Poker Face: Exit Stage Death
February 9, 2023 4:51 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Charlie's waitress job at a dinner theater is interrupted by a tragic death on stage during a performance by two washed-up television stars; when she starts to investigate, deadly motivations come to light.
posted by ellieBOA (31 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Probably the weakest episode so far, IMHO. It’s hard to make deliberately bad acting entertaining, and the play-within-a-play just dragged.

Also: Maybe this is just me, but the motivations just didn’t seem plausible even for a knowingly silly show. [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER] You’re married to an insanely-wealthy Jameela Jamil in your sixties, and she wants nothing more than for you to share a life of leisure with her? Why in the world would you want to end that? :D
posted by Mr. Excellent at 6:25 AM on February 9, 2023 [4 favorites]

Why in the world would you want to end that? Because she has the financial power. People murdering their well off spouses happens with some frequency even in real life.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:55 PM on February 9, 2023 [4 favorites]

“Jack Daniels is my dramaturg”
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 1:27 PM on February 9, 2023 [4 favorites]

I agree this is the weakest so far. I liked the cast but I don't feel like Charlie had quite enough to unravel. It still had some fun bits but I don't think it all quite worked.

I'm still all-in on this show, though.
posted by edencosmic at 2:19 PM on February 9, 2023 [2 favorites]

Miss-Lapin: Oh, sure. But Jameela Jamil is hot enough to set asbestos alight. 😁
posted by Mr. Excellent at 2:47 PM on February 9, 2023 [7 favorites]

I agree this was a Charlie weak episode. i was still entertained. I'm beginning to feel from the criticism here modern audiences need to relax a bit. Old school Columbo would disintegrate against modern sensibilities so the show is walking a delicate tightrope. Maybe have some grace for that.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:16 PM on February 9, 2023 [9 favorites]

I don’t know how it holds up as a murder mystery, but I am watching it for the Ghosts of Pensacola monologues and Lyonne talking to Barkin from “inside” the on-set fridge, etc. The whole episode was basically a setup for meta jokes about acting, and that’s absolutely the kind of thing I am watching this show for.
posted by snofoam at 4:46 PM on February 9, 2023 [21 favorites]

“Lyonne talking to Barkin from 'inside' the on-set fridge, etc. The whole episode was basically a setup for meta jokes about acting, and that’s absolutely the kind of thing I am watching this show for.”

That scene of her on the stage (and arguably the whole episode) was very reminiscent of the Columbo episode with William Shatner, which I believe was posted here on FanFare recently.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:50 PM on February 9, 2023 [6 favorites]

I really am here for the elaborate setups, the stuntcasting, the mid-episode and end-episode twists, and then some gravelly one-liners as Charlie manages to see through deceptions. (And for gags like “Franklin,” the hip-hop musical.)

I mean, she's untangling the equivalent of a loose overhand knot; this is a parade of America's Most Poorly-Conceived Murders. But most of the gimmicks that Columbo’s collars got mileage out of are just non-starters in the year 2023.

In general, the mechanics of the mysteries have been pretty flimsy. I thought this one was stronger than last week’s — it just didn’t have any back-alley brawls with nursing-home radicals. And I will watch anything that Tim Meadows is in. I am disappointed we got zero seconds of footage from Spooky and the Cop, though.
posted by savetheclocktower at 9:11 PM on February 9, 2023 [19 favorites]

Question: was the hair & dress a deliberate Mars Attacks gag? Because I was getting Mars Attacks.
posted by ftm at 8:48 AM on February 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

Loving the way Ghosts of Pensacola evoked Streetcar, Glass Menagerie, and the ilk. I also adored the theatre in-jokes (esp the dinner theatre stuff, which is a whole other thing).
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 11:11 AM on February 10, 2023 [14 favorites]

I dug the theatrical production-within-a-theatrical production with Kathleen and Michael soliloquy-ing about how much they detest each other.

But yeah, light on the mystery.

Jameela Jamil has really done wonders on her physical comedic acting. She was delightful as Titania in 'She Hulk.'
posted by porpoise at 11:23 AM on February 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

It also reminded me of the dinner theatre scenes in Soapdish, one of the best & funniest movies ever; so anything that does that is aces with me.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:24 AM on February 11, 2023 [4 favorites]

We didn't get Charlie's banjo theme in this or the previous episode and I miss it
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:46 PM on February 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

“Second Night Only”
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:47 PM on February 11, 2023 [19 favorites]

I hope Phil gets reinstated. He clearly loved his crappy job, which is all most of us can hope for.

"The price of my love has just doubled! And I expect to see it immediately."

"Why are you lying? Are you in love with them too? Are you a throuple?"

I flinched everytime someone reached into that cooler of dry ice.

This Mashable article talks a bit with the show runners about The Ghosts of Pensacola, other fake plays they considered including, and the original planned episode ending (which got cut so they could end on Barkin's monologue).
posted by the primroses were over at 7:39 PM on February 11, 2023 [13 favorites]

“Jack Daniels is my dramaturg”

This could have been the motto for the crew of my college theater. In fact, I'll be sorely disappointed if there isn't some undergrad there now putting this on a t-shirt to hand out at a cast party.
posted by firechicago at 6:30 AM on February 16, 2023 [4 favorites]

Some of y'all are nuts because this was the most fun this show has been so far (and I've loved every single episode.) Meadows, Jamil, and Barkin are all always great to see having fun, and relative newcomer Audrey Corsa as Rebecca ("third banana") was awesome.

