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While I sit and write this, I can honestly tell you I have never quit a TV show because of a plot line. That’s not to say I have never stopped watching a TV show, but stopping and quitting are two different things. Just like you don’t stop smoking cigarettes, you quit smoking cigarettes. Stoping smoking means that once in a while you forget to buy a pack, sometimes you have something better to do then lighting one up and before you know it, you haven’t smoked in a month and you don’t miss it. That’s stopping, but nobody really ever stops smoking, do they? They quit. They force themselves not to buy a pack, they grind their teeth whenever they get the urge to smoke one and even years down the road, when they see that light blue smoke rising thru the air they miss it like a junkie misses smack.
I said before that I stopped watching TV shows in the past, but last night, for the first time, I quit “Boardwalk Empire”. The reason? If you watch the show, you already know.

20111212-131628.jpgJimmy and his one suit.

James Darmody was one of my two favorite characters in “Boardwalk Empire”. He was the reason I tuned in every week and loved the show for every single episode and yes, that includes the season two finale and the reason I quit the show. Confused? How can I love an episode and loathe it at the very same time? Allow me to explain this double edged sword viewpoint of mine before we get any farther. There is absolute genius in the evil that took place on last nights episode.

20111212-133908.jpgThe camera loves Michael Pitt. Even watching him just sitting there is entertaining.

The way it was written, the way it played out, the dialogue, the performances, the cinematography and the soundtrack was all perfect. It was as good as TV gets, an hour of TV so engrossing I literally didint move for the whole hour. It was all perfect except for the fact that it happened. That was its one flaw, the reason why it’s terrible is because it exists.

I apologize if I’m getting to philosophical, but what I’m trying to say is that this perfection should have never happened, at least not yet. It was to early for Jimmy to die as he was the heart of the show to Nucky’s brain. I’m not a TV writer, but if I was the show runner for this, this would be the series finale, showcasing Nucky’s transformation to a full gangster. Do you remember in the first episode of the series Jimmy says to Nucky “You can’t be half a gangster anymore”? That’s what this show should have been about. Nucky’s transformation from a crooked politician to a full on gangster, getting his hands dirty and taking care of business himself.

*In the same vein, I’d just like to metion that in my opinion the show moved too fast this season. The end of season one left so many possibilities, I would have loved to see Jimmy become a serious competitions to Nucky, and going head to head with him in the liquor trade. That was the setup for season two, but before we even got midway Jimmy’s empire was crumbling.

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I don’t want to sit here and analyze the whole series and get too far off topic so let me bring it back to the point of the article: Jimmy’s death made me quit the show. Why? I said before he was my favorite character but it’s not as simple as that. I’m not quitting because he was my favorite character, I’m quitting because I don’t like any other characters on the show. There is nobody else I really care enough about to keep me tuning in every week and following every single episode. As an example let me use “Game of Thrones”: Ned was my favorite character on that show, but when he was killed the thought of quitting the show never even passed thru my mind. I was most definitely upset that it happened, but what “Game of Thrones” did that “Boardwalk Empire” didn’t is that it created a whole cast of very interesting characters around Ned that I fell in love with. Was I upset that Ned died? Very much so, but I won’t stop watching because I also really like Tyrion, Dany, Jon, Robb and Arya. There’s hardly no character in that show whose story I don’t want to see played out. “Boardwalk Empire” failed to do that, they made one interesting character and they killed him off, and simply put, I hate almost every other character on that show. Allow me to break it down

20111212-132813.jpgPictured Here: Douchebag

Nucky: I originally tuned in to the premiere of the show for Steve Bushemi. I love him as an actor, but before the second episode aired, I was there for Jimmy. Nucky completely lost me this past season for reasons I still can’t pin point, but it think it’s because he was too far over to the dark side. He’s a greedy, spiteful, cocky puppet master, and there was nothing in there for me to like. He was smart and clever, but it wasn’t enough for me to enjoy as a character. What made it worse for my opinion of Nucky was that there was no character development for him. After all the crap he’s been thru this past season, the betrayal, the indictment and trouble at home, he comes out unscathed and completely the same as he was before. He welcomes Eli with open arms and marries Margaret like their life together is perfect. The final nail in the coffin was him killing Jimmy basically cementing himself as the bad guy by killing off a favorite character, and you can’t be a main character and the bad guy in a show like this. That does not work in a drama, this in not a comedy like “Eastbound & Down” where a evil protagonist works.

20111212-133101.jpgYou’re a racist, mean-spirited, coke head Kenny, but I still love you.

It would have worked if before he shot Jimmy, he turned the gun on Manny or Eli and shot them. That way, even if he killed Jimmy the viewer would have a sense of justice and a reason to like Nucky. That didn’t happen and at the end of last nights episode the bad guys won and the hero lost. Nucky is no longer an antihero but a full fledged villain and I’m not going to watch a TV show where I root against the main character.

