Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 6/25/22 — 7/2/22


Emmy voting has officially closed but I’m still catching up on this year’s contenders.  I should be able to finish up over the upcoming week.

The Beatles: Get Back (Disney Plus)

This documentary, which was produced and put together by Peter Jackson, is about the recording of Let It Be and the final days of the Beatles.  Featuring actual footage of the Beatles joking, arguing, and acting like a dysfunctional family, this is a fascinating but extremely long documentary.  I watched the first episode on Saturday and I was exhausted by the time that it ended but I’m still looking forward to watching the remaining two episodes next week.

As far as the Beatles are concerned, I like George.

Better Things (Hulu)

I watched two episodes of the latest season of this sitcom on Tuesday.  Pamela Adlon’s great but the show was a bit depressing, in the way that so many sitcoms tend to be nowadays.  I guess the best way to put it is that the show has its moment but sometimes, it seemed to be trying too hard.

Bridgerton (Netflix)

I watched a bit of the second season on Thursday.  I liked the costumes.

Flack (Amazon Prime)

Ann Paquin plays a self-destructive, London PR agent.  I watched two episodes from the show’s second season.  Paquin was great and Sam Neill appears in a few episodes but the show itself was a bit predictable.  Even it’s cynicism felt a bit trendy.

The Flight Attendant (HBOMax)

Oh my God, I love this show!  Kaley Cuoco gives a brilliant performance as a flight attendant who is both a recovering alcoholic and an asset for the CIA.  I watched the second season this week and it wonderfully balanced comedy with action.

The Gilded Age (HBO)

This HBO series takes place in New York City in 1882 and it’s basically an American version of Downton Abbey, which is not surprising considering that it was created by Julian Fellowes.  The first season followed a host of characters as they navigated their way through New York’s demanding social world.  It was good but occasionally a bit uneven, largely because of the presence of Marian Brook (Louise Jacobson), who comes to New York to stay with her wealthy aunts (Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon).  Marian is supposed to be the audience surrogate but she’s such a dull and self-righteous character and Jacobson gave such a blah performance that I soon found myself dreading any scene that involved her.

Far more interesting were the characters of robber baron George Russell (Morgan Spector) and his ambitious wife, Bertha (Carrie Coon).  As long as the show focused on them and on the servants (all of whom has their own opinions on the wealthy people they served), The Gilded Age was compelling and entertaining.  It’s also a gorgeous show to look at.  I am looking forward to the the second season, though I hope there will be a bit less Marian drama to deal with.

Hacks (HBOMax)

I watched two episodes of the second season of this comedy.  Jean Smart plays an egocentric comedian.  Hannah Embinder plays her writer.  Embinder and especially Smart give good performances.  The rest of the show’s ensemble isn’t as interesting.

iCarly (Peacock)

Yay!  Carly’s back!  I binged the second season on Wednesday and this is a good example of how a show can be updated for the times without losing its charm.

Inspector Lewis (YouTube)

The Inspector and Hathaway had to solve another series of murders in Oxford.  Hathaway was trying to quit smoking and he was so miserable about it that I actually cheered a little when he lit up at the end.  Good for you, Hathaway!  I don’t smoke and I do think that people should be happy.

The Lincoln Lawyer (Netflix)

Eh.  I watched the first episode of this new legal series.  I enjoyed the movie with Matthew McConaughey but the show was boring.  It was David E. Kelley on autopilot.

MacGruber (Peacock)

It’s been a while since I’ve cared about SNL but I definitely remember MacGruber and I enjoyed his show on Peacock.  Will Forte is so underrated.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)

I finally watched the latest season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  It’s a good show, I just hope no one’s getting too attached to Lenny Bruce.

The Squid Game (Netflix)

In this South Korean show, a group of financially destitute people are recruited to play deadly games for the amusement of the wealthy.  I finally watched this show on Wednesday and Thursday and I was a bit surprised to learn that it lived up to its considerable hype.  I know that some people, including the show’s creator, say that its a critique of capitalism.  Myself, I feel that its a critique of authoritarianism but then again, I’m a capitalist.  The most important thing is that the imagery was memorably surreal and the cast did a good job of making things feel real.

Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

I finally watched the first two episodes of this second season of this series on Wednesday.  I will probably never join the cult of Ted Lasso but I do agree with those who have praised Jason Sudeikis’s performance in the title role.  If there was ever a Ted Lasso/Barry/MacGruber cross-over event, I probably wouldn’t mind.

What We Do In The Shadows (Hulu)

What We Do In The Shadows actually airs on FX but I watched the 3rd season on Hulu.  It’s a funny show, sort of like The Office but with exceptionally crude vampires.  The third season was both funny and surprisingly poignant, as Colin Robinson actually died.  (Maybe he faked his death but then Nandor crushed his head while trying to revive him….)  This season also featured the brilliant Kristine Schaal as The Guide.

Yellowstone (Peacock)

I finally watched this show, binging the entire fourth season on Monday and Tuesday and, to my surprise, I really enjoyed it.  Kevin Costner plays a politically powerful rancher who has a lot of enemies.  The great Kelly Reilly plays his daughter.  The show was undeniably melodramatic but it was also a lot of fun, with great performances from Costner, Reilly, Wes Bentley, and Cole Hauser.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Costner in the past but this show makes the best use of his somewhat flinty screen presence.

O Canada: The 20 Best Episodes of Degrassi


Happy Canada Day!

Today, in honor of Canada, I’ve decided to share my picks for the 20 best episode of my favorite Canadian television show, Degrassi!

 

  1. Take On Me (Season 3, Episode 16)

Degrassi does The Breakfast Club!  In fact, this episode so closely follows the plot of The Breakfast Club, one has to wonder how John Hughes would have felt about it.  This episode is classic Degrassi in that it shouldn’t work but it does.  Plus, it’s the start of the Ellie (Stacey Farber) and Sean (Daniel Cameron) romance!  Ellie and Sean were one of the best couples in Degrassi history, I don’t care what Emma says.

  1. Time Stands Still (Season 4, Episodes 7-8)

This is probably best-remembered for the scene where Jimmy (Drake) gets shot in the back but the entire episode is actually a sensitive look at the school shooting phenomenon.  Ephraim Ellis deserves a lot of credit for making school shooter Rick Murray both deeply creepy and, occasionally, pathetically sympathetic.  Still, one has to wonder why Alex (Deanna Casaluce) was never punished for her part in the prank that drove Rick over the edge.  Our beloved Spinner (Shane Kippel) and Jay (Mike Lobel) were expelled and treated like pariahs.  Alex not only remained class Vice President and somehow became far more popular with all of Jimmy’s friends.

