Monday, June 21, 2021

What I'm Watching: Solos

Solos: Season 1, Episode 5 “Jenny” (C+)

Looking back at the first four episodes of this show, there was always someone else there, even if this was technically a solo performance. In the first two installments, it was other versions of the same character in the same body so that they could talk with themselves, and in the next, it was a sentient computer that could process what the human organism was doing. Here, it was just one person talking to the camera the entire time, and in the closing moments, when we did finally see other people, she was unconscious and unable to hear them or respond. It’s not a device that I thought worked all that well, though it did certainly progress in emotion over the course of her monologue. I never watched “Fresh Off the Boat” but I did see both “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Hustlers” and found Constance Wu to be strong in those roles. Here, I’m not sure she was set up all that well for success since she’s essentially just addressing the camera for twenty minutes straight, which again is not a model that even this show has employed before this. I understand the title, but having her talk nonstop without anyone to question or correct her didn’t feel terribly effective. There’s also something about knowing that she won’t be back again in any capacity that makes having her process this all on her own less emphatic. We as audience members don’t feel like a proper sounding board, and hopefully the final two episodes of this show’s first season will take a different approach.

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