Here Comes The Cheapest Man in America: “Dollar” Bill Stearn in Billions

We first meet “Dollar” Bill Stearn  in Billions Pilot where he tells Bobby Axelrod he is not uncertain that Axe Capital has to short Superior Auto. His boss agrees with his assessment while he calls him the cheapest man in America! And as we find out over time that Bill is a very colorful character from his two families to his love/hate relationship with Spyros, as well as a very loyal Axe Capital employee from his fake fight with Axe to him dropping his pants in front of Axe to prove his loyalty – Bill’s signature personality trait stands out as, well, cheapness! And the thing is the man has no problem with that. On the contrary, from his lucky dollar bill that he won in a poker game from Carl Icahn to the giant dollar sign in his garage, Dollar Bill OWNS his cheapness! Continue reading “Here Comes The Cheapest Man in America: “Dollar” Bill Stearn in Billions”

A Tribute to Everyone’s Favorite Billions Moment: The Fake Fight

“Pretend we’re having an argument.” —Bobby Axelrod

source: Showtime

A good hour of television absolutely starts with good writing and I pride myself in calling Willie Reale, the writer of Billions Season 1 Episode 10 Quality of Life, a genius way before I find out that he is, in fact, one! I don’t know if you are familiar with MacArthur Fellowships also known as “Genius Grants” but Mr. Reale is a recipient of this fellowship “in recognition of his ingenuity in creating theater and theater education programs for young people.” Bravo!

Quality of Life, with Donnie’s memorial service being at its heart, has a number of moving parts; however, Mr. Reale delivers the story seamlessly with a number of timely back and forths between the memorial service and all else going on and the episode’s director Karyn Kusama perfectly translates the writing into action. And, in my humble opinion, Brian Koppelman’s tweet sharing with us that the fake argument scene between Axe and Dollar Bill was Reale’s idea alone deserves standing ovation for this brilliant writer! Continue reading “A Tribute to Everyone’s Favorite Billions Moment: The Fake Fight”

A Tribute to Everyone’s Favorite Billions Moment: The Fake Fight

“Pretend we’re having an argument.” —Bobby Axelrod

source: Showtime

A good hour of television absolutely starts with good writing and I pride myself in calling Willie Reale, the writer of Billions Season 1 Episode 10 Quality of Life, a genius way before I find out that he is, in fact, one! I don’t know if you are familiar with MacArthur Fellowships also known as “Genius Grants” but Mr. Reale is a recipient of this fellowship “in recognition of his ingenuity in creating theater and theater education programs for young people.” Bravo!

Quality of Life, with Donnie’s memorial service being at its heart, has a number of moving parts; however, Mr. Reale delivers the story seamlessly with a number of timely back and forths between the memorial service and all else going on and the episode’s director Karyn Kusama perfectly translates the writing into action. And, in my humble opinion, Brian Koppelman’s tweet sharing with us that the fake argument scene between Axe and Dollar Bill was Reale’s idea alone deserves standing ovation for this brilliant writer! Continue reading “A Tribute to Everyone’s Favorite Billions Moment: The Fake Fight”

“From the Trader’s Desk” What does Axe have in common with Kings, Caesars and Mob Dons?

“So passes the Empire”

Source: Showtime

Kings, Caesars, Mob Dons. When we think of these titles we may think of power, wealth, and loyalty. To a certain extent that is true. However, what they also have in common is the struggle to keep their place at the top, how they get there and how they fall. Kings, Caesars and Mob Dons all get to the top through violence, and usually end their reigns that way as well. Through the course of their reign, they often become distrustful of even their most loyal subjects and become deceitful in order to keep everyone off balance. In the end, they are paranoid, isolated, and alone.

What does that have to do with Billions? The titles and events of the previous two episodes “The Kingmaker” and “Sic Transit Imperium”, made me think of Axe in that light. He got to the top through violence; as we learn in “Boasts and Rails” his actions during the murder and devastation of 9/11 made Axe a lot of money, and the destruction of his former company lead to the opening of Axe Capital (I write about that here). He also has wealth, power, and from many of his employees, loyalty. However, he too is constantly fighting to stay at the top. He sees the Visigoths coming, whether in the form of the government (and Chuck in particular) or other fund managers, and he will fight them all. The Axe we see in “Sic Transit Imperium” is a tired, isolated, and reflective King, wondering if it is all worth it. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk” What does Axe have in common with Kings, Caesars and Mob Dons?”

Previously on Billions Season One

Let’s hear it from Axe 😀

Our Countdown to Billions continues with a  blog collective “Previously on Billions Season One”. Previously for episode 12 of Season One (only) will be up a couple of days before Season Two episode officially airs on Showtime on 19 February. However, you can now see the first episode of Season 2 on Showtime and the Billions YouTube channel.

Continue reading “Previously on Billions Season One”

From “Emergency Deodorant” to “Coach K”: Why We LOVE Billions’ Sense of Humor

“There’s a lot of humor in this — a lot of playfulness, which I was not expecting.” — Damian Lewis on Billions

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

Humor derived from life and delivered at the right time and place can make a TV show! And, I believe, it is Seinfeld that perfected the delivery of small but precise details of daily life on small screen! George double-dips a chip in a bowl of dip at a wake and you laugh not just because of what he does but also because you remember the guy who double-dipped at the last party you attended. Elaine’s new boyfriend is a serious close talker and you laugh because you remember the close talkers in your life. Jerry believes you don’t need any extra incentive to kill your dry cleaner and you laugh because you remember the last argument you had with your dry cleaner about the remaining stain on your favorite pants. These are the scenes that stay with you for the longest time because they all come from real life!

Many dramas, as they try hard to stick to drama, forget about this kind of humor; which, given at the right time and place, may be one of the most delicious moments of an episode and can even send a serious message home. We applaud Billions for not shying away from giving us such moments. Continue reading “From “Emergency Deodorant” to “Coach K”: Why We LOVE Billions’ Sense of Humor”