  1. Ghost in the Machine (Season 4, Episodes 1-2)

Two years after being raped by Dean, Paige (Lauren Collins, giving one of her best performances) learns that the case is finally coming to trial.  At first, Paige doesn’t want to testify, saying that she doesn’t want to relive the ordeal and that it won’t make any difference anyways.  With Spinner’s support, Paige finally does testify but, despite her testimony, Dean is still acquitted.  Paige spirals into self-destructive behavior before finally destroying Dean’s car in one of the show’s most cathartic moments.  The first time I watched this episode, I was stunned and horrified by Dean’s acquittal.  Even though Paige eventually took responsibility for destroying Dean’s car, I still cheered when she did it.  If only Dean had been inside of it at the time.

  1. Whisper to a Scream (Season 3, Episode 8)

Ellie deals with the stress of having an alcoholic mother and a media internship by cutting herself.  Degrassi was one of the first shows to deal with self-harm and it did so with a commendable sensitivity.

  1. Pass the Dutchie (Season 7, Episode 10)

Due to his cancer treatments, Spinner is given medicinal marijuana and is soon wandering around the entire school stoned out of his mind.  Not only did this episode feature one of Shane Kimmel’s best performances but it also featured the classic line, “I’m going to fail English!  What type of idiot fails his own language!”

  1. Secret (Season 4, Episodes 14-15)

Emma (Miriam McDonald), who was previously the show’s token good, liberal activist, grows increasingly self-destructive in the wake of the school shooting and eventually heads into “the Ravine.”  The end result is that she gets a STD from Jay but she also gets the lead role in Degrassi’s production of Dracula.  This one of those Degrassi episodes that was so controversial, it almost didn’t air in the United States.

  1. Voices Carry (Season 4, Episodes 11-12)

Craig Manning (Jake Epstein) asks Ashley Kerwin (Melissa McIntyre) to marry him, beats up his stepfather, trashes a hotel room, and eventually learns he’s bipolar.  This was a powerful episode, one that wasn’t even harmed by a subplot about Liberty (Sarah Barrable-Tishauer) and J.T. (Ryan Cooley) working together to write the spring musical.

  1. Paradise City (Season 8, Episodes 19-22)

Also known as Degrassi Goes Hollywood!

  1. Rock This Town (Season 6, Episode 11)

Since the start of the series, J.T. Yorke (played by Ryan Cooley) had been one of the show’s most popular characters, a former joker who got serious.  However, when Cooley decided to leave the show to go to college, Degrassi killed J.T. off in a scene that was so violent that it’s still shocking to watch to this day.  Making the scene all the more powerful is that J.T. was, more or less, a random victim.  He just happened to walk out to his car at the wrong time.  Degrassi was a dangerous place.

  1. Eyes Without A Face (Season 6, Episodes 5 and 6)

Darcy (Shenae Grimes) starts posting racy pictures on her “MyRoom” page.  A fat, middle-aged guy shows up at her house and introduces himself as the dude who has been sending her all of the complimentary comments and money.  Along with introducing the character of Clare Edwards (Aislinn Paul), who would eventually became the show’s main character, this episode was also the start of a series of episodes in which Darcy transformed from being the somewhat boring, token Christian to being the most interesting person on the show.

  1. U Got The Look (Season 3, Episode 3)

Tired of being called “cute” and “adorable” and wanting to be known as “sexy,”, Manny Santos (Cassie Steele) changes her look and her attitude.  In the process, she alienates her best friend Emma, picks up a host of new admirers, and causes JT to repeatedly walk into walls.  This is one of the best-remembered episodes of Degrassi, largely because Manny never went back to her “old” self but instead embraced her new persona.

  1. Mother and Child Reunion (Season 1, Episode 1-2)

In the very first episode of Degrassi, Emma makes a creepy friend online and nearly gets kidnapped.  Fortunately, Snake (Stefan Brogren) is there to toss the guy against the wall and threaten to snap his neck.  Along with introducing almost all of the main characters of the show’s first 6 seasons, this episode also started the spark that would lead to Snake eventually becoming Emma’s stepfather.

  1. Death or Glory (Season 7, Episodes 5 and 6)

After being diagnosed with cancer, Spinner gets a mohawk and gets out his aggression by accepting random fights.  Who knew that Degrassi had a fight club?

  1. Redemption Song (Season 5, Episode 10)

Still being rejected by his old friends because of his role in Jimmy’s shooting, Spinner spends the weekend at the beach with the ultra-religious Friendship Club.  Jay complicates things by showing up.  Darcy and Spinner were an underrated couple and this is one of their key episodes.

  1. Turned Out (Season 5, Episodes 7-8)

Oh my God, JT’s selling drugs!  Well, Liberty is pregnant and JT does need the money but still!  This episode is remembered for the final freeze frame of JT sitting in a hospital bed and sobbing.  Degrassi could be a dark show.

  1. What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost (Season 6, Episodes 9-10)

Craig’s back in town.  Ellie and Manny are both excited but …. oh my God!  Craig’s picked up an addiction to cocaine!  This is best-remembered for the scene in which Craig gets a sudden nosebleed while performing during the intermission of a Taking Back Sunday show.

  1. Accidents Will Happen (Season 3, Episodes 14-15)

Manny discovers that she’s pregnant.  This is the episode that was considered to be so controversial that it didn’t even air in the United States until two years after it was originally broadcast in Canada.

  1. Heat of the Moment (Season 8, Episode 12)

The later seasons were never quite as good as the first few but still, we got a few good episodes out of them.  Like this episode, in which Alli (Melinda Shankar) starts the “I Hate Holly J” Facerange group.  Yes, Facerange.  Degrassi wasn’t going to get sued.

  1. Jagged Little Pill (Season 1, Episode 15)

Ashley Kerwin’s the most popular girl in school until she takes ecstasy and ends up telling everyone what she really thinks about them.  Fortunately, Ashley became a much more interesting character afterwards.

