Plus, 'I Think You Should Leave,' 'Yellowjackets,' and big guest stars on 'Dave'
I'm really confused about who Misty actually is...like inside. Is she a psychopath or not? I'm very confused about Natalie's arc this season - being at the culty commune and making friends with that girl - who somehow what...redeemed her? Saved her? Changed her through the power of forgiveness? And yes Charlotte...this show has been really great at matching the younger actors to their adult counterparts - except Lottie. Both actresses are great, but it doesn't feel like they're playing the same person at all. :\
What kept getting me in Ted Lasso S3 (beyond the pacing issues, etc.) was the writers' inability to calibrate characters' transgressions to the forgiveness extended to them. Don't expect me to enjoy Jamie reconnecting with his father after telling me James took his 14-year-old son to an Amsterdam brothel. Jane destroying Beard's passport isn't just toxic, it's flat-out abusive.
That said, the show continued to have a great soundtrack (I've been mildly obsessed with that Brandi Carlile cover of "Home" since Mom City dropped) and judging by wardrobe choices, I have the music tastes as Trent Crimm and/or James Lance, so that's fun.
Per your brief aside: s5 of MRS. MAISEL is well worth watching. s4 was erratic (but stuck the landing, I thought), while this one is more consistent and interesting, especially to folks who know about TV history! And it's got some classic Abe kvetching.
After some reflection, I think I liked this season of Ted Lasso more than most of the people here and round the internets. Don't get me wrong, there were a bunch of things that straight up didn't work, mostly the Keeley stuff with the PR firm and her relationship with Jack, but now at the end I think I appreciate the unconventional storytelling choices and narrative structure.
In particular, I know that there were a lot of complaints about important events happening off screen, but I think I'm OK with that. I think it works, at least for me.
And there's a lot of unhappiness with the lack of a proper redemption arc for Nate. But a big theme of the show this season is "Forgiveness doesn't need to be earned. Forgiving someone is a gift you give yourself.". Even so, I think it's clear that Nate's transgressions ultimately hurt himself more than they did anyone else.
Lastly, a lot of people have issues with Dr. Jacob being a relationship with Michelle since he was both her therapist as well as Ted and Michelle's couples therapist. This question got asked on Brendan Hunt's Reddit AMA and the answer was...not good
"We absolutely talked about it in the writers room. One of our smartest writers confidently assured us that in some places the therapist and the client have to have not seen each other for 18 months, which was helpfully convenient and required no further research! So we ran with that. The time between Ted/Michelle’s last session and Henry uttering Jake’s name is about 20 months. Victory is ours! Under that (unimpeachably accurate!) timeframe, Jake’s actions remain arguably dubious, but fall short of illegal or worthy of whatever professional tribunal. Other than that I can only play the “suspension of disbelief”/“it’s a tv show!”/“don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story” card and thank you all for your generous understanding. Als:o that actor is our great friend Mike O’Gorman who is the menschiest of mensches, so everyone please keep your discontent for Jake away from Mike, who is lovely and merely the messenger."
In other words, laziness in the writers room
I thought Marvelous Mrs Maisel had a great finale and I've really enjoyed this show throughout its run, even during some bumpy areas in seasons 3 and 4. I laughed a LOT watching this incredible production, it's too bad that Amazon's two absurdly expensive blunders are killing off the few good shows they had.
Yellowjackets seemed to suffer from the same fate as so many Showtime series: A great first season that felt sharp, smart, and filled with potential only to devolve into an erratic, incoherent second season that most shows never recover from. I'm done with Yellowjackets. It had it's high points and I really like the cast but the writers got far too cute in the present timeline and any interest in the "evil wilderness" angle of the 90s timeline has evaporated for me. The murder investigation subplot was so poorly written and goofy but its apparent conclusion was one of the dumbest things I saw on TV this year. Yikes for that writers room.
As a TV overrecommender to friends and family, I feel bad about Yellowjackets, which I sold to a bunch of people. Season 2 was not good, and there's little promise of improvement.
On Ted Lasso, I thought the ending montage meant it was the total end of the show. It had that feeling because they showed people's future as if we were never going to see these events on screen. But if so, it's weird that they haven't announced that. I would watch any spin off they do. They made me love these characters, damn it, and then made a crappy 3rd season.
