Thursday, August 02, 2012



I guess folks are confused about the parameters of the challenge.  It's not a contest where you need to enter anything.  Like last year, the challenge is to spread the word about the SOA premier on 9/11, then if we get the uptick, I choose 4 fans to join us for the celebration.  Last year, I chose winners based on seniority and substantial contribution.  This year it'll be more of a lottery.  I'll take all my followers on Twitter (I'm assuming most people that follow on Facebook, YouTube and this blog also follow on Twitter... if not, follow now) then I'll pick four random numbers from 1 to whatever my total followers are on that day.  The first four US-based names will win.  I'll do what I did last year and also chose four random international winners and send them swag baskets.


I'm doing it again bitches.  Can you make my motherfucking dreams come true and party with the SONS like it's 1967?

With every passing season, more and more fans are watching Sons off their DVR and other devices.  Such is the future of television.  SOA had a huge jump when the show caught fire between seasons one and two.  We grew almost 90%, which was fucking crazy.  It settled back down the next season; we only had a marginal bump between seasons two and three and then we upticked in season four to become the MOST WATCHED show ever on FX.  You know I'm still semi-erect about that shit.    

I know how unlikely it is to beat those numbers.  Shows begin to lose viewers in later seasons and with more and more people watching the show through, you know... questionable means, it's hard to get people in front of a television these days.  Destination TV is becoming a thing of the past.  Especially if you have a Nielsen box in your homes.  

So in SEASON FIVE the challenge is simple: ANY PERCENTAGE of a bump in 18-49 or household viewers and I pick... let's say FOUR viewers to come to Los Angeles and watch an episode of SOA with me, the cast and a few of my closest birds.  We'll fly you out, put you up and turn you on.  We'll also include your visit in the season 5 DVD additional content FAN APPRECIATION CHALLENGE. 
So pass it on to the cyber-universe and all orbiting bodies with Nielsen boxes -- watch September 11th.  

That's right, 9/11 bitches -- we're gonna blow some shit up... too soon?

I love you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How Fox News is Killing the Republican Party And Other Things I Have No Business Talking About.

John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  

This was going to be my next GQ Anarchy Diaries Blog, but I decided that it be best if I didn’t run it through their site and kept it free of the show. 

I love what I do and I work very hard to deliver a good product.  I get tremendous satisfaction every time I complete an episode.  But beyond the creative and financial reward, I also look at my job as service.  SOA employs hundred of people and we entertain millions.  That’s the real payday for me.  In it’s that vein of service that I deliver this blog.  What follows is a controlled diatribe about an issue that’s been chewing away at me for years now.  And I know my half-bright assertions will hardly have an impact, but it’s something I need to unload.  

Just a warning, if you're a grizzly mom who loves Sons of Anarchy, you may wanna have a cocktail before you read on.

My angst was triggered recently when I heard an NPR show discussing the dangers of spin and fact fabrication.  They quoted a recent survey that showed over 60% of Republicans still believe Barack Obama isn’t a US citizen and that some 40% think Bill Clinton was responsible for 911.  I listened as both left and right commentators discussed the fallout of our current state of misinformation.  I dwelled on this for the remainder of my traffic-snarled, 405 clusterfuck commute.  It really struck a personal chord in me. 

As you all know, I’m constantly berating cuntbloggers for wrapping a story in manipulated, singular stands of truth.  It’s all about the headline and the site hits.  Journalism and truth are no longer goals or guidelines.  For me, the impact is a biased reputation: I’m perceived as an arrogant, defiant, hotheaded, foul-mouthed hater.  Now, I’m not saying that I don’t possess those qualities, surely I do.  But if the lazy cunts perpetuating that image actually read the lion-share of my social media -- tweets, blogs, vids, interviews, etc. -- they’d see that I’m actually a few shades lighter and dare I say, maybe a bit more complex.

Now I know my little social media freakshow is minutia compared to the bigger issue that my title suggests.  But I lead with it as context.  Because a much larger, more dangerous version of this is happening in this country.  We have a major political party that is slowly retarding because of the onslaught of misinformation.  The stutter-step has nothing to do with intelligence; surveys suggest conservatives are better educated and have a higher IQ than liberals.  Republicans are falling behind because they are starving for truth.  Wisdom feeds on empirical data; facts propel us into the next right action.  But regrettably, the most prominent source of news for Republicans no longer recognizes truth.  Whatsoever.

I respect journalists tremendously and I know Fox News probably employs some brilliant men and women.  But not unlike the cuntbloggers that beleaguer me, Fox New’s agenda has clearly become more important than the truth.  Opinions are good -- right, left, center, we all have them and passionate points of view fuel discussion that moves issues forward.  But that discussion only works if opinions are based on truth.  There can be nothing subjective about empirical data.  Truth is truth. 