  1. Bust A Move (Season 7, Episodes 13-14)

In a last hurrah for the original Degrassi gang, everyone goes on a road trip to Smithdale College.  With Jay’s “help,” Manny gets into acting school.  Meanwhile, Ashley reunites with Craig.  Craig sings “My Window” and it was a fitting send-off to what was left of the show’s original cast.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. The Curse of Degrassi — This Halloween-themed episode was technically a Degrassi mini but I like to think that it’s canonical.  Holly J. (Charlotte Arnold) get possessed by the ghost of Rick Murray and kills all of her friends.  Fortunately, Spinner is there to reverse time.
  2. School’s Out — This made-for-TV movie was the finale of the original Degerassi High.  It featured the first two instances of the F-word being used on Canadian television.  In the start of a Degrassi tradition, it ended with Joey alone, Snake bitter, Lucy blind, and Wheels heading to prison.

 

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 6/19/22 — 6/25/22


I watched a lot this week.  I’m getting prepared for the Emmys!

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Because Edith was named The Spirit of Nouvion, it was decided that she should marry Bertorelli for propaganda purposes.  Meanwhile, the British airmen ended up trapped in some wine barrels that were floating in the sewers underneath the city.  Wait, what?  Actually, by Allo Allo standards, it’s all pretty normal.

Angelyne (Peacock)

I reviewed Angelyne here!

Collector’s Call (Sunday Night, MeTV)

On this show, fans of classic television get their collectibles appraised and discuss their collections.  It’s a simple show that owes an obvious debt to Antiques Roadshow (though Collector’s Call usually only focuses on one collector as opposed to several) but, at the same time, it’s also a rather sweet-natured celebration of nostalgia and the joy the can come from collecting.

Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer (Netflix)

This Netflix true crime docu-series dealt with a series of murders that occurred in New York and New Jersey in the 70s.  The majority of the victims were sex workers who were especially vulnerable because they couldn’t go to the police without running the risk of ending up in jail themselves.  The series also took a look at the sleazier days of Times Square.  It ended with modern day footage of the killer, now imprisoned in New York and looking a bit like Santa Claus.  That was a bit jarring.

The Deep End (Hulu)

The Deep End originally aired on FreeForm.  I watched it on Hulu on Saturday afternoon.  The Deep End is a four-episode documentary about Teal Swan, a creepy “spiritual guru.”  Swan, apparently, cooperated with the making of The Deep End and then got pretty upset when the final product portrayed her as being a manipulative bully who takes advantage of the emotionally vulnerable.  Cults are so weird to me.  I guess people need something to believe in but I will never understand how people can fall for obvious charlatans like Teal Swan or the NXIVM people.  For her part, Swan appears to be very good at taking advantage of our current culture of victimization.

The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+)

In 19th Century Britain, both Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston investigate a legend of a sea serpent.  Danes is a scientist while Hiddleston is a clergyman.  Of course, they fall in love but Hiddleston is already married and the recently widowed Danes is determined to establish a life and identity of her own.  The Essex Serpent is a mix of history, gothic romance, and horror.  Danes’s closest friend is a social reformer who reads Marx.  Another potential suitor is an arrogant doctor who has the potential to be a pioneer in the field of heart surgery.  The show might seem like it’s about a serpent but it’s actually about the eternal conflict between superstition and science and, in the end, it turns out that neither has all the answers.  It’s a bit uneven but, in the end, rewarding.  It’s always nice to see Hiddleston get a chance to play someone other than Loki.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

This week, both episodes of Full House were pretty stupid.  The first episode recycled the old Saved By The Bell plot of having a love note circulating around that everyone thought was sent to them by a secret admirer.  The second episode found Danny having to spend the weekend with his daughters without the help of Jesse and Joey.  At one point, Danny was so tired that he passed out in bed and his daughters couldn’t wake him up.  That was …. not easy to watch.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted (Disney Plus)

Gordon Ramsay explores the world!  I watched two episodes on Tuesday.  Ramsay went to the wilds of Michigan and Finland.  Ramsay may be best known for shouting at hapless chefs on Hell’s Kitchen but I always enjoy shows where he gets to show his nicer side.

History’s Greatest Mysteries (History Channel)

I watched two episodes on Wednesday.  One episode explored the death of Bruce Lee while the other was about the recently discovered journal of Harry Houdini.  I love history.  I like a good mystery.  I enjoyed what I watched.

Impractical Jokers (HBOMax)

In this show, four friends go out of their way to humiliate each other and the people around them.  I watched a few episodes on Thursday, largely because the show has been submitted for the Outstanding Structured Reality Show Emmy.  The four jokers sometimes tend to come across as being a little bit too amused with themselves a little bit but, at the same time, I do have to admit that I laughed quite a bit.

Inspector Lewis (YouTube)

I watched an old episode of this British detective show on Tuesday.  Lewis and Hathaway were investigating a Halloween murder that may or may not have involved vampires.  It was very foggy, very amusing, and very British.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (Apple TV+)

Samuel L. Jackson plays a 90 year-old man who tries to solve a mystery before losing his memories to dementia.  I watched a bit of this Friday.  It never quite captured my attention the way that I expected it to, given the show’s intriguing premise.  The show’s greatest strength, not surprisingly, is Samuel L. Jackson’s powerful performance in the title role.

Love is Blind (Netflix)

In this reality dating show, couples can talk to each other but, sealed away in their own individual pods, they can’t see each other.  In fact, they only get to see each other if one of them proposes marriage and the other accepts.  Is love truly blind?  Is this show absolutely silly?  Yes, it is!  However, I watched a few episodes this week and it was all pleasantly silly.

Moon Knight (Disney Plus)

I reviewed Moon Knight here!

The Offer (Paramount Plus)

I reviewed The Offer here!

Painting With John (HBOMax)

Musician, actor, and artistic gadfly John Lurie paints pictures while talking about whatever he feels like talking about.  I watched three episodes on Monday.  At one point, Lurie told everyone watching to imagine their hand turning into a light bulb.  That’s my type of artist.

Sketchbook (Disney Plus)

Disney animators teach viewers how to draw their favorite characters.  I watched two episodes, one of Friday and one on Saturday.  I learned how to draw Simba.  It’s a cute show.

Slasher: Flesh and Blood (Shudder)

I watched this horror-themed miniseries on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday!  A killer brutally killed off the members of a particularly greedy family.  David Cronenberg played the family patriarch and gave a nicely eccentric performance.  I appreciated this show for its atmospheric locations, its ruthless killers, and its willingness to kill off just about anyone.  It was a bit of a spiritual sequel to Harper’s Island.  It was horror for people who appreciate horror.