Ted Lasso season 3 is a mess. It's a testament of how great the first two seasons were that people are overlooking just how bad things got. If you're going to stretch a 30 minute show to an hour you can't leave so many plot threads undone or so poorly executed.
I loved much of Succession. The end they had in mind is fine, but how they got there was kind of a dud. Yeah, we can rationalize Shiv's turn, but in the end I knew there was going to be a twist and it seems like they wanted a twist so they just shoehorned it in there. Looking back, I would have been comfortable ending it in season 2.
I don't know what to think of Barry. I enjoyed it, but what the heck was going on? The attack at the house seemed like a dream. I would love to know what they were thinking, but I guess we'll have to wait until the strike is over to get some insight into what was happening during the season.
I'm still pondering the Succession finale. I do think Shiv's change of heart was understandable, and can rationalise it in exactly the way you put above, but I felt it could have been telegraphed somehow. I'm not asking to be spoon fed, or hit over the head, but I think giving more glimmers of Shiv's doubt could have doubled down how everything Kendall did on the big day was making his preferred outcome less and less likely.
Whilst I agree with all of your criticisms, I enjoyed Ted Lasso overall and would happily spend more time with any selection of the characters should they pursue a spin off.
That was totally my take on Shiv too. She didn't know going in to the boardroom that she was going to have such strong second thoughts. Her actions made sense because as you say, she could certainly have more influence over Tom and still probably Matsson, even though he didn't want to make her CEO (for 100% misogynistic reasons). I've heard some people think she was lying when she said she didn't think Kendall would be good at he job, but I don't think so. I think what all the sibs said in that room was honest, which was what was so devastating. During that scene, I kept yelling at Kendall to give a reason he should be CEO besides I want it and I deserve it, but he didn't. He never said he would be good for the company or a benefit to anyone else but him. If you want someone to hire you, you have to tell them how it would benefit them. Not you. He laid bare his whole psyche and it was so sad to see.
Just read the Henry Winkler interview and it was great! Put the phone down next time Alan.
"But there’s a long history of Showtime series with great first seasons that fell apart almost immediately afterwards and never found themselves again."
Is this just a coincidence, or is this a reflection of Showtime's leadership/philosophy? I would think coincidence (different showrunners, writers, producers, etc.), but curious if there's some behind the scenes process that isn't occurring with say, HBO -- excuse me "Max."
I still insist that Colin got robbed by being left out of your Succession rankings. And yet, isn’t that fitting for Colin? Loyal to the end, ever overlooked.
I have often complained about Succession and thought it was pretty overrated. My take on it before this season was that the rapidfire dialogue was fun and clever, often with many quips and jabs that come quickly and are smart. But the macro plotting frustrated me - it was essentially Logan as Lucy with the football, pretending to offer it to various Charlie Browns attempting to kick it, only to pull it away over and over at the last possible moment. At some point, any reasonably smart person has to realize he's never ACTUALLY going to let someone succeed him, right? At least when he's alive... and that's why I thought this past season of Succession was the best one. Instead of red herrings and pretend "oh will this person succeed Logan? nope!" BS over and over, we got to the real nitty gritty of the actual succession, with Logan's death and the jostling that took place after. Skarsgård was also a very welcome addition, continuing his killer string of roles after The Northman, Atlanta, and especially Infinity Pool. I still feel like the series is overrated on the whole (the long-dragged-out Succession over 3 seasons is repetitive and dull plotting making it a good-not-great show overall), but this last season was a joy.
I loved every moment of Barry and disagree on the last part of the finale, which I found very intriguing and enjoyable, if only to get to see the hardest working man and best filmmaker in true indie film, Jim Cummings, portray a fictional, ridiculous Barry. Ultimately, the show is a comedy, even if it's a comedy that takes its drama more seriously than most, so the plotting issues are forgiven for me. The fake Barry movie was absolutely hilarious.
