Paul T. Goldman: Full Series
January 19, 2023 3:30 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

It is a mind-bending series from the director of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and the producers of The Disaster Artist. It's a project that director Jason Woliner has been shooting for over a decade and a story that continues to pile on jaw-dropping new twists. In the style of Woliner's work on Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, the series is a groundbreaking project that mixes fact and fiction to tell a bizarre and incredible tale.

With the finale airing on Saturday, I figured this was worth a post.

I think my take is most similar to this review: Woliner’s aim isn’t to deliberately prank Goldman; instead, what the series represents is the televisual equivalent to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. By engaging with Goldman, and helping him “tell his story,” Woliner, his collaborators, and even the audience are inevitably drawn into the experience; it’s one man’s tale, but by observing it, we’re all somehow a part of it.
posted by supercres (6 comments total)
I've been watching this and boggling. Paul goes from a funny naif to a really toxic character over the course of the first 5 episodes, and I'm really curious how it will end. To me, the whole setup seems more and more like an elaborate put-on, fully scripted from the start and only emulating reality TV. There's no way Paul Finklestein could be as dumb as he comes off on screen. But who knows? Interfacing with "Hollywood" does nutty things to people.
posted by rikschell at 5:22 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Anyone else think “Paul” sounds just like Larry David?
posted by Clustercuss at 4:52 PM on January 20

Here’s a good interview with Jason Woliner about the show. I don’t know what the finale will bring but it really sounds like Paul is really as naive as he comes across.

Oh, how did I find the interview? Paul retweeted it.

I think he’s naive and uninsightful and just so enamored of the process that he’s uniformly happy about his moment in the sun.
posted by supercres at 8:14 PM on January 20 [3 favorites]

Well that was certainly an ending. Glad that Paul finally had to face up to his fabrications. Of course, he WOULD take it in stride and put the best possible face on it. But MAYBE he learned something. It makes me think of a close friend I had in my teen years who had trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality--he never really grew up. He had a brief troubled marriage that never should have happened and has worked various dead-end jobs. There are a lot of people out there with a tenuous grasp on reality. Some of them pose a danger to themselves, some a danger to others, and some you just have to shake your head.

It's pretty incredible this got made. They must have been shooting and editing the final episode up until practically the last minute, after the show had already been on the air.
posted by rikschell at 8:36 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]

I heard about this when Jason Woliner was on The Daily Zeitgeist last week. I watched it in one sitting and loved it. At one point I seriously wondered if the entire show was a contrivance, cut from whole cloth. I found Paul utterly unlikable from the start, completely naive yet so self-absorbed and blinded by his own convictions that he couldn't believe anything otherwise until incontrovertible evidence was shoved into his face. I found Woliner somewhat dislikable too, even a little predatory at times when subtly goading Paul into unfavorable situations.

One thing I kept wondering through the whole show was where did Paul get all the money to pursue his activities and investigations? There were several scenes showing him in corporate dead-end cubicle jobs, and even doing customer service calls from his laptop on his patio. On the other hand, he bought a second home in California, hired private investigators, flew to Moscow and bought a bride, and a bunch of other stuff that couldn't have been cheap. He kept mentioning his assets and his painting business, and at one point alluded to owning several properties. I was even wondering who paid for a lot of the production work that we saw. It seemed like he had final say on the sets where they were filming "his movie" within the documentary. At times it seemed like some rich asshole's vanity project.

Ultimately the entire thing was a metanarrative mindfuck in a way that I found highly enjoyable. Despite disliking the protagonist so much, the pacing and plot was fantastic, and all of it quite funny. I'm surprised it's not getting more attention.
posted by slogger at 1:58 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]

I assumed his dad set him with the painting business and gave him financial help in general. This is just my guess.

Peak of the show for me was when the actor playing the alter-ego author Ryan Sinclair is asked to act more like Paul. His mimicry of Paul is so accurate and unflattering that I worried it was ranging into cruelty (pursing his lips in weird way, flashing a weird smile at random times, etc). But Paul thought it was perfect!
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:04 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]

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