Slippin’ Jimmy (Prime)

It’s the early days of Jimmy McGill!  This is an animated prequel to Better Call Saul.  The episode that I watched, on Sunday, was an Exorcist parody.  It should have been funny but it just never worked for me.  The humor was a bit too obvious and predictable for me.  Maybe I’ve just seen too many Exorcist parodies for the idea to really capture my imagination.

Two-Sentence Horror Stories (Netflix)

This horror anthology actually airs on The CW but I watched the third season on Netflix, on Sunday and Monday.  The season was made up of ten episodes and, as is somewhat typical of anthology series, the end results were uneven.  I did, however, like The Crush episode, which was kind of an extra macabre take on What Ever Happened To Baby Jane.

The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window (Netflix)

This miniseries, directed by Michael Lehmann, does for the Netflix what A Deadly Adoption did for Lifetime.  It’s a pitch perfect satire of the type of movies that tend to show up on Netflix, one that pokes fun but does so in such a dry way that some viewers will undoubtedly miss the point.  Since films like The Girl On The Train and The Woman In The Window are already kind of self-parodies, this is the best approach to take.  Kristen Bell is great in the role of the wine-drinking neighbor who is haunted by the strange things that she sees across the street.  Can she conquer her fear of the rain and solve the mystery!?  Watch to find out!

You (Netflix)

I watched You‘s third season over the course of the week.  Joe and Love are now parents living in the suburbs but Joe is still up to his old tricks.  Unfortunately, for Joe, so is Love.  The first episode was great but the rest of the season couldn’t live up to it.  Penn Badgley always does a good job as Joe but the rest of the season felt like a knock-off of some of Dexter‘s later seasons.

Miniseries Review: Moon Knight (dir by Mohamed Diab and Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson)


No sooner had Ryan posted his essay about whether or not comic book companies like Marvel or DC actually need readers anymore then I came over here to type up my review of Moon Knight.

Why is that relevant?  Well, Moon Knight is a 6-episode miniseries based on a character who made his debut in the pages of Marvel comics.  The character has a loyal following of readers but the Disney miniseries has introduced him to a whole new group of people, many of whom have never even held a comic book, let alone read one.  I’m one of those people.  If not for the miniseries, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea who Moon Knight is because, for the most part, I’ve never been a comic book reader.  I would have to imagine that if I was a comic book reader, it would bug the Hell out of me that people who have never read a comic book are now suddenly acting as if they’re experts on all of the various costumed characters who have been published by Marvel and DC over the past few decades.  I can remember how upset I was when everyone suddenly decided that they were an expert on Dario Argento and Italian horror just because they had read some lame article on the remake of SuspiriaNo, I wanted to say, you haven’t done the work!

Unfortunately, that’s the way of the world now.  With the current pop cultural dominance of the MCU and the DCEU, everyone’s a super hero fan regardless of whether or not they’ve ever read a comic book.  And, with the explosion of social media over the past decade, everyone is now in a position to present themselves as being an expert regardless of whether they’re tweeting their own thoughts or just plagiarizing what they’ve read on Wikipedia.  It doesn’t matter whether the topic is politics, television, history, science, religion, or comic books.  Everyone now claims to be an expert and, as the old saying goes, when everyone’s an expert, no one’s an expert.  Again, if that annoys the Hell out of you, I sympathize.

Perhaps you can take some consolation in the fact that, even though I watched all six episode of Moon Knight today, I hardly feel like an expert as far as the character is concerned.  For the most part, I enjoyed Moon Knight but I would be lying if I said that I was always able to follow what was going on.  Oscar Isaac plays Marc Spector, a mercenary who is mortally wounded in Egypt but who is revived by Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham), the Egyptian God of the Moon, who tasks Spector with protecting humanity from evil or something like that.  Sometimes, however, Spector becomes Steven Grant, a mild-mannered and neurotic Brit who works in a museum gift shop and who is haunted by strange dreams.  When Grant discovers that he’s actually Spector, this leads to him meeting Spector’s wife, Layla (May Calamawy) and also having to battle Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), a fanatical cult leader who is trying to get his hands on ancient scarab that will …. let him do stuff, I guess.  Harrow’s evil, Moon Knight’s good, and I guess that’s all we really need to know.  Moon Knight is basically a typical MCU “let’s all fight over the artifact” story, with the main twist being that all of the Gods are Egyptian instead of Norse and the hero has dissociative identity disorder and might actually very well be a patient at psychiatric hospital.  

With all that in mind, Moon Knight is actually pretty entertaining.  It’s biggest strength, not surprisingly, is Oscar Isaac, who appears to be having a ball playing several different versions of the same character.  When he’s Marc Spector, he gets to play at being a grim and serious action hero.  When he’s Steve Grant, he gets to play a comedic bumbler who gets the chance to prove that he’s stronger and more capable than anyone gave him credit for.  Isaac does a good job with both roles and the show is at its best when it’s just Isaac arguing with himself.  Playing a villain in an MCU production is often a thankless task but Hawke’s brings the right edge of fanaticism to Arthur Harrow and F. Murray Abraham voices Khonshu with the just the right combination of righteous indignation and weary frustration.  The show makes good use of its Egyptian setting and the fourth and fifth episodes are enjoyably surreal as they delve into the corners of Spector’s mind.

Unfortunately, the show’s conclusion leaves a bit to be desired.  After all that build-up, it all pretty much leads to a standard MCU street battle and the possibility of more Moon Knight action in the future.  That said, I enjoyed the show for what it was.  Turn off your mind, relax, and float across the Duat, as the old saying goes.

Miniseries Review: The Offer (dir by Dexter Fletcher, Adam Arkin, Colin Bucksey, and Gwyneth Horder-Payton)


Almost despite myself, I enjoyed The Offer.

That may come as a surprise to some.  The Offer is a 10-hour miniseries about the making of The Godfather and how Hollywood politics aren’t really that much different from Mafia politics.  As anyone who has regularly read this site over the past few years should know, I absolutely love The Godfather.  It’s my favorite movie.  It’s a movie about which I’ve done a lot of personal research.  There’s very little about the making of The Godfather that I don’t know.  If we’re going to be honest, I’m probably a little bit of a snob about it.