Just recently finished the latest I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson season. Every season is hit-or-miss depending on the sketch, that's the nature of sketch comedy of course, but I felt that this one was a bit more miss for me than the other 2 seasons. My favorite sketch of this particular season was actually the last one of the season, the Karen Ochoa Campaign Headquarters one. And that might only be because Conner O'Malley is so effortlessly hilarious that even his face makes me start laughing. Maybe more will "click" in a season re-watch. I did also enjoy the feed eggs office game sketch, that one is probably 2nd-best after my first watch.
I already said this in another comment reply, but to reiterate, I felt that pretty much every criticism of Ted Lasso that I read about this season was accurate. Off the top of my head:
1) They did struggle with the Nate redemption arc
2) They didn't know what to do with Keeley
3) The whole Keeley-Jack relationship was silly & problematic
4) Dr. Jacob dating Ted's ex-wife is also problematic
5) Coach Beard's marriage to Jane being presented as a good thing when it was discussed multiple times how she was toxic for him & she shredded his passport was also also problematic
6) yes, each episode was probably too long
...and yet, I really looked forward to each new episode, watched it as soon as it came out, and laughed more times out loud than I do at like 95% of the other shows I watch, comedy or not. So I still enjoyed every episode. And, because I was digging the show, the length of the episodes, for example, didn't bother me cause it was more of a good thing for me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I would also watch any spin-off show or continuation of the show with any combination of characters. I guess the show just reached that level for me where I enjoyed "hanging out" with the characters weekly. And, like I said, the level of funny/jokes never fell off.
I really enjoyed this season of Dave, especially the finale, and yet... I think the previous seasons were maybe slightly better? Standout episodes for me were Texas (the sequence with the scroguard was fantastic), Harrison Ave (love how it was shot & the chaotic glimpse into trying to make the music video), The Storm (love the ominous nature of much of the episode even though the Southern family was ultimately pretty harmless), Met Gala (all of the celebs were fun, especially enjoyed Dicky vs. Jack Harlow), and Looking for Love (the entire hostage sequence with Brad Pitt was just a joy and the D**** kicker is fun as well). #RIPLilDicky and the faked death still strike me as a bit odd... obviously, faking one's death for fame and a #1 hit single is problematic, but it also felt to me like Dave and Mike didn't really fully think through faking Dave's death and like it would have been leaked that Dave actually wasn't dead. The abrupt ending of that episode was strange too. But overall, a strong season.
Oh, Yellowjackets... I've seen some of episode 8 and have yet to finish it or episode 9 and the season, but I don't really feel compelled to. It just wasn't a good second season. Both timelines feel like they're struggling. The present storyline is doing worse, it feels like it has no idea where to go, but the 90's storyline feels like they're trying to drag out getting to the first scene of the show as well as long as possible, a la The X-Files' mythology issues. I'm not sure if I'll finish this season or if I'd be in for a 3rd season. Maybe a break from the show will help. Sad, because the first season showed a lot of promise.
It's funny - the supernatural element is something I think Yellowjackets does especially WELL! They're bringing in just enough spookiness to make a supernatural explanation feel plausible (which plays upon our sense of the uncanny and creates tension), without tipping over the line into confirming it and therefore dissipating that tension. This allows it to draw on its big 90s influences: those teen girl mystical "chosen one" narratives that were so big back then (Buffy, The Craft, etc), and gets the viewer inside the girls' heads in understanding how they can be drawn into this way of thinking... but still maintains enough distance and skepticism that we understand that what we are really watching is a descent into madness. I think they've done an excellent job of threading that needle, and of commenting on common 90s tropes without simply recycling them (that reverse bury-your-gays scene where Coach imagines he's being punished for NOT having the courage to live openly as a gay man, in a direct reversal of the 90s trope? Perfection!). Not everything hung together perfectly this season, and I agree that adult Lottie needed to be more charismatic, but on the supernatural angle, I think people are just afraid to relax and go with it because they're bracing themselves for it to be real, and therefore bad, rather than appreciating the smart way the show deploys this element, having learned from the mistakes of its predecessors.
These aren’t even the only shows to recently end- The Flash just concluded its nine-season run, and the Arrowverse at large. I haven’t caught up with it in years, but it’s still worth noting, especially now that the CW will likely now be without a headliner.