Over time, Fox New has adopted a philosophy that only uses empirical data when it supports their agenda.  If it doesn’t, the truth is either manipulated, ignored, or blatantly turned inside out to represent something it’s not.  And yet the result of this shell game continues to bring viewers to the channel.  Why?  The same reason the choir fills up to hear their favorite preacher.  It gives them comfort to think that what they believe is always right.  It’s easier, it’s highly consumable and at the end of a hard day’s work, it doesn’t require the energy of examination. 

Unfortunately, I believe this fast-food unformation is already backfiring on the Republican Party.  The adage “the truth will set you free” is not only a biblical lesson; it’s the core need of our human nature.  We need truth to evolve.  It’s the basic building block in all our relationships -- with God, spouses, children, friends, employers, everyone.  Without honesty we die inside.  We can exist in nontruth, but we cannot grow.  Now that might sound like ethereal, psychobabble bullshit, but it’s not.  It’s pretty fucking simple.  Lies kill us.   

FYI: That’s what Sons of Anarchy is all about.

Fox News is not only preaching to the lowest common denominator, they are in fact, creating it.  And the peers of its viewers, who chose to get their news from other sources, are passing them by as they slide backwards in comforting ignorance. 

Now I know every news source has an agenda.  MSNBC and CNN are seen as liberal media.  And I guess that’s true, they do lean left.  But there is nothing wrong with a slant -- liberal or conservative -- as long as you’re leaning on fact.  MSNBC and CNN don’t twist empirical data the way Fox News does.  They, at least presently, still lead with truth before they lay their sway. 

I’m pretty certain that Republicans didn’t ask for Fox News.  But they have obviously embraced and supported it’s point-of-view.  So now, the two are intrinsically tied.  Hannity, O’Reilly and their ilk are seen as the media extensions of the RNC.  And although we are now seeing a portion of the conservative base try to distance themselves from this nearly-absurd bias, the damage is already done.  And getting the rising tide of the rhetorical buzzfest to recede will be a hard-pressed task.  Obama’s re-election in 2012 will begin to paint a very clear picture of this.  The president will win significantly because any potential voters who are on the fence -- the ones that determine victories -- will fall into his camp.  Why?  Because no one believes the Republican message.  

I realize this is potentially a damaging blog post for me.  I work for Fox and I know a large percentage of my SOA audience are middle-America conservatives who watch Fox News.  They get very upset when “tattooed TV boy” goes political.  But I take the risk because I’m truly worried for these people, who do indeed represent the core of our country.  I respect their opinions and their philosophical beliefs.  I just want them to be treated fairly.  I’m tired of them being lied to night after night, issue after issue.  The breaking point is near and it's gonna be fucking messy. 

Yes, you can dismiss me as a rich, manipulative, loud-mouthed Hollywood elitist.  But the truth is, there’s a much louder, much richer, much more manipulative Hollywood elitist you should be dismissing.  And you’re watching the “fair & balanced” broadcast at five and eleven every night.   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

GQ BLOG: Kurt Sutter's Anarchy Diaries: 504 -- We Are TV Family

We began shooting episode 501. It feels all new and all familiar. I sat at that table during the first read-through and looked at the faces. It's fascinating watching the cast members grow over the years. I notice the shift in energies, personalities, and relationships. Some folks have embraced the flow of the show and have taken the success in stride; some, not so much. 

Charlie Hunnam, not unlike his character, has matured into a strong, gracious leader. Early on, I think Charlie struggled with the concept of being number one on the call sheet. The attention and that identity made him uncomfortable. Now, he owns it. He is the president. He sets the tone for the rest of the cast. He shows up early, comes prepared, and gives more than he receives. In Charlie's own words, he's come halfway to meet Jax. Meaning, he's dug deep to tap into his primal, outlaw nature and keeps that accessible. As "actory" as that may sound, I know the work that entails and the struggle it presents. "Being raw" is not something that is easily turned on and off. It's that struggle that separates performers from actors. 

TV is littered with performers. 

My wife, Katey Sagal, has transformed herself from a sitcom cartoon to a dramatic powerhouse. I've taken her to some very dark places as Gemma and she continues to dive, balls first, into whatever comes her way. I knew the chops that Katey had before we started this project together, but she continues to surprise me with the depth and nuance she adds to Gemma Teller. It's a sensitive, sometimes difficult situation for Katey. She loves being part of an ensemble, loves her cast members, but yet, she's married to the boss. So understandably, there's a bit of distance that people put between themselves and her. Most days it's a non-issue and she navigates it with grace, but I know sometimes she feels that separateness. 

Ron Perlman probably enjoys his character more than any other actor. He'd play golf with Clay if he could. He wears Clay Morrow like a tailor-made sharkskin suit. He's almost as much fun to write for as he is to watch.