So, like many people, I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about The Offer.  It didn’t seem like something that was particularly necessary and it was hard for me to imagine how the miniseries would ever be able to convincingly cast anyone as Marlon Brando or Al Pacino or, for that matter, Francis Ford Coppola.  My skepticism only increased when I learned that the story was going to be told from the perspective of the film’s producer, Al Ruddy.  Everyone agrees that Ruddy was an important part of The Godfather team but he’s never been quite as compelling a figure as the brilliant but often self-destructive Brando or the neurotic but playful Pacino.  When people talk about what makes The Godfather such a brilliant film, they talk about the quotable dialogue.  They talk about the masterful performances.  They talk about Coppola’s skill as a storyteller.  They talk about the way that Gordon Willis lit the scenes so that the characters often seemed to be on the verge of being swallowed by their shadows.  They even talk about how Robert Evans insisted that the film could only be directed by an Italian and how Evans defied Paramount when the studio originally demanded that Coppola cut the film down to two hours.  When Al Ruddy is praised, it’s usually for staying out of the way.

I knew that I would have to watch The Offer eventually but I avoided it while it was actually airing and I made sure not to read anyone else’s opinion to it.  Despite my own obvious biases, I did want to try to maintain as open a mind as I possibly could.  That said, I wasn’t expecting much when I finally watched The Offer this weekend.

But, as I said at the start of this review, I enjoyed it.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s a bit of a silly show.  If The Offer was a sitcom, it would be called Everybody Loves Ruddy because the main theme of the show seems to be that Al Ruddy (played by a miscast Miles Teller) was literally the most important man in the entire history of Hollywood.  There’s not a problem that Ruddy can’t solve, whether it’s convincing CBS to air a tasteless sitcom called Hogan’s Heroes or convincing Paramount to take a huge risk on a mercurial director named Coppola and an unknown actor named Pacino.  When gangster Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi) tries to interfere with production, Ruddy befriends him and is soon a popular guy with the crew.  When Al Pacino (Anthony Ippolito) signs a contract with MGM, Ruddy puts the pressure on Paramount to find a way to get Pacino out of it.  When Coppola (Dan Fogler) has a fight with Gordon Willis (T.J. Thyne), Ruddy convinces them to make up.  When Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) goes on a coke binge, Ruddy snaps him out of it.  When …. well, you get the idea.  There’s nothing Al Ruddy can’t do!  When Evans mentioned that Henry Kissinger was coming to the Godfather premiere, I half expected Al Ruddy to negotiate a ceasefire in Vietnam.

From the start, The Offer is full of visual cues and dialogue that pay homage to not only The Godfather but the other films of the period.  The first line of the miniseries is Joe Colombo telling someone to, “Leave the cannoli.”  At first, I groaned but, slowly but surely, the show won me over.  By the end of the first episode, it was obvious that The Offer was not necessarily meant to be taken literally.  The Offer doesn’t tell the story of what Hollywood was really like in the late 60s and early 70s.  Instead, it tells the story of how people like me, who were born a few decades too late, imagine it was.  It’s less about the decade itself and more about how that decade continues to fascinate us and spark our imagination.  In our imagination, Robert Evans is snorting coke in his office, Ali MacGraw is lounging by the pool, Frank Sinatra is making angry phone calls to Joe Colombo, Al Pacino is so nervous that he can’t look anyone in the eye, and Marlon Brando is wandering around his mansion in a kimono and talking about how he can’t get anyone to see his latest, politically-charged film.  In our fantasies, it only makes sense that Evans and his assistant Peter Bart (Josh Zuckerman) would spend all of their time dropping titles of well-regarded, still-remembered films because why would anyone fantasize about them discussing a film that was forgotten?  And, of course, no one is going to fantasize about people discussing some actor who was briefly big in 1972 and then spent the rest of their career on television.  Instead, in the fantasy, it’s all about Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Liz Taylor, and Marlon Brando.  It also makes sense that only classic 70s music would be heard in the background of every scene because, seriously, who ever fantasizes about a bad song playing at a party?

Once it is accepted that it is all meant to be a fantasy, it becomes much easier to appreciate The Offer for what it is, a gossipy, Hollywood story with a Mafia subplot and an overabundance period detail.  Once the viewer accepts The Offer is a fantasy, the viewer is freed up to appreciate the 70s-chic wardrobe.  Once the viewer gets past the fact that the cast is playing characters based on actual people, it becomes much easier to appreciate the performances of character actors like Colin Hanks (who plays an uptight executive) and Burn Gorman (who plays the notoriously eccentric businessman, Charles Bluhdorn).  Patrick Gallo is slyly funny as Mario Puzo while Dan Fogler does a credible enough job as Coppola, even if he never quite captures Coppola’s larger-than-life persona.  Even Lou Ferrigno gets a nice bit, playing a mob enforcer turned unwilling actor.  At the center of it all is the absolutely brilliant Matthew Goode, giving a charismatic performance as the brilliant but sometimes unstable Robert Evans.

As a history, The Offer won’t win any points for accuracy.  But, as a fantasy, it’s undeniably entertaining.  It’s not so much the story of how The Godfather was made but the story of how we wish it was made.

Miniseries Review: Angelyne (dir by Matt Spicer and Lucy Tcherniak)


Who is the real Angelyne?

That’s question that is at the heart of Peacock’s new miniseries, Angelyne.  The obvious answer is that Angelyne (played, quite well, by Emmy Rossum) is a Los Angeles icon who, in the 80s and 90s, was known for having her image plastered on billboards across the city.  The billboards usually featured a provocative picture of Angelyne, her name, and a phone number that one could call.  Billboards, of course, are used for advertising and Angelyne was advertising herself.  What service did Angelyne provide?  She provided the service of being a celebrity that people might actually run into while walking or driving around the city.  She drove her pink Corvette across Los Angeles, waved at tourists, and sold merchandise to her fans.  She even twice ran for governor.  Before the Kardashians and the explosion of social media, Angelyne was famous for being famous.  And when people asked who Angelyne was before she became Angelyne, she replied that she had always been Angelyne.  Sometimes, she said she was someone who had come to Los Angeles from another state.  Sometimes, she said that she was a literal angel, sent down to spread peace and help people believe in themselves.  Other times, she suggested that she was an extra-terrestrial.  Perhaps her most honest response was that she was whatever the person looking at her wanted to be.  People saw Angelyne and they projected their own feelings onto her.

