Barry: berkman > block
May 20, 2019 9:31 AM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Barry is out for vengeance; Sally takes an acting detour.
posted by skewed (14 comments total)
 
I saw a terrific video of Hader and John Mulaney at the 92Y and something they said made me sure Cousineau was dead, so I was delighted it started where it did because then he couldn't be dead. Basking in relief might have washed out the first bit for me, but I really wanted to mention how great NoHo Hank is. Anthony Carrigan manages to almost always be the best thing in anything he's in. I want to know if someone wrote that "optometrist by nature" bit or if he did it himself. They've apparently ceded control of the character to him, so when Barry asks if he's evil, the answer is obviously, "What, I don't tell you that enough?"
posted by provoliminal at 2:56 PM on May 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


The sheer range Bill Hader displays in this series is incredible. Especially this episode.

I almost wished they'd ended it when he walked into the dark. But then it was just so Barry to end it with Cousineau reliving the horror and remembering what Fuches said to him.

I love this show you guys. Season 3 can't come soon enough.
posted by biscotti at 4:59 PM on May 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Funny thing, when I watched last week, I thought it was the season finale (probably because it was also the series finale to Veep). Last week would have been an excellent season finale! I was prepared to be on tenterhooks for a year!

Then this episode came and was an even better season finale. Last week’s episode left everyone teetering on a precipice, but this week’s episode twisted the gravity 90 degrees as everyone was mid-fall.

I haven’t popped my head into the GoT finale thread yet. Based on discussions with friends and what I’ve read, I think I have a higher opinion of the GoT finale than most. But the finale of Barry left me much more moved, thrilled, affected, and devastated. Kudos to Hader, Berg, and the rest of the amazing cast and writing/directing crew.

(Halfway through this season I was worried that Noho Hank didn’t have a point anymore, and would have already been written out/killed off if Anthony Carrigan hadn’t been so amazing. I’m happy that Barry’s Checnyan pin gambit is going to give him a good reason to stick around.)
posted by ejs at 8:20 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I want to know if someone wrote that "optometrist by nature" bit or if he did it himself.

And in this episode, "I don't even have time to order heroin table, which is a thing on Pinterest but not on Amazon."

In looking for more on Anthony Carrigan and improv in the show, I found this Vulture interview with Bill Hader, Alec Berg and Henry Winkler, which is just charming. But back to Carrigan, here he is talking about going to college to be an actor, and being a duck for a week.

But now I found How They Made It: The Extraordinary Second Season of ‘Barry’, which includes this paragraph:
Berg envisions Hank as having learned to speak English in Chechnya while watching old television shows like Three’s Company, Mork & Mindy, and Miami Vice. He loves using American idioms, even if he unwittingly tends to twist them into malapropisms. Like these: “Massive fumble turnover for Hank.” “I know what Sonny and Cher would say, ‘That’s on you, babe.’” “Get out of free jail.” “I am optometrist by nature.”
Which reads as if it's a line written by Berg, but I'm not 100% sure. In the next paragraph, Berg credits one of Hank's improvs to Carrigan:
The show’s writers, however, took great care to make Hank ridiculous, but not too ridiculous. “If you have two of something, the overall piece is funnier than if you have four of something,” Berg said. “Even though four is more than two.” Of Carrigan, Berg said: “Anthony is a genius at playing that character. ‘Massive fumble turnover’ was one of his. … All of his little improvs and additions and things are just so in the pocket of that character.”
And finally, in another Ringer interview, Carrigan says that there are specific backstories to each of his tattoos, but he can't say more yet. He also noted that he didn't really get any of those tattoos, because "you can get in really hot water by putting actual Russian prison tattoos (Vice article on the topic) on your body."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 PM on May 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I haven’t popped my head into the GoT finale thread yet. Based on discussions with friends and what I’ve read, I think I have a higher opinion of the GoT finale than most. But the finale of Barry left me much more moved, thrilled, affected, and devastated. Kudos to Hader, Berg, and the rest of the amazing cast and writing/directing crew.

