Sons of Anarchy

12 Feb

I’ve just finished watching the 4th season of Sons of Anarchy. It’s a drama set in present day California that is centered around a fictional outlaw motorcycle club, Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original (SAMCRO). In many ways it explores similar themes to one of the greatest television series ever made, the Sopranos. It examines the inner workings of an organised criminal group that usually operates far outside the world that most of us occupy day-to-day. It is a little more blunt, commercial and obvious than the Soprano’s, but achieves the same effect with perhaps a little less intricacy and flair. The juxtaposition of the violent and the banal, strong family bonds and raw emotion help the audience empathise with characters usually viewed with revolt and disgust. It is compelling viewing – this trailer for season 4 might give you a taste:

While their methods, rationalisation and general lack of conscience is at times appalling, many of their actions set in the context of a war-time film could be justified, perhaps even heroic. Indeed, the founding members of SAMCRO (the “First 9”) are made up primarily of Vietnam veterans who struggle to fit in to a post-war, modern world. Many members of SAMCRO are men of another time, a more brutal, honest and dangerous time. They are men of action and they dedicate their lives to their own (however warped) important code of honor. Although as viewers we can question and moralise their values, we cannot fault their commitment to them.

Most of all, in Jax Teller, the central protagonist we recognise the struggle of the modern man. Caught between the stereotypes of generations that pervade our lives, the fight between primal instincts and modern sensibilities. It is a blend we all strive for but struggle to define. The right blend of protector and lover, alpha male and metrosexual, hunter and discerning consumer is difficult to find and many of us might find ourselves longing for simpler times. I recommend SoA as an outlet for your inner outlaw and a way to tune out of our molly-coddled, nanny-state world. Don’t be surprised if you see a little of yourself in Jax, who is struggling to find the balance or Clay, a man who is out of place in the modern world. And… enjoy those bikes.

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