Barry: HBO’s Best Show in Years

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That’s right, we’re about to get a special brand of hot take-y up in this piece. I don’t mean HBO’s best comedy. It might be HBO’s best comedy of all time (hot take number two). Barry is a dark action comedy about a Midwestern hitman turned LA actor created by SNL alum Bill Hader and longtime HBO producer Alec Berg, and I want people to know my opinion is exactly what the headline says: Best. Show. In. Years.

When I say years, I mean four years. Specifically, 2014’s True Detective premiere. Season 1 of True Detective was a piece of art with compelling characters, irreverent humor, and tight action sequences. Everything on HBO since then has been an attempt to capture the phenomenon of that first season and the hype of early Game of Thrones. 2016’s Westworld came close, but apparently cowboy boobs are more niche than dragon boobs (hot take three) and it didn’t hit the public consciousness like Game of Thrones did, despite the Emmy nom.

Meanwhile, Veep has been HBO’s comedy darling since it premiered in 2012. It’s grabbed a nomination for best Comedy Series for each of its six seasons, and has taken the win the last three consecutive years. Veep is sharper and quicker than nearly any show out there, but its crass abrasiveness has kept in from being a cultural icon (hot take number four). America isn’t ready for premium cable comedy yet. They still want Young Sheldon and Last Man Standing.

Along comes Barry. If you haven’t watched it this is your moment to stop, take four hours, and watch every episode. I’m not planning on spoiling anything major when I talk about the show, but you should watch it anyway because you trust my taste and judgment. Seriously it’s only four hours. Eight episodes. Do it.

Did that convince you? If it did, awesome. If not, whatever. Keep reading. I’ve got some strong arguments coming up.

First of all, the show meets my primary benchmark for any comedy: is it funny? The answer is yes. I rank it as the third funniest show out right now, following NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place (not the hottest take but i’ll count it, FIVE), but comparing the humor of Barry to either of those shows does it a disservice. The humor in Barry sneaks up on you. I would start laughing before I knew I was laughing, and before I even remembered I was watching a comedy. The jokes are incredibly organic to the realism of the show and its world. Almost every scene of Bill Hader as Barry acting like someone who has never acted had me in stitches. It’s simultaneously over-the-top and grounded in a way that a show with a different concept wouldn’t be able to be.

The show’s well-crafted jokes act as the perfect tension release for the show’s high drama. Don’t get me wrong. This is an 8-episode emotional roller coaster. Again, I’m not going to drop any spoilers on you, but you’re gonna get sad. You’re gonna get really sad and you’re going to like it. One of the benefits of a show so real and human is that it’s easy to buy into the journey Barry takes. Barry Berkman is a character who is sure of who he is and what he does, until he isn’t. The struggle of wanting to be someone new, of wondering if maybe you’re not your “best self” living your “best life”, is a relatable one. Maybe the grass IS always greener on the other side. You’ve had that moment. You’ve maybe even had the moments that follow where you live with one foot in both worlds, trying to keep what you have and get something new at the same time. If you’ve experienced this very common and human moment/emotion, you can relate to Barry even if you’ve never been a hitman or an actor or both.

If you need more of a reason to watch, consider that the show is beautifully acted and crafted. Hader shines as the titular Barry. Stephen Root’s performance as Monroe Fuches is a character so uniquely self-serving that over the course of the season you’re not sure whether you’re watching a hero, villain, or both. I’ve never seen a love interest so drastically unavailable as Sarah Goldberg’s Sally Reed. Glenn Fleshler and Anthony Carrigan play two of the best, most entertaining “villains” on TV right now. The cast performances are aided by stellar direction from Hader, Berg, Hiro Murai (Atlanta), and Maggie Carey (Silicon Valley, Brooklyn Nine-Nine). The show is as comfortable sitting in long, quiet shots as it is with firing through loud, frenetic action sequences. The episodes are tight, the pacing is a thrill ride, and some of the cliffhangers rival the Game of Thrones pilot.

HBO is going to keep making new seasons of Game of Thrones, Westworld, Veep, and Silicon Valley, but Barry is the show that got me waiting a week for TV again. 

The Best Show on Television: Killing Eve


Once the episode of Westworld you’re half watching while scrolling through your phone ends, Google “BBC America Killing Eve”. Click the first result.

