Remoy Philip

writer. creator. producer.

Casual: S1: E5: Mom


by Remoy Philip

This show has some promise. The characters are caricatures, or at best, they’re believable bloated characters who have the potential, even if just to their writers, to be endearing antiheroes. And in an ever expanding televisional universe of antiheroes-and human sludge-there is a potential for honesty and hope and, if anything, quality entertainment. 

But the contrary, or a possible alternative product to quality entertainment can also materialize from this newly birthed TV equation. And this is what Casual is on the verge of uncovering. It’s this: simply put, annoying self-absorbed shitty characters can make for annoying self-absorbed shitty TV. 

Simply titling this episode ‘Mom’ makes for three letter foreshadowing. A foreshadowing that terrifies us all and the characters within at least when considering the already dark and downward trajectory of this show. Frances Conroy, plays our monster of a mom who’s slow eye and slow but decisive words are the slaughter to all of our antihero character’s joy (if there is any) and their hearts (if they have any). Her dialogue is smart. And Conroy’s delivery is effective. But in the end, the question still remains:

Do we really care?

I want to pull for these characters. I want Valerie to win. I want to understand and bend for Alex’s surface-level douchery. I don’t really give two shits about Laura and her over-contrived Dawson’s Creek adultedness, but she does add depth. But the question remains, will this show have the mirth to really stick it to us and bring some deeper level of entertainment to our already rotten American lives. Or will it just serve us another pile of Casual sludge. 

We’ll have to wait and see. 

You’re the Worst: S2 : E8: Spooky Sunday Funday


by Remoy Philip

This is turning more and more into ‘This is the Worst.’

The sophomore slump is a real thing, and it’s never been more true than with You’re the Worst. After an amazing first season run on FXX, You’re the Worst’s second season had a lot to live up to. And with the tight wrap up in the first season finale, it was hard to see where the series would go. 

But the stakes were set and I was absolutely ready for the debauchery and the hilarity to continue. It was going to be an amazing ride that was only going to get more and more bizarre in its comedy and all the more true in itfs vapid humanness. I knew it.

That has not materialized and I was wrong. One episode into season 2 we were willing to let it slide. Two episodes in, we were starting to worry. Three, ‘that was cringe.’ Four, this is turning into a mudslide. 

It’s been eight episodes now into the second season, and the characters have stayed the same, at least in body, but they’ve completely transformed into different people. And with such a shuffle, so to has the plot and the drama and the humor. 

Episode 8 is emblematic of this issue. ‘Spooky Sunday Funday’ is the recycled secondhand version of an episode from season 1 - ‘Sunday Funday’ (that in itself was more or less a generic in its sitcom hilarity). What in the first season was at least fun and charming and entertaining, is now a repurposed boring failure. The dialogue doesn’t hit . The A plot is flat. The B plots are not funny or interesting. And really, we’re pushed further and further away as an audience who wanted to care for these characters and their stories.

In season 1, You’re the Worst was successful in giving us these horribly self-absorbed but still redeemingly and refreshingly honest characters whose stories were entertaining enough to get our investment. However, now being halfway through the second season, the investment is soon to be rescinded and these horrible characters are going to be remembered as apart of a show that went horribly aflop. 

Fresh Off the Boat: S2 : E5 : Miracle on Dead Street


by Remoy Philip

Eddie Huang come Back! Please Eddie! Please!

It’s not that Fresh Off the Boat has lost its funny. Actually it’s probably gotten more funny. Evan and Emory bring in the laughs on the regular. Hudson Yang, the young actor who plays Eddie, now actually looks like he’s comfortable acting and not just reciting his lines. The relationship between the parentals Louis and Jessica has never been more sweet and endearing. It would seem on all fronts, Fresh Off the Boat is succeeding. It would seem.

However, at the core of this show, being that it’s based off Eddie Huang’s impressive and all important memoir of the same name, and was supposed to be loosely based off of Huang’s life growing up in the 90s, the show is failing. The show was agreed upon by Huang to serve as a platform for Asian-Americans to see themselves–no matter how awkward, or painful, or true– with their American experiences right there on network TV. This was to be a true American Situational Comedy.

And in season 1, it somewhat worked. Eddie Huang stayed on board and even narrated the episodes. But comes season 2, Eddie has jumped ship and the show has lost its course.

