July 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Barry “Chapter One: Make Your Mark”

Season One, Episode One.

So, Jason Sudeikis has been holding down the fort, so to speak, with Ted Lasso, but then I needed another Thursday show and figured that, hey, maybe I could get another SNL alum in the form of Bill Hader and his own half-hour comedy show Barry.

These two shows could not be more different if they tried.

Essentially, both Barry and Ted Lasso deal with damaged men and how they react to the world.  Ted Lasso lived through the unexpected suicide of his father and turned that into being a fountain of positivity and warm reassurance, a man who doesn’t seem to have an unkind word for anyone and whose very presence seems to make other people better.  The worst things that happen on Ted Lasso is strong language.  Otherwise, it could probably play as a network sitcom.  It’s TV comfort food.

Barry Berkman is a man suffering from what looks like chronic loneliness, depression, and maybe a bit of PTSD.  What little he says about his past in this first episode is that he was a Marine in Afghanistan, and he saw and did horrible things over there.  The one small problem is the man he told this to thought it was a monologue to audition for an acting class and not Barry’s actual life.  Barry’s a hitman, and he just decided to become an actor.  There’s no real reason for it beyond the fact that he seems to be finding a way to reach out to other people.  He doesn’t think he wants to do commercials or anything.  He just likes the idea that he can maybe live off residuals.

Then again, his other job is professional assassin.

Hader’s Barry seems to be walking around in this episode like a drone or maybe a man who hates himself.  It all fits, and no one in his old life seems all that comforting, though I suspect that NoHo Hank guy is going to be something of a scene-stealer if only because the same actor was whenever he appeared as Mr. Zsasz on Gotham.  Though this is a show where Henry Winkler’s first appearance has him shouting profanity at a young woman to get her more into character, and while I have never met the Fonz, something about the real Winkler makes me think he’s a fairly nice guy who wouldn’t normally shout profanity at a young woman, so way to get him to play against type even if before too long, his Gene Cousineau is offering the woman encouragement instead.

It may not matter.  He might be something of the sort of man Barry needs in his life.  Barry entered the acting class while stalking his next victim–a man he mistakenly seems to befriend instead–and he walks out thinking he needs to be an actor.  Is it the limelight he’s attracted to?  Unlikely.  It looks more like a need to connect to people.  God knows no one who knows what he really does for a living seems capable of doing that.  Then again, if this is a show biz satire, I won’t be too surprised if the other actors and Gene aren’t much better.  Gene certainly doesn’t seem all that supportive when Barry misses his audition.

Maybe there’s no difference between show biz and organized crime.  I suppose I’ll find out.  It does seem as if Barry is making enemies already.