What I Watched This Week: 11 Sept 2016

NEW SHOWS
Atlanta – “Go for Broke” (A-)
I don’t want to overrate this episode, especially for a show so new. But this feels like an episode I’ll come back to quite a bit. Nothing much happens per se, but this show has so much to say about living right on the edge of poverty that it feels revolutionary frankly. And it does this all with humor that’s often out there and macabre.

South Park – “Member Berries” (B+) / season premiere
Has way too much on its mind, but it’s mostly about the dangers of nostalgia and how people get way too wrapped up in something as ultimately insignificant as the national anthem. But any show that can sneak in the C word repeatedly and make a reference to a Morton Downey, Jr. incident and call out J.J. Abrams as the savior of our most important properties while essentially changing zilch still has it.

RECENT SHOWS
Difficult People – “High Alert” (A)
My first real encounter with this show is a doozy. It’s vulgar, filled with heart and packed to the gills with pop culture references. Even without really getting to know these characters yet, I already know this is a show for me. Bonus points for casting Bill Bogert (who played Frontline-esque host Kent Wallace on Chappelle’s Show) as a 97-year-old ho finally settling down.

OJ: Made in America
“Part 2” (A)
“Part 3” (A-)
“Part 4” (A)
For more than six hours, Ezra Edelman has essentially been building the prosecution’s case – that O.J. Simpson was an abusive husband who brutally murdered his wife and Ron Goldman – and the defense’s case – that the L.A.P.D. was filled with racists and that racism was built into it institutionally. Both things are true, but unfortunately the jury didn’t see it that way.

OLD SHOWS
Documentary Now! (Season 1)
“Sandy Passage” (A)
“Dronez: The Hunt for El Chingon” (A-)
As I said above with Difficult People, this is another show aimed directly at me. Its attention to detail is magnificent, and it masters the tone of each of the docs it parodies. It’s masterful.

The Wire (Season 5)
“Late Editions” (A)
“-30-” (A)
Marlowe goes down, and the whole operation might go up in smoke since it’s all predicated on a lie (an Iraq War metaphor made explicit by Bunk). “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it,” as was said last week. Good things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people and vice versa. Nothing’s fair in Baltimore. But what a powerful final statement.

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