Barry, Season 2

I didn’t think it would be possible to top Season 1, but I have to say Season 2 lived up to the hype. This season is even more heart-wrenching, as we must watch Barry come to terms with what he did at the end of Season 1. It torments the viewer even more, as we feel so compelled to cheer Barry on despite knowing that he murdered in cold-blood. With each episode, we are given false hope that he’s finally figured it out, and then we are yanked back again as he continues to stumble, fall and collapse through self-maturation and actualization.

Henry Winkler (Gene Cousineau) is brilliant yet again, and continues to hone his acting skills (ironic considering his character). He broke my heart, watching a man deal with such powerful grief, yet played with such tenderness and subtlety. Anthony Carrigan (Noho Hank) takes on even more scope in his role as the way-too polite and wildly hilarious drug-dealer/murderer. While he was basically just the comedic relief in Season 1, Season 2 allows him to be more vulnerable and gives more insight to his character. If anything, I could use more of Noho Hank in Season 3. Bill Hader (Barry Berkman), where do I even begin? He continues to prove himself to be one of the most versatile actors. He is able to play the straight man, the funny man, the insane man, the psychopath – And yet no matter which one he is playing, it is always believable and relatable.

I truly think “Barry” is one of the best shows of all time. It is an effortless blend of witty, dry, dark humor weaved amongst devastatingly heartbreaking scenes. However, the third key component is hope – Hope for Barry as a character and for all of humankind and our often wicked tendencies. It connects and cuts so deeply with such a large audience. No matter who you are, there is a piece of this show that will make you laugh, cry, question yourself and reflect on who YOU are as a person. You know you have found a brilliant series when it leaves the audience not just trying to understand the characters, but trying to understand themselves.

How to Watch: HBO

Season Finale: 19 May 2019

Drew Michael – HBO Stand-Up Comedy Special

Stand-up comedy can take many different comedic routes, from raunchy to self-deprecating  to political to everything in between. However, most comedy specials follow the same layout, a person with a microphone in front of an audience. This seems obvious and an unquestioned setting for stand-up. However, Drew Michael’s new special turns this format on its head. He pulls off something I doubt many people would even think about: stand-up with no audience.

His special is artistic, theatrical and reminds me of “The French New Wave Style,” except applied to stand-up comedy. It’s focusing only on the audience at home. Most comedy specials aim to make you feel like you’re actually in the audience, in the theatre watching them. However, Drew Michael artistically edits with jump-cuts, cut-aways to a girl Skyping that is never introduced, and the most jarring, a lack of background noise. He’s reminding you you’re watching this as a film and making the most of the digital medium.

When I first started watching, I was a little thrown off. Maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to immediately appreciate the silence but it was strange not to hear others laughing. Comedy is such a communal performance, with audience members coming together to laugh with each other and the comedian inserting themselves among them. It felt like a backlash against that. However, I soon found myself hysterically laughing with just me and Drew Michael. With the set being a simple, blue, dream-like background, you really feel like you’re in his mind. It creates a personal connection between him and the viewer, making the performance very intimate despite exaggerating the fact that its being shown on a screen. Additionally, without the live audience, it gives the audience at home the chance to digest a joke more. Just like when laugh tracks disappeared from sit-coms, it felt like the creators were letting the audience decide when to laugh, rather than basically holding up a cue card that says, “This is funny! You should laugh too!”

His comedy is on the darker, serious side with bits in between making light of it all or funny, outlandish comments that he thinks to himself. It definitely has a pretentious tone, but at the same time, he is self-deprecating and analyzing his personal flaws. While I wasn’t dying of laughter, like when I watch John Mulaney or Chris Rock, I’m not sure that’s what Michael was going for. It’s more of a chuckle and a, “Wow, I actually never thought of that,” or “Yes!! I relate to that pain too, but you made me smile about it.”

I highly recommend watching if you’re a fan of stand-up at all. It will make you laugh, reflect, feel and question why we think it’s fucked up to have sex with animals (you’ll have to watch it to get that last one). Above all, it’s just so unique and could be the start of a sub-genre of stand-up comedy that takes a more poetic, melodramatic form.

