When it comes to comedian Amy Schumer and her stand-up comedy shows, we pretty much know what we’re going to get. Themes of self depreciation, sex, fat jokes and offering her own take on the vagina monologues are constant in Schumers work, so much so, when bursting onto the scene, she was applauded for delving into those ‘no-go’ topics.
Now a best selling author and big screen actress (Trainwreck and the upcoming Snatched with Goldie Hawn), the jokes and topics that found Amy stardom continue to pull her along the dark and vulgar path she’s traveled down many a time before. In her most recent outing for Netflix titled Amy Schumer: The Leather Special, jokes about her feminine hygiene, copious amounts of alcohol and oral sex are once again present and feel somewhat ‘old-school’ Amy Schumer and by old-school, I mean the Amy we first met back in 2014 when Inside Amy Schumer began to gain traction for being a very on point and wickedly blunt comedic sketch show.
Schumer, as witnessed in The Leather Special, rarely strays away from topics that seem to hit with audiences and while topics such as double standard within Hollywood, female sexuality and empowerment and body insecurities are tackled, there’s an uneasy feeling of ‘heard this once before’ as these topics feel rehashed but with added vagina.
But all is not lost for Amy as among all the smut and vomit jokes, she manages to set aside her vagina for a moment and approach the hot topic of gun control, a subject close to Schumer after a gunman (in 2015) opened fire in a cinema showing her film Trainwreck in which two people were killed and nine other injured.
It’s a sidestep into the real world that will undoubtedly get people talking and divide audiences (the special briefly cuts to a small number of audience members walking out when gun control is mocked) but also one that she should visit a bit more often as sadly, this ‘raunch comedy’ that has become so synonymous with Schumer has me fearing that she may never get out of this sexual gag cycle.
Amy Schumer: The Leather Special is currently streaming on Netflix.
It was the show that introduced comedian Josh Thomas into households worldwide, brought us Wade Briggs and the return of Aussie favorite Debra Lawrence to our screens and moved Home and Away familiars Charles Cottier and Jackson Gallagher into more mature acting roles – Please Like Me, sad to say, is not coming back.
Local Aussie comedy and favorite of ThePophub.com, Please Like Me, created, written by and starring Josh Thomas will not be coming back for a fifth season today in news confirmed by Josh via his official Facebook page.
The final episodes of season four, which aired in December last year, brought about some major changes for Thomas’s character and those around him including the shock suicide of his mother (Debra Lawrence) and the end of Tom (Thomas Ward) and Ella’s (Emily Barclay) relationship which eventually saw best friends Josh and Tom reunited in Josh’s million dollar inner-city apartment.
It was changes that would either lead into a empty canvas season five or close out the show with all loose ends tied – the latter, it seems, is what won out.
The show picked up steam and a mass of new followers when US based cable network Pivot joined forces with Thomas and the ABC to keep the show continuing into a second and third season before the network closed up with Please Like Me‘s fourth season moving to popular streaming service Hulu.
Please Like Me is also finding new audiences world wide as it is added the Netflix catalog of shows to stream.
Coming off an eight episode binge watch of Netflix’s comedy/drama Haters Back Off, I quickly came to the realization that what works in one format may not actually work in another and it’s a point I have made before about a character very similar to that of Haters lead Miranda Sings.
The premise of the Netflix original series takes insanely popular YouTube star Miranda Sings (Colleen Ballinger) and documents her slow and grinding rise to her current internet stardom with the help of her eerily inappropriate Uncle Jim (Steve Little), her hypochondriac mother Bethany (Angela Kinsey) and her love-sick neighbor Patrick (Erik Stocklin) which is all to the detest of her introverted younger sister Emily (Francesca Reale).
As the eight episodes move along, Miranda, in her quest for undeserved fame using Uncle Jim’s five step plan, showcases a natural talent for narcissistic egotism and not much else as she drags down those around her while trying to claw herself to the top. Even when the tables turn on her and a situation goes awry, Miranda, so wrapped up in the beliefs of her own talent, refuses to see when she’s being kicked to the ground and assumes those against her are jealous of her performing ability.
