Episodes Season 1 – How I Went From Lukewarm to Love It!

Right after I watched the series premiere of Showtime’s Episodes, I was a bit underwhelmed, but something about it made me want to continue watching. Am I ever glad I did!

Rather than give you a recap of the entire season, I thought I’d point out what really made this series such a pleasure to watch for me.

It happens so often in the world of TV – taking a British series – in this case, the award-winning (fictional) Lyman’s Boys – and recreating it for an American audience. Episodes did a fantastic job of conveying how the subtleties of British humour don’t always work abroad, and much to the frustration of the show’s creators, Sean and Beverly Lincoln, how they had to abandon the format they loved so much to come up with a more overtly humorous series. And thus, Lyman’s Boys became Pucks, barely resembling the original series.

This is the most that I’ve enjoyed Matt LeBlanc in a series since … well … Friends! I loved how this caricature of himself is struggling to move out of the shadow of his infamous character, Joey Tribbiani. In a way, I saw this as art imitating life – I’m sure LeBlanc has been facing this challenge since the end of Friends. I also like how they wrote his character – he’s a bit of an ass, and a womanizer, but as we saw in the episode when he so desperately wants to see his children, that he’s also lonely.

I thought it was great that Matt befriended Sean. This unlikely friendship led to some great situations and some of the best laughs this season. This friendship made the betrayal at the end of the season – Beverly and Matt sleeping together – so much more intense.

Beverly hates LA, and I think it really irks her that her husband has embraced it. She thinks that it is going to corrupt Sean, and that he’ll become like the other men in town that she’s met, and will cheat on her with a pretty actress – in this case, Morning, one of the stars of Pucks. In the end, it was her that betrayed Sean.

The amimosity between Beverly and Matt through most of the season was electric. They were like oil and water together, but it certainly didn’t stop them from sleeping together in the penultimate episode of the season. Sure, Matt didn’t correct Beverly when she assumed that Sean and Morning were having an affair, but it didn’t detract from the effect of this turn of events.

By the end, Beverly wanted the series to be a flop so they could return to the UK. Sean has embraced LA a little more, and could probably be persuaded to stay. They’re about to head home, and then Pucks tested through the roof. Looks like Sean and Beverly are stuck in LaLa Land to deal with a show they’re not all that crazy about, not to mention the fallout of Beverly and Matt’s tryst.

An honorable mention definitely needs to go to Myra Licht (Daisy Haggard), the head of comedy at the network wouldn’t know funny if it slapped the permanent “something smells bad” look off her face. It was a great touch!

What ended up making this show work was the more subtle humour, which is kind of funny considering this is exactly what didn’t work for Lyman’s Boys. The strong characters and situations they found themselves in made for an entertaining series that also made me think about whether or not it was an accurate picture of the TV biz in LA.

Episodes has officially been picked up for a second season, so I can’t wait to see what happens for Sean, Beverly, Matt and the rest of the gang when it returns!

Photo Courtesy of Showtime

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