Friday, April 3, 2020

What I’m Watching: Breeders

Breeders: Season 1, Episode 5 “No Dad” (B+)

This was a surprisingly moving and affecting episode. Starting with Ally singing “Stayin’ Alive” as she tried to perform CPR on the dead gerbil made it seem like this would be a comedic installment, one that touched on the complexity of talking to children about what happens when someone dies and how parents can find themselves trapped by the unexpected consequences of what they say to them. Michael chiming in with his own approach threatened to undermine them, but suggesting that those who die live on in their memories was a sweet sentiment. Seeing him go straight out to buy a replacement gerbil contradicted that, of course, but then he was so suddenly and shockingly struck by a car. This show kept it light for a moment as the woman who tried to revive him also sang “Stayin’ Alive,” but everything got much more serious from there. Ally’s portrait of grief and how it often leads to unexplained things, like inappropriate laughter or arousal, was strong, but the most compelling part was how Paul reacted. Responding to Leah claiming to still be his widow and referring to herself as “Mrs. Bigshit” by demanding that she apologize to her daughter for her insensitivity was both forceful and compassionate. The flashback to his first meeting with Michael was among the episode’s most memorable points, showing how they just enjoyed being together and developed a true friendship almost immediately. Michael and his portrayer will be missed, and this episode makes me really hope for some Emmy recognition for everyone involved.

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