If you are like me, you do not have cable. If you are even more like me, your parents do. Sign in to your parents’ cable network, they won’t mind. Don’t pretend like you’re paying for your Netflix account.

Scroll down to episode one titled “Nice Face”, and click. Now sit up in bed, re-adjust, crack your neck, check for texts, and lean back.

You will thank me.

If you have not stopped reading and followed my instructions, I get it. TV show recommendations now-a-days are intimidating, and the avalanche of shows produced each year strip these recommendations of clout. Trust me, I am as stubborn as the next guy when it comes to honoring a recommendation. With how busy we all are these days (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, editing photos for Instagram), I practically need a court order to start watching something new. It needs to be worth it.

This is a court order. Killing Eve, the 8-episode British crime thriller has quickly and rightfully earned its spot atop the throne of entertainment. As a self-proclaimed televisseur (my word not yours), my recommendation carries significance. I’ve watched every episode of Ballers for Christ sake.

Killing Eve, starring Sandra Oh and Jodie “give her the Emmy now” Comer, follows the life of Eve (Oh), an ambitious MI5 security officer, as she chases Villanelle (Comer), a capricious assassin driven by the fruits of her own chaos. Based on the Villanelle novels by Luke Jennings and developed for television by Fleabag’s Pheobe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve satisfies both the film nerd and starving artist in me as we careen down a volatile path of cat and mouse. Both female leads shine in their respective roles, however the transfixing talent of Jodie Comer as Villanelle is undeniable, and will most certainly generate world-wide acclaim. The writing, supplemented by superb performances from the entire cast across the board, is delightfully sharp and spontaneous. Technically, the show is crisp and bold. The pace is deliberately suited for the modern media age, efficiently tearing through scenes and leaving no time for “filler”—sometimes even cutting away from scenes mid-sentence. The cinematography is calculated, seamlessly adopting and complementing the personality of each character on screen.  The wickedly unsettling music, led by standout track, “Killer Shangri-Lah” is the cherry on top.

The plot itself is no revelation—a self proclaimed spy tries to catch a killer (at least it seems that way at first). Its storytelling and character development however, are quite revelatory and keep the audience tuning in week after week. The impressive depth of character conveyed between Eve and Villanelle in each episode blur the line between sane and psychotic, manufacturing connections and extracting empathy almost immediately. This show simply operates on a higher level than most, hitting the bulls-eye in every category.

At least watch the opening scene, which impeccably sets the tone for the rest of the series. You have a minute to spare.

I love Killing Eve. It feels different. I have never seen a show quite like it. Season 1, which ended on Sunday, May 27, has grown in viewership with each of its eight episodes, an impressive feat for a show battling Sunday night heavy-weights like Westworld, the millennial wet dream Silicon Valley, and first year standout Barry.

It may already be too late, but hop on board while you can.






IMPORTANT: Top 8 Most Attractive Sitcom Casts


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With everything that’s going on in the world, I thought it would be appropriate to write about something that matters, something tangible and intelligent. Here is the definitive ranking of sitcom casts that are easy on the eyes. Remember, we’re talking sitcoms only here. Sorry Riverdale fans, no Cole Sprouse on this one.

8. That ’70s Show


Although this cast doesn’t match the consistency of other shows, the break out performances of Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher in the latter half of the show jolts this sitcom into the Elite 8. And they got married in real life! What’s better than two hot rich famous people getting married?

7. How I Met Your Mother


The show jumped from 8 to 7 when I found out who the mother was.

6. Will & Grace


No stand out all-stars here, but Will & Grace showcases four attractive leads living it up in New York City, acting as the bizarro version of Seinfeld (excluding the lovely Elaine Benes of course).


5. The Good Place



After only two seasons, The Good Place has cemented itself as one of the most clever and refreshing shows on air. But this is a list of looks, and Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, and hell even Ted Danson make staring at this cast taste like a little slice of heaven (IM SORRY).


4. Community



Most of you forgot about Community didn’t you? This show sneakily slides in at #4 because of slept on lookers like Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Donald Glover, and more.

3. Modern Family


Like most modern families, this show features very attractive people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders.

2. New Girl


If your girlfriend hasn’t mentioned how cute Nick Miller is then she’s a robot.


