Let’s be honest: a lot of us got our HBO subscriptions solely because of Game of Thrones. (And, apparently, many of you planned on stopping your subscriptions as soon as the show finally ended, according to the substantial spike in “cancel HBO” Google searches following the finale.)
But contrary to the cancelation memes swirling around the internet, HBO has a lot more to offer than just the 8-season hit. Search any “Best of HBO” lists and you’re bound to find at least two things in the top ten that are right up your alley, and a there’s a whole slew of other great titles that don’t even make the lists.
I can’t get enough of Chernobyl right now, but it seems like that excitement will be fleeting, since it is a miniseries. Westworld is interesting, and visually really cool, but I have a fear of sentient, cognizant, or autonomous droids/tech, so that show is really a horror for me. And Watchmen looks promising, but that won’t be out until later this fall, allegedly.
But there is one absolute gem on HBO that I would keep my subscription for even if the network decided to get rid of literally everything else. And that gem is Barry.
While this show is not being talked about enough, I can’t stop talking about it. And now that Game of Thrones is over and we’ve all done our best to make our peace with that, now is the time to dive into something new and incredible before you decide to cancel your subscription once and for all. But where do I even begin without spoiling this show? I’ll try my best.
Here are a few reasons why I love HBO’s Barry, and why you need to watch it (if you haven’t already).
01: The Premise
The premise of this show is just… great. Former US Marine turned low-rent hitman Barry Berkman follows a mark into a Los Angeles acting class and ends up turning a new leaf as an actor (or at least, he tries to). It’s a dark comedy with Dexter-esque moral quandaries and an irredeemable but really likable lead, and you’re either laughing or gasping every other breath.
02: Bill Hader
I have been
mildly obsessed with Bill Hader since his glorious work as Dave in Hot Rod (2007), and have since followed him through his notorious days at SNL and his other big screen gigs. I have a (very small) Stefon shrine, and I don’t think there is a Bill Hader interview in the last decade that I haven’t seen. He makes me laugh, his laugh makes me laugh, his breaking makes me laugh. And comedy aside, I relate to and look up to him in a handful of ways, and have learned a lot about coping with and working with anxiety and imposter syndrome through his transparency in interviews. I have endless respect for him as a writer, director, actor, comedian, and human, and could go on and on and on about him.
And as producer, writer, and director, Bill Hader wears several hats on the set of Barry, all while playing Barry Berkman himself. Even though we are fully aware of the darkness that boils just beneath the surface, he manages to maintain such a smooth air of stoic innocence and naivety that you’re still surprised every time he pulls the trigger. Barry, as a concept and a character, is just phenomenal, and Bill Hader does a perfect job at portraying him.
03: The Characters
While Bill Hader’s Barry Berkman is the star of the show, there are a few other pillars of gold that have made this show the gem that it is and are impossible to overlook.
The iconic Henry Wilker plays Gene M Cousineau, a cavalier acting coach who can’t even book commercials and delivers sweet relief from the looming dread with his foil swans, silk robes, and untimely mentions of remittance. Anthony Carrigan is absolutely brilliant (with impeccable comedic timing) as NoHo Hank, a lovable Chechen crime lord in loafers who is too polite for his own good. And despite her character being narcissistic yet vulnerable, oblivious but impenetrable, Sarah Goldberg gives a truly flawless and often breathtaking performance every time she graces the screen (and stage) as Sally Reed.
Every single character is perfectly written and played with so much life and personality that they each add to the show, not take away from it. And even when some of them aren’t exactly likable, you still may find yourself rooting for them to succeed in their personal endeavors.
Between the comedy, the violence, and the dynamic of the characters, each episode is better than the last, and every cliffhanger keeps you wanting more. But don’t be fooled by the genre labels or colorful performances, this is so much more than just a dark comedy. It’s a show about trying to create a future that’s better than your past. It’s about wanting more from life than what you’ve been given or what you’re told you should do. It’s about hating your job even if you’re good at it, or wanting to succeed in a job that you love but maybe suck at. It’s about the hero, the antihero, and the confused in all of us. It’s deep, it’s thoughtful, it’s relatable in the most impossible ways. But that’s what makes it so damn great.
I just really, really, really love this show. It’s got everything…
Just watch Barry. You have no excuse.
SHARE THIS POST:
// GEEK :
(noun) obsessive enthusiast, or (verb) be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject
// ABOUT :
Morgan of House Geek, First of Her Name, Mother of a Ton of Funkos, Collector of Things, Writer of Stories, Designer of Websites, Watcher of Films, and Player of Games.
INTJ. Libra-Scorpio Cusp. Slytherin.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
// FUN FACT :
I prefer purchasing trades & volumes more than single issues. I find them to be more durable, so I can enjoy them more and they can easily stand on my display shelves without boards.