I Love Dick (2016– )
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Seventeen minutes and thirty seconds should be enough to introduce at least one tolerable character, but Dick flopped on that one. After this long, I've seen maybe the best collection of unlikable characters I ever encountered, and Kathryn Whateverhernameis takes the cake in the annoying category. Whatever she was trying is a monumental fail. If you and someone like this character were in the same restaurant, you'd leave hungry rather than listen to her. You might even move out of town, it's that bad. Her husband is the most stereotypical, annoying New Yorker the Amazon writers could come up with, and then there's the earthy redhead with armpit hair who lives in the artists' colony and talks about her trip to Fiji. Ugh! Yeah, I decided while writing this that I'm done with Dick for good. I've had all I can take. Another Amazon stinker goes in the Prime toilet, partially watched and then despised forever. On to the next piece of garbage they release.
It took me a couple of episodes but then I was really hooked. It's off beat and unusual -- the protagonist is for the most part unlikeable, but that's part of the point I think. Her awkwardness and self-involvement are cringeworthy, but you can't help but see yourself reflected, at least in small percentages, in her. It's an interesting exploration of various female voices, of the women that surround Dick with Dick as an object and and very rarely a subject in the series, taking instead the women to always embody the role of the subjects rather than the men (turning the television /film industry on its head).
One post here wrote "feminism gone awry," but I completely disagree. I loved for instance that they show the viewer various works by female artists throughout the series, in a way that's seamless, thoughtful, and stimulating. I didn't feel that this show was overly political or something like that -- it doesn't have an agenda, but is itself an expression of various crises, struggles, small triumphs and losses, of identity and relationships, growth and personhood, marriage and single- ness (and the bounds of each) with the female perspective at the center of these queries. It doesn't fit in the normal bounds of genre - it's darkly funny, but you'll probably never laugh out loud. Nor is it plot driven. It's it's own thing, but at no point did I find it boring.
The show is interesting and different and genuinely held my attention. And I thought the acting was superb, from all involved and particularly from Kathryn Hahn (not only Kevin Bacon!). It's bizarre and kind of wonderful and I'd be excited for a second season.
But those are minor issues. What I viscerally disliked about I Love Dick was its snide cynicism. The creators not only know what buttons to push, they revel in their knowledge. Not only do they manipulate you they make sure you know you're being manipulated. Like Transparent which I also didn't like, they trot out every trendy social issue and eviscerate whatever's meaningful about those issues with their pandering. This kind of sour cynicism lurking beneath a bright veneer of virtuoso craft is the bane of many an American visual production. You notice it when you see a foreign film or video comparable in quality. Real values emerge; instead of cynicism you get sincerity and a passionate belief in the validity of what they are attempting. Last on their list is the potential audience, the numbers, or the box office and it shows. And that is also true of the very best American 'extended film' videos like The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, True Detective and Fargo. These series are cinematic art at its best. They say important things about the human condition. For all their surface brilliance I love Dick and Transparent are mostly concerned with profit and manipulation. I Love Dick starting with its wink-wink title, rubs its fingers together in your face.
In I Love Dick, a couple moves to a small town of writers headed over by Kevin Bacon as someone who is billed as cool and charismatic but who actually just seems like a pretentious jerk (charismatic jerks can also be found in Transparent - Soloway seems to be intrigued by them).
The wife becomes instantly fascinated by Bacon, even after he goes on a mansplaining rant denigrating everything she's ever done.
You can't feel sorry for her, because she's an awful person. As is her husband. Really, this is just a show about awful people. When midwest Republicans talk about New York liberal elites, I think they are imagining people like these horrible people.
The story begins in a strange place with strange people, that's fine. Although when you start to develop the characters of a show there has to be something to like about them, or something intriguing about them, or just something mysterious to make people want to watch more, "I Love Dick" has NONE of those things. Instead, the show goes on to drill your eardrums with the worst possible music accompaniment in a show ever, and chip away at any microscopic granule of interest that might be left. If that wasn't enough the first time, don't worry, because they use the same song throughout the whole pilot episode. The plot is flat, it has 0 entertainment value.
There is one positive thing about this pilot episode though, the suffering only lasts for 30 minutes.
I guess the guy must be in some serious financial problems... Betting? Gambling?
Maybe he owes a lot a money to a really vicious South American drug lord such that he has to work in such a idiotic series for a few extra dollars.
The main actress character is obnoxious, the plot is sub-par, most of the characters are unpleasant, abrasive and dumb.
And do they need to use the "f" word as if the English vocabulary consisted of 10 words only?
It is only for the fartsy-artsy crowd. For a comedy, this is pretty tragic.