Sunday, November 18, 2018

Pilot Review: The Bisexual

The Bisexual (Hulu)
Premiered November 16

I had no idea that Desiree Akhavan had made a television series, but if I had imagined what one would be like, this would definitely be it. Akhavan made her feature film debut behind the camera and in front of it in “Appropriate Behavior” in 2014, portraying her discomfort navigating the world as a bisexual Persian-American. This year, she returned as director for “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” a compelling story of a teenage girl sent to a gay conversion therapy camp. It’s interesting but not at all unexpected that she would choose a British network and setting for her first foray into television, with this series premiering on Channel 4 in the UK a little over a month ago and then dropping all six of its episodes on Hulu this past Friday. As Leila, Akhavan is just as awkward and unapologetically blunt as she was in her debut film, ready to break off a serious relationship because her girlfriend proposed marriage and then jumping to re-propose to her when a heterosexual encounter led to terrible confusion. Opposite her, Brian Gleeson, son of Brendan Gleeson, is terrific as her roommate Gabe, who of course asked about “Blue is the Warmest Color” as soon as he was around lesbians only to have them mention “The L Word” before warning him of its context. This is a great showcase for Akhavan whose “No, stay, she says” was the highlight of this half-hour for me. I’m up for another episode or maybe even all five.

How will it work as a series? Sticking gum in a black girl’s hair is probably going to come back to haunt her, especially because she’s still working for Sadie on a creative basis every day. I’m hopeful that she and Gabe won’t sleep together, but I do look forward to them navigating the complicated world of romance and love together as friends.
How long will it last? Reviews are good, even better in fact that they have been for Akhavan’s two narrative films. British television, by its nature, is usually short-form and unlikely to last too many seasons, and broadcasting to American audiences via Hulu should help grow its audience. I’d predict two seasons of this show before Akhavan moves on to bigger projects.

Pilot grade: B+

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