How to Watch: HBO

Release Date: 25 August 2018

Maniac, Netflix Mini-Series

This highly anticipated mini-series hit Netflix on September 21st, starring the OG Superbad stars, Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. The characters, both dealing with their own different traumas, agree to enter a Black Mirror-esque simulation that is being tested with the goal of curing depression. The simulations have the characters basically face their traumas, their flaws, and their deepest insecurities in the hopes of having the confrontation lead them to acceptance. However, Annie (Emma Stone) and Owen (Jonah Hill) end up being in the simulations together due to an unexpected “glitch” in the computer. I’ll leave the synopsis at that, because anymore may be riddled with spoilers.

While I think the show is definitely worth the watch, I did have some mixed feelings about it. I like how they were taking the dystopian technology plot and twisting it a little bit by adding a lot of humor and creating a world that is both very realistic but also very outlandish. It felt really realistic and something that could definitely happen today. I just thought some of the humor missed the mark a little bit and instead of being a funny spoof, just took me out of the plot a little bit. Sometimes I was laughing out loud, sometimes I was cringing, but I like the attempt to blend serious trauma with humor. Dr. James K Mantleray (Justin Theroux) was definitely supposed to be the comedic character and he was really great at certain moments. However, it wasn’t as well done as Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) in Barry, which is the same type of character who you are supposed to laugh at and like despite him being pretty fucked up and being the catalyst for the protagonists’ struggle. In fairness, Anthony Carrigan set that bar pretty high.

The series was also just slightly confusing, which always bothers me when it’s a topic that is actually realistic and somewhat easy to explain. I wanted more explanation for a lot of the things happening. Somewhat *spoiler alert* but how did the computer obtain empathy? How did a computer cry and actually create water? Was the computer actually a mind-replica of the doctor’s mom and how did they have access to all her personal thoughts based just on her books? Are both Annie and Owen’s minds creating their simulations at the same time, or does one mind take over and the other is basically an actor with no say in it? If you don’t think too much about it and the small plot holes don’t bother you, it shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you’re like me, and want to know the reasoning behind major points in the story, Maniac fails in that regard.

Overall, I definitely recommend the show if you’re looking for something to watch and enjoy shows with dark humor or being disturbed by the ~inevitable future of technology.~ Despite my mixed feelings, I admit that I finished the season in just a few days. It definitely accomplishes the main, and arguably only, goal of TV which is just to entertain, even if I was wondering what the hell was going on at times. Beyond the cons, the special effects are amazing and all of the actors are great and do the best with the confusing and not-so-hilarious script. I’d say it’s a hit or miss for viewers and I think each person has to watch a couple episodes to know if it’s for them.

Bob’s Burgers Season 9, Episodes 1-3

This will be a quick little review of the first 3 episodes of Season 9 of Bob’s Burgers! As I said in the post “Top Shows I Watched This Summer and Think You Should Too,” I’ve been watching this gem since it started in 2011 and binged the 8th season this summer, laughing all the way through. To read the article above on summer shows, click here:

General overview of Bob’s Burgers as a Series

When to Watch: This may sound silly, but honestly Bob’s Burgers is a great go-to whenever you’re feeling down or even existential. The comedy is so light-hearted and wholesome, but not corny or cringey. It makes you smile without throwing you deeper into an existential crisis, like Rick and Morty for example. It’s also a great show if you want to passively watch some TV. While I think the show is enthralling, each episode stands alone so you don’t have to pay attention to every detail. Also recommend watching when you’re ready to get high/veg out. Once again, it’s so fun-loving, it won’t leave you geeking out or struggling to pay attention. 

How to Watch: Hulu

Season 9

Season 9 premiered on September 30th, 2018 and the first 3 episodes don’t miss a beat. I relate heavily to Tina in the Episode 1, “Just One of the Boyz 4 Now for Now.” While chasing after a boy she met briefly on the sidewalk, she has to come to terms with the fact that she may not actually love him, but that she’s just plain boy crazy. This was such a funny start to the season and plays on their classic joke of the boy band, “Boyz 4 Now” which perfectly spoofs One Direction and middle school fan-girling which many of us fell victim to, myself included… still love you Biebz.

Episode 2, “The Taking of Funtime One Two Three,” chronicles the kids efforts to win the dune buggy at the local arcade with the help of Mr. Fischoeder. This episode was pretty funny, but of the 3, I would say it’s the least memorable. It’s a classic plot of the kids trying to pull off a sneaky heist with some unexpected help, but it’s a little bland in my humble opinion.