In the second to last episode, Miranda’s younger sister Emily takes the chance to leave the chaos of home and apply to go to art school. Their mother Bethany, who is struggling with an actual health issue, at first fights it but then allows Emily to take that interview. Armed with her portfolio, Emily attends said art school interview only to discover her works have been ‘Mirandafied’ with pasta and glitter therefore destroying her chance at acceptance.
It’s the ensuing scene (which kicks off the seasons final episode) between a devastated and angry Emily and a cocky Miranda that brings the series one of its most conflicting moments for the viewers – Miranda is convinced she ‘fixed those paintings’ to help Emily get into art school but is shocked when Emily literally tells her that she ruined her work and that Miranda is dumb for thinking she was actually helping. It’s a brutal scene between the chalk and cheese sisters, but one where you feel empowered that Emily is finally taking a stand yet saddened for Miranda who is copping that verbal beating from her sister even when she thought she was doing good.
Once it is over, you step back and begin to question why are we even feeling sad for Miranda and should we be feeling empathy for a character that showed not a single shroud of human decency to another person? Which of course, harks back to my original point on what works in one format may not actually work in another.
Miranda Sings in YouTube format is hilarious and simply put – genius. The short 5-8 minute clips allow us to pop in and out as Miranda tries international snacks, dances, offers make-up tips, visits other YouTube stars, displays DYI fashion and accessory tips and badly croons her way through hundreds and hundreds of videos that have racked up billions of views. It works because the videos are entertaining, Miranda is an utter odd-ball, we don’t have to become too invested in her at that moment and the time frame of the videos is short enough to avoid us from discovering that Miranda is actually a rather unpleasant character.
Most of that discovery though falls down to the introduction of Miranda’s family, the people she stumbles across in life and how her actions and the way she conducts herself are presented to those people…which had to happen when bringing the character into scripted television.
It’s the same issue I had with a similar character to Miranda Sings, in the form of comedian Chris Lilley’s alter-ego Ja’mie King from Summer Heights High. When offered in smaller doses and accompanied by other unsettling characters to bounce to and from, selfish and delusional Ja’mie was an utter gem but when given her own platform and fleshed out surroundings in the series Ja’mie: Private School Girl, she became an unpleasant and highly unlikable brat that had me wanting her to never have a platform to appear on ever again.
Now this is not to say that Haters is a complete miss. There are some shining moments within the havoc of these eight episodes, most of which come from Miranda’s neighbor and (not so) secret admirer Patrick.
Erik Stocklin’s grossly awkward yet heartwarmingly adorable Patrick manages to step front and center to give Haters a character for us to root for – oddly more so than poor Emily. Even though Miranda comes out of this incredibly unlikable, we get all mushy when Patrick finally gets that special moment with his long time crush because Patrick, while almost as delusional as Miranda, is genuine and connectable for the viewers and thats a huge kudos to Stocklin.
Haters Back Off is currently streaming on Netflix.
If you’re like me, your’e dreading the impending barrage of Rio Olympics television coverage and what it will do to the other free-to-air networks. Seven have already announced all of their FTA and digital channels will be non stop Olympics, Channel nine will probably opt for Big Bang Theory repeats and Network Ten…well they’ll do want they want and continue with their standard schedule.
So then we find ourselves aimlessly channel surfing trying to find something to watch in between episodes of The Bachelor Australia hoping to find a gem we’ve not yet seen. This is where the following list of recommended shows to binge during the Rio Olympics will hopefully come in handy.
Schitt’s Creek / Seasons 1 and 2 / Comedy / 2015 –
Now currently on hiatus after two seasons (season three is currently filming) Schitt’s Creek has a familiar premise of the fish out of water scenario where the fish is the ultra wealthy Rose family and the water being an unscrupulous business manager that left them with nothing but a small middle of nowhere town (and the Roses new home) named Schitts Creek that Rose patriarch Johnny (Eugene Levy) purchased as a gag gift for his son David (Daniel Levy). Forced to forgo all their luxuries, the Rose’s must endure life as they never knew it until Johnny is able to sell the town to nab back some much needed dollars.
