I love movies and television. And I love the ins and the outs of Hollywood (OK – honestly I love it mostly so I can make fun of it, but still…). And usually when the two come together (meaning movies or TV shows ABOUT Hollywood), it rarely works. I mean there are hits…like The Player, Sunset Boulevard, or The Bad and the Beautiful. But, mostly there are misses. And then there are the movies that are set in the world of Hollywood but are more about other storylines and not really entirely focused on the movie business, such as Singin’ in the Rain, Hugo, Extras (well, that’s not HOLLYWOOD, per se, since it’s set in London, but it’s still a TV show about the movie/TV industry).
Episodes, like Extras, is a joint television presentation between Showtime and the BBC (Extraswas between HBO and the BBC). And the cast is British/American too. The two main characters, TV screenwriters from London who move to Hollywood to “re-do” their hit UK show there, are British (Tamsin Greig as Beverly and Stephen Mangan as Sean). But, the “actor” who gets the part in the American version of the show is played by VERY-American actor Matt LeBlanc, best known for the iconic Joey on the iconic sitcom Friends. Because LeBlanc is the complete opposite of the character in the British version of the show, the entire show has to be re-worked to cater to LeBlanc’s younger, more attractive character. This, naturally, causes tension between Beverly and Sean since they know they have “sold out” for success and money.
The writing is rapier sharp…in all the right places. The humor is dark and sarcastic but super witty. The “Hollywood” characters have just the right tone of dishonesty/falseness. And the relationship between Beverly and Sean has just the right amount of homesickness, selfishness and pride. If you know anything at all about the goings-on of Hollywood, you will love this show. Even if you do not know about or even enjoy the “Hollywood” scene, I’m still thinking you will love it.