I also just love how part of loving theatre is being able to be absolutely savage about it. "Ghosts of Pensacola" was hilariously, plausibly, fuck-awful in the best way.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:16 PM on February 18, 2023 [10 favorites]

So is that an implied suicide at the end?

In the monologue she was talking about becoming a ghost and then we see Charlie with tears in her eyes and then the trap door.

Or more of a metaphorical ghost but she really thinks it's true?
posted by Acari at 8:46 AM on February 19, 2023 [1 favorite]

Acari: according to the Mashable article the primroses were over shared, the episode originally ended with "police arresting the plotting murderers" (no idea if that was just Kathleen and Michael or included Rebecca as well) but, of course, the episode ends where it ends now, so your read is as good as any.

For myself, I took the tear to mean that Kathleen had finally achieved something like artistic transcendence in "using" the situation to fuel her performance, so even if it was all over now, she would have that to hold with her, which I thought was cool. After an hour of Ellen Barkin putting in such an extremely unlikable performance (intentionally, of course!) she was able to garner a slight bit of sympathy at the end, while still of course showing zero remorse for her actions.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:39 PM on February 19, 2023 [7 favorites]

HuffPost did the showbiz interview of the year so far with this interview with Ellen Barkin (content warning: sexual assault on a movie set)

She's really, really candid about toxicity on projects she worked on, and says that Poker Face was an exception:

At this point in her life, Barkin eagerly gravitates toward environments like “Poker Face,” a show that lets her play and be happy in a supportive space for women like her to work. Sure, not every set she’s been on has a bad-faith actor, but too many have. And that makes her experience on the Peacock series especially rewarding.

“[It’s] not just that I had a good time and it was fun, but I was so relaxed and safe,” she said. “I haven’t felt that way since doing ‘Ocean’s [Thirteen]’ with my friend George Clooney, because I knew nothing was going to happen to me bad. You just go into the safest environment.”

I'm glad this was a great experience for her, because she was an absolute delight to watch in this episode. I hope she can find a regular gig in a happy, supportive environment somewhere.
posted by creepygirl at 8:56 PM on February 24, 2023 [8 favorites]

I too wanted to see some Spooky and the Cop to confirm my suspicion that Tim Meadows was Mulder and Ellen Barkin was Scully.

This episode was laugh-out-loud funny. Just some genuinely silly shit.
posted by potrzebie at 11:48 PM on February 25, 2023 [5 favorites]

I really loved the fake play, it was just good enough and bad enough to be hilarious.

This one really felt like TV, but I thought, so what, it's a fun TV show.

So is that an implied suicide at the end?

In my heart, she escapes out the back.
posted by fleacircus at 1:10 AM on March 6, 2023 [2 favorites]

I think Spooky and the Cop was on right after Brazzos.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2023 [11 favorites]

Some of y'all are nuts because this was the most fun this show has been so far

I adored seeing Barkin in a confident but complicated actress role (I remember when she was a newer actress on the scene and was in everything - that photo of her on her dressing table was iirc of a younger 90's era Barkin which was a cool little bit) but this episode was just too theater-y for me. Some people like that kind of thing and some don't. Tim Meadows and Jameela Jamil were delightful. Also hoping for some Spooky and the Cop scenes and was disappointed.
posted by jessamyn at 7:38 PM on March 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

Charlie running around trying to warn the actors while they were performing and discovering one-by-one that they were all in on it was the funniest this shows's been so far.
posted by Mavri at 10:50 AM on April 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

My favorite bit may have been when Charlie (in a clear follow-up to the stage manager's impassioned speech about The Theatre) was actually moved to tears by Barkin's character's performance, despite knowing the actress was a terrible person and the whole production was just a murder scheme. That's showbiz!
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 7:11 AM on April 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

The experience Charlie would have while working in a theatre is a nice part of the writing here. For her, particularly when the acting or the writing is poor- there is just an overwhelming amount of bullshit; but anything said in truth stands out a mile.
posted by rongorongo at 4:24 PM on December 30, 2023 [2 favorites]

Well, this very promptly answered my question from an earlier episode about how Charlie's gift impacts her experience of the theater, but I also have to give props to the repeated, entirely unremarked upon use of the phrase "flappy door."
posted by eponym at 12:06 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]

Oh jeex this episode was an absolute blast. I LOVED Charlie groing from one actor to the next and discovering they are all in on it, yes!! The moment when I cackled out loud and had to pause the show was when she said, "Wait, are you in love with them too? Are you a throuple?" Goddamn, Lyonne's delivery absolutely killed right there. She completely sold me on her utter confusion, bravo.

I also thought it was sweet how at the end she was moved to tears by the truth in the lead actress's performance, at long last. That was touching.

Anyone catch which three movies Charlie mentions as the only times she has seen truth in acting? I don't remember because I haven't seen any of those movies - I think Patrick Swayze was one of the people she mentioned though? I gotta go watch!
posted by MiraK at 10:39 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]

« Older All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite:...   |  Dear Edward: Pilot... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments