Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Emmy Episodes: Pen15

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. For the fourth year in a row, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Pen15: Season 1, Episode 9 “Anna Ishii-Peters” (B-)

I was truly surprised to see this show earn an Emmy nomination in any category after really not liking the pilot. Looking back at my review, I guess I didn’t hate it quite as much as I remembered, but it surely wasn’t anywhere near the best comedy on television. I’ve also developed an affinity for co-creator, co-writer, and co-star Maya Erskine still watching this pilot back in February thanks to her fantastic turn in the Tribeca film “Plus One,” which is far funnier than anything on this show. I will say that this installment was slightly better than the pilot, if only because of the focus on friendship that it offered as covered in a weekend where a best friend started to replace the daughter in all the ways she didn’t realize she feared. There is some comedy gleaned from the fact that both Erskine and Anna Konkle are much older than the teenagers they’re supposed to be playing, but none of it worked particularly well or added anything substantial in my opinion (I understand that many do like this show and its format a lot). Its storyline was a bit more compelling, though I’d actually have recognized this episode more for its direction than its writing given the way each of the scenes were framed. I thought I recognized two of the parents from previous projects, though I could only peg one of them. Richard Karn, who plays Maya’s dad, should be familiar to most from “Home Improvement,” and I’ll always remember Melora Walters, who plays Anna’s mom, from her standout turn in “Magnolia,” even if I couldn’t identify her here. I wasn’t a big fan of the “Barry” installment nominated against this episode at the Emmys, but this is still probably my last choice in that category.

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