Episodes Laughs At Death

Episodes premiered its third show of the season last night. The show continues to provide laughs, even in the most uncomfortable way. The father of network president Merc Lapidus has died and the episode dealt with the awkward ways the Pucks! staff would provide condolences. It was clear how completely inappropriate everyone’s behavior was, which is exaclty what makes it hilarious. There were parts of the show where viewers should not laugh, but they laugh anyway because Episodes runs on cringe comedy. It is a challenge to find humor in the fact that no one cares about  someone’s death, yet the show makes it work.

When Lapidus’ father died, everyone’s main concern was appeasing the president of a network and not Lapidus as a person. Everyone in the show is acting selfish and morally questionable. Even so, it never fails to be funny. Their biggest concern is not to make sure Lapidus is happy, but what would be an appropriate thing to send as a condolence. An ongoing joke centers around Matt insisting that a muffin basket is not a big enough gift. He insists on a huge catered dinner, which Sean rejects. Still, there’s a stubbornness to appease Lapidus, or rather conform to “funeral” behavior.

No one really cares about the funeral, but the behavior is funniest in a production assistant named Wendy. She is lazy, irresponsible, and annoying. She’s basically a device to criticize the millennial generation. The viewer loves to hate her. In one scene, she comes into Sean and Beverly’s room as they are talking about the script and then asks “Was that it?.” Sean had to remind her that she was the one who entered the room. It took her until then to remember to mention that Lapidus’ father had died.

In her appearances this season, Wendy has little to say. Despite that, she certainly makes the most of it. She is unassertive and it works extremely well.  Sean and Beverly are later still trying to settle sending muffins as a condolence as Wendy reads the company’s description in a hilarious monotone. Her voice trails off as she says “May contain nuts.” It’s completely absurd, but the viewer can easily relate to it. Her carelessness is attractive to the viewer, who may have encountered someone similar to her. Wendy’s character is presented in such a way that it reminds viewers why young and entitled people are not only infuriating but also incredibly funny.

Also in this episode, Matt LeBlanc’s continues his affair with Lapidus’ wife, Jamie. A running joke with that storyline is that Jamie is blind. Matt constantly makes jokes about that, even when he and Jamie are together. It’s totally inappropriate and the viewer feels bad for laughing at it, but it’s Matt’s character. He’s insensitive, but charming. He’s well intentioned, but ignorant. He can be funny even when it doesn’t seem like he is trying to be. LeBlanc (the actor) makes it work extremely well. His character has a quality in him that makes the viewer want to see more. The dynamic of Sean and Beverly interacting with Matt makes his mannerisms even funnier. Sean and Beverly try to make sense of his actions and, as smart as they are, it’s a challenge. The struggle is something that viewers will continue to enjoy.

The next important plot point has everyone facing the fact that they actually have to go to the funeral. Morning Randolph asks Sean and Beverly about it and they both said that that they were not planning on going. Apparently, “everyone is going” and that is their sole motivation. Some people are acting like they are supposed to, but what’s most funny is that no one’s thoughts are in the right place. The viewers can all laugh at how ridiculous everyone sounds, while not being surprised at all about how they feel. Sean says that going to the funeral is the right thing to do. Beverly contests that Lapidus did not go to the funeral of one of her relatives. However, Sean correctly points out that she was not the head of a network. It is a horrible thing to say, but it’s true. That’s why it’s so funny. Just then, Matt walks in after getting off the phone with his agent and says reluctantly that he has to go to the funeral. At the cemetery, David E. Kelley and Michelle Pfeiffer are planting a tree. Matt is not moved by the thoughtful gesture. He is just mad at them for upstaging him.

The last storyline was a bit more serious or at least it was supposed to be.  Matt being Matt wouldn’t let that happen. Everyone was trying to discuss their feelings on death. Instead, he filled the limo with awkward silences as he ended up talking about his first sexual encounter with a celebrity after a funeral. He also made sure to tell everyone to cry at the funeral. The silence combined with the uncomfortable stares really made the scene. Beverly’s feelings about death came into play as she was realizing that she and Sean may not be at each others funerals. She gets emotional, Sean comforts her, and Matt then gives a thumbs up. It seemed wrong, but that is what made it hilarious.

Episodes is continuing its success. This show can make anything funny, even death. The characters are very cynical, insensitive, and sometimes downright cruel, yet I loved every minute of it. It is this kind of attitude that has given the show its appeal. The show takes on taboo topics in a superb way as this episode brilliantly showed. As long as the show continues to do that, the hilarity should continue.

Posted on July 16, 2012, in Cable, Comedy, Primetime, Showtime and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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