Why you should binge: Comedy legends Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara back on screen together for starters! Plus it’s funny, heart warming and very ship-worthy, you’ll fall in love with “is he or isn’t he” David and his spoiled sister Alexis (Annie Murphy) will either make you uber jealous or scratch your head in wonderment.
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst / Season 1 / Documentary / 2015
With the popularity of Making a Murder being so overwhelming, many people might be looking for something just as absurd and something just as intriguing. The Jinx delves into the mystery surrounding the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife Kathy along with the murder of his best friend Susan Berman and neighbor Morris Black. The six part documentary series is told from Durst’s point of view and you’ll be left gobsmacked when things start to unravel and truth’s start to come out.
Why you should binge: It’s like the opposite of Making a Murderer where we all (for the most part) assume Steven Avery’s innocence but are left fuming at the US justice system but here, Dursts’ guilt is obvious right from the go but the police can’t seem to nab him. it’s an incredibly powerful look into how power, money and influence can keep things hidden.
Fuller House / Season 1 / Comedy / 2016 –
Sure there’s some nostalgia that surrounds this updated version of 80’s sitcom Full House that those not yet to watch may think be corny, but in fact, Fuller House is such an easy show to watch, you’ll make your way through all 13 episodes in a breeze. DJ Tanner (Candice Cameron) is back along with younger sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) who all join together to live in the house they grew up in. If Carly Rae Jepsen’s updated theme song doesn’t get you, then seeing the return of the old Tanner family (minus the Olsen twins as Michelle) will.
Why you should binge: It’s a very easy show to settle into, doesn’t take itself serious and throws uber shade at the missing Olsen twins plus who didn’t love Full House?! It was staple viewing growing up in the 80’s!
Looking / Seasons 1 and 2 + finale movie / Drama / 2015-2016
I’ll be very blunt, the first season of gay themed drama Looking killed me. It frustrated me with its slowness and un-eventfulness but Looking’s slow paced look at the lives of three gay men living in San Francisco is worthy of a binge session. Patrick (Jonathan Groff) has a stable work life but can’t get his romantic life on track, Dom (Murray Bartlett) is trying to clasp onto his youth with younger men and casual work while Augustin (Frankie J Alvarez) is a struggling artist with a drug addiction that’s spiraling out of control.
Why you should binge: It’s probably one of the more honest looks at the daily lives of gay men than we’ve ever seen to date and the acting by the leads – especially Groff – is understated and genuine. Once you move onto season two, the pace picks up nicely from season one and finishes off with the recent Looking: The Movie.
Playing House / Seasons 1 and 2 / Comedy / 2014 –
Maggie (Lennon Parham) is heavily pregnant, had just thrown her husband out for cheating and best friend Emma (Jessica St. Clair) ditches her job in Hong Kong to move in and support her. This hilarious look at what best friends will and can do for each other is honest and real and funny. As best friends off screen, Parham and St. Clair bounce off one another with such ease one could be forgiven for forgetting this was a scripted comedy.
Why you should binge: Filled with laughter and outrageous moments, Playing House is just fun to watch. Pure and simple, plus Maggie and Emma’s friendship offers up some major feels that will keep you moving onto the next episode.
The Staircase / Season 1 / Documentary / 2004
Another true crime documentary that falls into the Making a Murderer and the above mentioned The Jinx category where you can’t stop at just one episode. Offering up two main themes – The investigation into a very complicated murder and the defense and prosecution teams who are trying to construct winning cases, The Staircase is told from the viewpoint of worried widow/cold blooded killer Michael Peterson, and details the case around his late wife who was found at the bottom of their family home staircase in a pool of blood.
