HBO's worst show (well, make that second worst), but the only one we've wanted to watch the whole way through. Oz hooked us a few years ago: it was the dawn of 2003 and the combination of our nascently-undergraduated philosophical leanings and the show's apparent Panopticism, beastly Hobbesian social contracts, and slap slap slap u around brutality made for a perfect fit. How could we ignore the voice-of-God narration, the overwhelming presence of "that guy"s, and those horrible performances from Rick Fox and Evan Seinfeld? How could we look away as the once well-to-do attorney became the bitch of the Aryan Brotherhood? Or when that CO gets his eyeballs stabbed out? Or when Luke Perry gets sealed up Edgar Allen Poe style? Ah yes, so many Oz memories, each more ridiculous and improbable than the last.
We're not entirely sure why we stuck it out all these years, but we suspect it has something to do with Dean Winters, the actor who probably got the job 'cause his brother's a head writer. Winters held his own and somehow lasted through all six seasons as scheming Irish-American thug Ryan O'Reilly, a guy responsible for killing half of the dudes we saw die. Thing is, Winters never broke character and never let the asinine scripts impede his scene-chewing performances, a feat all the more remarkable considering the local dinner theater performance of his real-life brother as his on-screen brain-damaged inmate brother. Yeesh. But it's because of actors like him, that dude who played the wheelchair guy, and that other fella who played the strikingly stupid inmate who hound-dogged the cellblock director that Oz kept us around. Also the guest appearances from Peter Criss and Pepa!
Okay, but in Season Six, you ask, what happened? Beats us, we watched this like three weeks ago. All we can remember is that a bunch of main characters get offed, that old dude falls in love with Patti LuPone, and that other old dude punches out the parole board when they deny him his right to artificially inseminate his children's tv show host wife. We found it way stupid that Beecher got paroled and sent back to the pen on a set up drug bust, but way cool when he got set up to kill Schillinger and then wound up pushing Keller to his death. We'd hoped this season would end with everyone dying, but instead we saw a handful of lifetime characters get shipped to a new prison right before the credits. As long as we never get a reunion episode...
Hey, anyone remember Cos, the hilarious MadTV parody? No? Good.