Sunday, August 23, 2015

Take Three: Difficult People

Difficult People: Season 1, Episode 4 “A Soldier’s Courage” (C)

I did not like this episode, a half-hour that felt like a major departure from the first three installments of this show in a very troubling way. The plotlines that were previously featured, like the participator, Julie’s mother, and even the PBS pledge drive, were exaggerated slightly from real life but still fairly easy to digest and take seriously. This episode took its mockery to a whole new level, one that really doesn’t resemble reality at all and served as a disappointing example of what happens when things are taken too far when they were working just fine. Julie competing with another woman for her mother’s affection, or merely just trying to outdo her nemesis for the sake of showing her up, makes some sense, but I doubt that she would think an elderly veteran would make a compelling graduation party date. Shouting at him after he propositioned her and running out with gift bags was pretty absurd, and I think this show can do better than that. Similarly, Billy’s experience at his brother’s home on Yom Kippur was an odd and inexplicable mess with no recognizable Jewish traditions and so many inconsistencies. Maybe that’s what Billy and Julie think observant religion looks like, but I expect more from these comedians who I think can present events more literally and still find a way to make fun of them. Learning that Billy’s new agent had a brain tumor that caused him to sign random clients was a hopeful hint that maybe this whole episode can just be a fever dream. Mocking HBO for its obsession with Ricky Gervais and Julie chatting hospitalized veterans up about “American Horror Story” - that’s what this show should spend more time doing.

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