Sunday, May 23, 2021

REVIEW: 'Duncanville' - The Harris Family Makes Unique Memories During Their First Summer Vacation in 'Das Banana Boot'

FOX's Duncanville - Episode 2.01 "Das Banana Boot"

Duncan avoids summer school for the first time, and the family goes on vacation. On their getaway, Annie and Jack are haunted by another vacation couple, while Duncan agonizes over Mia's Instagram and Kimberly gets a glow-up.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of FOX's Duncanville.

"Das Banana Boot" was directed by Anne Walker Farrell with story by Mike Scully & Julie Thacker Scully and teleplay by 
Aseem Batra & Jerron Horton

This show already serves as a Parks and Recreation reunion with Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones voicing Annie, Duncan and Mia. And yet, the second season premiere brings even more actors from the former NBC sitcom to the story. Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Retta and Nick Offerman can be heard throughout this adventure. Now, it's not a story full of references that hit on a deeper level for fans of the former show. It's simply nice to know that these people are still so supportive of each other's respective projects. As such, it's fun to see them interact in new ways. Scott and Plaza are more pivotal to the central story as Nick and Nina. However, Retta and Offerman get to deliver some fine jokes as well. Retta serves as the unappreciated woman dramatically changing lives, while Offerman is a handyman who takes a week to fix a simple night stand. Now, it's hard to believe Offerman could ever realistically play someone who takes such a long time for such a seemingly simple task. But again, that's the basis of this joke. Duncan spends the entire time away on a family vacation dreading what Mia is doing back home. She is interacting with her ex-boyfriend again. He has nothing to worry about though. That relationship is done. This crush can still be actively developed. Of course, he runs away at the first suggestion that his attempt to make her jealous also worked. He's a lanky, awkward kid who feels much more confident inside his own mind than in the outside world. He doesn't want to put much effort into anything. It's a hassle simply to take a physical fitness test to get out of attending summer school for the first time. The family is eager to help him achieve because they are motivated by this potential getaway. Annie dreams of making all these fond memories with the family. It shouldn't be surprising that the kids bail and go off into their own little worlds immediately. With Duncan, all he needs is a place with WiFi. All he's going to do is obsess over Instagram. Meanwhile, Kimberly believes this vacation will provide her with the glow-up she needs to be less embarrassed and more confident at school. It can't just be painted on. She hopes that transformation makes a difference. In the end, her parents still forget about her and are shocked whenever she is around. That remains such a simple and easy joke. It's effective because she is always dramatic. She feels things in such an extreme way. As such, it's easy for that to be the normal. And yet, she also makes a genuine friend in Norman. He too is awkward. He parallels her own journey of embarrassment at school. They can bond over that. They see each other as their true selves. They embrace that. That's sweet. Meanwhile, it's just insane watching Jing try to get a drawing on the fridge. That's a celebration of her talents. All it takes is a nice, sentimental thought for her to achieve this goal. That comes from the idea that the Harris family is guilty of murder. That's what Nick and Nina force them into believing. This friendship is an entire scam on their part. They target boring couples and annoy them until the situation reaches a dire and lethal peak. And then, they get more free vacations out of that perception. It's heinous and despicable. Annie calls it sociopathic. And yet, Jack still wants to be friends with them. He is so eager to make friends. He is willing to do whatever in order to be seen as nice and welcoming. Annie has to put her foot down. Her desire for cherished memories is valid. Her family gets that eventually. This premiere reminds the audience of all the basic beats that define this show and its various dynamics. It's not the funniest it has ever been. It's not all that inventive either. But it's still nice to experience the Parks and Recreation gang together again. A lot is going on. So, they have to make a lot out of very little. It's amusing. It should be fun to see how the show continues to develop. It grew more confident in its comedic voice during its first season. Some growing pains are still obvious though. Those need to be addressed to offer a concise and consistent version of this show.