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A little late, but Hader on the show and more from THR:

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At the Television Critics Association's winter press tour on Thursday in Pasadena, the actor-comedian revealed that the dark comedy he created with Silicon Valley executive producer Alec Berg was inspired by his own time on the NBC mainstay. "It's the idea that this thing you’re really good at is actually kind of destroying you," Hader said onstage, flanked by his co-star Henry Winkler and Berg. "And I kind of related to that on SNL."

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Barry is a disillusioned hitman from the Midwest. His handler, Fuches, sends him to LA to execute a hit for the Chechen mob, led by Goran Pazar and his right-hand man, NoHo Hank. Barry’s target: an aspiring actor who is having an affair with Pazar’s wife. Barry follows his “mark” into an acting class taught by beloved teacher/guru Gene Cousineau, and is instantly drawn to the group of students, especially Sally. Barry wants to start a new life in the class, but the criminal world won’t let him walk away so easily.

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In the wake of shocking news, Gene encourages his students to channel their feelings into their work. Resolved to quit his job and put the past behind him, Barry tries not to get pulled back in by Fuches and the Chechens. Sally tries to crack the nut that is Barry.

 

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Innovative, right? 

But is Barry still employed as a hit man after he offed the guys who were going to pay him and his uncle? (Or was it his uncle's friend?)

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Yeah it was fun, not hilarious but rather serious, about what he's good at and what he aspires to be good at.  About a depressed killer  with a deadened soul who wants to feel alive again.  

As the Inside the Episode mentions, one is in the spotlight and the other is in the shadows.  One requires being emotionally expressive while the other requires suppressing emotion.

Edited by scrb · Reason: fix auto-correct from exotically to emotionally.
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Love Bill Hader, and I think I will enjoy him here.  He had some of his deadpan style that I know from his comedies that provided chuckles, but I also thought he handled the drama aspects as well, by playing someone who is a sociopathic killer, but clearly doesn't love what he does, and is yearning for something more.  Can't wait to see where this goes.  Stephen Root was equally excellent as his handler.

The Fonz teaching acting classes was a sight to behold!  And one of the students was D'Arcy Carden a.k.a. Janet from The Good Place!

Looks like the Chechen Mob will continue to play a part.  This could get ugly for Barry since they consist of Glenn Fleshler a.k.a. Remus from Boardwalk Empire (and The Yellow King from True Detective) and Anthony Carrigan a.k.a. Victor Zsasz from Gotham.  Those are the last two I'd want to piss off!

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This is definitely the role that will put Hader on the forefront to leading Man and the Emmy’s. I should have suspected Hader would be great in dramatic roles, since I loved him in The Skeleton twins, but he surprised me again. Definitely multidimensional character here and I like it.

Good pilot and something to hook me and make me come back for more.

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6 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

Looks like the Chechen Mob will continue to play a part.  This could get ugly for Barry since they consist of Glenn Fleshler a.k.a. Remus from Boardwalk Empire (and The Yellow King from True Detective) and Anthony Carrigan a.k.a. Victor Zsasz from Gotham.  Those are the last two I'd want to piss off

Oh. Right. They can't be dead if they're series regulars. So did Barry intentionally not kill them, but was just sending them a message? And/or is letting them live part of Barry's declaration that he is not that guy anymore? Like, now he will only kill if necessary to survive, but not "just" to eliminate "really bad guys" (for money)? But being a hit man is still his day job, right? So maybe the Chechens/series regulars will hire him for another job—but they will agree [my best Eastern European accent] only bad guys.

 

Anyway, I thought the show's quality was right up there with Breaking Bad and was surprised it wasn't an hour show. But I'm fine with half an hour, especially since on HBO that doesn't mean 17 minutes after commericals like on network TV (lookin' at you, TBBT).

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Agree, this has great promise. Hader is fantastic.    And surprisingly hot. Have you been working out Bill?  

Alec Berg has been involved in great tv since Seinfeld. 

Edited by teddysmom
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Oh I am loving this too! And yes, Hader was excellent in The Skeleton Twins. Comedians are generally fantastic dramatic actors. 

So hey guys, just so we are straight, he did knock everybody off in that car that was watching him right? Oh baby this is going to get messy. 

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I really enjoyed this, my husband has already requested we tape it every week. I've always adored Hader, he's a natural talent. If you haven't seen it, watch Documentary Now on Netflix--his character work is quietly brilliant. And yes, he was great in Skeleton Twins.

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On 3/18/2018 at 3:07 PM, scrb said:

Early review.

 

http://variety.com/2018/tv/reviews/bill-hader-barry-henry-winkler-hbo-review-sxsw-1202723178/

 

otherwise there are interviews out there.

Looks like Alex Berg, who works on Silicon Valley, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, is on board this one.