Why you should binge: While this 8 part series ends rather abruptly, this case of a woman dead at the bottom of a staircase isn’t as clear cut as it first seems. The family secrets and compelling connections that are revealed as time goes on will only leave you questioning your own mind on Peterson’s guilt or innocence.
Broad City / Seasons 1 to 3 / Comedy / 2014 –
Abbi Abrams (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer) are best friends in their 20’s living the high life in NYC. Abbi works in a gym as a cleaner but has hopes of making her way up to personal trainer, Ilana works….well we never really find out what she does but it involves lots of sleeping in the toilet and spinning on her chair. With meaningless jobs, a very short supply of cash and virtually no shame, their day to day experiences lead them down some bizarre and unexpected paths.
Why you should binge: It’s like Girls but funnier, and you don’t want to cause physical harm to any of the characters. Broad City is wildly outrageous, crude and shocking in it’s approach to 20-something life in New York and the friendship between Abbi and Ilana will make you wish you had something similar, but with a more stable love life, professional life and cash flow.
I’ll happily admit that when the first promos for Channel Nine’s Here Come The Habibs went live, I was immediately put off. I Did not want to watch it, thought what I had seen seemed crass and happily joined the throngs of those condemning it on social media. So much was my nose point out of join by a 30 second promo that I a) did not really want to watch the first two episodes provided for review and b) had a whole spiel mentally prepared about “who at Channel Nine thought this was a good idea?”
I guess that’s what happens when a bad promo for what turned out to be a funny two episodes, is given out to the public.
Judging it by it’s cover we all are.
Lets get into the nitty gritty of Here Come the Habibs.
FouFou Habib (Michael Denkha) and wife Mariam (Camilla Ah Kin) have found themselves able to “live the Australian dream” and to move into the rich and swanky suburb of Vaucluse after a rather hefty ($22 million) lotto win – but they aren’t telling anyone about their windfall, not even their children Toufic (Sam Alhaje), Elias (Tyler De Nawi) and Layla (Kat Hoyos).
Neighbours Olivia O’Neill (Helen Dallimore) and her castrated husband Jack (Darren Gilshenan) are not too keen on their new Mediterranean neighbours (well mainly Olivia) and a war erupts between the two – Olivia wants them out, FouFou wants to stay.
The script, written by Phil Lloyd is tight and full of zippy one liners and throws casual playful punches at multiculturalism, terrorism, greedy family members and the Cronulla riots. The fish-out-of-water premise is very reminiscent of shows like the Beverly Hillbillies and even the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and right from the outset, the loud and brassy Habibs are not the focus of ‘being made fun of’ instead, it’s the rich white privileged that takes most of the hits and should take most of the bullets from the viewing public.
A scene in episode two where Mariam is attempting to join the local yacht club but is thrown a curve ball by Olivia that leads to public embarrassment, will leave you hoping the snotty cow gets hers in a later episode.
While the pilot took a bit for me to warm up to, by the time a turf war was established between the newly rich Habibs and their snotty neighbours the O’Neill’s, I was full on humble pie.
Here Come The Habibs is Channel Nine’s first foray into locally made scripted comedy in over 15 years and personally, I’m picking that the Habibs was actually a wise choice for the network to work it’s way into bringing back some good Aussie comedy. Granted though, Nine isn’t doing itself any favours with how it is choosing to market the show that has resulted in public outcry from an outrage addicted audience and calls for the show to be pulled due to claims it’s racist. Let’s not forget, this show hasn’t even aired yet!
Shows currently airing like Fox8’s (American import) Fresh Off the Boat and SBS’s The Family Law both offer a humorous look on multicultural families and the Habibs is no real different. Able to poke fun at itself while ensuring we’re laughing with and at them at the same time, plus Habibs is actually a bit more engaging than the two shows mentioned above.
While Australia is still trying to find steady ground when it comes to scripted comedy, Here Come the Habibs will hold it’s own against the haters and those trying to tear it down before they’ve even seen an episode. I was like you, then I watched and saw what the Habibs was actually offering.
