Traci Lords' 'amazing' journey leads her to some Swedish dicks

There's a droll charm to "Swedish Dicks," the offbeat cable comedy that starts its second season Thursday (July 26) on Pop. That nigh's second episode brings back Keanu Reeves ... this time as a ghost image. Its first has Traci Lords, who's a fascinating figure on her own Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

It's nice when
someone sends you a script directly, skipping all the agents and

And it's weird when
the script bears an odd title. “I thought, '”Swedish Dicks”?
What in the world is this?'” Traci Lords recalls.

That could have been
almost anything ... especially considering her previous career as a
teen porn star. Fortunately, it was about two Swedish guyes who are
detectives in Los Angeles.

When Peter Stormare
sent it to her, Lords said, it almost caused a work-related injury.
“I read it on my treadmill, which I usually do. I started laughing
so hard I had to stop before I fell off.”

The show – which
starts its second season Thursday – doesn't have the usual,
straight-ahead humor. Some of it is quietly deceptive, some is just
odd. “It's sort of like 'Fargo' or John Waters,” Lords said.

Such comparisons
aren't random. Lords did Waters' “Crybaby”; as an actor – “he's
been in everything,” she said – Stormare did the “Fargo”

Then he wrote
“Dicks”; he told an interviewer that he created the main nemesis
with Lords in mind. “I had never met her, but whenever I saw her in
a photo or anything, I just felt a connection to that face.”

So he wrote Jane
McKinney as the glamorous but steel-strong head of a rival detective
agency. That was inspired partly by reading Lords' memoir, he said:
“How that girl survived is a miracle.”

Lords doesn't
disagree. “I look back at it all and it is kind of amazing.”

As she has told it,
she moved from Ohio to California with her mother when she was 12,
then was soon molested by her mother's boyfriend. She dated his
friend, had an abortion at 13 and (with fake ID) did porn modeling
and films at 15. When her true age was discovered, child-porn laws
required producers and stores to throw out or edit all of her films.

There are serious
issues here, Lords said. “The subject of children and lack of
protection is very impotant to me.” And there's also a story of

Marilyn Monroe was
29 and a movie star when she moved to New York and studied
method-acting with Lee Strasberg. (“In her eyes, and in mine, her
career was just beginning,” Strasberg said in his eulogy, seven
years later.) Lords was 18 when she did the same.

How did her
Strasberg Institute classmates react to an ex-porn-star teen-ager?
“There was a bit of fear and there was a curiosity,” she said.
“They didn't want to offend me, but they asked about it.”

After she chose her
first acting piece – one that “let me go crazy onstage” -- she
was accepted, she said. After three months, she left to start a
career that has been busy, if not spectacular. She's had recurring
roles in many TV shows -- “Profiler,” “Roseanne,” the
original “Melrose Place” -- and finally landed a regular one
alongside a couple Swedish dicks.

At 50, her life
looks almost normal. “I have an amazing family, a 17-year
marriage.” She also has a son, 10, and her upcoming movie-director

This will be a ghost
story, but Lords said she savors dark humor. “Don't we all find
ourselves laughing at the strangest times?”

Once, a friend was
getting way too worried about minor surgery. Lords re-assured her ...
then, in parting, asked: “So, any last words?”

Both started
laughing loudly. The Swedish dicks would have enjoyed that, too.

-- “Swedish
Dicks,” 10 and 10:30 p.m. Thursdays, Pop (formerly TV Guide

-- New season starts
July 26