So I'm not the only one seeing the Breaking Bad similarities.

You know what they say: Imitate the best

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19 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

 

The Fonz teaching acting classes was a sight to behold!  And one of the students was D'Arcy Carden a.k.a. Janet from The Good Place!

I wish she had a bigger role in this. She’s one of the best things about The Good Place.

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2 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

Liked it. Just me, or was the blonde acting student's performance better before the teacher yelled at her than after he did?

So I'm not the only one who thought Emperor Fonz had no clothes when he praised her post-verbal-abuse performance. And in either the review or interview posted on this board someone (Hader?) said she was noticeably improved after the abusive coaching, which impressed Barry. I really liked the show, but I didn't see it that way at all.

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6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

So I'm not the only one who thought Emperor Fonz had no clothes when he praised her post-verbal-abuse performance. And in either the review or interview posted on this board someone (Hader?) said she was noticeably improved after the abusive coaching, which impressed Barry. I really liked the show, but I didn't see it that way at all.

If Hader said that, I'm disappointed, because I thought the point of the scene--it's certainly what the scene demonstrates--is that Naked Emperor Fonz actually makes actors worse. I presumed the irony to be fully intentional. But if Hader doesn't get it, then I guess it isn't.

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48 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

If Hader said that, I'm disappointed, because I thought the point of the scene--it's certainly what the scene demonstrates--is that Naked Emperor Fonz actually makes actors worse. I presumed the irony to be fully intentional. But if Hader doesn't get it, then I guess it isn't.

Yes. Exactly. But in the video posted by @ElectricBoogaloo, shortly after the one minute mark, Hader says that Barry "sees this guy [Henry Winkler's character] elicit this emotion out of Sally." But maybe Hader was referring to Sally being emotionally destroyed by the harsh, unfounded criticism rather than referring to her more stilted line delivery after the criticism, even though it earns applause from the class? Maybe that is the point? More like what you, @Milburn Stone, and I thought when viewing the scene? I hope so.

 

On March 26, 2018 at 2:48 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Inside the episode

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16 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Yes. Exactly. But in the video posted by @ElectricBoogaloo, shortly after the one minute mark, Hader says that Barry "sees this guy [Henry Winkler's character] elicit this emotion out of Sally." But maybe Hader was referring to Sally being emotionally destroyed by the harsh, unfounded criticism rather than referring to her more stilted line delivery after the criticism, even though it earns applause from the class? Maybe that is the point? More like what you, @Milburn Stone, and I thought when viewing the scene? I hope so.

 

That's one good (non-disappointing) meaning to attach to Hader's remark. I can think of one other. Maybe he means that Barry (whose opinion Hader doesn't share), in his emotional deadness and therefore deadness to what emotional authenticity looks like in others, honestly believes Sally's second performance to be superior because he's being told it is--even though we can plainly see (and Hader plainly sees) that it has deteriorated. But I fear I'm grasping at straws.

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Ringer The Watch podcast talked about the show for a bit.

They said the pilot was filmed in 2016 or 17 and they did a lot of prep for it.

Then they filmed the rest of season 1 several months or even more than a year after the pilot.

So it will be interesting to see how different episode 2 and later episodes feel.

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This ep didn't ask Hader to do much, and so he did well. Not sure what might happen if he is asked to carry more. Already not a fan of watching shows about actors, and if his character now becomes successful as an actor, not sure Hader can handle that. We'll see. I hope the show focuses more on the hit man stuff, with the acting being secondary and the fact both exist being the main point. Root's commentary about a mark recognizing Barry during a hit was spot on. More of that approach, please. I have no interest in yet another sad tale about the lives of actors.

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Anyway, I thought the show's quality was right up there with Breaking Bad and was surprised it wasn't an hour show.

OK, let's not get crazy after one episode!

Edited by Ottis
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40 minutes ago, Ottis said:
On 3/26/2018 at 7:53 AM, shapeshifter said:

Anyway, I thought the show's quality was right up there with Breaking Bad and was surprised it wasn't an hour show.

OK, let's not get crazy after one episode!

Heh. Yeah. I restrained myself from telling a former coworker/fellow BrBa fan about it yet.
It's just that I've quit watching 4 shows in the last two weeks, so I'm a little hungry.

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I'm cautiously optimistic. I like Hader, but actors playing actors doesn't always work out.  Acting becomes hammy acting out. I don't care for Winkler but his mugging may work here.

I like that the love interest looks like a real person, not a surgically enhanced monstrosity.

As I watched I kept thinking of Lawrence Block's great Keller-the-routine-hit-man series. Similar character who is sent around the country to kill people and approaches it like a bored business man. Studio apartment and a no-nonsense manager who does her nails while she's on the phone dispatching killers.

