Tuesday, July 16, 2019

REVIEW: 'Good Trouble' - Callie and Mariana Make Big Declarations About Their Relationships in 'Happy Heckling'

Freeform's Good Trouble - Episode 2.05 "Happy Heckling"

Callie attends a networking mixer that causes her to confront some perceptions about herself. Mariana's close relationship with Evan sparks rumors at the Speckulate offices. Alice encounters one of her idols at a queer comedy club where she's attempting to get her standup career off the ground.

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 Freeform's Good Trouble.

"Happy Heckling" was written by Adam Starks and directed by Erica Dunton

The season already seems to be introducing the circumstances that will eventually lead to several couples breaking up. Those plot machinations are already developing. A lot of drama is being placed in these relationships with that seeming like their sole intention. And so, it's a big secret that Elijah pays for Gael to get good press. Yes, it is a major confidence boost for Gael. But it's also bound to be devastating to him because it's not earned praise. Plus, Elijah did so behind Gael's back. That may ensure that this relationship is nothing but momentary satisfaction in order to keep Gael busy. The same may also be true of Callie's continued relationship with Jamie. Here, she is absolutely confronted with the fear that they may want two completely different things out of life. She wants to make a difference in the world by using the law to bring about change. Meanwhile, Jamie is in a white corporate law firm that offers very impersonal advice to businesses about their bottom lines. She doesn't want to fall in line with the role of wife who is just suppose to give up her career and sit on the sidelines. That's not the life she wants for herself. And yet, all of these fears are very internalized. The pressure is certainly on her at the moment because she failed the bar and isn't earning a lot of money working at legal aid. She has to ask Alice for projects around the Coterie in exchange for a reduction in rent. That puts her right back into immediate contact with Gael. They encourage and support each other. They present as if their current relationships are strong. But the audience knows better. It's also confusing trying to keep track of when all of these stories are happening. One moment Callie is at this event with Jamie and the next she is painting a room at the Coterie. It's erratic and jumbled in a way that has troubled some viewers before. It's more glaring here because it may be more difficult to track exactly what the show is hoping to do with its character journeys this season. As such, the seams are starting to show as the various characters move around to the positions where they will create the most melodrama that will then get the biggest emotional response from the audience. That's a little manipulative without the character moments to really make it worth it. Callie already fears that she should break up with Jamie. That comes with the insinuation that she should be with Gael instead. That may not be a binary choice though. But she also just wants to present everything as being fine and hold all of these fears inside instead of actually talking about them with the people who want to understand and love her. Meanwhile, Mariana proclaims her new relationship with Raj to the entire Speckulate office. She does so in order to dismiss the rumor that she and Evan are sleeping together and that's the only reason why she is working on her own app now. She genuinely just wants to be a good friend who helps Evan in his time of need. Sure, he doesn't totally understand all of the power dynamics at play that inform the outside opinions of this relationship. Mariana also made a mistake in not telling Raj about this meeting over drinks after work. But Mariana and Raj may present as the only couple that could actually be solid in the future. Sure, there is tension right now but it's very much out in the open. Everything else is about the open suspicions of what may occur next. Joey is afraid that they'll lose yet another relationship because of Lindsay Brady. Alice insists that they won't. But that concern is immediately introduced to keep the audience on high alert and very skeptical about what may happen next. That's the overall feeling of so much happening at the moment.