Episodes: The Complete 1st Season
Cast: Matt LeBlanc, Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, John Pankow, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Mircea Monroe
Creator: David Crane & Jeffrey Klarik
New York University '00
"I don't think you're dumb... I just think at times you're under-exposed to information." -Murphy Brown
Episodes: The Complete 1st Season
Review By: Dan Deevy
There’s a truism that I heard recently which says, “In New York City they say ‘Fuck You’ and it means ‘Hello,’ and in L.A. they say ‘Hello’ and it means ‘Fuck You.’
Well, after working in the entertainment industry for fifteen years based in of the heart of New York City, I decided it was time to make the big move out to Hollywood and see if this particular opinion was accurate.
The idea was to expand TheCinemaSource’s content base, make more connections within the biz and for once live a slightly more relaxed, slower paced life.
I figured I could give up my innate pedestrian ways in favor of L.A.’s preferred method of transportation… a personal vehicle. An entire car all to myself; as opposed to one subway car that I would share with one hundred other New Yorkers all in various stages of disarray and often decay. That sounded great. Instead of paying out the nose for a small high rise apartment in Hell’s Kitchen I could pay half as much for a much bigger place on a palm tree lined street in West Hollywood. That too, sounded great! And of course instead of dealing with crass angry New Yorkers on a day to day basis I would be surrounded by happy, beautiful people who always had a smile and a kind word to offer whenever we encountered one another. What could sound better than that?
Well, as you may have guessed the trade hasn’t been quiet as rosy as I had once imagined it to be. Los Angeles is a very beautiful place with some very beautiful people but it is severely lacking in other areas and nothing brings those tragic flaws to light better than Showtime’s new Series, Episodes starring Matt LeBlanc.
Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig play Sean and Beverly Lincoln two successful British comedy writers who are wooed by a fast talking Hollywood executive played by John Pankow and are convinced to move to the states to create an American version of their series Liman’s Boys; which had been successfully running in the U.K. for four years. It doesn’t take long for the pair to realize that Merc, their new network exec best friend, is actually 100% full of shit.
Not to worry though, Merc isn’t alone. Everyone that works for him including Carol (Kathleen Rose Perkins) his right hand woman, Andy Button (Joseph May) the head of casting and the god awfully uncomfortable Myra Licht (Daisy Haggard) the head of comedy (insert ironic head tilt here) are all as transparent as air. The group of them couldn’t formulate an independent thought to save their own lives. They’ve learned their lessons and have decided that to be a ‘yes’ man (or a ‘yes’ woman willing to sleep with her sleazy boss) is to be gainfully employed in this town. To dare
It’s really scary because there are so many people in this business who are like that. I’m sure more than a few conversations about this show around studio water coolers have come to abrupt halts when upper management walks by. Some of the most powerful and influential people in Hollywood have the most fragile egos you will ever encounter; probably because most of them, like our friend Merc here, realize what frauds they are and are desperately trying to keep everyone else from figuring that out.
But I digress. The entire first season is only seven thirty minute episodes long so it goes by very quickly. And, much like L.A. itself, it takes a while to warm up to.
While I do agree that the writing of the show is very smart and as far as satire goes it is spot on, I just never found the show to actually be funny. Maybe it’s because of my personal connection to the subject matter but I found it to be more sad than anything else. (I guess that could be the British influence rearing its little Anglican head.)
Each half hour long episode would bring maybe one or two smiles to my face and maybe, maybe one chuckle. But I didn’t actually laugh out loud until the fourth episode. After that, even though I wasn’t laughing I found myself beginning to enjoy the show a bit more.
Sean and Beverly, who at first are very off –putting, do soften slightly and I did begin to care about their relationship. The network characters fall off slightly except for Carol who is also softened and humanized in an L.A. kind of way which makes her more tolerable too.
The only constant treat in this three and a half hour marathon was Matt LeBlanc. I feel like this is the first time we are seeing him as someone other than Joey; and even though he’s playing himself it was great to see him in a new light. There’s also the running themes of his philandering with woman, rampant alcoholism and the fact that he apparently has an enormous penis that was always fun to watch.
Showtime made an interesting choice when it came to the special features they decided to include on this one disc (that’s right I said one disc) DVD. Rather than any special features relating to this show they included a way to access the first two episodes of the show The Borgias, the first two episodes of House of Lies and the first two episodes of the sixth season of Dexter via E-Bridge technology.
On the one hand it’s a smart marketing ploy because if it turns out you don’t enjoy this show, or even if you do, you might watch a little of these others and get hooked on them as well. But
I ended up enjoying the show more than I expected to by the end of it, but I don’t think I’ll be clamoring to see the next season of it. When it shows up on DVD, however, I’ll be more than happy to slap it in the player and in a single sitting watch the entire season and pound out another quick review to see where they are able to go with this story.