Margaret: Margaret is a character I did not enjoy watching one bit, going as far as skipping thru some of her scenes if there’s not another major character involved. I don’t love to hate her like I do with Cersei or Joffrey on “Game of Thrones” (Yes, I’m referencing “Game of Thrones” again because that is a new quality programming standard I’ll hold all TV shows up to). Margaret is just a character I have no investment in, a character I hope would be killed off in every episode, a character I neither like or dislike, I just don’t care. I belive it was the wrestler Shawn Michaels that once said “I don’t care if people cheer me or boo me as long as when I go out there they do something.”, when it comes to Margaret all I hear is crickets.

20111212-133226.jpgYou have no idea how much I nothing you, Margaret.

Those are the two major character that I belive HBO thinks viewers will tune in for next season. Of course, there is also Owen who is getting set up to be Jimmy’s replacement but does not have the acting chops of Michael Pitt and his story is uninteresting since he’s already proven himself disloyal. Agent Van Alden has been pretty much written out of the show, moving to Chicago under an assumed name so there goes another character I liked down the drain. That leaves us with the only other character that made me watch this every week, the man with the iron face aka Richard Harrow.

20111212-133443.jpgNo caption can be cool enough for this guy.

Aside from Jimmy, it was Richards story I was most invested in, and week after week Jack Huston knocked his performances out of the park. I would love to see Richard become a masterless samurai next season, dealing out vengeance for the murders of Jimmy and Angela but the show runner for “Boardwalk Empire” already said thats not going to happen. Richard lost his connection to Atlantic City with the deaths of the only two people that understood him, just like I lost my connection to “Boardwalk Empire” with the death of Jimmy. It was just way too soon.

I’ll be the first to admit, it took balls to make a move like that just like it took balls for David Chase to end “The Sopranos” the way he did. When that finale ended and the screen went black, I was just like the majority of the viewers, I thought my cable box went out, but then the credits started rolling and I was in awe. It was perfect, but that was a series finale, not the end of season two. Killing off Jimmy took balls, but was it a smart move? Not at all. From the fan reaction online, it looks like “Boardwalk Empire” will loose at least 40% of their viewers which means it won’t have a season four. It’s sad because I loved the show, but now I have no reason to watch it. Thankfully it did give me two seasons worth of great TV and I enjoyed every second of it.

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Comments
  1. Jimmy says:

    Agreed.. Perfectly said brother.. James was the only gangster on boardwalk and the only one who brought action to the show.. Wen Jimmy died boardwalk died… To the lost

  2. Tb says:

    Part of me thinks they want to end the series after next season. There’s no other reason such a talented collection of storytellers/directors would do something like this. ‘To the lost’…

  3. Ed says:

    As Jon Heims from the Howard Stern Show would put it, Broardwalk Empire has jumped the Shark with the death of James Darmody. The show will last two more years.

  4. Mike Brunetti says:

    Wow! absolutely amazing peice here man. You could not have said it any better! Well put!

  5. Pete says:

    I’m on board and even Cancelling HBO!!

  6. sean says:

    I’m in shocked too. I fast forward the show to Jimmy’s scene all the rest are garbage. Nucky is an old fart who cares about him. What a let down. Deleting the show off my DVR.

  7. David says:

    Questions? Wonder what happened to Al’s cap gun? Wonder why Eli would be directly in the line of fire? Wonder why Nucky would want Eli to witness a murder at his hands? Wonder why Jimmy’s eyes shut a few seconds after being shot the second time? Wonder why the bullet hole was so cute and lacking gore? Wonder what the real scam is on Horwitz? Just wondering….

  8. Bradhole says:

    Well said. I agree 99.99%. When it first happened and I was sitting there pissed off I said I wasn’t going to watch the show anymore, because there is no one else to give a shit about. But now that I’ve had some time, I’ve admitted to myself that I won’t be able to not tune in next season even if only out of curiosity of what the Hell they could possibly do with the show now that the hands-down best damn character is gone. Also, I can’t help but have some faith in HBO. They gotta have something up their sleeve. At least I REALLY hope they do.

    But yeah, you hit multiple nails directly on the head with this article and I enjoyed reading something that was basically describing my thoughts and emotions.

    Thanks

    • Waldek Kepa says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article and yes, I’m in the same boat as you as far as tuning in next season. The only difference being that it will no longer be my must see TV show on Sunday nights. I might catch it sometime during the week or on HBO GO, but I don’t see myself following it as closely as I did before.

