Showtime’s new white-collar crime drama Billions is doing well in the ratings, and has even been renewed for a second season already. This week, we review some of the best/worst dialogue that continues to lure viewers into this madcap show because, let’s face it: it’s not the characterization.
“Here’s something they didn’t teach you at Stanford, Ben. Whenever you can, put a company in your mouth.”
This is Bobby’s line to his assistant Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac), regarding the YumTime “Scrumpet.” Bobby has a lot of stocks in YumTime, a packaged sweets company he grew up loving, and the stock is at risk. He wants to improve the quality of the company’s primary product by replacing corn syrup with real sugar, as per the candy’s original recipe. Bobby loved those original Scrumpets growin’ up in Queens in the ’70s — bada bing bada boom, fuhgedabbout it, and so on.
The implication: Bobby is a stock market mad genius, who trusts his intuition and interacts with the products in which he is investing.
“If I let your dog shit slide, then I have to be OK with this whole plaza filling up with it, which it would. … Why don’t we let petty larceny slide?”
“Sure, let it slide, it’s just some dog shit.” Chuck is walking his dog in the park, when he sees some schlub sans baggie leaving his dog’s huge deuce right in the middle of the thoroughfare. Chuck lectures him, until the man begrudgingly picks up his dog’s handiwork with his hands and carry it to the garbage can.
The implication: It’s immediately apparent that this scene is meant to get to the crux of Chuck’s character, sort of like that Wire scene where D’Angelo talks about chess strategy. It’s also peak, angry-bulldog Giamatti, a powerful new entry in his filmography.
“Why don’t you skip Don Pasquale and join us on this opera buffa?”
Chuck likes opera, bro! He’s refined! But he also likes being shocked with a cattle prod by his wife in a black cop hat and fishnets.
“What is it about a woman taking it into her mouth after a little raw-dogging that just seems so right? And it’s just this: that I’m accepted for who I am.”
Though Giamatti gets a lot of zingers, the most disturbing and indelible lines on Billions usually come from Wags, Axe’s moral reprobate of a spokesperson and enforcer. This jaw-dropper comes during a private session with Wendy, when describing why he loves ATM — not the money dispenser, but the sexual practice of “ass to mouth.” Wendy, of course, points out the desire probably has to do with “power dynamics,” as well as being a counter to his dominant role at Axe Capital. The way you act in business has a lot to do with the way you act in sex. Deep.
“What’s the difference between ass lube and regular lube?” “Viscosity.”
Again, sex and the workplace is the recurring theme of Billions. Here, Chuck removes one of his attorneys from a case in yet another ploy to get control of the Axelrod investigation. There’s a little bit about how this said lawyer is, metaphorically, taking it in the you-know-where.
Runner-up in this scene: “I’m making parlay with Eastern, and I need big wampum.”
“His safety school is FUCK YOU!”
Things get real when Lara (Malin Akerman) fucks over fellow Axe Capital wife June’s (Melissa Errico) life in order to get her to remove sections of her 9/11 memoir manuscript that are defamatory to Bobby. Lara’s reach extends to Stanford University, where June’s son is effectively denied admission. “Dang, those Axelrods run this country!” think impressionable viewers.