Skip to main content

Destroy Matt LeBlanc Before He Escapes!


Showtime’s comedy series Episodes is kind of funny and not as rotten as you might expect from a TV show starring Matt LeBlanc. Even though I generally like the programming Showtime puts out, I’ve avoided watching this show. Why?

Simple, really. My ex-wife loved the TV show
Friends. I mean, all she ever did was watch that show. Granted, we were both in school and we had to cut back on stuff like cable TV, so there weren’t always a lot of choices around. Plus, I had made the mistake of buying her the first couple seasons or so on DVD for her birthday or Christmas or whatnot. She would supplement these seasons by ordering the rest on Netflix. She would go through the entire series and then start right back at the beginning. And she never just watched one show, either. Oh my God, so many episodes in a row!

It was about as awful as you’d expect. Plus, I never found the show to be even remotely funny. I found the characters irritating and whiney. Whoo-hooo! Give me a steaming pile of that shit!

The makers of Episodes probably realized that the many twisted souls who watch Showtime programming also feel the same way about that “classic” American sitcom. Matt LeBlanc, who plays...Matt LeBlanc...gets very little screentime in the first episode. And when he does show up, he’s kind of an alternate-reality version of Joey from Friends, if he had managed to actually make a career out of acting.

The writers spend the first few episodes showing us that LeBlanc is a manic skirt-chaser who’s only concerned about money. Later, they also show us that he can be sensitive, that he has heart and he (golly!) loves his family. This demonstrates, I guess, that the LeBlanc character isn’t a complete sociopath. Which is nice to know.

The best thing about this character, though, is that he seems designed for us to dislike him. The classic “man you love to hate.” And who better to hate than LeBlanc? He played the most annoying character on a show that had them in spades. Destroy this man! Destroy him before he escapes!

Oh yeah, there’s some other stuff on the show too. There’s a British couple played by Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan who’ve come across the pond to write a sitcom. They think they’re going to adapt their sophisticated comedy about a boarding school headmaster. But, through the magic of executive meddling, the show ends up being about a boarding school hockey coach. And the coach is played by Matt LeBlanc. Haha, the plot thickens....

You also have a sleazy boss man who’s having an affair with an underling executive. Plus, the show features plenty of booze, sex, sex and booze, pot smoking and other bad decisions. Basically, it’s the kind of quality programming Showtime has had a reputation for ever since the runaway success of Californication.


But the British couple are a bores and the TV studio intrigue is only mildly interesting. To tell the truth, it was fun watching this snooty couple being forced to write television that people might actually like. Had they never seen an American sitcom before? We don’t do “subtle” too well. It’s not Masterpiece Theater. It’s programming that will, with any luck, give people a chuckle or two before having to go face their shitty existence again. And if working on the show is so terrible, why don’t they quit and go back home? Oh yeah, because they like them big fat American dollar bills too much. Hey, nothing wrong with that. They’re not the first people to compromise their entire ethical system for money. But they sure do a lot of bitching about it.

If you’re hungover or have the plague or something and don’t want to do a whole lot of thinking, Episodes is a pretty good way to kill some time. Also, there’s plenty of nudity and a big helping of dick jokes. So that’s nice, too.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Salvation, USA: A Not-Thrilling Thriller

Written by Bernie Van De Yacht and directed by Yacht and Brett Donowho, Salvation, USA is a thriller, sort of. It reminded me a lot of a Lifetime movie with a little sex and swearing. Until the finale, which gets all sorts of batshit violent and bloody. Ah, but advertising, eh? If you watch this movie after having seen the poster, you’ll end up wondering when the hell you’re going to see some violence, as violence is most clearly implied by the thing. And if you haven’t seen the poster, you’ll watch Salvation, USA and suddenly get weirded out when a pretty basic drama gets really freakin’ bloody by the end.

The movie concerns Vinnie (Ryan Donowho), a guy who seems passionate about fixing old stoves, restoring them to their former pristine states. But it’s all a ruse. Fixing the stoves is his launchpad for a long con. Donowho is a very charming actor, and so it’s not hard for the audience to be pretty damn hypnotized by his performance. We want to believe there’s good inside the guy. …

G Rated Horror: The Legend of Boggy Creek

The Legend of Boggy Creek was written by Earl E. Smith, but the whole thing represents the vision of director Charles B. Pierce. The story was pieced together from the tales of local residents from Fouke, Arkansas, some of whom appeared in Boggy Creek as themselves. The so-called Fouke Monster, basically a sasquatch, was a folk legend that residents claimed was real. Reports began to surface in newspaper articles around Arkansas in the early 70’s and they seized Smith’s imagination. He knew he had found the subject of his first feature film.

Pierce is an interesting character. A self-motivated guy with a ton of ambition, he worked as a weatherman and a children’s show host named Mayor Chuckles before starting his own advertising firm. He made commercials for all sorts of companies throughout Arkansas. The owner of a trucking company client loaned Pierce $100,000 to get started on shooting Boggy Creek. The film was an almost instant success in cheap movie theaters and drive-ins and it…

Holy Terror: Terribly Mundane

Holy Terror, a horror flick released on digital platforms like Amazon Video this month, proves that it’s pretty damn hard to write and direct an original exorcism movie. Not only is this film’s story muddled, but every idea is recycled from another, better movie.
The first two minutes or so are actually quite interesting. Cool visuals, with everything a pea-green or vibrant black color. A priest named Jacob (Scott Butler), a nun (Kristine DeBell), and another priest are performing an exorcism on some poor young girl when it goes wrong and she croaks. Jacob is so flustered by the experience that he questions his faith and leaves the church. Cool story, but it’s time to forget about Jacob for about thirty minutes while we get to know a not-at-all pleasant couple, Molly (Kelly Lynn Reiter) and Tom (Jesse Hlubik), who’ve just lost their kid partially because of Molly’s neglect. Weird stuff is going on at their house and, who knows, maybe their dead kid is coming back in the form of a ghost…