishman, Ryan O'Reilly, and she bleeds out nun style. Prisoners and guards clap, guffaw, and howl, delivery men and nurses bare their teeth, drag their knuckles, and slap their knees, and a television audience - which will later see this happen in slow-mo and high-def due to the state-of-the-art cameras being used to film the 56-episode documentary - points, eats more handfuls of personally-preferred high-caloric snacks, and comments to other people watching that "That O'Reilly seems like such a nice man." O'Reilly, in deep trouble for the fifty-sixth time in his life because of a cold-blooded killing of a nun, is led away and thrown naked into the hole. He knows he must stay in there for at least 20 minutes of airtime, to think about what he's done. He may start to hallucinate, and hopes he does. The sound of doors opening and closing. Other sounds.
The angry Muslim Iman in a Allah cap - best-selling author Kareem Saïd - pops his eyes wide and snarls at the chink priest and O'Reilly's abusive dad because they've just beaten him fair and square in a hand of gin rummy. As they deal another hand in Sister Peter Marie's old office - turned into a combination rec room/drug den about a minute after her death - three skinny Aryans and a tall technodecnopagan-nightclub owner look on, trading and dealing death plots to pass the time and earn money for oral. Saïd stands up after a winning hand to call out his luck and praise Allah, and as McManus and the Master of Ceremonies walk in and off him, nobody sees a thing. McManus saunters into the hall, meets the nurse whose husband Ryan had killed so he could win her broken heart, and they go for coffee and a nooner. Said's mortal remains are picked over, stripped naked, painted kelly green, and thrown into the hole.
Way too much going down in each episode to keep track of with one brain.
"As no less a legal authority than Ramesses II told us, 'When pharaohs and high priests come face to face with the end result of their mutual pursuit of order and conformity, they must look closely into the skying stone to truly see and intently perceive the mad entombed mob of bored and pumped up psychopaths inhabiting this outcast landscape,'" snidely entones the crip, dressed as a bishop, while turning round and round in a cubed glass tumbler. Images of mayhem and ghosts intermingle in a light show as midget Aryans perform modern dance below him. "And so, ergo, like Ramesses, we can enact kindly compassionate, and intelligently rendered societal acts of redemption. Or we can laugh like a hyena and go the other way entirely, pursing wholesale cruelty, enforcing nit-picking regulations and things made up on the spot, and apathetically endure tepid responses to environmental destruction and, in the process, somehow thinking it's alright to watch civilization die the death of a thousand cuts. Make your choice on which path to take...before...lights....out."
Lights out. Men englassed, guards read old detective novels. Evening in prison - no wind, moon, stars, or cricket calls. "Prisons should have crickets, man, you know how cool that'd be?" discuss a Dago, an Obese, and a Russkie while masturbating into a Bible. Prisoners fuck and suck in their aquariams along the perimeter. Someone whistles, but it may just be gas. A guilty man bounces marbles off his innocent cellmate's head, Willie Nelson sings about crying in the rain, and two wops arm wrestle for dominence.
The next day finds the sorting hat sending more men to Emerald City. Among the new arrivals are a teen-aged jewboy and a rugged fisherman trying on each other's clothes, a pet store owner already lathered up, and a tanned waterboy with an "Available" sign hung around his neck and a price sticker glued to his ass. As they walk into Em City an NBA superstar, an ex-sheriff, a marine colonel, and a guy with high hopes ambush and kill all of them in alphabetical order. Guffaws, snickering and pointing, chaotic music played on a banjo. The underpaid guards, reclining barefoot on lounge chairs, consider taking everyone to the hole, but the NBA superstar signs a few balls and all is well.
Totally out of place and symbolically crescendo twisty, the prisoners perform "Hamlet" using both real and fake knives and swords, medivial costumes made from cheap material, and box-cutters. Schillinger takes on the persona of Hamlet's ghost and a seeing-eye dog plays Prince Fortinbras of Norway as O'Reilly laments love's labor lost and Keller, Chong, and Beecher engage in a three-way behind the curtain before exploring the limits of triad-homosexuality in full view of the audience. Whoops and hollers, catcalls and hurrahs, Jimmy crack corn Vern's eye won't smear. The governor walks through.
All hell breaks loose, a massive gas explosion in the kitchen blows apart much of Oz and Öh My God poison powder released from an envelope kills all the hispanics and gypsies in the mailroom. Cats meowing everywhere. The guy in the hat tunnels to freedom and the Chinese volleyball squad which inexplicably lives in the middle of Em City runs in circles. Explosive gas, poisoned powder, low grade fossil fuels and the third plague engulf the set as TV crews fight each other to the death, Chris Keller jumps to his death, and the warden is seen no more. Suddenly, without warning, buses pull up outside, all the prisoners quietly line up and get on board, and they drive away.
Bringing the show to an unpowerful nonscreeching anticlimax. What show?