HBO’s Barry pulled the rug on viewers twice in “The Audition” and brought a classic first half of satire into brutally tense, edge of your seat drama.
The following review contains spoilers for Barry Season 2 Episode 7.
HBO’s Barry solidified itself tonight as a show that’s going to be around for a long, long time. Despite being just into a second season, eight episodes a piece, half an hour each, they’ve already mastered the art of the cliffhanger. Nobody that watched Fuches pull a gun on Gene Cousineau tonight did not want to immediately see the next episode.
This episode simply had it all when it comes to Barry’s one of a kind, dark humor/drama formula. From the shallowness of Hollywood featuring spot-on parodies and lip service… To NoHo Hank getting the ‘mulligan’ he desperately wanted but losing the respect of his men. Barry receiving an audition for a major feature film off just by being at the right place while being 6’2 said it all. ‘I did’t know this is how it all worked!’
Famed Austin Powers director Jay Roach’s casting associate being more in-tune with Barry’s 6’2 height than his acting was reality personified. Even though Roach noticed Barry didn’t care whatsoever during his audition performance, it didn’t disqualify him at all. Instead, it seemingly intriguing Roach.
Sally even comments on Barry getting this opportunity despite just starting out and not working his way up for it prior. The truth of the unfairness of La La Land strikes deeply at her heart, the wool unraveled from her eyes. This is how things really work, not by fist and brick but by chance. Sometimes you’re just born into that chance.
‘Payback Ladies’ is another Sally Reed Comedy Goldmine
“It’s that time of the month… For Revenge!” ‘Payback Ladies’ a faux, modern show for the times, by TV Producer Aaron Ryan was the ultimate form of paying lip-service to an issue. It was also absolutely hilarious! Just to hear Ryan describe the whole plot of the show with the accompanying artwork to Sally was genuine lighthearted fun like there hasn’t been on TV in ages.
Instead of going for clapping, ‘agreeable humor’, HBO’s Barry goes for old-school TV satire more akin to Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s That’s My Bush! and TV Funhouse. Considering how watered down humor is these days to not offend anyone, it’s great to see a show willing to take risks.
‘Payback Ladies’ was another classic in the form of ‘Future Space’ parody episode prior, which featured Better Call Saul’s Patrick Fabian (Howard Hamlin). Too bad there won’t be a full featured scene for Sally’s reel for this one, as she turned it down. An excellent move for Sally’s character arch but it would have definitely been a fun watch! The whole concept of ‘Payback Ladies’ really drove home the struggle of an artist between staying true to your art and paying the bills. “Do you not want to be a lead in a tv show?” Sometimes the only one you have who believes in you… Is you.
In times of stress, the true you is revealed… Like NoHo Hank, Hotel Manager
When times are tough, the shields come down. The real NoHo Hank was revealed tonight, less a gangster and in his own words, more a polite Hotel Manager type. Cristobal Sifuentes and Esther had sent NoHo Hank and his men to a bus, hands in makeshift plastic cuffs to be doused in flames. One member of Hank’s group rose above the call of duty and managed to free himself… And everyone else, including Hank! NoHo Hank had been apologizing to his men while the escape was happening silently, saying he wasn’t what he portrayed.
When it was all over NoHo Hank’s men stood victorious but he’d lost their respect as leader entirely. The group’s new leader did not hesitate to shoot dead the accordion musician who had betrayed them, while Hank spoke to him. In this case, lip-service rather than action is why NoHo Hank has lost his spot in the hierarchy.
Fuches playing private detective to Gene turns volume to 20, off the dial
The anticipation to Barry’s audition had made for grand comedy. Acting teacher Gene Cousineau splitting the trajectory of Barry’s character in the film going #2 in a pie for revenge on his enemy was just pure fun. Sometimes not everything is Shakespeare but we like to believe it is because it’s ours. Thus Gene too, tried to explain Barry’s character breakdown in the heigh of seriousness. Naturally, Gene would want to accompany Barry to his big day, an ego boost for himself to see a student audition for a lead role.
However, it would not come to pass. The show turned on a dime from light hearted humor to the pinnacle of stress as Gene made a call to Barry to say he couldn’t make it. A private detective had contacted him claiming to be investigating the death of Janice Moss at his cabin and requiring assistance. That private detective was none other than Monroe Fuches! The disgruntled Fuches would make his presence known to Barry on the phone, citing he was not out of plays. Barry would try to reason with Fuches but it had no effect, his mind was up.
It appeared Fuches momentarily had doubts when Gene was telling him about how Barry’s life was changing but it only threw the viewers off. Fuches would lead Gene to Janice’s car, claim to be calling the police but actually calling as ‘Gene’ to ‘admit responsibility’ for her death. Then to end the episode, as Barry was rushing to find the two… Fuches would point a gun at Gene’s head as he looked at Janice’s body in the car trunk. Cut to credits. You can only think, “It’s already over?!” in the best of ways.
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