  9. Lon says:

    How can you write the next season off without even seeing it, new characters will emerge and fill the void and new conflicts will replace the tension between Jimmy and nucky. Also you completely left out chalky who is a badass. I think you’re used to Disney movies where no main characters ever die. Let him go. Even though he was interesting and made for great tv, Jimmy had to die because he was a traitorous fuck. You shouldn’t watch gangster tv shows if you don’t want your favorite characters to die. Remember Pussy? He was everyone’s favorite Soprano

  10. Lon says:

    Also I know all of you posting are gonna watch the first episode because you have some glimmer of hope Jimmy’s coming back and you’ll get sucked back in. I loved Jimmy too, but come on guys, there is really no place left to explore with his character. There is so much talent on this show, I would definitely refrain from writing it off because one great character is gone.

  11. semantics says:

    you made some good points here about the show. its a big shame they killed the only likeable character. the rest are boring and lack depth, apart from harrow.

    they should have killed eli instead, at least some justice would have been done.

    i also understand why they did it though. To concentrate on the rise of capone and luciano. next season they will rise to power in the same town van alden is at…

    you gotta stay with the show though and have some faith, hopefully there will be some decent characters and they will end it well.

    • Mbicknese says:

      Yes, I think that’s where the show is heading as well. The next season, I think, will focus on the new generation of gangsters. While I agree that Jimmy was the best character I would have to say that Al Capone was a close second in my book. I hope that they will expand on that storyline more in the next season.

  12. Henry says:

    Season 3 James is going to wake up in panic… The end was just a dream! Thats the only way the show will make it!

  13. Jack Johnson says:

    What a retarded overreaction.

  14. Bob says:

    I call BS. If you took the time to write this, you will MOST CERTAINLY be tuned in next season. It’ll be impossible to avoid it. It’s June so you might still think you will, but come September you’ll have popcorn on your lap and you’ll be writing a new blog entry about how you RELAPSED like the junkie you spoke of in the beginning of this blog.

  15. KC Han says:

    You are such a jagoff for writing this. Who are you trying to kid? You are “done” watching the show? You’ll be back on here writing your little blog like a fag when the 3rd season is done.

  16. DW says:

    I agree with everything you write, 100%. I just finished watching the final episode of Season 2 on On Demand, after watching almost one show a night for the past three weeks. I loved Boardwalk Empire…I anticipated the next day’s episode like it was Christmas morning. And now they pull this stunt. If there was a Season 3 to dive into, I wouldn’t. Couldn’t care less. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut when I realized Nucky was going to kill Jimmy…and then he did. And I’m sick and tired of that Margaret character sleeping with The Church. Her signing of the land over to the church just didn’t have the same revengeful pop as, say, Richard nailing Eli under the eye from 100 yards out. Oh, well. It was a fun three weeks while they lasted.

    To summarize….*sigh* Shit.

  17. Latoya Winn says:

    I love this show and Michael Pitt is so sexy from his eyes to his voice. For one Jimmy is what this shows needs he had the most balls out of every gangster on this show, he even makes Al Capone look soft in the show. I did not start watching this so till about last week sometime because true blood ended but once I started watching it I couldn’t stop. Now I am sure HBO added in some stuff to Enoch’s life and I’m pretty sure Jimmy was one of them. Them two going at it like they do was what kept me wanting to keep watching the show. I feel that Jimmy died for all the wrong reasons it did not make the show better. If HBO can’t find a character as good as Jimmy then I don’t know how much longer this show will last.

  18. Sherry says:

    Boardwalk Empire is based on the real lives of gansters in Atlantic City. As history is told, all you dumb dumbs need to go back to history class and redo American History. Evidently none of you know anything about the gangsters and prohibition in the 1920’s. HBO did a wonderful job portraying James Darmody and Enoch Thompson.

  19. Dee Tee says:

    The Death of Jimmy was suppose to shock and Awe you…HBO did a fantastic job throwing us all off guard, like good TV should. Will Jimmy live on? I hope not, but his memory and the reaction to his death with birth the spine of the next season. Make no mistake Nucky has ALWAYS been the historical constant in this series which is the hidden main focus. (hidden because you were obviously not smart enough to see it…based on your reaction that is) If you lose track of Nucky on you’re heart-throb Jimmy than you lose focus of the TRUE caliber of the show, which is it’s historical beauty.
    Jimmy was there to do one thing since episode one…DIE…and if you didn’t see it coming than this show was not for you to begin with. Relax, he is dead, now enjoy the unfolding of the true story.

    I heard someone say they would be cancelling HBO because of this…don’t be a fool, HBO just caused you to have an extreme emotional response, this is the job of good TV people. You should thank them for making you feel something so fulfilling. Grow a pair, enjoy the fact that this show has pushed you though something intense, and strap on for the next cold-blooded season. I’m sure it too will be great TV, or at least make you feel something better than the reality that you sat in front of the TV for 12 hours straight…or in my case 24 😦

  20. Steve says:

    Glad to hear I’m not alone. When it happened I cried, “What the fuck?!” and threw my remote down as it shut the show off. I’m not wasting my time with this show anymore. HBO giveth and it tooketh away. Big mistake. And to the one who said HBO caused you all to have an extreme emotional response and that’s fulfilling is full of shit. I feel an emptyness. And before this, I’d been having all kinds of great emotional responses with this show. That’s the reason we all kept watching it. I feel the same way as this blogger does. No one else on the show holds enough appeal to continue watching it. A royal fuckup on HBO’s part. Back to Game of Thrones and The Newsroom.

