TIn reality, there is no more captivating public speaker than Nicolas Cage, be he the maligned genius or the inspired fool of the acting world, depending on whom you askOf Part of these can be explained, with his speech patterns so excitingly unpredictable, with an emphasis on syllables that no one would have thought of hitting like a drunken boxerOf But some of these feels more mystical, due to the shamanic magnetism that makes his direct-action-to-video potboilers so strangely fascinatingOf He casts a spell even with the most mundane prayers and can turn a four-letter scream howled to heaven into an obscene ariaOf If you’re going to do a miniseries about the complex swearing phenomenon, both its worthy academic history and its forbidden youthful appeal, you’ll have a hard time finding a better host than The Cage.
It brings more seriousness to the proceedings than these large and light project could have expectedOf His infrequent appearances, mostly kept in intros or outpost with the occasional check-in for some narration delivered from a luxurious living room set, enliven the six 20-minute installments that might otherwise be read as non-essential and unevenOfOf This exegesis on the origins and evolutionary meaning of the most mischievous words in the English language can be fun and uplifting, but only intermittently given very sparingly for such a compact runtimeOf For the most part, attempts at comedy or academic rigor separate an unkind distance: They are not as informative as a real article, nor as funny as a real routine.
Each episode takes a look from all angles at a variety of profanity, the slightly irreverent tone that precludes the inclusion of racial slurs or other button pushersOf They’re more oriented around the simple and immediate pleasures of wordiness: cathartic screams of “fuck”, expressions of “shit” through a devilish grin, dozens and dozens of creative genital euphemismsOf A basic appreciation for the inherent humor of curse words will make the handful of minimally witty animated skits that illustrate the various etymologies that much easierOf Failing that, these interludes will scan more like properly cut segments from Drunk History, not so nifty about mixing stiff-lipped antiquity with modern dirtOf The average level of wit peaks in the schoolyard, typified by jokes that end with the cashier’s mouth full of soap.
Better to leave the laughs to the professionalsOf Netflix’s producers and talent department have rounded up the Who’s Who of the saltiest comics working today for personal insights and commentsOf Speakers as renowned as Sarah Silverman and Nikki Glaser rave about the versatility and visceral emotion of a well-used C-word, while Joel Kim Booster and Patti Harrison appear to acquaint more direct audiences with the re appropriation of derogatory hatred on the part of the gay and trans communities speakOf (Watching Harrison try to maintain a diplomatic professionalism as he explains his distaste for the gender-essentialist liberalism of the pussy hat movement is among the show’s most luscious moments.) Those viewers somehow still don’t know that many homosexual women and men have stripped nakedOf” OfOf their power in using it to refer to each other they will be stunned, having taken the first step on a long overdue enlightenment journey.
The breadth of the tracks allows for many tangents, where we find much of the best materialOf There is enough time to reflect on the absurd and arbitrary rating system of the Motion Picture Association of America (with not one, but two explanations of what the Hays Code is), the provocation of the Fuck Tha Police magazine, and the unlikely campaign of the CongressOf of a Dick SwettOf Character actor Isiah Whitlock JrOfstops by to pay tribute to his expletive, culminating in the longestsheerestit” of his illustrious careerOf neverOf The general atmosphere of relaxed informality makes any proposal toward the scientific seem tedious and unnecessary, as in too long a sequence, dubiously “proving” the efficacy of swearing to lessen painOf Relaxing and talking literal shit should be enough.
And yet these premise lacks the basic weight needed to anchor a miniseries, rather than leave the impression of a collection of lengthy YouTube videosOf Its existence appears to be motivated by little more than its potential to attract clicks, in keeping with Netflix’s reputation as a place where anything capable of holding human attention for more than two minutes will receive the green lightOf The saving grace that dispels the aura odisabilityty is Cage, the sheer magnitude of his on-screen presence gives the entire operation greater credibilityOf It is living proof that there is lyrical poetry in the unsubtle art of cursing, and that primordial magic is not so simply conjuredOf Repeated enough times, the many “fuck” turns into noise.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism