Barry (Season 1) 2018

 “You wanna know what I'm good at? I'm good at killing people” “You wanna know what I'm good at? I'm good at killing people”

 “You wanna know what I’m good at? I’m good at killing people”

There is something about Saturday Night Live that breeds successful careers.  Is it in the water that they drink at 30 rock? Or does Lorne Michaels have such a talent for finding and molding that talent? Its most likely the latter as time after time certain cast members skyrocket once they leave the show. Even though their time on SNL is unforgettable, their contributions elsewhere have been legendary. This is the case for Bill Hader. Best known for his Stefon impersonation on Weekly Update, its easy to spot the comedic talent Hader possess that would catapult him to the next stage in his career.

HBO is truly a one of a kind network. The content they create is top of the line from The Sopranos to Band of Brothers, Entourage and more recently Game of Thrones. Once these major shows come to a close and fade to black for good (yeah – looking at you Sopranos), HBO follows up with these series that are completely hypnotizing – Euphoria, Watchmen, Chernobyl ect… Now there is a period where one of the most popular shows ever on television took a year off, well 653 days off to be exact – creating perfect timing for Barry to debut.

Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is a former marine turned hitman living in Cleveland, Ohio. For the type of work he does, he basically lives paycheck to paycheck while his partner and pseudo guardian Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) takes most of the score controlling what Barry does next. Once Fuches offers Barry a hit out in Los Angeles, Barry takes this as an opportunity to leave his life as a hitman behind while Fuches makes costly self-centered decisions to keep Barry close to the life. The hit job is to take out an actor who is having an affair with Goran (Glenn Fleshler) the Chechen’s mob boss’s wife.

Barry discovers the acting class Ryan Madison (Tyler Jacob Moore) takes immediately deciding to switch careers becoming a full time actor. This decision is not in the best interest of Goran, his right hand man named Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and Fuches. All sink their claws into Barry to kill more people making him a puppet. First Barry must impress the teacher of the class Gene (Henry Winkler) while impressing Sally (Sarah Goldberg) falling for her in the process. Barry’s actions have this ripple effect that causes destruction to not only his life but to the lives of those closest to him.

Bill Hader is utterly fantastic in his title role of Barry. He’s a man of conviction as soon as he decides being a hitman isn’t for him anymore. His dark sense of humor fits this character while still showing some lighter sides in his arc. Barry meets Sally and all he can picture is a life they build together. He wants nothing more than to act and have a family. Killing people isn’t his true identity – he’s more than his job and he wants to prove that. Barry wants to believe he isn’t a bad person, but the PTSD he carries with him from the war Keeps a firm grasp. He also comes on extraordinarily strong with Sally even though they hit it off immediately. Hader proves this role was meant for him – it’s hard to picture anyone else playing this role.

Ultimately, Barry is a damaged human being by his actions in the military and his life as a hit man. The decisions he makes aren’t easy, but he makes them look easy all while playing a different person to the class. Anthony Carrigan gives such a phenomenal performance as NoHo Hank. He is easily the most underrated characters in this first season. A right-hand man for any mob boss needs to be as ruthless and violent as the boss but Hank is completely non-violent and naive. Carrigan completely nails his character to every fine detail from his posture and body language to the cadence in his voice.

The performances by every supporting cast member is incredible and shouldn’t be ignored by any means. The acting is top notch making Barry the great show that it is. The dark humor fits the tone of the show perfectly making it more of a dry humor rather than laugh out loud. The situations themselves that Barry gets into is what makes this show funny. What Barry does best is blending the comedic elements with more serious situations flawlessly. Two episodes that exemplify that are episodes 6 (Chapter Six: Listen With Your Ears, React With Your Face) and 7 (Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast, and Keep Going). This is where Bill Hader shines, showing his incredible range as a performer.

Safe to say the back half of the season is better than the first half – the first is just as good. The back half just hits like a freight train all at once while it sets up the second season and what’s to come. The finale couldn’t have been executed better leading what will come next for Barry as his killing stops… now. The premise of Barry feels like this would be pitched to an SNL or a sketch show but the dark, dense comedy that we get works perfectly as is. If I were to rate season 1 of Barry, I’d rate it a 4.8 out of 5. It’s one of the best palate cleansers HBO has offered and could be considered one of the best series on the network today.

Barry season 2 premiered in 2018 and can be seen on HBO or streamed on Hulu or HBO Max. Barry season one has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 98%. Barry was created for TV by Bill Hader Alec Berg and stars Bill Hader, Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, and Sarah Goldberg.

So, tell me guys, have you seen Barry season two and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.

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*I do not own these photos used in this article; all rights reserved to the copyright holder*

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