I thought Episode 3 was hilarious, maybe because any episode where Tina is the center-focus is a riot to me. The episode also has the whole gang of Zeke, Jimmy Junior, Tammy and the chick that follows Tammy around – does anyone actually know her name? The episode is hilarious as the kids join the entrepreneur club and Tina slowly spirals into becoming a cut-throat business mogul. The main plot is supported nicely by the subplot of Bob and Linda dealing with a dine and dasher who fools them not once, not twice, but three times.

I was chuckling the whole way through these episodes and look forward to the rest of the season – each episode coming out on Sunday nights!

SNL Season 44, Episodes 2 & 3

I wrote about episode 1, with host Adam Driver, so if you haven’t seen that one, I recommend starting the season from the top because the first episode is great. However, the second two episodes are still a riot and continue the season off to a great start.

Episode 2 was hosted by Awkwafina, an American rapper and most recently, starring in the popular novel adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians. She was only the second Asian-American woman to ever host SNL, the last time being Lucy Liu 18 years ago. This is honestly shocking and highlights the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Awkwafina touches upon Liu being her idol in the monologue and it’s one of the more touching moments on this usually just comedic-centered show.

Episode 2 had some funny sketches, but it also had a couple bombs. SNL is experimental and almost always has a few misses, but the hits make up for them. This episode reflected that pattern. The late night battle, a sketch about dance battlers (is that the right term for them?) who end up dancing to the Jeopardy theme song, had potential to be funny but just felt pretty awkward and hard to watch. The baby shower sketch also missed the mark, to no fault of Awkwafina’s performance, but just a poor flow throughout the whole sketch and a weak lead-up to her character. The Cleopatra sketch also just fell a bit flat and was trying too hard.

There were a couple sketches that still landed and made the episode worth the watch. Not a sketch, but Awkwafina’s monologue was well-done and personable. It’s always great to see a host do the classic stand-up style monologue, rather than using a crutch of other cast members or use of the audience. She seemed really natural and comfortable and had the clever joke of “I was going to dress up as a water bottle, but somebody already did that last week,” referring to Kanye’s performance. A hilarious sketch from the episode was the emergency alert sketch, spoofing Trump’s emergency alert texts received that week.

Overall, the episode was on the less funny side but still had some good laughs and Awkwafina is a natural performer who I look forward to seeing in the future.

Episode 3 hosted by Seth Meyers was absolutely hilarious, no surprise as a former cast member. Episodes hosted by SNL veterans are always just innately funny, as they are already so comfortable, know how to make sketch comedy work effortlessly and have a strong rapport with the other cast members. I’ll spend less time on this episode because with a comedian like Seth Meyers, you already know you’re in for a treat.

My personal favorite sketches were Beta Force with Beck Bennett, A Frightening Tale with Kyle Mooney and Seth Meyers, who have a really great chemistry on the screen, and the cold open, Brett Kavanaugh Post-Game. Kate McKinnon in the opener will have you on the verge of tears, both from laughing and being thoroughly disturbed. By far the best sketch in my opinion was Traffic Stop because it really highlighted the talent of new cast member, Ego Nwodim. The newbie is paired with Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon where they pull over Seth Meyers just to inappropriately objectify him. The whole thing is so absurd, but works so well. Nwodim really showed off her comedic talent and seemed to already have a hang of SNL.

Thanks for reading about my obsession with SNL and hope you all enjoy the first 3 episodes of season 44 as much as I did! Feel free to call me out if I missed any great sketches, I won’t take it too personally.

Top 5 Picks for Fellow Chicks in Their 20’s

Writing from the perspective of, you guessed it, a chick in her 20’s, I thought there’s no better television advice I could give than my top picks for my fellow 20-something females! These are my personal choices as must-sees for this demographic, either for how relatable they are or the historic impression they’ve had. *However!* These are all iconic, lovable masterpieces of the small screen and I recommend them regardless of your preferred gender pronoun or age. I would recommend these gems to your 96 year old grandfather and 24 year old sister alike. Whether you’re a he, she or they, all of these series are worth the watch and I highly recommend binging these post-read.

