“People just want a home, right? It’s the same for everybody.”
As Wasicsko makes clear during part 3, politics is about popularity. You’re trying to get as many people to like you as possible, but you’re also playing a game that’s every man for himself, that’s “personal” when all is said and done. “For the first time in my life, I feel like I am on the right side of something,” he tells Nay as they stand in front of a house he wants to buy. “And I am alone.” He goes a Nixon-esque route and tries to appeal to a “silent majority”, but it’s the “loud minority”–evidently the majority in this election–that ends up pushing him out of office in the end. And guess what? Progress still moves at a glacially slow pace. For all of Spallone’s talk, his inability to back up that talk is causing unrest among the Yonkers residents. This is a city whose politicians and inhabitants are both driven by fear, and that fear is clouding their desires to change or compromise.
So, when Wasicsko loses the election, he ends up doing a lot of things that many people living in his city are unable to do. First and foremost, he buys a house. Everyone obviously wants some kind of home, but the sad truth is that many are in a position where they just can’t. As I’ve written before, classism and racism here have been institutionalized, and as stated in this episode, various decisions can “economically murder families”. Mary makes it seem like it’s all just about different “lifestyles”, but the reporter asks a key question about how the low income housing inhabitants would view their homes compared to how Mary views her own. The fact is that each and every person can love a home, and “different lifestyles”–aka just an excuse–don’t change that.
Right now in the show, the city of Yonkers is in a standstill. I leave you with bits and pieces of a fantastic monologue at the end of part 3:
“What I didn’t plan for was being alone so fast…I thought if I could get a place of my own and a family of my own, everything else would come with that. I’m not sure where I’m going…this doesn’t feel like home. I don’t know what’s next. I’m just here waiting…”
Part 3 Grade: A-
Part 4 Grade: A-
-Due to Internet problems, I was unable to write specifically about some of the storylines outside of Wasicsko’s (it’s a fairly rushed review). I will say this, though: they’re a bit more engaging this week than they were last week, but they’re still kind of all over the place. I’m definitely interested in seeing how Simon handles these various endings next week, as they feel like stories that require more time and more in depth storytelling. Wasicsko’s story, on the other hand, may not need six episodes to tell (even though it’s compelling).
-Oscar Newman’s “defensible space theory” is essential toward understanding the show’s ideas. It’s the no man’s land where problems arise.
-Apparently, Bruce Springsteen is the only musician to exist at this time.
-The conversation between Pat and Norma in this episode is pretty important. It involves the ideas of fear, silence, and home: Pat laments the silence her neighbors have displayed out of fear, whereas Norma emphasizes that she feels at home with her own people.
– “As miserable as they can make it when you’re in the middle of things, at least you’re in the middle of things!” Oscar Isaac is phenomenal throughout these two episodes. Of course, that goes without saying.
Photo credit: HBO, Show Me a Hero