Filmed in a manner that combines faux documentary footage with flashbacks, each of Angelyne‘s five episodes focuses on someone from Angelyne’s past as they talk about their role in Angelyne’s enigmatic life.  Often times, they seem to be struggling to come to terms with the fact that they’re obsessed with someone about whom they actually know very little.  A smarmy reporter (Alex Karpovsky) and a twerpy filmmaker (Max Allen) both investigate Angelyne’s past and it’s hard not to resent their efforts to bring her down to Earth.  (The reporter, at one point, actually says that Angelyne lost her right to privacy when she ran for governor, as if anyone seriously believed Angelyne was going to be the next governor of California.  Seriously, most viewers will want to smack him.)  Cory Hunt (Philip Ettinger), the lead singer of a band that Angelyne was briefly a member of, tries to take credit for creating her persona but he’s never credible and Angelyne even interupts their flashbacks to say that he’s lying.  Wendy Wallace (played by Molly Ephraim) struggles to come to terms with the fact that her father, Harold (Martin Freeman), not only bankrolled Angelyne’s billboards but also neglected his family to “manage” Angelyne’s career.  Angelyne’s assistant, Rick (Hamish Linklater), devotes his life to supporting and protecting Angelyne but sometimes, even he has to take a break.

All of them get their chance to tell their story and, as played by Rossum, Angelyne gets to tell her story.  Not surprisingly, Angelyne’s story often differs from the stories being told about her.  Frequently, a flashback will come to a halt as soon as Angelyne announces, “That’s not what happened.”  When the twerpy filmmaker claims that he got Angelyne to admit the truth about who she was before she remade herself as Angelyne, Angelyne pops up to tell us that it never happened.  Even after the “truth” of Angelyne’s past has been revealed, Angelyne shows up to assure that the story isn’t true and, if it is true, it’s only halfway true and it’s impossible not to respect Angelyne’s refusal to accept or admit to being anyone other than a Los Angeles icon named Angelyne.  The miniseries suggests that Angelyne is someone who dealt with unimaginable pain and trauma by creating herself as almost a cartoon of what it means to be a celebrity.  The miniseries also suggests that, at the very least, Los Angeles should be thankful that she did.

In many ways, Angelyne feels like a superior companion piece to Hulu’s Pam & Tommy.  Both miniseries are about the curious nature of fame and the America’s bizarre celebrity culture.  The main difference is that while Pam & Tommy was thuddingly literal and featured Seth Rogen wandering around with that stupid mullet, Angelyne is stylish and imaginative and there’s not a mullet in sight.  Whereas Pam & Tommy struggled to justify its existence, Angelyne features a scene where the title character flies a UFO over Los Angeles.  Whereas Pam & Tommy presented Hugh Hefner as being a benevolent father figure, Angelyne features a scene where Angelyne tells off a smug Hefner and informs him that there’s nothing his magazine can do for her that she can’t do for herself.  For that scene alone, Angelyne deserves to be seen.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 5/29/22 — 6/4/22


Let’s check out the butcher’s bill for this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Having returned from England, Rene was named the editor of the town newspaper.  He was expected to just publish propaganda.  Michelle was excited to have access to a printing press.  The latest plan to get the Airmen back to Britain is to make a raft out of telephone poles.  We’ll see how that goes.

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

Between Fuches somehow surviving getting shot at point blank range, Vanessa Bayer making silly noises as she explained what she thought Sally could bring to a show about Medusa living in SoHo, and that amazingly highway dirt bike chase, this week’s episode of Barry was one of the best overall episodes of the year so far.  Who would have thought Bill Hader would be so good at directing action?

Creepshow (Shudder)

I finished up season 3 of Creepshow this week.  What a wonderfully macabre show!  It’s just as ghoulish as American Horror Story without being so annoying self-impressed.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Much like Rene on Allo Allo, DJ become editor of the school newspaper!  Kimmie Gibbler wanted to report on sports.  It led to a big fight but things worked out in the end.  Meanwhile, Joey tried to direct a commercial with Danny and Rebecca.  It led to a big fight but things worked out in the end.  Did I already say that?  Anyway, it was indeed a very full house.

Maid (Netflix)

At ten episodes, this miniseries was a bit on the long side but it was still a very good show.  Margaret Qualley played an aspiring writer who, having left her abusive husband, finds work as a maid while trying to move forward with her life and her daughter.  Qualley gave a great performance in the lead role and the show dealt with serious issues without ever descending into melodrama.

Norm McDonald: Nothing Special (Netflix)

In his final comedy special, Norm McDonald talked about …. well, he actually spent a lot of time talking about death.  He was undeniably funny, an older comedian who could talk about how the world was changing without coming across as being either mean-spirited or performatively woke.  What was interesting about this special (which was recorded in his home studio, in one take) was watching how McDonald would seemingly just stumble from point to point while still always bringing everything together in the end in a way that revealed the fierce intelligence that hid beneath the “average guy who likes to drink beer” persona.  At first, I thought he was just rambling but then I noticed that he kept returning to his love of the color yellow.

The final 30 minutes of the special were made up of David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Molly Shannon, Dave Chapelle, Adam Sandler, and David Spade talking about Norm and his special.  The roundtable was mostly interesting just for the obvious the affection that everyone involved had for Norm McDonald.  It was sweet to witness.

Pistol (Hulu)

I really enjoyed Danny Boyle’s six-episode miniseries about The Sex Pistols and, needless to say, I related to Sidney Chandler’s Chryssie Hynde.  I have no doubt that the miniseries offers a bit of a romanticized view of how things went down (that’s kind of Boyle’s thing) but it was well-acted, well-shot, and compulsively watchable.  The first four episode were the strongest.  The final two got a bit bogged down with Sid’s heroin addiction but the same can be probably be said of the band itself.  All in all, though, this was a good and respectful miniseries.  I know that Johnny Rotten is not a huge fan of the show and I can kind of understand why because, as I said earlier, it does tend to romanticize things.  But, as played by Anson Boon, Johnny is always one of the most compelling characters in the show.

Saved By The Bell (Peacock)

I watched the second and final season of Peacock’s Saved By The Bell revival on Friday.  This was actually a really good and clever comedy and it’s kind of a shame that it didn’t last longer.  Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley Lauren were both a lot of fun to watch as they not only parodied their SBTB past but, at the same time, managed to make Jessie and Slater into actual human beings.  It was nicely done.

