Wednesday, January 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'I'm Sorry' - Andrea Pushes One Comedy Bit Too Far Then Witnesses an Even More Awkward One in 'Barbara T. Warren'

TruTV's I'm Sorry - Episode 2.03 "Barbara T. Warren"

After the kids are given an unfortunate party favor, Andrea and Mike are forced to explain a major life lesson to Amelia. And later, Andrea learns that sometimes comedy bits can go too far.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of TruTV's I'm Sorry.

"Barbara T. Warren" was written by Krister Johnson and directed by Andrea Savage

This episode features a conversation that is so universal in its appeal to parents. How do parents talk to their children about death? It's such a profound conversation that even adults don't have any good answers for. They don't know how to explain the idea that everything dies and no one can say with any certainty about what comes next. And yet, it's something that Andrea, Mike and the rest of the parents have to deal with amongst the kindergarten class. It's such a terrible idea to hand out fish as party favors. Andrea and the fellow parents understand that right away. Brian has already fallen victim to it before being able to warn the rest of the parents. Andrea and Mike are incapable of escaping without getting their own fish for Amelia. It's not a story about the fish all lasting long and becoming significant parts of their respective families either. All of them die shortly after this party. It's only two and a half hours until Andrea and Mike have to flush Barbara down the toilet. That's the fate that befalls all of these fish. It makes the parents even more furious at the man who thought that this would be a great way of bringing the class together. Everyone has such different reactions for how to have a conversation about death. At times, it just seems easier to replace one pet with another. Beth has to pick up a cat the next day to appease her daughter. Meanwhile, Andrea and Mike strive to have a conversation with Amelia. They don't want the responsibility of a pet. And yet, they have to contend with Amelia being consumed with thoughts about death. She is suddenly afraid that everyone she loves is going to die. She doesn't want her parents to leave her. She is worried about what would happen to her. Of course, Andrea and Mike have already had that conversation as well. When they had a daughter, they took the time to consider who should care for her if they were to die. Andrea even wants to give Amelia enough money to take care of herself and not have to rely on her uncle David for everything. Even David is surprised by the idea that he has this responsibility should the worst happen to his sister. He doesn't remember signing that legal paperwork at all. This is all hypothetical. Amelia may actually be planning her parents' deaths though because she's so excited about living with David - especially now that he has his own house. He is maturing in a way that no one in his family would have expected. But that doesn't mean that Amelia is capable of handling all of this new information that is now being told to her. She didn't think that a child could die. When she's confronted with that reality, that's when Andrea and Mike cave and just get her a new pet in the hopes of covering up this existential crisis for now.

Of course, all of that is only one aspect of this episode as well. It's a strong and unifying theme too. It could absolutely carry an entire episode of this show. But this ensemble has much more on its mind. Andrea is exploring whether or not comedy bits can actually go too far. The audience should probably already have the understanding that Andrea frequently pushes things to the point of making everyone around her uncomfortable. Those are the conversations that this creative team is willing to have. But the structure of this story is really incredible. It starts with Andrea and Mike in the kitchen by themselves. It comes across as playful banter where Andrea is giving Mike a hard time while also trying to get her fingers up his butt at some point. He understands and enjoys this as the woman he loves and has married. And then, things get even more awkward when Andrea does this exact same routine with her new writing partner Rob while out at the local cafe. He also plays along with the joke. Andrea surrounds herself with people who have the same type of humor as she does. And yet, it's not for everyone - especially in a public setting. That's what makes things awkward about this specific moment in time which also makes Andrea feel the need to apologize to everyone in the cafe. She even offers to pay for the woman in line behind her. She understands how she comes across but it's only after the fact. That is an important distinction. Even though this is such a familiar environment for both her and the audience, it's still a setting where she doesn't know everyone. She shouldn't have the comfortability to do this. That's what makes it so shocking when the final moment of this story occurs at a party in which Andrea is surrounded by friends who also play this game alongside her. They all have this kind of humor. They take pleasure out of explicitly sexual suggestions in the hopes of seeing who will cave first. Mike warns everyone that these friends can typically take their bits too far. That's exactly what occurs here as well. It's a battle of the wills until the entire party is watching a man get his dick sucked. It's a power move in one regard because it shows that both men are willing to commit. But it's also insanely awkward because this isn't something that anyone actually wants. Not the people in the act and not the people sitting around watching it. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with the act itself - or that it's happening between two men. That's not the problem here. It's just the profound realization that this isn't something that should be happening because it reveals a systemic failing of these friends being able to call out what behavior is acceptable and what isn't. They are very close and open with each other. But those boundaries still need to be respected. And now, these friends may never interact in this way ever again even if some of them respect the determination it took to commit to it in the first place.