The Casino
Episode 1

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Just Take the Penicillin Now, Save Some Time

A strangely unattractive (although not comparatively, in present company) balding man with weird teeth is hanging out at Up Chuck's table with a woman of indeterminate gender, whom the man currently known as the Midnighter instantly and brilliantly pegs as Carmen Sandiego. There is stupid insulting banter between Up Chuck and the croupier about whether he is working "on commission." Up Chuck has just a filthy blonde barfly type on his arm, Maggie, and leans in a most bizarre fashion against a heavily muscled man on the escalator whom he may or may not know -- is that a bodyguard? He comes up to the "Lady in Red" (barf) and drops another huge wad of $100 bills on the table. She is obviously a man, you guys. He asks her whether she's "nervous," and I laugh because I can't stand being in the same room with Up Chuck, and he's only on my TV screen. Up Chuck bets against the man escorting Carmen Sandiego, asking for the wager of his woman. Why the balding man and/or Carmen Sandiego did not pistol-whip him right there is beyond me, but the whole setup is so fishy and sketchy and fake and creepy, and the mysterious prostitution vibe that hangs over this version of Vegas (particularly over the Up Chuck area of this version of Vegas), confuse me highly and render me into an eight-year-old kid: I know there's sex stuff going on, but I'm not sure what it is, and I'm fairly certain it's unseemly and complex and unappealing. Not unlike Rob the Virgin's take, I think.

Tim and Tom drop by to turn in their mandatory per-episode appearance of five cumulative minutes on this show that is supposedly about them, surveilling Up Chuck some more because he's back to blackjack, and they note that he came in with the terrifying and unwholesome Maggie and is now talking to Carmen Sandiego. True to form, Maggie is sitting at the blackjack table, bored, unable to let go of the first trick she's probably seen tonight. Something about Carmen Sandiego (some elusive, mysterious, exotic quality, perhaps?) causes Up Chuck to lose his manly overconfidence, and he begins talking kind of crazy and very dorkily. "[Carmen Sandiego], you're very pretty," he says. Dork. He tells her he's 6' 8", which makes him even more of a freak, in my book. This guy's in trouble. "I could just take you upstairs right now and show you my big-ass suite," he offers, charmingly. "You wanna come?" In a deep -- very deep -- voice, Carmen Sandiego allows that that "sounds fun," and they leave together. Whoa. Some random girls notes that "Shark's" got a new date. The dealer asks if the balding man realizes that his girlfriend just left with another man, and the balding man laughs and explains that Carmen Sandiego is not, in conventional terms, a woman. Maggie laughs the bitter laugh of the broken and the used, but damn, it's good to see her smile.

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The Casino

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