Barry started off this season as someone with a history of violence, but who honestly wanted to reform himself and become a peaceful person as recently as last week. But in this episode, he goes from "people can change" to an indiscriminate murderous rampage in the space of about 5 minutes. This sudden change works because the show did the work of setting up the emotional stakes for Barry to make that choice feel earned. GoT tried a similar trick without doing the same prep work, and did not have the same success.
posted by Uncle Ira at 7:55 AM on May 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


It sounds written, but it struck me because when I first heard it, my thought was, "He thinks he should have been an optometrist?" and trying to think that through as Hank before I caught the joke, because there's sense of rightness both ways. He's just so delightful I wish he had a daily morning show where we get a little slice of the world from a Hank's eye view. It wouldn't be, say, accurate by any means, but definitely upbeat and entertaining.
posted by provoliminal at 9:05 AM on May 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


I just want that to be Carrigan's real voice. I hope he doesn't get typecast, but if he's going to, he better get a "Better Call NoHo Hank" spinoff out of it.

The juxtaposition of Super Barry Killing Machine with the "Power Sally" alternate ending of the performance really jumped out at me. The sense of justice in this episode really stark everywhere except with Gene. And perhaps the feels-unwarranted adulation Sally gets after the performance.

I'm not sure I'm liking all of the "Inside the Episode" bits that follow the episode. In this one I thought they were a little too above it all and glib about "oh, we're just ratcheting up the tension more and more," like workaday scriptwriters. Which I get, but with Hader's own personal career arc lately it feels a little like Medical Students Disease where they portray themselves as exhibiting all of the stuff that they're currently learning. Alec Berg is extremely experienced in episode TV, so I can see the pull, but hey, leave a little mystery!
posted by rhizome at 10:03 AM on May 21, 2019


Weird how they had the series finale of Veep, GoT and the season finale of Barry all in an 8 day period, it's like they're practically begging me to cancel my subscription.
posted by skewed at 2:04 PM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think there is also a small running gag where Hank generally doesn't use the word "the", but does use it where it's not needed. So this episode he says the movie is called "Enter Dragon". Of course the elimination of "the" is a standard way to convey "English is not my first language" but it's the addition of "the" where it isn't needed that makes it a joke. I don't have any examples of this part and I will not search scripts any more. I would expect him to refer to Metallica's "Enter the Sandman" at some point (writers, you're reading this right?! give me this!).
posted by sylvanshine at 3:49 PM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


This episode is full of amazing moments (even some that don’t include Noho Hank) but I’d like to call out Kirby Howell-Baptiste telling her life-changing story of seeing a horse in London and accidentally admitting that her uncle burned down her house with her mother in it.
posted by ejs at 6:46 PM on May 21, 2019 [18 favorites]


Of course the elimination of "the" is a standard way to convey "English is not my first language"

That’s a real thing endemic to Russia and its environs. Russian doesn’t use the definite article, so (in fictional depictions, anyway) it doesn’t come easy to ESL speakers from that region. (In reality, they seem to get it pretty quickly.)

A real Russian ESL accent is actually pretty nonspecific — vaguely European — so any little thing to give it a specific geographic marker just lends that little bit credence, even if it is completely phony. Losing the the is the easiest shortcut to a Russian(...ish) accent without going full Boris & Natasha. And it’s fun to play with.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:37 PM on May 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Holy shit this show. My patience for antihero shows is pretty thin these days, but I love Barry because 1. Barry himself feels like a real human being, and you can relate to how he became who he is, but 2. they keep showing us how his attempts at redemption fail because he refuses to take real responsibility for the things he's done.

I personally didn't like the way Breaking Bad ended because I felt like Walter White didn't deserve a heroic death - I wanted to see him get arrested, lose everything, be humiliated before the world. With Barry, I don't have that same feeling of wanting to see him humiliated, but I do want to see him be forced to ACTUALLY reckon with the things he's done, instead of "putting them behind him" - and it feels to me like the writers are moving in that direction.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:59 AM on October 18, 2019


Also, imo Fuches is in the running for most monstrous characters in television history.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:02 AM on October 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


This episode is full of amazing moments (even some that don’t include Noho Hank) but I’d like to call out Kirby Howell-Baptiste telling her life-changing story of seeing a horse in London and accidentally admitting that her uncle burned down her house with her mother in it.

Given the improvements we saw in the other students' stories, I wondered if the final version of that story was based on her accidentally revealing the house-burning story in class, and then the class helping her workshop it to a final version where it's revealed deliberately. That may be giving the character way too much credit, but I can picture an amazing version where all the horse stuff is revealed to be a red herring for the "actual" story.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:02 PM on October 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


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