Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Criminal Act

In these days of peak TV, the season never ends.  New shows seem to debut every week. Over the weekend, we saw the new HBO comedy Barry.  It's got a high concept--the title character is a hit man who decides he wants to be an actor.  Presumably he will continue his day job while taking classes.

The show was created by and stars Bill Hader.  Hader comes from the great tradition of SNL utility players, such as Dan Aykroyd and Phil Hartman, who could fill any role and hold together any sketch.  The question is can he maintain a single character for an extended run.

It's hard to say after one episode, of course.  Furthermore, I wouldn't call the show a laugh riot, but they're still establishing themselves.  How dark will it be, versus how funny?

Barry is a veteran who's been troubled since he came back from overseas (a cliché, but one that can still play), and has been fighting off his demons by killing "bad guys" for money.  When he meets the young hopefuls trying to make it in theatre, and show biz, he sees a new path.  I guess the dramatic and comic question is how will he manage both careers?

The cast also features Stephen Root as Barry's handler, and Henry Winkler as the overbearing guy who runs the acting class.  No doubt they will both pull at Barry, presumably in different directions. As Root reminds him, it's generally in the interest of a hit man to keep a low profile.

It looks like the actors in the class will be a mainstay of the show.  They were perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the first episode.  The main one looks to be Sarah Goldberg's Sally, who may become a love interest.  I also caught D'Arcy Carden in the mix--I like her a lot on The Good Place, so I hope she has a prominent role. (I also thought a saw SNL's Melissa Villasenor in a cameo, though I didn't see her name in the credits so maybe I'm wrong.)

So, far now, anyway, the show is intriguing enough to keep watching. 

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