1. Friends


If this isn’t your #1 then unsubscribe from everything. To better quantify the number of attractive characters on this show, let me quote the great LeBron James at his Miami Heat welcome party in 2010, “Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5,” that’s right SIX. Joey Tribbiani and Rachel Green lead the way like Jordan and Pippen to a perfect 6-for-6 during their historic 90s-00s run.



The Definitive and Correct Ranking of all Black Mirror Episodes


  19. Men Against Fire (Episode 305)

No amount of fancy effects will fool me into thinking that this episode is anything other than The 5th Wave. You haven’t read it or seen it, but I have done both and I can tell you in full confidence this is the same thing. Putting the Black Mirror title on a young adult novel doesn’t make me like it.

  1. Shut Up and Dance (Episode 303)

Bronn is in this episode. That’s it. That’s the high point. You spend the whole episode felling bad for a kid because he’s being punished for jerking off, and then at the very end, spoilers, he’s a pedophile. Gross and weird. Plus, putting outdated internet memes in anything makes it worse. So much worse.

  1. Arkangel (Episode 402)

Maybe I’m giving humanity too much credit, but I think that if you know the red stuff that comes out of people is blood, you’re not gonna forget just because it’s blurry. Don’t put experimental mind control implants in your children.

  1. Crocodile (Episode 403)

This is a weird episode because every other Black Mirror is about how everything you see is automatically sent to the cloud and we all have eye augments and brain computers but somehow none of that exists here. Also, it seems to imply that it’s sadder to kill a baby you didn’t have to, where I would argue you never have to kill a baby at all ever.

  1. The Waldo Moment (Episode 203)

Shockingly, electing politicians based on the fact that they’re unqualified and hate politics is a terrible idea. Wow. Who knew? This one ranks so low because British political parties have dumb names and the credits scene is nonsensical at best.  

  1. Be Right Back (Episode 201)

Did I need an hour program to learn that cloning your dead husband is maybe not emotionally healthy? This episode probably ranks number one if you want to have sex with Cleverbot, but otherwise it’s not very memorable.

  1. The National Anthem (Episode 101)

I honestly should have rated this episode higher because nothing is better than raving about how good and clever this show is and then the first one is about fucking a pig.

  1. The Entire History of You (Episode 103)

“Hey, CJ, you know that nightly moment where you stare at the ceiling and regret your interactions with people? What if your whole life was that but times a thousand? We just have to jam a camera into your eyeball!”

Thanks, but no thanks hellish nightmare demons. Hard pass.

  1. Nosedive (Episode 301)

I’m deeply horrified by the thought that somehow in the future society became okay with hearing stranger’s phones make noise constantly. Keep that shit on vibrate, weirdos. No one wants to hear the bleeps and bloops of your pleas for validation.

  1. Playtest (Episode 302)

If I were testing a new augmented reality horror game and it mined my brain for things that would deeply terrify me, the scariest thing it could possibly create would be an otherwise good episode of TV that was ruined by a gotcha punchline in the last 30 seconds. Horrifying.

  1. Metalhead (Episode 405)

This episode at #9 might just be the hottest take on this list unless you love The 5th Wave or want to bang out with a deep learning AI. Not a lot of people liked this episode (6.8 on IMDb, lowest of all episodes) but those people are wrong. It’s Black Mirror does Alfred Hitchcock meets The Shining (with just a touch of Hound of the Baskervilles) and it’s the truest “anthology’ entry in the series, PLEASE @ me.

  1. Fifteen Million Merits (Episode 102)

The clear lesson here is if you miss your shot with a girl you should definitely threaten to kill yourself. This always works and does not come off as desperate or unstable. Fact. This is one of the show’s better examples of world building in a vacuum, but honestly America’s Got Talent is played out NOW, so I can’t imagine how boring and vanilla it will be in the future.

  1. White Bear (Episode 202)

I like to think of White Bear as the British equivalent of Hamilton. Like, it’s impossible to get tickets but anyone who sees it can’t stop raving about how great it is. College theatre kids are trying to license it. People are desperately looking for a high-quality YouTube version. Just that theirs is about psychologically torturing a woman everyday for the rest of her life instead of historical raps.

