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Monday, January 24th, 2011

Episodes Recap: "Episode Three"

I’d like to take a moment to apologize. I’ve avoided a huge, glaring issue about Episodes for the past two weeks in hopes that it would go away. But I simply can’t do it anymore. The two main characters of the show, Sean and Beverly Lincoln, are horrible. Their characters are horrible and the actors who play them are horrible. In my defense, I really did think the characters would have developed by now. If I blew off every character I didn’t like in the first episode based on how boring and awful they were, I would hate a lot of people that I now love. Felicity Huffman in Sportsnight was unbearable for the first few episodes, but she ended up becoming one of the best characters on the show. Even Jenna Maroney and Tracy Jordan seemed far too one dimensional to be characters I could stand watching for more than two episodes (I, of course, have been proven completely wrong due to the brilliance of Tina Fey). But I digress; after three episodes of Episodes, I cannot remain silent anymore. Sean and Beverly Lincoln need to go.

The third episode of most shows is where things begin to fall into place for the characters. And Episodes decided to use the prime real estate of the third episode to delve into Sean and Beverly’s relationship. And guess what? It isn’t interesting. The episode starts with Beverly once again dreaming of escaping Los Angeles and going back to Europe. The show, now officially called “Pucks” has its first table read, which goes fairly well. And Sean and Matt take an impromptu trip to Vegas. In the third episode, Matt LeBlanc proved once again that he’s more than just the sixth member of ex-Friends, but is also really, honestly funny. With several jokes about huge cocks and lesbians, LeBlanc manages to elevate the humor with his delivery. He’s not just passable either, but at this point he’s carrying the show. And the studio execs had enough to do to make the episode funny. But the fact remains that Sean and Beverly haven’t changed at all, they’re still wide eyed, yet bitter, and really sad to watch. True that Sean has now become smitten with LeBlanc, but Beverly remains uptight and angry with everything American. And Sean’s flip about his shows’ star isn’t surprising. What guy wouldn’t love a man with a ridiculously nice car and a huge dick? And from the logline of the show, I could have told you two months ago that moving to America would put a strain on the main characters’ relationship. What’s frustrating is that the two characters are so predictable. Beverly, played by Tamsin Greig, is shrill. She’s everything you would hate about your typical awful British woman. Which is especially strange when you know that this show airs simultaneously on both Showtime in the states and the BBC in England. In every interaction with Sean, Beverly comes across as a cold, severe bitch. And her back and forth with LeBlanc is even worse. Every time she gets mad/annoyed/frustrated her voice goes up two octaves and I want to rip my ears off, or turn the channel.

Sean is excited about everything. He’s far too easily bribed, with either attention, money, or in this episode Blood Rat Shirts to be viewed as anything but kind of pathetic. Stephen Mangan, who plays Sean, is certainly more watchable than his onscreen wife, but he still comes across as smug and one dimensional. And I love Brits! Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Fawlty Towers. Ricky Gervais! There are very funny British actors, just not the ones on Episodes. And while LeBlanc is great on the show, I honestly don’t know how much longer the show can survive these two.

Joey Slamon lives in Los Angeles and usually loves British people.

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  • JoshUng

    One thing I liked about the episode was when Leblanc gives his side to why the female character should be straight. He points out that 4 seasons in the UK meant 24 episodes, basically just one season in the US. I think this difference gets overlooked a lot. People talk about how US shows run too long, but its not just the number of seasons that differ between US and Uk versions of shows, like The Office, its total episodes.

    The Office (UK) had 12 episodes, and a special, less than a full US season. While I love that show, honestly, I think there were weak episodes. And while perhaps the US version may have gone too long, I find it more forgiveable that they have a week episode here and there since they have to do over 100.

    Its not just "too much of a good thing" versus "getting out before it gets stale", it's really two completely different views of how a sitcom story gets told.

  • Joey Slamon

    I did love that little aside with LeBlanc talking about the difference between American and British television. The writers did a great job of not making a point of which was better or worse, which I appreciate. I almost mentioned this in the article, but then got side tracked with the acting. But thank you for bringing it up! I love that LeBlanc is the smart one in the show

  • behindthepencil

    Tamsin Greig and Stephen Magnan have ample comedic chops that have been obscured by the one-dimensional characters of Sean and Beverly. Check out episodes of the British comedy Green Wing (Hulu has the entire series), which stars both actors.