Here Come the Habibs begins Tuesday night, Feb 9th @ 8:30pm on Channel Nine.
p.s – keep an eye out for the wretchedly funny Pippa Grandison as Olivia’s best friend, who is more than happy to stir the pot when it comes to poking Olivia’s buttons and her new neighbours.
I’m sad. Sad enough that i’m contemplating arranging a buffet of sad binge food (cheese, bacon, cheesecake, cheese etc) and buckets of wine to gorge myself on on Tuesday night during the final ever episode of Cougar Town.
Cougar Town quickly became my go-to show for watching whenever the time called for it. It was my FRIENDS replacement show, a show that I could watch over and over and over and over again. Having trouble getting to sleep? I’d grab some midnight snacks and break out season two and watch away. Have a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do? Season 4 works great there!
I’ve followed and loved Jules Kiki Cobb and her group of drinking buddies right from the go with Cougar Towns’ overtly sexual beginnings on ABC to it’s new home on TBS, the disappearance of side characters (Barb…where’d ya go?), mugs of M&M tea and multiple deaths of wine vases to the introduction of Grayson’s mysterious surprise child (Tampa is like the best name ever), the tipping of imaginary top hats and the welcoming of Tom (Bob Clendenin) to the group and even the departure of Bobby Cobb…..I’ve been there.
I’ve watched Jules (Courteney Cox) grow from a clumsy and sexually clueless divorcee willing to do anything to please those around her to a clumsy, happily married woman to neighbor Grayson (Josh Hopkins) willing to do anything to please those around her. The blossoming romance between her son Travis (Dan Byrd) and close friend Laurie (Busy Philipps) seemed cute at first – then a bit gross when it happened – then sweet when we became used to it. Ellie (Christa Miller) and Andy (Ian Gomez) and their son Stan (that didn’t seem to age for four seasons), showed that copious amounts of wine, snarkism, sex cards and a short stint of being town mayor, all contribute to what constitutes a happy marriage. Then there’s Bobby Cobb (Brian Van Holt) who showed that no matter how much life gets you down, what you do with your surroundings and those around you can be worth more than what any amount of money could provide.
I’ve been there when new relationships bloom then suddenly explode from truth bombs – wine seller slash awesome singer songwriter Sara (Sheryl Crow), last-name-first-name and first-name-last-name Smith Frank (Ryan Devlin), tiny pants unicorn Jeff (Scott Foley), tomboy Riggs (Maria Thayer) and I don’t know why we’re singing Kirsten (Collette Wolfe). Guest stars that popped in along the way – Dodgy therapist Glenn Carolyn Hennesy (Jennifer Aniston), bitchy skin care queen Dr. Amy Evans (Lisa Kudrow), needy therapist Lynn Mettler (Nicole Sullivan), snarky wine seller Wayne Gibbons (Michael McDonald) and smooth romancer Sam (Matthew Perry) were all welcomed visitors to our home in Gulf Haven.
As I sit here typing away and remembering all the large and small things from Cougar Town, I can honestly say that there has never been an episode I have never liked or not laughed with and through all the dime eyes quips, games of Penny Can! and bug hooker books, I will miss Cougar Town. So it’s here I say thank-you to Bill Lawrence, Kevin Biegel, Courteney Cox, Busy Philipps, Christa Miller, Brian Van Holt, Josh Hopkins, Dan Byrd, Ian Gomez, Bob Clendenin and the rest of the Cougar Town cast and crew. To TBS, thank-you for seeing the potential in the show and picking up our winos and continuing on their story.
In the end, if there’s only one thing I can walk away with from 6 seasons and 100+ episodes, it’s not that friends and family are the most important thing in life but that no matter the occasion or time of day, a glass of wine is more than fine.
Now that Netflix has officially launched in Australia, I need to note my top pick for new content that is a must watch for any subscriber.
