Saturday, November 27, 2004

Viva Henderson!

In general, I find reality programs insufferable. I'll confess, however, that I dig American Casino. This is due in part to my lifelong fascination with all things Vegas (even though Green Valley Ranch, the titular edifice in American Casino, is in Henderson, a Las Vegas suburb, and not in Vegas per se), but also due to the ever-so-slightly off-center cast of characters.

I get a kick out of GVR's wacky, party-hearty public relations guy (who reminds me of dozens of sales and P.R. types I've known over the years), the ice-queen operations supervisor (whose boss kicked the proverbial bucket early in the show's run — given his shark-like, Machiavellian personality, I suspect he was not the least bit missed by his coworkers, despite the commendable display of sorrow they put on over his untimely demise), the Hell's Angels-reject chef who — by his own admission — walks around his own house getting blotto while packing heat, and especially, the terminally insecure marketing guy who, as recounted in tonight's rerun episode, turned his apartment into a passion-pit nightclub (this guy reminds me somehow of Bob Crane, the Hogan's Heroes star whose legendary obsession with perverse sexual adventuring probably resulted in his getting his skull smashed in in an Arizona motel).

Every one of these people has something eerily wrong lurking under the surface — a smoldering desperation that is simultaneously compelling and pitiable. I suppose, when you really think about it, that these are the sort of careerists the faux glamour of the gaming industry in general, and Las Vegas in particular, attracts. But you find people much like them in other fields as well. I know. I've worked with them.

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