Mafioso are a much different class of beasts today than they were eighty, forty, even twenty years ago. Nowadays, folks worry far more about street gangs or international terrorists than they do about finding themselves bargaining with a crime family (unless they have a gambling problem or a multibillion dollar ponzi scheme).
G-men spent years combating organized crime and though it surely hasn’t been eliminated, most activity has been swept pretty far under the rug. Mafia families have been turned to television fodder, sometimes voluntarily.
The Pascadelli crime family is all too painfully aware of the contemporary organized crime environment. Once they were a proud bastion of vice peddling and skillful embezzlement, but now they are reduced to leaning on donut shops or smuggling whippets to Albuquerque teens for income. It’s been a long, hard fall for the Pascadellis, but they have come to grips with reality and decided to share their story with the public in a new web documentary called 88 Hits. What or where it will get them is unclear, though years of avoiding the spotlight has clearly not paid dividends and this seemed worth a try.
It could be argued that four suburban men – two of whom are unrelated by blood – do not constitute a crime “family” and I think such a claim carries some weight. However, it also demonstrates the extent to which the Pascadelli has been decimated. Paul and Tommy are the end of the line, so to speak. They carry a heavy burden, one that is only marginally relieved by their associates Franky Ford and Darnell Washington. Gottis and Gambinos these men are not, though they probably could have played minor members in a made-for-tv movie.
The Pascadellis are not the only frustrated actors in this third-tier epic, however. Consider the plight of FBI agent John Turrid, whose assignment is to track the family’s dealings and build a case. Here’s a ten-year veteran of the Agency who now spends his time swatting flies and hoping that these guys commit a crime larger than misdemeanor shoplifting. There is also Victor Borbeaux, the head of a rival family erroneously accused of an attempt on Paul’s life, who seems to run his organization on golf metaphors and Cajun fast-talk.
88 Hits can be seen on Koldcast.tv and though the Pascadelli plight is dire, it sure makes for an entertaining program. Co-produced and co-written by Blake Calhoun (creator of Pink) and Troy Grant (Tommy), the Pascadelli saga is mostly improvised, thus relying on the talents of Paul Slavens (Paul), Frank Ford (Franky) and Oliver Tull (Darnell) for the majority of the dirty work. The off-the-cuff nature of the scenes add another level to the bumbling air of these characters, something a script would have left dull and devoid of the marginally-educated mob-talk we all love.
Check out the series now before Paul tries to e-stort money out of you.