Southern Hospitality

You know where else was a happenin' place during the 80's?


My favorite character in Vice City, Avery Carrington, is sort of a pastiche of the Rich Southerner trope of 80's television and actual history. Seen on shows like Dallas and Dynasty (Avery actually shares a last name with Alexis, the lead character on this show), this character is a captain of industry. He works, often in a conniving manner, and maintains an empire of a sort. In TV, this character was usually an oil baron, an industry that was booming in the 80's.

Avery Carrington, however, (true to Dallas' history) is a real estate magnate. Dallas' initial construction was mostly done during the 30's to accommodate the oil and banking industries of that period. In the early 80's, the city experienced a second building boom, after most of the oil industry had moved out to Houston but the city continued to be a financial and business center. During this time, much construction was done, and much of that was done by the acclaimed architects of the time. Consequently, Dallas has a mixture 30's architecture and very clearly 80's art deco buildings. Interestingly, it makes sense that Avery is living in Florida instead of Dallas at this time because the game is set in 1986, which was when the beginning of the recession in Dallas began. As a man who knows when the gettin' is good, it's perfectly expected that he'd move to greener pastures.

Avery's missions all involve manipulation in order to force landowners to sell, clear out problematic construction, or lower real estate prices. His first mission has you starting a riot to distract a shipping business' security team so that you can then destroy their trucks and put them out of business.

I think it is interesting to note, as well, that there are 12 outfits in Vice City and three of them are for his missions. They are also the silliest out of all of them.

Voiced by Burt Reynolds' (srs, man, this game has an all-star cast), Avery is full of "southern wisdom" and cowpoke dialogue. Admittedly, people in Texas do not generally talk like this, but like most every other character in Vice City, Avery is an exaggeration. Nonetheless, he's also one of the more serious characters, in as far as his actual demeanor and behavior. Unlike characters like Carlos Diaz or Umberto Robina, who are frankly obnoxious and hyperbole even as character tropes, Avery stands more with Colonel Cortez in being more sensible and realistic.

"Lawgivers". I like that. You get to wear a funny plaid golfing outfit in order to go beat some pompous dick into selling in this mission.

This is sort of a tragic point to Avery though. At least I think so, because I am so fond of him.

Donald Love is Avery’s protegé. In Grand Theft Auto III, he has become a real estate mogul in his own right, as well as owning Love Media, a broadcasting and print conglomerate. But as far as his relationship with Avery goes…

He did, in fact.

In Liberty City Stories, Love finds himself in a spot of bother. I don't know the exact details, because those fucking Stories are hard as fuck, but the point is he finds himself bankrupt, but with the help of Toni Cipriani, he has a plan to regain his stature by rejuvenating Fort Staunton. Problem is, this plan was actually Avery's idea. The mission involves killing Avery for his plans.

Also his body. Donald Love is also a cannibal.

The cutscenes do not imply that this is anything but business (and pleasure), but I do not think it is a stretch to say that Avery's poor treatment of Love while he was under his guidance made deciding to kill and eat him a more difficult decision. It interests me to know how that dynamic came to be because I do not think it can be a mere pecking order thing. Tommy is little more than a grunt, albeit an observant and competent one, and Avery treats him with respect. I am curious to know if Donald's larger place in Vice City's plot which was cut for whatever reason, might have explained why he later comes to be Avery's downfall.

And ’cause I know you want to see that “Cuban hombre” outfit… Guess which one’s me!

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September 2021