Sweet Maggie Siff brings to Tara Knowles a complexity and sensitivity matched only by her own. More so than any other actor, I use Maggie's personal traits to inform my choices for Tara. I'm sure that happens with all actors and writers on long-running shows, but it still fascinates me every season that often Maggie's concerns about Tara parallel Tara's emotional life. I've said this before, but the character of Tara is often the most difficult to write. Tara is the bridge between the civilian world and the outlaw world. Often adopting the point of view of the audience--wondering why she's falling in love with men that do such bad things. Her opinions and feelings ping-pong back and forth across the emotional table. Sometimes her arc feels like a runaway train. Fortunately, in the hands of Maggie, that runaway train is always real and fascinating to watch.

I love all my guys, Boone, Kim, Ryan, Tommy, Theo, DL, Dayton... I could spend pages talking about every one of them. But I think you get the point, I'm grateful and aware of what a tremendous cast I have. We've become a big artistic, dysfunctional, outlaw family. And whether they like it or not, I'm your daddy.

As we break episode seven and eight, I'm very aware that this is a different kind of season of Sons. Yes, there are large thematic and serialized arcs. Yes, there are new antagonists and allies. Yes, there are high stakes and testosterone driven narratives. But for the first time, intentionally so, I've not locked down my endgame. I'm letting the season unfold, seeing where relationships and emotional lives lead us. Basically, my grip is looser. I'm trusting my writers, my directors, and my creative team much more. Not unlike my personal life, I've realized that my obsessive need for absolute control ultimately leads to absolute stagnation and ultimately, remorse.

Unfortunately for the interweb, my life, my struggles as an artist are an open fucking book. This is the "Rolling with the Cunts" chapter.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

GQ BLOG: Kurt Sutter's Anarchy Diaries: 503 - The Emmys. Don't Ask. Don't Tell.


I love my job. Truly, I do. I know how lucky I am. I think it was Warren Beatty who said (and I'm badly paraphrasing), "Success is having a job that pays you a lot of money, that you would gladly do for free." I feel that way.

Most days. 

This is my favorite time of the season. My hours are split between the writers' room, gearing up production, and writing. I'm a writer who loves to write. I know that sounds obvious but you'd be surprised how many writers actually hate writing. Not me. Being alone with a white board, a computer and the voices in my head is fucking nirvana. And not the part where he puts the shotgun in his mouth. That comes later. Right now, I'm happy, relaxed, invigorated and grateful.

Then it happens. The shotgun in my mouth. Emmy Award season. For people like Terence Winter, Matt Weiner, Vince Gilligan, gearing up for the Emmys must be a very satisfying time of year. Recognition of your peers for all the hard work. The process leading up to the awards is time-consuming and tedious, but at least these guys know, at the end of the day, it'll all be worth it. History has played that out. 

For me, award season continuously just feels like an angry kick in the scrotum. 

I know I shouldn't give a shit. It ain't about the prize; it's about the work. The fans are the ones who determine our success. Logically, I know all of that. I enter the award season detached and philosophical, but after a few months of engaging in the build up, that distance gets washed away and I'm neck-deep in expectation and self-righteousness. I always end up broken and bloody the morning the nominations are read. 

From season two of The Shield to season five of SOA, that expectation and disappointment has rubbed me raw. Say what you want about Sons not being Emmy worthy. You're probably right. But there is no way you can say the last two seasons of The Shield were not as good or better than any drama on television. 

So why no Emmy love? 

Simple. People didn't vote for us. 


The supporters (fans, network, my wife) give me a laundry list of reasons. All logical and ego-soothing.

The haters (cunt bloggers) say it's because the show sucks.
My guess is both camps harbor some truth.

What do I say?

Really. Haven't I said enough? 

Yes. I have.

I'm exhausted by my own obsession for recognition. It goes deeper than just pride and ego. I'm sure it's some kind of daddy-thing I haven't had the courage to dig into. Who knows? But it's just scabbed me over. I can't do the dance anymore -- the submissions, interviews, panels, photo-shoots, predictions, polls, post-mortem snubs -- Fuck me, I'm done. 

This season and hopefully for the rest of the run of Sons of Anarchy, I say nothing about any award. Other than, "thank you," "good luck," and "congratulations". 

And to clean it all up before I put it away:

I apologize to academy members (of every age) for the bombastic comments I've made in the past. I apologize to my cast, crew, studio and network if my arrogant reaction to snubs has embarrassed them or impeded their chances for recognition.

This blog will be my last comment on the Emmys. And yes, I can hear the snarky comments echoing through cyberspace as I type that statement. And they'd be correct to assume that me keeping quiet is a great idea in theory, but difficult to implement. So time (and all the cunt bloggers) will be the judge. 

You can say many bad things about me and they'd all be true -- I'm arrogant, abrasive, narcissistic, juvenile, over-sensitive. But I'm also a man who lives in a perpetual state of change. I have no choice. There is no stasis. If I'm not moving forward, I'm sliding back. And behind me there is only wreckage and remorse. 

In front of me there is only opportunity.

I may be a dick, but I'm a dick in progress. 

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