This week, I’ve got a useful recommendation for your weekend binge watch. It’s a really good show that there are only a handful of episodes of, but it’s got more episodes to come. That means you can binge in one weekend and be ready for the next season, whenever it arrives. I’m talking about HBO’s Barry.
HBO has put a lot of its series out there for free to watch, though admittedly I don’t know if Barry is among them. I have to assume it is, though. Bill Hader stars as Barry Berkman, a depressed hitman who stumbles upon an acting class and decides he wants to be an actor. However, the world of violence and depravity he comes from won’t leave him alone. Barry just wants to act and live a Los Angeles life, but he’s being pulled in all sorts of directions.
This is a truly dark comedy. The show can be quite funny, but it’s violent and gory and also can be emotionally gutting. It’s not just laughs and gunfire. Sometimes the dark drama comes from heartache or depression or guilt. And then NoHo Hank will show up and be a delight for a few minutes and you’re laughing again.
The cast is truly stellar. In addition to Hader, who can do the comedy and drama equally well, Henry Winkler won his first Emmy for playing Gene Cousineau, the arrogant teacher of Barry’s class. Oh, Hader won an Emmy too, by the way. Both were deserving, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Stephen Root is in the show, and you know he’s always good. On top of that, two actors I hadn’t really seen before both give excellent performances. Anthony Carrigan plays the aforementioned NoHo Hank, a gangster with a sunny disposition. He brings the laughs. Then there’s Sarah Goldberg as Sally, a struggling actress and the object of Barry’s affection. She gets her funny moments, to be sure, but she’s really there to wring out the pathos.
There have been two seasons of Barry, but both are only eight episodes long. That means you have only 16 episodes to watch. That’s about eight hours of viewing. You can handle that in one weekend, right? I have seen few shows that can balance the dark comedy and the dark drama as well as Barry. It’s pretty special in that way. Plus, just wait until you get to the second season episode called “ronny/lily.” That episode is worth the wait alone.