Every once in a while, you come across a show that is special. Barry (2018-) is one of those shows. This show is dangerous, action-packed and somehow wickedly funny at the same time. I find myself watching this show, and being amazed and confused as to why I am laughing, in the best way possible.
Why is it so special?
Barry has a multitude of characters that are magnetizing and complex, but I put the success of this show on Bill Hader. He and Alec Berg created the show together. I have watched so many interviews where Bill is asked how he and Alec came up with the idea for the show. The interviews are always so interesting.
There is this character in the show called NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and he is my favorite character. He steals the show and delivers some much needed comic relief to an otherwise serious story. In an interview, Bill discussed how the character of NoHo Hank was inspired by a nice dude he met while at a laptop store. Stories like this make me smile. As a writer myself, hearing how one interaction changed the temperament of a character is so interesting. Imagine if NoHo Hank was a bad, evil dude. I mean he is, but he is also a kind, goofy, innocent guy. Not completely innocent, but you know what I mean.
This show has so many characters that keep you guessing. Hardly any of the characters fill the stereotypes that are typical to T.V. shows. Barry (Bill Hader) is a troubled guy, but he is not completely bad. No character in the show is all nice or all mean. Instead, they are complex, driven and contradict one another.
The tone of this show, and its balance of comedy and action make Barry unique. As the story continues, characters die off and more conflict ensues. I find that a lot of shows are scared to kill off characters, but it seems that the writers of Barry are not scared of anything. If I tell you to imagine right now one thing that you will never see in a show, I think you will find it in Barry.
Hader does not try to drag on the action and make it last longer than it should. The show is full of plot twists and changing circumstances. Something major will happen, and then two seconds later, the tone will completely change and it will feel as if you were just slapped across the face (in the best way possible).
Fuches (Stephen Root), Sally (Sarah Goldberg), Cousineau (Henry Winkler) and more, add humor and suspense. One of my favorite things about this show is the characters. Just the characters alone are interesting. They command my attention and make me ponder how they will act in the unique world of Barry.
I think it is important to talk about the character of Barry. He is not the best dude. He is a hit man and does not usually make the best decisions. But in an unexpected way, he suddenly wants to become an actor, and his life quickly changes. He is still a hit man, but now he has the additional struggle of trying to open up and command his emotions so he can act.
Barry used to be a soldier, so he has a lot going on in his mind that he still has to deal with. Acting gives him a forum to express himself and how he is feeling on the inside. His character is deep, complex and multidimensional. Somehow the audience feels for Barry even though he has done some awful things. One minute I find myself feeling bad for Barry, and the next, he does something incredibly vile. He keeps you guessing and wanting to see and learn more. Well done Bill, Alec and the entire cast!
What to think about:
When you watch this show, I urge you to think about what led Barry to where he is today. What could have prevented his decline and his violence? What would be different about the story if Barry was a woman? Why is NoHo Hank so likable despite everything he does? I can answer that question: it’s because Anthony Carrigan is so hilarious and has perfect timing. The cast is truly impeccable.
Also, when I watched this show, I found myself thoroughly hating Sally. I thought about why I hated her so much and realized that she is just a really determined woman. Maybe I was conditioned by society to think that was a bad thing. But, I watched the show again and realized that she is not really a bad person, she is just ambitious. And that is not a bad thing.
Watch Barry: 8/10
Check out this show on IMDb or watch it for FREE on Amazon for a limited time if you have Amazon Prime. Usually this show is only available on HBO, but Amazon and HBO did a special deal, so you can watch a few HBO shows for free if you have Amazon Prime. I would take advantage of this and watch all of the episodes of Barry. The show is pretty special and unique, and I think you might be shocked at how much Hader and the other actors can get you to laugh at insane situations.
Give the show a try, I dare you.
P.S. What is your favorite Hader character on SNL? I will leave you with this: It’s hard to believe that Barry and Stefon are the same person. Imagine if they met. I would pay to see that.