I find, watching Hustle (compulsively, as I do), that it fails awkwardly at the character notes. Their goal is to keep us on the side of cons and thieves, and they rely on 2 maxims: firstly—you can’t con an honest man, and secondly—we don’t steal.
But…you can con an honest man, even within their world. They have an episode where they “wrongly” con an honest man (the Bollywood ep), and have to give the money back. Does that somehow..retroactively…semantically..make it not a con? If it hadn’t been a nice guy trying to get more money for his factory workers, it would have been a con?
And they do steal. If you pickpocket or have a con that relies on switching out cases, etc, you’re doing the basic literal stealing that they claim innocence of. But conning people out of money with fake transactions or fake companies or whatever—that is also theft, and you’re doing a cheating dance that doesn’t really even pass the letter of the law, and fails miserably at the spirit.
So when Mickey has a quiet moment with Emma, who the fuck cares? What about their inner lives is compelling t me, when they’re so blatantly dishonest in their day to day dealings with everyone, including each other. And, when it comes to how you treat people when no one is watching, they’re continually cruel to a very honest man, Eddie, who they steal from and con at least once an episode, as well as laugh at almost to his face.
This is the mean kids clique in high school, and we watch as they shove chess club students and bullies alike into lockers as they buff their prom king and queen crowns to a high shine. Who is the target demographic? How many Paris Hiltons are there?
And yet…season pass. I can’t help seeing how it all turns out…