Context and a TV Show: Boardwalk Empire

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dana Stevens, film critic for Slate and co-host of the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast, discusses the HBO miniseries "Boardwalk Empire" about Prohibition-Era Atlantic City, and Daniel Okrent, writer, editor, inventor of Rotisserie League Baseball, former public editor at The New York Times and the author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, offers his insight into the era and history of Prohibition.


Dana Stevens

Comments [14]

max singer

as someone who grew up in ac i was surprised to see shots from the show which showed white guys in boaters pushing rolling chairs on the boardwalk. that was a menial job reserved for black males. i know. i wanted that job for the summer and had to be told the what is what

Oct. 06 2010 02:15 AM


Not sure I'm understanding your comment. There was no medicaid in the 1920's as far as I know...?

Oct. 05 2010 06:16 PM
Karen from manhattan

I'll keep on watching the show for a while longer. I like it well enough. (I love Buscemi), but the opening sequence is very weird with the noisy guitar and the Magritte-like/surreal scene with the man in the overcoat and hat and repetitive patter of floating bottles. I don't get the connection.

Oct. 05 2010 11:59 AM
Jackie from Brooklyn

Spending virtually every holiday in AC (Easter, Mother's Day, the like...) and having a house down the shore in Ocean City, I find 2 things glaringly problematic.
1) there is almost always a gusty wind on the boardwalk unless there is a Storm looming inland and it shows in the sky always, and 2) Nothing, and I mean nothing, not one material can fight rust on the boardwalk through the winters on the shore. Not every store would look so crisp and unworn unless every store on the boardwalk opened that year.
It naws at my husband and I, who were raised on the Jersey (AC area) shore, each time.
And don't get us started on the Pine Barrens shots. But it's still great, just hard to ignore.

Oct. 05 2010 11:57 AM
Brady from LES

We've started referring to this show as "Boredwalk Empire."

It is just so bland.

Oct. 05 2010 11:57 AM

It's a Deadwood and Sopranos hybrid, with some more flashy background scenes. Still not hooked... a little slow at times.

Oct. 05 2010 11:57 AM

I hope this takes off. I have read for 2 roles, and still hoping. They hire unknown New York based actors, and there ain't nothing wrong with that!

Oct. 05 2010 11:55 AM


"Jersey Shore"
Why? ( since we've already invented medicaid. )

Oct. 05 2010 11:54 AM
Angela Alverson from Greenpoint

I'm really enjoying BE. HBO built a big set in Greenpoint right on the East River with a giant green screen blocking the view of Manhattan.

Oct. 05 2010 11:54 AM
cas from nyc

Al Capone used to read bedtime stories to my dad when he was a child. Mr. Capone and my father's father were best friends.

Oct. 05 2010 11:53 AM
Aaron J. from Brooklyn, NY

I agree with Dana, I think that the premiere had a lot to set up and came across as a little over the top, but I enjoyed the 2nd episode much more.

Oct. 05 2010 11:52 AM

I think BE has an interesting subtext - pointing out the difficulties of life before the New Deal. The show quietly shows scenes like the chance to pay 25 cents to see premature babies - why? To raise money because there is no medicaid to help take care of them??

Oct. 05 2010 11:50 AM
BK Girl from Brooklyn

Finally a smart show that requires me to pay attention to the dialogue. Beautiful visuals too. This show reminds me of a good old movie from the 1940's. I look forward to the upcoming episodes. I am hooked.

Oct. 05 2010 11:50 AM

I hope marijuana laws are changed and people 50 years later will ask, "What were they thinking to outlaw this benign drug?" just like we say now with alcohol.

Oct. 05 2010 11:47 AM

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