  1. Girls

How to watch: HBO

Seasons: 6

This series is one of my all-time favorites on television. The description is simply, “A comedy about the experiences of a group of girls in their early 20s,” so it’s no surprise why I thought it fit nicely on this list. Created by Lena Dunham, the show follows four “best friends” as they come of age in New York City. While Lena Dunham has become somewhat of a controversial personality and I can’t say I agree with all of her statements and ideologies, I find it important to differentiate between the artist and the art. Yes, I use art to describe this show because I feel that passionate about it (and because I am a pretentious TV addict, sorry). I will admit that the show is white-washed and does not show the perspective of many other races. However, I believe this was a story Dunham wrote drawing on her own experiences and for her to take the perspective of another race wouldn’t be appropriate. I just love this show because the characters are so dislikable and yet we find ourselves relating to them in little ways. By laughing at them, we find ourselves laughing at ourselves- which is the best kind of laughter. From Hannah’s overreactions and self-absorption to Marnie’s infatuation with douche-bag men to Shoshanna’s struggle to find her place in the world post-college to Jessa’s impulsive and self-destructive behaviors: these characters speak so honestly to the personal flaws and struggles that come as you learn to self-identify in your 20’s. Not to mention, it’s just down-right hilarious. While I definitely found the earlier seasons to be the best, the whole series is worth watching and you won’t want to stop once you’re invested.

2. Broad City

How to watch: Hulu

Seasons: 4 (5th and final season to air early next year)

Another one of my all-time favorites, Broad City, follows Abbi and Ilana in New York City as they turn every day into a absurdly funny adventure. The show is so good because the friendship between the two is so endearing and relatable. I feel like every 20-something chick has one person that is their best friend, confidant and is able to make these confusing, weird, awkward years some of the best of our lives. The two characters also just play off of each other so well. Ilana is the more out-there, wild one, contrasting to Abbi’s more relatable awkwardness. These characters alone just wouldn’t work, but the dynamic between them creates for some of the best laughs on current television. If you’ve ever been one of those unfortunate people who think women aren’t funny, I ask you to put this show on and not crack a smile. Furthermore, with guest-stars like Seth Rogen, Alia Shawkat, Susie Essman, and even Hillary Clinton, the show never fails to surprise and entertain you.

3. Insecure

How to watch: HBO

I wrote about this one for my top picks of the summer and I’m adding it to this list as well, even though it’s one of my more recent binges. Because I’m lazy and want to get back to watching TV and I’m not sure how many of you TV addicts are reading these posts closely, I’ll just rewrite what I wrote previously: Following Issa and her best friend, Molly, in Los Angeles, the dynamic duo take on everything from dating apps, Coachella, gentrification, ignorant white people in the work place and other relevant, modern-day issues. Although the series is self-proclaimed as a TV show made by black people for black people (which is awesome), I found the show does a great job of really enlightening white people (like myself) about the daily struggles that African Americans continue to face, especially for women. It educates those with privilege while also being wildly entertained. Starting a conversation about social and political change under the veil of humor and enjoyment should be the gold standard for all television series.

4. Sex and the City

How to watch: HBO

If you haven’t watched all the beautiful corniness that is Sex and the City, I invite you to kick back, open a bottle of wine and have a a fucking fun ass night. While the show is dated and SJP can sometimes be painfully cringey, that’s what makes this show all the more delightful. Although the show has great jokes, both intentional and not, it also really makes you feel something and will have you blubbering like a baby by the end. You become so invested in these characters because, although it’s cliche, these characters will feel like your best friends. In the movie “Almost Famous,” Penny Lane says, “And if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.” I think she meant to say, go to your couch and visit Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. Honestly though, my friends were concerned when I was at peak binging of this series because I canceled so many plans. Why put on clothes and go out when I can just go out with my homegirls, hitting the streets of NYC, and not even leave my living room? (disclaimer: all of this is true and yes, I should be admitted to a television rehabilitation center) Now, just as there is a caveat with almost all of these series, I too recognize that Sex and the City is possibly the most white-washed cast of all time. However, that is unfortunately a reflection of the age of the show, premiering in 1998. Looking at

5. Gossip Girl

How to watch: Netflix

Okay, okay, before you close this site and never come back again because you’re appalled at this one, I know it’s bad. It’s objectively cheesy and glorifying a white-washed culture that shouldn’t be glorified; But I’m sorry, I had to put it on. Maybe it’s because I’m from the generation that binged this garbaged throughout middle and high school, but this is one of the first TV series I became really invested in and was basically the Breaking Bad for young girls in the 2000’s. While I recommend watching every episode with a grain of salt (and some wine so you’re more open to the corniness), this show does accomplish what every TV show’s main goal is: to simply entertain.