BEAT VALLEY!

We Own This City (Monday Night, HBO)

The finale of We Own This City aired on Monday.  As I watched the first half of the finale, I came dangerously close to writing the show off as just being an example of how heavy-handed David Simon can be when he doesn’t have an equally strong collaborator to work with.  However, I stuck with it and I’m glad I did.  The final 30 minutes, in which we watched the crooked cops get sentenced to prison while also learning that it all ultimately made no difference as far as Baltimore’s culture of corruption was concerned, were undeniably powerful.  The final flashback, to Jon Bernthal pumping up the cops about doing their job, was sad because it represented the failure of the cops to live up to their oath but it was also frightening because it perfectly captured the “warrior cop” mentality.

I have to give special mention to Jamie Hector, playing an otherwise honest homicide detective who was driven to suicide by the possibility of losing his job because he was on the periphery of corruption.  It took me a few episodes to get used to Hector (best-remembered as psycho drug lord Marlo Stanfield on The Wire) in a sympathetic role but he truly delivered an outstanding performance in the final episode.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 5/22/22 — 5/28/22


We’ve been up in Arkansas for most of this week so I haven’t watched much television.  Interestingly enough, I have watched quite a few films and written quite a few reviews.  I guess there’s probably a lesson to be learned there.

I have to be honest.  As much as I want to get caught up on all of the miniseries and shows that I didn’t get a chance to see over the past few months, it’s difficult to get started.  It doesn’t help that even the miniseries that sound interesting are still way too long.  I saw a show that I was interested in watching on Netflix but then I checked and I discovered that it’s 10 episodes long, each episode is over 60 minutes, and the first episode deals with the main character’s grandparents.  It’s hard for me to justify spending 11 to 12 hours on a show that doesn’t even start with the main storyline.  During the pandemic, streaming services could get away with that sort of thing because there were no other options.  Today, there are other options, assuming you don’t live in one of those crazy lockdown states up north.

Anyway, here are a few thoughts on what I did watch this week:

1883 (Paramount Plus)

This western miniseries serves as a prequel to Yellowstone, a very popular show that I have yet to really watch.  Sam Elliott plays Shea Brennan, an aging and suicidal cowboy who helps to lead a group of German settlers across the frontier.  Along for the ride are the Duttons (played by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) and their teenage daughter, Elsa (Isabel May).  It’s a long journey, full of tragedy and violence.  Many people die, some from gunshot and some just from accidentally run over by a wagon.  Elsa narrates.  Shea finds something to live for.  The Duttons eventually settle in the land that will serve as the setting of Yellowstone.  

Each episode of 1883 was sponsored by a store that sells tractor supplies and that pretty much tells you who the target audience was for the show.  For all the graphic violence, sex, and precision F-bombs, 1883 is a fairly old-fashioned western.  That said, it was all very well-done and well-acted.  Isabel May was the cast standout while Sam Elliott showed that, regardless of how you may feel about his Power of the Dog opinions, he’s still one of the most authentic western actors around.  1883 was long but, even over 10 episodes, there weren’t any slow spots and even potentially distracting cameos from Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Hanks didn’t take away from the show’s narrative momentum.

On a personal note, I liked 1883‘s portrayal of Fort Worth as being the most lawless town in Texas.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Having stowed away on the airplane that was meant to pick up the British airmen, Edith and Rene found themselves in the UK!  They also discovered that Captain Geering (last seen 3 seasons ago) was now working for the British.  Edith and Rene received medals for Chuchhill and then, to Rene’s consternation, they were promptly sent back to France.  They arrived just in time to keep Momma and LeClerc from performing their new cabaret number.  

By Allo Allo standards, this episode was actually fairly coherent.

American Idol (Monday Night, ABC)

Though I kind of lost interest in this season after Hollywood week, I did tune in to see Noah Thompson win the season on Monday.  To be honest, Noah seems like he’s destined to be one of the forgotten winners of American Idol but I was still happy to see that he beat the annoyingly quirky Leah Marlene and the annoyingly monikered Huntergirl.

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

While this week’s episode didn’t feature anything quite as brilliant as last week’s customer service conversation, it was still a very good episode.  Gene’s dinner with Joe Mantegna was cringe comedy at its best.  Meanwhile, Sally’s show was canceled despite its RT score.  At first, I was a bit worried she would take Barry back but fortunately, Barry ruined the moment and she get kicked him out again.

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

Poor Howard!  I’ve seen enough of this show and Breaking Bad to know that Howard was probably going to die at some point but I was still upset to see it happen.  Patrick Fabian was terrific in the role.  Hopefully, the Emmy voters will remember Fabian this year.  If nothing else, he’s come a long way since he played Prof. Lasky on Saved By The Bell: The College Years.

Creepshow (Shudder)

On Friday, I watched the third episode of season 3.  A tech billionaire destroyed the wrong painting.  A prisoner took revenge after his pet spider was killed.  It was all enjoyably macabre.  Those killer spiders were especially creepy!  Agck!

Dynasty (Friday Night, The CW)

All the scheming and the plotting and the melodramatic dialogue continued this week.  To be honest, I was a bit out of it on Friday because I had strained my back earlier in the day so I’ll probably have to rewatch Friday’s episode.  I just know I’m going to miss Dynasty when it’s gone.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

Maryanne won.  I was happy that Maryanne won.  I know some people are saying that she only won because she was likable but Maryanne did engineer the Omar blindside so I think she earned her right to claim victory.  That said, I am getting a little bit tired of people riding their immunity idols all the way to the end of the game.  The show needs to put a time limit on those idols.  Anyway, I wrote about the finale for the Reality TV Chat Blog!

We Own This City (Monday Night, HBO)

This week’s episode was a bit heavy-handed but that’s what most of us have to come to expect from David Simon’s recent work.  We Own This City works when it’s dealing with the corrupt cops but it comes to a halt whenever the focus shifts to the DOJ investigators.  Treat Williams’s cameo as a reform-minded police academy instructor was embarrassingly over-written and felt out-of-place.  That said, the good still outweighs the bad when it comes to this show.  It may be uneven but, at its best, it’s still a thought-provoking look at the warrior cop mentality and how systemic corruption can destroy a city.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 5/15/22 — 5/21/22


We’ve been up at Lake Texoma for most of this week and, because I’m supposed to be relaxing, I didn’t take my usual detailed notes about what I watched this week so I apologize if this latest recap seems a bit …. well, skimpy.  Trust me, though, I needed the break and the chance to recharge.

