Sylvester Stallone is the heavyweight champion of the box office, with a roster of impressive titles: Rocky, Rambo, that one guy from Stop! Or My Mother Will Shoot…but, with all of his boffo success, what about on the boob-tube?
Stallone is now on streaming television in the Oklahoma-centric Tulsa King – a streaming story about a Mafia capo, freshly rehabilitated and out of prison, finding himself in the world of Tulsa’s (somewhat) criminal underground.
Goombas and rednecks? Fuhgeddaboudit, pardner!
Just as I did with Reservation Dogs, I will be recapping each episode of the M.I.O. series as they come out. Today, I start with the series debut...
Episode 1.1: “Go West, Old Man”
The Plot: In this inaugural episode, Dwight "The General" Manfredi is released after 25 years in the clink. Immediately, he is sent to Tulsa on mafia business, commenting on the obvious culture clash, including the fandom of the Oklahoma Sooners.
He finds a pot dispensary, hassles the staff, and squeezes about 20K for a protection racket. After punching a stereotypical car salesman, he buys a new Navigator. Finally, Dwight hits up a bar and mixes it up with a bachelorette party. He has a fling with one of the attendees — Stacy (Andrea Savage) – who for plot convenience is also employed by the ATF. Yowza!
The Review: Excluding politics, Oklahoma is, to support a radical term, “OK.”
But, I guess, many out-of-towners know this state is filled with the Red River Holy Trinity: bible belters, country barflies, and crooked car salesmen. They know this state is a big red joke and, even worse, too stupid to know they are in on the joke, too.
From the annals of a cannabis shop to the facials on a musty stripper’s bush, so far, every beat of Tulsa King is taken from the “1-2-3 Lazy Tropes” playbook. Granted, it's how Oklahomans are used to being portrayed in pop culture, but can't they present us as something more than run-of-the-mill rednecks and Tiger Zoo operators?
Okay, maybe not.
So far in Tulsa King, the geriatric Stallone is presented as a neo-pioneer on a sole mission to rail against the white trash dirtbags, supposedly to tame a lawless frontier and dumpster fire town in the name of the mob, all while pumping a row of nickels to the film office's coffers.
Right now, all I can say is much like Oklahoma, Tulsa King is OK. Maybe next week it will improve.
Best Line: “That thing is the size of my cock!” – Dwight "The General" Manfredi, commenting on the grasshoppers at the local airport.
Stallone Moment: At the dispensary, Stallone knock-outs a security guard with a stainless-steel water bottle.
(Possible) Oklahoma City Cameo: I think I saw Penn Square Mall when Dwight has an ice cream cone. Probably.