Have you all been watching Boardwalk Empire? It’s yet another HBO show that now dominates Sunday nights. It’s a period piece set during prohibition times in Atlantic City. Steve Buscemi plays Nucky Thompson – the “Boss” of the city.
Nucky – was a real person who did indeed run the illegal alcohol trade in AC. He was known for big parties, big gestures and show girls. Steve is staying fairly true to this on screen. He’s got a showgirl girlfriend who doesn’t appear to have too many brain cells, but of course there is this other woman… An Irish widow with two children. (Nucky made her a widow when he learned her husband was abusive.)
Through the first few episodes, you can see she admires him and goes to him seeking help for her struggling family. Inexplicably he takes interest in her. He kills her husband, then finds her a job. We can see she is grateful to him but there also seems to be something else there. She’s excited when he comes to see her. She fusses with her appearance.
On his birthday he dances with her at an extravagant party while she dazzles him with her intelligence and wit. Meanwhile his girlfriend is hiding naked in the cake. At the end of this episode the Widow Schroeder steals some lingerie from the dress shop where she works.
The subsequent episode will go down as one of my favorite TV eps ever. The episode is really a mind game between these two characters. The Widow Schroeder wants Nucky’s attention. Nucky has decided he’s got enough complications in his life and the last thing he needs is a temperance supporting suffragette widow with two kids. After all she’s a good woman. And he’s a bad man.
He ignores her at every turn. So she reports a “beer” storage facility to the IRS and names the man running the operation as someone working with Nucky. Of course she’s only doing this because she cares about the temperance movement…. Right!!!!!
Nucky’s man gets arrested in dramatic fashion and we see the Widow Schroeder singing along with her temperance sisters as she and Nucky exchange a glance that is pure genius.
I refer to this as a “I’m not going to be ignored!“ look. Which he returns with an “I believe I underestimated you” gaze. When the knock on her door came late at night I didn’t know if she was going to be fired from the job, beaten up by a gangster or kissed senseless. Nucky went with kissing her senseless. LOVED IT!
The payoff from this episode wasn’t as good as I expected, but I’m still fascinated. The Widow Schroeder is not pure and sweet. She is smart and feisty and very practical. She also strikes me as a woman who will do whatever she needs to survive. Nucky will sleep with anything that moves, has no intention of marrying anyone and making them honest, yet we see this particular woman does something to him. I really hope they continue to make this relationship interesting. They won me over with that one episode.
Well, that and the hats. I love hats!
The point - to me there is NOTHING sexier than two smart people pitting their brains against each other. It takes the physical chemistry to a whole new level.