  21. Scott says:

    Guys, I totally agree. This has ruined the series for me, i dont even know if i want to continue watching. He was the most interesting character and now he´s gone. They should´ve ended the series in the second season, this is a big freakin mistake

  22. Harry Wagner says:

    (I apologize in advance for my miserable English)

    The worst thing, a writer can do, is following the audiences opinion. I watched the whole season 2 in 2 days on dvd, because on german television they always synchronize everything and I don’t like the german voices of the characters. I watched it on two following evenings from about 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., like a junkie. Yes, it was very sad watching Jimmy die, but then again, maybe it was the most consequent way to show, what a unforgiving and self-righteous person Nucky is. And it was shocking and surprising and I liked to be surprised. In a way, he sacrified his own son to stay in business and assumingly will have his own brother killed in the next season. I think, the main reason for the incredible quality of Boardwalk Empire is the brilliant script.
    And to me that’s the backbone of every good production. Stick to that, no matter what happens. Never keep a character in the show, just because the audience likes him.
    That’s why I’ll never understand this whole test-audience bullshit.
    The whole Jimmy desaster may appear like a catastrophy, but maybe it is a challenge and I am very curious about the next season.

  23. Eggy says:

    the point of replacing jimmy with a character or a set of characters with the similar screen presence was the one that stands out.. although the script was great they should have executed that sequence if they had a replacement for jimmy, whom without which the series has just become more of an obligation to watch than anything else.

  24. Testament says:

    Yes! It’s never been Nucky; I watched the show because of Jimmy and Richard.

  25. whatever says:

    i don’t know if you’ve seen any of season 3, but van alden and harrow are both still very much involved and nucky and shroeder hate each other and eli had to work to get back in nucky’s graces. just thought you should know.

  26. The guy who knows a good show when he sees one says:

    You are a dumbass. Invest in spell check and learning proper grammar. Contradictory comments and endless blubbering. If you don’t like the show, don’t watch it. No need to pollute the Internet with this drivel.

    • c says:

      Hi, Jimmy’s death was the only way to go. As soon as he tried to whack the other bosses and failed consecutively, he could never be forgiven. If Nucky didn’t kill him, Horvitz would do it eventually. Besides, all his associates were losing money due to Jimmy’s bad decisions so… he was pretty much done. As far as Jimmy being one of the most interesting characters. You have to be kidding. Harrow is top notch: My favourite character of the entire show. Nucky evolves in every episode. Van Alden and his constant fight with god and his actions. Al Capone is also great and I could keep writing… This show is absolutely great!!

  27. Ryan says:

    I agree that Jimmy carried a substantial portion of the dramatic value for this show, and the rest of the characters, with the exception of Nucky, are completely unremarkable. The reason that I believe that you feel so strongly about Jimmy, and not the others, is because Jimmy was the only X factor. He was the only one that you were compelled to empathize with, and not sure of where he would end up. Nucky’s path to eventual mediocrity is obvious, and the others are either boring as fuck or are not stand alone story-lines. And Margaret could die in every episode like Kenny from South Park and I would be more interested.

  28. Chicky Sasso says:

    I was very disturbed by the loss of that character as well. I did a little investigation and found out from a writer friend of mine that they got rid of the Jimmy character because Michael Pitt wasn’t reliable on set for personal reasons. Those personal reasons are that he has something of a drug problem. It sounds like Hollywood gossip, and that’s what it is because I heard it from a writer who’s agent is also Terrence Winter’s agent. So it’s obviously hearsay, but I just thought I’d offer it seeing as how everyone here seems to upset about it. I was too. Jimmy was a brilliant, complex, character and Michael Pitt is an amazing actor. But from what I was told, he also has a skag habit the size of Jake Guzik and couldn’t be depended on. So they gave him the axe and had the tact to keep it out of the papers. Is it true? Who knows. But it makes a hell of a lot more sense than the bullshit they tried to sell about Nucky turning into a “full gangster” or that “it wouldn’t make sense for him to forgive Jimmy because of the betrayal.” He forgave Eli. He forgave Micky Doyle. He forgave A.R. So why couldn’t he have given Jimmy a pass? He was the most sorry for his transgressions and single handedly stopped everyone who had gone against Nucky. There is something the writers of the show aren’t telling us, and I believe it’s what my writer friend told me. Whether or not you do is your call.

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