  1. USS Callister (Episode 401)

A good rule of thumb is that if something cool exists in this world, the people who like that thing will ruin it for people. It’s an almost universal phenomenon. An example, from this episode: free will is pretty cool. Knock-off Matt Damon was having none of that shit at all. Side note, for those keeping track at home: this is the highest ranked episode with a child murder in it (out of 4). Please also note that this was not a ranking criteria for this list.

  1. Hang the DJ (Episode 404)

Perhaps even more hellish than the thought of my digital soul trapped in a Star Trek knock-off is the thought of my digital soul being forced to date, forever. It’s actually ranked lower than it could have been, since I found out the title is a reference to a Smiths song and not an indication that being a DJ is illegal in the future. 

  1. Hated in the Nation (Episode 306)

This episode takes the shockingly controversial stance that, wow, maybe social media can be bad? Social media bad? Social? Media? Bad? Bees? Despite the stale take, the episode shines thanks to a strong overall premise and non-linear storytelling conceit. Please share this on all your social media platforms.

  1. Black Museum (Episode 406)

I initially dismissed this episode as a retread. But comments on the form ignore the themes of traditional Americana fundamentally at odds with the black experience and the still prevalent commodification of minorities. However, I’m not qualified to talk about any of that. Like, at all. Not my lane. But hey, that part with the teddy bear was like Piccolo fused with Nail in DBZ, right? Right? Anyone?

  1. San Junipero (Episode 304)

It would have been way better for this article clickbait-wise if I didn’t like this episode. But honestly, isn’t “old people living out their glory days digitally” essentially the same thing as “starting a website with your best buds because you peaked in college”? We’re the San Junipero of content.

  1. White Christmas (Special)

This is bar none the best Black Mirror episode. Honestly it’s not close. And it’s so sad! Jon Hamm’s character is really sad because he barely gets to mention all the ladies he bangs, and Rafe Spall’s character is sad because he looks weird with facial hair. The two main twists of the episode are that most episodes of this “anthology” series after this one use the same premise as White Christmas, and that they went with child manslaughter instead of the usual child murder. What a switchup!

The End of the F***ing World: A F***ing Review


 Netflix has taken it upon themselves to start automatically playing the trailers of featured shows and movies once you open up the app or go to the website. Oh, you weren’t interested in Grace and Frankie? Well guess what, sucker! They don’t give a damn. Next thing you know the first episode has started playing and then oops! You just finished a show you had no intention of starting.

     This is how I stumbled upon The End of the F***ing World. Now, before we get started with this review there are a few things that you, the reader, should know.

     Firstly, the show, based on a comic book series by Charles Forsman, is only 8 painlessly short episodes. The twenty minute installations just beg to be binged.

    Secondly, if you know me at all, you know that I was basically guaranteed to like this show. After convincing a friend to give it a try, I promptly received this text which felt like a compliment but probably shouldn’t:

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     Yeah, I studied abroad in London for a semester 4 years ago, and no, I won’t let you forget it.

     Now to the good stuff.

     The show follows self-diagnosed psychopath James as he navigates the stereotypical hell that is existing as a weird and awkward teenager with a traumatic childhood. James, who has formed a morbid obsession with death (naturally), has decided to level up from killing animals to humans. He decides that fellow outcast, middle-finger-in-the-air Alyssa might be an interesting first victim. Alyssa, desperate to escape her sleazy step dad and idle mother, gladly welcomes seemingly innocent and awkward James as a distraction and means of transportation.

     What started out as a relationship of mutual convenience quickly develops into one of true camaraderie as the two embark on a quest that leaves the audience highly invested in the two anti-heroes. A crime here and there, a murder sprinkled in, a bit of self discovery and a whole lot of teen angst make for an entertaining and easy to watch show from start to finish.

     Not only is the storyline a dark and unique play on the clichéd coming of age story, but it’s also hard not to get swept up in the outstanding performance from the two leads (Jessica Barden, I’m looking at you), and the colorful stylistic elements of the show. The voiceovers provided throughout the series really give the audience a look at the vulnerable state the character’s are simultaneously experiencing regardless of the hard and confident exterior they both share.

     The End of the F***ing World has mastered the portrayal of an inarguably dysfunctional and yet pure kind of love. A dark drama and somehow also a heartwarming comedy, this one’s worth checking out.

     “I’ve just turned 18. And I think I understand… what people mean to each other.”