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This AntiHero Is The Worst: So Why Is He Still around?

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Ray Donovan, Season 2


Trying to decide which Showtime series possess the most unpleasant characters often depends on what time of years it us. But even after enduring Shameless and Nurse Jackie, one reaches the sad conclusion that the series is Ray Donovan. I haven't seen a series with such an array of contemptible characters since The Sopranos, and those of you who've read my blog know that is not a complement. At least on the series the characters had the justification of being part of the Mafia. Here the only reason everybody is so vicious and unpleasant is simply because everybody--- from the top on down--- is either corrupt or an enabler, and Ray is the worst of all because he is both.
As if last season, which ended with the revelation that Ray (Liev Schreiber) had been molested by a priest as a child, that his father had let it happen, and then Mickey (Jon Voight) and Ray tried to out-betray each in a scene that ended with the assassination of Sully Sullivan, wasn't disgusting enough, now Ray is forced to bring his father back from exile in Mexico to deal with the FBI in the aftermath of the death of the Most Wanted Fugitive. The new director of the LA office (Hank Azaria) wants Mickey to remain on parole under threat of sending him and Mickey to prison. Ray's reaction to this is typical: he gets his people to find a parole officer with a vice that he can corrupt and he tells them to try and find a way that he can blackmail the head of the FBI.
He doesn't seem that interested in dealing with the problems under his own roof, either. Colleen, the definition of a long-suffering wife (Paula Malcolmson) tries to get her husband to go into therapy, something he doesn't want to deal with because he doesn't deal with anything. She knows his sex drive is unhealthy, but typical of this show, she only puts up token complaints because a part of her likes it. His brothers aren't much better, off. Terry seems to be taking minor steps forward after confronting the priest who abused him, but his elder brother Bunchy (Eddie Marsan) has not recovered from the break-up with his girlfriend Frances which resulted, and is currently virtually stalking her. Their half-brother Pooch still trusts Mickey, but given the end of the last fight he arranged for him, that probably won't last long. Essentially, everything Ray does is to protect his family, but the fact is, he's doing more damage and doesn't seem to care as long as things appear normal.
What makes me cry out in despair in watching this series is that there's so much acting talent on display often giving great performance. In addition to the actors I've mentioned, in smaller roles are Elliot Gould, Steven Bauer, Brent Spiner, Denise Crosby, and Wendell Pierce. But all of them are acting against the scripts that they are given, trying to rise above the scum that the writers have dropped on this series. Some of them succeed, but the characters are all so self-interested and loathsome that one wonders why they took the roles in the first place. For crying out loud, there were more sympathetic characters on Dexter! Ray may be the ultimate fixer in Hollywood, but it's clear the series that bears his name needs much more of a fix than even he could give it