Thursday, October 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'Perfect Harmony' - Arthur Takes Part in a Local Festival to Earn the Approval of Its Citizens in 'Fork Fest'

NBC's Perfect Harmony - Episode 1.02 "Fork Fest"

Arthur defies local customs, and the choir pays for his rudeness. For Cash's sake, Ginny vows to say nothing bad about Wayne.

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 NBC's Perfect Harmony.

"Fork Fest" was written by Elizabeth Tippet and directed by Jeffrey Blitz

Right now, it still overwhelmingly feels like the show is defined most by its culture clashes between Arthur and the small Kentucky town he has now decided to live in. He embraces a New York City mentality of not caring what anyone thinks about him. Meanwhile, the rest of the town is full of gossip and will hold grudges for a long time. The comedy may always require Arthur to be a little out of place in this community. However, the show makes it seem like that is the only thing it aspires to achieve. That is unfortunate because it makes everything come across as one-note and forgettable. The characters don't really spark in a way where the audience loves them and won't laugh at the ridiculousness of their lives. Ginny and Wayne are trying to figure out the messiness of their divorce. People are talking about what happened between them. Ginny refuses to say anything bad about Wayne because she doesn't want to ruin Cash's relationship with his father. However, that comes at the expense of her reputation. She cares about that. She wants the people in this town to respect her and see her as an honest, dependable person. But again, it's just difficult to care about any of this. The town starts a rumor that Ginny must have cheated on Wayne. That's not true in the slightest. Instead, she felt like she was taking care of two children with her husband also making poor and stupid financial decisions. It should be uplifting that she walked away. And yet, they are still bonded together. This remains the best way to define who they are in this specific world. They are the exes who are still in the rough patches following the divorce. Ginny wants to protect her privacy but also feels compelled to stand up to the women talking about her behind her back. She doesn't feel like she can celebrate winning the pie eating contest. Instead, she constantly has to explain herself which never actually works out in her favor. However, the moment in which Wayne interrupts the big performance to say that Ginny did nothing wrong and the split was entirely his fault doesn't entirely work either. It's a big declaration where he needs to say something in order to preserve the friendship they have. But it didn't feel necessary in that particular moment during the big performance. It seemed to upset the momentum that came from Arthur himself trying to win back the support of this town. That may always be fleeting for him though. With Ginny and Wayne, there may always be the sense of love extended towards them. With Arthur, he constantly has to prove himself because he is the guy who doesn't respect the local customs. He doesn't have anything better to do or more pressing in his life. He just complains when things disrupt his ability to go about his day. That makes things worse for him. And now, his actions reflect back on the entire choir. He has to be aware that he is operating as more than just himself. Previously, he was defined as part of a couple. And now, an entire group depends on him. Again, the focus shouldn't necessarily be on the choir performing in every single episode. That isn't necessary. However, it is important that these friends band together to help Arthur feel accepted here while also getting him to address his numerous failings. Again, that's a fine structure for a television show. It just doesn't feel like the show has the right execution to make it all go together cohesively in the early going. There are even some supporting characters who are hard to get a read on still. Dwayne, Adams and Jax basically exist as whatever the plot needs them to be in any given story. Of course, it is still pretty amusing to watch Arthur try to catch a pig in a mud pit. He miraculously succeeds by embracing the ideology of the town's founder of simply giving up and letting good fortune come to him. That is a unique perspective that certainly has some complicated connotations attached to it as well.