Located in the US TV category is a sweet yet not so sweet comedy called The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) is discovering what modern life is like for the first time after being freed from a cult – a cult that lived in an underground bunker where Kimmy and 3 other women were being held hostage for 15 years (they had been told the world had pretty much blown up). It’s a rather macabre premise for a show – especially a comedy.
Wanting to steer clear of the ‘Indiana mole women’ tag Kimmy and her fellow cult devotee’s have been so kindly given, Kimmy decides to make a break and start her life in New York City and in what seems like record time, Kimmy manages to find an apartment with a roommate in Titus (Tituss Burgess) and a job as a co-dependent for wealthy socialite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski).
Kimmy’s sudden burst into the modern world and her adjustment to this new life away from the bunker provide the base story point for the season and the comedy revolving around dated slang versus modern technology.
As Kimmy, Kemper is perfection. The doe eyed, clueless optimist plays well with Kemper (the role was created with her in mind) who breathes innocence into a woman not wanting to be seen as a victim. her incessant happiness should be annoying but in Kempers hands, her sweet temperament comes off a somewhat adorable. Krakowski on the hand is my favorite. As the perfect image at any desperate cost (foot surgery and all), Jacqueline could be considered to be an older version of Krakowski’s other alter ego (30 Rock’s Jenna Maroney) but it’s easy enough to over-look it with the amount of fantastic one liners she constantly spews out. Jacqueline is the kind of woman you hope doesn’t exist yet you know she does.
The brains trust behind Kimmy Schmidt is of course Tina Fey and 30 Rock producer Robert Carlock. The two working together have created a show that has a familiar feel to it (30 Rock fans should be all over this) but is so separate from the creators roots, new viewers should stick around.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, complete season one is available on Netflix Australia.
There’s moments in life where you just finding yourself having a total ‘squee‘ moment over certain things and Jimmy Fallon’s Saved by the Bell reunion is one of them.
Finally staging the reunion he’s always wanted, Fallon, and the Tonight Show, rebuilt the original set of Bayside High from the 90’s teen sitcom and invited some familiar to join in.
This very cool and very exciting 8 minute video begins with Fallon as a high school student in the halls of Bayside High before Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) appears atop of the steps in full Zack Morris attire.
The reunion had almost everything to make it perfect including AC Slater (Mario Lopez) breaking out some dance moves, Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) feeling ‘excited’, Kelly Kapowski (Tiffany Thiessen) in her trademark cheerleader uniform and Mr. Belding (Dannis Haskins) trying to be cool with his students.
There were some awesome jokes scattered throughout too including Fallon’s dreams of one day dating Nicole Kidman, Mario Lopez’s stint on Dancing with the Stars, Tiffany Thiessen’s move to Beverly Hills 90210 and Elizabeth Berkley’s role in the cult Showgirls.
Even though Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies) and Screech (Dustin Diamond) were missing, this Tonight Show clip makes for awesome 90’s memories. Check it out below!
I’m having very bitter-sweet feels with the upcoming premiere of TBS’s Cougar Town season 6 (premiering Tuesday Jan 6th). I’m extremely excited the show is back again yet incredibly sad to know it’s the final season.
Having followed Jules (Courteney Cox) and her gang of wine guzzling pals through each and every episode of all past five seasons, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy the experience of watching a show grow into a very tight-knit, well written, well acted very funny comedy.
Sure, the title – Cougar Town – set a very steadfast path for the show and ultimately may have put viewers off (considering the term at the time was often coined in a highly negative tone) but those that stuck around got to witness this show about a 40-something divorced mother bursting back into the dating world with the help of her best friends mature into a show about a 40-something divorced mother navigate life and love with a teenage son with the help of her best friends and neighbors.
