Sunday, May 12, 2019

REVIEW: 'Barry' - Barry Reaches a Career Turning Point Just as He Has to Choose Between His Surrogate Fathers in 'The Audition'

HBO's Barry - Episode 2.07 "The Audition"

Barry prepares for his first audition under Gene's guidance. Sally takes a stand in a meeting with a major TV producer. Noho Hank bares all.

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. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Barry.

"The Audition" was written by Liz Sarnoff and directed by Alec Berg

Barry has chosen to pursue acting but he is much more interested in the atmosphere of the acting class instead of actually breaking into Hollywood. The rest of the class are trying to gain the attention of agents so they can book roles in TV and film. Barry doesn't even know that "movie" and "feature" are the exact same thing. He doesn't know who Jay Roach is despite auditioning in front of him here. Despite all of this ignorance, he is still offered a meaty part when everyone else has been struggling. He gains attention because he's tall. That's literally all there is. He happens to be at the agency to drive Sally after her meeting. She is excited about getting a potentially lucrative project as well. She could be working with a mega-producer in television who is known for creating several hit shows. She can't really focus on that though because of the news that Barry already seems to be getting success despite him still being a novice to the industry. It brings up all of these complicated feelings. Of course, she is happy for him. She would be excited if he booked this part as the lead in a movie. She is glad that he has Gene helping coach him ahead of the audition. She will run the lines with him. However, it also feels like a slap in the face to her and their peers who have been struggling to get noticed for much longer. Someone on Sally's team is the one who gives Barry this opportunity. It's so casual with Barry but it's so much work for him to be interested in advancing Sally's career. Plus, her team believes this Aaron Ryan project could be a perfect fit for her because it tackles domestic violence just like her theatre piece does. And yet, they are two wildly different approaches to the same subject matter. Sally's piece focuses on the true emotions of what it was like to live in that environment. She is still absolutely terrified of Sam and how he could react to this news about her career. She continues to be conflicted regarding what she is comfortable revealing onstage and which she should hold back. She's at her best when she is being completely honest. However, it has been difficult for her. The Aaron Ryan show is just a revenge porn fantasy in which a bunch of women becoming badasses killing men every single week. It's easy to see the market and appeal of that show. Sally just doesn't think it relates to her experience at all and it's insulting that her team would even suggest it for her. Her threatening to walk away entirely is enough to gain their attention though. It makes them more passionate about finding her a juicy part. As such, they join the big production from the acting class. It will be a showcase for people in the industry who can make or break careers. As such, the season appears to be ending in the same way that the first did. However, there is even more pressure here because the influential people in the audience aren't just those Gene still has a connection to. They are pivotal in the industry at this moment and could be life-changing for the careers of the performers. Sally is willing to share the stage with her classmates. But it's still all ultimately about her and whether this can change her career trajectory.

Barry is hoping to do the exact same thing with this audition. He sees it as the next step that needs to be taken to continue pursuing this career. However, his former life keeps invading this space. There is the twisted joke of both him and the audience fearing he has just tanked his audition even though Jay Roach and the casting director are actually impressed by how little he seemingly cares about booking this job. That too may show the inherent privilege that he embodies but is completely oblivious about. He is tall, straight and white in an industry that still plays to all of those qualities first and foremost. It can be infuriating to anyone who has been attempting to break into the industry for much longer. And yet, there are also much more pressing concerns on his mind as well. He wants Gene as his new surrogate father to help him navigate the world and this audition. He values the critiques and direction that he gives him. That makes him the perfect target for Fuches in order to get Barry to do what he wants. Barry is done with all of the criminal elements in his life. He no longer wants to be the person who kills whomever he is hired to kill. And yet, the show is threatening to kill Gene off in order to motivate the next stage of the story. He has been searching for answers as to what happened to Detective Moss for a long time. He has kept hope alive even though everyone has been telling him he should move on already. He was still sitting in the restaurant hoping she would one day return to him. And now, he has finally gotten his answer. Fuches brings him to where Barry hid her car. It's such a lame cover-up on Barry's part as well. It also highlights the incompetence of the police because they were unable to find the evidence for so long. Barry only did a deceit job in moving the car and hiding it amongst the brush. Moreover, the body is just in the trunk. That means it immediately provides so much resolution to Gene. He gets the clarity of knowing exactly what happened. But it's all just a plot to provoke Barry. Fuches makes his influence known. Then, it becomes a race to see if Barry can get there in time to save his new father figure. The episode concludes on a massive cliffhanger. That's inherently frustrating because the viewer wants to see what happens next. Does the show have the sheer audacity to kill off Henry Winkler a year after winning his first career Emmy? That is a distinct possibility. The season started with the acting class wondering if they could put on a show without their teacher. They couldn't do so. And now, they have an even bigger opportunity and their teacher may be gone for good. It all depends on how fast Barry runs. But even then, this moment is bound to be a major turning point in his life as well.