Edited by pasdetrois
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15 hours ago, pasdetrois said:

 

As I watched I kept thinking of Lawrence Block's great Keller-the-routine-hit-man series. Similar character who is sent around the country to kill people and approaches it like a bored business man. Studio apartment and a no-nonsense manager who does her nails while she's on the phone dispatching killers.

I’m not familiar with the author but I’m assuming that’s what Barry’s chosen stage name “Barry Block” is referencing. 

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2 hours ago, Accidental Martyr said:
18 hours ago, pasdetrois said:

As I watched I kept thinking of Lawrence Block's great Keller-the-routine-hit-man series. Similar character who is sent around the country to kill people and approaches it like a bored business man. Studio apartment and a no-nonsense manager who does her nails while she's on the phone dispatching killers.

I’m not familiar with the author but I’m assuming that’s what Barry’s chosen stage name “Barry Block” is referencing. 

So not as original as I was thinking (https://www.amazon.com/Hit-Man-Keller-Lawrence-Block/dp/038072541X):

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Keller is your basic urban Lonely Guy. He makes a decent wage, lives in a nice apartment. Works the crossword puzzle. Watches a little TV. Until the phone rings and he packs a suitcase, gets on a plane, flies halfway across the country...and kills somebody. It's a living. But is it a life? Keller's not sure. He goes to a shrink, but it doesn't work out the way he planned. He gets a dog, he gets a girlfriend. He gets along.

Oh well. Shakespeare had source material too. I guess we'll have to see what he does with it. So far, so good.

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THAT'S IT.....IT'S KELLER...that was driving me nuts --- you people ARE THE BEST...THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU....I loved loved loved this first episode...hope it prevails...I too have been giving up on a bunch of new series after a few episodes....I just don't have the time, and they evidently don't have the time to write a decent script.....bye guys, and thank you mystery readers! 

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A frustrated Barry misses an acting class to honor an obligation. Detectives Moss and Loach try to piece together a murder puzzle. Gene presses Barry to take more risks. Sally is thrown for a loop during an audition, and turns to Barry for comfort. The Chechens rejoice when a legendary assassin arrives.

 

 

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In the after show, Hader said this is the first time he's feeling remorse, because he saw Ryan's father's grief.

He also saw how many people were affected by Ryan's death, even though he didn't kill him.

Maybe he doesn't care that much about Fuchs, despite his threat.  But now the Chenchens could threaten Sally.

 

And who knew Chenchens made gadgets that requires the FBI to crack?

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I am still in  so far but I am not sure this is going to mix the funny and the killing in the right ratio going forward. ( I  know that sounds stupid but I am not quite feeling it yet)

The only two times I laughed were the black police woman trying to help her "IT Team" crack the pin by just going through the available combos by hand. (aren't there something like 10,000?) and the Chechian's wife coming in to tell them that their torturing was annoying his daughter's party.

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Is it wrong that after Barry, the Chechens are my favorite characters? 

How many sleepovers does that little girl have? She was having a party or something when Barry was there to get the job, and now another? 

The police seem like idiots.  

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9 hours ago, sjankis630 said:

The only two times I laughed were the black police woman trying to help her "IT Team" crack the pin by just going through the available combos by hand. (aren't there something like 10,000?) and the Chechian's wife coming in to tell them that their torturing was annoying his daughter's party.

I thought the joke was going to be that she'd go through 9,999 different possibilities after starting with 0001 before realizing that 0000 was the correct combination.

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Is it wrong that after Barry, the Chechens are my favorite characters?

I find myself with you. The acting class amuses me because they are SO RIDICULOUS but I am definitely most entertained by the Chechens. Especially the one with no hair of any kind. I'm torn between hoping we never get an explanation for it and wanting it to be something like alopecia instead of some evil inspired shenanigans.

The sounds of teeth filing is something I never, ever need to hear again.

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On 3/27/2018 at 10:11 AM, scrb said:

Ringer The Watch podcast talked about the show for a bit.

They said the pilot was filmed in 2016 or 17 and they did a lot of prep for it.

Then they filmed the rest of season 1 several months or even more than a year after the pilot.

So it will be interesting to see how different episode 2 and later episodes feel.

that might explain why one of the actors just got a job as a corpse on a CSI, a franchise that has since passed on.

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50 minutes ago, hendersonrocks said:
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Is it wrong that after Barry, the Chechens are my favorite characters?

I find myself with you. The acting class amuses me because they are SO RIDICULOUS but I am definitely most entertained by the Chechens. Especially the one with no hair of any kind. I'm torn between hoping we never get an explanation for it and wanting it to be something like alopecia instead of some evil inspired shenanigans.

The sounds of teeth filing is something I never, ever need to hear again.

