Episodes 1.2 “Episode Two” Review

The magic of Hollywood is wearing off pretty damned fast for Bev and Sean Lincoln. Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig are laugh out loud funny as the married couple whose dream of a successful show are crumbling before their eyes. The studio has the perfect person in mind for their lead role (as if we didn’t already know this) – Matt LeBlanc! Stunned, Sean quips, “For the erudite verbally dexterous headmaster of an elite boys academy, you’re suggesting – Joey?”

The lines are just getting funnier this week on Episodes. The delivery is spot on. When a young, surgically enhanced woman walks by Sean and Beverly’s table in a restaurant and Sean follows her unabashedly, this exchange made me laugh out loud.
Bev: “Your’re kidding.”
Sean: “What?”
Bev: “What? She almost tripped over your tongue. You really like that?””
Sean: “Yes.”
Bev: “They’re so obviously fake.”
Sean: “Yes.”
Bev: “That doesn’t bother you?”
Sean: “She’s not hurting anybody.”

Their first meeting with LeBlanc goes just as expected and he’s showing wisps of Joey during their conversation. He doesn’t take his eyes off his phone for more than a second and keeps texting and accepting calls during their meeting:

Matt: “This is so cool, I can just type in fu and it knows I mean ****.”
Bev: “Science. The gifts you’ve given us.”
Later, the phone rings. Matt: “No, that was supposed to say ****. Why would I say go FUN yourself?”

Hollywood really is a different place on this planet, but it does make me feel sad that someone as lovely (and thin) as Tamsin Greig would be playing a character so insecure about her body. She has a physique I envy, but when standing in the face of sculpted glory, any woman can feel like a sow. “Some of these women are so thin….no seriously, look at that one. My arm weighs more than she does. (Sean looks down at her arm) Don’t look at my arms!”

Once Bev and Matt have a real chance to chat, they both realize how wrong he is for the part and that they are in the sh** together. Matt, however, wanting a ton of money and a hit show on his resume sweet talks Bev into considering a minor change for his part, and by the end of the evening just the suggestion has become set in stone. I can see now that the remainder of the season will most likely be watching two talented writers change their dream to fit into a lifestyle they already hate with big grins on their faces in public and saving the really fun stuff for their scenes alone together. Their gate man still doesn’t know who the hell they are and Bev finally lays on him a string of obscenities that will no doubt scar his little brain for life. He will surely never forget them again, either.

The fun of Episodes is in the watching, more than the reviewing. You’re missing some genuinely funny moments if you are not tuning in. I know absolutely nothing about Matt LeBlanc, but he’s coming out of this as a very decently flushed character. He is as I can imagine he might be in real list. Merc, the man they are all trying to please, seems more like a caricature, and it helps define Matt as more realistic in comparison. After the clip below, Merc goes on to talk and laugh about how often his wife falls down, her permanently bruised shins and her strength that she won’t accept help. The Lincolns are horrified at this seemingly lack of compassion (and later at Matt admitting he laughed like crazy at a documentary about kids with tourettes syndrome). I love when a show addresses life like most of us do, without a hint of political correctness. Epiosodes, so far, is filling that bill quite nicely.

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