We’ve seen faces come and go – over sexual Barb Coman (Carolyn Hennesy) who I miss incredibly, Greyson’s (Josh Hopkins) first love interest Sarah (Sheryl Crow) who should have stuck around longer, Trav’s (Dan Byrd) teacher turned love interest for Bobby, Angie (Sarah Chalke) was a favorite too and last name first name Smith Frank (Ryan Devlin) I felt, was perfect for Laurie, and among those that have moved on, we have also found some that have stuck around. Nosy neighbor and he of the cul-de-sac playset Tom (Bob Clendenin) plus newly-weds Bonnie (Emily Wilson) and Jerry (Brad Morris) have been welcome additions along the way.
And now, season 6 is almost upon us. There’s a time jump between the finale of season 5 and the start of 6 with Laurie’s (Busy Philipps) surprise pregnancy with Trav turning into a baby in the premiere episode. There’s discussions between the new parents about baby names (Bug hookers anyone?) and Jules deals with becoming a first-time grandmother. And in sad news, Bobby Cobb (Brian Van Holt) takes a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity that see’s him leave Gulfhaven very early into this last season plus something I had been recommending from the go – Ellie (Christa Miller) returns to work! Can’t wait to see girl lawyer in action!
It’ll be easier coming into this final season knowing we’ll be given a proper send-off to our cul-de-sac gang and even though I don’t actually drink wine, i’ll still bring out my over-sized vase/wine glass and toast a cheers to the cast and crew on that final episode.
Cougar Town returns for it’s sixth and final season, Tuesday Jan 6th, 10:30pm on TBS.
You can just see it can’t you? Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) standing in front of a room full of her peers, accepting an Emmy and saying “Well, I got it!”. It’s an image that could very well come true after experiencing Valerie actually acting – and incredibly well.
In the HBO comedy’s fifth episode of season two (titled Valerie is taken seriously), we continue our internal (and sometimes not so internal) struggle of loving and feeling incredibly uneasy for and with Valerie as she continues work on Seeing Red but this time round, we get our first glimpse at some of the work Val is doing on the show.
And it’s fucking amazing.
Long time fans will know Valerie the not-so-good sitcom actress and Valerie the star of her own documentary, but this foray for Val into gritty drama is new ground for us and Valerie herself and it’s here with episode five we learn that perhaps Val had spent most of her life working a road she was never meant to take.
The scene in question is where Val sneakily watches some of her dailies with Mickey.. a bedroom scene where Mallory is leaving a nasty voice message for Paulie G.. “That’s fine i’ll leave a message OK. I don’t care if you’re available or unavailable. I don’t care if you just found out if you have herpes or hepatitis C from one of those whores you pay to come to your room on show night. I’ve been in this business a lot longer than you have and i’ll be in this business long after they take you out in a body bag because you are going to O.D on some shit that you’re going to pump into your veins because you hate yourself, and guess what? I’m your way out and you’re too fucking stupid to even know it.”….
There’s that moment when the camera cuts to Valerie after watching the scene and we’re waiting for any hint of recognition from her of the inexplicably incredible work she’s just seen….and there’s nothing. Not even Mickey’s words of praise “Oh, Red! All these years. You can really act” can stop Val from tearing the scene apart – all for the way she looks – it’s too dark, she looks tired, Paulie G pushed her too hard…even noting that clip was take 12.
Val is completely blinded by the darkness in the scene.
And once again, just as we’re almost comfortable enough to root for Val for the win, she’s off like a bull, hunting down anyone that can make her look better on screen because Val believes that “people aren’t going to want to see me look like that” – a belief only instilled further after a meeting with a reporter from the New York times who after seeing the first episode of Seeing Red, told Val she was brave. .
So consumed in what others think of her, Val completely misses the actual and genuine positive remark for one of vanity – but that’s the Valerie Cherish we’ve walked hand in hand with all along.
Thankfully, after a second meeting with the NY Times reporter, Val get’s it given to her straight up “It was so emotionally raw. People have never seen that side of you before. It felt like you were exposing the inner part of yourself in a very surprising and compelling way.”
Could Valerie be ready to leave behind the image she wants people see her as in exchange for the credible actress she could possibly be?