Half A Gangster: Boardwalk Empire Rants and Raves

After just reading what’s got to be the zillionth Boardwalk Empire review to contain the line “You can’t be half a gangster” and to pan the show for not focusing more on an ancillary character (in this case, Nelson Van Alden), we’ve just go to rant a bit.

Who doesn’t get that Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson is the focal character and star of the show?

Who doesn’t get that Atlantic City is the primary location of the show? It’s Boardwalk Empire. Atlantic City is the Boardwalk Empire and Nucky Thompson is the Boardwalk Emperor.

Sometimes, we doubt these reviewers even watch the show, but just find out what happened from somebody else’s recap, or else, why would Channel Guide call the third season “a misfire” and cry about Van Alden being exiled “to Chicago in a tertiary subplot (he’s on the lam, selling irons door-to-door, and living with his Norwegian wife and their two babies) that is rarely visited by the show’s writers.” First of all, Van Alden is in Cicero, splitting hairs, yeah — but if you watch the show, you know that. Secondly, Van Alden is no threat to Nucky, the central character. There’s really no reason for him to be on the show anymore unless … there is. There’s been some speculation that Van Alden’s character will evolve into a fictional version of George ‘Bugs’ Moran (hence the reason for the alias George Mueller), and if so, then we guess that will be a reason for him to continue to be on the show, right up to the end, which is predicted to be in 1929 and he will die in the St. Valentine’s Massacre. But he still will not be the central character.

We’re not going to go through the list of other characters that are wept over regularly: Rothstein, Luciano, Lansky, Siegel, all New York gangsters; Al Capone, future Public Enemy No. 1; and Chalky White. This is, we think,  a real flaw of the show in suggesting that Nucky’s ability to count on the support of Atlantic City’s black population was due to black gangsters. Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, the book that inspired the show goes more into detail on how Nucky achieved this by taking care of poor folks in his town through his ward bosses and earning their eternal loyalty as a result.

No, we’re going to just go right to the silly observation that the best line of Boardwalk Empire’s third season was when Gyp Rossetti uttered the line: “I got a gun, he got a gun, he got a gun, EVERYBODY got guns!”

OMG! You’re kidding, right? This has got to be the one line in the whole third season that we were the least impressed with. It reminded of us “Gonna Shout All Over God’s Heaven.”

Even Gyp’s wife line: “What are we — cats in an alley?” tops that.

If you need to refresh your memory on some of Season Three’s quotes, we haven’t done them from every single episode, but there’s still a lot. Have a look:

In any event, don’t count Season 3 out yet. We think the best of Boardwalk Empire Season 3 is still to come.

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