July 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Barry “Chapter Five: Do Your Job”

Season One, Episode Five

The “after the episode” segment for this episode revealed, among other things, that Bill Hader learned a few tips from one of his co-stars for this episode who, unlike Hader, had actual military experience.

That’s a fun fact, I suppose, but it occurs to me that I may not run out of things to say on individual episodes of this series.

See, it occurred to me as I was writing up this week’s Ted Lasso that it’s hard to say much about the comedy series.  Something like Ted LassoOnly Murders in the Building, or The Afterparty are often fun shows that I enjoy watching.  However, two of those three have episodes that are often just funny, and the third (Only Murders in the Building) does that with some character-based humor that can be fun to dig deeper into.

Barry, however, feels different.  This one is actually trying to go somewhere.  Yeah, it’s got a half-hour format and a former SNL cast member in the lead, and I find Hader to be a legitimately funny guy.  The difference is Barry Berkman’s problems are far deeper than anything anyone has on any of those other shows.  He’s an anxious man who kills people but at the same time completely lacks a spine.  Another former Marine, Taylor, figured out more or less what Barry does, and while Fuches wants Barry to kill the guy after they do the stash house hit, Barry doesn’t want to kill a fellow Marine even if Taylor seems a wee bit unhinged.  Like, this dude was chomping at the metaphorical bit to go along with Barry on this one.

Factor in as well he’s still fantasizing about a normal life with Sally despite the fact that she wants him to not talk to her, and Barry seems rather oblivious to her own brand of awful.

But then there’s the moment when Barry is playing a supporting role in a scene from Macbeth where most of the acting class is set to call Macbeth a psycho for killing people while Barry wants to defend the guy who was, in Barry’s words, “just following orders.”  That’s enough to get Gene to think Barry is referring to something that happened while Barry was in the Marines.  And it’s a bit amazing that Barry seems more worried about what the other actors are saying than when the police question him about a murder.  Granted, he has an alibi (Fuches on a burner phone), but when people start to question the mental health of a murderer who may or may not have been following orders, then he gets nervous and pushes back in ways that, well, he normally doesn’t.

So he lets Taylor live and even introduces him to Fuches.  That probably won’t end well.

Barry’s reactions, for what it’s worth, suggest a man who probably needs therapy at best, but he’s trying to get that from an acting class.  He doesn’t know what normal is, and he can’t see he’s not really in the best place for it.  He’s not even all that good at it.

Then again, Gene got game.  If that’s the only thing Gene has in common with Henry Winkler’s most famous role, I think that’ll be kinda awesome.