First Season Recap of Episodes

The Showtime original comedy series Episodes is returning for a second season tonight and there’s a lot to look forward to. The first season was excellent. This series follows husband and wife comedy writing team, Sean and Beverly Lincoln. The couple comes to Los Angeles to remake their hit British sitcom Lyman’s Boys.  The problem is they lose control of the show along the way. The network retools the premise without their permission.

Assuming the star of their British show will continue to perform the role in America, the Lincolns offer him the part. He is asked to audition anyway in an American accent and fails miserably. With no star lined up, the network goes a completely different direction by getting Matt LeBlanc to play the lead. Instead of following a headmaster at an elite prep school like the original, the U.S. version follows a smooth-talking hockey coach and is retitled Pucks!. The pilot gets worse every day. This show has done a great job of satirizing how difficult it is to work with a television network, but that isn’t what makes the show. It’s the characters’ chemistry.

Stephen Magnan and Tasmin Greig portray Sean and Beverly Lincoln, respectively. Their interaction throughout the entire first season is brilliant. The difficulties of working for a network that has let them down puts a strain on their relationship, but they know how to work through it. Their relationship is very natural and spontaneous. Their dynamic with Matt LeBlanc makes them very fun to watch.

LeBlanc plays a pompous version of himself. He gets portrayed in a way that makes him out to be a self-entitled jerk, yet in a way that makes the viewer want him to succeed. Despite being pretty much the worst option for the lead in their show, Sean and LeBlanc develop a very appealing “bromance.” This is much to Beverly’s dismay, but it makes for some interesting drama throughout the season. Beverly is repulsed by LeBlanc, but it works for the show.

The friendship between LeBlanc and Sean is a focal point during the season, which contributes to Beverly’s continuing hatred. As insensitive as LeBlanc is, he has a certain charm. Under his spell, Sean agrees to various changes to the original show’s premise. Of course, this infuriates Beverly. Another major plot point in the first season was LeBlanc’s encouragement for Sean to get together with the show’s female lead, Morning Randolph. Sean refuses in spite of the temptation, which really shows his character’s realism.

It’s hard to convince Beverly that nothing is going on between them, especially when she starts hearing rumors. After catching Sean pleasuring himself to an online pornographic video of Randolph, she becomes suspicious. Believing the show is doomed and convinced her husband is having an affair, Beverly packs up and heads back to London. Driving on the wrong side of the road, she gets into a collision with LeBlanc. While recovering, Beverly stays in LeBlanc’s apartment and they sleep together. The anger mixed with the inevitable sexual tension made the scene very effective. Beverly is distraught when Leblanc finally convinces her after the fact that her husband never had an affair.

In the finale, Sean’s heart is broken when he learns of his wife’s affair and decides he wants out of the marriage. The argument between Sean and Beverly is one of the most powerful scenes in the first season. Sean says that Beverly “casually destroyed the one thing that meant anything to [him].” Sean and Beverly are both devastated, but they assume their troubles are over. They figure Pucks! is going to bomb. However, just when they are about to go back to London, they get a call from the network saying that the show is a hit. Despite everyone’s personal issues with each other, they now have a show to make. This final scene sets up the second season perfectly.

There will inevitably be a struggle for everyone to get over issues with each other, but it’ll be interesting to watch. While LeBlanc will try to save his friendships, Beverly will try to save her marriage. The end of the first season gives fans of the show a reason to look forward to the second one, which starts tonight at 10:30pm Eastern on Showtime.

Posted on July 1, 2012, in Cable, Comedy, Showtime and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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