Anyway, here’s what I remember about what I watched this week:

A Very British Scandal (Prime)

This three-episode miniseries told the true story of the scandalous divorce of two aristocrats, who were played by Paul Bettany and Claire Foy.  It was all enjoyably sordid and neither one of the two characters were likable enough for you to feel bad about their lives getting turned upside down.  If you’re into melodrama with a British accent, you should enjoy A Very British Scandal.  If nothing else, the clothes and the furniture were to die for and the miniseries served as a nice reminded that having a title didn’t necessarily mean someone was rich.  Paul Bettany’s character may been a Duke but he still had to marry for money.  In fact, he had to do it three times.

Allo Allo (PBS, Sunday Night)

I watched four episodes of Allo Allo on Sunday so I am happy to say that I am now caught up with the show.  Despite Michelle’s efforts, the plan to send the British airmen out of France in a hot air balloon fizzled.  A few episodes later, she decided to disguise the airmen as monks so that they could sneak past the Germans and board a secret flight to Germany.  However, Rene decided to hop on the plane himself.  He was hoping to escape with Yvette, just to find that Edith had misinterpreted his plans and …. well, look, I can’t really explain it all.  What’s important is that  Rene and Edith are now flying to the UK.

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

The finale of this odd but intriguing season finally allowed Zazie Beetz a chance to shine as we discovered what Val has been doing in Europe while everything else has been going on.  Come for the biting social commentary and surreal satire, stay for the Alexander Skarsgard cameo!

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

Barry blew up a house!  And then Sally dumped Barry, which she probably should have done a lot earlier.  At least Gene’s career is looking up.

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

Jimmy and Kim continued to plot against Howard.  The show is moving at its own deliberate pace but when you’ve got a cast this good, you can take all the time that you want.  That said, I love Patrick Fabian’s performance as Howard so I hope he’ll be around just a little bit longer.

Beyond the Edge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

This vaguely silly but entertaining show came to an end this week.  Colton Underwood won this season!  Yay!  I’m just happy all the celebrities survived.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

The theme of last Sunday’s Brady Bunch bloc was that Jan sucks.  First, Jan thought she won an essay contest, just to discover that a mistake has been made while tabulating the scores.  Then, Jan ended up stealing a bicycle because she needed glasses.  That’s the same way I got my new car, by the way.  Poor Jan!  I hear it’s not easy being the middle sister.  Fortunately, I’m the youngest Bowman sister so I’ve never had to worry about it.

Court Cam (Monday Night, A&E)

I watched one or two episodes.  If I sound unsure, it’s because all of the episodes of Court Cam tend to blend together.  Once you’ve seen one judge yelling at an incompetent lawyer, you’ve seen them all.  Still, I do have to admit that I kind of enjoy this show.  It’s always fun to watch people in authority make stupid mistakes.

Creepshow (Shudder)

On Thursday, I finally watched the first two episodes of the third season of Shudder’s horror anthology and I enjoyed both of them.  Creepshow is the show that American Horror Story pretends to be.

The Curse of Degrassi (YouTube)

I watched this old favorite on Saturday night.  Read my review here!

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

DJ went to the school dance but, when her date got caught drinking, Uncle Jesse blamed her!  Not surprising, DJ was pissed off.  And she should have been!  Seriously, DJ never gets to have any fun.  MeTV showed three other episodes, none of which I really remember.

The Last Drive-In (Friday Night, Shudder)

What better way to watch Nosferatu than with Joe Bob Briggs?  Technically, I do think that Joe Bob goes on for a bit too long during his host segments but I really don’t mind.  Joe Bob may pretend to be a redneck who tells dad jokes but, as he showed while discussing the career of Werner Herzog, he truly loves cinema and, even more importantly, he knows his stuff.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

When an off-duty cop is killed, Nolan Price has to deal with pressure from both the NYPD and community as he prosecutes the defendant.  This episode was typical of the Law & Order revival — compelling but heavy-handed.  Is Sam ever going to get to do anything other than gaze adoringly at Nolan?  The fact that, after several episodes, we still know nothing about her character, her background, or her opinions is a bit annoying.  The episode ended with the defendant acquitted on one count and convicted on another and the entire city still angry.  It was all appropriately bleak.  Also, Mariska Hargitay made a cameo appearance and basically came across like she couldn’t wait to get back to SVU.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Gopher taught everyone on the boat how to perform CPR.  Good going, Gopher!

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

We Own This City (Monday Night, HBO)

This week’s episode of We Own This City dealt with the Freddie Gray uprising.  It made for compelling viewing and Jon Bernthal and Josh Charles continued to give good performances as two men who epitomized everything that people dislike about cops.  Still, I wish the timeline was a bit less jumbled and the scenes with the Justice Department investigators continue to be a bit of a slog.  Overall, though, this is a worthwhile show.  Just don’t watch it with the expectation that it’s going to be the second coming of The Wire.

Scenes I Love: Berkman Goes Boom from Barry


Today’s scene that I love is a fairly recent one.  

On Sunday’s episode of HBO’s Barry, hitman-turned-actor Barry Berkman (played by Bill Hader) accepted a contract to blow up a house and the Bolivian gangsters within.  He was given a bomb which had been purchased on the Dark Web and which, unfortunately, had been programmed to continually repeat a phrase in Japanese.  He was also given the Detonator App (developed by KABOOM), which would allow him to remotely detonate the bomb.

The only problem is that the app didn’t seem to be working and as Barry tried to figure out why, some of the gangsters heard the bomb “speaking” underneath the house.  Meanwhile, Fernando — who was not supposed to be in the house when the bomb went off — showed up to talk to his father-in-law.  While Fernando discovered that his own secrets were no longer secret, Barry wondered if he would even be able to get the bomb to go off.

Customer service to the rescue!

As I said, I saw this scene on Sunday and, as Monday comes to a close, I’m still laughing about it.  It almost makes me want to get a job at Kaboom.  This is a wonderfully executed and detailed scene and one of the best that I’ve seen so far this year.

“Alright, sounds like we were successful….”