No more apparent than in Episode 5. A Halloween episode that serves all too easily it’s Americanness - being all about an American holiday - would have been an impressive opportunity for this show to tackle cultural issues specific to the Asian American diasporic struggle. 

But it didn’t. Rather it took an atypical family and packaged them as average suburban and as candy sweet as possible. It posed a story where the Asian Americans weren’t different. Nor did they have to face anything near an honest immigrant American conflict. Instead, they rallied in uninteresting costumes over eggs in a minivan at a house in a subdivision. Does it get any more American than that?

Don’t get me wrong, it was a funny episode. And it’s nice to watch and laugh at these episodes. But as the episodes get funnier, which it looks like they will, the disparity between hoped-for-potential and sitcom-reality will become more and more apparent. And in the end, you can’t help but ask if we really need just another American sitcom. 

Fargo: S2 : E3: The Myth of Sisyphus


by Remoy Philip

It’s not True Detective. It’s better. But similar to TD, we’re three episodes into Fargo Season two, and there’s a mess of characters within an even messier storyline. But where TD fell short, Fargo is winning because yes the storyline has yet to fully bring everyone together, but the characters within this Fargo story have that asymmetrical Fargo flair that keeps us invested because we know it will all play out in that atypical quirky and dark way only Fargo can pull off. 

There’s a plot that is understandable. The characters are interesting though definite; enter Bokeem Woodbime’s terminal nondescript but terrifying delivery as Mike Milligan. There’s the always bridesmaid never the bride character of Ed aka Jesse Plemons aka Landry aka Lance that you will always root for. Then there’s the mother that was finally Met who you know is going to be some sort of cancer to round out this story’s tragedy..

The Myth of Sysiphus is not a specific episode per se in the growing catalog of season two. However, with each episode being an amazing harmony of theater, violence, and uncomfortable laughter, it’s another dark winner for the new and excitedly expanding Fargo franchise.

Catastrophe: S2 : Ep1


by Remoy Philip

The end of season 1 of Catastrophe left us at a cliffhanger. Typical. A normal trope even. But still we accepted it because if one thing Catastrophe was successful at it was making the typical funny because the characters were okay with being honest no matter how shitty or typical they were. And in the end you couldn’t help but root for them.

The whole of season 1 was expositional in bleeding us through the humor and the tragedy of two smart, terribly honest and terribly judgmental semi-adults dealing with their unexpected international pregnancy and their unexpected new lives together. Nine months was spread out over a brief but adventurous six episodes. A whole journey of coupling and figuring it out like an adult was uncomfortably but endearingly packaged into these six thirty minute episodes. And finally, we were left with Rob and Sharon’s first real-but not anywhere believable-fight at the end of episode six. The climax of that fight and the episode being that all too overused plot device of Sharon’s last words being ‘My water broke’ (and cut to Rob’s look of absolute ‘oh fuck’ despair).

Then we’re left to wait and wonder for a year what’s gonna happen next. Did Sharon’s water really break? Maybe it was just a false alarm? Oh this ride in a London Siren Lorry is going to be amazing!

Not even close.

Catastrophe season 2 makes an interesting and effective decision that fast forwards the story a few years. Initially in episode one, we’re unaware of that because we see Sharon still pregnant and her relationship with Rob still having that rocky but still survivable edge. But then the reveal. Yes Sharon is pregnant, but it’s not the same baby. This is baby number two. It’s a surprising and refreshing move. Surprising and refreshing enough that we suspend our disbelief and fast forward into the new present and buckle our seat belts as we ready ourselves for the new ride.

The rest of the episode Is predominantly set in one scene, an awkward party scene at Rob and Sharon’s home (emphasis on ‘their home’ not ‘her flat’). The party allows for the terrible mess of characters of the first season to come together and really riff off each other and their lack of moral hygiene. And we get to see that Rob and Sharon’s world really hasn’t changed even if it has. And that is reassuring as much as it isn’t.

Because in the end of this premiere episode, we’re still left with that haunting feeling of tragedy that yes everything is typical and playing out as it’s supposed to, but still the future has to happen. And the future could either play out one of two ways. Either everything works out and everyone more or less survives. Or there’s the other option. People display their all-too-familiar knack for causing catastrophes because no matter how typical the world is, and no matter how typical our situations are, we are all shitty and possibly that’s the one real thing worth laughing at.

Well Catastrophe, which one will it be.