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 you've got 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, foul-mouthed 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 on the second floor 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 up to that row of glass-enclosed cells sits Simon Adebisi, a large mandingo who inexplicably - and against both the law of gravity and the federal penal code of whatever nation state this show is set in - balances a tiny cap on the side of his head. He smirks at the top of his voice at a group of dagos, then dabs it clean, zippers up, gets to his feet, and walks down the stairs as his buddy Poet, a poet, follows and mouths the word "Word". The wops passing by give them multiple fingers, some to the solar plexus. Squatting on a card table 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 - 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 ina 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, you just gotta go tell McManus to open up the door. C'mon cuz bro homey." "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 a tits anom meeting!"
On Em City's ground floor a priest pretends to pray while, using stone-age technology he learned from a young boy acting in self-defense, he's makes his toothbrush into a shiv. An old man wears a hat you wouldn't be caught dead in while digging a tunnel with an Easy-Bake Oven spoon, a fag counts his french-kiss earnings as he 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 brought these fuckin cameras 'n this scab sound-crew intta the lockup, bro?" at the muslim chieftan rug-squatting with his posse, and 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 decision-patterns he's made while existing in this state of being. This thus necessitates thusly: his interreactions with his fellow man from that point on will 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, chases the prisoners willy-nilly in-between weight machines and punching bags, and swats them upside the head with shields, colorful nanostrength-reinforced fly swatters, and armored teflon coated tennis rackets. The SWAT team's finest 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 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 the leader of the Mexian gang, El Cid, accidently dies from a sudden-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 was the genius that came up with the brilliant idea of Emerald City. He was trying to do a post-penal assessment of the human race and, with working with all his heart, mind, and strength, translated the knowledge gained from his studies of the social condition into a new-age proto-humanitarian prison design. He planned to write papers, get cited in the correct journals, and undoubtedly be invited to speak at Penal Rehabilitation Conferences all across the world. He thought a modern prison wing with trendy glass cells instead of standard steel bars, where complete rehabilitation is the goal and humanity is considered, would heal the crushed lives of the men who found themselves there. He now realizes he was so wrong that he probably should have himself tested for something.
McManus paces in the wardens office complaining about man's inhumanity to man. "I don't want to hear about it, McManus," the warden intones while eyeing the clock, "What are we gonna do, huh? C'mon, you tell me! What do you expect me to do?" McManus is stumped. "Leo, I'm tempted to just free everyone from their aquariams and give them the run of the cellblock. Let them out, just let them have their way with each other. Winner take all."
An undercover cop, pretending to be Leo's receptionist, facepalms, shakes his head, and shows McManus the door. "Get some rest," he tells him as he shoves the shaking innovator into the hallway. McManus goes willingly, bids Leo and the narc goodnight and sweet dreams, and travels home to dog-style his real world wife - the actress who plays child killer 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 that we don't even hear them. Around the TV set the prisoners watch Miss Sally put on her 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, everyone drags their knuckles and slaps their knees, and the television audience - which will later see Sister Peter Marie's murder happen in slow-mo and high-def due to the state-of-the-art cameras being used by the non-union to film the 56-episode documentary - points, eats another handful of personally-preferred high-caloric snacks, and comments to other people watching the show that "This O'Reilly fella seems like such a nice guy."
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 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 deadbeat dad because they've just beaten him fair and square in a fixed game of gin rummy. As another hand is dealt in the middle of Sister Peter Marie's old office - turned into a combination rec room/drug den about twenty seconds after her death - three skinny Aryans and a tall faux technopagan nightclub owner look on and trade and deal death plots to pass the time and earn money for oral. Saïd stands up after a winning hand and calls out his luck and then praises 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 hot nurse whose husband Ryan had whacked so he could win her broken heart, and they go for coffee and a nooner. Kareem 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 carefully and closely into the skying stone to truly see and intently perceive the mad entombed mob of bored and pumped up psychopaths inhabiting an outcast wasteland. They wake up and try to survive daily in an unyielding intolerable 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 bow and perform modern dance below him. "And so, ergo, like Ramesses, we can enact kindly, compassionate, and intelligently rendered societal acts of redemption. Or, laughing like hyenas and deciding to go the other way, we blindly and obediently pursue wholesale cruelty, enforce nit-picking regulations made up on the spot, and apathetically give and endure tepid responses to worldwide environmental destruction. Somehow, in this process, we think it's perfectly alright to watch both human civilization and the natural landscape 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, everyone masturbates or butt-fucks his fave fauxgal. A typical Saturday evening in Oz. No wind, moon, stars, or cricket chirps. "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 square aquariums (squariums?) along the perimeter. Someone whistles, but it may just be gas. A guilty man bounces marbles off an innocent man'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-jewboy and a rugged fisherman trying on each other's clothes, a pet store owner already lathered up, and a tanned buff waterboy with an "Available" sign hung around his neck and a price tag 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 them all 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 suddenly perform "Hamlet" using both real and fake knives, swords, and boxcutters. Bedecked in medivial costumes made from cheap material, the players strut the stage, gladly giving Shakespeare himself excuseth to turneth over in his grave. 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. 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 facepalm poison powder released from an envelope kills all of the hispanics and gypsies working, loitering, and going postal in the mailroom. Cats meowing everywhere. The guy in the hat tunnels to freedom and the Chinese volleyball squad that inexplicably lives in the middle of Emerald 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 peacefully get on board, and they drive away.
Bringing the show to an unpowerful nonscreeching tepid-filled anticlimax. What show?