The actor playing the big Chechen, whose daughter is constantly having parties, has some real range. He was that total creepy Spaghetti Monster guy in True Detective, he plays Bobby Axelrod's attorney in Billions, and now a Chechen mobster.  

The acting class does seem like a bunch of knuckleheads, but I have a feeling what they do in class is probably true, and is drawn from Hader's experiences.   I loved in the first episode when the girl Barry likes mentioned Meryl Streep and Kaley Cuoco in the same sentence, "they're not that good, they just really wanted it". 

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1 hour ago, hendersonrocks said:

I find myself with you. The acting class amuses me because they are SO RIDICULOUS but I am definitely most entertained by the Chechens. Especially the one with no hair of any kind. I'm torn between hoping we never get an explanation for it and wanting it to be something like alopecia instead of some evil inspired shenanigans.

 

The actor actually has alopecia.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2810593/?ref_=tt_cl_t6

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Oh man, I am totally in for the season, the second episode was so funny, I peed in my little pink panties. And I love the bald Chechen guy as well, where has he been all this time away from my television screen.  He is so funny, for a mobster! And yes, acting classes can be JUST THAT BAD. Those are the classes you need to drop out of from the get go. Anyway, I love love love this show. 

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19 hours ago, sjankis630 said:

I am still in  so far but I am not sure this is going to mix the funny and the killing in the right ratio going forward. ( I  know that sounds stupid but I am not quite feeling it yet)

I have a very low threshold for torture scenes, plus I'm still recovering from my first root canal, so this was a bit too much violence for me too. But it wasn't just gratutious; it served to show that Barry's ability (or lack thereof) to empathize is just two filed molars away from complete sociopathy. I'm still watching.

So the talk after walking Sally home seemed to indicate that Barry's sex drive is dead too, right?

 

18 hours ago, Accidental Martyr said:

I really think this might be better if it was an hour long instead of 30 minutes.

Yeah, I was thinking that too, and this episode was only 25 minutes, but they packed so much intensity into it that I'm thinking around a half hour might be best.

 

10 hours ago, Blakeston said:

I thought the joke was going to be that she'd go through 9,999 different possibilities after starting with 0001 before realizing that 0000 was the correct combination.

I almost want that to be revealed in a future episode but nobody would point that out to the boss, so I guess it's just an in joke for the audience.

20 hours ago, scrb said:

And who knew Chenchens made gadgets that requires the FBI to crack?

Just kidding, right?

Edited by shapeshifter
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I admit I don't know too much about Chenchens or what kind of technology products they make.

I think Barry is suppose to be feeling empathy for Ryan's father and to a lesser extent, the acting class which took the news of Ryan's death hard.

But at a certain point, he has to probably try to compartmentalize feelings as he carries out his work.

If one of his victims pleaded for his or her life, saying they have young children to take care of, what would Barry do?  Or he probably tries to avoid engaging with his targets, takes them out unawares.

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Between this and Victor Zsasz on Gotham, Anthony Carrigan is becoming one of my new favorite henchmen on television!  I just love how his character is so creepy and violent, but strangely professional and polite at the same time.  Glenn Fleshler is excellent too.  I really am loving the Chechen Mob here, which wasn't something I was expecting.

Not quite as funny as the first episode, but I felt like it was mainly a set-up one that had some interesting ideas.  It seems like the more Barry spends time with Sally and the acting class, the more he will break out of his shelve.  But now the Chechens have Fuches and are basically forcing Barry now to carry out hits, which I don't see ending well. And then there are the police who don't seem the brightest, but could causes issues down the road.

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7 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

So the talk after walking Sally home seemed to indicate that Barry's sex drive is dead too, right?

 

I thought it was less about his sex drive and more about each of them having different expectations. For a woman, any time a guy acts nice, it's often a matter of time before he hits on her. She wants to maintain the camaraderie of their acting class so she doesn't want to change that or mess it up by sleeping with him.

Barry, on the other hand, seems like he has very minimal social skills, which I'm guessing is a result of the lack of human interaction he's had over the past few years. He talks to Fuches and he kills people. The most conversation he has outside of Fuches is making small talk with people in the service industry (picking up a rental car, ordering coffee at the diner). He has very little expectation of anything from anyone, least of all the expectation that a girl will have sex with him just because they're having a conversation. I think it didn't even occur to him that having sex with Sally was a possibility.

It's possible that his sex drive is diminished because he's been depressed, but I think the largest factor in that conversation is that he has so little interaction with people beyond a few seconds of "How are you today?" "Great." "Have a nice day!" that he doesn't really know how or feel comfortable talking to Sally or the other people in their acting class yet.

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I think Barry's sex drive is fine. He had an appointment to go kill a guy so that Fuchs could be saved. Barry squeezed in an acting class and wake before his kill deadline, and had to rush off from Sally.

Edited by pasdetrois
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